Sizzling Grizzlies catch Aces
Reno did something over the weekend few teams have managed to accomplish: Go to Colorado Springs and not lose a series.
The Sky Sox own the Pacific Coast League’s best home record at 33-15, but the Aces earned at least a series split on Sunday with a narrow 7-6 win. Solo shots from Zach Borenstein and Willians Astudillo in the eighth and ninth innings respectively put Reno up two. Closer Jimmy Sherfy allowed one run in the ninth before earning his 14th save (second most in the PCL) of the year.
Despite the sharp start to the eight-game road trip, the division lead is gone. The Aces dropped the series opener on Friday, 10-5, and now sit deadlocked with blistering-hot Fresno at 59-42.
Reno was 20 games over .500 when it had its largest division lead (nine games) in late June, and is only three games off that pace at 17 over, but the Grizzlies haven’t let the Aces breath. Fresno is 16-4 in the month of July and 24-4 going back to June 23. Conversely, Reno is 13-15 over that stretch.
The schedule is doing no favors for the Aces, who are in the middle of 2017’s toughest stretch. After finishing up in Colorado Springs on Monday, Reno is at Oklahoma City for four more. The Dodgers sit in second place in the American Northern Division, behind the Sky Sox.
An eight-game homestand follows with four against American Southern Division leading Memphis and four against the division’s second-place squad, Nashville.
Last week: 4-3
Upcoming Schedule (July 24-30)
July 24: AWAY at Colorado Springs 5:35 p.m.
July 25: AWAY at Oklahoma City 5:05 p.m.
July 26: AWAY at Oklahoma City 5:05 p.m.
July 27: AWAY at Oklahoma City 5:05 p.m.
July 28: AWAY at Oklahoma City 5:05 p.m.
July 29: HOME vs Memphis 7:05 p.m.
July 30: HOME vs Memphis 1:05 p.m.
-LHP Anthony Banda, 23, was called up to Arizona for the first time in his career. The Diamondbacks’ No. 1 ranked prospect made his Major League debut on Saturday, allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits over 5.2 innings and took the loss in a 4-3 home defeat to Washington. He fanned five and did not walk anybody. Banda only allowed one run through five innings before getting touched up for three runs in the sixth. His first earned run allowed at the big-league level came in the top of the first when Bryce Harper unloaded a 470-foot home run to right center. In Reno, Banda is 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA over 101 innings – the second most on the team.
-RHP Matt Koch, 26, was called up to Arizona for the first time of the season. The Mets’ third-round pick in 2012 has been shaky in four starts for the Aces, but was stellar in seven appearances with the big club last September. With the Aces, Koch sits at 1-1 with an 8.47 ERA over 17 innings and opponents are hitting .290 off him. He’s also allowed five home runs. Last year with Arizona, he was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in seven appearances (two starts). He threw 18 innings and opponents only hit .145 off him. Koch was sent back to Reno on Monday.
-RHP Rubby De La Rosa, 28, was sent to Reno on Major League rehab assignment. De La Rosa, who has a history of arm issues, was placed on the 10-day disabled list in early July with shoulder inflammation. He’s appeared twice in Reno. After a shutout inning against Salt Lake last Wednesday, he allowed two runs on three hits in one inning on Saturday at Colorado Springs. He’s 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 17.1 innings of work out of the Reno bullpen this year. De La Rosa, has only appeared in six games with Arizona this summer, allowing three runs on three hits in five innings. He’s fanned eight and walked three.
Kristopher Negron. Batting seventh, Negron stepped in Saturday night at Colorado Springs in the top of the ninth with one out, the bases loaded, and the Aces down 8-7. He drove the first pitch he saw into right for a bases-clearing three-run double that put Reno in front 10-8. The Aces went on to win 12-8 and remained in a tie for first place. Negron finished 2-for-4 with the three-run double, three runs scored and drew a walk.
Braden Shipley. The Nevada alum’s difficult month continued last Wednesday as the 2013 first-round draft pick did not make it out of the third inning in an 11-0 home loss to Salt Lake. Shipley allowed six runs on five hits and walked five batters without earning a punch out. In his four July starts, Shipley is 0-3 and has allowed 26 runs earned in 16.2 innings (14.40 ERA). He’s walked 12 and fanned eight.
Pacific Coast League Standings
Reno Aces (ARI) 59-42
Fresno Grizzlies (HOU) 59-42
Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) 51-50
Sacramento River Cats (SF) 40-60
Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 54-46
Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) 50-50
El Paso Chihuahuas (SD) 50-51
Las Vegas 51s (NYM) 37-64
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (MIL) 60-38
Oklahoma City Dodgers (LAD) 54-46
Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 46-53
Iowa Cubs (CHC) 45-54
Memphis Redbirds (STL) 65-35
Nashville Sounds (OAK) 47-53
Round Rock Express (TEX) 45-56
New Orleans Baby Cakes (MIA) 39-61
*All stats and standings are as of Sunday, July 23.