For most of the Mariners’ affiliates, a minor miracle is necessary for a shot at the postseason.
But regardless of how much meaningful baseball is left, these last three weeks will at least provide prospects the opportunity to either make a push to get on the 40-man roster come September or catch the eye of their coaches and manager in the hopes of receiving a 2015 Spring Training Invite.
So, without further ado, here are recaps for the M’s top five minor league affiliates from the past seven days.
Only two of the eight teams in the Northwest League (Hillsboro and Salem-Keizer) are above .500, and both are in the South Division, meaning that despite a mediocre week Everett remains very much alive in the North Division race.
After splitting the final two games at home against Spokane, the AquaSox dropped four of five at Vancouver, falling to four games under .500.
Wednesday’s 14-inning loss was particularly devastating, as Everett blew a 5-1 lead after seven before failing to hold a 6-5 lead in the 13th.
At 10-14, they are tied for third in the division with Spokane but only two games back of both Tri-City and Vancouver.
Jefferson Medina had the best start of the week as he won his second game of the year on Thursday, surrendering only two runs (1 ER) in seven innings to beat the Canadians.
Adam Martin went 6-18 (.333 BA) for the week, including two hits and a walk imperative to that 4-2 win.
After finishing the six-game set in Vancouver, only Eugene (regular season home finale), Boise and Tri-City remain on Everett’s schedule.
A day off on Monday seemed to work to Clinton’s benefit, and the club continued to show signs of life. They took two of three from both Wisconsin and Beloit, and if things had fallen their way, the ‘Kings might have climbed back into the playoff race.
Unfortunately, both Kane County and Cedar Rapids won six in a row, making the Western Division a two-team race. At 25-30 and 9.5 GB, we can just about call this season over.
The pitching was tremendous all around. As a whole, the staff conceded just 15 runs for the week, including shutouts on Thursday, when Eddie Campbell (9-8) went six innings for the win, and Saturday, when Ricardo and Cruz Pereira pitched four scoreless apiece.
Tyler O’Neill sparked Thursday’s ten-run outburst, providing four hits (HR, 2 2B) and four RBI.
The LumberKings next face Wisconsin at home and then Kane County away. With their elimination number at 7, unless Clinton picks up five or six wins, they may be mathematically out of the postseason by this time next week.
High Desert Mavericks
The Mavs had a bizarre week, as the August 3rd suspended game against Inland Empire was made up as part of a doubleheader on Friday. The 12-8 victory gave High Desert a 3-1 mark for the week, but atrocious pitching Friday, Saturday, and Sunday unsurprisingly led to a three-game skid against Inland Empire, culminating in a 15-0 slaughter last night.
A better series against the 66ers could have gotten the Mavericks within a game of first place. As it stands, High Desert (26-30) is three games back of both them and Rancho Cucamonga.
During Wednesday’s 13-2 drubbing of First Half champion Lancaster, the Mavs put 18 hits on the JetHawks, with the entire lineup contributing at least one base knock.
Home runs from Tyler Marlette and Jabari Henry as well as three Gabby Guerrero hits were more than enough for the combined efforts of Will Mathis (4.0 IP, 0 R), Nick Valenza (1.0 IP, 2 R, 0 ER), Oliver Garcia (3.0 IP, 0 R), and Matt Anderson (1.0 IP, 0 R).
Guerrero followed that solid performance with three hits on Friday and Saturday, and it seems that his cold spell has veritably passed.
After finishing with Inland Empire on Monday, High Desert begins a six-game road trip against Lancaster and the Modesto Nuts. That second series will be a great chance to make up a little ground against a bad non-division opponent, as the Nuts are a woeful 16-39 this half.
A crucial week was almost entirely consumed by a series against Birmingham. After an off-day on Monday, six games on five days would tell a lot about whether Jackson could make up ground on Tennessee, and a Tuesday shutout followed by a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday was more positive than anyone could have anticipated.
But from there, it all went downhill. A lack of consistent pitching over the last four days (23 runs allowed) led to a predictable result: the Generals fell in the last three against the Barons before dropping the series opener in Huntsville last night.
This is yet another sub-.500 week, and it puts Jackson at 25-31, in last place and 4.5 GB of the division-leading Smokies.
Tyler Pike continued to struggle, giving up five earned runs in five innings on Saturday. Though his record in AA is 3-3, he now sports an ugly 7.65 ERA.
Patrick Kivlehan’s hit streak was one of the high points of the week. He extended it to eight games before snapping it on Sunday with an 0-5 (2 K) line. Meanwhile, D.J. Peterson was only 4-23 in six games, but one of those hits was a two-run bomb as part of the Wednesday doubleheader.
After four more to finish the road series against Huntsville, the Generals will come home for five games against division foe Chattanooga (26-27). They will finish the year with five in Montgomery (24-31).
Mediocre stretches for both Sacramento and Reno opened the door a little for Tacoma if they had a good week, but the team could not step up.
After a grueling eleven-inning loss to finish the series against Fresno, the Rainiers were done in by woeful bullpen outings from Logan Kensing (BS, 1.1 IP, 3 ER) and Blake Beavan (L, 1.0 IP, 2 ER) to lose the first of four in New Orleans.
They turned things around, winning the last three against the Zephys behind 19 runs, but splitting the first two of four at Round Rock left the team with a modest 4-3 mark for the week.
A 62-57 overall record puts the Rainiers in third place in the division, five games behind Sacramento.
Strong outings from Roenis Elias (5.0 IP, 0 R) and Taijuan Walker (6.0 IP, 1 ER) kept the pressure off the bats later in the week, while Erasmo Ramirez’s seven-inning start (3 ER) on Saturday gave more hope that he will be able to at least eat innings if Seattle calls upon him later in the year.
Stefen Romero’s hitting streak reached double-digits on Sunday, and he has had no problem handling AAA pitching. Whether he will ever figure it out in the big leagues remains to be seen, though, and if the Mariners stay in contention throughout September his big league opportunities will be severely limited.
The other interesting hitting story going into the week was Ketel Marte, who was called up from Jackson on August 10 (check out his player profile here). In five games, he is 7-22 with a pair of doubles and 3 SB.
After two more against the Express, the Rainiers will begin an eight-game homestand against Omaha and Iowa. They will finish the year with five at last-place Fresno.