Sometimes one bad inning can wreck an entire game and for Tri-City and Inland Empire it was that kind of night, but luckily there were positive moments to make the sting of a loss less in a short Wednesday slate in the Angels farm system.
Player Of The Day
Infielder Carson Matthews had a coming out party in the batter’s box on the road in Modesto, going 2-for-4 while crushing his first professional home run, this of the two-run variety, in the seventh inning.
Carson Matthews with his first professional HR for Low-A Inland Empire pic.twitter.com/V1oT2c4HpG— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 2, 2021
The former San Diego State Aztec signed with the Angels as a minor league free-agent on July 15 and was assigned to Inland Empire on July 29. In 19 games, the 21-year-old is batting .256 (20-for-78) with a home run, 10 runs batted in, five doubles and flashing speed with six stolen bases in eight attempts. With only a short period of time left in the minor league regular season and at such a young age, Matthews will probably find himself with the 66ers again at the beginning of 2022 or if he shows continuous promise the rest of the way, he has a shot at High-A Tri-City.
Triple-A Salt Lake
The Bees have found themselves on the short end of the stick here in the dog days of summer. The first half of their 12-game road trip did not go as planned as they were swept by the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) prior to their travel off-day. With this series loss, the Bees losing streak extends to nine games, making their 11-1 victory over the Reno Aces on August 22 their last win.
Even with the tough losses, infielder Jose Rojas has made the most of his playing time over the past week. The southern California kid batted .333 (7-for-21) with one home run, three runs batted in and five walks. The month of August has also been a friend of Rojas with a slash of .318/.375/.518 in 22 games, accompanying three home runs and 17 runs batted in.
Jose Rojas knows how to get it done pic.twitter.com/FNET6rgcbm— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) August 27, 2021
The Bees (43-58) will look to snap their losing streak tomorrow as they begin a six-game series against the Sacramento Rivercats (Giants).
Double-A Rocket City
The Trash Pandas have not seen the baseball diamond in nearly a week. After splitting the first four games of a road series against the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers), the remaining two games were cancelled due to Hurricane Ida. After a scheduled travel day on Monday back home for an important inner division series against the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs), Covid-19 changed the schedule once again as contract tracing needed to be performed on Tuesday and Wednesday within the Smokies organization. The two clubs will get back to action Thursday night.
Prior to the five day layoff, infielder Mitch Nay has been red-hot in 24 August games with a slash of .333/.420/.598 while chipping in six home runs, 14 runs batted in and five doubles. He has also recorded a hit in eight of his last 10 games.
Even by not playing a game in four of the last five days, the Trash Pandas (50-48) are still just 1.5 games back of the Birmingham Barons (White Sox) for first place in the Double-A South-North division standings.
Angels No. 2 Prospect Sam Bachman took to the hill for the fifth time in his short Angels’ organizational career, but for the first time, he got taxed early and found it hard to recover. The ninth overall pick in 2021 has had one kryptonite this season and it is the Spokane Indians (Rockies). They have been the only opponent in four starts to score runs on Bachman (two earned runs on August 14) and they continued their swinging ways last night.
The Rockies affiliate struck for four runs on five hits in the first inning, spearheaded by an RBI Triple by Hunter Stovall to scratch the first run across the plate. The inning may have been much worse for Bachman except his defense helped out with a caught stealing and a 9-6 fielding assist to end the inning.
Bachman was not out of the woods yet as the power of the Indians shined in the second as Issac Collins became the first player to homer off the right-hander for his eighth dinger of the year. Bachman would cruise through the third but only record two outs in the fourth before being lifted at 62 pitches.
Bachman Final Line: 3.2 IP | 7 H | 5 R | 4 ER | 3 BB | 4 K | 1 HR (3.77 ERA)
The Dust Devils slowly crawled their way back into the game with home runs in back-to-back innings from Braxton Martinez (Solo) and Adrian Rondon (Two-Run). Unfortunately, Indians shortstop Ezequiel Tovar responded right back with a solo home run of his own that would end up being the game-winning hit. Dust Devils outfielder Jeremy Arocho would plate a pair of runs in the seventh on his first double of the season, but the Indians would prevail by the final score of 7-5.
Tri-City’s losing streak is now at three games by virtue of dropping the first two games of this six-game series. Also, Spokane leads the overall season series 12-20 with only four head-to-head games remaining in the regular season.
Low-A Inland Empire
The 66ers got off on the right foot in the first inning with early scoring against Modesto (Mariners) thanks to a throwing error on an attempted stolen base that scored Angels No. 10 Prospect D’Shawn Knowles for a 1-0 lead. The Sixers would double their lead in the third on an Arol Vera RBI Single, scoring Alexander Ramirez from just 90-feet away.
Alexander Ramirez triples and then scores on an Arol Vera single for Low-A Inland Empire pic.twitter.com/wFlvLCW0yB— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 2, 2021
The wheels quickly fell off for 66ers starter Kelvin Caceres in the home half of the third as the Nuts exploded for six runs on five hits and two walks, sending 10 batters to the box. Impressively, all runs scored on three singles and a sacrifice fly. Reliever Jose Salvador did not have any luck either against a potent Nuts lineup as they tabbed the Dominican lefty for five runs over 4.1 innings.
On the bright side, fellow reliever Andrew Peters, 10th round selection by the Angels in 2021 out of South Carolina, tossed his second consecutive scoreless appearance allowing just one hit and striking out three in 1.1 innings.
With an 11-5 loss, the 66ers have now lost the first two games of a six game series and fall 2-6 overall versus the Nuts this season. With a record of 50-51, Inland Empire is only four games back of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers) for first place in the Low-A West-South standings.
Triple-A: INF Luis Rengifo recalled by LA Angels
Triple-A RHP Oliver Ortega selected to LA Angels
High-A: RHP Mason Erla assigned to Tri-City from ACL Angels
Rocket City Trash Pandas | Tennessee Smokies - PPD/Covid
Spokane Indians 7 | Tri-City Dust Devils 5
Modesto Nuts 11 | Inland Empire 66ers 5
4:35 p.m. PT: Tennessee Smokies (TBD) @ Rocket City Trash Pandas (TBD)
6:35 p.m. PT: Tri-City Dust Devils (RHP Glenn Albanese Jr.) @ Spokane Indians (RHP Will Ethridge)
7:05 p.m. PT: Salt Lake Bees (RHP Cooper Criswell) @ Sacramento Rivercats (LHP Scott Kazmir)
7:05 p.m. PT: Inland Empire 66ers (RHP Coleman Crow) @ Modesto Nuts (TBD)