Aces tumble to second place for first time since May
It seemed inevitable. It was going to happen. And on Thursday, it did.
After sitting in first place in the Pacific Northern Division for a stretch of 55 games, the Aces finally slid to second place with a 4-0 loss at Oklahoma City. It was the first time since May 25 they didn’t have at least a share of the division lead.
The slip from the top isn’t as much about what Reno has done. When the Aces had their largest lead of the season (nine games over Tacoma), they were 20 games over .500. Following Sunday’s 6-4 home win over Memphis, they were 18 games over.
Instead, it’s about what Fresno has become. The Grizzlies were sitting in third place, 11.5 games behind the Aces on June 23. Since then, they are 29-6 with separate winning streaks of 12, eight, five and four games.
Reno is 9-9 since the All-Star break, which is largely a testament to how tough the schedule has been. It remains difficult this week as the Aces conclude a four-game series with Memphis then Nashville comes to town for four more.
Memphis owns the best record in the Pacific Coast League by a wide margin at 70-37. The Aces and Redbirds are the only two teams in the PCL with at least 30 wins both at home and on the road.
Nashville, the Triple-A affiliate for Oakland, is under .500, but in second place in the American Southern division and has won seven of 11.
Last week: 4-3
Upcoming Schedule (July 31 – August 6)
July 31: HOME vs Memphis 7:05 p.m.
August 1: HOME vs Memphis 7:05 p.m.
August 2: OFF
August 3: HOME vs Nashville 7:05 p.m.
August 4: HOME vs Nashville 7:05 p.m.
August 5: HOME vs Nashville 7:05 p.m.
August 6: HOME vs Nashville 1:05 p.m.
-LHP Anthony Banda, 23, was sent back to Reno after making his Major League debut last Saturday against Washington. Arizona’s fourth-ranked prospect lasted 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and did not walk anyone in his first taste of the big leagues. He absorbed the loss in a 4-3 defeat in Phoenix. He took the ball Thursday at Oklahoma City and allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits over six innings. He struck out seven and only walked one, but did not get any run support in a 4-0 loss. Banda is 7-6 with a 5.13 ERA in Reno this summer.
-RHP Braden Shipley, 25, was placed on the disabled list with what was described as a right knee injury. The Nevada alum and 2013 first-round draft pick had a rough month of July, seeing his ERA swell from 4.58 after his last June start, to 6.34. He did pick up his first win since May 21, however, in his start last Tuesday. He went five innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on 10 hits in a 9-7 win at Oklahoma City. He’s now 6-6 on the season.
-C Hank Conger, 29, was released to make room for C John Ryan Murphy, 26, who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota for LHP Gabriel Moya, from Double-A Jackson. Conger has appeared in 373 Major League games, batting .221 with 31 home runs, 50 doubles, and 114 RBIs and was spending his first season with the Aces. He was batting .239 with six home runs and 40 RBIs in 58 games before his release. His replacement, Murphy, was batting .222 with four home runs and 27 RBIs in 59 games with Triple-A Rochester this season.
Luis Coleman. The right-handed reliever has been stellar since he joined Reno in the middle of June. Coleman has allowed just two earned runs on eight hits in 15.1 innings (1.17 ERA) with 19 strikeouts and only four walks. He set Reno’s season high for scoreless innings (11.2) before giving up his first run in a Aces uniform last Monday. It was unearned.
Ivan Pineyro. The 25-year-old righty made his first appearance for the Aces since May 18 on Saturday night and received a rough intro back. In his first Triple-A start, Pineyro lasted 5.2 innings and allowed 10 runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and three walks in a 14-8 loss to Memphis at Greater Nevada Field. The game was delayed two hours due to a summer storm. He was sent back to Double-A Jackson on Monday.
Pacific Coast League Standings
Fresno Grizzlies (HOU) 13-18
Reno Aces (ARI) 19-12
Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) 18-11
Sacramento River Cats (SF) 11-19
Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) 16-14
Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 16-15
El Paso Chihuahuas (SD) 14-17
Las Vegas 51s (NYM) 14-17
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (MIL) 18-8
Oklahoma City Dodgers (LAD) 15-14
Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 14-15
Iowa Cubs (CHC) 13-16
Memphis Redbirds (STL) 20-11
Nashville Sounds (OAK) 13-14
Round Rock Express (TEX) 13-18
New Orleans Baby Cakes (MIA) 11-19
*All stats and standings are as of Sunday, July 30.