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
Mrs Fowler would like a word with you.
It seems to be blowing a bit out to right but far less than yesterday and much cooler so shouldn't be too much of an effect.
Only one of our hrs last night was out because of the wind though I think.
Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.
I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.
Benji Molina is out of lineup
Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.
Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.
If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.
No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.
I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.
Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!
BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.
AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?
Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?
CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!
Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.
--- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.
Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.