Arizona Fall League 10/16/12 Highlights – Salt River Rafters v. Phoenix Desert Dogs
Last night the Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) game of interest to Blue Jays fans — the Salt River Rafters against the Phoenix Desert Dogs — concluded in extra frames as a 3-3 draw. I guess it would be counter to the spirit of the AFL for extra-inning games to continue indefinitely into the desert night, taxing the tendons and ligaments of young hurlers, but, for me, there is something unsettling about a baseball game ending in a tie. Regardless of my initial reaction, it is an exhibition game and the development of the athletes obviously comes first.
Here is a breakdown of how the Jays’ delegates performed. I know the pictorial presentation of every highlight might be a bit excessive, but since the games are not televised — and box scores are boring — I figured it could add some life to the recap.
Ryan Goins (SS) 1/5, 1 RBI, 1 SO
In the bottom of the 6th, Goins ripped a groundball through the right side of the infield, scoring Matt Davidson and moving Kent Matthes to third base. Unfortunately, in the next at-bat while leading off first base, Goins was unable to evade Sean Ochinko’s line-drive – resulting in the ball’s deflection to RF – so instead of advancing to second on his compatriot’s knock, he was called out.
Sean Ochinko (C) 2/5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
In the bottom of the second, Ochinko drove an up-and-in fastball the other way into left field, scoring teammate Kent Matthes from third.
In the bottom of the 6th, with runners on first and third, Ochinko found himself in a pitcher’s count. After fouling off some tough pitches up-and-in the zone, Ochinko found one over the plate and lasered the pitch the other way. Because the ball was hit so hard, Goins, at first, had little time to react and the ball actually hit him, deflecting into the outfield.
Both Goins and Ochinko had opportunities to win the game for the Salt River Rafters in the bottom of the 8th, when they faced Aaron Barrett with Kent Matthes at second base.
On a 2-2 count Barrett offered a four-seam fastball up in the zone, but Goins could not catch up to it, failing to even advance the go-ahead run to third.
Ochinko was able to work the count full, but on the pay-off pitch, could only muster a meek infield flyball, which was caught by the third basemen Yordy Cabrera.
Deck McGuire 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1BB, 1 ER, 1 SO
Deck entered the game in the top of the 4th inning, relieving starter Chase Anderson. While he was able to retire Hunter Morris on a groundout to 2B Carlos Sanchez, the next batter, Edward Salcedo, sliced a line drive into the right field alley, resulting in a triple. Salcedo would score on a single up the middle by the next batter, Christian Yelich.
Despite retiring the subsequent batter Yordy Cabrera on a lazy fly ball to CF, McGuire was not quite out of the soup. After Max Stassi singled to left, McGuire issued a base on balls to Kevin Kiermaier, and the bases were left loaded with two outs.
Things were looking pretty grim for McGuire, who before the appearance had not allowed a run, but after a brief meeting at the mound with the pitching coach, Deck was able to buckle down and strikeout Hak-Ju Lee.
While McGuire’s performance last night certainly was not seemless, it demonstrated the young righty’s fortitude in tough spots.
Sam Dyson 1.0 IP, 0 H, 2 SO
Dyson came on in the top of the 11th and delivered a brilliant performance in a game he probably did not expect to pitch in. In a pithy 1-2-3- inning, Dyson set down Chirs Yelich swinging, coaxed Yordy Cabrera to line out to CF Trayce Thompson, and caught Max Stassi looking at a low-inside sinker that just barely caught the zone.
The Salt River Rafters will face Peoria this afternoon. You can follow the gamecast here.