A doubleheader in the Inland Empire, the second start in the professional career of first-round pick Sam Bachman, and a furious rally in Salt Lake highlighted a very busy Saturday in the Angels’ minor-league system.
Player of the Day
In what has felt like an everyday occurrence as of late, Michael Stefanic provided the power for the Bees’ lineup once again, homering twice in Salt Lake’s 9-8 victory over the Sacramento River Cats.
Sheeessshhhh that's Michael Stefanic's second homer of the night. pic.twitter.com/DTqDltAa2m— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) August 15, 2021
The two long balls were Stefanic’s 13th and 14th of the season, and they made it six home runs in his last 10 games played. The Idaho native is on quite a hot streak right now, and it becomes even more incredible when you consider the fact that he only had three home runs in his whole professional career leading up to this season. His OPS since being called up to AAA now sits at .951, and if he can keep performing at the high level he is now, he may force the Angels’ hand when the big league roster can expand next month.
Triple-A Salt Lake
Stefanic may have had the best individual performance on the Bees Saturday, but it took a full team performance in order to erase an early 8-1 deficit. The comeback effort was started in the middle innings, as homers by Stefanic and Chad Wallach along with an RBI single by Jake Gatewood cut the River Cats’ lead down to four runs. Stefanic’s second home run in the 8th inning made it a three-run ballgame, and then with their backs against the wall in the 9th, the Bees managed to bring it all the way back.
Dalton Pompey kicked things off in the final frame with an RBI base hit following back-to-back walks by Wallach and Kean Wong, and Brennon Lund followed that with a groundout that advanced Pompey and scored one more run. After a flyout brought the Bees down to their last out, Matt Thaiss and Stefanic were both walked (Thaiss intentionally, Stefanic unintentionally) to load the bases for Jose Rojas, who shot a ball into the gap in right-center field to send the fans in Salt Lake home happy.
Double-A Rocket City
The Trash Pandas’ Saturday night affair was not nearly as thrilling as the one played by the Bees, but that wasn’t entirely their fault, as the game was called after just five innings due to inclement weather. Rocket City did manage to take home the victory, though, and it got some very nice performances from a couple of players. The most notable of these was from catcher Michael Cruz, who drove in all four of the team’s runs with two long balls, including one that cleared the entire stadium in Tennessee.
CRUZ CLEAR OUT OF THE STADIUM FOR HIS SECOND HOME RUN OF THE NIGHT pic.twitter.com/gqRf6ZX37g— Rocket City Trash Pandas (@trashpandas) August 15, 2021
The other notable performance came from starter Aaron Hernandez, who went the distance with five innings of two-hit, one-run ball for the win. This was one of Hernandez’s best outing since being called up to Double-A a few months ago, and one that the former third-round pick can hopefully build upon moving forward.
The main story in Tri-City today was Sam Bachman’s second outing since being drafted 9th overall last month, and his day on the mound was a mixed bag. Like his first outing, he went two full innings and walked no one, but unlike that start, he was touched up for two runs on three hits. He did manage record three of his six outs via the strikeout, however, which might detail to us in the absence of a video feed that his stuff was still playing well even despite the hits against him.
The Tri-City bullpen pitched very well after Bachman’s day was done, with Jake Smith (another 2021 draftee making his second pro appearance), Hector Yan (who pitched out of the bullpen for the first time this season) and Zach Lingenfelter combining for seven shutout innings. The Dust Devils still dropped this one, however, as their lineup only managed to record three hits on the day.
Low-A Inland Empire
There was double the action in San Bernardino on Saturday, as the 66ers actually played a doubleheader against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in order to make up a game that was postponed back in early May. The two games did not go quite as they had hoped, though, with the 66ers dropping both by three runs
The first game got out of control quickly for the 66ers, with starter Andrew Peters getting tagged for five earned runs while retiring just one Rancho Cucamonga hitter. The lineup, powered by Paxton Wallace’s solo home run and Bryce Teodosio’s RBI double, tried to claw the lineup back into striking distance, but the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome. Once big positive in this one was the work of Connor Van Scoyoc, who struck out 12 batters in 5.2 innings in relief of Peters.
Game 2, on the other hand, saw the Quakes turn on the jets late against starter Coleman Crow, who flashed strikeout stuff but was tagged for 10 hits and five earned runs, including three home runs allowed. The 66ers lineup was largely quiet in this one with the exception of Cade Cabbiness and Edwin Yon, who both homered and were responsible for all three of the team’s runs.
Triple-A: Matt Thaiss and Tim Peterson were both activated by the Bees, while Chris Rodriguez was placed on the 7-day IL with a right lat strain.
11:00 AM PST: Rocket City Trash Pandas (Janson Junk) @ Tennessee Smokies (TBD)
12:05 PM PST: Salt Lake Bees (TBD) vs Sacramento River Cats (Sean Hjelle)
5:35 PM PST: Inland Empire 66ers (Adam Seminaris) vs Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (TBD)
6:05 PM PST: Tri-City Dust Devils (Glenn Albanese Jr.) vs Spokane Indians (Noah Davis)