Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Big Lead Evaporates
April 16, 2013, 14:51
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Tucson Padres allowed a seven-run lead to evaporate in last night’s game, giving the Fresno Grizzlies a win for the four-game series.  Oh yes, but the T-Pads have NOT been swept in a series yet!  And as much as I hate saying THAT again this year, I have to tell you that this year’s group of Tucson Padres feels different to me…they are more aggressive on the base paths, they are making fewer errors, they are playing good “little ball” offense.  I can’t explain what it is, but I sense that these guys are playing like a TEAM.  Even though their record is rather abysmal, I’m delighted in the change!  Two young pitchers started the game:  RHP Matt Jackson (called up from High-A Lake Elsinore to fill Thad Weber’s spot in the rotation) for Tucson and RHP Chris Heston for Fresno.  At two-and-oh, Heston had hardly given up any earned runs to date and I was afraid the two might be mismatched.  Sure enough, Matt struggled in the first innings:  getting players on, but somehow working his way out of trouble.  The Pads, on the other hand, had a field day against Heston!  They scored four runs in the first inning – more than Heston had given up in his previous starts!  There were five hits in the inning and THREE Pads successfully stole a base!  I was fairly convinced we’d prevail in the game since the offense was on fire.  Matt continued to work out of jams and no one scored in the second.  In the third, Tucson blasted out another three runs to take a seven-nothing lead on Fresno.  But, in the fourth, Matt could no longer work his way out of a jam…he allowed three runs, one of which came home on a bases-loaded walk issued by reliever Jorge Reyes to the first batter he faced.  J-Reyes then got two quick outs to end the threat.  Now seven-to-three, Tucson leading.  So far, J-Reyes is our most reliable reliever:  he worked two scoreless innings after mopping up the fourth, then turned the mound over to Daniel Stange.  Stange has also been steady for Tucson, but didn’t have it working last night.  He allowed four runs in the seventh, two of which came in on a home run.  Game tied.  Fresno sent in Brett Bochy to hurl the seventh.  If that name sounds familiar, it’s because his poppa is the Manager of Fresno’s parent unit, the San Francisco Giants!  Bochy had a one-two-three seventh and then Miles Mikolas took the top of the eighth for Tucson.  Not a good outing for him, either:  he allowed another four runs for the Grizzlies.  Score standing at 11-7, Fresno.  Gasp!  Fortunately for Tucson, Bochy wasn’t as effective in the bottom of the eighth – the three batters he faced all reached base, and Fresno called in another reliever who also didn’t get out of the inning, and allowed the three runners charged to Bochy’s line to score…plus one!  Game tied again!  The Pads sent Tommy Layne to pitch the ninth…he got a pinch hitter, Boof Bonser (yes, a pitcher!  Both teams used up their benches last night!), to strike out, but then issued a triple and that runner came in on a sacrifice fly out.  Tommy only faced four, but gave up one additional Grizzly run that put them back in the lead.  And there it would stay, as Fresno’s final reliever mowed through the Pads one-two-three to end the wild and crazy evening.  Practically everyone got a hit last night (except pitchers and most pinch-hitters) – there were a ton of doubles – very few walks – not a lot of strikeouts – no errors.  It was an exciting game…even though the home team came up on the losing end of things.  Somewhat worrisome:  both Travis Buck and Jesus Merchan came out of the game early.  No immediate word on why – it did not appear that either had been injured on the field.  I sure hope they’re okay!  Buck, in particular, has been an offensive workhorse for the team, and I’d hate to lose him!   Okay, Tucson shake off the loss – let’s give the Bees a run for their money!   Final Score:  Tucson 11; Fresno 12.

It’s A Small World Afterall!  The baseball community is a really small world.  This is something you notice a lot in the minors, when you see guys you “know” playing for different teams each year.  This week we saw Yusmeiro Petit with Fresno; tonight we’ll see Billy Buckner pitch for Salt Lake.  These guys used to be Tucson Sidewinders!  I know them!  But it wasn’t until Broadcaster Tim Hagerty shared a story on the air last night that I realized that I also know Daniel Stange!  In fact, I worked with him one baseball season!  In 2008 Debbie Clark had a few minor league players working on the game day staff as ushers.  Mostly the guys were on the Diamondback Family DL.  They found themselves supremely bored after doing their morning workouts and rehab work, so decided to spend their evenings watching baseball for minimum pay.  I totally didn’t register Daniel’s name (and he was here in Tucson last year, too!  Doggone memory loss!), and appreciate Tim reminding me of this fun connection.  (See my archived post, here  and here, for more on the player-ushers in 2008.)

Transactions.  Nothing new to report today.

Series Against the Salt Lake Bees Kicks Off Tonight!  The Pads face the Salt Lake Bees (AAA affiliate of the LA Angels) for a four-game series beginning tonight (all will be night games beginning at 7:05pm).  The boys have already seen the Bees once this year, but this will be our first chance to see these minor-league Angels.  Tonight’s game features the first Eegee’s Free Ticket Night of 2013 – stop by your favorite eegee’s restaurant in the Tucson area and get your FREE tickets to this game.  Tomorrow evening will be Wiener Wednesday with dollar hot dogs all night long.  It’s also the first Social Media Wednesday of the season – LIKE the Tucson Padres on Facebook to check out this week’s Social Media special.  Tonight’s game can also be heard on 1290 AM The Source, tape-delayed after the University of Arizona baseball game against the ASU Sun Devils (which is where I’ll be!) – or live-streaming off the Padres website.

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed or approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


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