Bees close regular season with series against Reno
The Salt Lake Bees close out the regular season with a four-game weekend series against Reno, starting Friday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Salt Lake is on the threshold of its first Pacific Coast League divisional title since the team won three straight from 2006-08.
The Bees have managed to stay atop the PCL's Pacific North Division despite a road-heavy schedule during the last month of the season. They have played only five of 22 games in Salt Lake City since Aug. 7.
The roster has remained relatively stable, although Salt Lake learned Wednesday night it will play the rest of the way without third baseman Luis Jimenez. He was called up by the parent Los Angeles Angels after they lost Chris Nelson, perhaps for the rest of the season, with a hamstring injury.
To replace Jimenez, shortstop Chance Ross was called up from Inland Empire.
Ross, 23, started the year and played 40 games with Burlington in the Midwest League. After a brief two-game call-up by Salt Lake midway through the season, he was sent to Class AA Inland Empire. There, Ross hit .259 in 19 games. He had one home run and drove in six runs.
The immediate goal of the Bees is to finish on an upswing against Reno. They are 7-5 against Reno this season, including 3-1 at home.
Manager Keith Johnson has announced three-fourths of his pitching rotation for the final series, starting with righthander Matt Shoemaker (11-13) on Friday night.
Johnson will go with Tommy Hanson (0-2) on Saturday night and Billy Buckner (7-3) on Sunday afternoon.
The starter for Monday afternoon's regular-season finale will likely depend on the Bees' playoff status.
Looking back, the Bees moved to the brink of a division title with a thrilling 8-6 win at Tacoma on Wednesday night. The game lasted 13 innings the longest for Salt Lake since April 12, 2012.
The Bees and Rainers were tied, 6-6, when Andy Marte led off the top of the 13th win a single. Daniel Strange bunted him to second and he advanced to third on Roberto Lopez' single.
Luke Carlin followed with a single to center, driving in Marte with the go-ahead run. Drew Heid's single scored Lopez, giving the Bees a two-run cushion and keeping them comfortably ahead in the division race.
Ogden 5, Orem 3 • In Ogden, Adam Law had three hits and Alex Santana drove in two runs on sacrifice flys to help the Raptors (32-34) win at home against the Owlz (35-30).