All four teams were back in action Tuesday, after an abbreviated schedule Monday. In El Paso, the Chihuahuas won in a blowout, while San Antonio’s bullpen faltered late. The Storm won at home and the TinCaps lost a pair in West Michigan.
Chihuahuas 11, Tacoma Rainiers 6
Key Statistics: CF Auston Bousfield, 2-for-4, 3B, R; 2B Luis Urias, 2-for-4, 2 R, BB, RBI; C Brett Nicholas, 4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, HR (12), 3 RBI; RF Hunter Renfroe, 2-for-5, R; DH Austin Hedges, 1-for-5, R, HR (1), 3 RBI; 3B Carlos Asuaje, 2-for-5, 2B; RHP Chris Huffman, 1.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, BB, K; RHP T.J. Weir (W, 1-0) 3.1 IP, 2 BB, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: While Tacoma isn’t nearly the launching pad most PCL stadiums are, El Paso still pounded out 15 hits and a pair of dingers in the win. … Catcher Brett Nicholas had four hits, including his 12th homer of the year. Nicholas, 29, is second in the PCL with 101 total bases and is just two dingers behind the recently-promoted Franmil Reyes for the league lead. … El Paso got to relive 2016 as Carlos Asuaje was in the El Paso lineup for the first time after his demotion. He had a pair of hits while playing at third base, a position where he last started in July 2016. Rehabbing big leaguers Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges also contributed to the attack. Renfroe had two singles and Hedges had a three-run homer in five at-bats while starting at designated hitter. … Righty Chris Huffman struggled once again, as the former James Madison University Duke allowed five runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings. The righty had a very solid campaign in El Paso a season ago but Huffman has been hit hard so far in 2018. Over his last five starts, Huffman has a 12.71 ERA and has only gone five innings once in that span. Huffman has never flashed premium stuff but he has always been able to pitch effectively with a low-90’s fastball.
Tulsa Drillers 9, Missions 6
Key Statistics: SS Fernando Tatis Jr., 3-for-4, 2B, HR (9), 4 R, RBI; LF Josh Naylor, 2-for-4, R, BB; 3B Ty France, 2-for-5, R, HR (8), 4 RBI; C Austin Allen, 2-for-5, 2B; RHP Colin Rea, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K; RHP Lake Bachar (L, 0-2) 3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K.
Prospect Watch: The Missions had a 6-3 lead going into the eighth inning but a five-run inning gave Tulsa the victory. … Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. had another big evening, finishing a triple short of the cycle. Tatis has nine homers, which ties him with Josh Naylor for the club lead. After a slow start, Tatis has had a monster May, which includes a reduction (slightly) in strikeouts and an increase in walks to push his overall OPS above .800 and climbing. Sound familiar? … Catcher Austin Allen had a pair of singles in the Missions’ win. Allen has had a rough May, as he has slugged just .324, without a homer. Allen’s strikeout rate has picked up a bit this month but he is still among the league leaders in homers with eight. … Big league rehabber Colin Rea made his season debut, as he continues his recovery from 2016 Tommy John surgery. Rea lasted 3.1 innings and allowed four earned runs. He threw 61 pitches and escaped the outing without any setbacks.
If you missed it, a Q&A with Naylor went up yesterday. In addition to the mechanical and approach changes that have led to his improved production and his adjustment to left field, he talked about how he handles having doubters.
Storm 2, Inland Empire 66’ers 1
Key Statistics: LF Buddy Reed, 2-for-4, HR (6), RBI, R, SB (19); CF Edward Olivares, 2-for-3, R, 2B, BB; DH Jorge Oña, 1-for-3; RHP Ronald Bolaños, 4 IP, 4 H, ER, 4 BB, 4 K; RHP Elliot Ashbeck (W, 2-2) 3 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The Storm won a low-scoring game at the Diamond Tuesday night. … Outfielder Buddy Reed hit his sixth homer of the year — his third inside-the-park dinger of the season. The speedy Reed has had a breakout year in Elsinore this season, showing pop and speed on the base paths. While the Storm have struggled offensively this year, Reed has been a bright spot. … Ronald Bolaños made an emergency start after LHP Adrian Morejon was pulled during his bullpen session. As of now, there is no update on the lefty’s condition. … Bolaños, who had been scheduled to piggyback in the game anyway following Monday’s night off, allowed just one run in four innings, although he did walk four. The righty has allowed just two earned runs over his last nine innings, despite walking seven in that span.
Game One: West Michigan Whitecaps 1, TinCaps 0
Game Two: West Michigan Whitecaps 8, TinCaps 1
Key Statistics (game one): C Juan Fernandez, 2-for-3; LF Robbie Podorsky, 2-for-2, 2 SB (2, 3); LHP Osvaldo Hernandez, 6 IP, 5 H, 8 K; LHP Ben Sheckler (L, 0-2) 0.2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB.
Key Statistics (game two): CF Jeisson Rosario, 1-for-3; SS Gabriel Arias, 1-for-3, 2B; RHP Luis Patino (L, 1-1) 3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Evan Miller, IP, H, K.
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps managed just one run in 14 innings of baseball, losing both games of a doubleheader. … In game one, Fort Wayne received a terrific outing from starter Osvaldo Hernandez, who turned 20 last week. The Cuban pitched six shutout innings, striking out eight Whitecaps. Hernandez has allowed only one run over his last 17 innings while walking just three batters. He is now eighth in the Midwest League with a 2.50 ERA … Outfielder Robbie Podorsky had a pair of hits in game one and swiped a pair of bags. The former McNeese State star didn’t make a team out of the spring but he has legitimate 80-grade speed and good bat-to-ball skills. … In the second game, Luis Patiño made his second start of the season and struggled mightily. The 18-year-old Colombian allowed seven earned runs and nine hits in 3.1 innings. Patiño struggled with his command and had a few fastballs that were left over the plate. He is very young for the league, so there shouldn’t be any major concerns.