MSTI Special Feature: Mond… Wednesdays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 3)

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Sorry, guys, life has indeed been a bit busy, lately.  Nonetheless, here is your weekly edition of Mondays With Torgy… on a Wednesday… again. 

Hit it, Torgy! 

Another week and a better week than the past one. Dodgers moved some
pieces around. Jovanny Rosario got the call from Chattanooga to
Albuquerque and Kenley Jansen got a quick call to Albuquerque, but that
will likely last until AJ Ellis gets back to Albuquerque. Also, Cole
St. Clair and Geison Aguasviva finished their extended spring training
and made their 2009 debuts at Great Lakes. Sorry to see that Erik
Kanaby got released. He was one of those guys I really liked from the
few games I saw him play, but he had zero pop and that is a killer in
this day and age, especially for a corner outfielder.

Might as well start with Albuquerque. They finally got over the
hump, moving up over .500 and leading their division by 3.5 games.
Charlie Haeger tossed a complete game to get them over .500. Actually,
Haeger has been surprisingly good over his past three starts. Picking
up a win in each of his last three starts and going longer with each
game. But, as a knuckleballer, he walks plenty, but doesn’t give up too
many hits. Still, he might be the most impressive starter at
Albuquerque. Don’t know what to make of Estes, he is still getting
people out but it befuddles me how he does it. I don’t know if
re-inventing himself as Ross Grimsley or an indication of the weak
talent that makes up the PCL, but he is putting up some interesting
numbers (WHIP of 1.30 and he has given up only two home runs). Gotta
give some credit to Scott Strickland. He has been very good as a closer
for the ‘topes and his ERA and WHIP are dropping like an extra on 24.

On the offensive end. It is Dee Brown, Hector Luan and Mitch Jones
all day, every day. The three have combined for 39 bombs and 115 ribs.
It would be nice if someone would get on base in front of them. Blake
DeWitt isn’t hitting the ball and Jason Repko has been invisible, of
late. Jovanny Rosario, Chin Lung Hu and Luis Maza have been getting
some tryouts at the top of the lineup, but they have not run with the
job. I expect Xavier Paul to get a rehab run at Albuquerque and I would
not be shocked if Hoffman gets sent back around July 3, so I feel that
both will get the spots in front of the Big Three. Otherwise, the
offensive has not been as explosive as I expected. John-Ford Griffin
and Valentino Pascucci have not put up big numbers and I am sorely
disappointed in Hu. The thing is, I don’t see much movement from
Chattanooga. Maybe Gaby Martinez or Josh Bell, but I can’t see the
Dodgers moving Andrew Lambo or Lucas May, this season.

Things could be better in Chattanooga. They are nine games under
.500 and 8.5 behind Huntsville. Aside from Gaby Martinez’s very strong
season and he is only 24, so he could be a late bloomer. He leads the
Lookouts in ribs, homers, obp, slugging pct. and ops. Only Josh Bell is
putting up anything close to Martinez’ numbers. Mike Rose has come off
of the scrap heap and has hit well in a small sample size. Recent call
ups, Eduardo Perez and Tommy Giles have struggled, but Giles crushed a
two-run bomb tonight to lead the Lookouts to a big win. Andrew Lambo is
still scuffling and aside for an injured Lucas May, there isn’t much
more to get excited about from the offensive end.

The Lookouts continue to get good pitching and I have been remiss
for not lauding Francisco Felix, who has been very good, out of the
pen. Felix is a smallish righty reliever who was impressive, at times,
last year for Inland Empire and he is another of our cadre of 23-25yo
middle relief types who dot this roster. None really make radar guns
shoot fireworks, but they are serviceable arms and are likely closer to
the show than anyone at Albuquerque as the recent call-up of Travis
Schlichting should indicate. Josh Lindblom has sandwiched one very good
start with two very bad outings. Lindblom was out of character his last
start as he walked four batters, more than he had walked in his
previous eight outings, combined. Add to that, he gave up five earned
runs in four innings, the most he had given up since early April. Some
love for Scott Elbert as he tossed six innings of one hit ball in his
last start and Jesus Castillo, who matched Elbert’s innings and only
gave up one run.

Inland Empire is six games under .500 and eleven games behind High
Desert and their high octane offensive duo of Joe Dunigan and Alex
Liddi. First off, much praise for Preston Mattingly. As some will
remember, I ripped him for only having reaching via walk, once this
season. Well, he fooled me as he worked three walks and none were
intentional. Just like Chad Billingsley actually hitting the ball, I
have seen it all, this year. Actually, it appears that the younger
Mattingly has found his power, of late. He has belted a pair of bombs,
this week, along with driving home eight runs from the lead off spot.
Mattingly has had help. Scott Slyke has come out of his slump with a
couple multiple hit games and a pair of bombs. It even appears he is
learning to take the odd walk as his week included seven walks, nearly
half his season total. Some other guys have looked good in lesser
roles. Alex Garabedian has shown a live bat and better plate discipline
than his teammates. Also, Elian Herrera has been getting some playing
time and rewarding the Sixers with some speed and a good approach at
the plate. Lastly, Pedro Baez continues to keep the folks who think he
should be pitching at bay. His eight bombs lead the team and he is only
behind Van Slyke for the RBI lead. Yeah, he still strikes out like Mark
Reynolds, but combined with that arm and glove at third, he will keep
those who want to see him pitch (including me) grumbling.

Chris Withrow and Alberto Bastardo have been nearly untouchable in
their last couple outings. Bastardo has been flat out filthy. He has
tossed thirteen innings over his last two innings, giving up nine hits,
no runs and only walking two, while striking out fifteen. Not exactly a
commanding presence on the hill, he has been quite impressive in his
second turn through the Cal League. Withrow has been nearly as
effective, although he can be wilder than Bastardo. But his outing,
earlier this week, was outstanding. Five innings, three hits, one run,
no walks and ten strikeouts. In that one outing, all can see what Logan
White saw in the kid. While we are throwing out accolades, I gotta give
some love to Josh Wall. Since his first start, he has been very good,
only giving up fourteen hits, three walks and three runs over his last
seventeen innings. Maybe the kid’s father is letting Charlie Hough
teach the kid how to harness his considerable gifts.

The Loons are doing okay, they are two games over .500, but are 5.5
behind West Michigan. Given the youthful nature of the team, I am
pleased that they are still in the hunt even though their bats have
went silent of late. With the exception of Nick Buss and Alfredo
Silverio no one on the team is hitting over the Mendoza Line over the
past ten games. Still, Kyle Russell is hitting bombs, as he had three
over the past week, along with ten strikeouts over that same time
frame. One thing that continues to rise is the Loons’ error total. Dee
Gordon is leading the team with sixteen errors and his double play
partner is second with nine. Even the outfielders have scary error
totals.

As with the Lookouts, the one thing that is working is the pitching.
To that end, Bobby Blevins got the call to Chattanooga. But, Geison
Aguasviva was called up from Extended Spring Training and picked up a
win in his first outing, going three one hit innings in relief of Josh
Walter, who took the start in Blevins’ place. Cole St. Clair got the
save, but gave up two runs in his only two innings. Javy Guerra is
still racking up saves and the rest of the pen is still doing some
fantastic work. Another pitcher who has impressed is Jon Michael
Redding, who tossed six shutout innings in his last start, giving up
four hits and striking out eleven. As Redding was one of my picks to
impress this year, this makes me quite happy. Also, Justin Miller has
been impressive over his past two starts as he is showing improved
command with his sinker and Nathan Eovaldi had his best start of his
career, going five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no runs in
his last start. One troubling aspect has been Ethan Martin’s command as
he had walked twelve in his last ten innings.

Tune in next week for another edition of “Mondays With Torgy,” brought to you by MSTI! 

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