AAA Louisville

Record This Week: 4-3.

Overall: 39-33, first place, 4.5 games in front of Indianapolis (PIT).

6/18: Bats get only four hits, but Justin Lehr (W 9-2, 3.74, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) continued to pitch well. 2B Danny Richar led off the bottom of the first with a homer (#4, 2-for-4, 2 R, .291); he’s quietly putting together a pretty decent year after a slow start. Richar then doubled to lead off the third, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a balk. 1B Drew Sutton then followed with a RBI single to score CF Drew Stubbs, who’d walked directly after Richar. That gave Louisville all they needed to win it, 3-1. Great bullpen work held up the final three innings- Jeff Kennard pitched the seventh, Pedro Viola the eighth (3.21, 1 K) and Robert Manuel the ninth (save #5, 1.91, 1 IP, 2 K).

6/19: Louisville hosts Gwinnett (ATL) with Sweet Sam Lecure on the hill. Everything goes well. 1B Kevin Barker singled in Richar in the first and blasted a two-run homer in the fifth (#10). LF Danny Dorn hit a two-run shot of his own the inning before (#9). Meanwhile, Lecure shut the Braves out on three hits through six! Gwinnett loaded the bases on a single, hit batter and walk in the top of the seventh as Lecure hit the 100-pitch mark (5.11, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K), however. Ex-Red Antonio Perez stepped in to face righty Federico Baez, but flew out to preserve the shutout. The Fed shut down the Braves in the eighth (2.79). Adam Pettyjohn then finished up (4.71).

6/20: Bats trying to keep it up- four straight wins and 15 of 18! Lefty Ben Jukich, he of the initial success but recent struggles as a starter, faced a fellow lefty in the Braves' Francisley Bueno. SS Chris Valaika returned to the lineup after recovering from his broken hand; now to fix the batting line (.156/.204/.281 in 24 games so far). Gwinnett wasted no time on Jukich, getting a double and bunt single from its first two hitters, but Ben bore down and got a grounder to third, another grounder that resulted in a fielder's choice out at home, and a strikeout to escape the jam! He looked a lot sharper after that, retiring a total of nine in a row. McDonald led off the Louisville second with a base hit, but 2B Michael Griffin flew out. Valaika followed with a solid line-drive base hit to put men on the corners! C Craig Tatum, however, grounded into a double play to kill the threat. Jukich led off the Bats third with a base hit off a new pitcher, lefty Mariano Gomez. But RF Norris Hopper erased him with a GIDP and Stubbs was called out on strikes to end the frame. Gwinnett's Barbaro "Garbey" Canizares singled to lead off the fourth to break Jukich's streak. Brooks Conrad followed with an infield hit. Ben came back to get a strikeout of Brandon Jones, but Clint Sammons' double plated the game's first two runs. Chris Burke followed with a RBI double of his own and Brian Barton singled him in to make it 4-0 before Jukich could get another man out (when the pitcher Gomez popped up into a double play trying to bunt). This sort of feast-or-famine big-inning inconsistency is why the Reds have generally seen Jukich as a LOOGY-type reliever in the bigs. 3B Drew Sutton did lead off the top of the fifth with a double, but Wes Bankston whiffed. McDonald drew a full-count walk. Griffin rapped a base hit to load 'em up, then Valaika scored two with a grounder up the middle! Tatum hit into a forceout and Jukich grounded out to end the inning, but the Bats cut the deficit in half to 4-2. Canizares' DP grounder took out a runner Jukich had walked and ended the fifth. Hopper singled to lead off the bottom of 5. One out later, Sutton picked up his third straight hit. A double steal put both men in scoring position. Bankston reached on an error but the runners had to hold. McDonald ran his way out of a double-play grounder to plate one, but Griffin grounded out to end the inning after running out the string. Jukich allowed a one-out single to Jones in the sixth, but picked him off to remove the threat. He threw just a Pettyjohn-esque 79 pitches through six. Unfortunately, Gwinnett went on to score two more in the seventh on a walk and a two-run homer before Ben was pulled and replaced with Jeff Kennard (L 4-4, 5.94, 6 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR). The Bats’ bats went slack and the Braves cruised to a 7-3 win. Valaika finished 2-for-4 with two RBI (.170) and Sutton 3-for-4 with a run scored, a steal, and a double (.274).

6/21: Kevin Barker’s 11th homer in the bottom of the eighth tied the score at 3, but Gwinnett beat on Robert Manuel (L 3-3, 2.50, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) for three in the top of the tenth and won it, 6-3. Again Ramon Ramirez turned in a solid start (4.40, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K).

6/22: Another 115 pitches of unstoppability from Homer Bailey (W 8-5, 2.71, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and a pile of homers- two solos from Darnell McDonald (#4 and #5), Barker’s 12th, SS Luis Bolivar’s fourth, and a three-run blast from Rehabbin’ Edwin Encarnacion pushed the Bats past Gwinnett, 11-5. Adam Pettyjohn got mauled for four runs in the eighth before Kennard came on to close it out. McDonald finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored (.261). Hopper was 3-for-5 with two RBI (.282).

6/23: Charlotte (CWS) starter Carlos Torres outdueled Matt Maloney (L 4-4, 2.15, 8 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR), 3-2. Maloney gave up a solo homer to a batter, Eider Torres, that had zero homers through 200-plus at-bats in 2009. Stubbs (.290) and Sutton (.269) both had two hits, while C Brian Peterson’s very first hit of 2009 was a home run.

6/24: It’s kind of sad. You know Justin Lehr’s headed to the bullpen or back to free agency when Daryl Thompson comes back, but Lehr has pitched incredibly well as a starter. He’s 5-0, 2.03 in six starts (40 IP, 3 BB) with the Bats. Here he fired eight shutout innings with no walks in just 79 pitches (W 10-2, 3.38, 3 H, 4 K) as Louisville cruised to a 5-0 shutout. Rehabbin’ Eddie slugged his second homer, a two-run shot in the third. Kevin Barker hit #13- that’s his seventh in June, a month in which he has an OPS of 1077. Dorn singled and tripled with a run scored and RBI in four trips; his line has crept up to .243/.303/.429 after a .328/.381/.621 June. (He’s still hitting .167 against lefthanders this year, which reflects the perception he’s a platoon player-in-waiting.)

Moves & Notes: (6/20) UT Wilkin Castillo and 2B Danny Richar called up (Richar was added to the 40-man roster); C Jake Long up from Dayton temporarily. LHS Matt Maloney returned from Cincinnati. (6/22) C Brian Peterson activated from the DL; C Jake Long back to Dayton, and 3B Edwin Encarnacion joined the club on a rehab assignment.

Ex-Reds News: C Corky Miller was activated from the AAA DL by the White Sox. They also released INF Andy Phillips- he's rumored to be heading to Japan. Cleveland purchased the contract of LHR Mike Gosling. Oakland optioned OF Chris Denorfia back to AAA Sacramento. (C)LHS Chris Michalak DL'd in AAA by Toronto. Washington optioned OF Corey Patterson to AAA. Did they rework his contract?

AA Carolina

Record This Week: 2-6.

Overall: Losing four of the final five put the Mudcats at 37-32 for the first half, one game behind Huntsville (MIL). 1-2 so far in the second half.

6/18: MAKEUP MADNESS with Zach Stewart (3-0, 0.62 in five AA starts, 4-1, 1.51 overall) early and Travis Wood (6-3, 1.11) late. This might be rough on the ol’ Smokies (CHC), who boasted only ex-Red Marcos Mateo (1-4, 4.93) and Casey Coleman (6-2, 2.73). SS Zach Cozart got the Mudcats the early lead with a second-inning two-run homer (#7), but Tennessee got to Stewart for a run in the bottom of the inning. 1B Yonder Alonso smacked a RBI single to score RF Sean Henry (who’d led off with a walk) in the third to make it a 3-1 game. LF Todd Frazier followed with a 5-4-3 grounder that plated CF Chris Heisey (who’d bunted his way aboard after Henry) – 4-1. C Chris Denove’s throwing error paired with a missed catch miscue on Henry on a pickoff attempt in the bottom of the third allowed a man to score all the way from first. (Sometimes I am glad the minor-league games don’t have video highlights on their Gameday.) Stewart did recover and got out of the inning without further damage. Cozart slammed another bomb in the fourth (#8) to make it 5-2. Stewart was taken out after three innings (6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) in favor of Ruben Medina, who gave up a solo homer in the fourth and another in the fifth (3.86, 2 IP, 2 ER) to make it 5-4 heading to the sixth. On came Logan Ondrusek for the sixth. Two more errors- a fielding miscue by 3B Juan Francisco, then a missed catch error on Frazier- put the leadoff hitter on second to start the bottom of 6. He was sacrificed to third. But Logan got the next man to ground the first pitch to Alonso at first for the second out, but a first-pitch single scored the tying (unearned) run! Denove threw that man out stealing to end the inning, however. He then tiptoed through the seventh, walking two men intentionally to load the bases with two out- but he got the last man on a soft liner to short. EXTRA BASEBALL! Frazier doubled with one out in the top of the eighth and scored on Francisco’s double to give Carolina the 6-5 lead! But Ramon Geronimo served up a leadoff bomb in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score again. He did manage to set down the next three in order to send us to the ninth. Denove led off by punching a single up the middle. 2B Jose Castro sacrificed him to second. Henry was hit by a pitch, bringing up Heisey (just that bunt single in four trips to this point). He worked a full count, then flew out deep to center to move both runners up. Up stepped Yonder Alonso with a chance to be the hero- but he grounded out on the second pitch to end the inning. Geronimo got through the ninth okay despite a dropped foul popup by Francisco (#21 of the year for him, #5 on the game). Frazier whiffed to start the tenth- then it’s rain delay time. When play resumed, the Mudcats went down in order. Phil Valiquette came on for the bottom of 10 and did the same. Jose Castro’s single was the only feature of the 11th on either end. A Frazier walk resulted in nothing in the 12th, but the Smokies’ Tyler Colvin led off the bottom the inning with his second homer of the game- giving Tennessee the 7-6 win and pinning the tough loss on Quebec’s finest (L 1-1, 4.26, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER). Alonso finished 3-for-6 (.254).

Luckily for both teams, game two didn’t go into extras. Travis wasn’t as unhittable as he has been in the recent past (W 7-3, 1.36, 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) but Francisco drove in four runs- two with homer #13- and finished 3-for-4 in a 6-3 victory. Juan raised his overall line to .258/.289/.469. Heisey was just 1-for-2 overall but scored three runs thanks to a pair of HBPs. Cozart (.287) and Castro (.248) both had two hits. Sean Watson pitched the final two innings to get save #4 (3.22, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K). It’s strange that Watson seems to be so much more effective in two- or three-inning stints, yet he struggles when expected to pitch like a one-inning closer. Breaking news in this one (literally): Yonder Alonso broke the hamate bone in his right hand in this game and was placed on the Mudcats’ DL.

6/19: Lefty Tom Cochran struggled pretty badly in this one after doing well in his first few outings. The Mudcats scored four runs in the top of the first (Francisco RBI double, Cozart two-run single, 2B Eric Eymann RBI hit), but Cochran handed the Smokies back three in the bottom of the inning. Tennessee tied it in the second, then took the lead in the fourth when a Francisco error (#22) opened the door for an unearned run (after which Cochran departed- 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). On came freshly-activated righty James Avery (is this move to relief permanent?) to serve up a solo homer in the fifth to make it 6-4. Avery was lifted for pinch-hitter Denis Phipps in the sixth (3.00, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). Phipps, just called up from Sarasota to take Alonso’s spot, grounded out. Heisey came through later in the sixth with a two-run single, tying the game at 6! Chris then stole second (12), but Frazier struck out to end the inning. On came Jerry Gil, who struggled very badly in his SL debut, to pitch the bottom of the sixth. He walked the first man on four pitches, but came right back to get the next hitter to ground into a force. He then whiffed ex-Oregon State star Darwin Barney and grounded out the next guy. Next was Ondrusek, who retired six straight to keep his ERA perfect (20.2 IP now). Francisco and Cozart both singled with two out in the top of the ninth, bringing up pinch-hitter Shaun Cumberland, struggling badly in ’09 after hitting .295/.381/.455 in the SL in ’08 and earning a promotion to Louisvlle. But on a 1-1 count, he came through, slapping a single into right to plate Francisco and put Carolina in the lead! Yet Tennessee got a single, walk, and run-scoring double with one out in the bottom of the inning off Ramon Geronimo (L 2-2, 4.35, BS #3, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB). Ramon issued an intentional walk to load the bases, but a pinch hitter batting .083 managed to lift a game-winning sacrifice fly. 8-7, Tennessee pulls it out.

6/20: Did I mention that Francisco is also hurt now? He suffered a right hamstring strain in the previous game's loss and so missed this one. Famous Sibling Jeremy Papelbon (interestingly, a lefthander) on the mound for the Smokies against Dallas Buck. Buck is still trying to complete his comeback from arm troubles. He did get through the first with the help of a caught-stealing (courtesy of Denove after Buck walked a man) without incident. Frazier and Cozart both singled to begin the second, but the slumping Eric Eymann grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play (!!!). Buck then permitted back-to-back hits in the Smokies' half, followed by last night's hero, Mark Reed, grounding into a forceout to score the game's first run. Buck got out of that inning and took care of the third without much trouble either. A leadoff double in the fourth along with a sacrifice bunt put a man on third with one out, but Buck got his revenge on productive-out maestro Reed by whiffing him. He then intentionally walked the #8 hitter and whiffed the pitcher Papelbon to end the inning. Poor Eymann killed another rally in the sixth by grounding into a double play. (Improvement.) The Smokies rendered much of this tit-for-tat PBP moot by mauling Buck for five runs in the fifth and another run in the sixth en route to a 7-0 shutout win. Dallas fell to 2-2 on the year (4.33, 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). Only Frazier had more than one hit (.325, 2-for-4).

6/21: Again the Mudcats let the Smokies play spoiler, dropping this one as well by an 8-6 score. Alex Smit’s return from the DL didn’t go well- he was pulled with one out in the second after four runs and a pair of homers (L 2-2, 3.89, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR). Sean Watson served up two more solo bombs (3.46, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Carolina did muster a bit of offense, scoring three in the fifth to make it 6-5, but their bullpen kept allowing Tennessee insurance runs. Eymann rebounded from his unfortunate day at the plate the game before with two hits, a RBI and a run scored (.251), and Denove added two hits and a run scored of his own (.254). 3B Jose Castro took advantage of his newfound playing time with two hits and two RBI (.254). Jake Kahauleilo, just up from Sarasota, singled and scored a run in his first Southern League at-bat.

The first half of the year ended as the Mudcats finished second behind Huntsville (MIL) by one game at 37-32.

6/22: Carolina starts the second half by getting bombed, 10-2 by Jacksonville (FLA). Lefty Jeremy Horst’s AA debut went well until the fifth, when the Suns scorched him for three solo homers. They then chased him an inning later (L 0-1, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 HR). Jerry Gil got mauled for four more runs (17.18) and Lee Tabor gave up Jacksonville’s fifth and final homer of the day (5.06, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). LF Carson Kainer hit a two-run homer for the Mudcats’ only runs in his SL debut. He added a double as well.

6/23: The Mudcats evened their second-half record, 7-0, behind Travis Wood (W 8-3, 1.27, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, eight straight wins) and a 13-hit attack. Frazier finished 3-for-4 (.326, BB, R, RBI, steal #5) and C Chris Denove (#2) and RF Sean Henry (#7) both homered. Heisey got two hits (.346) and a stolen base (13). Ramon Geronimo pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth (4.09, 1 BB, 1 K) and Logan Ondrusek ran his streak to 21.2 innings without an earned run allowed.

6/24: I feel a little bit bad for Logan Ondrusek. Guy throws 21.2 innings without allowing an earned run upon his promotion to AA. He’s a former 11th-round pick who’s been notable mostly for his height (6’7”) more than his prospectdom. He took the mound at the top of the ninth against Jacksonville (having earned the right to pitch the later innings with all that success)… and it all came crashing down. Five of six batters reach, all five score (two let in by Geronimo), and the Suns win it 10-5. Ondrusek’s ERA jumped from zero to 2.05 (L 2-1, 0.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Ruben Medina picked up blown save #4 before him (4.29, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Starter Zach Stewart went five innings but left after 85 pitches (1.46, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Henry was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two steals (#11), and what’s got to be his third or fourth first-inning leadoff homer of the year (#8 overall). He’s batting .282/.340/.454. Frazier hit a three-run bomb, #6, and Cozart doubled twice (.293).

Moves & Notes: (6/19) OF Denis Phipps promoted from Sarasota, presumably to cover RF for Carolina while Logan Parker handles 1B in Yonder Alonso’s absence. (6/20) INF Jake Kahauleilo got the well-deserved promotion from Sarasota to take the roster spot of the DL’d Juan Francisco. (6/21) LHS Alex Smit activated from the DL, C Chris Kroski DL’d with a right shoulder injury. (6/22) LHS Jeremy Horst and OF Carson Kainer promoted from Sarasota. LHS Alex Smit sent back to the DL with more back spasms. OF Denis Phipps returned to Sarasota. (6/23) LHS Tom Cochran reactivated after a brief phantom trip to Billings. LHS Jeremy Horst back to Sarasota.

Another trip to the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for Travis Wood. Interesting quote: Wood had the worst ERA (7.09) in the Southern League last year, so this is a pretty amazing turnaround, which can be credited in part to a cut fastball he's perfected plus improved fastball command. The command may be the biggest improvement—he walked 27 batters in his first eight starts, but just five in his last six.”

Speaking of Travis, here’s a nice BA Prospect Blog piece on how Wood and Zach Stewart might be the best 1-2 starting pitching punch in the minor leagues right now. More insight here on how Wood’s managed to be so much more effective in 2009.

High-A Sarasota

Record This Week: 2-2.

Overall: 28-40, last place.

6/18: Sarasota bats disappear, wasting a two-hitter from the pitching staff at the hands of Clearwater (PHI), 2-0. Travis Webb started and went three innings of one-hit ball (L 4-6, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). One run scored directly on RF Justin Reed’s fielding error and the other directly afterwards on a sacrifice fly. Scott Carroll relieved Webb and went five scoreless innings of one-hit ball (4.00, 1 BB, 1 K). But the Reds managed just four singles. Even Rehabbin’ Joey Votto couldn’t help that- he was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.

6/19: Off- All-Star break.

6/20: All-Star Game! Remember that Drew Stubbs was the "Star of Stars" last year for popping a deciding home run. But with only two stars this year from a fifth-place club (Enerio Del Rosario and Devin Mesoraco), the chances are a little lower. North beats the South, 6-4, as both teams scored all their runs in one inning- the North in the fourth and the South in the fifth. Mesoraco pinch-hit and then took over as the DH- he was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Del Rosario faced two batters and retired them both- one by strikeout. Daytona Cubs SS Starlin Castro, 19, was named Star of Stars after he went 4-for-4 with three singles and an inside-the-park home run for the North. Impressive. Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 1B Chris Parmelee won the pregame Home Run Derby by slugging eight and three in the two rounds.

6/21: Off- All-Star break.

6/22: Matt Klinker whiffed nine in six shutout innings (W 2-1, 4.46, 6 H, 0 BB) as the Reds shut out Palm Beach (STL), 5-0. Mace Thurman retired six straight (2.08, 3 K). RF Jeremy Reed was 2-for-4 with two RBI, steal #8, and a walk (.218) and Mesoraco and Phipps both added two hits (.207 and .273, respectively).

6/23: Sarasota scored two in the top of the ninth to tie the game at four, but the Cardinals got to Justin Freeman (L 0-2, 4.88, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Starter Rafael Gonzalez lasted six (3.86, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 2 HR). 3B Neftali Soto homered to straightaway center for one of those ninth-inning runs (#6, .253) while RF Justin Reed went 3-for-4 with a triple and RBI (.227).

6/24: Soto ripped a two-run triple in a three-run fourth and a key sacrifice fly by Denis Phipps provided an essential insurance run as the Reds eased past the Cardinals 4-3. Phipps finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and steal #7, raising his average to .273. He also threw out a runner at the plate in the fourth. A key caught-stealing recorded by the catcher Mesoraco in the seventh proved important, as the next batter’s single would have tied the score. Starter Scott Carroll scattered eight hits over six for his first ’09 win (W 1-1, 3.00, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Del Rosario got save #3.

Moves & Notes: (6/22) OF Stephen Chapman and 2B Cody Puckett came up from Dayton. OF Denis Phipps returned from Carolina. LHS Jeremy Horst and OF Carson Kainer went to Carolina. (6/23) LHS Jeremy Horst returned from Carolina.

Low-A Dayton

Record This Week: 2-2.

Overall: 28-42, 17 games out, tied for fourth.

6/18: SS Miguel Rojas popped a game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth as Dayton beat West Michigan (DET), 5-4. It was Rojas’ third of the year. 3B Carlos Mendez hit a two-run blast in the first inning (#4). Dayton stole six bases off the Whitecaps battery, with RF Andrew Means grabbing three (10) and 2B Kevyn Feiner two, including home once (3). Dave Sappelt swiped third for his 22nd. ACE Matt Fairel went seven solid innings (2.96, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) but Scott Gaffney picked up the win in relief (W 3-2, 2.76, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K).

6/19: Josh Ravin, riding a wave of success lately (34 IP, 9 ER over his last six starts), was beaten up a bit by the Whitecaps in the first two innings, but he settled down to put up five straight zeroes (L 3-8, 3.67, 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HB, BK). But his teammates were shut out on three hits through that period! Junior Martinez came on but walked two hitters and plunked a third- he was quickly lifted for Mike James, who allowed one of those runners to score. Two more runs scored off James and WM wrapped up a 6-0 shutout.

6/20: Joey Votto in the house at One Point Six Six Six Field! Domo arigato, IFYOUWEEL. The Dragons took a quick 3-0 lead after Votto slugged a first-inning two-run homer and DH Kyle Day followed in the third with his third, but the Whitecaps beat up Curtis Partch for six runs in the next couple of innings (L 4-6, 5.69, 4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Trailing 8-6 headed to the bottom of the ninth, the Dragons got a leadoff infield hit from Sappelt; he quickly moved to third an out later after a wild pitch and throwing error. But Votto was called out on strikes before a second WP scored the run. Carlos Mendez followed with a walk and Byron Wiley with a single, but Cody Puckett struck out to end the game. Votto finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, the homer, a stolen base, a single, and two RBI. Wiley was 3-for-5 with two RBI (.224) and Mendez 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI (.302). Dayton got a total of 15 hits. Steve Otterness pitched the next three after Partch and gave up two runs (2.84, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and Oscar Castro pitched a scoreless final two (6.27, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K).

6/21: Dayton scored six runs in the sixth, then hung on to hold off a late Whitecaps rally to win, 7-6. Wiley’s three-run homer provided half the runs in the big inning (#4, 4 RBI total). RF Mike Konstanty was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a triple, a walk, a stolen base, and a RBI (.318). Votto singled in a run and walked in four trips. After a rough start (three runs in the first), starter Lance Janke settled down quite nicely (W 3-3, 3.58, 6 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR). Again Junior Martinez struggled (3.65, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Scott Gaffney bent but didn’t break in locking down save #3 (2.93, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER).

6/22: All-Star break.

6/23: ALL-STAR GAME! The East beat the West, 6-3, thanks in part due to contributions from Dragons Matt Fairel (1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K) and Kevin Coddington (0-for-2). CF Sawyer Carroll of Fort Wayne (SD) was named Star of Stars after going 4-for-4

6/24: All-Star break.

Moves & Notes: C Jordan Wideman activated from the DL after a month of inaction. C Jake Long was sent to Louisville as a temporary fill-in (umpteenth callup of Wilkin Castillo). (6/22) OF Stephen Chapman and 2B Cody Puckett moved up to Sarasota. C Jake Long returned from Louisville. (6/24) 3B Frank Pfister sent to Billings. No immediate move made to replace him.


Reds Minor Leagues

Red Reporter

Rookie-Pioneer (Preview)

Opening Day roster

Ongoing Billings roster

Record this week: 1-1.

6/23: Leo Astorga, who has been good in the Pioneer League in the past but struggled at Dayton in a try earlier this season, drew the Opening Night start against Great Falls (CWS). He pitched five shutout innings (W 1-0, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K0 and the Mustangs' offense fired on all cylinders as they pounded the Voyagers, 9-1. CF Efrain Contreras drove in four with a single and triple. 3B Yen-Wen Kuo was 3-for-5. SS Shane Carlson's pro debut got him two hits and two RBI.

6/24: Great Falls beat on lefty Shea Snowden for five runs in the third- that’s all they needed as they hung on to win, 5-3. Snowden (L 0-1, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) had a 1.50 ERA in seven GCL appearances last year. He was a 16th-round pick in 2007 out of a Mississippi high school. Lefty Ezequiel Infante threw 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, whiffing five; the 20-year-old put up a Playstationesque 0.39 ERA in 47 DSL innings in 2008. That’s one earned run. C Chris McMurray was 3-for-3 with a double, run scored, and hit-by-pitch.

Moves & Notes: 3B Frank Pfister added from Dayton. Free agent SS John Dao was signed; the 23-year-old played collegiately at Louisville. Sadly, Ohio University alumnus OF Matt Stiffler (28th-round, 2008) was released.


Ongoing roster

Record this week: 0-2.

6/23: The Reds, who’ve finished last- I believe- every year I’ve followed them (since 2004), were shut out in their opener by the Orioles, 5-0. Reds got nine hits but stranded ‘em all. Three of those hits came from 19-year-old 3B Cristobal Rodriguez (.197 last year in the DSL). Righty Pedro Villareal (7th round, 2008, Howard College) started and went three (2 H, 2 BB). Loss to Dominican righty Marcos Molina, 21, who was charged with four runs in one inning. 17-year-old Australian lefty Nathan Driessen turned in four fine innings of relief (3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). He turns 18 on the 28th. SS Billy Hamilton, this year’s second-rounder, smacked a pair of hits but also made two errors.

6/24: Make it 0-2, as the Red Sox rallied for five runs in the final three innings to wipe out a 5-1 deficit and take it, 6-5. Starter Tyler Cline (4th round, 2008, Georgia HS) went five solid innings (5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). A good start for a teenager that didn’t fare well in a handful of relief appearances for the GCL squad last year. Raul Rodriguez took the defeat in relief. 20-year-old Dominican C Danny Vicioso slammed a three-run homer. Hamilton poked two more hits and stole three bases.