by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
The Beloit Snappers took just one of three games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this weekend.
If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because these two teams just met for a 4-game series the previous weekend. It was definitely an odd scheduling quirk. But this series saw the Snappers looking to play spoiler to the River Bandits’ playoff hopes in what were the final three games of the Midwest League’s first-half divisional race for both teams.
Game #1: Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3
*RHP Mitchell Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, was not fooling any of the River Bandits batters in this game. The 22-year-old gave up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3, and he didn’t strike out a batter in 4 innings of work. Jordan also gave up 3 home runs, two of which traveled over 430 feet.
*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued his stellar season out of the Beloit bullpen with what was probably his best performance of the season, if not the best of his pro career. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8 over 4 scoreless innings for the Snappers.
*Second baseman Nate Mondou has served as a model of consistency in the Snappers lineup this season, so it’s odd to see him in the midst of slump. And it didn’t help when Bandits right fielder Ronnie Dawson went all out to make a diving catch to rob Mondou of what would have been an RBI double. So the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016 decided to take a different approach in his second at-bat. Mondou hit a seeing-eye ground-ball single to Dawson in right. And with that, he snapped his 0-for-17 skid.
*Last year’s 1st-round pick for the Astros, RHP Forrest Whitley, dominated the Snappers for the second time in less than a week, striking out 8 while throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief for Quad Cities.
*With the end of the first half of the season drawing near, it seemed as though Beloit’s batters were running on empty. They combined to strike out 16 times in this 9-inning game.
Game #2: Beloit 4 – Quad Cities 3 (10 innings)
*23-year-old LHP Zack Erwin was effective at keeping the ball low in the zone, getting 8 ground-ball outs for the Snappers. His final line for the night was an impressive 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/0 BB/4 K.
*Slap-hitting third baseman Trace Loehr lined a key 2-run double in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Beloit the lead, but it was just his 5th extra-base hit this season (3 doubles and 2 triples).
*The A’s 5th-round pick last year, outfielder JaVon Shelby, possesses an above-average throwing arm in the outfield, and the converted third baseman showed both the good and the bad that can result from that in this game. Shelby threw out a runner at home plate from his position in center field at one point. But after a lineout to center, he tried to double-up the runner at first base. Unfortunately, the throw went high and wide of first baseman Miguel Mercedes, ricocheting off the dugout fence and allowing the runner to advance to second.
*As the game entered extra innings, Beloit’s fans were eagerly awaiting a home-team hero to end the game so that they could enjoy the scheduled post-game fireworks. That hero was shortstop Eric Marinez. In the bottom of the 10th, he lined an RBI single to left field to score first baseman Kyle Nowlin from second base as the Snappers celebrated a walk-off win in extra innings.
Game #3: Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3
*RHP Brandon Bailey, the 6th-round pick of the A’s in 2016, hurled another solid game (5 IP/3 H/2 ER/3 BB/5 K). There had been some question as to whether or not he could hold up as a starter, but he’s so far put those questions to rest with a terrific first half for Beloit. And Bailey is now sporting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 53 innings for the Snappers.
*Second baseman Nate Mondou smashed a line-drive, 2-run single that deflected off the glove of diving River Bandits first baseman Taylor Jones. And it was more than welcome for Mondou, who’s hit for a .137 batting average this month.
*Outfielder JaVon Shelby went 1 for 13 with 8 strikeouts in the series. Shelby finished the first half with a total of 98 strikeouts, the second-most by a player in the Midwest League, and he’s now struck out in a full 45% of his at-bats for the Snappers.
*With RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer promoted to Stockton, RHP Michael Murray and LHP Ty Damron on the shelf with injuries, and RHP Dakota Chalmers working on his mechanics in extended spring training, it has recently left the Snappers searching for pitchers who can give them effective innings. While it’s difficult for a pitching staff to withstand that many losses, it will certainly give some other young pitchers in the organization a chance to show just what they’ve got.
A’s Prospect of the Series:
(4 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)
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