Chihuahuas 6, Fresno Grizzlies 3
Key Stats: RHP Colin Rea (W, 3-2) 5 IP, H, 3 BB, 3 K; DH Francisco Mejia 1-5, 2B, R; LF Shane Peterson 2-4, HR (11), 3 RBI, BB; 2B Carlos Asuaje 2-3, R, BB
Prospect Watch: In a preview of next week’s first round of the PCL playoffs, El Paso used a six-run sixth inning to secure the win, pushing their win total to a franchise-best 80 with five regular-season games left to play. Javy Guerra pulled off one of my favorite feats in baseball. Guerra led off the sixth, yet made the second out of the inning. How? He flew out to start the inning, then nine batters later, he came up and struck out for the second out. In between, the Chihuahuas hit for the cycle including a Francisco Mejia double, Raffy Lopez triple, and a Shane Peterson home run. That was all Colin Rea and the pitching staff would need. Rea posted his first truly dominating post-TJ surgery outing last month, then spent nearly three weeks on the disabled list. This was his first start since then and while not as dominating, it’s hard to complain about allowing one hit and no runs over five innings. Rea is at 70.1 innings this year after missing all of 2017. He threw 102 innings in 2016 before getting hurt in his one start with the Marlins.
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Midland RockHounds 5, Missions 4 (10 innings)
Key Stats: LHP Travis Radke 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 4 K; 2B Peter Van Gansen 1-2, HR (4), 3 RBI; 1B Kyle Overstreet 1-4, HR (9), RBI; 3B Hudson Potts 1-3, HBP
Prospect Watch: Before the game, LHP Logan Allen was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Year. Allen is now in El Paso, and the Padres shut down Chris Paddack for the year, so instead the Midwest League left-handed reliever of the year made the start for San Antonio. As strange as that is, even stranger is Travis Radke’s August. Since being named the MWL Reliever of the year he has spent time in all four full-season leagues. Since entering his last game with the TinCaps, Radke has pitched 19.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on 15 hits, with 15 strikeouts and only three walks. That includes one final inning with Fort Wayne, then a three-inning appearance for San Antonio the next night before joining Lake Elsinore for two games. He then got a call-up to El Paso for three games, went back down to Lake Elsinore for two more games, and has now landed back in San Antonio. Got all that? Overall the 25-year-old owns a 1.79 ERA in 75 innings with 89 strikeouts. While Radke is thriving, the Missions’ trio of top prospects in Josh Naylor, Hudson Potts, and Buddy Reed are all hitting below .200 in the last two weeks. The vaunted Missions offense is limping into the finale on Monday scoring more than four runs just twice over the last three weeks. Because of the Texas League’s playoff procedures, the team could still wind up in the playoffs despite a division-worst record in the second half.
Inland Empire 66ers 8, Storm 3
Key Stats: RHP Pedro Avila (L, 7-9) 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, ER, 2 BB, 11 K; DH Luis Torrens 1-3, R, RBI, BB; 1B Brad Zunica 1-3, RBI, BB
Prospect Watch: In his final scheduled start of the season, righty Pedro Avila set a season-high with 11 strikeouts. It was the fifth time this year he has struck out double digits this year but tied for just. Avila ha the fourth-highest game total since joining the Padres system. The 21-year-old has had two different halves. In the first half of the season, he posted a 4.08 ERA, and opponents hit just .247, but Avila averaged just under a strikeout an inning. In the second half, his ERA jumped to 4.50 and opponents are hitting .295, but he’s struck out 73 in 60 innings. It looks like Avila will finish second in the league with 142 strikeouts, and a 4.27 ERA in the Cal League is nothing to look down at. In most systems, Avila would be a top 20 prospect, but in the loaded Padres system, Avila could end up at the back of the top 30.
TinCaps 3, Lake County Captains 1
Key Stats: LHP Tom Cosgrove (W, 3-6) 6 IP, 7 H, ER, 4 K; 3B Owen Miller 2-3, RS, RBI, BB; SS Gabriel Arias 1-4, 2B, RBI; DH Esteury Ruiz 1-4, 2 SB (45)
Prospect Watch: Before the game, Luis Patiño was sent down to the AZL after reaching his innings limit. He threw 83.1 innings this year with 98 strikeouts, a healthy increase from 56 innings and 58 strikeouts last year. He was the youngest pitcher in the league for most of the season, and ranked in the top five in nearly every category for the time he was there. … Not governed by the same innings limit, lefty Tom Cosgrove made the start. The 2017 12th-round pick has been overshadowed by the likes of Patiño, Osvaldo Hernandez, MacKenzie Gore and the already-promoted Nick Margevicius and Aaron Boushley for most of the season, but has turned in a nice 3.87 ERA with 115 strikeouts over 109.1 innings. He’s been especially effective in the second half, with a 2.75 ERA while increasing his strikeouts and reducing his walk rate. … 3B Owen Miller has been on fire since the Padres drafted him in the third round. He hit .335/.395/.440 in Tri-City before being promoted and hitting even better with the TinCaps. The Illinois State product is on an eight-game hitting streak – a stretch with eight doubles – and is hitting .384/.407/.581 in 21 Midwest League games. … The victory keeps the TinCaps in position to claim the final Midwest League playoff spot. They carry a one-game advantage over West Michigan – who they’ll travel to play in the season’s final three games – for the wild card.
Roster Notes: With Patiño and Dylan Coleman done for the year, the Padres promoted Joey Cantillo and Nick Kuzia to take their spots. Cantillo, who becomes the third different TinCaps pitcher to lay claim to the title “youngest pitcher in the Midwest League” this season, dominated the AZL with a 2.18 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 58 strikeouts against 12 walks in 45.1 innings. He will make the start on Thursday. Kuzia, an undrafted free agent last summer, has been a solid contributor to the Dust Devils bullpen this year.
Dust Devils 5, Spokane Indians 3
Key Stats: RHP Sam Keating 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 K; RHP Efrain Contreras (W, 1-0) 3 IP, 0 H, BB, 4 K; C Blake Hunt 2-3, 2B, 2 R, HR (3), RBI, BB; LF Michael Curry 2-3, HR (2), 4 RBI, BB
Prospect Watch: While Luis Patiño was the talk of the AZL Padres pitching in 2017, Efrain Contreras was this year’s AZL breakout. With the AZL season over Contreras got promoted to Tri-City for the final week and threw three innings allowing just a walk while striking out four. The teen, born in 2000, has a combined 2.20 ERA in 65 innings with 73 strikeouts across three leagues (DSL, AZL, NWL) this season. … After struggling for most of the season, C Blake Hunt is saving his season in a big way. Hunt is on a six-game hitting streak during which he’s gone 13-for-23 (.565), with five doubles and a pair of homers, and drawn three walks against four strikeouts. During this stretch, he has seen his OPS go from .624 to .753. The Comp B pick from last year’s draft has more than doubled his walk rate from last year and has a .376 OBP.
Roster Notes: In addition to Contreras, the Padres also sent righties Jefferson Garcia and JC Cosme, outfielder Agustin Ruiz, and catchers Alison Quintero and Nick Gatewood up to finish their years with Tri-City.