This was a Sunday afternoon game under sunny (and hot) skies with no wind at the start of the game but then a medium breeze out to right field starting around the 6th inning. There wasn't as much of interest as in the first game of the year that we attended, but a couple notable players to report on.
The biggest name is Dennis Raben who was the Mariner's second round draft pick just a month ago. He was an outfielder for the Miami Hurricanes and played right field today. He throws left handed and bats left handed. He has an upright stance and has the bat cocked back almost directly over his helmet. Pat Dillon (the radio announcer) said his stance is reminiscent of Jim Thome.
Coming into the game Raben had 6 hits in 7 at bats along with one walk. Pretty amazing. During the game today he was two for three (two doubles to the opposite (left) field - one off the wall) and had two walks. He hit into a double play to drop his batting average to .800. His on base percentage is .846. And his slugging is 1.500. His OPS is a pretty spectacular 2.346... He has a home run, 4 doubles and 3 walks in 13 plate appearances. Wow. The Mariners move players up pretty quickly, so we'll probably not see him again (our next game is on July 15th - 9 days from now). Needless to say, if he keeps this sort of production up for very long he'll be promoted quickly through the system.
Another player to watch is Collin Cowgill of the Yakima Bears. He came into the game leading the league in home runs (11) and RBIs (27) in 18 games. He's not a typical power hitter - he was hitting second in the lineup today - he's only listed as 5'9" in the program and doesn't have a Boog Powell physique. In this game he went 1 for 3 with one RBI and two walks, and two stolen bases (Doug Salinas who came on in relief for the Aquasox has a slow curveball to the plate that was easy pickings for Cowgill).
Kevin Reynolds is on a hot streak for the Aquasox and hit lead-off today. He was 1 for 5 to drop his batting average from above .400 down to .389.
The top 4 hitters in the Aquasox lineup - Kevin Reynolds, Nate Tenbrink, Dennis Raben, and Travis Howell all appear to be quality hitters and might have a future in baseball.
Again our defense was a bit shoddy. Both Tenbrink at third base and George Soto at shortstop showed slow releases of balls after they get them in their gloves. Soto especially likes to tap his glove with the ball before throwing it - even on plays where this results in not getting the out by a close margin. It's something that they need to get out of their system. Pat Dillon, the radio announcer, called it sashaying with the ball...
Our pitchers included Steven Hensley who pitched the first 3 innings (66 pitches/36 strikes). He had control problems in the first inning, some poor defense behind him (the Aquasox made 5! errors in the game) and some bad luck with weakly hit balls falling in for hits. His fastball was in the low 90s. Doug Salinas (who was a started for the Aquasox in 2007) relieved him in the 4th inning and pitched through the 8th. His fastball was in the high 80s and he had 6 strike outs, 3 walks, and one hit batter with his 79 pitches (42 strikes). Salinas has a funny slow curve that he likes to throw on any count. He has more control of it than he did last year - but it's still an odd pitch to see with the odd motion of his arm resulting in a pitch that seems like it doesn't really want to make it all the way to the plate, but in the end does for a strike quite often. Philip Hann pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with one strike out.
Other players that are noted in my scorecard included Aquasox Kevin Reynolds who made a very good throw from center to third base (on the fly!) on a fly ball to keep a runner at second base. And Andrew Fie of Yakima who was the best infielder defensively in the game - he made three tough plays look easy in the first four innings.
Box score is here: http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=g_box&gid=2008_07_06_yakasx_eveasx_1&did=t419&sid=t419
The Everett Herald game report is here: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20080707/SPORTS/719236116/1006/SPORTS03#AquaSoxs.comeback.comes.up.just.short