Record this week: 6-1. Overall: 25-16, 1 game behind Toledo (DET).
5/8: A big fat “6” spot in the fifth gave Louisville a four-run lead, but they’d need a couple more insurance runs before holding off the Tides, 8-7. Gary Majewski tried hard to give it away in the ninth, but his bid to allow Norfolk’s Oscar Salazar a game-tying single was cruelly intercepted by SS Paul Janish and subsequently relayed to 1B Kevin Barker to end it. Despite his noble efforts, Gary was saddled with save #2 (5.63, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB). Starter Adam Pettyjohn got the win (W 3-0, 4.74, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Phillips made it eleven on the hit streak and three on the homer streak, pounding a grand slam for four of those fifth-inning runs. LF Jay Bruce picked up two more hits (.325) as well as an error and C Ryan Hanigan singled thrice (.417; does he get more than fifty percent of the PT yet?). CF Chris Dickerson drove in two with a single and double (.250).
5/9: Richmond (ATL) starter Francisley Bueno and four of his reliever buddies held the Bats scoreless, 2-0. Bueno outdueled Justin Lehr (L 3-2, 2.53, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), who turned in another great start. SS Paul Janish smacked a single, double, and triple (.287) but his teammates were little help. Todd Coffey served up a home run to noted slugger Barbaro Canizares (no relation to the racehorse) in the eighth. His ERA is now 8.31.
5/10: Five runs between the seventh and eighth allowed Louisville to BATS BACK and beat those bastardly Braves, 10-7. C Ryan Hanigan’s RBI double and a Janish two-run homer provided three in the seventh, while Phillips’ two-run two-base hit tacked on two more in the next inning. Earlier: LF Jay Bruce hammered a three-run homer (#6), RF Jolbert Cabrera picked up three hits and two RBI (.263, also a stolen base and outfield assist), and 2B Andy Green doubled twice and singled in five trips (.250). All of this offensive firepower obscured Our Man Homer’s first really poor start of the season (3.55, 4.1 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, WP). His bullpen picked him up, though, with Danny Herrera setting down five of six (0.00, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K), the Majik Man forgetting who he was and mowing down six straight (W 1-1, 5.00, 2 K) and Jon Adkins picking up save #6 (0.83, 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K).
5/11: Rained out- made up as a doubleheader the next day.
5/12: If there was any remaining doubt that Jay Bruce is ready for the big leagues, witness his at-bats in game one (a 7-0 victory) of Louisville’s makeup doubleheader with Richmond:
1st inning: line drive solo homer (#7) to right.
3rd inning: line drive double to left.
5th inning: line drive double to left, scoring one.
6th inning: grounded single to right.
Matt Maloney, by the way, threw a seven-inning two-hit shutout to chop his ERA from 6.27 to 5.23 (W 4-2, 2 BB, 7 K, PO, 116 pitches, 78 strikes). CF Chris Dickerson hit a solo homer (#1) off Scott Williamson.
Game two was a classic plane-to-catch 2-1 quickie, with Tom Shearn proceeding through six three-hit innings in just 62 pitches (W 6-1, 3.95, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and Adkins picking up save #7 with a 1-2-3 ninth. Bruce singled in the fourth, Phillips doubled him in, and Hanigan eventually connected for a sacrifice fly to account for the two Bats’ runs. Jay also threw out a runner at second base to complete fourteen innings’ worth of stellar work.
5/13: Make it four in a row! Louisville scored three in the second, then a couple of insurance runs, a solid start from Adam Pettyjohn (W 4-0, 4.71, 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) and strong bullpen work from Majik and Herrera completed a 5-3 win. I’m going to stop making fun of Majewski for the moment; not only did he pitch two more scoreless innings (4.50, 1 H, 2 K), he also bailed out Tyler Pelland, who allowed both of the batters he faced to reach base. Gary’s got a 1.04 ERA in May after a 7.15 April, after all. Herrera walked one in the ninth but otherwise had no trouble notching save #1 (still 0.00 in the IL). SS Paul Janish, in his final AAA game for awhile (as he got the call to the bigs to replace Jeff Keppinger and his broken patella), drove in two runs. He hit a very solid .293/.343/.429 with four homers, 20 RBI, and two steals in 35 International League games. Much better than last year’s .221/.278/.317 50-game stint. In addition, 1B Kevin Barker was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Bruce 2-for-4 with a RBI.
5/14: More Bats bashing- they ran up eleven runs in this one to post back-to-back victories against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Dunder-Yankees (incidentally, holders of the IL’s best record). Final score, following an eight-run Bats second and then a five-run D-Y comeback in the eighth off Jim Brower (3.10, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) and Todd Coffey (7.94, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), was 11-6. Justin Lehr cruised through six (W 4-2, 2.41, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K). Bruce had another crusher of a game- he reached base in all five plate appearances, finishing 3-for-3 with two walks, a double, a triple, a solo homer (#8) and three RBI! His line? .366/.398/.662. That includes a PlayStation-esque .468/.509/.872 in fourteen May contests. 1B Andy Phillips ran his hitting streak to 17 games with a pair of doubles and RBI (.327). CF Chris Dickerson, 2B Andy Green, LF Drew Anderson and DH Jolbert Cabrera all joined the multi-hit parade.
Notes: 5/9: LHR Bill Bray returned to the Reds. C Chris Kroski was sent back to Chattanooga. 5/11: RHR Justin Mallett returned from the DL, seven days after he went on it. 5/14: SS Paul Janish was called up by the Reds, with UT Mike Griffin promoted from Chattanooga to take the spot.
Record this week: 3-4. Overall: 21-19, 8 games back of Huntsville (MIL), fourth in division.
5/8: Tennessee (CHC) slapped around winless James Avery for five earned runs in the first three innings and held on, 6-4. Avery made it through five (L 0-2, 5.77, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 3 WP) but it’s been a rough start for the pride of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Pedro Viola pitched two solid innings (6.14, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 IR scored) and Carlos Fisher and Josh Roenicke also turned in scoreless work. SS Chris Valaika’s Southern League debut saw him smash a two-run bomb in his first at-bat. He later added a single and second run scored as well as a base on balls. (And got picked off third base.) RF Cody Strait hit homer #5 and 1B Tonys Gutierrez stroked three singles and walked in four trips (.337).
5/9: The Smokies held on to win, 3-2, despite the Lookouts scoring in both the eighth and ninth innings. BJ Szymanski’s pinch-hit single drove in Cody Strait in the eighth, but Shaun Cumberland immediately grounded into a double play to end the inning. The following frame, Chris Valaika doubled and scored on Sean Henry’s base hit, but Strait struck out to end the game. Starter Ben Jukich had a little hard luck (L 2-2, 2.41, 7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, PO).
5/10: C Craig Tatum’s fifth-inning triple scored BJ Szymanski (.281, 2-for-4) with the game’s only run in a 1-0 victory over Carolina (FLA). Starter Sam Lecure continued his Jekyll-Hyde act (W 2-2, 5.45, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, HB) and Derrik Lutz (3.14, 1 IP), Fisher (3.15, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K) and Roenicke (save #7, 3.18, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) finished up.
5/11: Sean Henry’s clutch pinch-hit RBI single tied the score at 3 in the top of the ninth, but Roenicke served up a game-losing solo homer to light-hitting Mudcats catcher Brett Hayes one out into the bottom of the inning. Josh (L 4-2, 3.86, 0.1 IP, 1 ER) continues to be unreliable in the late innings despite that huge fastball and high strikeout total (20 K in 16.1 IP). Robert Manuel continued to pitch great in middle relief (0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K; 20 K, 9 H, 2 R, 0 ER in 16 IP over 11 SL appearances) in relief of starter Ramon Ramirez (3.72, 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 2 HR).
5/12: Ooh, two days in a row. This one hurt. Chattanooga built a 6-0 lead over Carolina after five and a half innings, but the Mudcats scored five in the seventh and three more in the eighth to beat the Lookouts, 9-7. The culprits: relievers Mike Hrynio (22.50, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 HR), Derrik Lutz (3.68, 0.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB) and Pedro Viola (L 0-2, BS #1, 7.47, 1 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Starter Daryl Thompson kept his personal freight train rolling (1.28, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 9 GO/4 FO). Only four of the seven Lookout runs generated runs batted in; three Carolina errors helped them score a couple of unearned runs.
5/13: Chattanooga managed to break its modest losing streak by scoring six runs off Mudcats/Marlins prospect Brett Sinkbeil in the first two innings, then clinging on for dear life, 6-4. This time Roenicke came through and got the save, #8. Carlos Fisher added two scoreless (2.86, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K). Starter James Avery got the win (W 1-2, 5.26, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K), but, sadly, Robert Manuel’s no-earned-runs streak comes to an end at 23.2 innings between the FSL and the SL. He was charged with two in one inning of work (1.06). 2B Mike Griffin lashed three hits and a HBP in four trips (.289) in his final SL game for awhile; he was called up to AAA to replace Paul Janish. Tatum also drove in two with a pair of hits.
5/14: Second verse, same as the first- six runs in the first two and then zeroes. Starter Ben Jukich threw the Lookouts’ first nine-inning complete game of the year, scattering six hits (W 3-2, 2.34, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, WP). Gutierrez and 2B Eric Eymann each drove in two, with Valaika adding two hits and a RBI (.222). RF Shaun Cumberland was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and steal #4 (.311).
Notes: 5/9: C Chris Kroski replaced C Chris Denove (sent to Sarasota). 5/14: 2B Justin Turner came up from Sarasota to replace Mike Griffin and join his double-play partner Valaika.
Record this week: 3-3. Overall: 21-18, four back of Fort Myers (MIN).
5/8: Todd Frazier’s first FSL at-bat resulted in a key first-inning sacrifice fly. (After that, the left fielder was 0-for-3.) RF Chris Heisey followed soon after with an RBI single, and the Reds made those two runs (along with 1B Jason Louwsma’s RBI knock to score Heisey in the fourth) stand up through a Daytona (CHC) ninth-inning rally, 3-2. Starter Daniel Guerrero allowed two singles, two doubles, and zero walks in seven phenomenal innings (W 2-2, 5.68, 6 K). Lee Tabor pitched the eighth and Ramon Geronimo survived the fouling of his 0.00 ERA to get save #3 (1.02, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 K, WP- still 8 H, 3 BB, and 23 K in 17.2 IP for the 24-year-old). Heisey didn’t make an out all evening, finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored, two walks, a RBI, and his eighth stolen base.
5/9: Daytona beat on reigning FSL Pitcher of the Week Travis Wood (L 3-3, 2.60, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) and reliever Misael DeJesus (7.24, 0.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) in a 10-3 rout. Wood didn’t get much help from his defense, either, as Sarasota committed three errors, two by Juan Francisco at third. Camilo Vazquez (6.15, 2.2 IP, 2 K) and Ruben Medina (3.60, 2 IP, 4 K) pitched well in mopup duty, but the Reds’ bats weren’t up to it. RF Chris Heisey lashed three hits and stole base #9 (.289) and DH Michael DeJesus hit his first homer.
5/10: Ace Jordan Smith continued his unstoppable start, coming within one out of a complete game (W 6-1, 1.45, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) in a 5-1 victory. After Smith allowed an RBI double with two outs in the ninth, Sean Watson came on to strike out the last man. Smith, 22, a sixth-round pick in 2006 out of Southern Nevada Community College, has walked just five and allowed just one home run in 56 innings this year. Last season at Dayton, Jordan was 10-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 26 starts. The Reds’ offense hammered out twelve hits, including four by Francisco (.295, 2 2B, RBI, another error). Frazier, at first base, slammed a seventh-inning two-run homer (#1 in FSL, #8 for the year) to go with his single, double, run scored, and RBI from before. He was 0-for-8 with Sarasota prior to this game.
5/11: Off day.
5/12: Starter Alex Smit had his best outing of 2008, whiffing eight Fort Myers (MIN) Miracles in six innings as Sarasota smacked 13 hits and rode to an easy 7-2 win. Smit (W 3-3, 4.85, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, WP) had better control than normal as well. The Reds beat up Miracle starter Jeff Manship for six earned in four innings, giving last season’s fifteen-game winner his first loss of the year. LF Michael DeJesus was 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI from the leadoff slot (.311), with SS Jose Castro, CF Drew Stubbs and DH Juan Francisco each picking up two hits apiece. Frazier played third in this one and was 1-for-4 with an RBI, a caught-stealing (of third!) and a throwing error. He’s hitting .267.
5/13: Bad night for Raffi Gonzalez- he gets nailed for seven earned runs and a pair of homers in just four innings (L 2-2, 6.35). Sarasota mounted a comeback after falling behind seven-zip, but never got closer than two as Fort Myers locked up a 10-6 win. 3B Juan Francisco pounded two homers, both two-run shots, off Miracle/Twins prospect Deolis Guerra (part of the Johan Santana deal with the Mets this offseason). That’s seven homers for Juan. C Chris Denove was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and Frazier 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, and RBI.
5/14: Stubbs slammed his second homer of the year to tie Fort Myers at 3 in the top of the sixth, but the Miracle got to Logan Ondrusek for two in the bottom of the inning and then relied on the bullpen to win it, 5-3. Ondrusek (L 0-1, 4.01, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) was in relief of Daniel Guerrero (5.65, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). RF Chris Heisey singled twice and doubled in four trips (.292). Stubbs added a single to the solo bomb and is now hitting .276/.354/.448 with 46 Ks in 38 games- a virtual carbon copy of his 2007 in Dayton. He has improved his baserunning, however, getting caught just twice in sixteen steal attempts versus fifteen of thirty-eight last year.
Notes: 5/9: C Chris Denove joined the S-Reds, while C-INF Justin Tordi was placed on the temporarily inactive list. 5/12: 1B-OF Daniel Dorn was activated and officially moved down from Chattanooga. OF Dan Perales was also activated and sent to Dayton. C Anthony Esquer and OF Luis Soto (free agent signee this offseason) were released. Esquer, 23, a 24th-round pick in 2006 out of Cal Poly Pomona, hit .331 in Billings that year but has struggled at the dish ever since, batting just .213 between Dayton and Sarasota in 2007 and .148 in eight games between the two levels this year. Soto, 22, hit .162 in 14 games. He’d previously been signed by Boston and brought to the states in 2004. 5/13: LHR Camilo Vazquez was placed on the inactive list and LHR Steven Otterness reactivated to take his spot. 5/14: INF Jacob Kahauleilo returned from extended spring training to take the promoted Justin Turner’s spot. 3B Juan Francisco also went on the reserve list with Vazquez for some reason.
Record this week: 3-3. Overall: 21-15, first place- one ahead of West Michigan (DET).
5/8: A seesaw matchup with Great Lakes (LAD). The Dayton bullpen just couldn’t get those crazy Loons out, as two runs in the sixth and three more in the eighth finally finished the Dragons, 9-6. Loss to Phil Valiquette (0-1, 4.50, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER) but Jeff Jeffords also had trouble (1.93, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER). Starter Matt Klinker kept his team in the game (3.38, 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). DH Logan Parker homered in his first 2008 appearance, a two-run shot, and also singled and scored another run later. LF Keltavious Jones, quietly putting together a very strong season in the leadoff slot, socked homer #3 and finished 2-for-5 (.330). CF Justin Reed also hit #3. C Devin Mesoraco’s first game saw him go 1-for-4 with an RBI and a walk- he grounded out to short in the second, walked in the third, singled in a run in the fifth, and struck out swinging in both the seventh and ninth.
5/9: Rained out.
5/10: Makeup doubleheader time once again! In game one, the Dragons piled up five runs in the first and seven total after three, then hung on to win, 7-6, as the Loons scored in each of the last four innings. Luis Montano (W 5-1, 2.68, 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 HR) wasn’t sharp. Joe Krebs got the last out for save #4. DH Logan Parker provided four of those five first-inning runs with a grand-slam homer (#2). Jones reached base four straight times, two by single and two by walk. Keltavious was also responsible for the game’s key defensive play- he, with relay help from 1B Michael McKennon as well as Mesoraco behind the dish, threw out Great Lakes’ Brian Matthews at home to end the seventh and prevent the Loons from tying the score! Devin singled in three trips (.286).
Game two saw Scott Carroll make a bid for his third straight dominant start, but the Loons rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh off Carroll and Krebs (BS #1, 1.37, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB) and win it, 5-2. Carroll finished with a quality start but a loss (L 1-2, 3.16, 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). RF Denis Phipps singled and doubled, matching his output from game one (.325). 3B Brandon Waring also had two hits (.310). LF Brandon Menchaca, who played himself from a starting role to the bench with a 7-for-64 (.109) start, showed some signs of life with a single and double in four trips (.132). (He was subsequently sent back to extended spring training anyway.)
5/11: Rained out.
5/12: The Dragons survived both three errors in the field as well as three hits at the plate to nip Lansing (TOR), 2-1. Dayton got one run in the third on a single by 2B Kevyn Feiner, a double by SS Angel Cabrera (.186, also responsible for two of those three errors) and a groundout by CF Justin Reed. Their other run came in the fifth when Cabrera walked and came all the way around to score when Reed’s single resulted in a throwing error on Lugnuts CF Darin Mastroianni. Starter Curtis Partch made it back-to-back great starts by pitching six two-hit innings (W 2-4, 4.71, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K). Phil Valiquette struck out six more over three shutout innings for the long save (#1, 3.71). OF Dan Perales, the payment from Arizona for Jon Coutlangus, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first Reds-organization game.
5/13: Denis Phipps’ eighth-inning RBI single snapped a 2-2 tie and pushed the Dragons past the Lugnuts, 3-2. Both DH Jason Bour and Waring had two doubles and C Jacob Long added another with a pair of walks. Starter Enerio del Rosario pitched six strong (1.13, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) but it was Tyler Rhoden who got the win despite giving up the second Lansing run in the seventh (W 1-0, 1.35, 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Terrell Young set down six straight for his first save (3.24, 1 K).
5/14: Lansing smoked Dayton, 8-0. Matt Klinker (L 2-2, 4.11, 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) got the loss, with struggling lefty Jamie Arneson absorbing the other runs (9.15, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER). One of Dayton’s four singles was courtesy of Devin Mesoraco, now hitting .231 (3-for-13).
Notes: 5/12: OF Dan Perales was activated from the Sarasota DL and moved to Dayton. He replaced OF Brandon Menchaca, who was sent to extended spring training.