Record This Week: 4-3.
Overall: 7-6, second place, one game back of Toledo (DET).
4/16: Ramon Ramirez looked better in this start than he did in his first one- but he still couldn’t stop Indianapolis (PIT) from scoring two in the sixth to break a tie and eventually win, 4-2. Indians 3B Neil Walker connected for his third homer to provide said runs. Ramirez (L 0-1, 6.30, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) was followed by Josh Roenicke, who struck out three of five (0.00, 1.2 IP, 3 K). 2B Adam Rosales hit his third bomb, a solo shot off Indians starter Tom Gorzelanny, and added a single, run scored, stolen base (#2) and walk (.375). The Bats left 13 men on base, tallying just the two runs despite nine hits and six walks.
4/17: Matt Maloney continues his strong 2009, as he threw a second straight quality start (W 2-0, 2.02, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) and even added a second-inning solo homer that ended up being the difference in Louisville’s 4-3 victory. Carlos Fisher blew through eight straight to notch the save (0.00, 3 K). The Indians committed three errors (two in the Bats’ three-run first, where the good guys also got RBI knocks from Rosales and 3B Wes Bankston). RF Danny Dorn (0-for-4, K, .087) and CF Drew Stubbs (0-for-4, K, GIDP, .125, outfield assist) both continue to struggle early. 2B Danny Richar responded to news of his being removed from the Reds’ 40-man by singling twice and stealing a base (.188).
4/18: Pitching and power carried the Bats past Indy, 4-1. Starter Ben Jukich scattered seven hits over six innings (W 2-0, 1.64, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and Robert Manuel (1 IP, 2 K, 2 runners stranded), Pedro Viola (1 IP, 1 K), and Josh Roenicke (save #1, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) shut the Indians down on the back end. 1B Kevin Barker hit a two-run homer (#1), LF Danny Dorn hit his first IL bomb (2-for-3, .154), and Rosales connected for #4 (2-for-4, 2 R, .387).
4/19: Rained out.
4/20: Two runs in the top of the ninth leave Louisville on top of a seesaw matchup with Columbus (CLE), 7-6. It was a Barker two-run single that did the trick after C Wilkin Castillo led off the inning with a double and 2B Luis Bolivar with a bunt single. CF Norris Hopper (who had a clutch two-run hit himself earlier in the game) grounded back to the mound, but SS Chris Valaika walked. Rosales struck out, setting the stage for Barker’s timely rap. A walk, sacrifice bunt, and Valaika fielding error in the bottom of the ninth put the winning runs on base against Viola, but Manuel came in and struck out the Clippers’ Wilson Valdez (trying to bunt, apparently) to end the game and get his first save. Bolivar finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a stolen base, a double, and a triple (.261) and 3B Wes Bankston had a single and a solo home run (#2). Valaika collected a pair of doubles as he continues to slowly but surely make adjustments to Triple-A (.143). Viola got the win in relief (1-0, 3.00, 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K) bailing out Roenicke (who failed to retire either batter he faced). Starter Sam Lecure went five (5.73, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Jeff Kennard pitched 1.1 scoreless but had to leave his stint early after being hit with a line drive. Carlos Fisher got through that inning but struggled in his next one (2.25, 1.1 IP, 2 ER).
4/21: Big opportunity for Homer Bailey to prove that his excellent spring wasn’t a fluke after one terrible and one truncated (due to solo homers and ejection) start so far in Louisville. He walked Clippers leadoff hitter Josh Barfield to begin the first, but quickly got a line-drive DP to first and a lineout to center to end the inning. Seems like hard contact being made. The second didn’t start well either, with Bailey walking pheenom slugga Matt LaPorta and serving up a base hit to Luis Valbuena. He came back to whiff .121-batting Chris Gimenez as well as .351-hitting Jordan Brown, though! Alas, .161-batting Stephen Head rapped a RBI single to give the Clips first blood. Wilson Valdez, who ended last night’s game by striking out trying to bunt (still bizarre from this angle), grounded into a force to end the inning. Louisville again failed to generate much off Columbus starter Tomo Ohka (apparently he does as well against the Bats’ bats as he has the Reds’ bats) in the third. Homer got Barfield to line out to left (again with the line drives!) to start the third, then DH David Dellucci lined (yup) a base hit. 3B Wes Hodges lifted a popup snagged by C Craig Tatum in foul ground, however. Homer battled LaPorta to a full count, then walked him for a second time. He then whiffed Valbuena swinging on four pitches to strand two more runners. 61 pitches through three innings. Another uneventful Bats half, then Bailey avoided a 2-0 deficit leading off the bottom of 4 when Hopper gloved Gimenez’ long fly ball to center. Brown lined a single to right. Head flied out to medium-deep left. Valdez grounded to second. Again a couple of hard-hit balls, but the bottom of the order kept much from happening to Mr. Bailey. Finally the Louisville lineup got to Ohka in the fifth, tying the score 1-1 after Tatum doubled in Bankston. Dorn was thrown out at the plate on that play, though. Homer’s fifth began with another line-drive out (Barfield to Hopper), then Dellucci singled and stole second. Hodges lined out to left. LaPorta slapped a single to right, scoring the second Clippers run, but the Bats got him in a rundown between first and second to end the inning. Bankston put Louisville in the lead in the sixth with a clutch two-run single, plating Hopper and Rosales after Gomes had popped up with the bases loaded and one out. Bailey then got through the sixth quietly enough; he walked the leadoff batter but Tatum threw him out trying to steal second. Gimenez and Brown flew out to end it.
The bullpen took over in the form of two perfect innings from Adam Pettyjohn (3.86, 1 K) and a scoreless ninth from Manuel (save #2, 1 H, 1 K). Bailey finished at 102 pitches/62 strikes (W 1-2, 7.71, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). This is way better than his previous two outings, but I also saw a lot of great defensive play and a ton of hard-hit balls and runners on base. I don’t think Homer is out of the woods yet.
4/22: Start #1 of 2009 for right-hander Daryl Thompson, whose season is starting late due to arm soreness. He’s got some rust to shake off, because Columbus smacked him around for five runs in the first inning en route to a 14-4 rout that enabled the bad guys to avoid a three-game sweep. Thompson (L 0-1, 4 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) lasted 83 pitches. Ben Jukich also struggled badly in relief (4.61, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 HR), giving up homers to Clippers C Wyatt Toregas in back-to-back innings. Bankston hit his third homer, a two-run bomb, and Rosales was 4-for-5 to raise his average to .409. Luis Bolivar started in CF, the first time I recall him doing such a thing, and was 3-for-5 from the leadoff slot (.321).
Moves & Notes: (4/16) INF Drew Sutton was announced as the PTBNL from the Astros in the Jeff Keppinger deal. Sutton was sent to Louisville and INF Danny Richar was outrighted off the 40-man, although he remained an active Bat. Sutton, 26 on May 30th, was MVP of the AA Texas League last year (.317, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 39 2B, 76 BB, 20-27 SB). He is a switch-hitter who plays primarily 2B. Sutton also killed it in the Arizona Fall League last year, batting .463/.579/.927 in his first 41 at-bats and .315/.420/.611 in 108 AB overall. (Strangely, Sutton did not play this entire week.) (4/16) LHR Bill Bray was placed on the 7-day DL and RHP Justin Mallett recalled from Billings. Mallett seems to be the designated Biff the Understudy at the AAA level this season. (4/22) Mallett back to Billings, RHS Daryl Thompson activated.
In ex-Reds news, the New York Mets signed OF Wily Mo Pena to a minor-league deal and sent him to AAA Buffalo, where he’ll be playing the Bats regularly. Can’t wait to see how that turns out. No word on how Pena’s contract might have been reworked. Someone get a gumshoe on it!
Record This Week: 2-4.
Overall: 6-7, second place, a half-game behind Tennessee (STL).
4/16: Mobile (ARI) led 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, but a six-spot off Ramon Geronimo (13.50, 1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR) put things out of reach as the BayBears cruised, 10-4. Starter Jordan Smith permitted just two runs in five innings despite serving up ten hits (3.00, 1 BB, 2 K). It was Federico Baez (1-1) who took the loss. CF Chris Heisey continued his hot hitting, slamming homer #3 and adding a single and run scored. 3B Juan Francisco had two singles and two RBI (.189). 1B Logan Parker added a pair of hits (.269) and RF Sean Henry went hitless but contributed two outfield assists- one at third, one at the plate.
4/17: Mobile shut out the Mudcats, 4-0, scoring everything they needed in the second off starter and losing pitcher James Avery (L 0-1, 3.27, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K). Three of those runs were unearned after SS Jose Castro and Heisey committed errors in the inning (Carolina made a total of four in the game, same as the number of hits they collected.) Ruben Medina pitched the final two innings (3.38, 2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K).
4/18: The BayBears pummeled Misael DeJesus mercilessly, scoring a total of nine runs in the second inning (L 1-1, 11.05, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) and winning it, 9-4. DeJesus had pitched brilliantly in his first AA start, too. Alex Smit (1.80, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), Federico Baez (3.18, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 K), Sean Watson (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) and Camilo Vazquez (1 IP, 1 K) all did well in relief, but the Mudcat bats had too great an obstacle to overcome. RF Sean Henry was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.308) and 2B Eric Eymann also 2-for-4 (.154). 3B Jose Castro and LF Mike Griffin each added a couple of hits.
4/20: Dallas Buck excelled on the mound (W 2-0, 3.24, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and 1B Logan Parker (three-run triple), 3B Juan Francisco (three-run homer, #2), and Henry (two-run homer, #1) excelled with the bats, leading the Mudcats past Huntsville (MIL) easily, 12-3. Five double plays in the field helped the groundballin’ Buck and relievers Geronimo (11.12, 1 IP, 2 BB) and Medina (4.91, 2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) along.
4/21: Travis Wood and his 1.00 ERA to the hill to face the Stars. The Mudcats got the hard-luck lefty a run in the second inning after 1B Todd Frazier reached on an error, advanced to second on a balk, moved to third on a Griffin infield hit and scored on Eymann’s double-play grounder. That’s all Carolina would be able to muster, as they got just four hits (two by Frazier, actually) and a solitary base on balls. Meanwhile, Travis was just brilliant, no-hitting the Stars completely through six and erasing one of the two men he walked right away on a DP grounder. But Huntsville’s Jonathan Lucroy finally got to Wood with a one-out single in the seventh. He grounded out the next man, but then walked Lorenzo Cain, prompting Carolina skipper David Bell to pull Wood (L 0-2, 0.57, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 96 pitches/60 strikes) in favor of righty Derrik Lutz. Lutz hit the first batter with a pitch, then ex-Red and pinch-hitter Drew T. Anderson hit a grounder that was mishandled by 3B Juan Francisco (his fourth of the year), allowing two Stars to score. That proved to be all Huntsville needed to squeak out a 2-1 win. Carolina got Frazier to second with one out in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t get him in.
4/22: Carolina rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth- the winning run scored by Francisco on a wild pitch- to steal a 7-6 victory! Heisey tripled to lead off the inning (2-for-4, 3 R, BB, steal #6, .326) and scored on a Cozart (3-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, .320) single. Francisco followed with a base hit. Frazier (2-for-4, 2 RBI) popped out. Parker (2-for-5, 2 RBI) then stepped up and lashed a RBI double to score Cozart. Griffin popped out, but the wild pitch delivered with Shaun Cumberland batting ended it for the Mudcats. Starter Jordan Smith lasted five innings (4.24, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR). (Apparently Smith, along with manager Bell, was ejected in the top of the sixth after 78 pitches.) Vazquez walked four in one inning-plus, but Baez came on to strand two of three runners (2.35, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Geronimo (W 1-0, 9.45, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) threw a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.
Record This Week: 2-4.
Overall: 4-8, last place, four games out.
4/16: The 10:35AM start time wasn’t kind to the Reds, as Palm Beach (STL) swept the three-game set by scoring two in the sixth off Luis Montano (L 0-2, 9.82, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and winning it 3-2. More good news on Zach Stewart’s conversion to a starter, as he turned in five strong innings (5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). Sarasota got all of three hits and zero RBIs for the day, although seven walks drawn did put men on the bases. 1B Yonder Alonso was 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts to drop to .143.
4/17: Jupiter (FLA) came to Sarasota as the Reds tried to change their early luck. It wasn’t to be in this one, though, as slugging pheenom Mike Stanton hit his first 2009 homer (after 39 in the Sally League last year) off starter Jeremy Horst (L 0-1, 1.80, 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Sarasota left nine men on base to fall to the Hammerheads, 4-1. Enerio Del Rosario threw three scoreless innings in relief of Horst (0.00, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K). RF Denis Phipps was the only Red to collect multiple hits (2-for-4, .233). Alonso singled in LF Dan Perales for the only Sarasota run.
4/18: Again Stanton struck, pounding a two-run homer off starter (!) Jerry Gil (L 0-2, 6.75, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) to lead Jupiter past Sarasota, 3-1. Only 2B Jake Kahauleilo had multiple Reds hits (.231) as Sarasota could not solve Hammerheads starter Jeff Allison. (You might Google Mr. Allison to track down his Hamilton-esque story of drug abuse and triumph, incidentally.)
4/19: It looked like it might be a fourth straight Sarasota defeat, but the S-Reds came up off the mat down two in the ninth! C Jason Bour led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and pinch-runner Perales then stole second. 1B Jason Louwsma singled to move Perales to third and CF Jeremy Reed followed with another hit to close the gap to 6-5. A bunt hit for Kahauleilo loaded the bases, then it was Yonder Alonso who delivered the clutch knock to score two and give the Reds the win. Alonso, DHing in this one, finished 2-for-4 with three RBI (.200). 3B Neftali Soto was a perfect 4-for-4 with his first FSL home run. LF Carson Kainer launched a two-run blast in the first inning. Sarasota had to overcome Stanton, who was 5-for-5 with yet another home run! Starter Matt Klinker served that up, but not much else (4.50, 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Logan Ondrusek (W 1-0, 2.16, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K) got the win in relief.
4/21: Big start for the Reds in the first inning of their matchup against the freshly-minted Charlotte Stonecrabs (TB). The Stonecrabs starter walked Reed, hit Kahauleilo, served up a two-run double to Alonso, got Soto to hit a grounder to 2B that was E-4’d , hit SS Alex Buchholz, and walked C Devin Mesoraco to force in a third run before getting the next three to escape what could have been a bigger inning. Yonder doubled again in the next inning, too. Three more runs scored in the fourth after a Justin Tordi RBI groundout and an Alonso two-run homer to right (#2). The slugger finished his best pro night to date by flying out in the fifth and walking in the eighth (right after Tordi drove in Reed with a scratch single for the seventh Reds run). Alonso is now batting .250 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 11 games. Reed had a single, triple, and walk, stole base #3, and scored each time he was on (.263). Charlotte rallied a bit late with two in the ninth, but Phil Valiquette got the last two outs for his first save in the 7-5 win. Victory in relief to Luis Montano (W 1-2, 7.94, 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 K) in relief of starter Travis Webb (4.76, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K).
4/22: Zach Stewart to the hill to face the Stonecrabs. He got through the first two innings, but served up three straight hits and a run in the third immediately after the Reds turned a 3-6-3 double play. Soto’s throwing error put a man on second to lead off the fourth, then it went wild pitch, walk, RBI single, sacrifice bunt, RBI groundout, RBI single to give the Crabs an itchy four-run lead. Stewart finished five innings (1.93, 11 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Sarasota fired back in the fifth, getting a single run when Mesoraco walked, advanced to third on a Denis Phipps single, and scored on a Perales sacrifice fly (although Phipps got himself thrown out trying to go to third on the play to kill any semblance of a rally). They’d tie it in the sixth on an Alex Buchholz RBI triple and an Alonson two-run homer (#3). But Enerio Del Rosario, taking over in relief (L 0-1, 0.00, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER), blew the tie with an unearned run that scored after Buchholz’ error allowed a baserunner that would score from first on an imminent double. Joe Krebs gave up two more runs later on. The Reds couldn’t make a comeback despite runners in every inning thereafter, falling 7-4. Buchholz finished 3-for-5 with a single, double, and triple (.224, R, RBI). Sarasota committed a total of four errors, two by Soto (4), the fateful one by Buchholz, and the fourth by Alonso (1).
Record This Week: 0-6.
Overall: 1-11, last place.
4/16: Fort Wayne (SD) won its seventh straight MWL game to stay undefeated, easily dispatching the Dragons, 7-0. (They changed their nickname from the Wizards to the TinCaps during the offseason, so I can’t make sword-and-sorcery jokes any longer, sadly. Although their new logo looks like an antagonist from a straight-to-video horror movie. http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/c...=milb&cid=t584) Anyway, things didn’t go so well for Josh Ravin his second time around (L 1-1, 3.60, 4 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). C Kevin Coddington (.364) collected two of five Dragons hits.
4/17: The Dragons looked in a good spot for victory number two through six and a half innings, but Fort Wayne bombed Drew Bowman (L 0-2, 12.46) and Scott Gaffney (0.1 IP, 4 ER) for seven runs in the seventh to take it, 8-3. Starter Lance Janke did well (1.13, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and CF David Sappelt continued his strong hitting (2-for-5, 2 R, steals #3 and #4, .314). LF Byron Wiley also had a pair of hits (.250).
4/18: After blowing a 4-2 lead to fall behind 5-4 in the fifth, the Dragons battled back to tie with some help from a Wizards error- but Fort Wayne won it anyway with an unearned run in the bottom of the tenth off Mike Bohana (L 0-1, 6.75) and Scott Gaffney (0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB). 2B Cody Puckett hammered a three-run homer in the third (#1) and finished with three hits on the game (.233). Sappelt extended his hitting streak to six and stole two more bases (six).
4/19: The less said about this one, the better. Seven Wizards runs in the second, five more in the fifth, etc. etc. Final 14-2. DH Tony Brown’s first MWL homer broke the shutout (2-for-4, .235). RF Byron Wiley was 3-for-3 (.368). Leo Astorga (L 0-2, 21.00, 3 IP, 6 H, 9 ER, 5 BB, 1 K) took the loss and Oscar Castro (6.75, 2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) also struggled. Jordan Hotchkiss pitched two scoreless late (4.05, 2 BB, 4 K).
4/20: A merciful day off.
4/21: Better luck to the 1-10 Dragons against 6-4 Great Lakes (LAD). Lefty Matt Fairel took the hill and promptly mowed down the first three Loons on strikes! He’d maintain this pace, too, finishing with twelve Ks in six four-hit innings (3.29, 1 ER, 1 BB). Dayton also tallied four runs in the third, capped by 1B Humberto Sosa’s two-run double, and two more in the fourth to assemble a 6-1 lead. What could go wrong!
Drew Bowman retired the Loons in order in the seventh, striking out two more. But he then served up hits to four of the first five hitters in the eighth- Great Lakes scored two that inning (with the help of a Jordan Wideman passed ball) to cut the lead to 6-3. To the ninth and lefty Aguido Gonzalez, who’d pitched quite well in the MWL to this point- a 1.77 ERA in 15 games last year and just two runs in six innings this year.
Great Lakes Top 9th
-Anthony Hatch doubles (2) on a ground ball to right fielder Byron Wiley.
-Alfredo Silverio singles on a ground ball to right fielder Byron Wiley. Anthony Hatch to 3rd. Alfredo Silverio advances to 2nd, on fielding error by right fielder Byron Wiley.
-Elian Herrera out on a sacrifice fly to right fielder Byron Wiley. Anthony Hatch scores.
-Devaris Gordon strikes out swinging.
-Jaime Pedroza walks.
-Austin Gallagher singles on a ground ball to right fielder Byron Wiley. Alfredo Silverio scores. Jaime Pedroza to 3rd.
-Pitcher Change: Scott Gaffney replaces Aguido Gonzalez.
-Anthony Delmonico walks. Austin Gallagher to 2nd.
-Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Erik Kanaby replaces Austin Gallagher.
-Kyle Russell singles on a ground ball to right fielder Byron Wiley. Jaime Pedroza scores. Erik Kanaby scores. Anthony Delmonico to 2nd.
-Travis Vetters strikes out swinging.
Dayton went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to complete a 7-6 heartbreaker. Will it cause some changes in the Dragons bullpen? We’ll see.
4/22: Dayton faced a 2-0 deficit after a half inning in this one, as Josh Ravin got the first man out but then went walk, stolen base, RBI double, and RBI groundout with a couple of wild pitches tossed in. He settled down, though, and left after five innings (3.60, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) in a 2-2 tie (the Dragons got a Puckett homer- #2- in the fourth and Wideman scored on a wild pitch in the fifth). The Loons put two more across off Lance Janke (who otherwise did quite well- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) in the sixth. Dayton got one back in the bottom of the sixth as Wiley drove in Puckett with a single. But that was as close as they could get, tallying just two more baserunners the rest of the way and losing their tenth straight, 4-3.