Dragons shut out second straight time by South Bend
By Marc Katz
DAYTON | Cincinnati Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky has been visiting since Thursday to see how things are going with his organization's Class A Midwest League Dayton Dragons. He's had an eyeful, and not in a good way.
The Dragons have lost all three games Krivsky has witnessed, none worse than Saturday night's 9-0 mashing by the South Bend Silver Hawks, whose leadoff homer run by Pedro Ciriaco was the tip of a six-run, first-inning iceberg.
Neither the Dragons nor Silver Hawks qualified for the playoffs during the first half of the season, both finishing with .500 records — Dayton 35-35 and South Bend 33-33.
Yet South Bend has beaten Dayton nine of 11 times this season, and Krivsky has got to wonder why that is, considering the makeup of the two teams.
Baseball America ranks organizations and prospects and says South Bend has not one of Arizona's top-30 prospects on its roster — although center fielder Justin Upton is certainly one. He isn't listed because he signed too late for the prospects' publication.
Meanwhile, the Dragons are said to have no less than six — three position players and three pitchers — among the Reds top-30 prospects. That's one reason why Baseball America ranks the Reds' farm system talent No. 29 among the 30 big-league franchises and the Diamondbacks' at No. 4.
"The prospects you have don't mean anything," Dragons manager Billy Gardner Jr. said. "It comes down to doing the right thing on the field."
So far this second half of the season, the Dragons haven't. Their strong point, starting pitching, has failed in two of the three games. Offense has foundered in the last two games.
"Does three games define the second half of the season?" Gardner asked. "No. Our problem has been finished games off. We really haven't been knocked out early. But our starting pitching, which has been the strength of the club, hasn't gotten it done, and when you get behind 9-0, it takes the air out of you."
Maybe starter Johnny Cueto can put some of that air back today. He'll need some runs, though. The Dragons haven't scored in two days.
• The Reds promoted relief pitcher Jose Rojas to the Dragons from the Gulf Coast League Reds on Saturday.