Sox update

  • Monday, July 3, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Vancouver Canadians

When: 7:05 p.m.

Where: Everett Memorial Stadium

Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)

Pitchers: Everett right-hander Mike Schilling (2-1, 0.90 ERA) vs. left-hander James Heuser (1-2, 5.54)

Settling in

Chris Minaker had the first three-hit game of his short professional career Sunday. It wasn’t enough as the AquaSox lost 5-3, but the Edmonds-Woodway High School product could take solace in the fact that he’s beginning to find his groove.

“On a personal note it was a very positive game offensively,” Minaker said. “Hopefully I can build on that and keep swinging it well.”

For Minaker it’s taken a little time to get back in the swing of things since joining the team a week earlier. He had two weeks off between the end of his college season with Stanford and signing with the Seattle Mariners, who selected the infielder in the 10th round of the draft.

Upon joining the AquaSox Minaker got off to a slow start, getting just one hit in his first 12 at bats. However, in his past three games he’s 6-for-14 to pull his average up to .269, and he’s beginning to feel comfortable at the plate.

That’s crucial for a player who’s being counted on to play an important offensive role for Everett. Minaker, who batted a team-leading .364 at Stanford this spring, has been used exclusively in the second and third spots in the batting order.

“I’m starting to fall into a comfort zone, which is important for hitting,” Minaker said. “You have to feel in rhythm and on time with the pitches and I’m starting to feel that, which is a positive sign.”

Who are these guys?: The Vancouver Canadians are an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. So what were they doing Sunday, laying down sacrifice bunts at every possible moment?

Oakland is the franchise most closely associated with the concept of “Moneyball,” the phrase coined by author Michael Lewis in his book of the same title.

In the book, Lewis wrote about the use of statistical analysis in evaluating baseball players, tactics and economics, with Oakland general manager Billy Beane used as the model. Among the strategies vilified by the statistical analysts is the sacrifice bunt, as by they say in the long run the extra base gained is not worth the out lost.

But there were the Canadians, twice laying down sacrifices to move a runner to third, then one batter later scoring a run on a sacrifice fly. Those runs proved the difference in a 5-3 victory.

So is that an indication of a change in philosophy in Oakland? Perhaps. The A’s under Beane also historically shied away from drafting high school pitchers. But this year Oakland selected high school pitchers with its first and sixth picks.

Fourth events: The AquaSox have a couple of special events planned for today’s Fourth of July game.

The Sox will be holding a fireworks show following the game. Today’s fireworks show will be slightly longer than the regular Friday night shows, lasting 12-15 minutes.

Also, Northsound 1380 (KRKO) radio is holding a hot dog eating contest a half hour before the game. Entrants will race to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 13.8 seconds.

Nick Patterson, Herald writer

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