Crooked Nuggets: August Edition
With a few straggling exceptions, the Minor League regular season ended on Labor Day. In conjunction with this imminent cessation of play I spent the day laboring over the August edition of “Crooked Numbers.” If you are visiting this little slice of the internet to begin with, then you probably know that “Crooked Numbers” is a monthly column that details all of the strangest things to have occurred on a Minor League Baseball field over the course of that month. It is a logistically onerous column to write, but any negatives are outweighed by the fact that bizarre baseball minutia is, by far, my favorite kind of bizarre minutia. Crooked Numbers is nothing less than a labor of love
And there’s more where that came from — right here and right now! Welcome to “Crooked Nuggets.” a blog-only supplement featuring all of the Crooked info that’s fit to print, in 75 words or less. There’s so much to get to, so let’s get to it!
Basepath Blunders — On August 4 Eugene Renfroe of the Eugene Emeralds smashed a line drive over the left field wall for a two-run home run. Except, no, he did not. Due to “confusion on the basepaths,” Renfroe passed teammate Anthony Torres on his way to second base, was ruled out, and therefore only ended up with an RBI single. No harm, no foul, as the Ems still defeated Tri-City by a score of 6-1.
Appy League Follies — August 10’s game between the Princeton Rays and Pulaski Blue Jays was a comedy of errors — literally. The hometown Blue Jays made seven of them that evening, including five miscues with two outs in the first inning that led to nine Rays runs. The Blue Jays then clawed back and tied the game at 9-9 after four innings, but it wasn’t enough as they ultimately lost by a score of 13-12. This strange ballgame was particularly strange for Pulaski starter Ramire Cleto. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed eight runs over 2/3rds of an inning but, as none of the runs were earned, lowered his ERA to 2.47.
Pioneer League Follies — The above Princeton-Pulaski tilt wasn’t the only Rookie-level contest this month in which a team made at least seven errors in a game they ended up losing by one run with both teams scoring in the double digits (and shame on you if you thought otherwise). On August 7 the Orem Owlz defeated the Grand Junction Rockies 11-10, in a game that featured eight Grand Junction errors and 10 overall. This was a particularly trying game for Grand Junction catcher Jairo Rosario, who made four errors. Not only did this account for half of the errors he made in the ballgame, but it also accounted for half of his eventual season total.
It All Evens Out– To quote the legendary Harry Nilsson, Nashville Sounds starter Jimmy Nelson went through a prolonged stretch throughout July and August in which “things went good, things went bad, things went good, went bad, then good, bad, good, bad, good, bad.” On July 3, July 21, July 31, and August 11 he combined to post a 1.17 ERA. But those gems alternated with starts on July 8, July 26, August 5 and August 16, in which he posted a 7.03 ERA.
Desert Sessions – Scoring 30 runs in the offense-drenched California League is perhaps a bit less impressive than it would be in other circuits, but, still: it’s impressive! The High Desert Mavericks did just this on August 9, scoring 10 runs in both the first and second innings en route to a 30-8 shellacking of the Lancaster JetHawks. Not only did every batter in the starting line-up hit safely — every batter in the starting line-up scored at least one run, drove in at least one and contributed at least one extra-base hit. On the other side of the ledger it was a tough evening for Lancaster’s Mike Hauschild and Blair Waters, as both allowed 10 runs over 2/3rds of an inning of work.
Post-script: One day after scoring 30 runs, the Mavericks were, of course, shut out.
OKC Can They Swing! — Another impressive shellacking that occurred this month came courtesy of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, who defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox by a score of 24-5 on August 3. Further info on this game will hopefully be provided by Crooked Numbers wunderkind Alex Freedman (also the RedHawks broadcaster), but for now let me note the following: all 11 RedHawks to bat in the game scored a run!
#MegaBowl — The Jackson Generals played three straight doubleheaders against the Mobile BayBears from August 19-21, with the teams somehow managing to play 44 innings over a span of 53 hours. All three doubleheaders were sweeps, with Jackson winning the “dual” on the 19th and Mobile emerging doubly triumphant on both the 20th and 21st.
Streaking Across the Carolina League — 2013’s much-coveted award for “most epically streaky team” goes to the appropriately-named Winston-Salem Dash, who lost eight games in a row from August 11-18 and then followed that up by winning 10 in a row from August 19-29. No other teams paired streaks of of eight games (or more) together this season, although the Great Lakes Loons (seven losses followed by seven wins, May 29-June 12) are worthy of an honorable mention.
But Wait! There’s More! — Somehow, in the midst of their aforementioned 10-game winning streak, the Dash managed to lose a game and this got them booted from playoff contention. On August 28 the team dropped an 8-7 decision to Potomac, but since this was a completion of July 11’s suspended game the winning streak remained intact.
Men of their Word — This season the Peoria Chiefs instituted a “Guaranteed Win Wednesday” promotion, which provided fans were awarded a free ticket to an upcoming game in the event of a home team loss. Well, that never happened, as the Chiefs took this whole “guaranteed win” thing to heart and proceeded to go 7-0 on Wednesdays at home during the 2013 season.
Information Omission — The Huntsville Stars defeated the Jackson Generals on the last day of the season by a score of 4-3, and to read the Stars’ game recap one think that nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Well, call me crazy, but it seems that the Stars’ outfield shenanigans were deserving of a mention. It’s not every day that a guy ends up with “RF-LF-CF-RF-CF-LF-CF-RF” next to his name in the boxscore.
Milestone Ruiners — The Tucson Padres scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning on Labor Day, pulling out a 5-4 win over Las Vegas in their final game in franchise history. That’s all well and good, except that this victory was the 3001st in Tucson’s Triple-A history. If the Padres had had the good sense to lose, Tucson would have exactly 3000 wins in its Triple-A victory ledger and all would be right with the world.