Coming off of a nine-game homestand, the Salt Lake Bees (16-14) will be in Las Vegas this week for a six-game series against the Las Vegas Aviators (17-13). The two top teams in the Pacific Coast League West will be battling it out over six days in the Vegas heat
Coming off of a nine-game homestand, the Salt Lake Bees (16-14) will be in Las Vegas this week for a six-game series against the Las Vegas Aviators (17-13). The two top teams in the Pacific Coast League West will be battling it out over six days in the Vegas heat for the chance to become the best team in the division at the end of it all.
The Bees are coming off a stretch of nine games in 10 days against Round Rock and Tacoma. They took two out of three from Round Rock and four out of six from Tacoma and are currently 7-3 over their last 10 games. They won four games in a row in the series against Tacoma, marking the first time they had done that since August of 2021, and were three games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2018 season.
David MacKinnon had a monster homestand for the Bees, hitting .375 (12-for-32) with two home runs, eight RBI, and twelve runs scored. In Friday’s 9-5 win over Tacoma, the 27-year-old went 4-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI, and ten total bases. Dillon Thomas also was hot at home, hitting .394 (13-for-33) with three doubles, six RBI, and eight runs scored.
César Valdez made two quality starts, striking out 17 batters and earning the win in both. He pitched his second complete game of the season on Thursday against Tacoma, going all nine innings and striking out eight. He is the only pitcher in all of baseball to have thrown two nine-inning complete games this season and is one of just two pitchers to have gone the distance even once (Walker Buehler).
The Bees are currently tied with Oklahoma City for the third-best batting average in the PCL (.275) and have the third-best ERA (4.25) in the league. They also have the lowest number of strikeouts at the plate (215) and have given up the lowest number of walks (99) and home runs (27) as a pitching staff.
The Aviators also won four out of six in their last series, as they were on the road in Sacramento last week. Las Vegas outscored the River Cats 31-14 in the series, shutting them out twice. Just like the Bees, they are 7-3 over their last 10 games, but unlike the Bees, they have yet to lose a series so far in 2022.
Las Vegas’ Parker Dunshee was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week on Monday after going six innings and allowing just one hit while striking out six batters in a 5-0 win over Sacramento last Wednesday. Dunshee is now 1-1 with a 3.25 ERA in six games for Las Vegas and has allowed just one earned run in his last two outings.
Catcher Shea Langeliers has been huge at the plate for Las Vegas, leading all of Triple-A in OPS, with a 1.093 so far in 2022. He ranks second in slugging percentage (.683) and home runs (11) and is tied for seventh in RBI with 24. His .317 batting average is the best on the team and top-20 in Triple-A.
The battle to be the best in the west begins on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. Mountain time at Las Vegas Ballpark.