Dodgers Prospects: Quakes Win the California League Championship

The Rancho Cugamonga Quakes looked to win the California League title, that they last won in 2015. That was the team lead by Cody Bellinger, who went on to win the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year. The Quakes have been the Dodgers high A affiliate since 2011 and led the series going into game 3, 2-0. The first two wins against the Visalia Rawhide (affiliated with the Diamondbacks) on the road  were 5-4 and 9-3. This gave then the chance to clinch the championship at home for the first time since 1994.

Dodgers Rehabilitation Pitchers

Also at the ballpark were a couple of big leaguers Tony Cingrani and John Axford on rehabilitation assignments. Quakes manager, Drew Saylor, has to follow orders and get them into the game in the manner the Dodgers prescribe. Yimi Garcia is also on the roster and there were orders for him also. Given that this could be the last game it was very likely the rehabbers would only have this game as an opportunity to pitch in a real game before going back to Los Angeles. As these are also not players on the actual team Saylor has to manage through any issues that might come up.

The Pitching Performance

From the pitching perspective Isaac Anderson, the Quakes ace and leader in innings pitches ended up pitching the game of his life. He threw 6 innings of 1 hit ball, walking only 1 and striking out 6. Even the lone hit barely snuck through the infield. John Axford followed in the 7thand ended up giving up the only run. Logan Salow (acquired for Wilmner Font) finished up the seventh on 2 pitches. Tony Cingrani walked 1 in the 8th in an otherwise clean inning. Yimi Garcia got the first two outs in the 9ththen Parker Curry finished the game up.

The Offense Explodes

On offense the Quakes started the scoring in the 2ndinning on the first of Donovan Casey’s first of 4 hits as he drove in Nick Yarnell. In the 3rdinning both Cristian Santana and Yarnell hit solo home runs (the Dodger way) followed by home runs in the 4thand 6thby Casey (solo) and Jeren Kendall (with Casey on base). This put the Quakes up 6-0 after 6.  In the 8thCasey hit a 2 run triple to turn it into a laugher at 8-1. Casey ended up with 2 singles, a triple and a home run, 4 RBI and 3 runs. He scored the last run of the game in the 8thon a wild pitch. The final score was 9-1 as the Quakes won the California League title.

Cristian Santana the 2018 California League championship series MVP. Photo Credit: Tim Rogers

Post Game Awards and Analysis

Cristian Santana was named the Most Valuable Player with his 3 game performance. He hit 2 key home runs and drove in 4 runs while playing an excellent third base. Cristian will be heading to the instructional league in Arizona for a few weeks. The final game MVPs, in my opinion, were Anderson and Casey.

I spoke with Isaac Anderson after the game about starting the biggest game of his life. He spoke about how he just tried to make it feel like a normal game and to slow things down. For Donovan Casey, he gave a lot of credit to former teammate Rylan Bannon for his success in the game. He said he was imitating Bannon’s swings in the batting cage and took it into the game. Nick Yarnell said he hadn’t been in a playoff game since he was 12 years old and was excited to get the opportunity to contribute. His 3 run home run in game one was when they were down 3-0 when he launched it in the 5thinning.

Manager Drew Saylor gave a lot of credit to the “game planning and the game prep” that they do. As the season is now closed Saylor spoke about his 3 day drive back to Ohio and how he gets to be dad and get some chores done. The rest of the players will be going back to various places. Some will be going to the Arizona Fall League, some to the instructional league in Arizona, some to a winter league team and most just heading home.

The whole Quakes organization from top to bottom should be proud. This is a team that had a bunch of churn during the season. Many players that were traded from the team in July and August as the Dodgers cashed in on some of their prospects. The other variable was the 11 different Dodgers major leaguers that came down on rehabilitation assignment. All in all I counted 62 different players played with the Quakes in 2018.

Congratulations to the Quakes on a well earned and dominating California League championship.


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Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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