The Chihuahuas took on the Sacramento River Cats on Wednesday night, in the third game of a four game series.
Trevor Cahill started for El Paso on a rehab assignment. He started off working fast, but walked the first batter, Orlando Calixte. Calixte attempted to steal and had a good jump, but was thrown out on a high throw by catcher, Tony Cruz. Jose Rondon leapt to catch the ball and caught Calixte with a sweeping tag. Both Jarrett Parker and Justin Ruggiano were quickly retired to end the half-inning.
Starting pitcher Andrew Suarez quickly retired Rafael Ortega and Rondon in the bottom of the first, but then walked both Christian Villanueva and Ryan Schimpf. The River Cats shifted against Schimpf, and Villanueva toyed with the idea of stealing third while advancing on Schimpf’s walk, but Calixte moved to cover third, dissuading Villanueva. Tony Cruz was retired on a fly ball, leaving both runners stranded.
The game remained scoreless until the fourth when Justin Ruggiano homered, knocking in Jarrett Parker, who had singled. Chris Shaw doubled, and that was it for Trevor Cahill. He looked good in his first three innings, and Padres fans shouldn’t be worried about his line. However, he only threw 61 pitches, so it’s likely that he will make at least one more rehab start before returning to San Diego. Cahill was relieved by Jason Jester, who allowed a double, a single and a walk but escaped unscathed.
Christian Bethancourt came on in the 5th and his first two pitches were 95 MPH fastballs, putting him ahead 0-2. He struggled with control though, walking the pitcher, Andrew Suarez, and then allowing him to advance on a wild pitch that nearly hit Orlando Calixte. Calixte would single on a lazy line drive. Jarrett Parker would then hit a deep fly ball that CF Rafael Ortega lost in the lights, and Suarez scored on a double that should have been an out. After a Justin Ruggiano ground out, Chris Shaw hit a three-run home run, breaking the game wide open for Sacramento.
The River Cats would go on to rough up Cesar Vargas for three runs in the 7th and then they added two more in the 9th against Rafael DePaula, but those two were unearned even though the error that extended the inning was DePaula’s. Catcher, Rocky Gale, came in with two outs in the 9th and got the final hitter to fly out, stranding two runners.
Going into the bottom of the 9th, the River Cats held an 11-1 lead. Nick Schulz tripled to start the inning. Gale stayed in the game to hit after his relief appearance and doubled to drive Schulz in. After a Rafael Ortega strikeout, Jose Rondon doubled for his second time in as many games, knocking in Gale. The next two batters were retired, ending the game, but not without a little drama. Sacramento pitcher, Matt Reynolds, grabbed his arm and went down following a pitch to Ryan Schimpf. The clearly injured Reynolds was replaced by Tyler Rogers who induced a groundout from Schimpf, ending the game.
- It was announced that Nick Buss would be El Paso’s only representative in the PCL All-Star game. Buss (.378) appeared as a pinch hitter and was hitless. He coached first base a lot throughout the game, highlighting the absence of Keith Werman, and he narrowly avoided a line drive foul shot into the dugout.
- Nick Schulz hit his first triple of the year.
- Rocky Gale’s relief appearance marked the first time a position player pitched for El Paso since Gale did it on April 17th. He walked to the mound straight from the dugout and retired Orlando Calixte (#38 Giants Prospect according to Prospects1500), keeping his 0.00 ERA intact.
- Sacramento River Cats starting second baseman, TJ Bennett, was making his season Triple-A debut.
- Christian Bethancourt’s ERA ballooned to 12.05, causing people in the press box to wonder why the Padres were not working the conversion to pitcher at a lower level. Pitcher Matt Magill pinch hit for Bethancourt, which seems odd because Bethancourt should still be getting at-bats when possible in case the conversion is abandoned. Bethancourt pinch hit as recently as yesterday.
- Diego Goris recorded 3 base hits and is flirting with .300.
I’m Eric. I’m a lifetime baseball fan, recreational fantasy baseball player and serious baseball collector. Unlike most of the team, it’s my love of collecting that got me into prospecting. I just moved to El Paso, home of the San Diego Padres Triple-A club, the El Paso Chihuahuas. I was able to watch a few Padres prospects in the Arizona Fall League this November. Beyond that I hadn’t seen Padres minor league baseball since 2007. The San Antonio Missions had just become affiliated with the Padres and the team was named the Baseball America Minor League Team of the Year. They had guys like Will Venable, Chase Headley, Wade LeBlanc, Dirk Hayhurst, Nick Hundley, and the everlasting Chad Huffman. I say “everlasting” because Huffman is still in the minors battling for a job and will attend spring training with the Cardinals this year.
I’m in the Army which is what brought me to El Paso. I’m originally from Texas and at heart I’m a Reds fan, but my situation makes it much more sensible for me to cover the Padres. I have a girlfriend, two cats and about a million baseball cards and books. Moving to a city with a AAA baseball team is very exciting and I plan on attending several games throughout the season. I’m on Twitter at @USKillian.