Fun Times in Eugene
To say that Jeff Antigua (pictured left) was flat out dominant might be the understatement of the day, as the Hawks left-hander stymied the Eugene Emeralds for four and two-thirds innings in a 7-4 victory today at Civic Stadium.
How dominant? Of the 14 outs that he recorded, 11 were via a strikeout – the highest total by a Boise pitcher since Rich Hill (now with the Baltimore Orioles) fanned 13 batters on June 30, 2003 at Everett. Antigua had great movement on his fastball, got his curve-ball over for strikes, but he change-up was definitely the filthiest pitch of them all.
Today was also the Boise debut of Chris Rusin, the fourth-round pick out of Kentucky, who lasted two and a third innings before his pitch count was up. He had a live fastball and a quality curve, however, he left his change up in the zone and it was hit a bit. He will be another quality arm in the Cubs system.
The top of the order continued to impress, as both Hak-Ju Lee (pictured right) and Jose Valdez each had two hits. Lee has reached base safely in all but one game this season, while Valdez is riding a career-high ten-game hit streak. Right behind them is Brett Jackson, who extended his hit streak to eight games yesterday and has reached base safely in all 22 games as a Boise Hawk.
FUN TIMES IN EUGENE: The team has been able to get a little loose while baking in the 100-degree, humild weather in the Upper Willamette Valley. One night after a game, Lee and Jae-Hoon Ha sang karaoke on the bus going home – including Hak-Ju’s cover of a Ne-Yo song (listen here –
LeeSinging.wma, thanks to Mike Sharp). The Korean duo also had some fun following a game, doing a jive in the parking lot (video thanks to Mike Sharp) for the team to watch.
AROUND CIVIC STADIUM: I had the opportunity to test out the speed pitch machine at Civic Stadium – and as you can see, I can’t throw very fast. I also got a tour from Ems media relations director Bryan Beban underneath the nearly 75-year old stadium – and although it is pitch black, you can get the picture of how eerie it is.
OFF DAY AHEAD: The players are already looking forward to Tuesday’s off day – Roaring Springs, whitewater rafting, and fishing are all at the top of the list.
Mike – I cannot recall ever seeing such exciting “small ball” and tonight’s (7/29) 3 bunts for singles in a row in the first inning has got to be pretty unique. Have you ever seen that before at any level? You may have already answered that on the air but I was in the stands.
As for the lack of power – I assume the Cubs don’t draft that way and that we have not seen the last of sluggers like Vitters, Burke and Ridling. So what explains our dirth of homers? Does it make sense to have a Brett Jackson bunting?