The last day before the trading deadline brought some conversation in the stands at Golden Park in Columbus tonight, as the fans watched the Columbus Catfish split a doubleheader with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins).
More about the trades in a moment.
Game One: Greensboro 6, Catfish 5
The Catfish jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when SS Ivan De Jesus singled. With one out, he stole second. 2B Travis Denker walked. 3B Russell Mitchell doubled, scoring De Jesus and Denker.
In the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th innings, Greensboro tallied runs to take a 6-2 lead. Not a team to quit, the Catfish scratched out three runs in the 6th, to narrow it to 6-5.
RF Lucas May was hit by a pitch. With one out, LF Adam Godwin doubled, advancing Luke to third. CF Bridger Hunt reached on a fielder's choice, with Luke scoring and Adam Godwin safe on the attempt at third. DH Juan Rivera doubled, scoring Godwin scores and advancing Bridger Hunt to third. De Jesus grounded out, scoring Hunt. But that's as close as the Catfish came. Greensboro pitcher Bradley Stone faced the final four Catfish batters in the 6th and 7th, recording four outs.
Catfish P Arismendy Castillo was tagged with the loss, allowing 5 runs in 4 innings.
Game Two: Catfish 3, Greensboro 1
The second game was a low-scoring affair. Down 1-0 in the second, 1B David Sutherland homered (his 5th) to the old hot tub stand behind right field.
In the fourth, 2B Travis Denker homered (his 5th) over the St. Francis sign atop the left field wall.
In the sixth, CF Bridger Hunt doubled. With one out, Travis Denker singled on a grounder to center, scoring Hunt, and making it 3-1 in favor of the Catfish.
Starting pitcher Joe Jones allowed one run on 3 hits. That one run came on Greensboro DH Brett Hayes homering to left in the second inning. Reliever David Pfeiffer pitched one inning, allowing a double by Greensboro RF Matthew Kutler. Kutler later advanced to third with one out, but was thrown at at home on a sacrifice fly attempt. Catfish LF Lucas May caught Trent D'Antonio's fly ball, then threw out Kutler at home when the Greensboro runner tried to score on the fly ball. Luke's on-target throw saved a run and protected the lead, getting the Catfish out of the inning with no damage done.
Reliever Ramon Troncoso came in with two on and nobody out in the 6th and got the Catfish out of the inning. He ran into a little trouble in the 7th when one batter reached on a strike out wild pitch, and another was hit by a pitch. He managed to get the final batter to fly out to end the game and secure the win for the Catfish.
At the moment, I'm unsure who was the winning pitcher. Jones only went 4 innings, and by rule cannot be the winning pitcher. Pfeiffer pitched one inning, but allowed a runner in scoring position in the next inning before being lifted with nobody. Troncoso got out of the inning, but allowed a runner in scoring position in the 7th before getting the last out of the game.
As I write this, MinorLeagueBaseball.com has both Pfeiffer and Troncoso listed as the winning pitcher ... on the same page. If I was the official scorer, I'd credit it to Troncoso. By rule, the official scorer makes the call for situations such as this. Regardless of whether Pfeiffer gets his 2nd win and Troncoso his 12th save, or if Troncoso gets his 4th win, the Catfish got the win ... and the split with Greensboro.
Mooneyham's Streak Ends
Catfish 1B/DH Jason Mooneyham had reached base safely in 46 straight games prior to tonight. He extended that to 47 in game one when he walked in the 5th and 6th innings. He also reached on a fielder's choice in the 3rd.
In game two, however, Mooneyham struck out three times and never reached base.
His streak of 47 straight games reaching base helped him reach a .427 on-base percentage, tops of the current Catfish players and second in the SAL, behind Rome/Lake County player Maximiliano Ramirez (.429; .408 with Rome, .605 with Lake County).
Some former Catfish were in the news on the final day of the trading deadline in Major League Baseball. Sergio Pedroza, who played much of this season in Columbus before being promoted to Vero Beach, was traded to Tampa Bay along with former South Georgia Waves (the Catfish old name) player Joel Guzman. The Dodgers got infielder Julio Lugo from the Devil Rays.
Both Guzman and Pedroza should have a better chance for advancement in the Tampa Bay organization, since the Dodgers are stocked in the minors in the outfield.
The Dodgers also picked up Elmer Dessens from the Royals for Odalis Perez and former Catfish pitchers Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel. Pimentel holds the all-time Columbus record for consecutive strike-outs (8) and strike-outs in a game (16). Those records were set in a game in Columbus in 2004.
Former Catfish 1B Dan Batz
The Greensboro series marked the first time the Wife and I have seen Dan Batz since his release from the Dodgers organization on the last day of Spring Training. Actually, we hadn't seen him since last year, but Dan's release prior to the season gave us reason to think we wouldn't see him this year at all. However, after playing for several weeks in an independent league in Massachusetts, he was signed by the Marlins and assigned to Greensboro.
Dan's not been starting many games. His fielding is as good as ever, but he's struggling at the plate. However, he played in three of the four games this series.
He did not play Friday, but played first Saturday. Sunday was rained out. Monday's first game had Dan on the bench. But he came in for SS Paul Witt in the fourth inning, and stayed in the game at first. In the second game, he played the entire game at first, being lifted for a pinch runner with two out in the 7th.
Dan was 0-for-2 with an RBI in game one, and 0-2 in game two, reaching when he was hit by a pitch.
It was great to see Dan again. He was one of the two players the Wife and I sponsored last season. The other, Lucas May, is still with the Catfish, and we've had the pleasure of seeing him all season long. I realize it may seem like I'm mentioning Dan much more than Luke, but that's because we haven't had the chance to see him as much.
Both Luke and Dan are great young men, and we're honored to know them both. I look forward to continuing to follow their careers, whatever team they play for.