This will have to be a quick entry as I have an early flight.
Al Michaels famously posed the question, “Do you believe in miracles?”
It doesn’t quite rank with the U.S. Olympic hockey team beating the Soviet Union in 1980, but as things go today’s six-run rally by the Angels in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Cubs 9-8 was a rather significant achievement.
The Angels’ starting lineup:
1. Andrew Heid RF
2. P.J. Phillips DH
3. Travis Witherspoon CF
4. Gabe Jacobo LF
5. Jean Segura SS
6. Kole Calhoun 1B
7. Jeremy Cruz 3B
8. Carlos Ramirez C
9. Wes Hatton 2B
P. Fabio Martinez
Martinez was followed by Matt Oye, Loek Van Mil, Aaron Meade and Kevin Johnson.
There was little reason to believe the Angels would win. Martinez gave up three runs in the first, and going into the bottom of the 7th the Angels were down 8-2. They scratched out a run to cut the deficit to five runs, but going into the bottom of the 9th it seemed that this meaningless instructional league game would quickly end.
And then … a miracle happened.
Click here to watch the 9th inning rally. Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection required.
As you watch, here are the players and what happened in sequence:
1. Travis Witherspoon leads off with a triple.
2. Gabe Jacobo (who homered earlier in the game) reaches on an infield single. Witherspoon holds at 3rd.
3. Wendell Soto singles. Witherspoon scores. Jacobo advances to 3rd. Soto advances to 2nd on the throw.
4. Eric Oliver singles. Jacobo scores. Soto advances to 3rd. Oliver advances to 2nd and Soto scores on a wild throw.
5. Kaleb Cowart singles. Oliver advances to 2nd.
6. Roberto Lopez doubles. Oliver and Cowart score.
7. Wes Hatton singles. Lopez advances to 3rd.
8. Andrew Heid lines out to right. Lopez scores.
Let’s not overlook the second-inning homer by Gabe Jacobo. Click here to watch.
I head home in the morning with lots of photos and video to process. I got some photos of everyone who played in the last five games, and video of every pitcher. It will take a while to get it all online, so monitor the FutureAngels.com home page for updates.
Kaleb Cowart, the Angels’ first pick in the June 2010 draft, legs out a double in today’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
It may have been the most pressure-packed at-bat of Taylor Lindsey’s young career, but you’ll never find it in a box score.
Taylor was part of a group taking batting practice this morning at Tempe Diablo. Tom Gregorio, the roving catching instructor, was throwing BP. Tom told Taylor that if he hit a home run, he could have an extra round of hitting.
Taylor pulled a pitch down the right-field line, where it cleared the fence at 367 feet just fair of the foul pole.
And he got his extra at-bat.
With a road game at the Chicago Cubs’ complex in Mesa, and only three games left on the instructional league schedule, there’s a sense the end is near. Some players will remain in Phoenix during the winter, while the rest will scatter about the globe. Latin players will return to the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, where they may play winter ball and make some more money.
The Cubs’ parent club plays at Hohokam Stadium up the road, but the minor league complex is at Fitch Park. The Cubs have threatened to leave town if they don’t get a new stadium and complex, so the City of Mesa has Proposition 420 on the ballot. The supporters have the KeepTheCubs.com web site, while opponents have the VoteNo420.com web site.
The Fitch Park field is “intimate.” I doubt it’s more than 20 feet from home plate to the backstop. There’s very little foul territory. It’s 350 feet down the foul lines, and 400 feet to center. That might seem rather ample, but in Phoenix the ball travels far due to the heat and low humidity. At Tempe Diablo’s minor league field, it’s 367 feet down the lines and 420 feet to center.
The Angels’ starting lineup:
1. Andrew Heid CF
2. P.J. Phillips DH
3. Travis Witherspoon RF
4. Eric Oliver 1B
5. Kaleb Cowart 3B
6. Jose Jimenez C
7. Roberto Lopez LF
8. Wes Hatton 2B
9. Wendell Soto SS
P. Justin La Tempa
La Tempa was followed by Orangel Arenas, Tyler Kehrer and Johnny Hellweg.
Rules in the instructional league are informal, so many teams employ ten-man lineups with two designated hitters. All four teams we’ve faced while I’ve been here have used 10-man lineups, but the Angels have gone with the conventional nine-man lineup.
The Angels did take a little dramatic license in today’s game. P.J. Phillips, who missed 2010 due to shoulder surgery, was in the lineup as designated hitter. When P.J. reached base, he was replaced by a designated runner, but remained the DH throughout the game.
The lead went back and forth, and in the end the Cubs won 8-7.
Tomorrow the Cubs visit Tempe Diablo.
Below are photos from today’s game.
Justin La Tempa was the Angels’ starting pitcher.
Travis Witherspoon makes a throw from right field.
Wendell Soto turns a double play …
… and steals second base.
Eric Oliver, who lives in Irvine, records an out at first.
Orangel Arenas was the Angels’ second pitcher.
Tyler Kehrer was the Angels’ third pitcher.
Johnny Hellweg was the Angels’ fourth pitcher.