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Monday Morning Minors

I've recently learned a lot about what constitutes an earned run vs. an unearned run. In the past I think I've internally mocked unearned runs and blamed the pitcher for them more than I should have. I still do have a bit of an issue with an unearned run being given on all runs scored after the third out "should have" been made. When a pitcher gives up seven runs - all unearned - after the third out that "should have" been, I find fault.

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention Kane County's Jared Lansford at the top of the MMM. In Lansford's professional debut back on May 1st, the 19 year-old went five full innings before allowing his first hit. On Sunday he went all seven innings of a double-header game (minor league DHs are seven innings each) without allowing a hit, good for the third no-hitter in Kane County history. Lansford said after the game that he threw mostly fastballs and change-ups, and because he was on a strict pitch count, he didn't try to strike guys out, but instead made hitters get themselves out. He K'd just two and was a touch wild - five walks and a HBP - but it's hard to nitpick at a no-no.

In Jason Windsor's last three starts in Midland he gave up a total of two runs and struck out 20 against five walks. For the year he had a 2.97 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. He got called up to Sacramento partly because they were strip mined of their pitchers by Oakland, but mostly because he was very deserving of more challenging hitters. His first triple-A start was on Thursday and went quite nicely. Over 6 1/3 Windsor allowed two runs on six hits, while striking out four and walking just one. He earned a win for Sacramento, a team which hasn't seen many good starts lately and has fallen to a 16-20 record.

There was a little outfield shuffling this week, as Travis Buck went to double-A and Jason Perry to triple-A. Buck was a doubles machine, but did so in the hitter friendly Cal League. Several Oakland farmhands put up obscene offensive numbers in Stockton/Modesto, only to struggle in Midland. Buck did what he does best and doubled in his first Midland plate appearance.

After struggling a bit last year in Midland, Perry finally made the adjustments he needed to and has been spectacular. He leaves Midland with a .402 average, tops in the Texas League. His power was down a bit (8 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR in 107 ABs), but how can you argue with a .476 OBP? He isn't a player many scouts like, but at least he can play a passable left field as opposed to being stuck as a first base/DH type.

The opening in Sacramento that Perry filled was previously occupied by Matt Watson. The outfielder battered PCL pitching for more than two years with Sacramento before deciding earlier this week to go play in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines, where Bobby Valentine manages. Watson told the Sacramento Bee that he had wanted to do this for a while, and had grown tired of bouncing around the minors for so long. It is a shame that Oakland couldn't find a place for Watson, who deserved better than he got. In Japan Watson should make good money, which he has earned after putting in his time here. He had just a small taste of the majors, but with a little luck and even more hard work, the major leagues will come calling again.

A few quick notes, Brad Sullivan was assigned to Stockton from extended spring training, but has struggled in his first outings. Also in Stockton, Cliff Pennington pulled a hammy on Tuesday, but isn't expected to miss much time. Maybe the time off will help him get back on track (sure couldn't hurt). Mike Massaro (13th round, 2005) had missed a couple weeks with an injury, started playing again at the beginning of the week. Massaro hasn't displayed much power and has an OBP over .400, but is old (22) for the Midwest League.

I don't really have a question for you this week, so I'll just make something up. If a turtle loses its shell, is it homeless or naked? And I won't accept `both' as an answer. That's too easy.