Godfrey, River Cats Keep Truckin'
The playoffs are an annual rite of passage for the Sacramento River Cats. With a 13 game lead in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Southern Division, the River Cats' ticket to the postseason is all but punched. Sacramento moved its record to 76-53 with an 11-6 win over the Tucson Padres on Sunday.
Graham Godfrey's stellar season continued on Sunday when he earned his league-leading 13th victory with six strong innings. Godfrey allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks to lower his ERA to 2.75. Andrew Carignan tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Godfrey before Joey Devine and Jerry Blevins ran into a little trouble in the ninth, allowing a combined four runs.
Carignan's two scoreless frames moved his ERA down to 2.77 for the River Cats and extended his scoreless appearances streak to five. He has thrown 8.1 innings over that span. After missing the first six weeks of the season with a stress fracture in his foot, Carignan has posted a 2.04 ERA with a 43:12 K:BB ratio in 35.1 innings for High-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Sacramento.
Godfrey and company had plenty of offensive support on Sunday. Sacramento scored nine runs in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Adam Rosales had three hits, while Chris Carter drove-in three and Michael Taylor turned in a two-hit game.
Joel Galarraga made his 2011 Sacramento debut. The Cuban-born catcher had spent the season on loan to the Mexican Summer League, where he hit .249 with a 657 OPS in 65 games for Petroleros de Minatitlan. Galarraga was acquired by the A's from Minatitlan before the 2009 season. His career with Oakland has been hampered by a right shoulder problem that required surgery in 2009.
Powell Optioned To Sacramento
The Oakland A's optioned catcher Landon Powell to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday morning. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that catcher Anthony Recker will be promoted to the big leagues in Powell's place. Recker didn't play for Sacramento on Sunday. He will need to be added to the A's 40-man roster.
If Recker is promoted to Oakland, he will be latest story of perseverance to come out of the A's system. Despite making the All-Star team of every full-season league he has played in during his minor league career, Recker was never seemingly on the A's radar for a big league job. He was shuttled between Triple-A and Double-A in 2009 and 2010 and was a back-up to Josh Donaldson when he was in Sacramento the past two seasons.
Selected in the 18th round of the 2005 amateur draft out of Alvernia College, Recker has been a steady offensive performer throughout his minor league career. He has reached double-digits in homeruns in every season since 2006 and has posted an OPS of 804 or higher in every season but one. This year, Recker is batting .287 with 16 homers and an 889 OPS. He had an 837 OPS for the River Cats last year.
Once known as an offense-first catcher, Recker has improved his defense considerably. He also added some defensive versatility this season, appearing in a number of games at first base. Coming into this year, he had been a catcher exclusively.
Parker, Barfield Reach Double-Digits In Win
A seven-run seventh inning gave the Midland Rockhounds an 8-2 victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Sunday. Stephen Parker and Jeremy Barfield both went deep in that seventh inning, accounting for all seven runs (Parker's was a grand-slam; Barfield's a three-run shot). The homers were the 10th of the season for both players.
Grant Green went 0-for-3 with a walk. His hitting streak came to an end on Thursday after 15 games. Green batted .435 during the streak, which tied for fourth-longest in the Texas League this season. Green is batting .406 with a 990 OPS in August.
Ethan Hollingsworth turned in another strong performance to earn his sixth win of the season. The right-hander allowed only one run in seven innings. He struck-out two and walked three. Hollingworth lowered his ERA to 3.61. Since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a bad hip, Hollingsworth has a 3.40 ERA and a 33:9 K:BB ratio in 42.1 innings.
Guzman, Stockton Hold On To Win
The Stockton Ports snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Lancaster Jethawks on Sunday. The Ports are currently three games behind the first-place Modesto Nuts in the second-half division standings and they hold a two game lead over the Nuts for the wild card spot and a seven-game lead over Bakersfield. If Modesto wins the second-half title, the Ports will only have to finish ahead of Bakersfield to secure the wild card spot. San Jose won the first-half division title.
The top of the Stockton order was red-hot on Sunday. Myrio Richard and Conner Crumbliss went a combined six-for-seven with a sacrifice. Richard raised his average to .296 and Crumbliss brought his up to .272. Both players have excelled during the second-half of the season. Richard is batting .313 with an 829 OPS and 16 stolen bases since the All-Star break, while Crumbliss is batting .306 with a 902 OPS since the break. Richard leads the team with 27 stolen bases and Crumbliss is third with 19. Crumbliss leads the Cal League in walks with 86 (teammate Anthony Aliotti is second with 74).
Aliotti had a walk in three at-bats on Sunday to extend his on-base streak to 46 games. Aliotti is one game away from matching the league's longest streak of the year, accomplished by teammate Michael Choice, who reached base safely in 47 consecutive games between June 5th and August 11th. Choice leads the Cal League with 28 homeruns, but he has been slowed this month by a quad injury. He appeared in centerfield for only the second time since sustaining the injury and went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs.
A.J. Griffin earned the win for the Ports, tossing seven strong innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks and struck-out six. Griffin leads the A's minor leaguers with 138 strike-outs this season.
Michael Hart pitched a scoreless eighth to set-up closer Jose Guzman, who struck-out two in a perfect ninth inning to earn his 19th save of the season. Guzman has a 2.56 ERA and 70 strike-outs in 63.1 innings this season. His 19 saves are tied for the second-highest total in the league.
Whitaker's MVP Bid Continues
It has been a tough second-half of the season for the Burlington Bees, but not for first-baseman/outfielder Josh Whitaker. The A's 25th-round pick last season has hit .339 with a 1014 OPS in 51 games since the All-Star break and is second in the league with a .324 average for the season. The slugger's 955 OPS is tops in the league.
Whitaker walked in his only plate appearance on Sunday and the Bees dropped a 5-4 decision to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Despite the poor second-half, the Bees are already set for the playoffs by virtue of their first-half division title. They have a 67-58 record overall.
Outfielder Jose Crisotomo extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-hit performance. The Dominican native is batting .477 during the streak and .340 with an 863 OPS in 39 games this season.
Infielder Nino Leyja continued his recent power surge, homering for the third time in the past eight games. Before the start of August, Leyja had homered only once during the regular season (he also homered during the Midwest League All-Star game). In August he has four homeruns in 64 at-bats. The five homers are a career-high for the A's 2008 15th-round pick. Leyja has also been effective on the base-paths this season. He has 22 stolen bases in 25 chances and is nine-for-nine since the All-Star break.
Starter Blake Hassebrock was stuck with a tough no-decision on Sunday despite allowing only one earned run in five innings of work (he did allow two unearned runs, as the Bees committed four errors). Hassebrock lowered his ERA to 2.47 for the season. The A's 2010 eighth-round pick has a 102:41 K:BB ratio in 131.1 innings this season. A's 2011 seventh-round pick Blake Treinen struck-out two in two innings of work and now has 20 strike-outs in 21 innings for the Bees and 27 strike-outs in 24 innings overall this season.
Fabiaschi's First Homer A Big One
Michael Fabiaschi's first professional homer was a memorable one. The Vermont Lake Monsters' infielder hit a fifth-inning grandslam to give the Lake Monsters a 5-3 lead that they would not relinquish. They wound-up winning the game 8-3.
Fabiaschi's two-hit night raised his season average to .271 and his average for August to .302. The win allowed Vermont to maintain its 1.5 game-lead over second-place Connecticut. The Lake Monsters have won four in a row.
Catcher Diomendes Lopez also homered in the win. The homer was his team-leading sixth of the season. It is his fourth homer in his last 10 games. The four homers are his only four hits over the past 10 games. For the season, six of his 20 hits have left the yard.
Reliever Drew Bailey moved to 5-0 on the season with a scoreless 2.1 inning performance. He struck-out two and has allowed only one earned run over his last 15.2 innings of work. Nathan Kilcrease also had two scoreless relief innings for Vermont.
Vollmuth Debuts For AZL A's
A's third-round pick B.A. Vollmuth made his professional debut over the weekend, appearing in two games for the AZL A's. He went 0-for-4 with two strike-outs on Saturday in his first game, but had two hits in four at-bats on Sunday. Vollmuth signed the week before the draft signing deadline.
A's 44th-round pick Chris Bostick continued his strong start to his professional career with two more hits on Sunday. He has hit safely in all nine games for the AZL thus far and is batting .457 with a 1101 OPS. The speedy infielder has four doubles and a triple and three stolen bases in three chances. Bostick was the only high school player drafted by the A's this season to sign.
Max Perlman, the A's 35th-round pick this season, tossed four scoreless innings on Sunday. He hasn't allowed a run since July 23rd (six appearances and 12 innings pitched). He has 44 strike-outs in 42.1 innings for the AZL A's this season.
Chris Lamb, the A's 11th-round pick, made his professional debut for the AZL A's on Sunday with a scoreless inning of work. The Berkeley native struck-out two. Lamb signed on the final day of the signing period.