SALT LAKE CITY — "They all have something to play for."
That's a common quote from minor league managers — this time from Salt Lake's Keith Johnson — and one that's uttered even more as the season winds to its inevitable close.
As cliche as it seems, for each player on Salt Lake's roster it is certainly true.
Guys like Andrew Romine, Alexi Amarista, Matt Palmer and Tyler Chatwood have all spent considerable time with the Angels this season, and they're working to get back.
"Playing in the majors is a dream come true," Romine said. "I got to go on some fun road trips — to Yankee Stadium and the new Mets stadium. Just being around those guys is what I've wanted to do my whole life. I've always wanted to play major league baseball."
Other guys, like Jeremy Moore — with his 16 triples and numerous highlight-reel plays — and the slick-fielding Efren Navarro, are having breakout seasons. Moore was just added to the Angels' 40-man roster, while Navarro is batting .435 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Finally, guys like Paul McAnulty and Gil Velazquez are veterans who are going to play as long as the game will let them.
Every player, no matter the stage he's at in his career, will face stiff competition in hist attempt to fill one of the various roles in a baseball franchise.
"These guys are all prideful guys," Johnson said. "They want to finish strong. Anytime they put a uniform on and they're in the lineup they're going to go out to compete the best they can. They're out working hard, whether it's for a September call-up or for a job next year or just to finish up a good season."
On Thursday night, though, the Bees played like they were tired and lost 3-0 to Las Vegas. After scoring a season-high 23 runs at Colorado Springs on Tuesday, Salt Lake has plated one run in two games since returning home.
"That's how it works, this game. You've never got it figured out," Johnson said. "That's why you've got to go out and earn you keep, so to speak, every night. You can go out one night and go 6-for-6 then the next night you won't touch a ball. That's the nature of this game. The guys are trying their best and just came up a little short today."
The Bees' lack of offense overshadowed a strong performance by Palmer, who allowed only two runs on four hits and zero walks in seven innings. He struck out three batters. The Bees and 51s will play again tonight at 6:35 p.m. at Spring Mobile Ballpark
51s 3, Bees 0
Top performance: Matt Palmer allowed only two runs in seven strong innings in the loss.
Up next: tonight vs. Las Vegas at 6:35 p.m.
Next homestand: This is the final homestand of the season. The last home game is on Sept. 1.