Wintry Conditions Reported Amid Tulsa’s Searing Heat.
The game time temperature? 99 degrees. The humidity? Downright unbearable. The heat index? You don’t want to know. For most residents in and around Tulsa, Thursday evening marked just another day of oppressing temperatures in what has been one of the hottest summers the South Central United States can ever remember. But for the Midland RockHounds, the heat was the least of their concerns. Instead, they had to deal with “whiteout” conditions as they faced the other half of Tulsa’s two headed monster.
In short, Alex White was simply sensational in the Drillers 8-0 win on Thursday, stretching his scoreless streak to 15.2 IP with another 7.2 on the night. He did get a little help from his defense in the third inning when RockHounds right fielder Jeremy Barfield was thrown out at home on a double by catcher Ryan Ortiz, but overall, the outing was excellent. White overpowered hitters all night with his heavy sinking fastball and at one point sent down 14 men in a row. He has more than proven he’s both healthy and capable in Tulsa; the only question left is where he will make his next start. Last night, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported the following……
"“White will travel to Denver tomorrow to have his finger checked out, and then throw a bullpen. Strong chance his next start will be with the Rockies. They could go with a 6-man rotation.”"
Now yesterday I stated that I didn’t want White called up until September. The main reason for this has nothing to do with his work for the Drillers – That has been everything I could have hoped for and more. Instead, it’s centered on my desire to see White maintain his rookie status for next season which he can’t do if he exceeds 50 IP this year. White already accumulated 15 innings this spring with Cleveland before being sidelined with the finger injury he is currently rehabbing from – In other words it’s only going to take 35 more frames to push White over the mark. If he gets the call before September, it’s very likely he surpasses it. If the Rockies want the opportunity to officially market a pair of dominant rookie pitchers bursting onto the major league scene in 2012, I think they have two options left.
A) Send White to AAA Colorado Springs for a start or two.
B) Call White up but go with a six man rotation to limit his innings.
After reading Troy Renck’s report, I can’t help but wonder if the club is picking option “B”. White has nothing left to gain by making another start in Tulsa so the Rockies hands are really tied if they want to keep him under that 50 innings limit.
Thursday was a big day elsewhere on the farm too. Here’s the the rest of the highlights.
1) As was reported yesterday, AAA Colorado Springs first baseman Mike Jacobs tested positive for HGH. Jacobs released this statement.
"“A few weeks ago, in an attempt to overcome knee and back problems, I made the terrible decision to take H.G.H. I immediately stopped a couple of days later after being tested. Taking it was one of the worst decisions I could have ever made, one for which I take full responsibility.”"
It wasn’t enough as he was immediately released from the organization. Short of some bad PR, this has almost no impact on the Rockies farm. Jacobs is a 30 year old journeyman who had very little future with the Rockies big club; and that was before he tested positive. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Mr. Jacobs.
2) The Casper Ghosts were no hit by Great Falls. That’s right, a no hitter that’s not the lead story. The three Great Falls pitchers (two of whom have names that make me giggle), Scott Snodgress, Blake Drake, and Joe Dvorsky combined to completely shut out a pretty solid hitting Ghosts team which includes David Kandilas, this year’s sandwich pick Trever Story, Rosell Herrera, and Harold Riggins. The perfect game stayed alive all the way into the 7th inning when Story was hit by a pitch.
3) Nolan Arenado is getting hot. Last night, he went 3-4 with a walk for High A Modesto and also blasted his 17th home run of the year; his third in as many games. His effort almost single handedly carried the Nuts to victory. Alas, it was not to be as the bullpen couldn’t hold a 7-4 7th inning lead. The Rawhide (Don’t you just love the names of some of these minor league teams) scored four runs late to defeat Modesto 8-7.
At just 20 years old, Arenado remains, for my money the best hitting prospect in the Rockies system. I’ll be talking more about him in the coming weeks.
4) The Asheville Tourists played quite a game themselves last night but unfortunately it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Asheville started Peter Tago didn’t pitch horribly (5IP, 3 runs, 6 hits, 3 K’s, and 4 BB), but certainly left something to be desired. It wasn’t until the post Tago part of this affair that the real “fun” started though. The bats quickly caught fire and after they pushed eight runs across the plate in the 6th inning, the Tourists held what appeared to be a comfortable 11-4 lead. However, it wouldn’t be enough as the bullpen coughed up the gigantic advantage and sent Ashville home 12-11 losers. The pitching wasn’t the only thing that made this game ugly; the fielding was also atrocious – from both teams I might add – As a combined 7 errors not so coincidentally led to a combined 7 unearned runs. What a mess!!!