Pitching, power perplex Loons
Montano hurls seven shutout innings, and Cozart clubs two home runs; Dragons still perfect in second half.
By Marc Katz
Sunday, June 22, 2008
DAYTON — Starter Luis Montano returned to his early-season form while shortstop Zack Cozart and left fielder Brandon Menchaca provided the power as the Dragons remained undefeated through three second-half games Saturday, June 21, at Fifth Third Field.
Montano, who never allowed more than two runs in any of his first six starts but has seen his ERA blossom to more than 5.00 since then, turned in seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits on the way to a 6-0 Dragons victory over Great Lakes as the Dragons lured more than 9,000 fans for the sixth straight home game.
On one of those nights when Dayton's hitting matched the pitching, Cozart slugged two homers to left — the second time he has done that this season — and Menchaca hit his second homer in two nights.
"My power is coming from learning how to hit," said Cozart, who has eight homers. "In college (Mississippi), when you have metal bats, you can yank everything. I never used my legs. Now, I am."
Menchaca also doubled, giving him five extra-base hits in three games since he returned from more than a month at extended spring training.
Meanwhile, Montano did his part the way he did when he posted a 1.69 ERA through his first six games. In his next seven games, his ERA was 8.13.
"I was thinking too much," said Montano, whose cousin is Reds closer Francisco Cordero. "I was trying to be too perfect. I had to go back to who I was. I called Cordero today. He told me to throw down in the zone."
Jovanny Rosario doubled to lead off the game for the Loons, who then went 13 straight batters without reaching base. When Francisco Lizarraga broke the spell with a one-out single in the fifth, he was quickly wiped out in a double play.
Only in the sixth did Montano allow two runners.
"We didn't need to score a lot of runs," said Cozart, whose leadoff homer off the scoreboard in the fourth was all the Dragons needed. It was Dayton's first shutout since May 26 at West Michigan.
I miss Adam Dunn.
Neftali Soto has a five game hitting streak and is batting a robust .435/.480/1.087 - 1.567 OPS through 23 atbats and five games in the Pioneer League. That kid can hit.
I miss Adam Dunn.
I wonder if Cozart is hearing Soto's footsteps, I like the progress of Cozart and he should gradually be moved up thru the system, his defense is excellent and it looks like he's progressing.
Cozart stated he is adjusting from aluminum to wood bats, that he's had to learn how to drive the ball using his legs and not just the upper half like he did with aluminum.. Its true there is an adjustment for a lot of players - so lets hope he is finally making those adjustments and his month of June is for real. We shall see.
Got my fingers crossed.
"I hate to advocate chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... But they've always worked for me."
-Hunter S. Thompson
Cozart had a shoulder injury last year and was still hampered at the beginning of this year (thus his late start at Dayton). He was considered to be the best defensive SS in college last year. The bat was considered OK -- nothing special, but not weak.
"Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini
Bailey gets little support in return
Has 'great start,' but Bats lose 4-1
By C.L. Brown
Bats pitcher Homer Bailey had a lot of his good stuff going. Too bad Louisville couldn't say the same at the plate.
With offense at a premium, the Bats lost to Buffalo 4-1 last night before 11,615 fans at Louisville Slugger Field.
Bailey, back from a three-start stint with the Cincinnati Reds, fell to 4-5 despite a solid outing. He pitched a season-best eight innings, allowing no walks and three earned runs and striking out seven.
"This is a great start for him," Bats manager Rick Sweet said. "Even though he got the loss, I don't care about that. This is a great start for him to really get his game back together so he can be the pitcher that everybody thinks he's capable of being."
Bailey gave up two singles to start the game and looked to escape the inning unscathed after a double play. But cleanup hitter Todd Linden blasted a 2-2 changeup over the wall in right field for his fourth homer of the season.
It was Bailey's only major mistake all game.
He was hit hard with the Reds, going 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in just 121/3 innings and was sent back to the Bats on Wednesday.
"Obviously, before I went up -- and even two or three starts before that -- things were just very unsatisfactory," said Bailey, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2004 draft. "Finally you get knocked down enough where you're going, 'Okay, things have got to change.' "
So he worked with Reds pitching coach Dick Pole and watched more film of his delivery. It helped him clean up some mechanical flaws in his windup, and he believes that will keep him more consistent.
Last night he looked much more like the pitcher that started the season 4-2 with a 2.29 ERA for the Bats.
And despite not winning since April 30, Bailey maintains he hasn't started to doubt himself.
"No matter how many times you get a loss, especially some of the games I've done in the past month and a half, the next outing is a different one," he said. "I try to stay mentally strong as much as you can and keep that confidence."
Louisville's confidence at the plate could use a boost.
The Bats loaded the bases in the fifth after two suspect fielding plays, including a throwing error by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. But B. J. Szymanski struck out swinging to end the inning.
Louisville loaded the bases again in the eighth as Michael Griffin and Szymanski singled to start the inning. Andy Green walked with one out, but reliever Jeff Stevens struck out the side.
The Bats broke through with a run in the ninth to avoid their first shutout since a 6-0 loss to Toledo on May 23.
Louisville will try to avoid a sweep tonight at 6:15 with Justin Mallet (2-1, 4.72 ERA) pitching against Buffalo's Matt Ginter (5-6, 4.72).
I Just heard an interview with Ted Power and I think I heard him say that Bailey was working between 93 and 95 MPH last night. I also thought I heard him say that a correction of a mechanical flaw while working with Pole after his last start is the reason. The team is looking for him to repeat from outing to outing now. That may be the best news of all if true.
Anybody else hear this or know if Bailey's stuff came back?
"All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH
Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS
Pretty good stuff. Then we got to listen to more people complain about Adam Dunn only hitting homers, and having a "horrible" season.
The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.
Very good sign from Bailey....keep it up!
A good Homer Bailey would be HUGE to this teams future. A rotation of Volquez, Cueto, Thompson, Harang and Good Homer sounds really damn good.