Call for AAA-And Not Just When Your Car Breaks Down

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, August 11.

With the major league season droning on toward the playoffs the best  action last night was just a heartbeat away at AAA.  Any of these guys know that if an injury or a trade happens up top, as those things so often do they might get their chance to shine.  Also older players hang on in AAA hoping for another chance.  Last night two of the best gameshappened at that level.  The other exceptional game was a 16-inning affair in the South Atlantic League, low A-ball, where the Greenville Drive (Red Sox) beat the Rome Braves 3-2.

Just a step below the majors, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies) whose fan newsletter is called “Pork Illustrated” took a 9-8 loss against the Charlotte Knights (White Sox.)  The visiting Knights have a 47-70 record following last night’s win.  They had 7 runs up on the board after the fifth inning  and it was a 7-3 game heading to the 8th.  But the Pigs weren’t about to give up like hogs to the slaughter. In their half the home team put up 3 runs to make it 7-6.  Each side plated a deuce in the 9th for the final score of 9-8. The Knights mounted a 15-hit assault including 4 doubles and a home run.  Six of their starters had 2 or more hits including Rymer Liriano lacking just a triple for the cycle.  The IronPigs notched 11 hits but it wasn’t enough. Brock Stassi, who earlier this year had his first MLB home run in Los Angeles slammed a two-run shot in the 9th making it a 9-8 game but that’s as close as the Phillies’ top farm team got. Nearly 7800 people jammed Coca Cola Park in Allentown for the game.

In another AAA tilt it took the Norfolk Tides (Orioles) 12 innings to beat the Rochester Red Wings (Twins) 6-4.  The funny part here is, the Red Wings were the Orioles’ top farm club for decades. I still have to remind myself that Rochester is a Twins farm team now. This is another game where the team with the better record-in this case Rochester-came out on the short end.  The Tides are 55-63 while the Wings are 67-51.  The only inning the Tides put up more than a run was the 12th in which they got 2 for the win. They had notched single runs in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th. Meantime Rochester tallied two in the first giving them the initial lead, then 2 in the 6th making it a 4-2 game before Norfolk scored the last 4 runs of the evening. All told Norfolk put 14 safeties on the board while the home team put up 15. For the Tides Chris Johnson had 3 hits including a home run, double and the RBI single in the 12th to make it 5-4 as he drove in Mike Yastrzemski. Pedro Alvarez knocked Johnson home for the insurance run.

As for the night’s longest game the Rome Braves put up 2 runs in the 6th and that’s all they got although the game went on for another 10 innings. The homestanding Drive had put up solo runs in the third and fourth before scoring the winning run in the last of the 16th on a home run by Bobby Dalbec. The winning pitcher was Tucker Tubbs, normally a first baseman by trade. He had driven home one of Greenville’s 2 runs back in the 4th.  It happens this was his 4th appearance on the hill and he hasn’t given up an earned run.  He pitched the last 3 innings as his mates had no pitchers left. Santiago Espinal put up 4 hits for Greenville but it was Dalbec doing the damage.

All MLB action is under the lights and as usual there’s a full slate of it.  The Yankees and Red Sox are the game of the night. If the Yankees win at least 2 in the series they have a shot at passing up Boston.  If they get swept they might as well prepare for life without CC and Tanaka. When the teams meet in the Bronx the Red Sox turn to lefty Eduardo Rodriguez who did beautifully his last time out against the Royals.  The Yankees go to Jaime Garcia. He lost to the Indians in his first game with his new team. The Mets responded to the Jay Bruce deal by stomping the Phillies 10-0 last night.  Tonight it’s Seth Lugo’s turn against the Phillies. The home team throws their rookie Nick Pivetta at the Flushing 9. He got destroyed in Colorado (but then who doesn’t) as he gave up 8 hits and didn’t survive the third inning. Until Denver puts a roof on that launching pad nothing that happens there is a realistic measure of a man’s talent or lack of same. The Giants send out rookie Chris Stratton against the Nationals’ Edwin Jackson who replaced Joe Ross following his Tommy John surgery. The Astros’ Charlie Morton has had 3 hot starts in a row and faces the Rangers who the Astros have dominated this season. The Rangers try to buck that trend by starting Cole Hamels. Later on the Cubs meet the D-Backs in Phoenix.  John Lackey goes for the Cubs against the Snakes’ Taijuan Walker. Oakland turns to their rookie Paul Blackburn as they face the Orioles and Ubaldo Jimenez. The Angels meet the Mariners and the Padres face the Dodgers in the latest games of the night.

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