I almost didn’t go to Sunday’s game in Peoria because of the pregame rain, but I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed a dominant performance by Peoria Chiefs SP Jeff Antigua, who struck out seven and gave up only three hits in seven scoreless innings against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He didn’t walk a batter.
Antigua is interesting to watch because his pitches look effortless, almost as if he’s throwing darts. It’s a cliche to say a fastballer is throwing darts, but Antigua’s arm motion actually does make it look like that’s what the lefty is doing. Also, when there aren’t runners on base, he practically crouches down on the mound as he looks in for the sign.
Rain caused the game to start 34 minutes late. It returned in the 3rd inning and steadily fell throughout the rest of the 2:40 game. It became an issue in the 9th inning, which I’ll address shortly.
The Chiefs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to RBI singles by Dustin Geiger and Jorge Soler.
Geiger drove in another run in the 3rd inning. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and 3 RBI.
The Chiefs added runs in the 6th and 7th innings before plating five in the 8th to give themselves a 10-0 lead. The 6th-inning run came off the bat of 1B Jacob Rogers, who hit a monster shot off the scoreboard — the first time a homer has done that in the 11-year history of Peoria Chiefs Stadium.
By the top of the 9th inning, the steady rainfall had made playing conditions challenging. Chiefs RP Pete Levitt clearly was struggling to maintain control during his second inning of work, probably because everything was wet. He hit a batter with a pitch that looked like Levitt didn’t have a good grip on. Chiefs SS Wes Darvill committed an error in the inning; altogether there were four errors made in the game.
The Timber Rattlers scored three runs before the game ended on a swinging strikeout by C Rafael Neda. Wisconsin’s runs were driven in by Ben McMahan (bases-loaded walk), Nick Ramirez (fielder’s choice groundout) and Mike Garza (single).
Klafczynski moves to the mound
In some posts I include tidbits about major-league players who spent time in the Midwest League on their way to The Show. In reality, most Midwest League players don’t make it to the big leagues, and some don’t even advance past the Low-A level.
Ben Klafczynski is one of those players who fall into the latter category. He hit .243 with 1 HR and 13 RBI in 43 games with the Peoria Chiefs in 2011, and the outfielder got cut by the Chicago Cubs during spring training this year.
Klafczynski, however, has not given up on his dream of playing professional baseball. He has a strong throwing arm and pitched in high school, so the Frontier League’s Lake Erie Crushers signed him so he could move to the mound and bring the heat for them.
Baseball America‘s J.J. Cooper wrote about Klafczynski’s progress as a pitcher on the publication’s website today. You can read it here.