Looking for a snappy name for these, so post 'em if you think of one. "Stiffs Notes" popped into my head this morning, but that doesn't exactly jive with my "no personal attacks on minor-league players" policy. In my mind, once you make the big-league money, you're fair game. Before that... you're not.
I also noticed while compiling this from my Outlook drafts that it's pretty easy to tell which games I watched/followed and which ones I didn't. I'm striving to even it out a bit more.
Record this week: 5-2. Overall: 5-2, tied for first with Indianapolis (PIT) and Toledo (DET)
4/3: Homer Bailey on the mound in Syracuse (TOR) for the Louisville opener. He cruised through the first three, not striking anyone out but also not walking anyone while scattering a handful of singles- but the Skychiefs’ Adam Lind slammed a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fourth. In the meantime, Syracuse starter David Purcey restricted the Bats to a single (from C Ryan Hanigan) and a walk through four. One out later, Bailey served up a single and a four-pitch free pass, but induced Sergio Santos to ground into a 5-4-3 double play (Louisville’s second of the game) to kill the rally. It should be noted that the Bats in this game did a similarly silly thing with their lineup as the Reds have done lately with theirs- batting someone suited to the the end of the order (in this case, 2B Andy Green) leadoff while putting the best choice for leadoff (RF Chris Dickerson) way down in the order. Sweetball! Hanigan singled again with two down in the Louisville fifth- even stealing second (!), but Dickerson whiffed to end the inning. Homer raced through the bottom of the fifth on eight pitches, running his total to 62. Green did draw a walk leading off the sixth and stole second following both a lineout by SS Paul Janish and Jay Bruce’s second K of the afternoon. 1B Andy Phillips stranded Green at second, however, as Purcey collected K number seven. Eleven more pitches got Homer through the sixth (still with only one walk and one strikeout). DH Jolbert Cabrera greeted reliever Bill Murphy with a leadoff double in the 7th. Murphy got LF Jerry Gil to ground out, then struck out 3B Adam Rosales a couple of pitches after Cabrera daringly swiped third base. Hanigan then went down swinging on a full count to end the threat. Another 1-2-3 inning for Homer in the seventh- he finished with 53 strikes and two strikeouts in 82 pitches- nine grounders, ten flies. Ex-Red and ex-Bat Mike Gosling took over to face the Ville in the eighth. He struck out Dickerson and flew out Green and Janish. Gary “Majik Man” Majewski on for the Syracuse eighth. Noted slugger Jorge Velandia greeted him with a triple, and although Majik bounced back to record a strikeout, Joe Inglett doubled to make it 2-0 Skychiefs. He got out of the inning without further incident. Jay Bruce led off the ninth with a single off Gosling, leading to a pitching change. Righty Shawn Camp came on to face Cabrera, and immediately got Phillips to ground out and Cabrera to strike out (Bruce moving to third on a passed ball and the infield out). Gil took a few pitches (something he rarely does) and hung around, but flew out harmlessly to left to end the game. Homer pitched well (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) against a very weak, veteran-filled Syracuse lineup. The lineup turned in just four hits and two walks.
4/4: Rained out.
4/5: Makeup doubleheader schedule to cover the rainout from the day before. Lefty Matt Maloney gets his chance to build on last year's strong IL finish. C Ryan Hanigan's single brought home DH Andy Phillips and 1B Jolbert Cabrera to give Louisville a 2-0 lead, but Syracuse dented Maloney for two in the bottom of the third- they tallied five hits, all singles, off the southpaw in those first three innings. Cabrera walked leading off the fourth and went to second on a sacrifice from LF Drew Anderson and third on a balk, but was stranded there when 3B Jerry Gil went down swinging and Hanigan flew out. Maloney started the fourth well enough, retiring the first two, but a single, stolen base and RBI single gave Syracuse a 3-2 lead and motivated manager Rick Sweet to call on righty Jon Adkins. Not a great start for Maloney (3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). 2B Jerry Hairston Jr. singled with one out in the Bats' fifth, but was quickly erased trying to steal second. Adkins set down the Skychiefs 1-2-3 in the fifth. Jay Bruce reached on an error to open the sixth (falling to 1-for-7 on the year in the process) and got around to third on a groundout and infield hit from Anderson. Once again Gil stepped in with men on base and two out- and this time he came through, smacking a single to center to tie the score and notch his first hit of the season. This chased 'Cuse starter Josh Banks,, but the Bats couldn't get any more clutch knocks. Adkins allowed back-to-back singles to start the home sixth, but wriggled out with a flyout and liner-into-double-play. On came Bill Bray to pitch the seventh in relief of Adkins (2.1 IP, 2 H). Bray caught the first batter he faced looking and grounded out the second, but walked Adam Lind and permitted an infield single to ex-Cardinal utilityman Hector Luna after getting ahead 0-2. This caused Sweet to summon righty Jim Brower, who escaped the jam by inducing Robinzon Diaz to ground into a force play. Bruce struck out swinging leading off the eighth. Phillips managed a base hit and Cabrera and Anderson both walked to load the bases for Gil- but Jerry whiffed this time (third K today) and Hanigan popped out to leave the score tied. Brower allowed a single in the home eighth but nothing more. Dickerson managed a two-out walk in the Bats' ninth, bringing up a hitless Bruce with a chance to be a hero... but Chris was thrown out stealing just three pitches into Jay's at-bat. Oops! Brower raced through the home ninth (2.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K) to bring on extras. A walk to Cabrera and an Anderson base hit went for naught in the tenth, but Marcus McBeth (W, 2 IP, 2 BB, 1 K) stranded two Skychiefs in their half. Hanigan walked and was sacrificed to second by SS Paul Janish to begin the 11th. Hairston ripped an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3 Bats. McBeth went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and Louisville won its first. No thanks to Bruce, who finished 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. The loss was pinned on ex-Red Bubba Nelson, who signed with Toronto in the offseason after a year in the San Diego system and one with Philadelphia (in which he got to re-try starting).
Game two pitted Tom Shearn against Syracuse's Kane Davis, a journeyman reliever best known for his stint with the Indians. Davis retired the first ten bats before Hairston's double broke up the perfect game. Louisville couldn't score that inning, but did dent the plate in the fifth on C Alvin Colina's RBI single. Following that, they'd load the bases on a single by 2B Andy Green and a walk to Janish (who replaced Hairston in the fourth at shortstop for unknown reasons), but Bruce grounded back to the mound to end the threat. Shearn didn't allow a hit himself through five, settling down after some early control issues and whiffing five. Phillips singled and Cabrera doubled off Mike Gosling to start the sixth. Anderson grounded out to short, freezing the runners, but Rosales (after falling behind 0-2) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Tyler Pelland came on in the bottom of 6 with the no-hitter intact (Shearn had worked out of the bullpen in spring training and is still stretching out). He promptly walked the first man he faced, then another one out later. Following a visit from the pitching coach, Tyler bounced back to get a flyout and swinging strikeout to finish the inning at a laborious twenty-nine pitches. Bruce managed to break his slump with a two-out single in the seventh. Later that inning, Cabrera smacked a two-run double to give Louisville a four-run lead. (That chased Gosling.) Ricky Stone came on for the seventh and allowed a solo homer to Russ Adams on his second pitch, but finished the frame with a pair of flyouts and a lineout by Skychiefs SS Pedro Lopez. Louisville wins a one-hitter, 4-1, and sweeps the doubleheader.
4/6: Lefty Adam Pettyjohn, former Tiger prospect and recent free-agent signee, to the mound against the Skychiefs. They quickly score one early. The Bats would threaten in the third, with Anderson getting plugged by a pitch and Colina singling, but Green bunted into a force play. Hairston walked, but Cabrera and Phillips whiffed to blow the threat. Dickerson replaced Anderson in the field following that inning- hopefully Drew's not seriously hurt. We'll find out. A two-out rally in the fourth followed with Janish bunting his way aboard and Dickerson collecting his first base hit of the season. Colina (who finished 3-for-4) then delievered the clutch knock to tie the score. Pettyjohn settled down to permit just a few singles over the next five innings. The Bats took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Hairston singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third, and scored on Phillips’ sacrifice fly. Cabrera added a sac-fly of his own to make it 3-1 in the seventh, but Gil’s double play grounder prevented more. While ex-Red Pedro Lopez homered off Pettyjohn in the seventh (3-2), Adam’s first Bats start was a nice one: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K in a concise 84 pitches. On came Gary Majewski to preserve the lead. A 23-pitch odyssey followed in the eighth, but Gary managed to strike out a couple of batters to escape a bases-loaded jam. The ninth started innocuously enough, with the first two batters retired, but a pair of singles sandwiching a wild pitch quickly tied the score. Up stepped ex-Cardinal and ex-Indian utilityman and noted slugger Hector Luna. A two-run homer later, Gary (L, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) and the Bats had the 5-3 loss in hand.
4/7: Louisville bounced back strong from the previous day’s depressing ninth-inning implosion, sending eleven men to the plate in the top of the first against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY) and starter Jeff Marquez (making his AAA debut after winning 15 games at AA Trenton with a 3.65 ERA in 2007), scoring six times. Jay Bruce, in left field for this one, launched a two-run triple to get things started. He was then immediately thrown out at the plate trying to score on a grounder to third. Two singles and a bases-loaded walk to Dickerson made it 3-0, then Colina’s two-run single and Green’s RBI hit finished the scoring. 3B Adam Rosales added a sac-fly in the second. Bruce then slammed a solo homer his third time up (8-0) and Rosales singled in Hairston (who’d tripled) for the Bats’ final run. Meanwhile, starter Justin Lehr was dealing. He retired the first 22 Dunder-Mifflins in a row before ex-Astro Jason Lane homered to break the perfect game and shutout. Justin (W, 8 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 84 pitches) is not known for dominating starts, but this was one. Ricky Stone allowed a run on two hits in the ninth (that dastardly Chad Moeller doubled and scored) and the Bats finished a 9-2 win. Hairston singled, doubled, and tripled in four at-bats and is eight for his first sixteen so far. The triple and homer raised Bruce’s early BA to .211.
4/8: Homer back to the hill, and the results were better than his first start. Bruce’s RBI double in the first drove home what turned out to be the game’s only run, and Bailey whiffed seven in 5.2 innings (W 1-1, 0.71, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 90 pitches, 64 strikes). Bill Bray struck out three more over 1.1 innings and Jim Brower finished the last two for the save.
4/9: It’s funny- before the Bats juggernaut rolled into Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Dunder-Mifflins were a tidy 4-0. Now, after Louisville administered a 11-0 beating, they’re 4-3. This one was out of reach early, as Colina singled in two, Dickerson doubled in a third and Hairston capped a five-run inning with a two-run single. An inning later, Alvin made it a five-RBI day with a three-run homer (8-0). Starter Tom Shearn breezed through five in 66 pitches (W 2-0, 0.00, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K), Jon Adkins three in 30 (1 H, 1 K) and Marcus McBeth finished up (1 IP, 1 H). Colina, 26, was claimed off waivers (and then subsequently outrighted) from the Colorado Rockies in September last year after he hit .195/.243/.320 in 80 games at AAA Colorado Springs, one of the best hitter’s parks in the Pacific Coast League. This year, he’s seven for his first thirteen with nine RBI in four games. Alvin, a native of Venezuela, owns a career professional .248/.312/.396 line entering this year. Other hitters of note: Hairston (3-for-6, 2 RBI, .500) Bruce (2-for-5, BB, 3 K, .250) and three other players (Dickerson, Janish, Anderson) with two hits apiece.
Notes: LHR Scott Sauerbeck (ankle sprain) and 1B Kevin Barker (wrist contusion) began the season on the seven-day DL. Also, RHS Richie Gardner was claimed off waivers by Milwaukee as the Reds tried to get him off the 40-man roster. C Chris Kroski was promoted from Chattanooga to replace C Ryan Hanigan, who was DLed retroactive to the 6th with an abdominal strain.
Record this week: 3-4 Overall: 3-4 (2.5 games back, last in division)
4/3: Daryl Thompson’s Southern League debut turned out quite excellent, as he threw six three-hit innings (W, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and the Lookouts got clutch RBI hits from LF Cody Strait, RF BJ Szymanski (triple, breaking the 1-1 tie in the seventh) and 3B Michael Griffin (two-run double) to beat Montgomery (TB), 4-1. Griffin finished 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases. Miniscule southpaw changeup artist Danny Ray Herrera pitched a scoreless seventh by getting a strikeout and DP grounder after the first two batters hit safely. Derrik Lutz turned in a 1-2-3 eighth and Josh Roenicke notched the save.
4/4: Rained out.
4/5: The Lookouts burst out of the gate, tallying a pair of runs in the first off Biscuits starter/prospect Wade Davis on RBI hits by LF Danny Dorn and C Craig Tatum. Starter James Avery (the pride of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan) looked to build on last year's 5.22 ERA in twenty-seven starts. He set down the Biscuits in order in the first, but a bases-loaded double created a 3-2 deficit by the end of the second. He settled down and threw a scoreless third and fourth. Normally 1B Tonys Gutierrez is a line-drive type, but he led off the Chatt fifth with a solo homer, tying the score. One out later, 2B Luis Bolivar singled and DH Drew M. Anderson doubled to give the Lookouts the 4-3 lead. Avery was pulled after hitting a batter one out into the fifth (4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER) and Justin James came on. Two walks and two errors (on 3B Griffin and SS Eric Eymann) later (L, 0.1 IP, 1 R, 2 BB), Montgomery led 5-4. Lefty Pedro Viola came on to escape the jam, but he was nailed for three hits and three runs while getting only one man out in the sixth (and committing a fielding error); Herrera got the last two batters but the Lookouts trailed, 8-4. He then walked the leadoff batter in the seventh before picking him off first base and retiring the next two (1.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K). Ramon Ramirez threw a 1-2-3 eighth, but the bats could add just one more run, coming when Griffin doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. Lookouts lose, 8-5.
4/6: Doubleheader today against the Biscuits. Game one saw the Lookouts grab a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from C Chris Kroski, a RBI double by SS Jose Castro and a FC grounder by Anderson. Ben Jukich pitched a scoreless fifth to complete a decent start in his Chattanooga debut (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Unearned runs came in off Derrik Lutz in the sixth (error on Anderson) and Josh Roenicke (throwing error on Griffin) to tie the score at 4, however. The Lookouts loaded the bases in the top of the eighth for BJ Szymanski, and BJ delivered- hammering a grand slam homer! Carlos Fisher threw a 1-2-3 eighth (not sure why the game didn’t go to the ninth) and Chattanooga wrapped up the 8-4 victory. Roenicke (1 IP, 1 R, 1 BB) got the victory. Szymanski finished 2-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored and is hitting .364 in the early going of what is probably his final chance in the Reds’ organization.
Game two was a trainwreck. Montgomery bombed three pitchers- starter Justin Mallett (L, 3 IP, 4 ER), Justin James (1.2 IP, 5 ER), and Ramon Ramirez (1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) in a 10-1 cruise. The Lookouts’ only run came on a pinch-hit solo homer by… BJ Szymanski. That’s #2 in this young season.
4/7: Luis Bolivar’s been around for a while. This is his seventh year in the organization. He plays everywhere but pitcher and catcher. He’s 27 years old and has just thirteen career games in AAA (and a .269/.328/.398 career line). He’s not making the major leagues for anything more than a right-place-at-the-right-time cup of coffee. Yet he’ll always remember games like this one. Luis batted leadoff, played third base, and went a perfect 6-for-6. He missed the cycle by a triple, smacking three singles, two doubles, and a two-run homer. This career night propelled the Lookouts past the Biscuits, 9-4. While the rest of the Chattanooga hitters collected only one more hit (seven) than Bolivar himself, they drew ten free passes, including four by Gutierrez and three by LF Danny Dorn. Szymanski drove in two with a single and double (.412) and CF Shaun Cumberland hit a solo homer. Starter Sam Lecure had the same problem as the Biscuits pitchers, walking seven in 4.1 innings (5 H, 4 ER, 2 K). Herrera followed and walked three more in 2.1 innings, but allowed no hits and no runs and picked up the win. Lutz (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Viola (1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) finished up cleanly.
4/8: A seesaw battle ended on the downswing for the Lookouts, as Viola served up the deciding solo home run in the top of the 11th and Birmingham (CWS) prevailed, 6-5. Pedro has a 15.43 ERA through his first three appearances. This was part of a larger Chattanooga bullpen meltdown, as both Fisher (2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER) and Roenicke (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER) failed to shut down the Barons in relief of superb starter Daryl Thompson (0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K). LF Cody Strait was 3-for-5, Bolivar (at third this time) added three more hits (.458) and Anderson hit a solo homer. Michael Griffin doubled home two runs as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings in the first place.
4/9: Barons pitchers held Chattanooga to five hits in a 4-0 whitewashing. The Lookouts reached into their bullpen to start Ramon Ramirez; he was passable (L, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Herrera followed for 3.2 solid innings (0.00, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) before James finished up (14.73, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 K). Griffin (in left tonight) doubled twice, while Szymanski was 2-for-3 (.400).
Notes: C Chris Denove moved up from Sarasota to back up Craig Tatum. Denove’s not a hitter, but the Reds apparently really like his defensive skills. Rehabbin’ Matt Belisle moved up from Sarasota to make a start in eyeballs.
Record this week: 4-3 Overall: 4-3, 1 game behind Dunedin (TOR)
4/3: Sarasota let the Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) make things a little more interesting than they needed to be. Sean Watson, trying to close out the game with a five-run lead in the ninth, served up a three-run homer to FM’s Daniel Valencia. But Watson came back to strike out the next man and finish the 8-6 Reds win. Starter Jordan Smith’s FSL debut started with a two-run homer in the first inning, but he settled down to permit just one unearned tally over the next four (W, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). The Reds rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, scoring two in the sixth and then four more in the seventh to put it away. 3B Juan Francisco smashed three doubles and a single and scored three runs (one a steal of home!) in five trips- made even more impressive by who he was hitting against for those doubles. The Miracle starter was none other than a rehabbing Francisco Liriano! Liriano allowed four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings, striking out eight (including rehabbin’ Red David Ross three times). RF Chris Heisey drove in three runs with a double and single and SS Chris Valaika hit a two-run homer in that four-run seventh. CF Drew Stubbs’ High-A debut, you ask? Solid- a single, two walks, and a strikeout in four at-bats. He stole a base and scored each time he reached. Interestingly enough, he batted sixth.
4/4: Alexander Smit started the Reds' second game in an effort to build on his solid comeback from 2007 following Wayne Krivsky's adroit waiver snag, but after a scoreless first Smit was battered for five runs in the second inning. He left after three (L, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K), down 5-3. Control looked to be the issue. Logan Ondrusek followed with 2.2 innings of one-run ball, then fellow '07 holdover Robert Manuel (1.1 IP) and promoted MWL standout Ramon Geronimo (1 IP, 2 K) held the bad guys scoreless. The offense scored all three of its runs early on a two-run double from LF Sean Henry and a RBI double from Valaika, but that's all they could do. Fort Myers took it, 6-3.
4/5: Rehabbin' Matt Belisle joins teammate Ross with the start. He retired no less than eighteen straight Tampa Yankees before allowing a leadoff triple to start the seventh. He buckled down, however, inducing two grounders- the second of which saw Valaika throw the runner out trying to score! Belisle got no less than nineteen grounders among twenty-three batted-ball outs, and the Sarasota defense was error-free (W, 8.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K). Sean Watson came on when Matt reached his pitch count and recorded the final out. The Reds, unfortunately, couldn't dent the scoreboard either- collecting just three hits- singles from Francisco and 1B Jason Louwsma and a double by Valaika- and a pair of walks through seven. In the eighth, Henry led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by 2B Michael DeJesus, third on a Valaika grounder and scored on Francisco's base knock. That proved to be the only run of the game.
4/6: Rough time of it in outing #1 for righty Daniel Guerrero, who quietly used his good control to fashion a 4.00 ERA in 18 MWL starts last year. Tampa got one off him in the first, then DH Edwar Gonzalez slammed consecutive two-run homers in the third and the fifth, chasing Guerrero (4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 K). Sarasota tallied four unearned runs in the third, on an RBI hit from Valaika, a run-scoring grounder from Francisco and a two-out, two-run rap for Drew Stubbs. (He later stole third base- #2- but was stranded there.) Two errors in the inning, along with a key bunt single from Heisey. The Reds trailed 5-4 as lefty Camilo Vazquez took over and retired all four Yankees he faced. DeJesus knocked in Louwsma in the sixth to tie the score. Lee Tabor pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and a hitless eighth (2 IP 1 BB 1 K) in relief of Vazquez. Ruben Medina turned in a scoreless ninth, but the Yankees whacked him for the deciding three runs in the top of the tenth to take it, 8-5.
4/7: Dominant pitching from Travis Wood (4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K) and three relievers and Valaika’s four hits- one a two-run homer (#2) push the Reds past Tampa, 7-1. Louwsma also hit a two-run homer and Stubbs was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and steal #3. Wood either ran out of gas or reached his pitch count just one out shy of five innings, so Robert Manuel (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 K) got the victory. Misael DeJesus allowed the Yankees’ run in his inning, and Ramon Geronimo turned in his third straight scoreless line.
4/8: Sarasota got the jump on Lakeland (DET) with four runs in the fourth inning, all unearned thanks to three Flying Tigers errors, although Francisco, Louwsma and C Eddy Rodriguez did collect RBIs. They made it 7-1 in the eighth with RF Chris Heisey’s RBI triple, scoring Sean Henry; Valaika followed with a run-scoring infield hit and Louwsma capped the inning with a sacrifice fly. Lakeland finished with a total of five errors in the 7-3 final. They did smack six hits off Logan Ondrusek in just 1.2 innings (6.23, 3 R, 2 ER) but couldn’t dent the plate off stellar starter Jordan Smith (W 2-0, 1.50, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K). Sean Watson got the last out, leaving the bases loaded, for save #2.
4/9: Lakeland built up a 4-0 lead, then survived Juan Francisco’s ninth-inning, two-run homer (reported to be quite a laser, too) to win 4-2. Juan’s first week of High-A was a success: .367 in thirty at-bats, five RBI, six doubles- and no walks. Alex Smit got the quick hook in this one, striking out six in four innings (L 0-2, 7.71, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB). Tabor retired nine of ten following him.
Notes: 1B Logan Parker, last year’s starter at Dayton, started his year late due to offseason shoulder surgery. OF Daniel Perales, 23, the payment from Arizona for LHR Jon Coutlangus, was assigned to the S-Reds. Sort of the Diamondbacks’ version of Danny Dorn, Perales was just a 22nd-round pick out of USC in 2006 but hit decently in both rookie ball in ’06 and the Midwest League in ’07. He’s allegedly 6’1”/195#, not 5’11”/165# like the link says. He began his Reds career on the disabled list as of 4/7 with a right knee sprain. C Anthony Esquer was promoted up from Dayton with two catchers new to Low-A already on the roster. Esquer, 23, batted .213 in 61 games- mostly with the Dragons- in 2007.
Record this week: 4-3 Overall: 4-3, two back of Great Lakes (LAD) and Lansing (TOR).
4/3: Dayton dropped its opener to Great Lakes, 5-2. Still, a promising start for righty Scott Carroll, 2007’s third-round draft pick, as he allowed just three hits and an unearned run through five innings before tiring in the sixth (L, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). 1B Michael McKennon tripled in one Dragons run and CF Justin Reed’s grounder brought home the other.
4/4: Dayton roared back from a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 4, but an unearned run scored against Terrell Young (L, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K) on an errant throw by C Jason Bour gave Great Lakes their margin of victory in a 5-4 outcome. Starter Jamie Arneson allowed six hits and four runs in four innings, but he did walk just one while striking out five. (In 2007, he walked 74 in 79 innings between the MWL and GCL.) Two of the runs in Dayton's three-run sixth came courtesy of 3B Brandon Waring's two-run homer, his first in Low-A. Waring finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. RF Denis Phipps added a single, double, and RBI. 21-year-old lefty Phillipe-Alexandre Valiquette, making his fourth visit to this level, started off well with a scoreless inning of relief. Enerio Del Rosario, one of Billings' most consistent starters last season, went 1-2-3 in the ninth with two strikeouts.
4/5: It was righty Luis Montano's turn to try and get Dayton its first win of the season. Opposing him was the Loons' Kyle Smit, a righty who is not related to Alexander. Neither pitcher allowed a run through the first four and a half innings, with the Dragons showing only singles by Reed and Bour and walks to Waring and SS Todd Frazier. Montano surrendered a RBI triple and RBI double with two outs in the fifth to break the stalemate. Jeff Jeffords came on to strike out the first man he faced and complete the fifth (Montano: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; Jeffords 1.1 IP 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Dayton tied the score an inning later on Waring's RBI single and an error on the end of the play. Joe Krebs came on for a 1-2-3 seventh (2 K). Phipps singled home Reed, who'd bunted his way aboard, but Don Mattingly's son Preston homered off Krebs (W, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) to tie it again in the bottom of 8. Krebs made it through the ninth, stranding a pair of Loons on the bases and sending the proceedings to extra innings. With one out in the tenth, up stepped Frazier. One home run later, the Dragons led 4-3. Del Rosario came on to get three outs and notch the save in Dayton's first victory of the season.
4/6: Dayton led 3-1 going to the bottom of the eighth, but a run charged to Valiquette in that inning and a game-losing two-run double off Terrell Young in the ninth let the Loons steal it, 4-3. Young is now 0-2. McKennon hit a two-run homer and both Frazier and LF Keltavious Jones had a pair of hits. Jones also stole two bases. Starter Drew Bowman, last year’s fourth-round draft pick, started off his 2008 much better than the 7.59 ERA mess he turned in last year at Billings. He allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings and struck out four.
4/7: Denis Phipps knocked in Brandon Waring with a single in the eighth to push the Dragons past Fort Wayne (SD), 3-2. Waring’s two-run homer (#2) in the first were both of the other Dayton runs. Starter Curtis Partch, a reliever last year at Billings, pitched five solid innings (4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Jeff Jeffords whiffed six of the eight men he retired (0.00) and Del Rosario got the win (1.1 IP, 1 BB). The Dragons survived a combined 0-for-8 with seven Ks from the top two hitters in their batting order, LF Brandon Menchaca (.118) and CF Justin Reed (.136).
4/8: Dayton got just four hits in its comeback 5-4 win over the Wizards. Frazier’s solo homer, his second of the game, with one out in the bottom of the ninth won it. Waring also homered, a two-run blast, to tie the game at 4 in the seventh. That’s three homers for both players through six games. Scott Carroll struggled a little more this time, allowing a run in each of four innings along with seven hits (5.19, 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K). But Phil Valiquette set down all eleven men he faced to hold the bad guys (1.80, 4 K), then Young and winning pitcher Joe Krebs (W 2-0, 2.08, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) finished up.
4/9: Chalk another one up for Frazier. Todd’s fourth homer, a two-run blow in the first with Keltavious Jones aboard, set the tone for a good offensive night- they silence 15’ radius the Wizards, 8-5. Frazier also singled with one out in the sixth to start a four-run rally that resulted from Fort Wayne errors on back-to-back plays. 2B Brett Bartles and C Jake Long each drove in runs in the inning. Todd’s evening at DH concluded with an RBI double in the seventh. He’s hitting .476 (ten for twenty-one) with eight RBI, eight walks and two strikeouts in his first week of full-season ball. Waring was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks as well; Brandon is at .458 (eleven for twenty-four) with seven RBI, four walks, and eight strikeouts. Starter Jamie Arneson continued to show better control, if not endurance (5.63, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but it was Jeremy Horst with the W in relief (W, 1.23, 4 IP, 1 H, 4 K). Again Gunter struggled (10.80, 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB), and again Del Rosario came on to shut the door by notching the final out (S 2, 0.00).
Notes: RHR Matt Klinker was DLed and replaced with RHR Kevin Gunter, who pitched decently in middle relief for the Dragons in 2007. INF Jacob Kahauleilo, 22, the Reds’ 20th-round pick last year, was added to the roster. Kahauleilo had been slated to start his pro career with Billings last year, but tore his ACL in preseason workouts. It will be interesting to see if the Oral Roberts graduate will be able to start right at this level.