Record: 4-0. Overall: 56-42, first place, one game ahead of Toledo (DET).
7/10: Lefty Adam Pettyjohn (W 8-4, 5.06, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K) bedeviled Buffalo (CLE) in a 2-0 Bats win. Tyler Pelland set down the last four Bisons, whiffing two, for his first save (4.38). LF Shaun Cumberland’s first AAA start saw him double and score one of the Louisville runs (on a sac-fly by CF Chris Dickerson). C Alvin Colina doubled in 1B Adam Rosales for the other.
7/11: Bats and Bisons battled through eight scoreless innings! But C Ryan Hanigan led off the top of the ninth with a single, moved to second on a Cumberland safety, then both moved up on a Bolivar groundout. Up stepped reserve OF BJ Szymanski, owner of a bunch of strikeouts and very few hits since coming up from Chattanooga. But UP WENT THE FLY BALL! IN CAME HANIGAN! BATS WIN! BATS WIN! Well, wait. Louisville was the visiting team. So Matt Belisle went out and retired the side in the ninth, striking out two, to get his second save and Louisville the victory at last. Starter Ramon Ramirez looked great (4.10, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K) and Danny Herrera was credited with the win (W 1-3, 2.56, 1 IP, 1 K). Szymanski was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts other than the crucial sac-fly and ended the game hitting .154.
7/12: 2B Michael Griffin smacked a pair of singles and a pair of doubles as the Bats battered the Bisons for the third straight game, 9-3. Griffin, who had hit just .138 in May for Louisville and .247 in June, has now raised his overall IL average to .263. Now he might want to do something about the 3/34 BB/K ratio. Dickerson also led off the game with a solo homer (#7) off Buffalo starter Jeff Weaver (yes, that one) and 3B Luis Bolivar added #3 off ex-#1 overall pick Bryan Bullington (just picked up by Cleveland after he was DFA’d by Pittsburgh the week before). DH Kevin Barker was 3-for-5 with two runs scored (.256). Starter Justin Mallett permitted just three hits over six innings (W 3-1, 4.84, 4 BB, 2 K). Josh Roenicke was touched up for a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth (2.95, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER).
7/13: Four! Four wins in a row, ah ah ah! Five runs in the sixth built enough of a lead for the Bats to hold off Buffalo late and sweep the series, 6-5. Marcus McBeth (7.36, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER) struggled in his relief of starter Daryl Thompson- although a Griffin fielding error certainly didn’t help Marcus much. Another error later in the inning, on SS Paul Janish, brought home the fifth and final Buffalo run. But Tyler Pelland got out of the jam (4.30, 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) and passed to Todd Coffey, who pitched the last two for the save (#2, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 3.44) of the victory for Thompson (W 5-0, 2.95, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). Janish did hit a solo homer in the fourth (#5, .274) and Dickerson hit another bomb (#8). BJ Szymanski, afforded the start after his game-winning clutch sacrifice fly, drove in two with a single.
7/14: Off- All-Star break.
7/15: Off- All-Star break.
7/16: AAA All-Star Game, hosted by YOUR Louisville Bats at TAXPAYER-OWNED Louisville Slugger Field as the virtuous, milk-drinking International League takes on the nefarious mustache-twirlers of the Pacific Coast League. Right after IL starter David Purcey (Syracuse, TOR) set down six straight, the Bats’ Jon Adkins was summoned for the third inning. He permitted a leadoff single to Sacramento (OAK)’s Mark Saccomanno, but got a forceout, a lineout, and a strikeout to end the inning in sixteen pitches. The game continued as a stalemate through the sixth, with ex-Red Mike Burns taking the mound in the sixth for the dark side. (Mike’s 7-5, 3.59 in 20 relief appearances and seven starts for Iowa, the Cubs’ affiliate. Last year he was unimpressive at Pawtucket.) Darth Burns set down the good guys in order. Bat warrior C Ryan Hanigan took over behind the dish for the IL in the seventh. He promptly gunned down Oklahoma (TEX)’s Nelson Cruz stealing for the second out of the inning. He also keyed in the scoring of the first two IL runs in the bottom of the seventh, as he and the immaculately-named Barbaro Canizares both singled and later scored. But the PCL struck back, hammering Blaine Neal (Toledo, DET), who’d carried a 1.39 ERA into the game, for six runs-five earned- in the top of the ninth. The good guys managed to score three in the bottom of the ninth, two coming on a homer by Pawtucket’s Chris Carter, but fell 6-5.
Notes: 7/12: OF Drew T. Anderson placed on the DL with foot tendonitis. 7/13: RHS Homer Bailey recalled by the Reds.
Record: 2-2. Overall: 11-15, fourth place, six games behind Tennessee (CHC).
7/10: The Lookouts blew leads of 4-1 and 6-4 in losing to Huntsville (MIL), 9-8. James Avery’s string of solid performances came to an end against the heavy-hitting Stars (L 6-6, 5.19, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR). The main positive story in Lookoutland: the debut of CF Drew Stubbs, who lashed four hits in five trips to set his Southern League batting average at .800. (Three singles and a double, if you’re counting, even though he scored just one and drove in nobody.) He also recorded his first SL stolen base. LF Danny Dorn drove in three with a single and double (.254) and 1B Tonys Gutierrez was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three walks (.292). 2B Justin Turner continued his hot hitting with two singles and two RBI (.290).
7/11: The Stars then hammered the Lookouts the next time out, 10-3. Four Chattanooga pitchers served up 17 hits- although, oddly, none by Sean Watson, who pitched well again (8.44, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 4 K). Ben Jukich again struggled (L 8-4, 3.57, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K)- his ERA has come up by a full run since he was named an All-Star. Lefty Lee Tabor also took a beating in relief (6.00, 1.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Turner did hit a solo homer (#5) and SS Chris Valaika added his eighth as he prepared to head to New York for the Futures Game.
7/12: THE FRUSTRATION EXPLODES! Everything went right for the Lookouts in this one, as they clobbered the SL’s best team, 13-3. They also did some non-baseball clobbering as well. Chattanooga piled up 13 runs off just eight hits, thanks to a combination of five Huntsville errors and three homers- a Tonys Gutierrez grand slam (#4) and two solo shots by Danny Dorn (#9 and #10, 3 R, .261). Sam Lecure was ejected after four innings (see the link- 3.53, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR) but Robert Manuel did what he does best and pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the victory (W 4-1, 1.19, 3 IP, 3 H, 5 K). Carlos Fisher got through the last two (3.81, 1 H, 2 K). Turner, CF Sean Henry and C Craig Tatum also took early exits due to the brawl.
7/13: Off- All-Star break.
7/14: ALL-STAR GAME! WHOO DOGGIE! Ben Jukich set to start for the North All-Stars against the dastardly South! Could Ben, who has stumbled to an 8.62 ERA in his three July starts, turn it around? As it turns out, he set the (other) Southerners down 1-2-3 on exactly six pitches in the first, then left. Meanwhile, the North put up two in the first and never looked back, making Jukich the winning pitcher. 3B Eric Eymann was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and righty Sam Lecure didn’t pitch (because he’d just started two days before), but Robert Manuel threw a scoreless sixth inning, walking one and striking out one. The North won, 6-1, in part due to homers by 2B Chris Coghlan (Carolina/FLA) and Ohio State product RF Doug Deeds (Tennessee/CHC).
7/15: Off- All-Star break.
7/16: Back to action against Mobile (SD) in Alabama. James Avery got himself popped for a three-spot in the first by the BayBears and two more in the second, as the Lookouts’ keystone combination of 2B Michael DeJesus and SS Chris Valaika committed *four* errors between them. Avery did settle down a tad before leaving after a two-run fifth (5.28, 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Chattanooga chipped away at a three-run deficit with single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth- but Mobile got the tiebreaker off Manuel and Carlos Fisher in the bottom of the ninth (walk, single and intentional walk off Manuel, then a bases-loaded walk by Fisher) and won it, 8-7. Manuel (L 4-2, 1.33, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) normally has phenomenal control- he’s walked just 15 in 61.2 innings between Sarasota and Chattanooga this year. (Carlos has walked 20 in 49.1 innings, an average rate.) Anyway, LF Danny Dorn slammed two solo homers (#11 and #12); he finished 3-for-6 with three runs scored (.268). 1B Tonys Gutierrez singled four times in six trips (.296, 2 RBI). Valaika had three singles in five trips (.299). Stubbs was 1-for-2 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch, cutting his SL average to .714.
Record: 4-2. Overall: 12-14, fourth place, six games behind Dunedin (TOR).
7/10: Rare summertime FSL day game against Jupiter (FLA) with 22-year-old lefty Alex Smit (7-5, 3.82, 42/81 BB/K in 94 IP) on the hill. After a mediocre April (5.32 ERA), Smit dominated in May (2.36) and was solid in June (3.69). His first July start wasn’t so great (6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Nothing for the first two innings, as CF Chris Heisey walked and stole base #19 in the second, but was left there. Previously, in the first, 2B Jake Kahauleilo led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by SS Jose Castro- but Todd Frazier lined to right and Kahauleilo was caught off second base to end the inning. Smit scattered three hits and a walk over the first three, inducing a pair of double plays to keep the Hammerheads off the board. Jupiter picked up two in the fourth, the second one scoring on the Reds’ third double play of the day. LF Carson Kainer doubled in the fifth, but Sarasota still couldn’t solve Hammerheads starter Sean West- a 6’8”, former supplemental first-round pick who is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Finally Sarasota got on the board in the seventh after Frazier walked, Heisey doubled him to third and 1B Jason Louwsma grounded out to make it 2-1. Smit, who’d cruised since the fourth, then struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to finish a very good outing (L 7-6, 3.73, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K). A throwing error on Castro allowed Jupiter to make it 3-1 in the eighth off Phil Valiquette (2.75, 1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER)- an incident that got Sarasota manager Joe Ayrault ejected by the base umpire- but RF Yuber Rodriguez and Castro combined to cut down a man at home plate and end the inning. Sarasota went quietly in the ninth, though, and lost a close one.
7/11: Bobby Livingston again pitched well, picking up his second straight win on his rehab assignment (W 2-1, 2.41, 6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), 3-1 over Brevard County (MIL). Phil Valiquette retired four of five (2.57, 1.1 IP, 1 BB) and Ramon Geronimo picked up save #11 (0.69, 1 IP). CF Chris Heisey was 2-for-4 with a RBI and two stolen bases (.283, 21).
7/12: This one was over early, as the Reds harpooned the Manatees for seven runs in the first three, then sat on it the rest of the way, 7-1. Camilo Vazquez made the spot start (4.25, 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 K) before yielding to Ruben Medina (W 2-5, 3.06, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB). 2B Jacob Kahauleilo led off the Reds’ first with his first professional home run. DH Jason Louwsma smashed a three-run shot (#4) in the third. LF Carson Kainer added a pair of doubles (.230) and 3B Todd Frazier was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks (.297).
7/13: Rafael Gonzalez missed the strike zone as well as bats in this one- just two hits in 4.1 innings, but six walks and four runs (one earned) as Brevard County won, 5-0. Lefty Blaine Howell did fill-in duty from the GCL squad and pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Sarasota got just four hits.
7/14: Great pitching by Scott Carroll (3.93, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K) and relief work from Misael DeJesus, but the Reds couldn’t crack a scoreless stalemate. Finally, with DeJesus having completed three perfect innings with seven (!) strikeouts (W 3-4, 4.22, now 68 K in 59.2 IP), the Reds came up in the tenth and got something going. With one out, C Jake Long singled and OF Yuber Rodriguez doubled him to third. Kahauleilo was intentionally passed to get to SS Jose Castro, who hit a grounder to second. The Manatees 2B made an errant throw, and pinch-runner Dan Perales scored the game’s only run.
7/16: Reds hosting Palm Beach (STL) at Ed Smith Stadium with Rehabbin’ Bobby L back out there. Louwsma singled home Frazier in the first to give Sarasota the 1-0 lead. The score was still the same after five, with Bobby allowing just two hits and a walk and the Reds with eight hits but still just the one run. Two double plays and Frazier getting thrown out at the plate on Louwsma’s second single helped. The Cardinals tied it in the sixth with a trio of base hits. It stayed that way until the bottom of eight, when Sarasota snapped the tie on a Chris Heisey RBI triple and another Louwsma RBI single (he finished 3-for-4, raising his average to .234). Rain shortened the game before the ninth, and Sarasota wins 3-1. Livingston threw an eight-inning complete game (W 3-1, 2.02, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). He seems ready to return 100%- but he’s out of options and there’s no room for him in the big-league rotation. RF Perales was 3-for-3 with two doubles (.236).
Record: 5-1. Overall: 14-12, third place, two back of Lansing (TOR).
7/10: Three straight wins over the hapless Wisconsin (SEA) club, 5-2. Kyle Lotzkar was great again (W 2-3, 3.81, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K). Zach Stewart picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth. C Devin Mesoraco provided most of the runs with a grand-slam homer, #4, in the third.
7/11: Make that four, 8-2. The Timber Rattlers fell to 3-18 on the half. Starter Luis Montano scattered eight hits over six (W 9-6, 4.15, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Enerio Del Rosario picked up the long save (#3, 1.49, 3 H, 3 K). Rehabbin’ Jolbert Cabrera was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a triple. DH Michael McKennon was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI (.219). SS Zach Cozart added two hits and a RBI as well (.260).
7/12: In a game suspended due to weather and completed the next day, Dayton came from behind to upend Beloit (MIN), 8-7. DH Logan Parker came up with a clutch, two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth after the Dragons loaded the bases with nobody out and then watched both Mesoraco and RF Denis Phipps hit line-drive outs. Parker had hit his ninth homer the inning before and finished 3-for-5 (.266). Cozart was also 3-for-5 with a homer, #10, and 3B Neftali Soto hit his first A-ball bomb (2-for-4, 2 R, .348). Jeff Jeffords picked up the victory in relief (W 3-3, 3.81, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Jeffords had given up a tiebreaking solo homer in the top of the inning. Jeremy Horst started and lasted four (2.92, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K).
7/13: 2B Angel Cabrera (no relation to Jolbert) hit a tiebreaking, game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Dayton its fourth straight win, 4-3. Cabrera added a double and walk to his second homer of the year to finish 2-for-3 (.250). Starter Daniel Guerrero did well- looking like he did in 2007 (6.46, 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) but Derrick Conatser got the win in relief (W 2-0, 2.87, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K).
7/14: The Dragons survived four errors and a three-run Snappers comeback in the seventh to win five in a row, 5-4. Soto went 3-for-4 with three RBI (.400) and Cabrera continued his tear with two more hits and two more RBI (.257). Starter Matt Klinker picked up the W (5-4, 3.52, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and Henry Arias (4.47, 1.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) and Stewart (save #2, 0.68, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) locked down the back end.
7/16: Dayton heads to Cedar Rapids to resume play. Kyle Lotzkar out to try and extend his ten-inning scoreless streak- but the Kernels nicked him for a run in the first. Thus began a seesaw matchup- but the bad guys scored two in the eighth off Derrick Conatser (L 2-1, 3.31, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and ended Dayton’s winning streak, 8-7. Lotzkar struggled this time (4.66, 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) and Stewart, despite not being charged with any runs directly, blew the save. Mesoraco did lash three singles and drive in a run (.259), LF Keltavious Jones had three hits as well (.264) and RF Denis Phipps was 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and a RBI (.242). CF Jeremy Reed popped homer #9. Cozart also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, continuing a very strong month of July (.306, after a .309 June where he slugged five homers).
Record: 4-2. Overall 17-11, first place, one ahead of Great Falls (CHW).
7/10: Ogden (LAD) bested Billings, 7-5. Enrique Garcia started (4.50, 4 IP, 3 H, 3 ER) but Brandon Rice (L 0-2, 6.00, 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB) got the loss. CF David Sappelt hit homer #2 and C Jordan Wideman #1.
7/11: The Mustangs fired back the next night to score the tiebreaker in the eighth on 1B Mike Konstanty’s sacrifice fly and nip the Raptors, 4-3. 3B Brett Bartles drove in the other three runs with a double in the fourth (.250). 2B Alex Buchholz was 2-for-3 with two runs scored (.362). Starter Lance Janke went three scoreless (2.75, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Dan Zeffiro looked solid in relief (3.95, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) but Randall Linebaugh blew the save (#3 already) before that RBI got him the win (W 1-2, 5.40, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). Aguido Gonzalez dominated the final two frames, whiffing four of six, for save #4. The 21-year-old Venezuelan lefty still hasn’t allowed a run through ten-plus Pioneer League innings.
7/12: Jamie Arneson returned to pitching great (W 3-1, 4.35, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) and the Mustangsz defeated the Orem Owlz (LAA), 7-3. LF Kyle Day homered and went 3-for-5 with two RBI (.385).
7/13: Orem came back the next night to smashz Billings, 17-5. Clayton Shunick… well, let the line speak for itself. 0.2 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. The reigning PL Pitcher of the Week saw his ERA balloon to 7.78. Only lefty Mace Thurman, pulling mop-up duty, didn’t give up a run (0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Billings did pile up fourteen hits, but when you’re trailing 15-0 after three innings a bunch of singles and doubles ain’t gonna cut it.
7/14: Billings trampled the Raptors in Utah, 16-6. They scored all of their runs in the first four innings! 2B Alex Buchholz drove in five, four on a third-inning grand slam (#2). Wideman was 4-for-5 with two RBI(.300) and RF Tyler Stovall drove in three. SS Miguel Rojas was 2-for-2 with two RBI, three runs scored, and his first home run. Leo Astorga started and won (W 2-0, 2.84, 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Josh Beal threw two scoreless with four Ks (1.80)
7/16: Now hosting Ogden at Dehler Park. Billings beat them again, 7-3, behind CF David Sappelt’s two-run homer (#3) and four RBI and Oscar Castro’s six solid innings (W 2-1, 4.91, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Mace Thurman continued his perfect pro debut with two more innings and Aguido Gonzalez continued to not allow earned runs in a scoreless ninth. RF Byron Wiley tripled in two runs and 1B Mike Konstanty doubled twice (.345). DH Andrew Means picked up two hits and two runs scored (.258).
Notes: 7/16: UT Jolbert Cabrera completed his rehab, RHS Josh Ravin came off the DL, and RHP Enerio Del Rosario returned to Sarasota.
Rookie- Gulf Coast
Record: 2-2. Overall 11-10, third place, three back of the Twins.
7/10: The Reds beat the Red Sox, 7-3. They got fifteen hits, including four from leadoff hitter and CF Alexis Oliveras (.405). He subtracted from that a little by getting caught-stealing twice. Anyway, Evan Hildebrandt started and wasn’t quite as dominant as he’s shown previously (1.16, 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) but Rafael Ceballos (1-0) got the victory with two scoreless innings.
7/11: The division-leading Twins popped Juan Rafael (L 1-2, 1.59, 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) and Michael Henry (2.45, 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) in an easy 8-2 victory. CF Samuel Vasquez was 2-for-4 with a triple and run scored (.263).
7/13: Rained out.
7/14: Three in the top of the ninth pushed the Reds past the Orioles, 9-7. SS Yen-Wen Kuo smacked a two-run double, then 3B Frank Pfister hit a sacrifice fly for the insurance run. LF Alexis Oliveras got four more hits and four RBI, raising his average to .452. Starter Drew Bowman struggled badly (10.80, 3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) but Rehabbin’ Justin James and a couple of other relievers, including righty Hector Santana (W 1-1, 6.17, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 K) did well enough.
7/15: The only Reds club in action today, thanks to the MLB All-Star Game. The Red Sox won this one, 6-4, as the Reds got just four hits. Two were homers- 2B Cody Puckett (#2) and RF Efrain Contreras (#1). Starter Shea Snowden looked strong (0.69, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K). Loss went to Henry (L 1-1, 3.46, 2 IP, 2 ER).
7/16: Rained out.