Sunday, November 9, 2014

Astros Arizona Fall League Game 28 Eyewitness Report

Our intrepid Arizona correspondent, Wallee Wright, filed this brief last night after witnessing a rocky outing by the Salt River Rafters on Saturday afternoon ~

This past Monday the Salt River Rafters sat atop the Arizona Fall League East with a 15-5-3 record and a five game lead over the Mesa Solar Sox … with their 7-4 loss this afternoon to the Peoria Javelinas, the Rafters have lost four of five, three in a row, and could have only a 1.5 game lead over Mesa if they win their evening start [Note from Jayne: Mesa lost and the Rafters retain a 2.5 game lead.]

It’s not the losses that are so amazing, it’s the manner in which the Rafters lost … to wit: on Tuesday Vincent Velasquez injures himself in the first inning and gives up three runs in a 3-1 loss where the Rafters out hit Mesa 7-5; on Wednesday Christian Bergman could go only two outs while giving up four runs but the bullpen went the final 8.1 giving up just two hits in an 8-4 win; Thursday Mark Appel went five scoreless, giving up just a seeing eye ground ball hit, but the bullpen gave up four runs to lose two leads and the game 4-2 in ten; Friday Archie Bradley gave up three runs in four innings but the Rafters came back to tie in the top of the ninth only to lose in the bottom, 5-4; and, today, Anthony DeSclafani went five, giving up only two hits, and left with a 4-0 lead only to see the ‘pen give up seven runs on seven hits in the seventh and eighth to lose the game 7-4.

On a positive note, Joe Sclafani was at second today and, as is his custom when playing second base, Joe was spectacular … getting an ovation from the crowd for a spectacular save of a Ryan Casteel muff to nip Hunter Dozier at first base – an absolutely brilliant play. In addition to that play, Joe was in the middle of two more double plays and on offense went 2-for-3 with a double, drew a walk, and scored two runs and is now hitting .324. It is a damn shame his route to The Show as an Astro at second base is blocked by that Venezuelan fella Jose Altuve because, though Joe can play the outfield, he is just average out in the pasture and something very special at the keystone sack … but you bank on this, Joe will be going to The Show very soon.

Andrew Aplin has become a ball magnet at the plate … he took another one for the team in the bottom of the sixth – then promptly got himself thrown out at second for the fifth time in nine attempts. The HBP and a walk were Andrew’s only base-running opportunities for the day and his batting average has now fallen to .286 … and he has fallen from the top three to seventh in the batting order as a consequence of that production slump.

Rio Ruiz simply looked gassed today … he did get a hit on a ball dumped down the right field line that will frequently go for two bags then held up at first. But it was on defense that Rio seemed out of sync today … Ruiz had four different balls hit through, past, or off him that earlier this year he would have snagged – on the other hand he did initiate two double plays on a very busy day at the hot corner. Rio is in a very deep slump even with his base hit today … he is now below .200.

Were it not for Joe Sclafani the park attendants would have found me this evening in the third base bleachers, face down in my suds … thank you Joe.

~ WalleeWright ~

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