For all of you Angels fans who are just sick over the complete meltdown the Halos had in their three game series against the Mariners, there is some good news that may lighten your spirits: the Angels’ top three minor league teams all resoundingly won their opening day games on Thursday.
The Triple-A Salt Lake Bees beat the Sacramento River Cats 8-3. JB Shuck hit a three-run home run. Luis “Lucho” Jimenez hit a solo homer. CJ Cron hit an RBI double, Grant Green went 3-for-5, Taylor Lindsey went 2-for-5, and Efren Navarro went 3-for-5 with three RBI.
The Double-A Arkansas Travelers beat the Midland Rockhounds 20-7. The Angels’ top prospect last year, Kaleb Cowart, had a huge night. He went 5-for-6 with five RBI and a home run. Catcher Jett Bandy also hit a solo home run. Shawn O’Malley hit a triple and had three RBI. Last year’s Cal League MVP Zach Borenstein had two hits, second baseman Alex Yarbrough had three, and outfielder Drew Heid had four.
The High-A Inland Empire 66ers shut out the High Desert Mavericks 7-0. Starting pitcher Nate Smith threw five scoreless innings. Third baseman Cal Towey, the player last year with the highest OBP (.492) in the entire Angels system, went 3-for-4 and drew a walk. Another highly regarded newcomer for the 66ers is shortstop Jose Rondon, who went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored.
The teams were running. Grant Green stole a base for the Bees. Kaleb Cowart stole a base for the Travs, and Jose Rondon stole a base for the 66ers.
The relief pitchers were lights out. Jeremy Berg, Robert Carson, and Cory Rasmus pitched three innings and gave up just one run for the Bees. Ryan Chaffee, Orangel Arenas, and Carmine Giardina pitched six shutout innings for the Travs. Danny Reynolds, Austin Adams, and Kurt Spomer pitched four shutout innings for the 66ers.
That means these three Angels minor league bullpens yesterday pitched 13 innings and gave up just one run for a 0.69 ERA. If only the big-league bullpen could come anywhere close to that…