Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

T-Pads Out-Ace Reno
June 15, 2013, 16:07
Filed under: Uncategorized

A big night at Kino Stadium last night!  The T-Pads tipped their hats to the old Tucson Sidewinders with a 2006 Championship T-Shirt Giveaway…and then bested the current iteration of that team in a very exciting baseball game!  Oh, what a lovely evening, too.  Mother Nature tossed in a few monsoon-like clouds to the south – a few distant bolts of lightning – and a gorgeous sunset, to boot.  Slightly cooler temperatures and a light breeze…ah!  Perfection!  This is what makes minor league baseball in the Old Pueblo so special.  Sigh…I could’ve just stayed there forever.  And what a game!  The Aces sent young pitching prospect, Tyler Skaggs, in to face the guy who may be our Ace on the staff, Sean O’Sullivan.  Skaggs was starting in only his first game since the DBacks optioned him back to Reno this month.  And he looked pretty good out there!  Especially in the first inning, when his mound opponent was clearly struggling.  Sean gave up three runs before recording the first out in the game…a single, a walk, and then a three-run homer…not the start we’d expected from Sean.  He then hit the next batter and I was looking to see if Manager Pat Murphy was getting someone up in the pen.  Nope.  Murph stuck with Sean.  Another single and there were two on again and still no outs.  Finally, Sean got a strikeout!  But he loaded the bases when he allowed yet another single after that.  We were saved when he induced a double-play ball to the next batter!  Whew!  Thankfully, Sean didn’t falter as badly through the rest of the game – and I do mean, through the REST of the game!  He worked eight innings last night – and those three first-inning runs were all he allowed to cross home!  Plus he got another hit in his final AB.  Meanwhile, Skaggs did a really fine job, too.  In five innings he only allowed one run on seven hits and two walks.  Tucson wasn’t able to break out until Skaggs left and they faced a reliever in the sixth.  Our Pads went to town on reliever David Pauley: both Daniel Robertson and Gregorio Petit picked up RBI doubles and Dean Anna brought a run home on a ground out.  Three runs in the sixth put Tucson ahead by one!  The Pads padded that lead with two runs in the seventh – both came in on a two-run homer off Cody Decker’s bat (a night after striking out in every at-bat, Cody went two for four with two RBIs and two runs-scored!).  That bit of padding proved exceptionally important when Miles Mikolas took over for the ninth inning and allowed two Reno runs before getting the final out of the game.  For his work, Miles earned his 11th save; Sean earned his sixth win.  Pauley got a blown save and the loss for Reno.  Everybody in the Tucson lineup was hitting last night – except Jonathan Galvez, who appeared to be swinging for homers each time he was at the plate (and had three Ks for his efforts) – with five Pads getting two hits each.  I think the guys are happy to be home!  Oh, and more good news:  every other team in our Division lost last night!  We are now only two games behind Sacramento and have pulled one whole game ahead of Vegas to own second place all by ourselves!  Way to go, Tucson!  Keep it up tonight!  Final Score:  Tucson 6; Reno 5.

A Player’s Worst Nightmare.  I’m sure you’ve seen this a million times…a foul ball goes into the stands and appears to hit someone.  In the big league parks, there’s so much distance between fans and the game that I sometimes think the player really never knows whether that foul ball he just slammed into the stands has hit anyone.  Certainly you don’t see them take undue notice (unless they’ve heaved their bat and need to retrieve it).  But I’ve always wondered what that feels like for the players – no matter their response, it’s got to be gut-wrenching to know someone might have been hurt by the missile you sent into the stands.  Frightening!  We had one of those horrific moments in the second inning last night.  Dear Jesus Merchan was at the plate, batting right-handed and facing the opponent’s 1B dugout, when he smashed out a screaming line-drive foul ball over that dugout that appeared to hit a young girl right smack dab in her face.  Her dad immediately grabbed pulled her into his arms and ran with her for help…she appeared alert but it’s hard to tell from a distance.  All eyes were on her and her dad as they beat a retreat to Guest Services for help.  When my eyes finally returned to the field, I was surprised (and, quite honestly, choked up) to see that Jesus was standing bent over at the waist, head down just outside the batter’s box, with Pat Murphy by his side with a supportive hand on Jesus’ back.  What torment Jesus must have felt.  He’d obviously seen what we had – his liner hit the girl.  I’ve often felt that sustaining a career-ending injury must be a player’s worst nightmare…but after last night I’ll think differently.  Seeing Jesus struggle to regain composure led me to believe that THIS was his worst nightmare.  There was silence and then some more quiet music before Jesus lifted his head and took his AB.  He hit a single – the Ace at 1B also patted his back.  Every player out there empathized with Jesus.  You could feel that.  Good News!  The little girl was okay!  In reality, her dad took the brunt of the foul off his arm and the ball then glanced off him into her face.  The PA announcer went so far as to give the child’s name and to assure everyone that she was okay.  I’ve never seen that done before either…and I have to wonder if it was done to encourage Jesus as much as to assure fans that the little girl was okay.  So grateful for a happy ending – but it’s a scene that will stay in my memory for quite some time.

Transactions.  Lots of activity out there in Transaction Land today!  In fact, Reno probably has even more of them than we do today!  But let’s just look at those that affect the T-Pads…  First of all, San Diego returned some of our guys to our roster, optioning both OF Jaff Decker and LHP Tommy Layne back to Tucson.  LHP Jeff Ibarra has been reassigned to AA San Antonio Missions from Tucson.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed C John Baker off waivers from San Diego – he’s gone.

T-Pads Are Home!   The Tucson Padres remain home at Kino Stadium tonight and face the Reno Aces (AAA Diamondbacks).  They’ve got three more against the Former Tucson Sidewinders, and then they’ll play their first series of the season against Division opponent, the Las Vegas 51s (AAA Mets).  All of the games in the homestand will be played at 7:05pm (gates open at 6pm).  Lots of cool promotions on tap, as well!  Tonight will feature a post-game Fireworks Spectacular – always a fan favorite!  Tomorrow night is Military Appreciation and Bark in the Park Night.  All military personnel (active, retired and veterans) and a guest will receive two free Box Seats with a Military ID.  Dogs will also be admitted free with their owners. The first 250 dogs receive a free Frisbee.  And it’s Father’s Day!  Why not take your dad out to a ballgame this weekend?  You know he’d love it!

(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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