Surprise, Surprise! The Dogs win their second straight over the prickly Saguaros

No messing around: Blake Rutherford walloped his first homer in the Arizona Fall League to help propel the Desert Dogs to victory. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Glendale Desert Dogs 2, Surprise Saguaros 0

Blake Rutherford (CF) 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI (3), BB, K (.207 BA, .826 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 1-for-3, 2B (3), BB (.200 BA, .529 OPS)

The White Sox prospects didn’t mess around in this game. With one out and nobody on base in the top of the first, Blake Rutherford pulled a bomb to right field — igniting the Desert Dogs with a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Saguaro starter Glenn Otto, fearful of anything White Sox, subsequently walked Gavin Sheets with two outs and nobody on.

Reds prospect Jonathan India clubbed a solo homer in the top of the third, which gave the Dogs a 2-0 lead. The score would remain that way for the remainder of the game.

The two White Sox prospects tried to add an insurance run in the top half of the eighth frame, as Rutherford led off the inning with a base-on-balls. Alas, he was thrown out trying to steal second base on a call that could easily have gone the other way. After India popped out to second, Sheets walloped a near-homer to right, ultimately settling for a double. Unfortunately, he was left stranded thanks to a Stuart Fairchild strikeout.

Aside from the White Sox prospects and India, there wasn’t much to write about either team offensively. The Dogs’ dominant pitching was spearheaded by Victor Castaneda, Mitchell White and three other pitchers. Glendale had just six hits on the day, but that works when you can hold your opponents to four.

Glendale is now on the rise, creeping to a 5-9 record and now within four games of the prickly AFL West-leading Saguaros. The Desert Dogs next play at home Sunday afternoon, as they hope to sting the 7-6 Scottsdale Scorpions in their quest for a three-game winning streak.

Glendale, gone south again

Uh-oh: Vince Arobio wasn’t great today, and that still qualified him as the best of the AFL White Sox. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)


Mesa Solar Sox 4, Glendale Desert Dogs 0

Vince Arobio (RP, 5th) IP, 2 H, ER, WP, 18 pitches/13 strikes (8.44 ERA)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 0-for-4, 2 K (.148 BA, .364 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (DH) 0-for-3, 2 K (.136 BA, .542 OPS)

It’s a quick n’ easy summary when it comes to the AFL these days, because the Desert Dogs, and their White Sox participants, have been yug-ly in these first two weeks.

Glendale lost its eighth in 11 games, with just four hits, and none from White Sox. To be fair, the Desert Dogs ain’t good — but the South Side contingent is not helping.

Gavin Sheets and Micker Adolfo contributed zero of the team’s four hits, but let’s not ding them for failing to be team players — the pair combined for four of Glendale’s 10 strikeouts.

Late rally falls short in 4-3 Desert Dogs loss

Rough day at the dish: Micker Adolfo was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in tonight’s loss. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Salt River Rafters 4, Glendale Desert Dogs 3

Tyler Johnson (RP): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA)
Blake Rutherford (CF): 0-for-2, BB (.167 BA, .634 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (DH): 0-for-4, 3 K (.158 BA, .620 OPS)

Though the Desert Dogs rallied late, it was not enough in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Rafters. The Rafters scored three in the top of the second, as a bases loaded walk and a two-run single proved to be costly in this one.

The Desert Dogs scored got on the board in the third, when 2018 fifth overall draft pick Jonathan India hit an RBI double. India’s first hit of the Arizona Fall League the Desert Dogs’ deficit to 3-1. The Rafters got that run back in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1. The final runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the ninth, when David Fry hit a two-run double to make it 4-3 with no outs, but the Desert Dogs could not score again.

Two players in the White Sox’s system were in the starting lineup today, and neither one got a hit. However, center fielder Blake Rutherford got on base once, as he finished 0-for-2 with a walk. Rutherford also had a defensive highlight, as he made an outstanding catch in center. Rutherford was removed from the game later on, but it seems that his injury is not a long-term issue.

Micker Adolfo, whose hitting stats in the Arizona Fall League are strikingly similar to Rutherford’s, failed to reach base. Adolfo struck out in three of his four plate appearances. One of those strikeouts occurred with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, when the Desert Dogs trailed by one.

On the bright side, pitcher Tyler Johnson had a strong performance, as he pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Johnson pitched around a one-out single in the sixth, and that was the only baserunner he allowed. Of the other three hitters Johnson faced, one grounded out, one lined out, and one popped out.

The loss dropped the Desert Dogs to 3-7, while the Rafters improved to 6-4. The Desert Dogs have a day off tomorrow (as does everyone else in the Arizona Fall League), and they face the Solar Sox on Tuesday at 2:30 CST.

Rutherford triples in Desert Dogs loss

Working through a slump: Gavin Sheets has been off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, but he got a hit in tonight’s loss. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Peoria Javelinas 5, Glendale Desert Dogs 2

Vince Arobio (RP): 1 1/3 IP, H, 0 BB, 1 K (8.31 ERA)
Tyler Johnson (RP): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA)
Blake Rutherford (CF): 1-for-3, 3B, K (.182 BA, .659 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B): 1-for-3 (.174 BA, .425 OPS)

Things got off to a rough start for the Desert Dogs, as they fell behind early and could not rally. Starting pitcher Griffin Roberts ran into trouble in the first inning, allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits, a hit by pitch, and an error. That early 4-0 deficit proved to be too large for the Desert Dogs to overcome. The Desert Dogs finished the night 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Their only runs came on an Omar Estevez single in the third and a Kramer Robinson groundout in the fifth.

The main highlight among players in the White Sox’s system came in the fifth inning, when Blake Rutherford smacked a triple and came around to score on a groundout. As a result, the Desert Dogs trimmed their deficit to 5-2.

Gavin Sheets has gotten off to a rough start in the Arizona Fall League, but he got a hit today, as he seems to be slowly turning things around. Sheets’ 1-for-4 performance raised his batting average to .174, and he is still looking to flash some power this fall.

Pitcher Vince Arobio also had a strong performance, as he pitched one and one-third scoreless innings of relief. Arobio pitched around a leadoff double in the fifth, and that was the only baserunner he allowed. Of the other four hitters Arobio faced, one struck out, two grounded out, and one lined out. Tyler Johnson also was reliable in relief, as he threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning in which all three batters he faced grounded out.

Despite solid efforts by players in the White Sox’s system, the Desert Dogs lost by a score of 5-2. The loss dropped the Desert Dogs to 3-5, and they will face the Javelinas again tomorrow night at 7:30 CST.

Desert Dogs sneak a win from the Eagles

Glendale Desert Dogs 7, Águilas de Mexicali 2

Bennett Sousa (RP, 9th) IP, H, 3 K, 15 pitches/13 strikes (0.00 ERA)
Blake Rutherford (LF) 1-for-4, R, BB, 3B (1), GIDP (.158 BA, .554 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 2-for-4, 2 R, RBI (1), BB, K, GIDP (.133 BA, .321 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (RF) 0-for-2, R, 2 BB, K (.125 BA, .864 OPS)

The Desert Dogs drew first blood against the Mexican Pacific League Eagles, with a 7-2 win on Tuesday. The two clubs face off again on Thursday.

Rutherford tripled, but later grounded into a double play.

Sheets again assumed the cleanup role and had two hits and his first AFL RBI. He too later GIDP’d.

Adolfo played another flawless game in right field (no assists though, the scouting report on his arm is getting back around!) and got on base twice with walks.

Sousa struck out the side in the ninth, as Mexicali struck out for eight of its final nine outs and the final six batters of the game.

Glendale hosts Salt River tomorrow and sees the Águilas again on Thursday, as they enjoy a mini-homestand this week.

Adolfo and Sousa gun Glendale to glory

Peek-a-boo: Sousa has a win for you! (Kim Contreras/South Side Hit Pen)


Glendale Desert Dogs 1, Scottsdale Scorpions 0

Bennett Sousa (RP) IP, H, eight pitches/six strikes, W (1-0) (0.00 ERA)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 0-for-3 (.000 BA)
Micker Adolfo (RF) 0-for-2, BB, 2 K, outfield assist (RF to 2B) (.167 BA)
Blake Rutherford (LF) 0-for-2, 2 K (.100 BA)

No offense to Bennett Sousa or the very untidy Glendale offense (not looking it up but the Desert Dogs have to be hitting like .100 so far this season), but I can’t bury the lede here either.

MICKER ADOLFO IS BACK IN THE FIELD!

AND MICKER ADOLFO IS ROCKING IT IN THE FIELD!

Adolfo handled three chances in right field on Saturday night, without event. Wait, without event? Wrong! With one big-time event, namely gunning down a runner at second base! Yep, the big fella trotted out his big arm in the fifth, gunning down Joey Bart trying to stretch a single into a double. Hey, AFL, revise your scouting reports on Micker’s dead arm, eh? Or better yet, don’t (nothing to see here).

The other story tonight was Sousa, who’s been about the only White Sox farmhand worth a lick in this first week of AFL play. Sousa threw only two pitches outside of the strike zone on Saturday, throwing a scoreless eighth inning that allowed him to claim the win when Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Omar Estevez repo manned Elehuris Montero home with a double in the bottom of the frame.

As for Gavin Sheets and Blake Rutherford, move on, nothing to see here …

Desert Dogs drop third straight on walk-off homer

Slow start: Gavin Sheets was in the starting lineup tonight, but he is still looking for his first hit in the Arizona Fall League. (Winston-Salem Dash)

Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K (.000 BA, .000 OPS)

Gavin Sheets batted cleanup for the Desert Dogs tonight. In his first plate appearance, Sheets put up a good fight before striking out swinging at a slider on the sixth pitch. In his second plate appearance, Sheets reached on a throwing error by the Scorpions’ second baseman. Sheets hit a sharp liner that was hauled in by the center fielder in the sixth, and he struck out again in the eighth. Sheets was the only player in the White Sox’s system to appear in this game.

Nick Matom opened up the scoring with an RBI single, and Alex Bohm hit a sacrifice fly to put the Scorpions up, 2-0.

I’m the seventh, José García hit an RBI single to cut the Desert Dogs’ deficit in half, and Jonathan India drew a walk with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. However, the rally fell short, as Matom came up big again for the Scorpions, as he hit a walk-off homer, as the Scorpions won by a score of 3-2. The loss dropped the Desert Dogs to 0-3.

Flores only gets two outs in Desert Dogs 10-3 loss

Nice start for a closer: Tyler Johnson hopes to put his injury woes behind him with a strong AFL season. (@BhamBarons)

Blake Rutherford: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.167 BA, .536 OPS)
Bernardo Flores: 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (54.00 ERA)
Tyler Johnson: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA)

Flores was hurt in the middle of the season and missed an opportunity to reach Triple-A and possibly Chicago, so he is here in Arizona making up some lost innings. Unfortunately, he didn’t get through one. He allowed four runs while recording just two outs in his first game action in the AFL.

Flores may not be off to a good start, but another injured player, Tyler Johnson, is.

Johnson went 1 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. He did allow two runners on, with a hit and a walk, but he worked through both of them. Only one White Sox hitter got the start today, with Blake Rutherford out in left. He only got one hit in four tries, but it was an RBI double. He came around to score after that double.

Since Flores got off to such a tough start, the Desert Dogs were never able to come back. Glendale looks overmatched early on, as they start the AFL 0-2.