by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
Beloit took three out of four games from the Burlington Bees, the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, in a series that wrapped up on Tuesday at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to win two out of three games from the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals’ Class-A affiliate, in a series that ended on Friday. And Beloit’s Midwest League playoff dreams are alive and well as the Snappers have played good baseball in the second half of the season.
BURLINGTON SERIES (7/29-8/1)
The general consensus is that the Angels have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball. And the 2017 Burlington Bees do nothing to dispel that notion. The only truly noteworthy prospect on the squad is RHP Joe Gatto, who is the Angels’ #26 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Game #1: Beloit 4 – Burlington 0
*The right-handed pitching trio of Seth Martinez, Heath Bowers and Sam Sheehan, while not exactly dominant – they combined to walk 5 while scattering 8 hits – still managed to shut out Burlington on Tuesday. Sheehan loaded the bases in the 9th inning with one out before striking out the next two Bees batters to preserve the shutout.
*Snappers shortstop Eric Marinez went 3 for 4 at the plate with a triple and an RBI for Beloit.
*3 of the 4 stolen bases by Beloit in this game came courtesy of leadoff hitter Mike Martin. The Snappers center fielder twice stole third base.
Game #2: Beloit 5 – Burlington 0
*LHP Kyle Twomey threw his best game as a member of the A’s organization. The former Cubs farmhand turned in a solid stat line of 5 IP/2 H/0 ER/2 BB/7 K.
*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, has primarily been pitching in long relief since returning from the disabled list on July 5. For the most part, he’s been hit pretty hard this season, with an ERA of 5.70 and opposing batters hitting .318 against him. But in this game, he threw 3 shutout innings, with RHP John Gorman contributing 1 scoreless frame to complete the 4-hit shutout for the Snappers.
*Every Beloit batter had at least 1 hit in the game.
Game #3: Beloit 4 – Burlington 3 (12 innings)
*RHP Matt Milburn, the A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, made yet another strong start, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings of work. After posting a 5.58 ERA in 59 ⅔ innings in the first half, Milburn has been sensational in the second half. He has a 1.85 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and a 47:7 K/BB ratio in 48 ⅔ innings for the Snappers in the second half.
*After having a tough time through the first 5 innings against Bees starter Joe Gatto, Beloit mounted a successful comeback against the Burlington bullpen.
*Utility man Josh Vidales, recently demoted from High Class-A Stockton, came through with a big 2-RBI single to tie the game in the 6th inning. The A’s 28th-round draft pick in 2016 was playing left field in this game. He’s also played second base and third base for the Snappers.
*Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, first baseman Kyle Nowlin, came through with a clutch home run to tie the game again in the 8th inning. It was his 10th home run of the season.
*With the bases-loaded and one out in the 12th inning, right fielder Mike Martin hit a chopper to Burlington second baseman Juan Moreno, who tried to turn a 4-6-3 double play. But Martin, with his blazing speed, managed to beat out the throw to first as the Snappers won on a walk-off fielder’s choice.
Game #4: Burlington 7 – Beloit 2
*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued to look good as a starter, but the 23-year-old was the tough-luck loser in this one despite putting up a solid stat line of 6 IP/5 H/2 R/1 ER/1 BB/7 K.
*The Snappers had just 6 hits in the loss. And catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired from the Mariners for LHP Dillon Overton in the offseason, went 2 for 3 with a walk.
PEORIA SERIES (8/2-4)
The Peoria Chiefs are one of the Snappers’ main competitors for a Western Division playoff spot in the second half. Peoria’s outfield features a pair of 1st-round picks, 2015 1st-rounder Nick Plummer and 2016 1st-rounder Dylan Carlson.
Game #1: Beloit 7 – Peoria 1
*Infielder Edwin Diaz returned to Beloit after a rough 13-game stretch in Stockton. When the A’s acquired shortstop Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal and assigned him to Double-A Midland, that sent RockHounds shortstop Richie Martin down to Stockton and bumped Diaz back to Beloit.
*LHP Zack Erwin, fresh off being named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month after he compiled a 0.69 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a 32:4 K/BB ratio in 26 innings in July, spun yet another great start for the Snappers. Utilizing his extremely effective splitter, Erwin went 6 shutout innings while giving up just 2 hits and striking out 9.
*Beloit had 14 hits in the game. First baseman Kyle Nowlin and left fielder Josh Vidales each collected 2 singles and a walk, while designated hitter Miguel Mercedes and third baseman Trace Loehr both had a pair of hits, but Loehr had to leave the game after suffering a lower body injury while legging out a triple. Outfielder Mike Martin went 3 for 5 and added a stolen base.
Game #2: Beloit 7 – Peoria 6 (10 innings)
*First baseman Miguel Mercedes fell a triple short of the cycle, finishing 3 for 5 with a booming 2-run homer to left-center field in the 6th inning.
*Catcher Jason Goldstein reached base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks.
*After being down by 6 runs at one point, Beloit then went on to score 7 unanswered runs to win 7-6 in 10 innings. It all started and ended with center fielder Mike Martin. He led off the 6th inning with a triple, which helped ignite a 4-run frame for the Snappers. And in the 10th inning, Martin once again came up with the bases loaded and one out in extra innings – the exact same situation that he’d faced three days earlier. This time, he hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home the winning run as the Snappers won in a walk-off.
Game #3: Peoria 13 – Beloit 10
*The Snappers and the Chiefs combined for a Midwest League record 20 extra-base hits in the game.
*There were a combined 15 runs scored in the 8th inning alone, 10 by Peoria and 5 by Beloit.
*Four Snappers homered in the game: Miguel Mercedes (15), Collin Theroux (12), Edwin Diaz (9), and J.C Rodriguez (4).
*Shortstop Edwin Diaz went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs while first baseman Miguel Mercedes went 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs.
*Peoria first baseman Stefan Trosclair hit for the cycle.
*After giving up 6 earned runs in 1 ⅓ innings of relief, RHP Joseph Camacho‘s 1.50 ERA rocketed to 3.55.
*Outfielder Mike Martin is a dynamic threat on the base paths. He swiped 6 bases during this home stand, and the speedster is now 20 for 22 in stolen base attempts between Beloit and Vermont this season.
*Beloit finished the home stand 1 1/2 games ahead of Peoria for the second playoff spot in the Midwest League Western Division second half.
A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:
First Baseman Miguel Mercedes
(10 for 29 / 2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)
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