Gurriel’s big night not enough – Houston Astros big signee Yulieski Gurriel busted out of his minor league slump, going 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs in his Triple-A debut with the Fresno Grizzlies on Tuesday. However, it wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies pitching got battered all night and the Omaha Storm Chasers won 12-5 before the announced crowd of 5,007 at Chukchansi Park. Gurriel, considered Cuba’s best player prior to defecting from the communist country earlier this year, signed a five-year $47.5 million contract with the Astros last month. He was being fast tracked to the majors but batted 2 for 17, prompting his stint with the Triple-A Grizzlies. Fresno starting pitcher Keegan Yuhl left the game in the middle of the fourth after he was hit by a line drive on his wrist before the ball bounced and hit his chin. Omaha’s Whit Merrifield launched a grand slam immediately after Yuhl’s removal.
Up next – Grizzlies RH Brady Rodgers (12-3, 2.76 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday against Omaha Storm Chasers LH Mike Minor (0-4, 5.28). First pitch is 7:05 p.m. Considering how well he’s done the majority of the season, Rodgers has been just mediocre in his past two starts while allowing six runs and 16 hits in 13 innings. Still, Rodgers ranks second in the Pacific Coast League in ERA and has a 1.11 WHIP. He’ll face an Omaha team that ranks second to last in the PCL with 540 runs and 494 RBIs in 121 games. Minor is a former Atlanta Braves prospect who spent five years in the majors. He was sidelined all of last year because of shoulder surgery. He’s been rehabbing on and off in the minors throughout this year – missing April, half of May, all of June and most of July.
Lost production – The Grizzlies are 16-11 since July 22 when many of their most productive players started getting promoted to the parent club Houston Astros. Position players Preston Tucker, Alex Bregman, Tyler White, A.J. Reed, Tony Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez hit a combined .302 (326 for 1079) with 46 homers, 164 runs, 167 RBIs in 279 games. The Grizzlies also have been without James Hoyt and Joe Musgrove, who combined in Triple-A were 9-6 with 28 saves, a 2.81 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 109 innings.
Sliding in standings – Because the Grizzlies lost 3 of 4 to the Iowa Cubs to start this homestand, Fresno was unable to take advantage of the Tacoma Rainiers splitting on the road against the Memphis Redbirds. The Grizzlies trail the Rainiers by four games in the PCL’s Pacific Northern Division with 20 games remaining.
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Taco night – Taco Truck Throwdown 6 is set for Thursday night and will spill outside Chukchansi Park onto H Street. See attached map for parking details.
The Fresno Bee