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Angels Minor League Report

Eyes on the Farm

This is the first of what I hope to be a weekly column describing notable games and prospect performances on the Halos farm. I see it divided into two sections: in "Wish I Had Been There," I'll walk through one or two of the best games that took place in the previous week, doing my best to share the highlights. In "Farm on Fire," I'll go over which Halos prospects really shined in the previous week of play.

Given that this is opening weekend for the minor leagues, I'm going to run this week's column with an expanded "Wish I Had Been There" section covering each of our four affiliates' first game: there were some good ones. I'll save the first "Prospects on Fire" column for early next week.

If you have any suggestions about expanding or narrowing the coverage in these columns, please comment below. I'm not committed to any particular format - I'm looking for one that helps fans feel connected to the entire Halos organization, but is still fun and readable in a sitting - so I'm all ears. Second, if you have any suggestions about better names for the sections or the column itself, then again, I'm all ears. Fun headlines were never my strong point.

Wish I Had Been There

April 10th: Opening Night (Delayed), AAA. Reno @ Salt Lake

April 10th: Opening Night (Delayed), AAA. Reno @ Salt Lake

Starter Anthony Ortega cruised through five strong innings against Reno, scattering two groundball singles over his first four innings of work. Things got a little harrier in the fifth - he yielded back-to-back doubles that put Reno on the board for the first time - but recovered to retire the last two batters of the inning. That was it for Anthony, who ended the night with two K's and zero walks.

The Bees struck first in the 3rd, scoring one run off a Brad Coon single, a Freddy Sandoval walk, and a Sean Rodriguez RBI single. Coon homered two innings later to give the Bees the lead again and ensure that Ortega got the "W" for his efforts. Salt Lake added three more in the bottom of the 6th, when Matt Brown, Brandon Wood, Bobby Wilson, Nick Evans, and Chris Pettit went back-to-back-to-back-to... (you get the picture) with their first 2009 hits. Every Bees starter ended the game with at least one knock.

Three Bees relievers combined for three one-run innings to close the game.

Final Score: Salt Lake City 6, Reno 2

April 9th: Opening Night, AA. Midland @ Arkansas

Both teams scored in the first, Midland with two infield grounders and a couple of stolen bases, and the Travs off of a Peter Bourjos WALK (hopefully a harbinger of great things to come from our hereto patience-challenged centerfield prospect), a Ryan Mount single, and a Mark Trumbo sacrifice fly.

Catcher Hank Conger couldn't thwart the two first inning swipes, but later threw out prospect Chris Carter trying to steal second and thereby salvaged some defensive respectability.

Travelers' starter Sean O'Sullivan turned on the gas in the second, retiring the next 15 Midland hitters in order. Only two more balls left the infield, one of those a popup in foul territory. Sean left having given up just two infield singles and a bloop over six innings. Needless to say, it was an outstanding start for the twenty-one year old in AA.

Peter Bourjos provided most of the Trav's offense, adding two hits, including a three run triple, to his first inning walk. The bullpen wrapped things up uneventfully, ending with lefty Barrett Browning retiring the side in order in the ninth on a strikeout and two groundouts.

Final Score: Arkansas 6, Midland 1

April 9th: Opening Day, High A. Rancho Cucamonga @ Inland Empire.

Trevor Reckling was flat-out dominant, racking up seven strikeouts while scattering only one walk and two hits over six innings. He ended strong too, retiring all seven of the last batters he faced.

At the plate, the Quakes were a little less convincing, but they got the job done. Matthew Sweeney opened his year with a bang, yanking a two-run bomb over the right field wall in his first at-bat of '09. Outfielder Julio Perez went deep with his own shot in the 6th. That was enough to seal the game.

The bullpen wrapped things up, with Eddie McKiernan sailing through the eighth and Mason Tobin closing out the ninth.

Final Score: Rancho Cucamonga 3, Inland Empire 0

April 9th: Opening Day, Single A. Beloit at Cedar Rapids.

Michael Davitt made a strong Midwest League return, opening the night by striking out the side in the first. He didn't really get into the trouble until the 4th, but successfully wiggled out of that jam and another in the fifth without yielding a run. It looked like he was going to escape a two out, bases loaded situation in the 6th, but a third strike got away from catcher Anel De Los Santo, allowing a run to score. Reliever Kevin Nabors walked in another run before ending the inning.

The game got really exciting in the ninth, when Cedar Rapids reliever Vladmir Veras yielded two runs and the lead on two doubles, a single and a walk. 2008 eighth round draft pick Christian Scholl then stepped in and ended the inning with a strikeout.

Down by one in the ninth, Kernals centerfielder Tyson Auer led off the inning with a base hit, advanced to third on second baseman Alexia Amarista's double, and scored on Hector Estrella's groundout. 10th round pick Gabriel Jacobo singled Amarista home on the next play, tying the game and sending it into extra innings.

Scholl escaped another jam in the 10th with two strikeouts, returning the Kernals to the plate. With two outs, Amarista again doubled, setting up Hector Estrella's walk of hit to end the game. Wish I had been there...

Final Score: Cedar Rapids 7, Beloit 6