That’s three straight series wins for the Amarillo Sod Poodles (26-25) including two against the first place Frisco Roughriders (28-25).
It was a birthday for the ages for infielder Ivan Castillo, as the now 24-year-old collected four hits on Sunday including an RBI triple to give help the Sod Poodles get a lead that they would never give back.
This was the best pitching performance, as a series, that Amarillo has received from it’s starting pitching only giving up two runs in 17 innings pitched the entire series.
Scholtens and Ramirez strung together their best performances of the year in a huge series for the Sod Poodles.
Even Miguel Diaz, who gave up both of the earned runs by starters had his second consecutive nine-strikeout performance, coming back from an outing where he gave up five home runs on five hits total.
The Sod Poodles are now in Midland to take on the Rockhounds (24-28) again, but this time first place in within their grasp. Amarillo is now only one game back of the Frisco Roughriders for first place in the Texas League South.
Here are the probable yet unofficial starters:
Game 1: (Friday, May 31 – 7:00 P.M. CDT) LHP Adrian Morejon (0-3, 5.66) vs. RHP Brian Howard (0-0, 3.64)
Adrian Morejon looked solid in his last two starts, even though the volume isn’t there yet because of the restrictions from the organization. With each start, you can see him growing more comfortable again, something that the Padres will help him develop. He is throwing all of his pitches and batters are swinging, striking out 12 in his last seven innings of work. With Morejon still coming back from his injury, this could likely be another situation where someone like T.J. Weir comes in and picks up where the Cuban southpaw leaves off. After 22 consecutive scoreless innings against Amarillo this season, Brian Howard finally showed he was human. Howard had even finished five scoreless in that very game, but the Sod Poodles jumped on the 6’9 right-hander out of Texas Christian University, tagging him for five runs in the sixth inning of an eventual Amarillo victory. That day Howard uncharacteristically walked five batters, and the Soddies finally made him pay for those mistakes.
Game 2: (Saturday, June 1 – 7:00 P.M. CDT) TBD vs. RHP Kyle Friedrichs (0-1, 3.21)
Kyle Friedrichs is a 27-year-old in Double-A and one that had his way with the Sod Poodles in his last start. His last outing included four shutout innings against the Soddies before mother nature stepped in and caused an hour rain delay knocking him from the game. In those innings, he did pitch he could put the ball where ever he wanted, he threw everything and Amarillo couldn’t do anything about it. Will a second look change the Soddies attack against the Long Beach State alumni?
Game 3: (Sunday, June 2 – 2:00 P.M. CDT) RHP Lake Bachar (0-2, 5.29) vs. RHP Daulton Jefferies (0-1, 3.00)
After looking back to form in his previous two starts, Lake Bachar had a disaster of a start against this same Midland team at Hodgetown. Bachar made it through only three innings, giving up five runs on five hits. It was a start where he never looked comfortable on the mound, taking more time between pitches than usual. The silver lining of the start was that it could have been way worse. Bachar allowed nine total baserunners in those three innings and got out the first and third only allowing a total of one run. Midland did a great job with running his pitches up, with Bachar reaching 80 pitches in on the third inning. Daulton Jefferies tore up Single-A-Advanced Stockton, so much so that Oakland shipped him to Midland right as the calendar turned to May. Ever since he stepped on the scene after being drafted in the competitive balance round of the draft, Jefferies has attacked minor league baseball. Jefferies in 19 starts in his young minor league career has posted: 2.53 ERA / .96 WHIP. If he continues the trend he’s on right now he could turn a few heads in Oakland.
Players to Watch:
Midland Rockhounds: Dairon Blanco (OF)
2019 Stats: .297/.356/.487/.844
The last times these teams met Blanco was unstoppable. The outfielder made his presence known at the plate going 10-for-18 (in four games at Hodgetown), while also making spectacular plays in the outfield. The best highlight from the last series was Blanco showing his range and laying out to steal a hit from Chris Baker, leaving the Hodgetown crowd with nothing to do but applaud the snag. Blanco not only has been hot at the plate but his speed allows him to pressure the pitchers when he does get on, as he has been a threat to steal bases this year.
Amarillo Sod Poodles: Ivan Castillo (IF)
2019 Stats: .351/.385/.489/.874
It was Ivan Castillo’s birthday on Sunday, and he hit the baseball like a pinata against Frisco. It’s not every day that you can say that you had four hits on your birthday, but Castillo did just that. Collecting two hits in each game of the double-header on Sunday, Castillo extended his hitting streak to 14 games and his average to .351. Since appearing in the first game with Amarillo, the infielder has only failed to collect a hit in two games total. A beast at the plate and showing almost an equal amount of talent with the glove no matter where he plays in the infield, as well as on the bases too.
Austin is a self proclaimed “sports nut” who lives and breathes baseball. The Amarillo native spends his time writing and running the Painting Corners Podcast. He will be covering the Amarillo Sod Poodles for EVT this year.