The Sky Sox fell into third place and are nine games behind Pacific Coast League-leading Reno after a loss Friday.
That’s the bad news.
The good news for Colorado Springs? It’s a safe bet that the Aces will be losing at least some of their firepower to promotions before long.
The Sky Sox were cold offensively for the second straight night in falling 8-1 in a game slowed by two rain delays that ate 55 minutes at Security Service Field. Meanwhile, Reno kept raking.
The first Ace prospect to be plucked may be third baseman Ryan Wheeler, 23, who drove in the first four runs Friday and leads all of professional baseball with 87 RBIs.
“I feel like I’ve played well, but I know it takes more than that to get called up,” said Wheeler, who said there’s been “zero” communication from Arizona regarding a potential promotion. “It takes some luck, too. But as long as I’m here I’m going to keep having fun and we’re going to keep trying to win.”
Wheeler, despite facing lefty-lefty matchups in his first three at-bats, piled up two doubles and homered. He’s driven in more runs since June 1 (39) than Arizona third baseman Ryan Roberts has this season (32). Wheeler’s production has come in the hitting-happy PCL and he has the luxury of batting in the middle of a lineup that carries an overall average of .305, but the production is eye-opening nonetheless and must seem appealing to a Diamondbacks team that is in the mix in the NL West despite carrying a six-game losing streak into Friday night.
“I’m getting two or three chances to hit with guys in scoring position because of the guys ahead of me,” said Wheeler, who is batting .360. “I can remember a lot of times when I’ve broken my bat and hit a little dinker but still drove in a run. It’s a lot of fun in this lineup.”
Wheeler’s home run was one of three for Reno. Cole Gillespie and Mike Jacobs added solo shots.
The Sky Sox managed just six hits, including a pinch-hit triple from Brandon Roberts, doubles from Chad Tracy and Charlie Blackmon and the first career hit for pitcher Nick Schmidt.
Tim Wheeler (no relation to Ryan) drove in the only Colorado Springs run on an eighth-inning ground out.
The Sky Sox were down 2-0 before the first out was recorded and were never a part of the contest as they fell below .500 at 43-44.
Reno starter Tyler Skaggs pitched just three innings as he is scheduled to appear in the Futures Game on Sunday as part of All-Star Weekend in Kansas City.
Skaggs was rated by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in baseball after last season, and the lanky 20-year-old lefty showed why in just his second Triple-A start. He struck out three, walked one and gave up just a pair of two-out singles in the third inning. He left with a 3-0 lead.
The Sky Sox won the opener of this five-game series 19-4 on July 4, but have been outscored 13-2 in dropping the past two.
NOTES: According to a source on Facebook, a Save the Summer toy and sporting equipment drive will collect toys and sporting equipment for the kids impacted by the Waldo Canyon fire at the Sky Sox game on Sunday. … Sky Sox left fielder Andrew Brown had a ninth-inning single to reach base safely in his 26th consecutive game.