Putting the Hurt on the Baseball
Willie Calhoun needed a day away from the Texas Rangers last month after he was told that he did not make the big-league roster.
He admitted that it hurt when the Rangers optioned him to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
A month later, Calhoun has moved past his frustrations, and he is putting the hurt on the baseball instead.
Calhoun hit his second home run in two days on Monday as the Sounds throttled the Missions, 10-5, to earn a split of a four-game series at Wolff Stadium.
"I think we're a really good team," Calhoun said. "We started off a little slow this year, but we're picking it up. I think we're starting to come along really well. That's a good team over there, too, so being able to take two (in San Antonio) is really good."
As a result, Nashville (4-8) will return home to start a series with Round Rock, while the Missions (7-5) will journey on the road to meet the Memphis Redbirds Tuesday night.
Coming into the ball park for an 11:05 a.m. start on Monday, the Missions had won two straight and were looking to win again to clinch their third straight series to open the season.
Instead, they settled for a 2-2 split and a 4-3 record on the homestand after the Sounds pounded out four home runs.
Jett Bandy, Hunter Cole, Matt Davidson and Calhoun all homered for Nashville on a day when the wind was blowing in slightly.
In some ways, it just wasn't meant to be for the home team, as it picked up a season-high 15 hits and still lost.
"Yeah," said Missions outfielder Tyrone Taylor, who went 4-for-5. "We all hit the ball well. They just hit it better. We were just a little unlucky."
Some of the Missions' best hits went for outs, including a few shots that didn't make it through the infield with two on base in the seventh.
"You're right," first-yearr San Antonio manager Rick Sweet said. "We had our chances. We had a lot of hits. We didn't have hits at the right times. And we hit some balls at 'em.
"(But) that's baseball. We need to continue (hitting it hard) and we need to eliminate strikeouts. We're striking out too much.
"And, you know what? We need to keep the ball in the ball park. What did they have? Four home runs? That's too many in a ball park that's not supposed to be conducive to home runs."
It was a bad day for the Missions' No. 2 starter, Bubba Derby (0-1, 5.40 ERA).
Derby couldn't seem to locate his pitches effectively and, as a result, gave up a two-run shot to Bandy in the second and a solo blast to Cole in the fourth.
He left the game trailing 6-5 after five innings.
Reliever Miguel Sanchez replaced Derby in the sixth and gave the Missions a chance.
He shut down the Sounds for two innings before he was victimized by Davidson, a former major leaguer who led off the eighth with a solo homer to left center to make it 7-5.
Calhoun, who swings from the left side, crushed a ball to right field for a three-run blast in the ninth to finish off the Missions.
Afterward, he said he has returned to the hitting approach that allowed him to club 58 homers combined in the 2016 and 2017 minor-league seasons.
The approach, he said, consists of "just hitting my pitch." Also, he said "being able to put a good swing on it and not miss."
"(I'm) making the pitcher come to me instead of chasing some pitches I shouldn't be swinging at," Calhoun explained.
Calhoun played parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Rangers, so when he learned on March 21 that he would start the season in the minors, it was a blow to his pride.
He had three days to report and took one to sort things out in his mind.
"That hurt," Calhoun said. "It hurt a lot because I've done everything in Triple-A. I mean, everyone knows that. (But) I'm going to continue to work hard every day, and whenever they call me up, I'll be ready to help the big-league team."
The Missions' parent-club Milwaukee Brewers have acquired catcher David Freitas from the Seattle Mariners' organization.
He is expected to join the team in Memphis and be activated on Tuesday, meaning that the Missions will need to make a move to create a roster spot for him.
Sweet said he doesn't know what action will be taken on the roster or what the Brewers have in mind as far as Freitas' role on the team.
Right now, the Missions have three catchers in Jacob Nottingham, Tuffy Gosewisch and Skyler Ewing. Nottingham is viewed as a player who could emerge as a starter in Milwaukee at some point.
The Missions' 15 hits were the most since they produced 11 in a 5-3, opening day victory at Oklahoma City.
Some of the Brewers' brightest prospects enjoyed solid days at the plate. Keston Hiura smacked a double and a triple. Corey Ray had two hits for the second straight day, after breaking out of an 0-for-23 slump on Sunday. Lucas Erceg logged two hits, including his third home run of the season.
Sanchez, a 6-foot-3, right-hander, showed improvement from previous outings with a fastball clocked in the low 90s and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings.
Asked why Sanchez has looked so much better of late, Sweet said he didn't throw much in spring training and when he did, it wasn't in real game situations.
Now that the Missions are playing every day, Sanchez, a 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has started to show potential.
"He's exciting for us," Sweet said.
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Pacific Coast League Stories from April 15, 2019
- New Orleans Tops Omaha 4-3 in Front of 8,019 - Omaha Storm Chasers
- Putting the Hurt on the Baseball - San Antonio Missions
- Game Suspended Due to Curfew - Reno Aces
- Monday's Chihuahuas Game Suspended in 11th Inning - El Paso Chihuahuas
- Milone Dominates, Rainiers Trounce Isotopes in Homestand Finale - Tacoma Rainiers
- Homestand Highlights (April 16-22) - Memphis Redbirds
- Isotopes Get Shut out 10-0 in Series Finale - Albuquerque Isotopes
- Giambrone, Happ Homer in I-Cubs' Loss to Dodgers - Iowa Cubs
- Dodgers Bats Break Out in 10-5 Win - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Redbirds End Road Trip with 10-2 Win - Memphis Redbirds
- Memphis Forces Series Split with 10-2 Win over Round Rock - Round Rock Express
- Missions Topped by Sounds in Series Finale - San Antonio Missions
- 'Cakes Beat Omaha to Finish Trip - New Orleans Baby Cakes
- Sounds' Offense Stays Hot, Holds off Missions - Nashville Sounds
- Gallen Named PCL Pitcher of the Week - New Orleans Baby Cakes
- Payton, Gallen Win Season's First Weekly Awards - PCL
- Ephesus Named Title Partner of Triple-A National Championship Game - PCL
- Monday's Salt Lake Bees Game Postponed - Salt Lake Bees
- Today's Game Postponed Due to Rain - Sacramento River Cats
- River Cats Take on Oakland Affiliate in Jam-Packed Homestand - Sacramento River Cats
- OKC Dodgers and LifeShare of Oklahoma Partner to Encourage Organ Donation - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Nashville Sounds Game Information: Nashville Sounds (3-8) at San Antonio Missions (7-4) - Nashville Sounds
- Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (4-7) at Round Rock Express (7-4) - Memphis Redbirds
- Game Notes: San Antonio Missions vs. Nashville Sounds - San Antonio Missions
- OKC Dodgers Game Notes - April 15, 2019 - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Snapping out of a Slump - San Antonio Missions
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