Oklahoma City snapped its five game losing streak Monday afternoon with a win over New Orleans.
The RedHawks had dropped five straight games in Iowa. This is a tough stretch for the RedHawks who have been eliminated by math from any hope of making the playoffs. Clearly the effort in Iowa wasn’t what Bobby Jones wanted, but at this point, everyone has their own motivation.
Speaking of motivation, apparently Ryan Freel wasn’t motivated to stick around OKC after just 2 days with the RedHawks. Jones said Freel had decided to call it a season after being with the Cubs and Royals systems this year. He said Freel missed his family and asked for his release.
Another factor might have been Freel waiting to see if he would get a call up by Texas, which seemed like the only logical reason to sign him in the first place. When Freel realized that wasn’t going to happen, he might have factored it in among other reasons to end his season.
Either way, it was an odd fit. Freel is one strange dude and this RedHawks team is pretty relaxed, fun loving and mellow.
Rangers right fielder Nelson “Nellie” Cruz is in the RedHawks lineup today as they conclude their series with Salt Lake.
Cruz, who hit 37 home runs for OKC last summer, is on the 15-day DL with a sprained left ankle. His time with the RedHawks is expected to be about 2-3 days barring any setbacks.
Oklahoma City erased a five run deficit to win their third straight over Salt Lake Sunday afternoon.
Even better, Albuquerque lost which shaves their lead in the PCL American South to 4.5 games. It’s still a substantial lead with 22 games left in the season, but it’s worth noting OKC is 7-3 in their last 10 and the ‘Topes are 6-4. Still, the RedHawks will need a few more days like Sunday to make a dent. The clock is ticking.
But they should be able to muster another run. Casey Benjamin hit a two-run homer to left Sunday. Afterwards he noted the team is playing pretty loose right now which is a good sign. They’ve got nothing to lose.
Luis Mendoza threw the first no hitter by a RedHawk or 89er since the Clinton administration Friday night at the Brick.
As no hitters go, it was far from perfect. He walked six. But Mendoza throttled up for the final inning and got the last three outs.
When I first started covering the RedHawks in 2008, Mendoza was one of the first players I ever interviewed. Sometimes guys in the clubhouse can be moody and unwilling to talk to writers. I found this to be true with Orlando Hernandez earlier this season and it was definitely true when confirmed moonbat Ryan Freel came to town with Iowa earlier this summer. These guys aren’t high school or college players. There is no SID or coach to tell them what to do as is the case at OU and OSU or any high school. Interviews are purely at the player’s discretion. Hernandez finally decided he was willing to talk and was great from then on. Timing is everything.
Which brings us back to Mendoza who is probably the most affable of all Oklahoma City’s players. Mendoza has always been an easy talker for reporters and for fans who want an autograph. He was a willing translator for Neftali Feliz who spoke very little (if any) English. Reporters never get to know players like their teammates do, but Mendoza is almost certainly how he appears. An all around good dude.
So maybe that’s why even after Mendoza got the pie in the face on the field, a dozen or so RedHawks were waiting to give him an adult beverage shower as he walked up the tunnel from the dugout. They know him best and the phrase “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” was uttered by more than one RedHawk Friday night. Couldn’t agree more.
Oklahoma City probably isn’t going to the playoffs but they pounded PCL and Triple-A champion Sacramento Thursday night to even their series with the favorite to win the league (and Triple-A) again.
We’ll see what happens from here. The lineup took another hit when Texas purchased the contract of Esteban German, who has been the best player on the team. It’ll be interesting to see how long German sticks around Texas, but each day closer to Sept. 1 suggests he won’t be back in OKC.
Neftali Feliz gave up his first homer the other night, but the kid is going to be special. Texas will be glad they didn’t give him up and maybe Smoak to get Roy Halladay who only had one more year left on his contract. Feliz is considerably younger than Halladay and so is Smoak who is beginning to find his Triple-A swing.
Speaking of Smoak, check out the paper Monday for a feature on what the South Carolina native likes to do in his off-time.
Former Stillwater pitcher Brett Anderson didn’t get the win but he did pitch well against the Rangers tonight going 7.2 innings allowing two earned runs with eight strikeouts.
I was an early believer in Anderson, a little too early for the sake of my fantasy team. But after a very shaky start to his big league career Anderson won 5 of 7 starts before taking the ND Monday. Overall, this has been a pretty amazing year for Anderson who is just 21.
Speaking of young pitchers, Neftali Feliz made his debut for the Rangers Monday. He struck out four in two scoreless no hit innings. Oakland’s lineup is pretty weak, but this sort of confirms what I thought about Feliz in that I was wondering what the heck Texas was waiting for. He’s a pretty big weapon to have in your holster right now, especially with the anemic offense. What the heck has happened to Josh Hamilton?
As for the RedHawks, Albuquerque won so OKC can’t make a dent in their 5 game lead in the PCL South. It’s not looking good for the RedHawks. The series with the Isotopes was important, but if this team doesn’t make the post season it’s because of the way they played in April and May. As it is, OKC has evolved into a pretty good team, only it may have come a little too late.
The Rangers now have the services of their most prized pitching prospect with the call up of 21-year-old Neftali Feliz who leaves the RedHawks after spending the past four months in Oklahoma City.
Feliz made the transition to the bullpen a little over a month ago, a move that likely accelerated his path to the bigs. Whether or not he makes it or not remains to be seen, but having a 103 mph fastball at your disposal can’t hurt.
Check out the interview of the Famous Chicken on NewsOK. First time I’ve ever seen the Chicken do an on camera interview and speak.
Of course the voice behind the beak the last 35 years is Ted Giannoulas. The Chicken is easily the most iconic mascot in sports because he’s the guy who started it all. The Philly Fanatic and everyone else followed.
These days Giannoulas tours every summer, although he has cut back on appearances. Judging from the crowd’s reaction, even at 55 he’s still got it. It was interesting to see how he changed his act up from last season’s appearance, including the entire Round Rock dugout pelting him with water balloons.
But the most amazing thing about Giannoulas is his dedication to fans. You know it can’t be easy being 55 and in that costume four nights a week with all that travel. He probably has a enough frequent flyer miles to get to the moon and back. But at 11 p.m. well after the game ended, there was Giannoulas on the concourse signing for the last few fans in line at his autograph table. Giannoulas is paid well for his appearances. The guy’s got to be a multi millionaire by now. But it was impressive to see an icon putting in a little extra when he really didn’t have to.
As for the RedHawks….
Not a great night, not a bad night either. The Isotopes didn’t gain any ground with their loss to Nashville but OKC didn’t pick up any either. Advantage Albuquerque.