When Kyle Blanks hit a two-out, three-run homer in the sixth inning of Sunday's game he not only gave El Paso a 4-3 lead, he also moved into a tie for second place in the Pacific Coast League with nine home runs. Blanks and Reno first baseman Nick Evans now trail Oklahoma City first baseman Jonathan Singleton by one. However, Blanks has far fewer plate appearances than Singleton or, in fact, anyone with even seven homers.
Blanks' slugging percentage is also second in the league, his .651 mark trailing only Evans' .682. His three RBI pushed his season total to a team-high 20. He trails 15 players, with Singleton and two others topping the list with 28. Also ahead of Blanks on the RBI leaderboard are two former Friar farmhands. San Diego native and 2008 first-rounder Allan Dykstra, now with the Mets' affiliate in Las Vegas, has 23 while Sacramento's Nate Freiman has recorded 24.
The gargantuan Blanks should get his next chance to tie or even take the lead Monday evening at 5:35 PDT when the Chihuahuas go for the four-game sweep over Sacramento. Unless he gets a rare day off, he'll be facing nine-year minor league veteran Arnold Leon, who is exactly five days older than him. The two have never faced each other; this is their first year at the same level, and Blanks started the game on the bench when Leon took on the Chihuahuas earlier this season. Regardless of anything Blanks does short of murder, his doings will take a backseat to top prospect Matt Wisler's first AAA start. That seems noteworthy enough to recap no matter how it goes, so tune in tomorrow-- same (baseball) bat time, same (baseball) bat site.