Incredibly, a full ten games into the 2018 Arizona Fall League season, the Glendale Desert Dogs have just one win. With just four weeks left to play, they are on pace to be eliminated in record time with all five other teams playing at or above .500 at this point.
In ways, the last week wasn’t as bad as it looks initially as they took two games to extra innings before losing, although they were blown out in the other two losses.
In the first lopsided finish on Monday, the Dogs went down 8-0 with just five hits offensively, although three of those were doubles. Jordan Foley (NYY), Jared Robinson (CLE) and Kyle Zurak (NYY) really struggled early, allowing all eight runs in the first four innings, but the rest of the relief staff pitched admirably with Nolan Long really saving the staff with two scoreless innings and three strike outs.
On Tuesday it was another long distance loss as the defense cost the Desert Dogs again as three unearned runs in the 8th put the final nails in the coffin. Prior to that, Matt Wivinis (NYY) and Dalbert Siri (CLE) had combined for three scoreless innings with just two baserunners allowed and Ben Holmes (LAD) had a decent start with two runs allowed in four innings.
In one of the best games for Glendale this year, the Dogs were able to keep the Scottsdale Scorpions to just one run through the first 10 innings on Wednesday before tying the game in the 8th. Luis Alexander Basabe (CWS) came through with two hits and a walk, but it was a Connor Marabell (CLE) sacrifice fly that scored Laz Rivera (CWS) for the game tying run. Five pitchers threw at least an inning without allowing a run, including the starter Chris Lee (BAL) who went four and struck out four while allowing just two hits and a walk. Two relievers that stuck out were Zack Burdi and Rob Kaminsky, who went 2.1 perfect innings striking out four.
The trend continued on Thursday when the Dogs lost to the Salt River Rafters in extra innings, although this time neither scored until the tenth. This time, Glendale used eight pitchers while allowing just one earned run. Standout performers were Justin Garza (CLE), who started and went 3.2 innings, striking out four and allowing just one baserunner, as well as Jordan Sheffield (LAD) and Zach Thompson (CWS) who pitched perfect innings.
Continuing with the great pitching performances, the Desert Dogs won their first game of the season on October 19th against the Salt River Rafters. They put one across in the second thanks to Yu-Cheng Chang (CLE) and Steven Sensley (NYY) and were able to make that stand for the 1-0 win. They needed just four pitchers for the shut out with Wivinis again standing out with two perfect innings and three strike outs.
On Saturday, it was back to the blow outs, although the Dogs did put together three late against the Solar Sox. Foley had a rough start, allowing five earned runs in two innings and Zupak allowed another two earned and two unearned in the sixth. At the same time, Danny Dopico (CWS) and Kaminsky pitched well after the damage was done with 2.2 combined scoreless innings and two strike outs each.
Offensively, the Orioles Ryan McKenna and Yankees have stood out with three triples for the former and three doubles for the latter this season. Yu Chang and Steve Wilkerson continue to perform well as well with each having an OBP at .400.
On the pitching side there have been some ups and downs, but Ben Holmes and Justin Garza have looked good in a pair of starts each. Both have allowed just two runs while limiting base runners. Chris Lee has yet to allow a run in his two starts.