Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

The Winds of Change
June 19, 2010, 16:16
Filed under: Uncategorized

To be honest, I’ve felt the Toros have played pretty admirably this season…not spectacular, but certainly not D-Back bad, either.  We’ve stayed middle of the pack in our Division and win nearly as often as we lose (12W, 14L; .462; third in the Southern Division).  Entertaining on the field, though far from stellar.  Last night’s game against the Outlaws, however, displayed all our flaws in one outing.  Pitching was a struggle…we didn’t hit particularly well…and we had a series of costly miscues on the field.  It wasn’t nice at all.  Of course, we were playing the powerhouse crew from Chico, so perhaps some credit goes to their being overwhelming.  The Outlaws have lost only FIVE games this season, for a record of 19W, 5L – .792!  That’s story enough, really, but add in young Eri Yoshida and the Outlaws are totally stealing the show this weekend in Tucson.  Eri is currently on the inactive list, as Chico uses her sparingly, and primarily at home, for her starts.  Rumor has it Eri may actually pitch a bit in relief here in Tucson this weekend…she said it would be “an honor” to pitch at such a storied location – and what a thrill for me if we get to see her.  She’s just a little bit of a thing, leaning against the visiting dugout between innings, tossing herself balls while the guys warm up on the field.  I can’t help it:  just seeing her on the field with the “boys” (as she’s quoted calling them in today’s paper) gets me all mushy about what a big step she’s taken for all young girls. 

Aside from Eri, however, there were other interesting features in last night’s game, which the Toros lost 2 to 7.  For one thing, neither Jose Valdez (2B) nor Victor Ferrante (RF) were in the game.  Victor is on the inactive list and Jose is what, just resting?  I don’t know.  In Victor’s spot, new guy Francisco Plasencia K’d twice in four at-bats (no hits, no walks), but was decent in the field.  Bench player, Brian Bistagne, played second in Jose’s spot.  Brian had a hit and a run-scored – and an error.  Chico stole second on us a couple of times on awkward throws by Luis Apodaca (who skipped the TJ series in Mexico because of visa issues and looked a little off his game last night after a week of rest) and errors by both Bistagne and Ryan Priddy.  I don’t know if these on-field changes are permanent, or a way to rest some players after a double-header on Thursday in TJ.  I guess time will tell.  Another surprise in last night’s game:  big Jim Rushford has been resigned with the Toros and he had an opportunity to pinch hit.  He struck out, but having his powerful bat on the team again is potentially good news for our team!

Hold the Mayo!  A very pleasant surprise this year can be found at first base.  Cristobal Santana, formerly known as Mayo, has blossomed as a guy who steadily gets good at-bats and who plays an incredible first base.  I have never seen so many close calls go our way, all due to Cristobal’s ability to do the splits!  He has saved numerous plays at first by stretching out in the most painful looking splits.  Part of me knows that if he’s having to do that so often it means our fielders aren’t throwing the ball to him in a timely manner (or very well), but mostly I just enjoy the show.  I have no idea how he does it!  He was credited with two assists last night!  Additionally, he had three hits and an RBI in four at-bats.  Well done!  He’s still not the speediest thing on the base paths, but aside from that he’s all heart and hard work.

Independent Ball Works!  Although the Toros have not experienced a call up to affiliated ball yet this year (Dustin Yount did go to the Dodgers organization in the off season!), last Saturday night a ballplayer who formerly played for the Chico Outlaws (there they are again!) and was the GBL MVP in 2007, young Daniel Nava, showed that the Independent Leagues can be a marvelous place in which to scout talented players.  Now in the MLB as part of the Boston Red Sox, Nava took the very first pitch he saw in his first major league at bat deep, for a grand slam! 

(Disclaimer – for all Toros away games [and some home games I miss] this blog will be composed from information gleaned from the official GBL stats site at  Additionally, this posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Toros, the Reno Aces, Diamondbacks, PCL, MiLB, MLB, Golden Baseball League, 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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