Wanted to give a little tip of the hat to some Dust Devils statistical leaders before we get going.
How about 2B-SS Tim Smalling, who is leading the Northwest League with six triples and is tied for the lead with 18 doubles. Smalling needs three more triples to tie the Colorado Rockies' short-season record of 9 (held by Sandy Almonte in 2003) and needs just seven doubles to match Aaron Meyers' mark of 24 set in 1996.
Tri-City starting pitcher Christian Bergman, who is on the mother of all hot streaks on the mound. In his last six starts, he's allowed just five runs, all of which came in the first two innings of his last start — a loss in Everett. He's the only Dust Devils pitcher to ever record a complete-game shutout, and he's done it twice.
Anyway, Bergman leads the league with 84 2/3 innings pitched, complete games (2) and is tied for the league lead with seven victories.
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Can you guess who he's tied with? Tri-City reliever Nelson Gonzalez, who has a 7-0 record.
That reminds me, it's going to be awfully tough for NWL coaches when it comes time to decide the league all-star team. Tri-City has at least four pitchers who deserve consideration.
Bergman is a virtual lock based on his two complete-game shutouts, but don't forget that Tyler Gagnon was named the NWL pitcher of the week for two weeks running. He'll be difficult to ignore.
And then there's Gonzalez, who should grab the right-handed reliever spot. Kenneth Roberts, with his nine saves and 1.93 ERA.
In the field, I'd say Smalling has a good shot at second base, and Brian Humphries, who is third in the league with 43 runs scored will get a look in the outfield.
Certainly, this could be a record year for Dust Devils on the NWL all-star team.
Still no score in this one. It's a good pitching duel between Gagnon and Spokane lefty Chris Hanna.
Gagnon has done pretty well through five innings, but his pitch count is getting up there in the high 70s. He'll start the sixth, but I wouldn't expect to see him go much further than that.
Tri-City got the lead runner on in both the first and second innings, but the Indians turned a pair of double-plays to stay out of trouble.
Hanna, meanwhile, has set down 11 in a row since the second inning and has faced the minimum number of hitters through five.
Roberts comes in for Gagnon with one out in the sixth. Gagnon was looking a little gassed after walking Odor to lead off the inning and then throwing a pickoff attempt into the field level box seats to send him to second.
Roberts' first batter — Indians cleanup man Brett Nicholas — lined a double down the line in right to bring in Odor for a 1-0 lead.
Still a tight game. The Dust Devils have been good about responding in these situations this year. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them get something going here soon.
I feel bad for Jordan Ribera, who returned after a four-week absence for a pulled groin last week, but he doesn't have a hit since coming back on Aug. 13. Counting his first two at-bats tonight, he's 0-for-25 since his return.
Funny thing, though. There aren't too many people worried about Ribera, who has been a model of self-control and maturity this year. Jordan will be fine. Once he gets that first hit, watch out.
Sure would be nice if it were tonight.
Roberts gives up a leadoff double in the seventh, but retires the next three in order to get himself out of the jam.
There's an unusual trend of laughing baby videos on YouTube. I don't care how much of a hard guy you are, if you see them you will crack a smile.
But there's a baby girl with her family sitting in front of me; she can't be more than nine or 10 months old. She's got the cutest laugh — more of an excited squeal, actually — I've ever heard. Her family is bouncing her up and down to get a reaction from her, and it's working.
Now they're holding her upside down. I think she likes that, but it's tough to tell if she's starting to laugh or cry.
Ooops, here come the waterworks. It is past 9 p.m. Maybe it's just past her bedtime.
The score holds up, but not before the Dust Devils make things interesting in the ninth. Tri-City manager Freddie Ocasio sent up a couple left-handed pinch hitters — Tyler Massey and Brian Humphries — to face Spokane's right-handed closer Matt West. Both singled to start the inning. Humphries bunted up the first base line and dove into first to beat the toss from first baseman Trever Adams.
Leadoff man Taylor Featherston then laid a bunt down the first-base side, but Adams got to it quickly and threw out Massey at third. That was a killer because instead of two runners in scoring position with no force play in effect, Spokane could still turn a double play. They already had two in the game.
Sure enough, the Indians got the twin-killing. Tim Smalling grounded West's first pitch to second baseman Odor, who tagged Humphries and threw to first to end the game.
That's a great 1-0 win for Spokane.