By JAY LeBLANC
It was a bad week for the Orioles pitchers, but Brandon Snyder’s outstanding AFL campaign continued as he reached base in more than half his plate appearances.
Monday, Nov. 2
Snyder singled, walked four times and scored two runs out of the No. 3 hole, and started a pair of 3-6-3 double plays in the field. Josh Bell went 1-for-4 with a walk and grounded into a double play, with all of his at bats coming from the left side. Matt Angle hit eighth and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) tossed five innings of one-run ball and struck out six to earn his third victory as Phoenix cruised to a 10-2 win over the Surprise Rafters.
Tuesday, Nov. 3
Bell served as the DH and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single, a walk and two strikeouts, all from the left side. Eddie Gamboa entered with the score tied at four in the ninth and tossed two scoreless frames. He fanned two without issuing a walk and picked a runner off first to end the 10th. Josh Perrault came on in the 11th and took the loss after allowing a run on three hits. He was lucky to escape without more damage, as one out was recorded on a sac bunt and a runner was caught stealing. Phoenix fell to Surprise, 5-4.
Wednesday, Nov. 4
Angle went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts out of the leadoff spot, and was credited with an RBI after getting plunked with the bases loaded in the ninth. Snyder, batting third and playing first base, went 1-for-3 with a walk. Brandon Waring got the start at third and went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts as the cleanup hitter. Phoenix rallied in the ninth but came up short, falling 3-2 to the Peoria Saguaros.
Thursday, Nov. 5
Ryohei Tanaka got the start and allowed one run in his first three innings. He was lifted after allowing two singles, a home run and a double to open the fourth and finished with a line of five earned runs on eight hits in three innings. Gamboa came on in the ninth with Phoenix leading by three but couldn’t close the door. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and a walk and was replaced by Perrault with two outs and runners on first and third. Perrault secured Phoenix’s 12-11 win over the Peoria Saguaros by inducing a groundout. Snyder served as the DH and went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple, a double, a run and two walks out of the No. 3 hole. Bell went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, with all of his at bats coming from the left side.
Friday, Nov. 6
Waring got the start at third. He went 1-for-4 with a solo shot off Japanese leaguer Kenta Abe, but he also fanned twice and made his first error of the AFL season. Snyder went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk out of the No. 3 hole. Angle went 1-for-3 as the leadoff hitter and drove in a run with a sac fly. Phoenix lost 8-4 to the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Saturday, Nov. 7 - AFL Rising Stars Game
Snyder started for the AFL East All-Stars, batting third and playing first base. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk. Bell was named as a last-minute injury replacement for Cubs prospect Josh Vitters. He started at third, hitting eighth, and drove in a run with a sac fly and walked in his two plate appearances. Brandon Erbe was selected for the game but didn’t pitch because of a jammed pinky finger on his right (pitching) hand. The West All-Stars prevailed, 8-7.
This Week’s Stud: Snyder went 4-for-11 (.364) with a double, a triple, three runs scored and two RBI. Most impressively, he walked eight times - giving him an absurd .632 on-base percentage for the week - and fanned just once. He also reached base twice in the Rising Stars Game.
This Week’s Dud: Erbe managed to hurt himself and the Orioles’ other AFL pitchers had subpar weeks. Tanaka was the worst of the bunch, coughing up five runs on eight hits in three innings in his lone appearance. He was just bad enough to edge Angle, who went 1-for-11.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.