By JAY LeBLANC
Orioles fans who happen to peruse the Arizona Fall League statistical leaderboards will notice some familiar names. After two weeks of AFL action, Brandon Snyder leads the circuit with 15 RBI, while Josh Bell ranks second with a .464 average. Matt Angle is the league leader in stolen bases (six) and ranks second in runs scored with 11. All three are big reasons why the Phoenix Desert Dogs sit atop the AFL East standings with a 7-4 record.
Monday, Oct. 19
Brandon Erbe got the start and fired two perfect innings, fanning two and throwing 19 of his 29 pitches for strikes. Ryohei Tanaka relieved Erbe and cruised through the third before finding trouble in the fourth. He served up a one-out solo shot to Cincinnati’s Chris Heisey, then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Tanaka got the second out of the inning on a pop-up before Indians prospect Carlos Rivero laced an RBI single to left, with a second potential run cut down at the plate. Bell had a big day at the dish, going 4-for-5 with an RBI double, a triple and three runs scored. In his lone right-handed at bat of the day, he singled off Braves first-round pick Mike Minor. Snyder went 2-for-5 with a double and a run, but also struck out twice and grounded into a double play. Phoenix picked up its fifth straight win, beating the Peoria Saguaros 6-2.
Tuesday, Oct. 20
Angle went 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot with a double, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. Brandon Waring, hitting third and playing third base, went 1-for-4 with a double, a run and a walk. He fanned twice to bring his AFL total to seven through 13 at bats. Josh Perrault came on in relief in the seventh and promptly allowed his first AFL run when Heisey followed a Brandon Hicks (Braves) double with an RBI single. He escaped further trouble with help from catcher A.J. Jimenez, who gunned down Heisey on a steal attempt for the second out of the inning. The Peoria Saguaros tallied six runs in the ninth to hand the Desert Dogs their second loss of the season, 11-8.
Wednesday, Oct. 21
Snyder went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and matched the AFL single-game season-high of seven RBI in the Desert Dogs’ 17-4 rout of the Peoria Javelinas. He took Nick Hill (Mariners) deep to center for a two-run shot in the third and blasted a three-run bomb - also to center - off 2007 Seattle first-rounder Phillippe Aumont in the seventh. Snyder also had a two-run single and a double, and even managed a stolen base. Not to be outdone, Bell went 4-for-5 with a three-run bomb his own off Aumont and a double. He went 2-for-2 with a double against Hill, a southpaw. Angle went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.
Thursday, Oct. 22
Snyder, hitting fourth and serving as the designated hitter, was the only Orioles farmhand in the starting lineup. He went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout, and drove in a run on a sac fly in the fourth. Perrault came on in the ninth and sandwiched a groundout between a pair of walks to put runners on first and second, then buckled down and got the next two batters to fly out to escape unscathed. Phoenix fell 9-6 to the Peoria Javelinas in a game in which 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) served up three homers in allowing eight runs, seven of them earned, in 2 2/3 innings.
Friday, Oct. 23
Angle, leading off and playing center field, went 3-for-5 with a walk, a strikeout, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Snyder hit third and played first, and went 0-for-4 with a walk, a run and two RBI on a pair of fielder’s choice groundouts. He also turned a nifty double play in the second, snaring a Bryan Anderson (Cardinals) line drive and firing to Bell before baserunner Jeff Bianchi (Royals) could scamper back to third. Bell faced only right-handers on the day and went 1-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored, and struck out three times. Phoenix was outslugged by the Surprise Rafters 15-12.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Erbe‘s second AFL start didn’t go quite as smoothly as his first as he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings. He fanned two and threw 33 of his 54 pitches for strikes. Tanaka relieved Erbe in the third and ended up earning the win to even his AFL record at 1-1. He allowed two hits and a walk over 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out two. Angle hit leadoff and went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI single, two runs scored and a stolen base. Bell entered the game as the AFL’s leading hitter at .600 but went 0-for-3 (0-for-2 with a K from the right side) to lower his average to .464. Waring went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and also earned an RBI on a bases-loaded walk during a five-run fifth. Phoenix closed out the week with a 7-3 win over Scottsdale.
This Week’s Stud: Angle went 11-for-20 (.550) with two doubles, three RBI, eight runs and four stolen bases out of the leadoff spot. He edges Bell, who went 9-for-18 (.500) with two doubles, a triple, a homer, five RBI and six runs scored, and Snyder, who hit .385 for the week with a seven-RBI game.
This Week’s Dud: Perrault. He appeared in two games and allowed only one run in two innings, but gave up two hits and two walks in the process. Eddie Gamboa didn’t appear in any of the Desert Dogs’ six games this past week.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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