Here are a few pertinent links for your weekend reading enjoyment:
- ESPN’s Jason Stark gives his recap of the season’s first month and names the Rockies the Team of the Month. Also gives props to former Sky Sox Jonathan Herrera for a great under-the-radar month.
- Sports Illustrated has a feature story this week about the Rockies, with a focus on Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez.
- Rockies first round pick Russell Wilson was granted his release by N.C. State, where he has been the star QB for the past 2 season. He will begin the year with the Ashville Tourists.
- SI’s fantasy baseball writer Eric Mack’s latest article talks about Ian Stewart and the reasons for his recent stint with the Sky Sox. Also makes mention of Eric Young Jr. and his hot start to the season.
That’s all for now Sky Sox fans. Enjoy the weekend!
The Sky Sox have dropped the first two games of their four-game set with the Tucson Padres with both losses coming during the late inning.
On Thursday, the Sox rallied after being down two runs entering the ninth to tie the game at four apiece and sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Sox scored three runs to take the lead 7-4 and looked to be in good shape for their seventh straight victory.
Andrew Johnston came on to pitch the tenth, looking for his fourth save of the year. After retiring the leadoff batter, five straight Padres reached base on three singles, a double and a walk. Aaron Cunningham won the game for the Padres with a two-run, walk-off single. The 8-7 loss was the first for the Sox in seven games.
On Friday night, the Sox carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth. Rex Brothers, nearly unhittable through the first month of the season, came on in relief for the Sox. He would surrender a Logan Forsythe single and a Jesus Guzman double to make it 4-3. Aaron Cunningham then gave the Padres their first lead of the game with a three-run home run to make it 6-4.
Unable to mount another ninth inning rally, the Sox succumbed 6-4 to fall to 11-11 on the season.
They will try to recapture their winning ways tonight as they face Tucson in game three of their four game series. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 PM MT. Greg Reynolds (2-0, 2.25) will look to continue his recent success on the mound for the Sox against the Padres’ Simon Castro (2-1, 8.55).
The red-hot Sky Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Las Vegas 51s Tuesday night with a dominating 17-3 victory. The win marked the sixth in a row for the Sox who have now won eight of their last ten games.
There were no shortage of offensive stars for the Sox on this night. Charlie Blackmon led the way with a 3-for-5 performance including two home runs, three runs scored and five RBI. It marked the first multi home run game for the Sox season. Josh Fields (3), Ian Stewart (2) and Chris Nelson (2) each added home runs for the Sox. Stewart (4-for-4, R, 4RBI) crushed a three-run shot to give the Sox a 3-0 lead in the first, Fields (3-for-5, 3R,3RBI) hit a two-run blast to make it 5-1 in the third and Nelson (3-for5, 3R, 2RBI) added a solo shot in the seventh.
Jordan Pacheco returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous two games and finished the night 5-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBI. It was the second five-hit game for the Sox this season (Mike Jacobs, at Tacoma on 4/21) and the first for Pacheco in his Sky Sox career.
Alfredo Amezaga finished 2-for-6 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Josh Muecke (1-2, 4.40) picked up his first win of the season allowing two runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
The Sox have an off-day today before heading to Tucson, Arizona to face the Padres on Thursday. RHP John Maine (0-1, 9.72) will be looking for his first win of the year. He’ll face off against RHP Will Inman (0-2, 7.94). These two teams split four games to open the season from April 7th – 10th. First pitch on Thursday is scheduled for 8:00 PM PT.
- For the first time since 2006, no Sky Sox home games were postponed in the month of April. It’s only the fourth time in franchise history that the Sox have avoided postponing a game in the season’s first month. The other two occurrences were in 1992 and 1994. If the Sox avoid any postponement in Tucson, it will be only the second time in franchise history that no games, home or away, were postponed in the month of April joining the ’94 season.
- The Sox pitching staff has enjoyed significant success recently after a rocky start to the season. Coming into play on April 19th, the staff had combined for an ERA of 7.89 in 12 games. In eight games since then, the Sox have posted a combined ERA of 2.61 (20er/69.0ip) and have lowered their season ERA by over two runs to 5.79.
Sox outfielder Cole Garner returns to the lineup tonight after missing the last 10 games. He was off to a great start to begin the year hitting .400 (18-for-35) with nine RBI through the first nine games of the year. He will start in leftfield and bat seventh tonight.
The Sox won their fifth straight game and second series in a row Monday with a 6-5 victory over the Las Vegas 51s.
In wet and cold conditions, the Sox overcame a 5-3 deficit with three runs in the seventh on two sacrifice flies by Eric Young Jr. and Josh Fields and an RBI double by Charlie Blackmon.
Andrew Johnston struck out Scott Podsednik with Craig Stansberry on third to end the game while earning his third save in the process.
The victory marked only the ninth time in franchise history that the Sky Sox have won a game when committing five errors. The last time that occurred was August 18th, 2001, as the Sky Sox beat the Salt Lake Stingers (then the Triple-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels) 18-10 at Sky Sox Stadium.
Sox INF/OF Alfredo Amezaga extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a seventh inning single. He finished the night 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk.
Mike Jacobs had another productive night going 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Sox will look for their first sweep of the year as they face Reno in the finale of their four-game set tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM MT.
The Sky Sox won their fourth straight game Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Las Vegas 51s 10-4.
Greg Reynolds (2-0, 2.25) won his second second game of the season for the Sox and was in complete control during his six innings of work. Over two starts Reynolds has struck out ten while only walking two batters. Finally healthy, Reynolds is showing the talent that made him the Rockies’ first round selection (second overall) in 2006.
Alfredo Amezaga extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games with a first inning solo home run and finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored. The Sox are also 4-1 when Amezaga bats second in the lineup.
The Sox will look to win their second straight series when they take on the 51s in game three-of-four tonight. RHP Billy Buckner (0-0, 5.65) takes the bump for the Sox against LHP Luis Perez. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM.
- Outfielder Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 3-for-5 day. Outfielder Eric Young Jr. saw his eight game streak come to an end after going 0-for-2.
- The Sox are now 3-0 on Sundays this season, their best mark for any day of the week .
- Sunday’s game was the fifth this season that has lasted exactly 3:04. Three other games have lasted 3:07 and one other has finished in 3:05.
The Sky Sox won a snow shortened affair last night against the Las Vegas 51s 2-1. With two outs in the Sox seventh, a sudden onslaught of snow created near white-out conditions on the field. The game was delayed for 30 minutes before umpires called the game.
The Sox scored both of their runs in the first on an RBI triple by Josh Fields and a run scoring double by Ian Stewart.
Sox starter Alan Johnson (1-0, 0.84) picked up his first win of the season with 5.2 innings of one run ball.
With the win, Johnson collected his 21st career win with the Sky Sox and he is now one win away from tying Chris Gissell for eighth on the Sox all-time wins list.
Game two comes your way at 1:05 PM this afternoon. The snow has melted, the tarp is pulled and we’re ready for some baseball.
In a tremendous matchup Greg Reynolds (1-0, 3.00) will make his second start of the year for the Sox against Brad Mills (1-0, 0.82).
The Sox will be attempting to reach the .500 mark for the first time since the first series of the year.
The Sky Sox defeated the Tacoma Rainiers 6-5 in the final game of their four-game series and won a road series for the first time in almost a year.
The Sox capitalized on three Rainiers errors in the third inning to score five runs, highlighted by a two-run double by Ian Stewart.
The last time the Sox won a road series was June 5th-8th of last year against the Salt Lake Bees. The Sox won 3-of-4 games in that series as well.
The win moves the Sox to 7-9 on the year and 3.5 games behind Reno and Salt Lake in the Pacific Northern Division.
Up next, the Sox host the Las Vegas 51s in a four game set. With a series victory the Sox can move over .500 for the first time since April 10th.
The Sox put a 13-1 hurting on the Tacoma Rainiers last night behind a first inning grand slam by Ian Stewart and five hits by red-hot first baseman Mike Jacobs.
The slam was the first hit for Stewart in a Sox uniform since joining the team Wednesday and the first Sky Sox grand slam since Michael McKenry hit one against New Orleans on August 4th last season.
Jacobs’ five hits included a solo shot in the eighth inning to cap the scoring. It was Jacobs fifth home run of the season. He finished with three RBI and now has 17 on the season to lead the team. The five hits were the most for a Sox player since Kaz Matsui did it July 7th last season.
Eric Young Jr. and Mike Macri also enjoyed productive nights. Young went 3-for-4 with two walks, four runs scored and his fifth stolen base. Macri finished 3-for-5 with his first home run, two runs scored and three RBI.
Alfredo Amezaga recorded two more hits and extended his team-best hitting streak to ten games.
Sky Sox pitchers have certainly enjoyed playing in Tacoma. Before the start of the series, the Sox had a combined team ERA of 7.89. Over the past three games, they’ve posted an ERA of 2.00.
One possible explanation for the turnaround could be the relative lack of elevation in Tacoma, WA. The Sox played their first 12 games of the season in Colorado Springs or in Reno, NV, two locations with extremely high elevations. Security Service Field in Colorado Springshas the highest elevation of any ballpark in North America at 6,531 feet above sea level. Reno isn’t far behind, sitting 4,400 feet above sea level. Conversely, Tacoma is only 380 feet above sea level. With the way the ball travels in high altitudes, Sox pitchers are undoubtedly thankful for the short respite.
Thankfully, the offense hasn’t struggled playing at the lower elevation. Over the past three games, the offense is scoring 7.3 runs per game.
The Sox will look to win their first series of the year tonight in the final game of their four-game set with Tacoma. John Maine (0-1, 9.69) will make his fourth start of the year for the Sox. He’ll be opposed by Luke French (0-2, 5.40) for Tacoma. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM MT.
- First baseman Mike Jacobs is enjoying a tremendous start to the season. Through 15 games, Jacobs leads the league in on-base percentage (.523), ranks second in home runs (5), third in walks (12), fourth in batting average (.423) and RBI (17), and fifth in slugging percentage (.788) and total bases (41).
- Jacobs also ranks fourth in the league in home runs per at-bat ratio with one homer every 10.4 at-bats.
- Sox pitchers John Maine and Josh Muecke are tied for the league lead with three sacrifice hits allowed each.
- Flame throwing lefty Rex Brothers is third in the PCL in strikeouts per nine innings. He has 14 strikeouts in eight innings for a ratio of 15.75 strikeouts per nine innings.
Here’s the official release on the newest inductee into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame:
Catcher Sam Hairston played during six seasons for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the old Western League between 1950 and 1956, and his legacy in the game is of historic proportions as a pioneer and part of an amazing baseball family. Hairston played for the Birmingham Black Barons and Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro League from 1944-50 before signing with the Chicago White Sox in 1950 and reporting to Class A Colorado Springs.
When he was called up from Colorado Springs in 1951, he became the first African-American player in the history of the White Sox, just four years after Jackie Robinson’s historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Hairston was the Western league MVP in 1953, hitting .310 with eight home runs and 102 RBI, leading the Sky Sox to the regular season crown. In 1955, he won the league batting title at .350, with six HRs and 91 RBI and reaching the 500-hit plateau for the Sox.
He retired after the 1960 season, then spent the rest of his career as a scout and coach with the White Sox. He died in 1997, after induction into the Sky Sox Hall of Fame in 1993. Hairston comes from the biggest major league baseball family, as the father of major league players Jerry Hairston, Sr. and Johnny Hairston, and the grandfather of Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Scott Hairston
The annual banquet and induction ceremony is set for the evening of Tuesday, October 25, at the Colorado Springs World Arena. It begins with a 6:00 p.m. reception and famed sports silent auction, with the program starting at 7:00. A sold-out crowd of 700 was on hand last year.
And in Rockies news, here’s a quick video of Cal Ripken talking about what makes the team’s defense so special.