Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Only Three Games Remain…
August 30, 2008, 16:07
Filed under: Uncategorized
Aug 27, Winders 4, Colorado Springs SkySox 5.  After keeping the Sox off the board for four innings, Juan Gutierrez gave up four total runs in the fifth and sixth to be chased from the game.  Only three runs were earned, thanks to an error by Justin Upton.  The Winders had two runs on the board at that point, but tied the game in their half of the seventh to take Juan off the hook for the decision.  Esmerling Vasquez pitched the last 2 1/3 innings and allowed the winning run for the SkySox…in the bottom of the ninth.  Crushing defeat!  Tim Raines Jr. continued his torrid pace, going three for four with two runs scored.  Unfortunately, he also registered a painful caught-stealing that will likely take him out of the game through the end of the season.  His right thumb was spiked in the play and he received three stitches at the hospital on Wednesday night. 
Aug 28, Winders 14, Colorado Springs SkySox 6.  The final roadtrip of 2008 had been brutal for the Little Snakes, but they seemed to release their pent up frustration in one mighty final blast in the cool, thin air of Colorado Springs.  Pitcher Matt Torra has had an “all or nothing” kind of year…and he was on Thursday night, although defense behind him played pretty badly.  Matt gave up six runs (only three earned) in five innings of work.  It was enough for a win; his fifth of the season.  Doug Slaten followed with two innings of no-run ball.  And Jailen Peguero took the final two innings – also allowing no runs.  Tucson committed three errors (Jamie D’Antona registered his 20th on a bad throw; Donnie Kelly committed two throwing errors, to bring his season total to 16) – but so did COS.  Offensive production was up:  Josh Whitesell hit a two-run homer – his 25th of the year – and Jamie dinged in a solo shot for his 21st.  Practically everyone had an RBI or two, but Jamie led the evening with his line:  three for four, three RBIs, and two runs scored.  And coming up from nowhere, Phil Avlas has found a groove!  He was three for six, with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored.  Tucson got their 14 runs on 19 hits.  That’s very decent production, indeed!
Aug 29, Winders 15, Salt Lake Bees 8.  The field looked marginally greener…the stands held a crowd of over 5,000 fans…and the weather held as the Winders returned to Tucson for their final gig ever.  Oh there was laughter, there were tears, there were errors and runs galore!  And that was only in the first inning!  After Dustin Glant started the game by allowing three Bee runs to score, I was sulking about our lineup and season-long pitching problems and the humidity and the brown patches on the field…and then the Sidewinders came up to bat in the bottom of the first and practically put the game out of reach in one exceptionally long half inning (12 Winders came up to bat in the inning!).  Face it, these Bees are going to the playoffs no matter what happens at TEP this weekend, so we can’t even play spoiler like I’d once hoped.  Instead, we can humiliate and trounce the Bees so they go into the series with Sacramento on a low note.  It is that time of year when loyalty to the Division trumps my natural desire to see Sacramento lose!  But back to last night’s game.  Dustin didn’t get the win, but he was stronger after that scary first inning.  He pitched 3 2/3 innings before Bill Plummer pulled him for A.J. Shappi.  Shappi earned the win for 3 1/3 innings of two run (one earned) ball.  Connor Robertson allowed two runs in his inning of work.  Reid Mahon took the final inning and allowed no runs.  Tucson again committed three errors (two in the first inning):  Jaime and Donnie each had one; Josh also earned one.  Phil hit his second homer of the year:  a three run shot in the first.  Josh hit his 26th dinger in the second.  It was such a thrill to see these guys get a decisive win here at home in this final homestand…even one that wasn’t entirely pretty!
Only three more remain.  I hope to see you at the ballpark for all of them! 
Transactions and Other People Stuff.  Of course, we would’ve loved to see more of those massively talented D-Back prospects, Justin Upton and Max Scherzer.  And I fully expected they would return to finish the PCL season with us before roster-expansion next week.  Instead, the D-Backs decided they needed help for their series at Chase Field with the Dodgers, and so Justin and Max are gone.  The D-Backs sent Alex Romero and Leo Rosales back to Tucson to make room for the youngsters.  And I like this bit of news:  in spite of playing on a team that has been down in the dumps the whole season, the PCL has granted honors to two of our sluggers for their outstanding individual years.  Our own Josh Whitesell has been named PCL Rookie of the Year.  And my man, Jamie D’Antona was named to the All-PCL team.  He’s hitting .368, which is second in the league!  Finally, the D-Backs claimed LHP Will Ledezma off waivers from the Padres. 
Playoff Participants Set.   Here in the final days of the PCL season, there will be no late-breaking runs for the title spots.  All four Division-leaders have clinched their berths and are ready for action.  For the Pacific Southern Division:  Sacramento River Cats (Oakland Athletics).  Go Cats!  For the Pacific Northern Division:  Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).  In the American Southern Division:  Oklahoma RedHawks (Texas Rangers).  In the American Northern Division:  Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs).
A Time for Endings…  It is hard to see the end of things you love.  Although there seems sure to be some kind of summer baseball in Tucson next summer, it is still hard to say goodbye to the Winders and the friends I’ve made among the fans and on the staff.  As if that weren’t enough, my favorite comic strip concluded today.  A lovely end, but yet another place where I feel I’m losing a friend.  I wish Lynn Johnston (formerly of “For Better or Worse”) all the best in her post-comic life.  Her humorous and honest look at life always touched me.  I’ll sure miss the entire Patterson family…
What’s On Tap…  Okay fans!  This is IT…the final games at TEP with YOUR Tucson Sidewinders!  Come join in the long farewell as our guys try to trip up the Salt Lake Bees, who’re on their way to yet another playoff series!
Tonight – September 1:  Season Ending Series at TEP!!  Tucson Sidewinders vs. Salt Lake Bees

     Tonight:  Toros Hat Giveaway  Be one of the first 1,500 fans (with paid admission) through the gate to receive a piece of history by getting a FREE Tucson Toros hat.  Gates open at 6pm for 7pm first pitch.

    Sunday, Aug 31:  $1 Hot Dogs/Nestle Drumstick Family Day  $1 Hot Dogs for everyone, sponsored by Hebrew National! Sundays are also Nestle Drumstick Family Days. Bring in a Nestle Drumstick Proof of Purchase to the ticket office to receive a Buy One, Get One Free ticket offer! Perfect for the whole family!  Gates open at 5pm for 6pm first pitch.
    Monday, Sep 1:  Meatball Monday/Season Finale/Nestle Drumstick Mobile Tour/Nestle Drumstick Family Day/Fireworks – The End of an Era…   This is your chance to catch the last game of the Tucson Sidewinders in Tucson.  Better catch a piece of history before it’s too late!  Bring your family to the ballpark for dinner, because it’s all you can eat spaghetti and meatballs with salad and roll for just $7 for adults and $5 for kids ages 3-12 (does not include admission ticket).  Families will also enjoy fun activities from the Nestle Drumstick Mobile Tour and will get their photos taken so they will always be able to remember the terrific time they had together at Tucson Electric Park.  Fans will also have the opportunity to receive a FREE Drumstick before entering the park!  Bring in a Nestle Drumstick Proof of Purchase to the ticket office to receive a Buy One, Get One Free ticket offer!  Also, stay after the game for a wonderful display of Fireworks!!  And don’t forget, Rick Parr and/or Jay Zucker plan to make an official announcement about the future of baseball in the Old Pueblo.  This is, indeed, an evening at TEP you won’t want to miss!!  Gates open at 5pm for 6pm first pitch.




(Disclaimer – this posting not reviewed/approved by Pima County, the Sidewinders, Diamondbacks, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, SK Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)

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