By JAY LeBLANC
The previously red-hot bats of Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder cooled significantly this week, but all four Orioles pitchers were impressive.
Monday, Oct. 26
Matt Angle went 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot, and Snyder and Bell both went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, with Snyder scoring a run and Bell crossing the plate twice. Bell singled off southpaw Dustin Richardson (Red Sox) in his lone right-handed at bat of the day, igniting a ninth-inning rally that culminated with a walk-off grand slam by Nevin Ashley (Rays) that lifted Phoenix to a 9-5 victory over Mesa.
Tuesday, Oct. 27
Bell, the only Orioles farmhand to appear in Tuesday’s game, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a run scored as the cleanup hitter and designated hitter. In his lone right-handed at bat of the day, he was plunked by Matt Harrison (Rangers). Nationals top prospect Stephen Strasburg bounced back from an atrocious outing on Oct. 22 to earn the victory with 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball as Phoenix topped the Surprise Rafters, 7-6.
Wednesday, Oct. 28
Snyder started at first base and went 1-for-4 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored out of the No. 3 spot. Brandon Waring, playing third and batting fifth, went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple, two runs scored and a strikeout. Eddie Gamboa pitched for the first time in 12 days and was credited with a hold after tossing a scoreless seventh. He allowed two singles to open the frame but escaped with a K and a double play. Phoenix beat the Peoria Javelinas 11-6.
Thursday, Oct. 29
Snyder and Bell went a combined 0-for-7 as Phoenix managed just six hits in a 4-0 loss to the Peoria Saguaros. Snyder fanned three times and flew out in his four at bats, and Bell - batting exclusively left-handed - flew out twice and grounded into a double play.
Friday, Oct. 30
Brandon Erbe got the start and allowed one earned run - a solo homer by Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers) - on three hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings. He fanned five and threw 51 of his 71 pitches for strikes. Ryohei Tanaka relieved Erbe in the fifth and allowed a hit and a walk and notched a pair of strikeouts in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Josh Perrault pitched around a leadoff single in a scoreless ninth with an assist from Ashley, who gunned down Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain on an attempted steal of third. Snyder, hitting third and playing first base, went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, but the Desert Dogs fell 5-4 to the Peoria Javelinas.
Saturday, Oct. 31
Waring got the start at first base and went 0-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly out of the No. 3 hole. Bell served as the designated hitter and went 0-for-4, with three of his four at bats coming from the left side. Gamboa entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and induced three straight groundouts. He ended up earning a hold as Phoenix held on to beat the Mesa Solar Sox, 4-3.
This Week’s Stud: Erbe pitched effectively and showed good command in his Friday start and now has a 2.00 ERA and 9-to-2 K-to-walk ratio through nine innings. He gets the nod over the Orioles’ trio of relievers - Gamboa, Perrault and Tanaka - which combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
This Week’s Dud: Bell entered the week ranked second in the AFL in hitting at .464 but lost 131 points off that average by going 1-for-14 (.071). He failed to knock in a single run.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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