Record this week: 5-2. Overall: 36-25, 1 game behind Toledo (DET).
5/29: Louisville finished strong, scoring a pair of runs in each of the last two innings to beat Columbus (WAS), 6-3, and make a winner of Matt Maloney (W 6-2, 4.09, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 100 pitches, 62 strikes). Maloney’s got five straight quality starts and four victories in those five. Todd Coffey struggled (6.30, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB), no thanks to a Jolbert Cabrera throwing error, so Danny Herrera came in and took care of business to get the save (#3, 0.98, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Cabrera did drive in two runs with a pair of hits (.286), while CF Chris Dickerson and SS-2B Adam Rosales both lashed triples. Luis Bolivar had a key RBI hit after coming in late. The Bats pinned the loss on Chris Booker (0-3, 4.42), still laboring away at AAA for a Jim Bowden-run ballclub.
5/30: Louisville kicked off a series with the IL-worst Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), and with new CF Corey Patterson in the leadoff slot, even managed to score some runs! C-Patt did walk, steal second, and score on 1B Kevin Barker’s single in the first. The Bats tacked on three more in the fourth (RBIs from LF Jerry Gil, SS Rosales, and the final run scoring on an error) and another in the fifth as C Ryan Hanigan blooped a single to score 3B Cabrera. Adam Pettyjohn, the last remaining minor-league vet in the rotation, fired seven shutout innings (4.43, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K) before giving way to Justin Mallett, who allowed a two-out RBI double to ex-Red Javon Moran in the eighth (2.70, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). On came the freshly-demoted Matt Belisle for the ninth. He struck out fringe big-leaguer Jon Knott on four pitches but gave up a single to light-hitting catcher Jason Jaramillo and a deflected infield hit to light-hitting Brennan King. Following a wild pitch, light-hitting Mike Rouse singled in two to make it 5-3. Light-hitting 2B Corey Smith then doubled (raising his average to .175). That was enough for Rick Sweet, who gonged Belisle and brought on the Majik Man, riding high with a 1.26 ERA in 14.2 May innings. Maj fought with ex-big leaguer Andy Tracy for awhile before getting him swinging, then whiffed fringe big-leaguer Rich Thompson in similar fashion to wrap up the save and the win (#3, 3.76).
5/31: The Bats shellac the IronPigs, 9-3. RF Drew T. Anderson, who’s struggled most of the season, went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (#2, .238, 3 R) and C Alvin Colina also pounded a three-run shot (#3, 3-for-4, .242). 2B Andy Green doubled three times in five trips (.241). Corey Patterson got picked off first base. Starter Ramon Ramirez pitched 6.1 solid innings (W 2-0, 2.92, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and Todd Coffey (5.40, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and Jon Adkins (1.53, 1 IP, 1 K) finished up.
6/1: Lehigh Valley managed the winning run in the top of the tenth off Danny Herrera (L 0-1, 1.33, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB) to beat the Bats, 5-4. Our Man Homer started, but was pulled in the third inning by Rick Sweet to “save his arm” for OMH’s impeding start in Philadelphia Thursday evening. Bailey was charged with two earned runs in 2.2 innings (4.15). Justin Mallett ate up 4.1 in relief, allowing six hits and two earned runs (3.00, 1 BB, 3 K) and Josh Roenicke’s AAA debut saw him whiff two of the three he faced. CF Chris Dickerson tied the score at 4 in the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer (#2); he also had an RBI double earlier in the game (.245). Patterson was 3-for-5 with a run scored (.462).
6/2: Daryl Thompson’s second start was as filled with win as his first (W 2-0, 0.64, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, WP, HB), as the Bats easily dispatched the IronPigs 5-1. Anderson hit homer #3 (2-for-3, .244) and Dickerson (heating up- six hits in his last four starts) picked up two hits, a RBI, a walk, and a run scored. Patterson: three strikeouts and a GIDP. Ow. Herrera set LV down 1-2-3 in the eighth (1.27) and Adkins finished up (1.48, 2 H, 1 K). That’s three of four over the IL’s worst team.
6/3: Matt Maloney versus Toledo (DET) and ex-Red Sock/Diamondback/Ray/Padre Casey Fossum in a battle we might call “Matt Maloney: Present and the Future He Hopes to Avoid”. Why? Check the parallels with Mr. Fossum: high-round college draft pick, super-crafty, a 3.11 career minor-league ERA, but a 37-52 big-league record and 5.46 mark in parts of seven seasons in the Show. Let it not be so for young Matthew.
The problem: earlier in the day, the Tigers called Fossum up to pitch mop-up for them. So Maloney faced Midwest League emergency call-up Laurent Gagnier instead, and the shock left him elevating that average fastball a little too much. Three homers (one to ex-Red Jackson Melian) and six earned runs in six innings later, Maloney’s string of quality starts ended at five. (L 6-3, 4.52, 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, HB). The Mud Hens won easily, 7-2. Matt’s going to have to step it up if he wants to be the next up- Daryl Thompson is breathing down his neck. DH Corey Patterson: 3-for-5 (.409).
6/4: Bats score four early, although the big-stickin’ Mud Hens came back to cut it to 5-4 after smacking Adam Pettyjohn around a little in the second and third innings. The lefty summoned all his craftiness and settled down nicely, and Louisville kept scoring, wrapping an 8-5 victory. Pettyjohn (W 7-1, 4.44, 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR) salvaged his start and both Dickerson (#3) and DH Jolbert Cabrera (#3) homered. Chris actually finished 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks to raise his average to a season-high .266. SS Adam Rosales also gathered three hits (.213). Jon Adkins got save #13 after Josh Roenicke pitched two pretty good innings, surrendering a solo homer to the IL HR leader, Mike Hessman (#21).
Notes: 5/30: It was made official- RHS Tom Shearn’s contract was sold to the Samsung Lions of the Korean League. The Reds also traded RHR Jim Brower to the Cubs for cash considerations. 5/31: LHR Tyler Pelland was DL’ed with tricep inflammation in his pitching arm; RHR Josh Roenicke came up from Chattanooga to replace him. 6/2: RHR Gary Majewski (MAJIK CALLED UP! BY GAWD!) called up by Cincinnati with RHR Logan Ondrusek from Sarasota the temporary replacement. (Our Man Homer will be called up to pitch for the Reds on Thursday, June 5.) 6/3: LHR Danny Herrera called up by the Reds to replace the re-DL’ed Kent Mercker.
Record this week: 5-2 . Overall: 31-29, 5 games back of Huntsville (MIL), fourth in division.
5/29: Three in the bottom of the sixth turned around a 2-0 deficit and pushed Chattanooga past Montgomery (TB), 4-2. SS Chris Valaika singled in two runs (.220, 1-for-4) and 1B Tonys Gutierrez smacked a solo homer (#3, .337, 2-for-3, 2 R). James Avery (W 2-2, 5.47, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) picked up the win and Pedro Viola (save #2, 2 IP, 1 H, 5 K) flashed some of the dominance from his 2007 to get the save.
5/30: Aside from one hit batter, lefty Ben Jukich threw a perfect game for five innings and a one-hitter through seven. Ben got tons of grounders this time through, inducing the Biscuits into eleven of ‘em. Meanwhile, the Lookouts scored four runs in the first on RBIs from Valaika, LF Danny Dorn, Gutierrez, and a sac-fly from CF BJ Szymanski (currently mired in a 2-for-27 slump that’s capping a .177 May). Jukich gave up a couple of hits in the eighth (W 5-2, 2.34, 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K, HB), leading to the call for Carlos Fisher to strike out the first man he faced to end the inning. He’d go on to pitch a scoreless ninth for his first save (4.75, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K).
5/31: Jordan Smith helped Chattanooga to a 12-5 rout of first-place Huntsville with both his arm (W 1-1, 4.76, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR) as well as his bat (2-for-2, 2B, 3 RBI). That’s also Smith’s first Southern League victory. Valaika slammed homer #3 and added a two-run single (.244), 2B Justin Turner was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, two walks, and a RBI, and LF Sean Henry drove in two, scored two, and recorded an assist in the outfield (.302).
6/1: Rained out.
6/2: Makeup doubleheader with the Stars. Chattanooga jumped to a 4-0 lead in game one early, but Huntsville beat up a previously-cruising Sam Lecure (4.88, 4.1 IP, 4 ER) to tie the score in the fifth. Huntsville grabbed a 6-4 lead off Robert Manuel (W 3-1, 1.91, 1 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) but four runs in the bottom of the sixth following a pair of fielding error by Stars SS Alcides Escobar won it for the Lookouts, 8-6. Valaika smacked a two-run double in that inning (overall 2-for-4, .255) and CF BJ Szymanski (2-for-4, 2 SB, .245) added a run-scoring single. 3B Eric Eymann finished the game 4-for-4 with two RBI (.293). Carlos Fisher got save #2 (4.60, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K).
Game two saw Huntsville starter David Welch turn in the night of his professional life, firing a seven-inning no-hitter and propelling his Stars to a 2-0 victory. Travis Wood looked great, allowing only a solo homer to uber-prospect Matt LaPorta (#15, BTW) in six innings (L 1-1, 1.50, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, WP), but he was outdueled. Sean Watson’s AA debut was a little rocky (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB).
6/3: Major slugfest in ‘Nooga! Huntsville takes it, 15-10, after the Lookouts tried and failed to come back from a 12-3 deficit in the sixth. Turner doubled twice and walked twice in four trips, driving in three (.254). Valaika was 3-for-4 with three runs scored (.276). Eymann finished 3-for-6 (.297). James Avery pitched four scoreless after giving up a four spot in the first, but got the loss anyway (L 2-3, 5.61, 5 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Stars prospect C Angel Salome slammed a three-run homer off Avery in the first and finished with six RBI. LaPorta doubled three times. The Chattanooga bullpen was brutal, with Pedro Viola (6.38, 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB), Mike Hrynio (12.08, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 ER), and Derrik Lutz (6.00, 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER) all taking paintbrushings.
6/4: Great comeback win for the Lookouts! After Matt LaPorta slammed his 16th homer of the season off starter Ben Jukich (2.63, 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) to give the Stars a 4-2 advantage, it looked lost in Lookoutland. But C Chris Denove doubled in Drew M. Anderson in the bottom of the sixth to make it 4-3 and LF Sean Henry’s double-play grounder tied it an inning later. In the bottom of the ninth- after Carlos Fisher had completed his three hitless innings of relief (W 1-4, 4.15, 3 IP, 3 BB, 1 K), Henry stepped up and delivered the game-winning single, scoring CF Shaun Cumberland and earning the 5-4 victory. Cumberland hit his eighth homer in the first inning, stole his sixth base, and finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored (.285). Danny Dorn continued his recovery by lashing two hits in four trips and scoring a run (.246).
Notes: 5/31: RHR Josh Roenicke was promoted to Louisville. RHR Sean Watson moved up from Sarasota to replace him. With Homer Bailey going to the Reds, it is believed that LHS Ben Jukich will get the bump to AAA to take his rotation spot in Louisville.
Record this week: 4-3. Overall: 28-31, 11 back of Fort Myers (MIN).
5/29: Enerio Del Rosario’s FSL debut was, like Scott Carroll’s, a bit of a struggle. The first-place Fort Myers Miracle worked him over for nine hits in four innings (L 0-1, 11.25, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) in the process of hanging the Reds with their fourth consecutive loss, 5-1. 1B Jason Louwsma was 2-for-3 with a walk (.257).
5/30: LF Dan Perales was taking a while to get going this year- the April acquisition from Arizona for Jon Coutlangus spent about a month on the DL before joining Dayton and struggling badly at first. Now up to Sarasota, he singled twice and smashed his first FSL homer in this contest, helping back starter Rafael Gonzalez in a solid outing (7.84, 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, WP, HB). Logan Ondrusek came on to hold the line for two innings (4.45, 1 H, 1 K) and Phil Valiquette whiffed two in his scoreless frame. On came Sean Watson for the save op. He walked the first man he faced but got the next three to lock down the save (#10, 4.50, but a 1.04 May) for the Sarasota 5-3 victory.
5/31: Sarasota’s one-game winning streak ended at the hands of Clearwater (PHI), 9-6. The Reds came back from a nine-zip deficit with six runs in the fourth, but could do nothing further. RF Chris Heisey hit a two-run homer (#2) and SS Jose Castro drove in three. Daniel Guerrero suffered through another beating (L 3-4, 7.71, 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) but Misael DeJesus (5.40, 3.2 IP, 2 ER), Aguido Gonzalez (0.00, 2 IP) and Ruben Medina (3.14, 2 IP) held the Threshers’ bats largely in check.
6/1: Sarasota’s one-game losing streak ended with a 6-4 triumph over Clearwater. Scott Carroll got his first FSL victory (W 1-1, 6.35, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) and Ramon Geronimo got save #4 by retiring the last five batters. Geronimo is rocking a 0.73 ERA and I’m not sure why the 24-year-old hasn’t gotten the bump. 1B Todd Frazier was 3-for-4 with two RBI, a walk, and his first FSL stolen base. CF Drew Stubbs was 1-for-3 with a walk and his 19th stolen base, while Perales added a single and triple and run scored (.294).
6/2: On to face Lakeland (DET). Alex Smit continues to dominate the FSL over his last six starts (3-0, 1.50 ERA, 36 IP, 26 H, 6 ER, 14 BB, 32 K) with six innings of four-hit ball and eight strikeouts (W 5-4, 3.32). The Reds capitalized on six Flying Tigers errors and took it easily, 8-2. C Justin Tordi and SS Jose Castro both socked their first homers of the season and 2B Jacob Kahauleilo doubled and tripled. Without Frazier in the lineup, it was fortunate to get such power from such unlikely sources. Freshly-christened FSL All-Star Chris Heisey was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an outfield assist at the plate (.283).
6/3: Dan Perales’ two-run single in the tenth pushed Sarasota past Lakeland in a hard-fought struggle, 10-8. Perales finished 3-for-5 with four RBI (.333). Again the Reds lineup lacked Todd Frazier, but between Perales, Juan Francisco (.292, 3-for-5, 3 R), and Stubbs (1-for-3, 2B, RBI, 3 BB), there was plenty of offense. Del Rosario continued to struggle (9.35, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER) and Misael DeJesus served up three more following him (6.31) but after one inherited runner scored against Phil Valiquette (1.93, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K), everything settled down. Aguido Gonzalez picked up the win by allowing one unearned run in two innings and Geronimo got save #5. Interesting note: fireballin’ and Guitar Hero playin’ reliever Joel Zumaya made his first rehab outing of the season, throwing two scoreless innings with one strikeout.
6/4: Sarasota’s bats couldn’t get going, and one bad inning was all it took to doom Rafael Gonzalez to another defeat (L 3-4, 8.00, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Lakeland scored five of its six runs in the 6-1 victory in the fourth. Lefty Camilo Vazquez whiffed five in two scoreless innings of work (4.76). Todd Frazier returned to the lineup as the DH and knocked in the only Reds run.
Notes: 5/31: RHR Sean Watson left for Chattanooga. 21-year-old Venezuelan lefthander Aguido Gonzalez replaced him; Gonzalez pitched in 11 games for the GCL squad in 2007, posting a 6.75 ERA. He was signed in May of last year. 6/1: RHR Terrell Young added from Dayton. 6/2: The FSL All-Star team is out, and OFs Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey, RHR Ramon Geronimo, and 3B-DH Juan Francisco are this year’s honorees. The Reds sent seven to the contest last year, but the previous promotions of SS Chris Valaika and RHS Jordan Smith probably killed a couple more selections. Anyway, Stubbs is hitting .268/.376/.404 with 14 RBI and 19 steals in 24 attempts, Heisey .283/.380/.429 with 25 RBI and 12/13 SBs, and Francisco .285/.306/.475 with eight homers and 36 RBI. Geronimo has a 0.73 ERA in 22 games with four saves, eleven hits, five walks, and 30 Ks in 24.2 innings. A case might have been made for lefty Alex Smit, the Reds’ top remaining starter; he’s come on extremely strong in May.
Record this week: 1-6. Overall: 26-31, fourth place- seven back of Lansing (TOR).
5/29: Lefty Jamie Arneson had recently been marginally more successful in relief, but he again struggled in a starting role (L 0-1, 7.92, 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR) as Fort Wayne popped Dayton in the battle between aspects of the Uriah Heep album title, 8-3. Juan Rafael’s first 2008 appearance didn’t go well either (3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 HR). 3B Brandon Waring did pick up a pair of doubles (.278) and DH Jason Bour slashed a two-run triple. C Devin Mesoraco singled three times in four trips with a run scored, running his average to a season-high .283. RF Anthony Greensick not only knocked in a run with a double, but the converted hurler also threw out a runner at home from right field. Good on the Ohio University alumnus.
5/30: The Dragons’ contest against the Wizards was suspended in the third due to lightning (cast by the Wizards, right? Good thing the Dragons are green, and not immune to lightning like blues) with Fort Wayne leading 2-1. DH Logan Parker hit his fourth homer for the Dayton run. Matt Klinker started (3.50, 2.2 IP, 2 ER). The game was finished the next day, with Fort Wayne beating on both Jeremy Horst (L 1-2, 4.40, 2.1 IP, 2 ER) and Jeff Jeffords (2.83, BS #2, 3 IP, 2 ER) and winning it 6-3.
5/31: The Wizards beat the Dragons 10-4 in a seven-inning game. Luis Montano (L 6-3, 4.45, 1.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER) had his worst start of the year by far. 3B Brandon Waring did hit his eleventh homer (.273) in the first.
6/1: West Michigan (DET) continues the beatings, shutting out Dayton 10-0. Josh Ravin (L 1-2, 5.14, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR) took the loss, then Steven Otterness (20.25, 1.2 IP, 6 ER) got the rest of it. Juan Rafael did manage 3.1 innings of shutout relief after that (5.14). The Dragons collected just three hits.
6/2: Six straight losses, as the Whitecaps take it 10-6. Curtis Partch (L 2-7, 5.63, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR) was the starter and losing pitcher. Mesoraco did hit homer #3 and SS Angel Cabrera was 3-for-4 (.247). CF Justin Reed was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two walks, a triple, steal #14, and two RBI (.242).
6/3: Make it seven. The Whitecaps win 5-2 in a game shortened to six innings by lightning storms. Arneson (L 0-2, 8.05, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) lost it. SS Zach Cozart hit homer #5 for both Dayton runs.
6/4: Dayton breaks its losing streak, with 2B Kevyn Feiner doubling to score Anthony Gressick with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, 4-3. Win to Jeremy Horst (W 2-2, 4.26, 1 IP, 2 K) after MWL All-Star Jeff Jeffords allowed a three-run homer to wipe out a 3-0 Dragons lead (BS #3, 3.52, 2 IP, 3 ER). Feiner finished with two RBI (1-for-3, .250) and Mesoraco was 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.288). Starter Matt Klinker looked great, two-hitting the Whitecaps through six (3.10, 3 BB, 4 K).
Notes: 6/1: RHR Terrell Young promoted to Sarasota; RHP Derrick Conatser (28th round, 2007, Tallahassee CC, FL) added from extended spring training. 6/4: The MWL All-Star team is out, and five Dragons- 3B Brandon Waring, RF Denis Phipps, RHS Luis Montano, LHR Joseph Krebs, and RHR Jeff Jeffords- make the squad.