The Amarillo Sod Poodles may have been due for the kind of game they had Thursday night at Hodgetown.
But they couldn't have predicted it got as rough as it did.
Having already won their series with the Midland RockHounds, the Sod Poodles appeared to have a letdown from the start in the final game of the series. They never led in suffering their most lopsided loss in franchise history, 16-3.
What was particularly surprising was what a tough night on the mound it was for the Sod Poodles (65-59) in just about every way. It broke a string of excellent pitching performances by both the starters and the bullpen.
"I don't know that you're ever due but we didn't get very good pitching," Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman said. "That's hard to hide."
Right-hander Pedro Avila who was the first Sod Poodle called up to the parent club San Diego Padres in April, returned to the active roster after being on the injured list. He couldn't have had a tougher night.
The RockHounds (60-62) scored an unearned run off Avila in the first for a 1-0 lead, and Taylor Motter hit solo home run off him to start the second. That was the least of Avila's troubles that inning.
Avila hit a batter, gave up a single and walked two straight to bring home a run. After throwing ball four to Mikey White to bring in a run, Avila collapsed on the field holding his pitching arm.
He was helped off the field and has been flown back to San Diego to have his arm examined.
"He's been rehabbing and it breaks my heart to see what happened to him tonight," Wellman said of Avila. "It makes you sick to your stomach for the kid."
Kazuhisa Makita relieved Avila and with two outs and the bases loaded, gave up a two-run double to Edwin Diaz to make it 5-0.
Meanwhile, the Sod Poodles were struggling at the plate as well. Midland pitchers retired 15 of the first 16 Amarillo batters in the first five innigns, with only a solo homer by Hudson Potts in the third breaking the string.
The only other run for the Sod Poodles also came on a homer, as Taylor Trammell hit his first homer in Hodgetown, a two-run shot in the sixth. But that only made it 8-3.
"When you get that far behind it's tough to get back in it," Wellman said. "It's like when we get a big lead, our pitchers are free. You can just worry about where you're throwing strikes."
Lake Bachar, who has been Amarillo's most effective starter the last two months, came in to relieve as scheduled in the fifth, as Avila was going to be on a pitch count. Bachar gave up a two-run homer to Tyler Ramirez in the fifth, but that was nothing compared to what happened in the eighth.
The RockHounds unloaded on Bachar for eight hits that inning, the biggest of which was a three-run homer by Greg Deichmann. Bachar was pulled for reliever Dauris Valdez, who's also been highly effective, but Mikey White greeted him with a grand slam to cap en eight-run inning to make it 16-3 and put an exclamation point on the night.
POODLE MOVES: To make room for Avila before the game, infielder Peter Van Gansen was called up to El Paso. Left-hander MacKenzie Gore, who's ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Padres organization, has been reassigned to the team's Arizona League team and effectively shut down for the remainder of the regular season. He could be called back to the Sod Poodles when they open the Texas League playoffs next month.
RockHounds 16, Sod Poodles 3
Midland ab r h bi Amarillo ab r h bi
Calabuig lf 5 3 2 0 Trammell cf 4 1 1 2
White 2b 5 1 2 5 Castillo ss 4 0 0 0
Gamache 1b 5 1 3 0 Olivares rf 4 0 1 0
Diaz ss 5 1 2 3 Miller 2b 4 0 0 0
Deichmann rf 5 1 1 3 Torrens c 4 0 0 0
Motter 3b 4 3 2 1 Potts 3b 3 1 1 1
Ramirez dh 4 3 2 3 Zunica dh 3 0 1 0
Theroux c 4 1 1 0 Overstreet 1b 3 1 1 0
McDonald cf 5 2 3 0 Reed lf 2 0 0 0
Totals 42 16 18 15 Totals 31 3 5 3
Midland 140 120 080 — 16
Amarillo 010 002 000 — 3
E—Trammell. DP—Midland 1, Amarillo 1. LOB—Midland 10, Amarillo 2. 2B—Diaz, White, Zunica. HR—Motter (6), Ramirez (4), Deichmann (8), White (7), Potts (13), Trammell (2).
Midland IP H R ER BB SO
Kaprelian 4.0 1 1 1 0 3
Jefferies W, 1-2 3.0 2 2 2 0 6
Ruiz 1.0 1 0 0 1 1
Charles 1.0 1 0 0 0 0
Amarillo IP H R ER BB SO
Avila L, 0-2 1.1 4 5 4 2 3
Makita 2.2 3 1 1 0 3
Bachar 3.2 10 9 9 3 6
Valdez 1.1 1 1 1 2 4
WP—Bachar, Valdez. HBP—by Avila (Ramirez), by Makita (Gamache, Diaz), by Bachar (Theroux). T—3:09. Attn.—6,270.