Dusty in Dust Devil Land
A three-game sweep at home and an opening win in the Tri-Cities, and yet the Boise Hawks are not the hottest team in the Northwest League. However, with five-straight wins, fans in the Treasure Valley are taking notice of the Hawks 8-4 start – their best start to a season since at least 2002.
The five-straight wins are the most by the Hawks since winning six-in-a-row twice during the 2008 season.
After starting the season hitting .133 over the first three games (going 1-2), the Hawks have hit .298 since – winning 7-of-9 games, having recorded five games of 10-or-more runs. All the while, the Hawks bullpen has also been solid, with closer Bryce Shafer going 4-for-4 in save opportunities, while Charles Thomas has not allowed an earned run in three appearances.
Last night, Reggie Golden blasted his first professional home run – a go-ahead two-run shot, that gave the Hawks the lead for good. It made a winner of Yao-Lin Wang, who allowed just one run in five and a third innings – the first Boise pitcher to throw into the sixth inning. Willson Contreras also had a big night, going 4-for-4, having logged just seven hits all season coming into the contest, with Kyung-Min Na ending an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI single in the sixth.
HIGHLIGHTS: Here are highlights from five games over the last week…June 22 (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights6-22-11.wma), June 24 (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights6-24-11.wma), June 25 (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights6-25-11.wma), June 26 (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights6-26-11.wma), June 28 (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights6-28-11.wma).
ROSTER MOVES: Following the Spokane series, the Chicago Cubs sent catcher Chad Noble and infielder Dustin Harrington to Advanced-A Daytona, while three players have been promoted from the Arizona Rookie League – knuckleballer Joe Zeller, infielder Travis Garcia, and catcher Rafael Lopez. Zeller opened 2010 with the Hawks out of The Masters College, while Garcia (from Martin Methodist) and Lopez (from Florida State) are 2011 draft picks.
DRAFT UPDATE: The Cubs have signed a total of 12 players from the 2011 draft, but none of the Top-15 picks. Six of the players (Lopez, Garcia, Paul Hoilman, Ben Klafczynski, Kenny Socorro, Brad Zapenas) are in Boise, with 40th round pick Patrick Francescon in Peoria. James Pugliese, Pete Leavitt, and Scott Weismann have debuted in Mesa, while Sheldon McDonald and Casey Lucchese have yet to appear in a game. Three others, Ryan Durrence (Bethune-Cookman), Nick Johnson (Cincinnati), and Pat Terry (Santa Clara), are non-drafted senior signs by the Cubs in Mesa.
WIND, WIND, MORE WIND: Life in the Tri-Cities is nothing new – as the wind that never seems to stop blowing…hasn’t. The blowing dust advisory that was posted when we got to town on Tuesday hasn’t been lifted – it is a pure dust bowl. I asked a lot of the players if they’d played in conditions with a gale blowing straight in from right at 30 mph, most haven’t.