In spite of early solo home runs by C.J. Retherford and Leon Landry, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes fell to the High Desert Mavericks 8-5 on Monday night in a one-game playoff to determine the winners of the first half of the Cal League’s South Division. Although the Quakes came out swinging and managed five runs on 7 hits in their first five innings off Mavericks starter Roenis Elias, the Mavs bullpen completely shut the Quakes down allowing no runs and only 3 hits in the final four frames. Even after allowing 10 hits, Quakes starter Angel Sanchez held the Mavs to only 4 runs, but the Quakes bullpen was unable to hold onto a 5-4 lead allowing an additional 4 runs and 8 hits.
In addition to Retherford’s home run, he also had a double and three singles going 5 for 5 on the night, but just like the Dodgers, it takes more than one or two guys and consecutive hits to win games; something that the Mavericks were able to do but not so the Quakes, who were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
The Quakes and Mavericks ended the first half in a tie for first place necessitating the need for their first regular meeting of the second half to double as a one-game playoff to determine the first half pennant winner. With their victory on Monday night, the Mavs also earned a bye in the first round of the Cal League South playoffs to be held in August.
Although disappointed with the loss, the Quakes have no time to dwell on it and must now set their sights on winning the second half if they are to have any hopes of making it into the post season, something that they are very capable of and accustomed to doing. And even though top pitching prospect Zach Lee was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga prior to Monday night’s game (it wasn’t his turn in the rotation anyway), they added hard throwing right hander Ryan O’Sullivan to their roster from the Great Lake Loons.
O’Sullivan was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2011 first-year player draft and went 4-2 as a starter with an ERA of 2.73 and 32 strikeouts with the Loons this season. As a reliever he went 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA and 12 strikeouts. His combined record was 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA which ranked him 11th in the Midwest League. But what catches the eye more than anything else with O’Sullivan is that in seven of his nine starts he went six or more innings. He pitched one inning in relief on Monday night allowing no runs and only one hit, but unfortunately the damage had already been done when he entered the game in the 7th inning. All of that said, O’Sullivan is definitely someone to keep an eye on with the Quakes in the second half.