Record This Week: 5-2.
Overall: 35-30, first place, 3.5 games in front of Columbus.
6/11: Louisville jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after 2 with the help of a Drew Sutton two-run double and Wilkin Castillo’s second homer of the year, the relied on a good night from Ramon Ramirez- in other words, he threw more strikes- to beat Columbus (CLE), 6-1. Ramirez (W 1-4, 4.75, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 99 pitches, 65 strikes) finally got his first win. Robert Manuel took care of the seventh (2.10, 1 H), Pedro Viola part of the eighth (3.70, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) before getting into trouble and Josh Roenicke (save #10, 3.13, 1.1 IP, 2 K, 0/2 inherited runners scored) played exterminator.
6/12: Our Man Homer dominated the Clippers for 8.2 innings and 124 pitches (?!), but departed with a 1-1 tie. Columbus got an unearned run to win it 2-1 off Jeff Kennard (L 1-1, 4.76) when 1B Kevin Barker committed an error with two men on in the bottom of the tenth. Bailey (3.13, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) was left in for what had to be his highest pitch count ever, although he threw 86 strikes in those 124 pitches and whiffed the last man he faced swinging on three pitches, so he doesn’t appear to have been left in beyond his fatigue point. RF Darnell McDonald got two of the four Bats hits and threw out a man at home plate (.246). CF Drew Stubbs, his batting average slowly fading over the last two weeks, managed a single and walk in four trips (.291, steal #20).
6/13: Justin Lehr held Columbus to three hits in a complete-game, 7-2 win. Lehr (W 8-2, 3.93, 0 BB, 1 K) induced no fewer than nineteen (!) ground-ball outs. Three hits apiece for Stubbs (.299, 2 R), Bankston (.249, 3 RBI) and McDonald (.279, 2 RBI).
6/14: Sweet Sam Lecure was back to Shaky Sam (W 4-5, 5.61, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR), but the hot-hitting Wes Bankston smacked homer #11, McDonald drove in a pair, and Danny Richar (.292, 2 RBI) and Drew Stubbs (.309, R, steals #21 and #22) both delivered three hits apiece from the 1-2 spots in the lineup. All of this helped the Bats wipe out a 4-0 deficit and down the Clippers, 7-5. As usual, Louisville’s bullpen was spectacular- the now-familiar progression of Manuel (1.98, 2 IP, 1 K), Viola (3.55, 1 IP, 2 K) and Roenicke (save #11, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) locked things down late.
6/15: Norfolk (BAL) scored four off Ben Jukich in the first and the Bats never recovered- they went 0-for-8 with RISP and left 10 runners on base, losing 5-1. Jukich settled down a bit after the first (L 4-3, 5.52, 6 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR), allowing just one run over his final five innings. DH Kevin Barker’s eighth homer accounted for the only Louisville run.
6/16: Louisville survives three fielding errors- giving the first-place Bats 66 of ‘em in 64 games- by getting three homers and some decent pitching. They manage to knock off the Tides, the club with the best record in the IL (38-24 coming in), 6-4. Ramon Ramirez went five for his second straight win (W 2-4, 4.52, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Jeff Kennard went 2.1 (4.68, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and Pedro Viola wrapped it up for save #4 (3.33, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K). Why was Pedro doing the closing? Because Josh Roenicke was called up! Those homers belonged to 3B Drew Sutton (#4), C Craig Tatum (#2, 2-for-3, 2 R, .245) and Barker (#9). Stubbs also picked up two hits, a walk, a run scored, a RBI, and stolen base #24 (.312).
6/17: No stopping Homer Bailey. (Apparently, no taking him out of the game, either) Eight more shutout innings, this time on a slightly more economical 114 pitches, as Louisville cruised past Norfolk, 6-2. Bailey (W 7-5, 2.83, 7 H, 1 BB, 7 K) had no problem outdueling just-promoted Orioles prospect Jake Arrieta (who incidentally was drafted by the Reds out of high school in 2004 before going to TCU). The Bats beat on Arrieta in his AAA debut for seven hits and five earned runs in just 4.2 innings. LF Danny Dorn led the way, going 3-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI (.237, a season high). SS Luis Bolivar was 2-for-3 with a run, walk, RBI, and two stolen bases (8). Stubbs got on just once (a single in five trips with three Ks) but did nab steal #25- another third base, against ex-Red Chad Moeller. (Incidentally, Moeller batted fifth in the Tides lineup in this one- two spots behind noted slugger and fellow ex-Red Jolbert Cabrera. Not the toughest lineup there in Norfolk- they’ve done well due to since-departed Matt Wieters and pitching.) Anyway, after Camilo Vazquez’ purplestripe debut resulted in a two-run Tides rally, Robert Manuel whiffed Joey Gathright to end the game (save #4).
Moves & Notes: (6/15) INF Wes Bankston was the International League Batter of the Week for June 8-14. He hit .462 (12-for-26) with two homers and eight RBI. He’s tied for second in the IL with 11 homers. (6/16) LHR Camilo Vazquez (and his 6.26 ERA) promoted from Carolina. C Brian Peterson DL’d with a “calf strain”. (6/17) RHR Josh Roenicke promoted to Cincinnati to replace the DL’d Mike Lincoln. INF Chris Valaika activated- he’s been out since May 9 with a broken hand.
Congrats to Bats manager Rick Sweet, who was named the International League manager for the AAA All-Star Game on July 15th in Portland. (Good thing for my home city, too, since they’re gonna turn PGE Park into a full-time Major League Soccer facility for the Portland Timbers- who already play there as minor-leaguers- in 2011 and build a new park over by my new house.)
Ex-Reds News: 2B Justin Turner was placed on the Norfolk (AAA, BAL) 7-day DL. C Corky Miller, just outrighted off the White Sox’s 40-man, was also DL’ed in AAA. Cleveland signed LHR Mike Gosling to play at AAA Columbus. Houston activated LHR Andy Van Hekken. Milwaukee optioned RHR Mike Burns back to AAA and activated OF Drew T. Anderson. The Mets DL’ed C-1B Javier Valentin at AAA Buffalo. Oakland recalled OF Chris Denorfia. Philadelphia released 3B Todd Waller and purchased the contract of C Paul Bako. Washington purchased the contract of OF Corey Patterson (Jaws music!).
Record This Week: 3-2.
Overall: 36-28, one game behind Huntsville (MIL)- just a few games left in the half!
6/11: West Tenn (SEA) 1B Thomas Hubbard slammed two solo homers, the second in the top of the ninth off Ruben Medina (L 1-3 , 3.52, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) to push the Diamond Jaxx past the Mudcats, 2-1. Another strong outing for Zach Stewart (0.62, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). RF Sean Henry’s homer (#6) was the only Carolina run.
6/12: Lefty Travis Wood Cannot Be Stopped. Seven more innings of one-hit ball dropped his ERA to 1.11 (1 BB, 9 K, 95 pitches, 61 strikes) as Carolina whitewashed the DJs, 4-0. 22 consecutive scoreless innings for Travis. C Chris Denove (.247, RBI), SS Zach Cozart (.290, R, steal #6), and LF Todd Frazier (.333, R, RBI, 2B) each picked up multiple hits. Phil Valiquette escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth (4.15, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Ramon Geronimo took care of the ninth (3.62, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K).
6/13: Oof! The Diamond Jaxx beat on Jordan Smith (L 4-2, 3.13, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and get walked by Jerry Gil (0.2 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 BB) en route to a 10-3 whooping of Carolina. Heisey homered (#12) and Todd Frazier added #5.
6/14: Heisey, of course, hit his 13th homer- a two-run shot- in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie. Then, in the 9th, Ramon Geronimo got the first out but gave up a single, double, intentional walk, and a run-scoring walk. The next man hit a fly ball to LF Todd Frazier- and Frazier, not known for his D, fired directly home to Chris Denove to nab the runner and win the game for Carolina! Frazier leads the SL with 10 assists. Awesome ending, and one that got Geronimo his fifth save and the win for Sean Watson (W 1-2, 3.41, 3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Watson continues to pitch extremely well in multi-inning relief stints (he’s inconsistent as a starter and unreliable as a closer), whiffing 24 in 18.2 innings over his last ten appearances with a 1.45 ERA. He was on in relief of Dallas Buck, who returned after six weeks on the DL to throw 66 pitches over four innings (3.56, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K). RF Sean Henry was a perfect 4-for-4 from the leadoff slot- he also picked up steal #6 (and CS #5) and scored twice to bring his average back up to .290. Logan Ondrusek turned in another scoreless inning (now at 16.2). The slumping Yonder Alonso laced a RBI double in three trips (.216).
Also, this win put the Mudcats within two games of first-place Huntsville (MIL) as the first half of the Southern League season winds down.
6/15: It’s Monday morning in Zebulon, Crafty Lefty Tom Cochran is on the mound, and Carolina led West Tenn 2-0 after a first-inning opposite-field Alonso homer, his very first in Double-A. Cochran craftied his way to a two-hitter over five innings (1.72, 1 BB, 5 K) despite a pair of rain delays. The second one got the game called, and that’s a rain-shortened win! WHOO!
6/17: Zach Stewart (interview) back to the hill against Tennessee (CHC) and former Red Marcos Mateo (1-4, 4.93). Alas, it was rained out!
Moves & Notes: RHS Zach Stewart makes the BA Prospect Hot Sheet.
(6/12) C Korey Feiner back to the DL (how conveeeeenient) and RHS Jerry Gil was promoted from Sarasota. Yes, with his 7.74 ERA. (6/16) LHR Camilo Vazquez moved up to Louisville; no immediate move made to replace him. (6/17) RHS Jordan Smith back to the DL again with knee tendinitis (retroactive to 6/14). C Korey Feiner magically healed/activated. LHR Lee Tabor promoted from Sarasota to replace Vazquez.
Ho-hum- just another week at the office for LHS Travis Wood. He was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for June 8-14. How often do you see the same player named this sort of thing in back-to-back weeks? Wow.
Record This Week: 3-4.
Overall: 26-38, last place, 13.5 games out.
6/11: The Reds offense has really gone south since the promotion of Yonder Alonso- yet another exhibit of this was a 5-1 loss to Tampa. Jeremy Horst fell to 2-7 despite a 3.14 ERA (5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K). Only RF Denis Phipps’ ninth-inning solo homer (#4) prevented a shutout.
6/12: Right-hander Scott Carroll, a 2007 third-round pick, returned to action after serving his 50-game suspension. He looked good through two innings, but Lakeland (DET) pounded him for a five-spot in the third (L 0-1, 9.00, 4 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 HR) en route to a 9-1 win. Phipps had two hits and a RBI (.270).
6/13: Ho-hum. Travis Webb looked good until Lakeland pounded him for a six-spot in the fifth (L 4-5, 4.38, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR). They won easily, 7-1. Most notable for Sarasota: the return, as promised, of former Cubs’ first-round pick Mark Pawelek. The lefty threw a scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit and walking two. Lefty Lee Tabor also made his first appearance of 2009 before Pawelek, going 2.1 innings of scoreless ball (3 H, 1 K). 2B Jake Kahauleilo was 2-for-4 with the lone Reds RBI (.289).
6/14: Just a couple of games after I lambaste the S-Reds for their lack of offense post-Alonso, they slaughter Lakeland with two in the first and seven more in the second. The Flying Tigers fought back with four in the seventh and three in the ninth, but Sarasota’s lead was too big- they win it, 11-7. DH Neftali Soto hammered a three-run bomb (#5) in the second and added a sacrifice fly. Kahauleilo (.309), SS Mariekson Gregorius (.237) and C Jason Bour (.283) were each 3-for-5. Raffi Gonzalez got his first win (W 1-2, 3.73, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). FSL All-Star Enerio Del Rosario served up a three-run homer in the ninth, blowing his ERA out to 2.62.
6/15: Denis Phipps’ three-run homer (#5) gave Sarasota a 6-0 lead after four; they’d go on to defeat Clearwater (PHI), 7-3. Luis Montano (W 5-6, 6.26, 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR) didn’t fool ‘em, but got the backing. Joe Krebs fired three scoreless (1.91, 2 H, 2 K) and Mace Thurman turned in a perfect ninth (2.70, 2 K). Phipps has been adjusting well to his new spot (third) in the lineup, raising his average to .275 with three hits in five trips, an outfield assist at third, and steal #5. Bour was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double (.295). LF Keltavious Jones made his first appearance of 2009 (after batting .251/.333/.351 with 16 SB as Dayton’s leadoff man last year) and went 0-for-3 with two RBI.
6/16: The Threshers beat up on Jeremy Horst (L 2-8, 3.52, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER) and Lee Tabor (12.00, 0.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 HR) and cruise past the Reds, 9-1. Josh Beal did go 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts- and Mark Pawelek again pitched a scoreless inning (0.00, 1 BB). 19-year-old SS Mariekson Gregorius (.267) and 1B Jason Louwsma (.236) each had two hits.
6/17: Righty Matt Klinker returned after missing a month (ish) and fired 5.2 shutout innings to beat Clearwater, 3-1. Klinker evened his record at 1-1 (5.24, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K). Del Rosario got save #2 (2.50, 1.2 IP, 1 H). Kahauleilo was 2-for-4 with a run scored and steal #9 from the leadoff slot (.301/.398/.398 on the year) and Phipps got two more hits (.274).
Moves & Notes: (6/14-6/15) RHS Matt Klinker was activated from the DL and OF Keltavious Jones was added to the roster; OF Tony Brown sent to Billings and LHR Jesus Carnevale released. (6/17) LHR Lee Tabor sent back to Carolina- he spent the second half of 2008 in the SL, compiling a 5.40 ERA.
C Devin Mesoraco was added to the FSL All-Star squad; he’ll join RHR Enerio Del Rosario on the South squad for the 6/20 game.
Record This Week: 2-5.
Overall: 26-40, 16 games out, fifth place. Half-game in front of Lansing (TOR), who’s in last.
6/11: Dayton lost a heartbreaker in the 13th inning to Fort Wayne (SD), 4-3, when Padre prospect Jaff Decker singled in the winning run off Mike James (L 1-2, 3.52, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). The Dragons had wasted a pair of hits in the top of that inning, as well as baserunners in the ninth and 11th. Starter Lance Janke lasted five (3.54, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Scott Gaffney, Junior Martinez, and Steve Otterness combined to allow just one unearned run in five innings. 2B Cody Puckett, seemingly the only Dragon able to deliver consistent power, hit homer #11 (.281). C Jake Long and CF Dave Sappelt were the only Dragons with multiple hits. RF Andrew Means swiped two more bases (6).
6/12: Another one-run extra-inning loss- this time Jordan Hotchkiss took the L in the tenth (L 0-1, 3.46, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K), 5-4. Starter JC Sulbaran uncharacteristically walked six in just two innings and added three wild pitches (3.69, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 K). Drew Bowman came on to pitch good long relief for the second straight time (4.75, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K). Jake Long, DHing this time, pounded a two-run homer (#1) and added a single and run scored (.267). C Kevin Coddington had two hits and two RBI (.291) and both SS Miguel Rojas and 3B Carlos Mendez were 2-for-4 (.245 and .301 respectively).
6/13: The TinCaps complete the sweep, 7-2. ACE Matt Fairel didn’t have it this time (L 4-3, 2.86, 3.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). CF Andrew Means was 2-for-4 with a run scored, RBI, and stolen base (#7) from the leadoff slot.
6/14: Dayton fired on all cylinders here, piling up thirteen runs (seven in the fifth) and getting six innings of domination from Josh Ravin (W 3-7, 3.78, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K) and cracking Lansing (TOR), 13-0. Mike James pitched the last three for the long save (#1, 3.12, 1 H, 3 K). LF Byron Wiley- who’s struggled pretty badly after a solid April- hit a grand-slam homer (#3) in that seven-run fifth. He’s at .219 after finishing 2-for-4. Sappelt hit a three-run bomb (#3) and added a triple and a total of three runs scored (.270). Coddington (.295, 2 R) and Mendez (.298, 2 R, 2 RBI) were each 2-for-4.
6/15: The Lugnuts got their revenge, bombing Dayton and starter Curt Partch (L 4-5, 5.20, 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 HR), 11-2. Lefty Oscar Castro was charged with five more earned runs and retired just one batter (6.52). Only three hits for Dayton, two from 1B Mike Konstanty. One was a two-run homer, Mike’s first in the MWL (he hit 10 in the Pioneer League last year, slugging .495). Another bright spot was right-hander Junior Martinez, who fired 2.2 hitless innings (1.69, 1 BB, 3 K) and now has seven straight frames over four appearances of no-hit ball. Martinez has major velocity (and major control problems), so to see him lock it in would be great.
6/16: The Dragons tallied six runs in the first three innings, then held on as the game was shortened to seven due to rain. They beat the Lugnuts, 6-3. Lance Janke scattered eight hits over six innings (W 2-3, 3.48, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) for the win. RF Stephen Chapman was 2-for-3 with two RBI and steal #14 and both Konstanty and Puckett drove in two each as well. Means picked up two more hits and a run scored (.247).
6/17: A wild one doesn’t end well for the Dragons, 12-7. Both starter JC Sulbaran (L 2-1, 4.60, 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR) and reliever Drew Bowman (4.86, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) were ejected by the home plate umpire for throwing at Lansing hitters, although both denied it afterwards. Both managers as well as Lugnuts starter John Anderson were then thumbed after a retaliation. Anyway, no one pitching for Dayton could get anyone out and the Dragon bats didn’t get going until it was too late. Mike Konstanty hit his second homer, a two-run shot, and 2B Kevyn Feiner was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Moves & Notes: (6/15) 1B Mike Konstanty added to roster; LHR Aguido Gonzalez DL’ed with a guido –errr groin- strain. Interestingly, the press release confirmed what I’d suspected- that Konstanty, the Reds’ 39th-round draft pick in 2008 out of SUNY-Albany, is the grandson of former MLB star pitcher Jim Konstanty. (6/17) INF Yen-Wen Kuo activated from the DL and sent to Billings. He’d been out since suffering a concussion in a collision with RF Byron Wiley on June 9.