Between this, the Giants-Reds game and my well-known yet uncontrollable pitching fetish, I am really not liking living in the eastern time zone today. If NBC would act on my long-standing request to set me up in a nice little flat in that interwar Pacific Heights co-op I would have been awake for both of these, dammit.
Anyway: Felix Hernandez was wicked good last night, throwing his fifth career shutout and striking out 13. He allowed five singles and walked a dude, but that was about it.
The Sox got good pitching too, though, with Franklin Morales allowing only three hits in his seven inning, and it was 0-0 entering the ninth. The Red Sox had a chance to draw first blood that inning, putting runners on first and second with one out. But then Adrian Gonzalez flied out and Will “1 for 15 since the Youkilis trade” Middlebrooks popped out. Sorry, but you know people are thinkin’ it.
The M’s won it in the bottom of the inning when John Jaso singled to right field to score Casper Wells from second base. Cody Ross actually had Wells dead to rights on the throw — it beat him to the plate — but Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t keep a handle on it.
I guess on a night where Felix Hernandez pitched so brilliantly, the fates couldn’t keep the W from him.
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.