It used to be that a shutout in AFL games was a rare gem. The league was generally very hitter friendly as MLB teams rarely sent top pitching talent. Compounding this, since starting pitchers rarely go more than four innings a combined shutout would be the likely outcome.
You may remember that I noted several combined shutouts in the first few weeks of play in October AFL play. And, 2012 is turning into a different AFL season: one where there have been more combined shutouts this year than I can remember or count on one hand.
So, add another as the Peoria Javelinas shut the Phoenix Desert Dogs down Wednesday as the Javelinas try and maintain a slim 1.5 game lead over the Surprise Saguaros in the West Division (make that a two game lead after today’s 8-0 win with the Saguaros to play last evening).
Logan Darnell (LHP, Min) pitched the first four innings yielding just one hit while striking out five Dogs. His relievers also gave up just one hit and no walks (Michael Tonkin (RHP, Min); Logan Bawcom (RHP, Sea), and Jay Johnson (LHP, Phi)).
Billy Hamilton (OF, Cin) led off with a walk, stole second, and scored the first run of the game on a K/CS double play at second base. Hamilton would finish 2-3 with a walk and two RBI and add another run scored.
Nate Roberts (OF, Min) was 1-for-2 with two RBI maintaining his league leading batting average, and scoring a run, while Didi Gregorius (SS, Cin) not only made some dazzling plays at shortstop but was 1-for-3 and scored two runs in the victory.
In the East Division the Scottsdale Scorpions started Wednesday’s play just one game back of the Salt River Rafters and with just one week of play left that battle could go down to the final game. The League Championship Game will be on Saturday, November 17 and will be televised live on the MLB Network at 3:10 PM ET. Check that network’s schedule as there may be some other games televised before the LCG.