In Part Two of Senior Writer John Conniff's chat with Baseball America's Kevin Goldstein the beat…
Jared Wells shutout; Mike Ekstrom to ten
In Saturday's report, we mistakenly stated that Chris Steinborn began the year with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League. He actually began the year with the Modesto Nuts of the California League.
Portland won 4-2
Brian Sweeney moved to 3-1 since rejoining the Beavers by going seven innings and allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out four. In 42.2 innings of work while pitching with Portland, Sweeney has walked just five batters. The righty has allowed two runs or less in six straight outings (two of those were in relief) and owns a 3.16 ERA with Portland and a 3.65 ERA overall in Pacific Coast League play. Sweeney owns a .205 average against with runners in scoring position.
Marty McLeary pitched a scoreless eighth inning and has allowed runs in just one of his seven stints as a reliever. The right-hander owned a 5.32 ERA as a starter and has a 2.08 ERA as a reliever with Portland this year. After the opposition hit .288 off him as a starter, they are batting .226 off him as a reliever and he has allowed just one hit over his last five innings of work.
Mobile won 4-1
Paul McAnulty, 24, was optioned to Double-A Mobile on Sunday after batting .222 (2-for-9) with a run scored in 10 games with the San Diego Padres. Right-handed pitcher Paul Quantrill, acquired in a trade with the Yankees for Darrell May and Tim Redding, takes his place on the roster.
Brian Whitaker won consecutive starts for the first time this year, pushing his record to 4-9. The right-hander allowed one run on nine hits while striking out a season-high seven in 6.2 innings. Whitaker has allowed three earned runs over his last four starts, spanning 26.1 innings but owns a 2-2 record over that span due to four unearned runs also crossing the dish.
Corey Smith went 1-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI's. It was his third straight game with an RBI. After a dry spell of 13 games, Smith has come back with 12 RBI's over his last 13 games. Smith, however, is hitting just .208 on the year with runners in scoring position. The third baseman hit .190 in June after hitting .298 in May while he is currently sitting at .262.
"There is still a lot of time in the second half, and I think there is good optimism," said Gerber, who homered for the second time in as many games on Sunday.
Lake Elsinore won 7-0
Jared Wells threw a complete game shutout, scattering four hits, not walking a batter and striking out nine. Hours after Mike Ekstrom of the Fort Wayne Wizards won his tenth game, Wells joined the select group. Wells has won eight straight decisions and holds a scoreless streak of 26.2 innings, the longest of any pitcher in the system this year. He has allowed three earned runs or less in ten straight games and has gone six-plus innings in all but one. Wells ranks second in the California League in ERA at 3.08, leads the league in wins with ten and is in the top five in innings pitched.
Fernando Valenzuela pushed hit hitting streak to eight games, Peeter Ramos inched his forward to ten games, Adam Bourassa had another multi-hit game (seven straight) to extend his to nine games and Brett Bonvechio made it onto the radar with his sixth straight.
Bonvechio homered and drove in two runs for the second game in a row. The third baseman is 8-for-20 with three doubles, three homers and nine RBI's over his streak. He has also walked seven times for a .555 on base percentage. He owns a team best .404 on base percentage and his 53 walks on the year rank in the top ten throughout all the minors. Coincidentally, his 89 strikeouts are also amongst the California League leaders and in the top twenty in the minors.
Fort Wayne won 8-3
Mike Ekstrom became the first ten game winner in the Padres' system on Sunday when he allowed two unearned runs on six hits and a walk over six innings of work. He also did something he had not done all year and did it twice for good measure – he uncorked two wild pitches. It is the 12th time in 17 starts that he has given up two runs or less. Ekstrom had gone 3-2 in June with a 6.82 ERA before his bounce back performance. He still ranks eighth in the Midwest League in ERA at 3.17.
Chris Kolkhorst notched his third straight multi-hit game and has reached base three times in each of those games thanks to an added walk. Kolkhorst has walked 55 times while striking out 47 times this year and is tied for first in the Midwest League in walks, pending the outcome of Sunday's games. He also ranks in the top ten throughout the minors in walks. His .402 on base percentage also paces the club.
Eugene lost 11-4
Nick Hundley threw out one of the two runners attempting to steal and has tossed out five of seven thieves so far this year. He has, however, committed errors in three consecutive games and has been charged with a passed ball in two straight and three overall in seven games this year. He has reached base safely in each game this year, going 6-for-20 with eight walks and one hit by pitch.
After allowing one earned run over his first ten innings, Brent Carter was torched for four runs in 3.2 innings courtesy of seven hits and a hit batsman. The opposition is hitting .309 off him early in the year and .400 with the bases empty. He has buckled down with runners in scoring position, holding the opposition to a .235 average against.
Peoria had the night off
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