Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Maybe the Spell is Broken!
July 23, 2013, 16:15
Filed under: Uncategorized

Your Tucson Padres have played two games in Tacoma since my last post – and have split those, winning today’s game after FINALLY getting a serious bout of offense against a relieving pitcher!  With today’s win, we moved back up into a first place tie with Las Vegas in our Division.  Yes, that’s right…last night’s loss sent us into second place, ½ game behind Vegas; ½ game ahead of Sacramento.  Both of our Division rivals play later tonight, so a final report on the Standings after today’s games will be delayed.  Let’s take a look at the two games just played in Tacoma, while we wish Reno (vs. Vegas) and Colorado Springs (vs. Sacramento) good luck tonight!

Monday, Jul 22nd: Tucson 2; Tacoma 4.  Brandon Kloess took the start for Tucson and went deep into the game, though he took the loss after allowing all four of Tacoma’s runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk.  The first two of those runs came in on a two-run homer in the first inning…so Tucson was again trying to come from behind against Tacoma’s excellent starter, James Paxton.  Do you remember James?  Last time we saw him, he tossed a complete game shutout against us.  Yes, THAT Paxton!  Well, he was dealing again last night, but Tucson was able to get one run in against him in his six innings of work.  That run came in the fifth when Jaff Decker – the only T-Pad who seemed to be hitting somewhat consistently through our recent dry spell – hit an RBI double to score Jesus Merchan (who reached on a two-out single).  Kloess had just given up another two runs to the Rainiers in the bottom of the fourth (double, run-scoring error – another on Jaff…practically unheard of! – a single and an RBI ground out), so it was nice to see the Pads turn around and get a run off Paxton in the next frame!  Kloess really settled in the deeper he got into the game, allowing only one single and no runs through his last three innings of work.  An impressive seven-inning outing for Kloess, even though he took a loss!  His ability to go that deep ensured our bullpen got to rest – only one reliever was called upon for the Pads (Ryan Kelly) and he only worked an inning, holding Tacoma scoreless on two hits and two Ks.  Tucson was able to plate one more run against the Rainiers in their half of the eighth against Tacoma’s second reliever, Carter CappsEddy Rodriguez led off with a double but the next two batters were quick outs.  Then Gregorio Petit took a walk and Mike Wilson brought Eddy home on an RBI single.  Ben Francisco was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded with Padres.  But there were two outs…and Cody Decker smashed a sure triple (my opinion) to left field where native Tucsonan Stefen Romero pirouetted and somehow caught the ball to end the threat and leave the bases loaded.  Oh darn, that was close!  It was our last best chance, as we were only able to get one hit in the ninth and went down quietly without a run.  Both Jaff and Mike had two-hit nights, but there were a surprising number of “oh-fers” in the Tucson lineup.

Tuesday, Jul 23rd:  Tucson 8, Tacoma 4.  Manager Pat Murphy gave the team an opportunity to sleep in and show up at the ballpark with only minutes to spare (slight exaggeration) in the hopes of lifting the team out of its slump somehow.  I’m not saying that’s what made the difference for the Padres…but maybe it helped.  In the early innings, however, today’s game looked like more of the same stuff.  Tacoma’s hurler, Andrew Carraway – the lone Tacoma pitcher we’d previously had some success against! – was tossing a no-hitter through his five innings of work.  Five Pads walked on Carraway, but not a single hit.  Today’s new Tucson starter (see Transactions), Jason Lane, was doing a decent job against Carraway, though he’d gotten pounded in the second when he gave up three consecutive multi-base hits, one of which was a two-run homer, to give Tacoma a three-nothing lead early.  Looking, yet again, too much like every game the Pads have played lately.  Jason gave up one more run – unearned – in the fifth, but otherwise tossed a really nice game for Tucson in his first start as a Pad.  But our offense was just blanked until Tacoma pulled Carraway for Josh Kinney in the sixth.  The first batter to face Kinney, Gregorio Petit, broke up the no-hitter with a single!  Scott Moore lined out, but Brandon Allen followed with a double!  Ben Francisco made the team’s second out with a soft pop up but Jaff Decker brought two runs home with a double!  Then he stole third as Cody Decker worked a walk!  Chris Robinson up next…and HE works a walk, bringing Daniel Robertson to the plate.  Kinney tosses a wild pitch to D-Rob and Jaff scores our third run in the game/inning!  Tucson only behind by ONE run now!  Totally flustered at this point, Kinney then hit D-Rob with a pitch, loading the bases.  Still two outs.  The Rainiers had seen enough of Kinney and replaced him with Bobby LaFromboise.  On a two-two count, Dean Anna broke the game wide open with a smash that scored THREE on a double!  Petit then ground out to end the frame…but Tucson now up six to four!!  Neither team scored in the seventh, though Tucson made a pitching change after Lane got one out, bringing in Kevin Quackenbush.  Top of the eighth, Jaff facing LaFromboise, and Decker smashes out a solo homer to left!  That forces another pitching change for Tacoma and the new hurler gets two quick strikeouts before facing D-Rob.  Now, D-Rob hadn’t been in the starting lineup a lot lately, and last night in his first start in some time, he’d gone oh for five.  He’s also not typically a power hitter, though he’s often tenacious as all get out.  So two out, no one on, D-Rob at-bat.  HE smashes out a solo homer to left!  Tucson now up eight to four!!  Dean then struck out…and there’d be no more runs in the game.  Brad Brach pitched a scoreless ninth for the Pads to secure Tucson’s SECOND win (all season) against the Tacoma Rainiers.  They’d gone from hitless to victors in just half a game!  I’m hoping that this exciting, and crucial, win will lift our Pads out of the doldrums and back into the pennant race!  Yay, Tucson!

Transactions.  San Diego has been proactive on our part this season, reaching out into all corners of baseball to find players to supplement our team when it appears we’re in need.  This isn’t always the case, but the Parent Unit has done a bang-up job supporting its AAA team this season just for our sake (even though it’s unlikely the players they pick up will ever join SD).  Case in point: we’ve been a bit short of starters in Tucson lately.  San Diego was aware of that and tracked down a former SD outfielder, converted to pitcher and playing in Independent Ball in Texas, to join our starting rotation.  That’d be Jason Lane, long-time MLB vet and former SD Padre, who took the start for Tucson today – and earned a WIN!  Perfect timing, since San Diego has also recalled starter Tyson Ross to The Show – he’ll start for SD tonight, in fact.  Miles Mikolas has been optioned back to Tucson, once again, as Tyson returns to SD’s active roster.

Tucson on the Road until Friday.   The Tucson Padres are in Tacoma to face the Rainiers (Mariners AAA) for another two games.  Both games on Wednesday and Thursday will kick off at 7:05pm.  You can catch all games live on 1290AM The Source or live-streaming off the Tucson Padres website.  The Padres return home again on Friday, July 26th, to face the Salt Lake Bees (AAA Angels) for four games at Kino Stadium.  Friday will be Frosty Friday with reduced price beer, margaritas and tacos!  Saturday will feature another Giant Fireworks Spectacular after the game.  Mark your calendars now and plan to root for the home team!

(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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