Spitzbarth Dominates California League, Earns Promotion
Shea Spitzbarth really impressive spring carried over into the first part of the season in Rancho. That led to his promotion to AA yesterday. The right handed closer from Staten Island was as near to untouchable as a closer in the minor leagues can be. He converted all six of his save opportunities for the Quakes, along with striking out 27 California League batters in 15.2 innings. In those innings, Spitzbarth surrendered just 9 hits and walked 5 batters. Only one runner scored versus the red headed, righty reliever while in Rancho Cucamonga. In Visalia (5/12/17), the former Molloy Lion struck out the side on 12 pitches in domineering fashion. The Rawhide batters were behind on his fastball, which in comparison to the curve, must have appeared 10 MPH faster. His promotion to Tulsa became official yesterday, and escalated quickly. He was pressed into action immediately for two shutout innings against Springfield. Spitzbarth has pitched all season in single A, as pitcher who did not belong there. Showing he was ready to move up. Congratulations to Shea Spitzbarth!
A Closer’s Mentality
To finish another team off in the 9th inning takes a certain personality, a mix of intensity, confidence and nasty stuff. Chatting with Shea regarding his curveball, he stated; “I think I’m one of those kids who started throwing it when you weren’t supposed to start in little league.”Full Interview with Spitzbarth Shea has the right DNA needed for the job. His role for the Drillers is undefined. The Dodgers AA affiliate have been a “closer by committee” bullpen this season. Whatever his role, however long his chance to pitch, you can be sure he will be locked in, focused and dropping hammers (curveballs, in baseball jargon) on Texas League batters while he has his occasion.
Stats are listed below for the recent college graduate. This season is young and he has only pitched in 12 games (1 in Tulsa 11 in Rancho) thus far. His career stats include a 2.22 ERA in 77 innings worked. He has 116 strike outs in those innings and has converted a perfect 15 of 15 save opportunities. Spitzbarth has been stingy in his career, allowing opposing hitters a .194 batting average against him. His career WHIP is an astonishingly low 0.91. Keep in mind, he has pitched 13 games (7 in ’15, 6 in ’16) for the Ogden Raptors of the hitter friendly Pioneer League in Rookie ball. These are impressive numbers for a potential future closer. Looking forward to seeing Shea rise through the system and into Los Angeles in the near future!
Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Forsythe were tuning up to return to Los Angeles, and fans flocked to see them up close in Rancho Cucamonga. Neither player was a significant factor in the outcome of the game. Most importantly, both players were healthy after the game. Gonzalez went 0 – 2 with 2 walks, while Forsythe went 0 – 4 with 2 strike outs. Getting the rust out, getting timing back. Adrian Gonzalez talked about how he felt after game. He assured reporters that he felt good in the press conference after the Quakes victory. Logan Forsythe began his initial rehab assignment last week, but after tweaking his hamstring, he re-started the journey in Rancho tonight. Pre Game BP
Yadier Alvarez vs Joey Lucchesi
Yadier Alvarez did not have his best stuff tonight, evidenced by his 4 free passes to opposing hitters. He did battle through and limit the scoring damage to just two runs. Alvarez, with his free and easy motion, sometimes does not locate his pitches down in the zone. That is when trouble can arise for most pitchers, Alvarez is no exception. In the 2nd inning, Alvarez walked the leadoff batter. He then allowed an infield single off of Adrian Gonzalez’s glove. Carlos Belen drove a double over Yusniel Diaz’s head in centerfield to plate two runs. He reached his apparent pitch limit (74) by the 4th inning when Manager Drew Saylor went to his bullpen.
Garrett Kennedy Comes Up Clutch
Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi worked at a methodical pace in his four innings of work. His “human rain delay” tendencies stem from his painfully slow start to his delivery in which he places his hands high above his head and slowly comes down. Slowly. Real Slow. It is no surprise when one reads that a critical error occurred behind Lucchesi. This is the result of putting your defense to sleep, reaction times on routine plays are diminished. A tailor made double pay ball was completely whiffed on by Storm 2B Peter Van Gansen , and the Quakes tied the ball game. The game remained tied until Catcher Garrett Kennedy turned on a fastball and sent it over the right center field wall. Kennedy’s first home run of the season. Chat with Garrett Kennedy
That made the score 3 – 2 Quakes. They would later tack on one more when Storm pitcher Thomas Dorminy threw away a pick off attempt to first base, allowing Luke Raley to score.
Dominant Relief Work
Chris Powell came in to work with two out in the top of the 4th inning. He was “lights out” in his last performance in Visalia on Friday night. He was equally impressive at Rancho as he began his night by striking out Auston Bousfield looking, to end the inning. The Bronco alum calmed the Storm of Lake Elsinore in the 5th, setting them down in order. Powell came out firing to start the 6th inning when he was greeted with a stellar bunt by Miguel Del Castro. The Quakes right handed hurler pounced on the bunt that seemed to be perfectly placed down the third base line. He made the play close with an absolute bullet of a throw to Adrian Gonzalez at 1B. The play was called safe. A questionable call, but no question as to the fielding abilities of the son of former Dodger reliever Dennis Powell. Chris did not waver, he struck out the next batter Javier Guerra and then induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Manager Drew Saylor sent his reliever back out to work the 7th and Powell worked another 1, 2, 3 inning. Chris Powell, who recently returned to Rancho after his promotion to Tulsa, has taken his game to a next level. To further illustrate his dominance tonight, Powell needed only 28 (21 strikes)pitches to get his 10 outs. By comparison, the Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi needed 86 pitches to record his 12 outs. Lake Elsinore’s only hit off Powell was a bunt single that many believe was a blown call by the base umpire. Interview from last Friday with Chris.
Tony Gonsolin worked an effective two innings of relief to earn his first save as a member of the Quakes. Tony had one save for the Loons at Midland earlier this season. Tony worked around a couple of walks to retire the Storm without any serious threats from the offense. Gonsolin shut the door on another home victory for the Quakes. Rancho’s overall record moves to 22 – 17. First place in the California League’s South Division.
The Quakes took on the San Jose Giants in a morning weekday game at the Epicenter in Rancho. Starting for the Dodgers single A affiliate is Walker Buehler, the 1st round draft pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt. Buehler has made three starts so far this season, he has pitched 3 innings in each start. Entering todays game he had not allowed an earned run and had recorded 15 K’s in his 9 innings of work. The San Jose Giants will counter with RHP Jake McCasland who is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA.
Drew Saylor’s club has a five game winning streak entering today and have been perfect so far at home. The Quakes are 8 – 0 (before game) at the Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga. They look to continue that streak this afternoon against the Giants. Will Smith looks to extend his hot hitting. Will was the California League Player of the Week last week, as he hit safely in all seven games played.
Buehler and the Pen
Walker Buehler started off the morning looking sharp and throwing hard. Jalen Miller hit a lazy grounder to shortstop. Buehler then struck out the next Giants batter, Ryan Howard. Walker finished the inning easily enough by inducing a weak liner to Drew Jackson at short. The hard throwing right hander used only fastballs in the first frame. Walker Buehler struck out the first two batters in the second inning before getting Jose Vizcaino Jr. to ground out softly to Brandon Montgomery at 3B. The second was a breeze for the Quakes righty, he mixed in a couple of breaking balls in the top of the second. Walker worked quickly today, and for the most part, stayed ahead of Giants hitters. To leadoff the third inning, Giants catcher Matt Winn crushed a triple off the wall in right field. The next batter got sawed off on a sharp inside fastball, still the ball grounded past the mound and Buehler gave up his first run of 2017 as Winn came home. Buehler got a pitch in on leadoff hitter Jalen Miller’s hands and he lined softly to 2B to end the 3rd. Ryan Howard led off the 4th with a pop out to 1B. Then an uncharacteristic sequence from Buehler, as he walked the DH Bryan Reynolds on 4 pitches. Then Walker walked LF Gio Brusa. Then, the next batter, Buehler struck out Jonah Arenado the last batter he would face. That would be the day for Walker Buehler as Manager Drew Saylor went to Wes Helsabeck to get out of the situation. Walker Buehler exits with runners at 1st and 2nd and two out in the top of the 4th. He had thrown 53 pitches and 35 strikes.
Wes Helsabeck comes in with 1st and 2nd, two out to face Jose Vizcaino Jr. and he struck him out of three pitches to escape the jam. Vizcaino Jr. had to have been looking for something other than the 0 – 2 fastball. He watched strike three go by and Helsabeck did his job. The entire bullpen did for that matter. Helsabeck threw two more effective innings to pick up the victory today. Alex Hermeling came in and worked a perfect frame and had a strike out along the way. Hermeling with the hold, and passed the ball to Shea Spitzbarth. Shea worked two innings to earn his 5th save of the young season. The Giants did not go without a fight in the 9th. Spitzbarth was tough as nails, and although one run did score, he shut the door with a strikeout of Jalen Miller for a final score of 3 – 2. Quakes win!
Luke Raley got the Quakes offense started early. He led off the 2nd inning with a stand up double. Ibandel Isabel moved Raley over to 3B with a deep fly to center, that was nearly misplayed by Fargas. Zach McKinstry with ground ball for an RBI, scoring Raley to make it 1 – 0 Quakes. Third inning, Drew Jackson draws a lead off walk. Jackson got caught stealing in what appeared to be a busted hit and run. Will Smith eventually struck out swinging. Then with two out D.J.Peters crushed a HR over the left center 432′ wall. It was a bomb on a 1-2 pitch, a fastball. 2 – 1 Quakes. Bottom 6th, Garrett Kennedy with, what turned out to be the game winning RBI, on a double that scored Ibandel Isabel and made the game 3 – 1 at that time. This was a team victory, offense, defensive and pitching. One more at home, then the Quakes go back on the road and head out to Lancaster to face the Jethawks for a three game set.
Fans, do not wait to watch Walker Buehler pitch in Rancho Cucamonga, if you do, you may regret it later. Not attempted to stoke any trade rumors, just trying to warn fans. The warning is this: Watch your stars before they are gone. Again, not a trade rumor, no insider information, just a plea to anyone reading. Go watch Walker Buehler pitch before he is moved up to Tulsa. Fans may have a few more starts with Buehler at the Dodgers Class High A affiliate in Rancho, but after that, he may just move along towards to big leagues. Tonight Walker Buehler threw only three innings, but they were three electrifying innings.
There was much more to the story on this night for the Quakes, but pitching still the prime topic as the bullpen was fantastic. Shea Spitzbarth came in to prolong the Lake Elsinore team’s strike out streak, that Buehler had started, by ringing up the first batter of the top of the fourth. Spitzbarth, already with 2 saves on the year finished the Padres minor league affiliate in order to conclude his work for the night. Dean Kremer came in for the next three innings for the Quakes. Although Kremer did surrender the three runs the Storm scored on the night, his stuff looked great and he did strike out five batters in his three innings of work. Wes Helsabeck came on in relief in the 8th inning. He worked both the 8th and the 9th, the lefty from North Carolina was certainly on his game tonight. He struck out the side in both innings to earn his first save of the season. The Quakes pitching staff ended up striking out 20 Storm batters on Saturday night.
Quakes Offense Keeps Rumbling
Drew Jackson drove in the games first run in the bottom of the second when he singled to left field, Ibandel Isabel scored on the play. Luke Raley was thrown out at third on Jackson’s RBI base knock. The Quakes offense went back on the attack in the next inning as Will Smith smacked a triple off the wall in center field, scoring both DJ Peters and Yusniel Diaz. The Dodgers farm hands were now up 3-0. Next batter, Ibandel Isabel got a chance with Smith at third base and he capitalized, plating the young catching prospect with a fairly deep fly to left field. 4-0 Quakes until the next frame for Rancho, that’s when Drew Jackson came up and had Logan Landon in scoring position. Landon came around to score after Jackson singled sharply to left field. Drew Jackson, one of the newest prospects in the Dodgers organization ended up a great night. 2-4 2RBI’s and 2 clutch singles when his team needed them the most.
Back to Walker
Walker Buehler began the game by surrendering two singles. The first was a squib just past the pitchers mound to the right of Buehler. Omar Estevez, at shortstop, charged hard and attempted the bare-hand, but was unsuccessful. The next batter, Chris Baker singled to left field sharply and the Quakes found themselves in a jam early. Or so it seemed. You could see no emotion from the Quakes right handed pitcher, but you got the feeling he was none too happy. The Vanderbilt alum went to work. He got the next batter for the Storm, Josh Naylor, to fly out to left field. After that, no other pitch by Walker Buehler was put into play. Buehler went on to strike out the next two batters to complete the first inning and to get out of the first inning “situation.”
Walker Buehler did not stop there. He went on to strike out the side in not only the second inning, but also in the 3rd inning. Walker was dominate as he disposed of would-be hitters one by one. He had 8 strike outs, five looking, three swinging. Walker threw 53 total pitches and 37 of those were strikes.
Not sure how accurate the stadium radar gun reading is, but according to that, (besides breaking balls) Walker did not throw a fastball slower than 94 MPH. He was consistently in the 97-98 MPH range. It even registered 99 MPH once.
The Dodgers organization is being very careful with young prospect pitchers such as Mitch White and Walker Buehler. Walker was not allowed to continue his strike out streak in the fourth inning. Quakes Manager Drew Saylor took him out after his 53 pitches.
After the combined no-hitter in his last start, Mitch White gave up one hit, and more importantly, has still not given up a single earned run in his entire professional career. On a night when the Quakes complied 11 runs and racked up 17 hits, the story in the minds of many, is the future MLB star pitcher that was hurling seeds past 66ers hitters.
It was a balanced scoring attack from the Dodgers High Class A affiliate tonight. Every batter in the lineup had at least one base hit in the game. Most of the runs scored early. The Quakes scored three in the first and added one more in the second inning, to help attentions turn to the stud on the mound for the Rancho squad.
There are many ways to describe the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Mitch White. Thus far my favorite is the way his Manager, Drew Saylor, choses to paint the picture regarding his right handed pitcher. Coach quipped, “I have been describing him (Mitch White) like this, if your playing MLB 2017 (Video game) and if you were to develop a player, from a physical standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, grit, hardworking…the guy you create would be Mitchell White.” Full Chat with Manager SaylorAppropriate and accurate.
Mitch White has not only never allowed a run in his professional baseball career, in his last start, he did not allow a hit. He and Alex Hermeling combined for a 7 inning no-hitter, the first no-no in the Quakes 25 year career.
Mitch White came out of the gate as expected tonight, efficiently working through the Inland Empire line-up. As an example, White threw only 12 pitches in the first inning with 8 of those being strikes. You need to be at the top of your game to use only 12 pitches in one inning, especially while striking out two of the batters in that inning. That is how Mitch White began tonight’s game against the 66ers. That is also, pretty much the way he disposed of opposing batters all night.
White’s Line From Tonight
After three runs scored in the first and one more in the second, the early part of the game seemed to be in complete control with Mitch White mowing down batters with relative ease, or at least that’s how he made it look. White, although only facing the minimum amount of batters, did surrender both a hit and a walk. The base hit he gave up was erased quickly enough as the DH Jared Foster of Inland Empire tried to stretch the single into a double and was unsuccessful. In the 3rd inning, after a lead off walk by White, he bared down for the ground ball double play on the very next batter, Cody Ramer. That was the only signs of life from the Angles minor league affiliate against Mitch White in his five innings of work. The RHP from Santa Clara finished his dominate start after 5 innings. He struck out 6 batters to go with the 1 BB and 1 H that White allowed. He finished the night throwing 59 pitches, 37 of which were strikes. After speaking with a few of the many scouts in the crowd, the consensus was that White had topped out at 97 MPH, and stayed consistently around 93-95 with the fastball. Impressive performance for Mitch White, especially considering he still, has not allowed an earned run in his entire professional career. That is now 31 career innings without a base runner coming across and scoring an earned run. As a matter of fact, he has only allowed 1 unearned run in his career, with only 8 hits allowed. I spoke with Mitch after the game, and asked him what his secret has been, his humble response, ” Been working with Kip Wells (Quakes Pitching Coach).” Post Game Chat with Mitch WhiteA tremendous performance tonight, and an equally outstanding attitude. Look forward to seeing him pitch for the Dodgers for years to come. With outings like this, our chance to watch Mr. White in Rancho will be fading fast, he continues like this, Tulsa is not too far away!
Mitch White and Alex Hermeling Combine for the 7 inning No-No
After nearly being no-hit in game one of the twin billing, Mitch White and Alex Hermeling combine on history, throwing the Quakes first No-Hitter in franchise history. Mitch White allowed zero hits and zero runs in his four innings of work. White did not have pinpoint control, but effectively wild could describe the RHP performance tonight. He has not given up a run yet in his short minor league career.
1B Ibandel Isabel busted out the whopping stick in the second game of the night versus the Ports. With Isabel’s early and often offense, White seemed to relax and focus on the work at hand. DJ Peters added a single and Garrett Kennedy had a couple of hits to help the Quakes towards a more balanced attack on offense. The story of the night was the lack of offense, Quakes go from nearly being no-hit, in fact, it was nearly a perfect game; then to do a complete 180 in the next game, and they make history for the franchise and get the season off on a uniquely positive note. Like Mike Lindskog, Quakes broadcaster, said on the radio, “funny things can happen in these 7 inning games,” and indeed something “funny” has happened. The first No-Hitter in the Quakes 25 year existence.
Isabel Career Minor League Stats (Before Tonight)
White Career Minor League Stats (Before Tonight)
An amazing performance on the second game of opening night by Mitch White. Here is a clip from our interview back in spring training. Chat with Mitch White RHP
Relief from Alex Hermeling was nothing short of a stellar performance as well. Hermeling had a lot of quick at bats, especially in the 7th, and because of the double header, the final inning. Hermeling really worked effectively tonight and is making a name for himself after a pretty good showing at ST with the Dodgers.
Congratulations to Mitch White, Alex Hermeling and the entire Quakes team and staff for this accomplishment and hopes for more to come in a special organization, in a special season. Or at least we hope. Amazing outcome tonight, until tomorrow when the Quakes go at it once more. The Quakes win game 2, final score 4-0! What an amazing night!
One night later than planned, the 2017 season has begun for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in Stockton. Tonight the Ports and the Quakes will play a double header. Two 7 inning games. Game one began with starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson facing off against Stockton’s Brett Graves. In the first inning the Quakes went pretty quietly versus the hard throwing righty hurler. Then in the second inning of work, Graves struck out the side against the talented lineup in blue. Graves, aggressive in the strike zone early, cruised through two more innings of work without one baserunner reaching against him. Graves faced the minimum of 12 batters, he had five strikeouts and 6 of his other out recorded via the ground ball. None hit particularly hard.
Joey Wagman was brought in to face the Quakes in the 5th inning, so there was some hope at seeing this pitcher a little better than Graves. Did not prove to be the case in the 5th as the Quakes once more went down in order. In the 6th, Mejia, Sandoval and Landon were set down in order. Due to the double-header, each game is only 7 innings, so history is impending unless the offense can get off the mat.
In the 7th, after Drew Jackson made the first out of the inning, Omar Estevez stepped to the plate. The highly rated infield prospect for the Dodgers calmly stroked a single into left field to break up the perfect game and the no-hitter.
Tonight game was started by LHP Caleb Ferguson, making his debut with Rancho after finishing last season with the Loons at Great Lakes. Never let anyone tell you that the jump between levels in the minor leagues is not a significant difference. Ferguson, who had pinpoint control in low A and in Rookie ball, labored noticeably in the first inning. Professional hitters are fantastic at capitalizing on any advantage they can get. The Port’s were able to push across one run in the first inning and one in the second inning.
Coach Saylor turned to his bullpen early tonight and brought in RHP Adam Bray to start the 3rd inning. Bray was impressive tonight as he delivered some relief and kept the Quakes in the game, despite their lack of base runners, it would just take one runner to have the tying run come to the plate. Adam Bray is the player of the game for this performance and deserved to have a victory, if the bats could just wake from their slumber.
After Estevez was able to disrupt history for the Port’s hurlers, the power hitting OF DJ Peters came to the plate, representing the tying run. Tonight, or at least this game, victory was out of the Quakes’ reach. The Quakes lost 2-0 to the Ports and will come right back after it in game 2 later tonight. Go Dodgers!