Record this week: 5-2. Overall: 10-4, tied for first with Indianapolis (PIT).
4/10: As you may recall, the Bats swamped the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NY) in three straight. With the sweep a possibility, Matt Maloney went to the mound to try his luck after a mediocre first effort. Louisville immediately scored four runs in the first, thanks to RBI singles from CF Jay Bruce and 1B Jolbert Cabrera and a two-run double by DH Jerry Gil. Maloney permitted one run through his first four innings and was looking sharp, if running his pitch count a little high- until the fifth. Matt retired just one batter (7.88, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 92 pitches- 56 strikes), leaving after a two-run single made the score 4-3. In came Tyler Pelland. Stolen base, balk, hit batter, and RBI double followed before Tyler whiffed back-to-back hitters to finish the frame. Pelland did much better in the sixth and finished with two earned runs in two innings (6.00). On came the Majik Man with one out in the seventh innings, Bats down 5-4. Majewski promptly served up a two-run homer, a double, and a run-scoring single before getting a man out. He allowed another double (9-4) and a walk to noted slugger Chad Moeller before finishing. Gary’s 18.90 ERA through three appearances is looking mighty messy. Ricky Stone, now toting a 12.00 mark himself, allowed two more runs as the Dunder-Mifflins got better, beating Louisville 11-5. Bruce rapped four singles in five trips (.333, SB #2); so much for that slow start.
4/11: Adam Pettyjohn’s second Bats start wasn’t anywhere near as good as his first, but a) the Bats scored a lot more runs for him and b) Gary Majewski wasn’t closing. Louisville piled up five runs in the first and the lefthander was just good enough (W 1-0, 5.11, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 2 HBP) to get by. 8-5, Bats win over Pawtucket (BOS). Bill Bray (0.00, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K), Jim Brower (0.00, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Marcus McBeth (S2, 0.1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) finished it up. LF Chris Dickerson led the way for the lineup, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored (.179) plus an assist at home plate. Bruce slammed homer #2, and DH Jerry Gil was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
4/12: Again the Bats scored in the first- this time twice- and rode it out to score a second straight win over the PawSox, 3-1. Justin Lehr, the swingman/journeyman who threw a perfect game for seven innings his last time out, fired seven scoreless (W 2-0, 0.60, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K) and Jon Adkins (S1, 1.23, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K) took care of the rest. LF Drew T. Anderson hit his first homer, a solo shot, and 1B Jolbert Cabrera was 2-for-3 with a RBI (.407). Rehabbin’ David Ross was 0-for-2 with a sac-fly but did something I don’t remember him doing in the bigs- he picked a man off first base. Lehr nabbed another- always an impressive feat for a right-hander.
4/13: Rained out and made up the next day.
4/14: In game one of a makeup doubleheader, it’s Homer versus Pawtucket in The Quest for Missed Bats ’08, Part Three. He whiffed one (Bobby Kielty looking) in the first, going 1-2-3 through the PawSox on ten pitches. The bad guys fixed to start a rally with a one-out infield single in the second, but Our Man Homer caught Keith Ginter looking and LF Drew T. Anderson gunned down Brandon Moss trying to score on a base hit by Jeff Bailey to keep it scoreless. Yet another PawSock rung up on a called third strike in a 1-2-3 third. C George Kottaras led off the fourth with a double and Kielty drew a walk on five pitches. Moss singled to make it 1-0 before Ginter backwards-K’d again and Bailey grounded out. 2-0 after the fifth when 3B Chad Spann singled, moved to second on an OMH balk, third on a fly ball, and scored on a sac-fly. Finally, in the bottom of five, Louisville BATS BACK!, with successive one-out singles for 3B Adam Rosales and CF Gil, a RBI knock for SS Paul Janish, and a game-tying bunt safety from 2B Andy Green! Green was then caught stealing as RF Jerry Hairston Jr. struck out to stop that. OMH entered inning number six with fifty-nine pitches on the counter. He retired the bad guys easily, surviving a throwing error by Green but running the pitch count up to 75. Ross did another thing you don’t see him do very often- smash a triple- with two outs in the Bats sixth. A wild pitch later, and the Bats led 3-2. An error on Rosales allowed the first enemy batsman in the seventh to reach first, and on came Bill Bray following a sacrifice bunt (on which OMH slipped and fell, throwing the batter out at first from a seated position). Bailey (W 2-1, 1.42) finished with a third consecutive decent start: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (and the balk). Bill stranded the runner at second by striking out the next two hitters on seven pitches (S #1, 0.00) and that was the game.
Game two saw Tom Shearn trying to keep his ten-inning scoreless streak alive. This ended in the first inning, as Pawtucket took a 1-0 lead after Shearn plugged leadoff hitter Joe Thurston with a pitch and then served up a RBI double. Three more runs made it 4-0 in the second and a fourth-inning two-run homer by DH George Kottaras gave the PawSox a six-zero cushion. Shearn (L 2-1, 3.60, 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) gave way to Tyler Pelland, who permitted another two-run bomb by Kottaras (9.00). With the game safely out of reach it was time for the Majik Man- and wouldn’t you know it! Gary retired the side in the seventh, allowing a single and striking out two, for his first scoreless appearance of the season (14.54). A RBI grounder by Bruce and a run-scoring double from C Alvin Colina (.450) got the Bats on the board near the end of the 8-2 loss.
4/15: Rehabbin’ Matt Belisle on the hill, as he climbs northward through the Reds system after a dominating outing in Sarasota and a solid one in Chattanooga. Hairston Jr. slugged a fifth-inning three-run homer while holding down shortstop (hmm…) and Matt scattered eight singles over seven one-run innings (W, 1 BB, 6 K) in the Bats’ 4-1 triumph. Scott Sauerbeck pitched a scoreless eighth and McBeth notched save #2 (0.00).
4/16: Maloney gave things a third try after two subpar outings. He retired Norfolk (BAL) in order in the first. Jay Bruce stepped up with two outs in the bottom of the inning and cranked his third home run to stake Matt to a 1-0 advantage. This wasn’t unusual. But Cabrera followed with a base hit (and a steal of second, #3); then the spray-hitting Hairston smashed another bomb to make it 3-0 Bats! Maloney allowed a one-out single and stolen base in the second, but got the runner thrown out at the plate one out later, Bruce to Colina, on a second base hit. He’d allow just one run over the first five innings, but problems struck in the sixth after the Tides got two on with one out. On came Jon Adkins to allow both runners to score, with a third run coming across later in the inning following a Hairston throwing error. He atoned by doubling home Cabrera, who’d tripled, in the bottom of the inning. Adkins pitched a scoreless seventh (1.00, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and Jim Brower kept his 2008 spotless by finishing the last two to get his second save in Louisville’s 6-4 win. Maloney (W 1-0, 6.75, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 93 pitches, 59 strikes, 4/5 GO/FO) had his best start of the year so far. One issue: Bruce, working on a perfect 3-for-3 night (.333, 2 R, 2 RBI), had to leave the game early after he hurt his shoulder being picked off first base. He’s apparently going to miss at least one game, but the injury is not considered serious.
Notes: C David Ross (Rehab Battle Gear) moved to Louisville on 4/11 to continue his comeback from back troubles. And Rehab Action Matt Belisle stopped in a few days later. LHR Scott Sauerbeck came off the DL and RHR Ricky Stone was released. RHS Justin Lehr was named IL Pitcher of the Week for the 4/3 to 4/13 period; he won both starts and allowed just six hits and one earned run in fifteen innings. 1B Kevin Barker was also activated from the DL and utilityman Jerry Gil placed there with a quad injury.
Record this week: 3-3. Overall: 6-7 (3 games back, last in division)
4/10: Rehabbin’ Matt Belisle, fresh off a dominarting start in Sarasota, took the hill as he works towards getting off the DL and hopefully re-displacing Josh Fogg in the Reds rotation. The Lookouts put up a five-spot for him in the third, as struggling LF Danny Dorn (.100) doubled home 2B Luis Bolivar (.419), 1B Tonys Gutierrez (3-for-4, three RBI, .333) singled home two and RF BJ Szymanski (2-for-4, .414) one. SS Eric Eymann doubled home run #5, with Szymanski thrown out at the plate. That was pretty much all Belisle needed- he permitted seven hits and three runs- two earned- with no walks and three strikeouts in a complete-game 6-3 Chattanooga victory over Birmingham (CWS). Fifteen grounders and nine fly balls- another good ratio. Gutierrez’ solo homer (#2) was the sixth and final Lookouts’ run.
4/11: A clutch RBI single by Dorn tied the score at 3 in the seventh, but the Barons got runs in both the eighth (unearned off Derrik Lutz, the losing pitcher) and ninth (earned, off the struggling Pedro Viola) to take it, 5-3. Again James Avery struggled (6.23, 4.1 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) but Carlos Fisher kept things steady down a run by retiring eight straight, four by strikeout (0.00). CF Shaun Cumberland was 1-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and two walks, but also committed the error that gave Birmingham the deciding run.
4/12: The Lookouts blew 2-0 and 4-3 leads, but DH Jose Castro singled in RF Michael Griffin (who finished three for six, .303- plus an assist at home) in the bottom of the eleventh to win it, 5-4. Gutierrez was 2-for-2 with three walks (.345). Starter Ben Jukich was passable (2.61, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, a throwing error). Justin James held the Barons in check (10.13, 1.2 IP, 1 H) and Lutz struck out a couple (0.00, 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) but Josh Roenicke blew the save (#2, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, WP) before Danny Ray Herrera set down six straight for the duke (W 2-0, 0.00, 2 K).
4/13: Off day. Yes, on a Sunday. They play five-game series in the SL, so the off days come when they feel like it.
4/14: A prototypical seesaw matchup with defending SL champions Huntsville (MIL), as the Lookouts found themselves playing catchup to deficits of 2-0, 4-2, and 6-3 before running out of offensive steam late. The Stars took it, 6-5. Starter Sam Lecure (L 0-1, 8.68, 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) again struggled, although his control did improve over his previous start (in which he walked seven in 4.1 innings). Viola threw two hitless innings to finish (8.44, 3 K), although he walked three of his own. Szymanski continued his fast start with a two-run double and solo homer (#3, .417, BB #1). He also threw out a runner at home plate. Griffin, back at 3B, doubled twice (#6 and #7, .324) and drove in one. C Craig Tatum failed to throw out all four of the runners who attempted to steal on him; he also went 0-for-4 at the plate.
4/15: Five runs in the fifth gave the Lookouts a 7-1 cushion, and it’s a good thing because the Stars tallied four in the bottom of the sixth off Danny Herrera (3.09, 1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 K) before they fell, 7-5. Southern League Pitcher of the Week Daryl Thompson struck out seven in 5.2 innings (W 2-0, 0.51, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 2 GO/6 FO). Derrik Lutz (1.1 IP, 1 K) and Josh Roenicke (S #2, 3.18, 1 IP, 1 K) held the lead. LF Sean Henry’s first AA game of 2008 saw him slug a sixth-inning solo homer and triple in two more runs; he also gunned down a runner at third base. C Craig Tatum (and his bat) woke up from its April slumber with three hits in five trips, including a solo bomb of his own that went back-to-back with Henry’s (.263).
4/16: Chattanooga led this daytime matchup 4-1 until one inning after Carlos Fisher came on to relieve starter Ramon Ramirez (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Carlos got the Stars out in the sixth with a nifty double-play grounder, but they went walk-single-single-single-intentional walk-wild pitch to start the seventh. Three more relievers, a two-run single, and a error on RF Cody Strait later, the forces of evil led 7-4. That’s how it ended. Fisher’s ERA ballooned to 6.43 (L 0-1, BS #2, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Strait did lead off the game with a solo home run; he added a double and is now at .255 in his quest to return fully from the broken orbital bone he suffered last season. Henry added a second homer in as many games plus two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored. RF BJ Szymanski appears to be cooling off a tad; after such a huge start, he was only 1-for-4 for the second straight contest to drop his average to .386.
Notes: When OF Danny Dorn was DLed, OF Sean Henry came up from Sarasota to fill in.
Record this week: 3-4 Overall: 7-7 , 2.5 games behind Dunedin (TOR)
4/10: Sarasota piled up ten runs in the first four innings, then cruised to the finish, beating Lakeland (DET) 10-5. SS Chris Valaika’s hot start continues- he was 3-for-5 with two runs scored (.400). He also stole home in the fourth inning. 1B Jason Louwsma matched that line (.387). 3B Juan Francisco added a single and double and two RBI (.371) and CF Drew Stubbs was 2-for-5 with a run scored and two stolen bases (.250, 5 SB). 17 hits in total backed lefty Camilo Vazquez, now starting with Belisle’s move to Chattanooga. (Since he spent most of 2007 in Chattanooga’s rotation, I’d expect him to follow Matt up the ladder.) Vazquez wasn’t great (4.32, 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) but it was good enough. Robert Manuel struck out five in two innings(0.00) and Ramon Geronimo remained hard to hit (0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K).
4/11: Turnabout was fair play. Tampa (NYY) piled up ten runs in its first three trips to the plate, thumping unfortunate starter Daniel Guerrero (L 0-1, 18.41, 2.2 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 HR) something awful while rolling to an 11-4 win. Misael DeJesus (4.26, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Ruben Medina (8.31, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K) were fine in garbage time. Francisco belted a two-run homer (#2) in the first inning and 2B Justin Turner was 3-for-5 (.353, RBI). Stubbs added two more singles (.281, 2 K).
4/12: Revenge! Sarasota swamped a succession of Yankee pitchers under sterling batsmanship from Stubbs (.351, 4-for-5, 4 R, SB #6 & #7), 1B Carson Kainer (2-for-4, 3 RBI), RF Chris Heisey (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI), and LF Sean Henry (2-for-4, 2 RBI, SB #3 & #4) to give Travis Wood (W 1-0, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K) a 10-0 victory. Wood allowed two-thirds fly balls in this one, but otherwise looked a lot more like he did in his first season.
4/13: After exchanging blowouts, the two clubs were scoreless for seven and a half innings before the Yankees strung together three straight singles for the winning, and the game’s only, run. Jordan Smith pitched seven brilliant innings before that fateful eighth (L 2-1, 1.41, 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). The Reds got only three singles, but two were by Stubbs (.375), who made it four straight multi-hit games.
4/14: Valaika’s three-run homer (#3, 2-for-4, .353) gave the Reds another early lead and starter Alex Smit (W 1-2, 6.75, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) pitched solidly in a 9-4 Sarasota victory over Lakeland. Robert Manuel struck out four more batters in two scoreless (0.00, 1 H, 1 BB) and Geronimo made it 7.2 scoreless for the year by scoring six consecutive outs (2 K). Turner finished 4-for-6 with a double, RBI, and run scored (.344) and Heisey 3-for-6 with two runs (.313).
4/15: The Flying Tigers scored in every single inning save the seventh. They whomped the Reds, 17-4. Starter Vazquez: L 1-1, 10.64, 2.2 IP, 9 H, 9 ER. Three more ERs in an inning for both righty Logan Ondrusek and lefty Lee Tabor. Watson struck out three in his inning but allowed a solo homer for Lakeland’s seventeenth and final run. Francisco slammed homer #3, at least (2-for-4, .365) and Turner added two more hits- one a triple (.361). Newly-christened LF Anthony Greensick singled in a run (in his first FSL at-bat.
4/16: Sarasota got nine hits, but left eight men on base in a 6-2 defeat at Lakeland’s hands. Guerrero had his best start so far (14.25, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K), although that’s damning with faint praise. He should improve as the season goes on. LF Kainer (.231) and 2B Turner (.375) each had a pair of hits.
Notes: Rehabbin’ Dave Ross finished his five-game, 2-for-11 stretch in Sarasota. Interestingly, 2006 26th-round pick Anthony Gressick, a RHP from Ohio University, was added to the Sarasota roster- as an outfielder. We’ll see.
Record this week: 4-2. Overall: 8-5, tied for first with Lansing (TOR).
4/10: With so much early talk of the power in the Dayton lineup, it’s nice to see the Dragons put up thirteen hits- ten singles and three doubles- in an easy 8-1 defeat of Fort Wayne (SD). 1B Michael McKennon led the way with two doubles and a single in five trips (.250). 3B Brandon Waring was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. SS Todd Frazier committed two errors, tying his season home run total with four. (He was 1-for-4 with a double and run scored.) CF Justin Reed got things rolling after a slow start, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and stolen base #2 from the nine-hole. He’s now at .207. Starter Luis Montano looked very good (W 1-0, 1.74, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Jeff Jeffords (0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K) and Joe Krebs (1.59, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) finished up.
4/11: Snowed out in Wisconsin!
4/12: Snowed out again in Wisconsin!
4/13: Makeup time! The Dragons split a pair with the Timber Rattlers (SEA), losing game one 4-1 but taking game two 3-1. Game one saw starter Curtis Partch get battered around more than he did his last time out (L 0-2, 5.65, 4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and only Waring collect multiple hits (.472). Brandon was 0-for-3 with an error in the follow-up, but C Jacob Long smacked three hits in three trips (R, RBI) and Lakota West alumnus Matt Klinker made a strong full-season debut (W 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, pickoff). Enerio Del Rosario set down six straight for save #3 (0.00, 2 K).
4/14: Eight runs in the final three innings turned a 4-2 deficit into a 10-4 rout of Beloit (MIN). Long singled in two runs in the seventh to tie it, then doubled in two more to cap a five-run outburst in the next inning. Jake finished 4-for-5 with a double and five RBIs! He’s now eight for his first thirteen. DH Keltavious Jones added three hits in five trips with two runs scored and two stolen bases (.375, 5 SB) and RF Denis Phipps doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in a pair (.256). Scott Carroll struggled somewhat (6.23, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 3 HB) but Phil Valiquette (1.35, 1.2 IP, 3 BB, 1 K), Terrell Young (W 1-2, 3.86, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Jeffords (0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 5 K- now 17 K in 8.2 IP for the year) threw scoreless ball to set the stage.
4/15: Beloit slugging prospect Chris Parmelee won it for his Snappers, hitting homer #4 in the bottom of the eleventh to beat the Dragons and Enerio Del Rosario (L 1-1, 2.57, 1.1 IP, 2 ER), 8-6. Seven of the eight Beloit runs were Parmelee-driven. Dayton had rallied with one in the eighth (Jones solo homer, #1) and two more in the ninth (FC grounder from 2B Kevyn Feiner, wild pitch) to tie the score at 6. (On that wild pitch, the run scored in part due to interference being called on Snappers SS Garrett Olson. This led to the ejections of the Snappers’ manager and catcher as well as Olson.) But Todd Frazier, batting at the time of that controversial play, struck out swinging and the game went to extras. Frazier did hit his fifth homer in the third inning, but he struck out the other four times up (.341). Jones finished 3-for-5 from the leadoff slot (.414) and Phipps homered (#1) as well. Starter Jamie Arneson (8.03, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, BK) had a rough go of it but Kevin Gunter (6.00, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Joseph Krebs (1.13, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 K) held the opposition in check.
4/16: Beloit took the early lead, but Brandon Waring pounded a third-inning grand slam, Denis Phipps added a three-run bomb two innings later, and starter Luis Montano went five strong as Dayton cruised, 9-2. Waring singled and scored on Phipps’ blast and later hit a solo shot in the seventh (.373, 3 R, HR #4 and #5, 5 RBI). Phipps is up to .286 with 12 RBI in 13 games, as he added a single and triple to finish 3-for-5 (Waring actually has fifteen RBI in the same number of contests). Montano (W 2-0, 1.76, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) stayed perfect on the season. Lefty Jeremy Horst whiffed six in three one-hit shutout innings (0.77) and Terrell Young threw a scoreless ninth.
Notes: Why LHS Drew Bowman was sent back to extended spring training after pitching very well in his Low-A debut I'm not sure. I guess he was just filling in for Matt Klinker, who replaced him on 4/11 (and subsequently pitched very well in his own MWL debut).