The LA Angels High-A team, the Inland Empire 66ers are located in San Bernardino, CA. As started last Sunday, Halo Hangout is going to check in with how things are going on a weekly basis.
Named for the historic Route 66, Inland Empire is a short drive down the 91, 60, 10, or 210 freeways for many Southern California LA Angels fans. Doubly nice is that they have two other minor league competitors in the Inland Empire with the Lake Elsinore Storm and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Such options give Angels fans multiple ways to see young prospects and major leaguers on rehab assignment in a fun and affordable environment.
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In the Standings: The first week of May has been better than the month of April for the 66ers. The team took a series victory from the Lancaster JetHawks to start the month. Currently, they are playing the last of a four game set against the neighboring Quakes. Update: The 66ers toil the loss on Sunday, for a split in the series. That leaves them with a 4-3 record on the week. With that, the 66ers find themselves in second place in the Cal League South division.
The Batter’s Box: Catching prospect Taylor Ward has finally made his debut and is so far, off to a hot start. Ward is hitting at a .308/ .357/ .462 clip. It’s early for the youngster, but he is looking to rebound from an offensively mediocre 2016. Outfielder Zach Gibbons continues to hit well. At 23, the hope is that the left fielder can continue to advance through the system. Ideally, a little faster due to his age and development. 1B prospect Matt Thaiss has also started to warm up some, as covered in this week’s Angels Prospects Hot or Not piece. Lastly, center fielder Jared Foster has been steady so far. An All-Star last year, he has shown that he can hit the ball out on occasion and swipe a base when needed.
Towing the Rubber: Jaime Barria continues to impress this season. While his K’s have dipped a little he has gone 6 IP or more in four of his six starts (inc 7 IP in his last outing.) Fellow SP Luis Pena has struggled thus far in 2017. His 6.00 plus ERA aside, he still only 2-3 on the young season. Sam Holland and Adam Hofacket, a pair of relievers have impressed so far. Both are owners of a sub-3.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP.
On the Mend: Luis Valbuena ended his rehab and rejoined the Angels where he has started to hit. The 66ers may soon get an influx of pitchers as Huston Street appears to be on track for an early June return from the DL. Having been sidelined since Spring Training, the likelihood of Street making an appearance or two with Inland Empire is rather strong.
Barnstorming the Cal League: For the second week of May the 66ers will host the Visalia Rawhide for three games starting on Tuesday. The 66ers then set out on a road trip north to face off against the San Jose Giants Friday – Sunday.
Family Fun Zone: Tuesday May 9th is another $2 Tuesday with $2 admission, hotdogs, popcorn, soda, and tacos. Affordable fun for a family of five or just someone wanting to have some baseball fun without breaking the bank.
Wednesday, May 10th is OmniTrans Winning Wednesday. Present an OmniTrans bus pass or receipt and get two free tickets to the game.
Thursday May 11th is $3 Thursday. Limited $3 seats and $3 tall boy beers and sodas.
The 66ers can be reached at (909) 888-9922 or via their website.
San Manuel Stadium is a great place to take in a baseball game. Its also right in the backyard of most of Southern California. Do yourself a favor and check it out.