The purpose of "Crooked Numbers" is to take a look back at the month that was in the Minors, highlighting some of the curious and absurd incidents that have taken place. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to get in touch with suggestions.
Have (padded) glove, will travel: Diamondbacks farmhand Alex Herrnberger is currently on the disabled list and has played just eight games this season and 15 in his pro career. But the peripatetic backstop has suited up for five teams at five levels of play within this exceedingly small sample size, including four in 2010.
Most notably, Herrnberger appeared as a pinch-hitter with two different teams on Aug. 3 alone. He was summoned from extended spring training all the way to Triple-A, arriving in Tacoma as a member of the visiting Reno Aces (an emergency move necessitated by the Diamondbacks' trade of catcher Chris Snyder). He collected a pinch-hit double that afternoon in Tacoma and was then assigned to the Class A Short-Season Yakima Bears. He arrived in Yakima in time for that evening's game, popping out in his lone at-bat with the club.
Power surge: Mavericks third baseman Edilio Colina went 389 at-bats without a home run this season, finally connecting for an inside-the-park homer on Aug. 12. The very next day he managed to hit one out of the park, and he blasted yet another dinger on Aug. 29. Both of Colina's fence-clearing blasts came against Rob Musgrave of the Lake Elsinore Storm.
Rehabbing into the record books: Phillies slugger Ryan Howard played for the Lakewood BlueClaws in 2002, driving in 87 runs over 135 games. He returned on a rehab assignment in 2007, collecting four more RBIs to tie the franchise record of 91. Fast forward to Aug. 20, when Howard appeared for the BlueClaws in yet another rehab assignment. More than eight years after first playing for the club, he finally broke the franchise RBI record with a sixth-inning double. As an added bonus, Howard had his No. 29 jersey retired by the BlueClaws in a pregame ceremony.
Rehabbing into the record books, part II: When Lou Montanez was called up to the Baltimore Orioles in 2008, he was in the midst of a club-record 19-game hitting streak with the Bowie Baysox. The outfielder extended that streak to 21 games during a 2009 rehab assignment from Aug. 11-12, and after another rehab assignment this August, it now sits at 23. "Who knows? Maybe someday down the road I'll come back and keep it going," said Montanez, who currently plays for Triple-A Norfolk.
When it rains...: The Mobile BayBears committed four errors during their 10-2 loss against Chattanooga on Aug. 24. And not only were all four of these errors committed in the same inning, but they were charged to the same player! The fumbling fielder in question was Sean Coughlin, whose quartet of miscues at first base led to seven unearned runs. The nightmare frame was not indicative of his season as a whole, however, as Coughlin has experienced no other multi-error games and has committed just eight overall this season.
What goes around comes around: In the span of just five days, the Sacramento River Cats managed to blow an 11-run lead and overcome an 11-run deficit. The agony of improbable defeat occurred Aug. 7 as the 'Cats roared to a 12-1 lead after five innings before allowing the Albuquerque Isotopes to slowly chip away. The Isotopes scored five runs in the ninth to tie the game at 12-12, and Ivan DeJesus Jr. delivered an RBI single in the 12th to seal the dramatic comeback.
But Sacramento turned the tables against the Round Rock Express on Aug. 11. The Express jumped out to an 11-0 lead after two innings, but the River Cats scored five in the fourth, two in the sixth, one in the seventh and five in the ninth for a doubly improbable 13-11 victory. Jeff Baisley's three-run homer in the ninth tied the game, and Eric Sogard doubled in the go-ahead run three batters later.
On the rebound: The Casper Ghosts suffered a 20-8 drubbing at the hands of the Helena Brewers on Aug. 26, but it was a different story the next night as they walloped Missoula by a score of 26-3.
Smallest ball: The Fresno Grizzlies enjoyed a massive 11-run inning against Colorado Springs on Aug. 23, but this barrage of runs was accomplished without an extra-base hit. The frame included 11 singles and two walks, with Matt Yourkin, Emmanuel Burriss and Eugenio Velez each reaching base and scoring twice.
This too shall pass, eventually: The Dayton Dragons defeated the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Field on June 28. Little did anyone know at the time that it would be seven weeks before the team would win another game at home. The Dragons' epic 24-game losing streak at Fifth Third finally came to an end Aug. 21 as they defeated Lake County by a score of 6-3. Dayton went on to sweep the four-game series.
Dayton draggin': One of the more painful defeats of the Dragons' epic home losing streak occurred Aug. 8 as West Michigan scored nine runs in the first inning en route to a 21-10 shellacking. The nine runs came on five hits, six walks and two errors, and Dayton starter Tim Crabbe was removed from the game after recording just two outs.
Far from a masterpiece: Three Connecticut Tigers hurlers combined for a one-hitter against the Vermont Lake Monsters on Aug. 27 but nonetheless allowed 13 runners to reach base. Patrick Lawson yielded a hit and six walks over 5 1/3 innings, and Tyler Clark and Drew Gagnier issued three free passes apiece. The opposing Lake Monsters walked nine batters as well, bringing the total in the ballgame to an excruciating 21 free passes.
The hangover: The High Desert Mavericks can't seem to win on Saturdays as the club has lost 10 straight and 13 of the last 14 (they're 4-17 overall on Saturdays). Fridays are a totally different story, however, as the Mavericks are a scorching 19-4.
Not a storybook ending: Aug. 6's ballgame between Syracuse and Rochester ended with a highly unexpected double play. The Chiefs were down, 4-3, in the bottom of the 13th inning but loaded the bases with one out. Brian Dinkelman then hit a pop-up, and the infield-fly rule was called for the second out. But after no one caught the ball, Brock Peterson attempted to sprint home with the tying run. He was thrown out to end the game.
We can't figure it out, either: The Clearwater Threshers recorded a 9-5-4-3-6-3 double play against Fort Myers on Aug. 4. Nathan Hanson came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded, and here's how the game's play-by-play log describes what ensued:
"Nathan Hanson grounds into double play, right fielder Derrick Mitchell to third baseman Korby Mintken to second baseman Fidel Hernandez to third baseman Korby Mintken to shortstop Troy Hanzawa to first baseman Darin Ruf. Brian Dozier out at 3rd. Evan Bigley out at 2nd."
Efforts by the "Crooked Numbers" crack investigation team to figure out what happened here have been unsuccessful. Please, get in touch if you happened to witness this rather elaborate twin killing.
No relief: The weirdness in Clearwater continued to the next night as the Threshers eked out a 14-13 win over Fort Myers despite issuing 12 walks. Complete lack of control notwithstanding, the Threshers were able to overcome deficits of 3-0, 8-4 and 13-9. Only two of the Threshers' 13 hits went for extra bases, but this lack of power was made up for by an abundance of timely hitting as the club went 9-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Just plain ugly: The Portland Beavers committed four errors and gave up seven home runs against Tacoma on Aug. 26 -- and still managed to win by five runs. The Beavers' 17-12 victory was largely attributable to Cedric Hunter, who drove in eight runs (more than he had collected in his previous 25 ballgames combined). This 29-run, 40-hit contest came on the heels of a game in which the two teams combined for just two runs and nine hits as Portland eked out a 2-0 win on Aug. 25.
The last out is the toughest: On Aug. 7 in Bakersfield, the San Jose Giants had two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the first inning -- and then all hell broke loose. "All hell", in this case, looked like this: single, single, error, walk, double, error, home run, double, single, homer, walk. By the time Michael Sandoval struck out to end the frame, the Giants had scored 11 runs. They went on to win, 15-6.
Getting it done on one end: Chattanooga right-hander Chris Withrow endured his worst start of the season against Carolina on Aug. 10, allowing nine runs on 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings. He escaped the loss largely thanks to his own offensive heroics, as his third-inning grand slam played a significant role in the Lookouts eventual 12-10 victory.
Do the limbo: 19-year-old lefty Tyler Skaggs recently missed more than three weeks of game action and for a most arcane reason. As Curt Rallo reported in MiLB.com's Midwest League Notebook:
"Tyler Skaggs is a pitcher for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but then again, he isn't. Skaggs, the 'player to be named later' in last month's Dan Haren trade, is supposed to stay in the Midwest League and report to Arizona's South Bend affiliate, but he has been snagged by Major League Baseball rules. Skaggs is not allowed to join the D-backs until he has been in pro ball for one year, and since he didn't sign his contract until Aug. 7, 2009, he can't yet report to the Silver Hawks."
Skaggs finally made his South Bend debut Aug. 19, allowing a run over two innings of work in a start against Lansing.
Seeing Double: There are only two players in Minor League Baseball with the last name of "Buchanan," and on Aug. 12 they opposed one another on the pitcher's mound. In the end, David of the Williamsport Crosscutters outdueled Jake of the Tri-City ValleyCats, and the Crosscutters coasted to a 5-2 victory.
Playing Catch-Up: Mike Stanton was called up to the Marlins on June 6 after hitting 21 home runs over 53 games. He remained atop the Southern League home run leaderboard all the way until Aug. 29, when Carlos Peguero of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx hit his 22nd dinger of the season.