Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

River Cats Pull Ahead
June 7, 2013, 16:55
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s no great secret that these games with Sacramento are crucial to the Tucson Padres’ season.  They’re not “make or break” in the traditional, “final gasps of the season” usage of the phrase…but IF Tucson wants to make a run at this Division, they have to start beating Sacramento.  With the Pad’s loss last night, Sacramento pulled ahead of Tucson by one whole game in the Division Standings (and don’t look now, but Las Vegas – a team we have yet to see – is gaining ground quickly).  On paper, last night’s game should’ve been a pitcher’s duel as our LHP Robbie Erlin faced off against equally qualified RHP Sonny Gray.  Neither starter seemed to have their best stuff on the mound – both walked more batters than normal, and each tossed two wild pitches, but that wasn’t the definitive breaking point for the Pads…  The Cats scored right away in the first (one of Jonathan Galvez’s two crucial errors – on the first pitch/hit of the game! – ended up costing Tucson)…but Tucson tied it up with a run of their own in the second.  A run was good, certainly!  Tying the game up was also good.  BUT.  The Pads had the bases loaded with no outs…and all they could get in was that one run.  In fact, Tucson loaded the bases two more times in the game – in those final two cases, they stranded ALL of the runners.  They’ve got to get better production in those cases – and they know that.  In any case, Robbie ended up with his first loss of the season – just days after being named PCL Pitcher for the previous week – after going five innings and allowing five runs (only three earned – both of Galvez’s errors led to runs) on three hits and four walks.  He was only able to strike out two.  (Those numbers are all so unusual for Robbie – and Gray had a similar line – that you gotta believe the home plate ump’s zone was hitter-friendly.)  Daniel Stange followed and gave up one run in two innings.  Jeff Ibarra, just called up from AA ball and making his AAA debut, followed Stange…and got pretty roughed up.  Ibarra allowed three runs in one-third of an inning.  All of those runs came in on a three-run homer to the third batter he faced.  Ouch!  Jorge Reyes came in for the final inning and two-thirds and held the Cats scoreless.  On Tucson’s side offensively, four different Pads went two for four at the plate – Cody Decker hit his fifth homer of the year (it really stayed fair!) – a solo shot in the fourth.  Dean Anna hit another double, bringing his team-leading total to 20.  Wow!  John Baker was back with the team, playing our DH.  He earned one of our three RBIs with a fielder’s choice – he was otherwise oh for four at the plate.  Okay Tucson – show ‘em what you’re made of…get out there and WIN the next three!  Final Score:  Tucson 3; Sacramento 9.

Sportin’ the Wild Thing (Photo Courtesy of the Tucson Padres FaceBook Page)

Sportin’ the Wild Thing (Photo Courtesy of the Tucson Padres FaceBook Page)

Groovy, Man!  Credit Tucson Padres General Manager Mike Feder for being creative and bold – and for his great sense of humor!  As part of the Farewell to AAA Baseball in Tucson festivities this season, the Tucson Padres staff decided to bring back what were arguably the most awful looking uniforms ever worn on a baseball field.  Don’t just take my word for it!  The Bleacher Report recently ranked these 1980-era Toros jerseys the second ugliest in sports history.  That’s ALL sports…not JUST baseball!  (The press is having great fun with this promotion – check this out here).  T-Pad Special Assistant, Jack Donovan, was actually working for the team that had to wear these unsightly things originally – he’s stated that the wild colors were to be representative of Tucson:  the colorful and bright front our sunset; the blue back our skies.  Well, that’s sweet – but put together it’s all just a smidge overwhelming.  And here’s the thing – everyone says our T-Pad players actually LOVE these uniforms!  They’ve embraced the old Tucson Toros identity and are terribly excited about donning these uniforms tomorrow night.  At some point the actual jerseys worn by the team will be auctioned off to fans…but WHEN that will occur depends on how often the guys want to wear them.  Sure, I’m poking fun at them now…but I can’t think of anything that’d be more fun to own, as a souvenir of this fun team, than one of these wild jerseys when the players are done with them!  Stay tuned for more information on the eventual auction.

Transactions.  A variety of moves have taken place in the last couple of days.  First of all, San Diego activated OF Cameron Maybin from their DL, so he’s now back with the Parent Unit.  It appeared for a moment that we’d get Kyle Blanks back to Tucson on the other end of that activation…as it happened, however, San Diego instead put someone else on their DL, so Kyle will not be joining us.  The organization sent Matt Lollis to AA San Antonio Missions, and assigned RHP Jeff Ibarra to Tucson from the Missions.  Ibarra pitched in last night’s game – his AAA debut.  It wasn’t particularly pretty.  Jaff Decker has been battling a sore arm and is day-to-day…he hopes to be back real soon.  Today the Pads put OF Travis Buck on our 7-day DL, retroactive to June 4th.  The organization assigned OF Kalian Sams to Tucson from San Antonio to give us some help in the outfield while Travis is out of commission.

Exciting Homestand Continues!   The Tucson Padres play the second of four home games against the Sacramento River Cats (AAA Athletics) tonight at Kino Stadium.  Please note that tonight’s game will start at 6:05pm (earlier start time) and will feature a post-game concert teaming two great Mexican performers, Lorenzo de Monteclaro and Maribel Guardia, in one show!  For more information about the performers and concert (tickets for the concert alone will also be available) please check the Tucson Padres website.   Even more excitement tomorrow night as the Tucson Padres Turn Back the Clock to the 1980s…the team will be wearing the insanely colorful jerseys I wrote about…hot dogs will be only fifty cents (for the first 3000 sold)…AND there will be a post-game concert by the Sound Bytes (a disco cover band). Fans are welcome to wear their favorite disco attire to the Park. The Padres have also scheduled a Welcome Home DM Warriors Night in conjunction with the DM50 for tomorrow night. This party will welcome home Davis Monthan AFB personnel who have returned from overseas deployments. 2,500 American flags will be given away. WWII Honor Flight participants will also be in attendance. Returning DM military members will be recognized on the field before the game.  All this and GREAT baseball too!  You won’t want to miss a minute of it – head to Kino Stadium and root-root-root for the home team this weekend!

(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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