Hey, everyone! We’re in the midst of the longest road trip of my short pro career – 12 games! We started off the trip sweeping a 4-game set at Las Vegas. We then split a 4-game series in Portland and have lost the first 2 games in Tacoma. We have 2 more games here before returning home and starting a 9-game homestand. Tucson has been able to hang with us, just 5 games back in the division with 15 games to play. It’s gonna be tight down the stretch!
If you didn’t see it, Flashfire put together a neat group of pictures from an outing I had in Sacramento. Click HERE to see it.
This trip has been especially eventful and fun for me, as I’ve been able to meet and spend time with the immediate (Tacoma) and extended (Portland) family of my brother-in-law. In Portland, I was also able to renew an old friendship from when I was growing up in Odessa, MO. My parents are visiting here in Tacoma, and it’s been great seeing them for the first time in awhile.
On the field, our offense has done a remarkable job of staying cohesive on this trip, as we’ve had a ton of player movement since we left. When we started the trip, we sent Nick Blasi to Midland to make roster room for the newly-signed Jeff DaVanon. While we were still in Vegas, we traded OF Jason Perry to Detroit for Jack Hannahan (who was sent straight to Oakland), leading to J.J. Furmaniak being optioned to us. Furthermore, while we were in Portland, DaVanon was called up (with Blasi returning from Midland), and then Dee Brown was re-called 2 days ago. Then, yesterday, J.J. Furmaniak was re-called to Oakland. So we’ve had a different lineup virtually every day, and we’ve still been able to put together a 6-4 road trip so far. The return of Dan Meyer will boost our pitching staff, and hopefully we can put together a good run and put ourselves in position to clinch.
On a side note, I want to share something I read this week. In 2005, I, along with a few other players, had the privilege of speaking to the crowd at Faith Night in Stockton, sharing my testimony after a game. To give us some support, a couple players from the other team (Lake Elsinore -- Padres' high-A team) came out on the field and sat with us, including pitcher Dirk Hayhurst. Since then, I’ve made it a point to visit with Dirk every time we run across each other’s path (usually at spring training). Well Dirk has been writing a "non-prospect diary" for Baseball America this season, and this week, his entry tells an absolutely heart-wrenching story -- in my opinion, as well as that of almost everyone I’ve shared it with so far. I highly suggest reading it. Click HERE to check it out.
In an attempt to answer more questions, I’m gonna save some space and not talk about my outings specifically. I’m trying to get caught up to the current questions... Of note: I now have more wins this year (10) as a reliever between the 2 levels than I did last year as a starter (9)...kinda bizarre! :)
Since the last GZWI...
River Cats record: 10-7
My stat line: 6 G, 2-0, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 4 BB (3 BB in one inning!! ugh!)
UPDATED SEASON STATS...
River Cats record: 74-55 (1st place – 5 games ahead of Tucson)
All-level Cumulative: 10-3, 2 SV, 2.73 ERA, 69.1 IP, 26 R, 21 ER, 64 H, 57 K, 16 BB
AAA stats: 6-3, 3.55 ERA, 45.2 IP, 20 R, 18 ER, 45 H, 39 K, 12 BB
AA stats: 4-0, 1 SV, 1.14 ERA, 23.2 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 19 H, 18 K, 4 BB
What do big leagers do when they go on rehab in the minors, such as Sacramento or Stockton? Do they hang out with the rest of the team, or do they go their own separate ways? Do they spout knowledge and talk about their experiences in the majors, or do they shy away from such topics? In short, how do they act compared to the other players and how are they treated differently, if at all? -- Zonis
For the most part, they definitely hang out with the team. Those guys are a lot of fun, and I think they enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in our clubhouse (not that they don’t get that in Oakland – but our clubhouse is easy for anyone to walk in and fit right in). They’re never hesitant to talk to us about any aspect of their career that we ask about, especially if we do it 1-on-1. The A’s have a bunch of great veterans that are great assets to the younger players in the system. Also, they usually buy us a nice post-game spread (meal), which is always a plus!
Ziggy, with the way you've been pitching, it seems likely that you'll get called up at some point, with the bullpen and injuries as is. How much anticipation is there, and do you stay awake thinking about it?
Also, do you think Daric Barton would have success in the majors today? Seems like an obvious move for a lot of fans, but for some reason A's haven't moved on this.
Also, how does it feel knowing that you'll probably have a lot of people from AN rooting strongly for you when you get called up? -- closetasfan
Obviously, I’d love a call-up. It’s been my goal since I was young, and I feel like the switch to submarine is my ticket. I just don’t know when, or if, it will happen. That’s something that’s out of my hands, and I try not to focus on it a whole lot. I just want to keep doing my job every time I’m put in a game, no matter what level I’m at.
I definitely think Barton would have some success at the big league level. He’s still young (just turned 22), and still developing as a player.
And it’d be great to have fans from AN cheering for me. It’s already happened in Midland and Sacramento, and I hope it has a chance to happen in Oakland someday!
I think Duke [Justin Duchscherer] is my favorite pitcher on the team. I love when he is on, with pinpoint control of all his pitches, it's awesome to watch him set up hitters. As an ex-pitcher (in an adult amateur league), I appreciate that and try to guess his pitch selection and location each time. Curveball, strike one! Curveball, strike two! Then I say watch, fastball on the low outside corner. BAM! Strike three! The hitter heads back to the dugout. Duke seems very calm and unrattled on the mound. What's he like in person? I urge you to pick his brain and study how he does things because I see him as an ideal model for a pitcher. -- McFood
Obviously, Duch’s rehab got cut short before he was able to pitch for us in Sacramento, but I met him in spring training, and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the guy. He’s very nice, easy to talk to, a good mentor for young pitchers, and he’s also VERY heavily involved in community outreach, which I really admire.
Brad, does the altitude of Colorado Springs affect your pitches? If so, has it flattened out your breaking pitches or not so much? -- Gerard
Yes, it does...a lot. My slider is a flat pitch anyway, but the altitude does take away some of the break in the pitch. Also, my sinker doesn’t sink nearly as much as it does in, say, Sacramento, which is nearly at sea level. So location becomes much more important when pitching at high altitudes.
Do you play video games at all? There's a PS2 game series with a cyborg named Ziggy which leads to the question: If you were a cyborg, would you use your powers for good (striking out opposing hitters) or evil (world conquest)? -- JLeverenz
Why would world conquest be evil? :-)
When is your daughter's arrival expected? Congrats on the forthcoming addition to your family! -- sarajune13
Congratulations to you and your wife! Is your daughter due in the off season? -- kapers
Thanks! Due date: October 27
I hope everyone had a great weekend! By the way, if you liked The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, I highly recommend The Bourne Ultimatum. I loved it! Come out and see us on our 9-game homestand while Oakland’s on the road. If you do, make sure you swing by the bullpen to say ‘hi.’ I’ll post again soon in an effort to get to some of the more recent questions. See ya at the ballpark!