Sun Sets on 2009 Solar Sox
Mike Leake (CIN) threw four innings of shutout ball and Lance Zawadzki (SD) had three hits, including a solo home run and a two-run double, leading the Peoria Saguaros to an 8-1 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.
This was the final regular season game for both teams, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs (East Division Champions) and the Peoria Javelinas (West Division champs) will play in the 2009 AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday. The Solar Sox finished in last place in the AFL East Division, with the worst record in the league.
Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, and Michael Brenly were in the Solar Sox starting lineup today, and went a combined 1-11.
Castro hit 2nd, played six innings at SS, and got three ABs, grounding out all three times (4-3, 5-3, 4-3). He also made only his second error of the AFL season, a bad throw to 1st base. Castro finished the 2009 AFL regular season with a .376 batting average (6th in the league) and nine stolen bases (tied for 3rd).
Vitters returned to the lineup at 3B this afternoon and went 1-4, roping a double down the line into the LF corner with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. He also bounced out 6-3, popped-up to the shortstop, and was called out on strikes. Vitters finished the 2009 AFL campaign 9th in the league in hitting (.353).
Michael Brenly was the Solar Sox catcher today, and went 0-4, flying out to RF, striking out (swinging), popping out to the second-baseman, and reaching base on an E-6 in the 9th. Brenly went 1-13 over his last four AFL games and hit .240 overall.
LHP John Gaub and RHP Blake Parker (both vying for spots on the Cubs 40-man roster) made their final AFL appearances versus the Scorpions last night at Scottsdale Stadium.
Gaub struggled in his one inning of work, throwing 23 pitches, but only 11 strikes. He loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single, but was able to escape the frame with no runs scoring. Gaub struck out one batter (lefty-swinging SF 3B Brandon Crawford).
Parker threw one inning of shutout ball, allowing a two-out double before striking out Steve Susdorf (PHI) for the 3rd out.
LHP James Russell completed his AFL season on Tuesday, working a scoreless 9th. Russell pitched very well, finishing 3rd in the league in ERA (1.26) and tied for 2nd in WHIP (0.98). Russell had a 0.00 ERA over his last ten appearances, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out 12 over that ten game span.
RHP Andrew Cashner made his final AFL start on Tuesday, and went three innings. He finished 10th in the league in strikeouts.
AZ PHIL'S 2009 AFL FIRST-TEAM ALL-STAR SQUAD:
P - Stephen Strasburg (WAS)
C - Nevin Ashley (TB)
1B - Brandon Snyder (BAL)
2B - Marcus Lemon (TEX)
3B - Brandon Laird (NYY)
SS - Starlin Castro (CUBS)
LF - Colin Curtis (NYY)
CF - Grant Desme (OAK)
RF - Casper Wells (DET)
DH - Matt McBride (CLE)
MVP: Grant Desme
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.