Who’ll stop the rain? The Missions and Storm were rained out, while the TinCaps played a doubleheader after some weather woes, splitting a twin bill of seven-inning games. Meanwhile, the Sonoran Desert lives up to its name, as El Paso played a full nine innings and defeated their rivals from Oklahoma City.
Chihuahuas 8, Oklahoma City Dodgers 2
Key Statistics: RHP Anderson Espinoza, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K; RHP Drew Carlton (W, 2-0), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K; 1B Alfonso Rivas, 3-for-4, HR, R, 4 RBIs; LF Preston Tucker, 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; 3B Brandon Dixon, 2-for-5, R
Prospect Watch: Before the parent clubs battle in a weekend series, the Chihuahuas and Dodgers faced off in El Paso, with the Chihuahuas drawing first blood. Anderson Espinoza got the start for El Paso, and while he lacked command, he kept the ball in the yard. Espinoza allowed two runs on three hits in 4.2 innings of work, striking out six but walking four. Espinoza, a former top prospect who returned to the Padres organization as a free agent at age 25, has had a rough start to his 2023, striking out 20 in 16 innings but posting a 2.25 WHIP and 9.00 ERA in five appearances. … Drew Carlton picked up his second win of the season with a scoreless inning. Carlton, a 27-year-old righty from Florida State, has posted stellar returns in work this far in 2023, with a 2-0 record and 1.23 ERA, striking out 17 while walking five in 14.2 innings. The former Tigers farmhand also brings Major League experience to El Paso, having made nine appearances in the past two seasons for Detroit. … Chula Vista native Alfonso Rivas did his hometown proud by putting the icing on the cake of a dominant victory over the Dodgers, slugging a grand slam, his sixth home run. The 26-year-old Rivas has a 1.068 OPS and has driven in 17 runs in 77 at-bats for the Chihuahuas. … Back in El Paso after serving as the Padres’ 27th player in Mexico City, Brandon Dixon smacked a pair of singles to raise his batting average to .358. Dixon, a former Detroit Tiger himself, has enjoyed a renaissance in the Padres system, following up a transcendent 2022 with five home runs and a 1.142 OPS for El Paso in 53 at-bats to begin the season. Combine that power with four corners defensive versatility, and Dixon remains a sensible option to rack up Southwest Airlines miles between El Paso and San Diego. … Yorman Rodriguez was 0-4 at the plate to lower his batting average to .348. Behind it, though, he threw out all three OKC runners attempting to steal in his seventh game catching this year. Last season in San Antonio, he was limited to 24 games at catcher because of lingering shoulder issues.
Missions rained out
Rain postponed San Antonio’s match-up in Tulsa. The clubs will try to make it up as part of a doubleheader Friday.
Game One: TinCaps 13, Lake County Captains 5 F/7
Key Statistics: RHP Garrett Hawkins, 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K; LHP Jason Blanchard (W, 1-1), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K; SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; 2B Kervin Pichardo, 2-for-3, HR (1), 3 R, 5 RBIs; CF Jacob Marsee 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB; 1B Nathan Martorella 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, SB (1)
Game Two: Lake County Captains 3, TinCaps 2 F/7
Key Statistics: RHP Victor Lizarraga, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; C Brandon Valenzuela, 1-for-3, HR (2), R, RBI
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps offense broke out for a season-high 13 runs and cruised to victory in the first of two seven-inning contests. Garrett Hawkins got the start and settled in after allowing three runs in the first, striking out five while walking none but allowing six hits. Hawkins, who cemented himself in organizational lore by throwing seven perfect innings en route to a Lake Elsinore combined no-hitter last season, has posted a 3.60 ERA and struck out 15 batters in 15 innings in 2023 for the TinCaps. … Former ninth-round pick Jason Blanchard threw two perfect innings to close out the game and earn the win. Blanchard has a 0.93 ERA and has struck out 16 in 9.2 innings of work in 2023 as he looks for his first full healthy season since his 2019 draft year in the now-defunct short-season level. He started last year in San Antonio, but was shut down in June. … Bronx native Kervin Pichardo had himself a day, slugging his first home run of the season as part of a two-hit, five-RBI outing for the second baseman. The home run was the first grand slam of Pichardo’s career. Pichardo, who joined the Padres organization after being traded for RHP James Norwood in the spring of 2022, split his season between Lake Elsinore and providing depth for El Paso before joining the TinCaps to begin 2023. … Jackson Merrill hit his fifth double of the season as he works his way back from the illness that spread through the Fort Wayne clubhouse in recent weeks. Merrill, the Padres’ top prospect, is batting .182 with a .591 OPS as he looks to get his bearings at the plate for Fort Wayne. … In the second game, Victor Lizarraga displayed the form that has caused his rise up many prospect lists, tossing five innings of three-hit ball, allowing a run, and walking two while striking out three. Lizarraga, still 19 years old, threw 42 strikes on 74 pitches. … Brandon Valenzuela brought Fort Wayne back into the game with a seventh-inning home run, his second of the season. The 22-year-old native of Hermosillo, Mexico, needs to rediscover his previous offensive form at the plate to move past a disappointing 2022. So far, he’s answered the bell, batting .276 with a .930 OPS in 29 at-bats for the TinCaps this season.
Storm game postponed
The morning rain in Riverside County washed out Thursday night’s game against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. They’ll play a doubleheader on Saturday to make it up..