Cole Bellinger Padres prospect pitching for Tri-City Dust Devils

Cole Bellinger had another good outing on Saturday. (Photo: Mike Wilson)

The top two teams lost close games, but Lake Elsinore found a way to pitch and win in the funhouse of Lancaster and the TinCaps swept a double-header. The Dust Devils got quality pitching and the AZL teams split.

Tacoma Rainers 8, Chihuahuas  5

Key Statistics: RF Forrest Allday 2-4, 2B, RBI; RHP Luis Perdomo 2.0 IP 5 H 4 R 4 ER 2 BB 2 K; LHP Kyle Overton 4.0 IP 2 H R ER 2 BB 4 K; RHP Kyle Lloyd (L, 3-2) 1.0 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER BB K

Prospect Watch: El Paso came into the game as one of the hottest teams in all of baseball, riding a 10-game winning streak and winning 23 of their last 25, and 43 of 58.  Friday  they got down early but rallied for three runs in the seventh to pull ahead before their bullpen gave up the final four runs of the game. Despite the loss, the Chihuahuas clinched their fourth straight division title when Salt Lake lost. … The Chihuahuas have been hit .290/.354/.471 as a team in August. … Luis Perdomo struggled in his first rehab assignment back with Triple-A.  In 11 starts with El Paso earlier in the year, he posted a 6-2 record with a 3.10 ERA as he held the PCL to a .230 batting average before he returned to San Diego at the end of June. … First baseman/outfielder Allen Craig is on the inactive list, but he has been a big part of the Chihuahuas’ surge in August with a slash line of .341/.434/.477 and 11 extra-base hits in 14 games.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, Missions 4 (10 innings)

Key Statistics: C Austin Allen 2-5, 2B, RBI; 3B Hudson Potts 2-4, RBI; 1B Webster Rivas 2-3, BB; RHP Lake Bachar 7.0 IP 9 H 4 R 4 ER 5 K; 2.0 RHP Eric Yardley 2.0 IP 2 H 3 K; RHP Jason Jester (L, 2-3) 0.0 IP, 1 H,  1 R (0 ER)

Austin Allen has been one of the best hitters in the Texas League this year. (Photo: Grant Wickes)

Prospect Watch: The Missions tied the game in the top of the ninth with Austin Allen’s RBI double, but lost to the hometown Hooks in the bottom of the tenth as Corpus Christi’s Ronnie Dawson led off the inning with a double to score the placed runner. … A big problem for the Missions is they are simply striking out too much. Saturday, the Hooks got them for 13. More than a few times in tonight’s game the Missions’ inability to put the ball in play cost them runs…Center fielder Buddy Reed has 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts in 35 games.  The problem is 53 strikeouts and a .213 on-base percentage doesn’t give him many opportunities. … Allen is third in the Texas League in home runs (22), second in the league with doubles (30) and first in slugging percentage at .521. However, one of the more important statistics to Austin is he is throwing out 35 percent of the opposition attempting to steal, a big improvement over the 20 percent from last year.

Storm 8, Lancaster JetHawks 7

Key Statistics: RF Nate Easley 4-4, HR (5), 3 RBI, BB; CF Edwin Olivares 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI; LF Rod Boykin 2-4; DH A.J. Kennedy 2-4, 2B; LHP Nick Margevicius (W, 5-3) 7.0 IP 8 H 3 R 3 ER 8 K; RHP David Bednar (S,9) 1.1 IP 2 H R ER K

Edward Olivares has put up better numbers in the second half. (Photo: Cherished Memories)

Prospect Watch: The Storm were up 8 to 1 in the top of the sixth, but it’s Lancaster and anything can happen and nearly did. The JetHawks came back and had the tying run on in the ninth with one out, but David Bednar was able to lock down his ninth save in fourteen attempts. … Nick Margevicius gave up six earned runs on his first visit to Lancaster, five on his second, and only three Saturday – an impressive number in the context of that stadium. At The Diamond this year, he is 4-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 innings against only four walks.  He should be a big part of the Padres’ Double-A rotation in 2019. … Edward Olivares has been better in the second half, posting a slash line of .294/348/.439 to raise his OPS for the season to a just-below-league average .738. While he is Rule 5 eligible this winter, he doesn’t seem a likely target. … A.J. Kennedy had his second straight two-hit night.  Kennedy might be the best defensive catcher in the organization and if his bat can come around, his glove and ability to call a game will always play….On a local note, former Poway High star Tyler Nevin, and son of former Padre Phil Nevin had a big night going 4-5 with a pair of doubles.  On the season he is hitting .326/.380/.503 seeing time at both first and third base.  The numbers just aren’t at home, on the road he is hitting .339/.393/.459.

Game 1: TinCaps 3, South Bend Cubs 2 (7 innings)

Key Statistics: LF Jack Suwinski 2-3; 3B Olivier Basabe 1-3, HR (1), RBI; RHP Mason Thompson 4.1 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER BB 5 K; LHP Fred Schlichtholz (W, 2-3) 1.2 IP Bb 5 K; LHP Dan Dallas (S, 1) 1.0 IP 2 K

Coronado HS alum Fred Schlichtholz got the win in Game 1 on Saturday. Photo: Jeff Nycz

Game 2: TinCaps 3, South Bend Cubs 2 (7 innings)

Key Statistics: C Michael Cantu 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; CF Jeisson Rosario 1-4, HR (3) RBI; RHP Reiss Knehr 3.0 IP H BB 4 K; RHP Evan Miller (W, 5-5) 3.0 IP 2 H 4 K; RHP Dylan Coleman 1.0 IP 2 H 2 R 2 ER 2 K

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps broke their six-game losing streak by sweeping South Bend in doubleheader. … Jack Suwinski is now hitting .360/.418/.625 in August after batting .205/.286/.324 in the first half. He’s brought his strikeout rate down month by month and has finally started to see his BABIP move toward a more normal range after having it hover under .240 for most of the year. Suwinski was one of the Padres’ over-slot bonus picks in the 2016 draft (15th round) and can play all three outfield positions. … 18-year old Jeisson Rosario is eighth in the Midwest League in on-base percentage at .376. … DH Esteury Ruiz stole his 42nd base, which puts him fourth in the Midwest League and six behind tying the TinCaps season record set by Mallex Smtih in 2014.  The one caveat is that Smith did in 65 games in the first half as opposed to a full season for Ruiz.

Roster Note: The Padres have promoted Henry Henry back to Fort Wayne for the final week of the season. The 19-year-old righty struggled mightily with the TinCaps to open the year, but got back on track in Tri-City. He’ll make the start Sunday.

Dust Devils 4, Eugene Emeralds 2

Key Statistics: SS Xavier Edwards 2-3, 2 BB; RF Michael Curry 2-5, 2 RBI; RHP Cole Bellinger 5.0 IP 2 H R ER BB 3 K; RHP Carlos Belen (W, 1-0) 2.0 IP BB 2 K; RHP Jonathan Guzman 2.0 IP 3 H R ER BB K

Prospect Watch: Cole Bellinger had scuffled for most of the season. But he seems to have found something in his past three starts, giving up only two earned runs in 14 innings with 10 strikeouts against five walks.  The Padres gave Bellinger their biggest day three signing bonus to get him to agree as a 15th-roundpick last year. … Xavier Edwards continues to impress, getting on base four times Saturday.  In 15 Northwest League games, he has made only a single error, is hitting .288/.448/.365 and has 14 walks against only 12 strikeouts. … Carlos Belen, who began the year as the TinCaps’ first baseman, made his debut on the mound for the Dust Devils and threw two scoreless innings, struck out two and walked one to get a win.  In the AZL, he posted a 4.02 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15.2 innings against seven walks.

AZL Padres-1 6, AZL Brewers 3

Key Statistics: 3B Luis Almanzar 2-3, RBI, BB, SB; DH Nick Gatewood 3-4, 2B, RBI, BB; 2B Yerry Landinez 3-4

AZL Dodgers  2, AZL Padres-2 1

Key Statistics: 2B Sean Guilbe 1-4; C Alison Quintero 1-3; DH Elvis Sabala 1-2, BB; RHP Laubert Arias 5.0 IP 2 H R ER 7 K; RHP Dalton Erb 2.1 IP 3 K

Prospect Watch: Despite an error in the field, Luis Almanzar had another good day. Almanzar, who was given a $4 million dollar bonus by the Padres in 2016 – the third highest total in their J2 class is still relatively young in the AZL after struggling with two much more aggressive assignments to open his professional career. After hitting .176/.257/.249 in 244 plate appearances at Fort Wayne, he’s cut his strikeout rate in half in Arizona and is slowly regaining his footing.  … Keep an eye on Alison Quintero, 18, one of the many talented catchers the Padres have in the organization. This season he is hitting .287/.352/.357 and has thrown out 43% of would-be base stealers. … Nick Gatewood, 21, went 3-for-4 to push his OPS back up to .795 on the season. The Padres’ 11th-round pick out of Georgia State has been limited defensively because of an injury coming into his pro career, but the left-handed hitter has been an anchor in the middle of the AZL club’s lineup and should be ready to go fully next spring.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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