Day One in Arizona: It’s a Tie!
For some reason, I found it funny that the first game I saw here in Arizona finished in a tie. I know it is all about seeing players get work and the prospects working on mechanics, but ties are for soccer (and no, I’m not trying to offend any soccer fans out there, I do enjoy soccer)!
Arizona Fall League rules state that if the teams are tied after 11 innings of play, the game will go down in the books as “suspended.” The game will not be made up, but all of the stats will count. Today’s game between Surprise and Phoenix ended in a 2-2 tie. Brewers pitcher Jeremy Jeffress, who earlier in the day was named to the Rising Stars game, pitched two scoreless innings and got out of two jams to keep the game tied.
Jeffress saw his ERA dip to 0.96 today as he struck out two. In the tenth and eleventh innings, he had runners in scoring position with only one out and was able to end both innings without allowing a run to score.
“The Fall League is great,” Jeffress said after the game. “It’s really a great experience for all of the players. You get to battle down here; today’s game was really a battle there at the end. I was happy to pitch in a tough situation like that. It’s those kinds of situations that will really make me a better pitcher. I really love it here.”
Jeffress talked about the importance of his time here in Arizona.
“It’s been going good (in Arizona),” Jeffress said. “I’m just here to get some innings in and work on some pitches and different pitches in different situations. I’m really trying to get my changeup back to where it can be effective, I’m not really sure where I will be next year, but I want to have that just to be sure. It’s a good pitch to have and will help me out.”
Although he has only pitched 9.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League, Jeffress has pitched for Class-A Wisconsin, Class-A Brevard County, Double-A Huntsville and the Brewers, making for a long season–especially after missing most of the 2009 season.
“I’m a little fatigued, but it is good to work through all of this,” Jeffress said. “I went straight from Milwaukee to here, but it has been good. It was good to just stay in the flow of things. I need this work to help me develop into what I want to become as a player.”
JAMES WAIVER CLAIM: Brewers Vice President–Assistant General Manager Gord Ash called me this afternoon to alert me to a Brewers waiver claim, RHP Justin James from Oakland. I looked him up and learned that he was playing in the Fall League this year representing the A’s, ironically, he was at today’s Surprise-Phoenix game as a member of the Desert Dogs. I caught up with him after the game to hear his thoughts on becoming the newest Milwaukee Brewer.
“I found out about the claim just before today’s game,” James said. “When I found out, you know you don’t have control over that stuff, you just want to compete. Being here in the Fall League really opens up a lot of other doors for you as a player and for many people to see you. There are a large number of scouts at every game watching everyone.”
James has bounced around throughout his career between the Reds, Blue Jays and A’s organizations as well as a stint in 2009 in the Independent Northern League with Kansas City. He made his Major League debut this season with the A’s.
“If I’m not pitching for Oakland or another organization, I might as well be pitching for the Brewers. I really am looking forward to being with Milwaukee and I think I can help the organization win. I want to finish up strong here in Arizona with the Fall League, do what I did last year and come back ready to go in Spring Training.”
In the Fall League this season, James has made six relief appearances of one inning each and has a 4.50 ERA.
“It’s been going well here in Arizona,” James said. “Numbers-wise it might not be the best, but I’m learning a lot and competing. I’m throwing my change up a little bit more because that needs to be a little more polished. I’m just trying to throw strikes more consistently.”
James will remain a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs for the final two weeks of the Arizona Fall League but will don a Brewers uniform the rest of the way.
TUESDAY WRAP UP
Score: Rafters 2, Desert Dogs 2
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees
Tomorrow: Scottsdale at Surprise, 2:35 p.m. CT
Brewers In the Box Score: RHP Mike McClendon pitched 2.0 innings and allowed one unearned run on two hits, he also had one walk…..RHP Jeremy Jeffress pitched 2.0 scoreless innings and allowed one walk and struck out two…..OF Caleb Gindl entered the game in the 12th inning in left field, but did not have an at bat.
On the Other Team: Desert Dogs CF Trayvon Robinson had a beautiful diving catch in the sixth inning….Robinson is a prospect in the Dodgers organization.
Arizona Fall League Brewers History Note: Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy had a key hit in the bottom of the eighth inning that helped his team, the Peoria Javelinas, win the 2009 Arizona Fall League Championship.
Fall Fodder: There were no Brewers in today’s starting lineups for the Rafters…..INF Eric Farris entered today ranked third in the league in batting as he is hitting at a .413 clip (19-for-46).
PHOTOS FROM TODAY
Mike McClendon (top) and Jeremy Jeffress (bottom) pitch in today’s game for Surprise.