Thursday, July 3, 2008

Series Report: Chico at Reno (July 1-3, 2008)

Ok, I just got back from San Antonio so I missed blogging about the first two games of the series. But, as a short recap, the Sox split the first two games and pitching continues to be an issue.

The day started off listening to Sox catcher D.J. Dixon give an interview on the No Name Sports show on Fox Sports Radio. It was a good interview and, to summarize, here were a few interesting points:

-- Jeffrey Leonard is the best manager he has ever played for. For independent ball where if you don't produce you are cut, Leonard has shown a lot of patience and given folks every opportunity to succeed

-- Peccole is a hitter's park but if you try to hit a homerun, you won't. You have to just let it come.

-- Dixon was coached by current Sox coach Reggie Leslie when he was 12

-- Dixon understands the psychology of the game and understands how to calm a pitcher down

Pretty good interview.

The third game of the season was a really good game. Unfortunately, there were only about 70 fans or so in the stands when the first pitch was delivered. The area was very smokey from fires in California and people with allergies or small children were advised to stay in. I was hacking a little and my clothes did smell like I was around a campfire when I was done but it was worth it. Hopefully the players won't have many ill effects from the smoke.

As for the game, pitching for both sides was pretty weak for the first part of the game but calmed down later. Reggie Leslie started and got tagged for 7 hits and 6 runs (3 earned) in just three innings. Leslie has been getting hit hard in his last few appearances so he may be getting tired. He was in trouble for all three innings so hopefully he can get back on track.

Doug Sanders pitched two good innings and Scott Schneider pitched well initially but after a multi-base error in center and a wild pitch, Chico went out in front 9-7 in the 7th.

Ross McCoy (who threw out a runner in the first on a laser shot to home) got on board and then D.J. Dixon launched his team leading 8th homerun to tie the game. D.J. is on fire and has a .492 batting average and 1.288 OPS (On base + Slugging). Speaking of homeruns, this looks like the year that the homerun record (20) falls. St. George and Orange County both have 2 players each on the leader board with between 12 and 14 homeruns. Since we are still about 10 games from the end of the first half, it is well within striking distance.

The Sox would score one more in the bottom of the 8th and would go on to win behind Derrick Landavazo. Unfortuantely, he is not listed on the GBL transaction page and there were no rosters distributed at the game so I don't have a lot of info on him. That plus still using the program that opened the season makes it hard to follow the players. It is even harder when I have my son who only wants to watch baseball after playing in the bounce house so I do miss a couple of innings throughout the game. But even standing out there is good. As you know, after the Army I want to work in baseball operations so I like talking to game day staffers too since it gives me a different perspective on the how the team operates.

I have an Army function tonight so I won't be at the game. Since fireworks always bring out a big crowd, it makes for a much better game day atmosphere. Hopefully that translates into a win!

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