LA Angels Traveling Route 66 to Anaheim: IE 66ers Update # 3
The LA Angels Advanced A ball team, the Inland Empire 66ers are located in San Bernardino, Ca. In our third installment, we check in to see how the team is doing in the California League after just over 40 games played so far. The season has been one of ups and downs, but is the trend finally changing for the 66ers?
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 league players on rehab assignment in a fun and affordable environment.
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In the standings: When May started things were starting to look better for the 66ers. At the time they sat in second place in the Cal League South. However, at the time they had a losing record and were struggling with consistency. As May nears its end, the 66ers are playing better baseball. Unfortunately, for them, so are some of the other teams. While they currently sit in third place, they do posses a 22-21 record, winners of 7 out of their last 10. The Cal League also uses a split schedule, meaning that if the team can continue their strong play, the second half begins mid-season with a new chance to earn a playoff berth.
The batter’s box: While catching prospect Taylor Ward has cooled some, as covered in this week’s Prospects Hot or Not article, OF Zach Gibbons continues to get positive results in the batter’s box. The team’s HR leader, first base prospect Matt Thaiss continues to work to figure things out in 2017. It hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been great either, so far. Third baseman Jose Rojas has also shown flashes with the bat, hitting 2 HR while driving in 15 RBI to the tune of a .284 AVG.
Towing the rubber: Starting pitcher Jaime Barria continues to sparkle for the 66ers. Barria also was in the most recent Prospects Hot or Not article, and for good reason. Additionally, right hander, Jose Rodriguez has strung together three quality starts, adding 24 K to 2 BB in 17 IP. Reliever Garrett Nuss has assembled a great 2017 season thus far. After a rough start, he has now gone 18 IP over 11 appearances while allowing just 1 ER. In that time, Nuss has struck out 19 while walking just 6.
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On the mend: Currently, no LA Angels major league players are with the team, though Huston Street may soon join the club to begin working back from a Spring Training injury.
Barnstorming the Cal League: The 66ers finish a four game series against the Lancaster Jet Hawks on Monday May 22nd. It will close out their current home stand. The 66ers then head nearby Lake Elsinore for a three-game series against the Storm. After Lake Elsinore, the 66ers are off to the High Desert to face the Lancaster Jet Hawks for a four-game set on their home turf.
Next: Angels Prospect Countdown: Parker Birdwell
Family fun zone: Man’s Best Friend – Monday May 22nd. Bring your dog and watch the game with them in the grass behind the Outfield fence.
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.