Record This Week: 4-3.
Overall: 55-42, first place, 9 games in front of Indianapolis (PIT).
7/16: The Bats had the bases loaded with the tying run on third and the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth with one out, but DH Wes Bankston and 2B Chris Valaika both went down swinging. Durham (TB) held on, 4-3. Matt Maloney started and lost (L 6-6, 2.50, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR). Zack Stewart walked a couple but stranded them to close the seventh. Jared Burton took care of the 8th (1.29) but the Bulls got to Pedro Viola for what would turn out to be an extremely important insurance run (5.00, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). C Craig Tatum did not make an out the whole night; he finished 2-for-2 with two walks, two runs, and a RBI (.244). LF Danny Dorn and 3B Drew Sutton each picked up a pair of hits (.254 and .248, respectively).
7/17: The Bats got all five of their runs in the fifth and the bullpen managed to lock down the Bulls after the exit of starter Ramon Ramirez (W 5-6, 4.60, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR); Louisville evened the series with a 5-4 win. Federico Baez and Viola each retired one batter, then middle reliever Jeff Kennard proceeded to strand two runners by setting down eight straight Bulls- four by strikeout- for the save (2.88). Bankston atoned for the previous night’s failure by lashing three hits (.247) and CF Drew Stubbs slammed a bases-loaded triple (.277, 2-for-4, R) to key that big inning.
7/18: Ben Jukich is ALIVE! He wasted no time showing the Bulls, that, too, striking out the side in the first in between walking Reid "Backwards Surname" Brignac and watching him steal second. He then pitch-to-contacted his way through the second, using eight less pitches to get the same three outs as balls in play. (Eureka!) The Bats kicked off their second inning with back-to-back hits from Barker and Darnell McDonald. Bankston flew out to move Barker to third- but Mike Griffin grounded into a double play to end the inning. Jukich walked the leadoff man in the third; he immediately stole second on the tall lefty. He held, though, as the next batter grounded to third. Ex-Red Ray Olmedo tried to bunt, but he was thrown out as the runner went to third. (I refuse to call that a sacrifice.) The IL All-Star Brignac flew out to end the inning. Jukich blazed through the fourth 1-2-3 on just eight pitches. Barker finally broke the stalemate by pounding homer #16 with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. Ben did himself even better in the fifth by getting three outs in *five* pitches. Bankston led off the bottom of 5 with a double. An out later, Eric Eymann walked. But C Corky Miller and Stubbs made outs to strand the runners. Jukich retained his no-hitter, whiffing two of three in the sixth, but Durham's Matt Joyce broke it leading off the seventh with his 11th homer (also tying the score at 1). Ben fell behind 3-0 and had to throw a strike. He did come back to get the next three, finishing seven innings at 88 pitches. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Bankston took Durham starter James Houser to 12 pitches before flying out- although this only brought him to 86 overall. The Bulls took the lead when Elliot Johnson homered off Jukich two outs deep in the eighth, giving them a 2-1 lead. Ben was lifted after eight great innings (4.62, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 99 pitches) but trailing by a run. It stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth, when back-to-back doubles by Barker and McDonald tied things at 2. On came Zach Stewart to pitch the tenth after a scoreless Burton ninth. Johnson singled with two out and one on, putting men on the corners, but Stewart bore down and get out of the inning by whiffing Olmedo. Eymann, the fill-in, then led off the bottom of ten with a triple! Miller struck out, though, bringing up Stubbs with a chance at heroism after an 0-for-4 day with a pair of strikeouts. The count ran full. Finally he lifted a fly to right... but it was too short to get the run home. This left it to Chris Valaika, also 0-for-the day. But Bulls closer Jon Meloan struck him out on three pitches, leaving us to more baseball. Z. Stew was back out there for the 11th. He grounded out Brignac, whiffed Joyce and grounded out Chris Richard to make it an easy inning (still 0.00, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Josh Roenicke came on for his first post-demotion outing and uncharacteristically walked the first man up. He came back to get two outs, but then hit a batter to put two on. Johnson walked to load 'em up for Olmedo. Rick Sweet opted for lefty Adam Pettyjohn, causing Ray to bat right-handed. Pettyjohn's first pitch was lofted to Stubbs in center, sending us to the bottom of 12. On came ex-Red Calvin Medlock to pitch that frame for Durham- he easily retired the side in order. Pettyjohn gave up a leadoff single to Brignac in the 13th, but came back to strike out Joyce and fly out Richard. But Jon Weber hammered a double, putting Brignac on third. Adam got Rhyne Hughes to wave at the first two, then put him away on a fly to right. On came veteran Jorge Julio for the bottom of the 13th; he brought a 7.53 ERA in 13 appearances into the contest (and a 7.79 mark in 15 big-league games as well). Corky Miller worked a leadoff walk. Stubbs came up with orders to bunt, but fouled two off before striking out. Valaika then hit the second pitch to right for out number two, bringing up the 0-for-5 Chris Heisey. He dumped a base hit into center, moving pinch-runner (!) Craig Tatum to second. But Luis Bolivar grounded into a force play to end the inning. Pettyjohn began the 14th by getting the first man to ground to Bolivar at third. Ray Sadler singled, but Pettyjohn picked him off first base. He then whiffed Johnson to end the inning. McDonald started the Bats' 14th with a base on balls. Bankston also worked a free pass, bringing up the 0-for-5 Griffin. He successfully bunted both runners over, giving Eymann the hero's chance. He struck out swinging, passing the chance to Tatum in his first at-bat of the night. He popped out, leading us to the 15th. Good lord, I picked the wrong night to follow the Gameday. Pettyjohn struck out Olmedo to open the inning, but Brignac doubled. Joyce grounded out, moving Reid to third. Richard was passed intentionally to put it on Weber. He ran the count full, then walked to load the bases for Hughes. Another full count... then he strikes out swinging! Bottom of 15. The 0-for-6 Stubbs led off by grounding back to the mound. Valaika grounded to short. Save us, Mr. Heisey! (Instead, he hit the first pitch to third to end the inning.) A Valaika error put .180-hitting Carlos Albernaz on first to start the 16th. Sadler immediately bunted him over. Johnson doubled, scoring the run! Olmedo grounded out. Brignac was hit by a pitch, but Joyce grounded out. Louisville then entered the bottom of the inning trying to score a tying run after blowing at least two golden opportunities to win the game earlier. Bolivar did draw a leadoff walk, but McDonald and Bankston flew out to leave things in the hands of one Michael Griffin. He poked the second pitch innocently to third to end this marathon. Thankless L for Pettyjohn, who probably wasn't counting on throwing 70 pitches in relief tonight (L 1-6, 4.68, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). The Bats' top three hitters went a combined 1-for-21.
7/19: I wasn’t going to play-by-play this one after yesterday’s 16-inning road to nowhere. Mixed bag, I guess- because it took 13 innings and two non-pitcher pitchers, but Louisville beat Durham 7-6 in 13 innings. Danny Dorn’s infield single to first was errantly thrown home by Bulls 1B Chris Richard, allowing Wes Bankston to score the winning run. Louisville ran out of available pitchers after 11 innings, forcing them to pitch utilityman Mike Griffin (who took 25 pitches but whiffed two in a hitless 12th) and Luis Bolivar, who gave up one hit but otherwise got Durham out without incident as well. Bolivar got himself the W for the effort, too. This is all especially funny because it was the full-time pitchers who struggled earlier in the game. Kip Wells made his Bats starting debut and struggled (3.05, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Federico Baez went 2.1 scoreless with 4 Ks (3.63), but Pedro Viola was again scored upon, serving up a solo homer to Richard in the eighth (5.06, BS #3, 1 IP, 1 ER). Then Roenicke came on and allowed three hits and a game-tying unearned run in the ninth (a fielding error on Heisey in RF allowed an extra base) to blow his third save (2.81, 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). Jeff Kennard pitched the 10th and Jared Burton the 11th (in his final appearance before he was called back up by Cincinnati). Adam Pettyjohn was unavailable, having thrown 70 pitches the night before. Zach Stewart had thrown two innings the night before, too. That left it to the utilitymen Griffin and Bolivar.
Anyway, Kevin Barker launched a two-run homer in the seventh (#17). Stubbs (2-for-5, BB, steals #34 and #35) and Valaika (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) both bounced back after each went 0-for-7 the previous night. Drew also threw out a runner at home plate trying to score on a lineout in the fifth.
7/20: Justin Lehr to the hill as the Bats go for the series win (it’d be three out of five). Lehr needed to go deep into the game with the club having played 29 innings of baseball over the weekend. The All-Star came through, too- he lasted eight innings, holding the Buffalo Mulkeys to five hits as he chalked up win #12 (12-3, 3.33, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 106 pitches, 69 strikes). Bats cruise, 5-1. Robert Manuel, back from Cincinnati, worked a scoreless ninth (2.45). Chris Valaika (#5) and Darnell McDonald (#6) hit solo homers, while Stubbs was 2-for-4 with a run scored and steal #36 (.276). Newly promoted C Brian Peterson also had two hits and a run scored. Even Rehabbin’ Alex Gonzalez got in on the fun, dropping a bloop RBI single for the Bats’ third run.
7/21: Matt Maloney has little to prove from torching bad AAA lineups like Buffalo’s at this point- but he did it anyway, working seven (W 7-6, 2.51, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 98 pitches) as Louisville beat the Bisons again, 5-2. Zach Stewart worked the final two for save #2 (still 0.00 after 9.2 IP, 13 K). Bankston was 4-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI (.253). McDonald pushed his average over .300 with a RBI single and solo homer (#7). He also threw out a runner at home plate. Dorn picked up two hits and two RBI (.259). It looks like Maloney might be the odds-on favorite to get another chance when Homer Bailey is sent back down.
7/22: Ramon Ramirez started slow, allowing a run to the banjo-hitting Bisons in each of the first two innings, before settling down and cruising in a way that he often did last year but hasn’t managed much in 2009. Four hits in the first two, only three over the last five (L 4-7, 4.39, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR). The hot-hitting McDonald doubled home Ramirez in the third, but that proved to be the only Bats run and they lose, 2-1. Darnell was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles (.314). Barker added a single and double (.271). Viola (4.97, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K) and Roenicke (2.67, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) finished up.
Moves & Notes: (7/16) INF Drew Sutton called up by the Reds; RHR Josh Roenicke sent back to Louisville. LHS Ben Jukich reactivated. RHS Sam Lecure placed on the DL retroactive to 7/15 with an oblique strain. (7/17) INF Eric Eymann came up from Carolina. (7/19) SS Alex Gonzalez assigned to Louisville for rehab. (7/20) RHR Jared Burton back to Cincinnati, replaced by RHR Robert Manuel. C Craig Tatum called up by Cincinnati, replaced by C Brian Peterson from Carolina.
Ex-Reds Notes: Baltimore placed UT Jolbert Cabrera on the 7-day DL. The Cubs released INF Anderson Machado. Florida released RHR Scott Williamson. He made just one outing for the Marlins system.
Record This Week: 3-3.
Overall: 10-17, second half. 47-49 for the season.
7/16: Chattanooga hit some homers off Matt Klinker (L 3-1, 2.52, 7 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 3 HR) then slapped around Sean Watson and Jerry Gil in the final two innings for five more runs. The Mudcats did get a few late licks in (3B Juan Francisco’s 16th homer, LF Todd Frazier’s 10th, CF Shaun Cumberland’s RBI double and two-run single) but fell short, 10-6. Cumberland showed some life in what’s been a season hovering around the Mendoza line, finishing 2-for-5 with three RBI and an outfield assist (.212).
7/17: Rained out.
7/18: MAKEUP MADNESS! Camilo Vazquez to the hill against dastardly Chattanooga in game one. Francisco committed his 29th error of the year on the game's very first batter; I'm afraid to look up his fielding percentage. Anyway, that man stole second, but Vazquez got out of the inning with a couple of strikeouts and a comebacker. CF Sean Henry then started the Carolina first by bunting his way aboard on the very first pitch he saw. Jose Castro then reached on an error by his opposite number at second base, putting men on the corners with nobody out. Lookouts starter James Adkins then got Todd Frazier to hit a grounder, but Todd was safe at first on the attempted DP- thus knocking in the game's first run. Frazier then was caught stealing second and Francisco struck out looking to put a quick end to things. Vazquez gave up a leadoff single to SL All-Star Andrew Lambo and a double an out later, putting two in scoring position. The #8 hitter squibbed a hit to first, tying the game. Adkins put down a sacrifice bunt, bringing up the top of the lineup- but Vazquez got Adam Godwin to ground to first to end the inning. SS Zach Cozart has returned to action after missing a few games; he didn't do much in his first at-bat, watching two strikes and then grounding to second. An out later, RF Carson Kainer was hit by a pitch and stole second (#1). C Brian Peterson walked, but Vazquez went down swinging. He fared better back on the mound in the third, walking a man with one out and then erasing him with a 6-4-3 DP grounder. Henry led off the bottom of 3 with a walk and moved to second on Castro's sacrifice. Frazier then punched a single to left, but Henry had to stop at third. Francisco then grounded into a double play, ending the inning. Sigh. That especially hurt when Lambo led off the Chatt fourth with a solo homer, making it 2-1. The next man singled and went to third on Henry's throwing error. A first-pitch single then made it 3-1. Yet another single followed. Finally Vazquez managed to catch Adkins looking. Manager David Bell then brought Ramon Geronimo on. RBI single, two-run double, and RBI single: 7-1 Lookouts. Close the book on Vazquez (5.53, 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Chris Kelly came on to mop up; a double play got him out of the fifth without any further damage. He also handled the sixth without incident before turning it over to Jerry Gil. Gil got the first two in the seventh before filling the bases with walks. Two-run single made it 9-1. Another single, then yet another. 10-1 Chatt. Bases-loaded walk; 11-1. Mercifully, Bell brought on Ruben Medina to get the final out. Gil's ERA ballooned to 8.66; he's also walked 23 in 17.2 IP in the SL. Pinch-hitter Stephen Chapman was hit by a pitch and Peterson followed with a single to begin the bottom of the seventh. An out later, Henry slapped a single to make it 11-2. Castro and Frazier both struck out to end it.
Would game two prove more successful? Tom Cochran (W 2-3, 3.30, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) outdueled ex-Red Travis Chick after Chapman, pinch-hitting for Cochran, slammed a two-run homer to erase a 1-0 deficit. Phil Valiquette pitched the sixth (3.54, 1 IP, 2 K) and Logan Ondrusek (save #5, 1 IP, 2 H) the seventh to wrap it up. Cochran picked two runners off base and C Korey Feiner nabbed another one off second late in the game to stop a rally.
7/19: Travis Wood kept it going through the early stages of this one, whiffing five Lookouts and holding them scoreless through the first four innings. Kainer singled in Chapman in the second to give Carolina the early lead. Carson then knocked in Cozart with another single in the fourth; Feiner followed with an RBI hit right after. 3-0, Mudcats. Then Travis himself lashed a base hit to score Kainer! Four-zip. Wood is hitting .241 on the year with four RBIs. After Travis completed seven innings on just 86 pitches (W 9-3, 1.21, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K). he watched as Frazier (playing 2B in this one, interestingly) poked a two-run single to make it 6-0 Carolina. An unearned run stemming from Todd’s error broke the shutout with Medina on the mound in the eighth, but Sean Watson got through the ninth to close out a 6-1 Mudcats win. Kainer finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI (.302) and Chapman 2-for-3 with two runs scored (.240).
7/21: Todd Frazier’s 11th homer snapped a 3-3 eighth-inning tie as Carolina edged Huntsville (MIL), 4-3. Chapman hit his second homer (and added a single to raise his average to .286) early on. CF Sean Henry was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and steal #15 from the leadoff slot (.267). Lee Tabor saw his 11-inning scoreless streak snapped when the Stars got two in the first, but he settled down and worked five innings of four-hit ball (3.04, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR). Sean Watson came into the tie game and threw two good scoreless innings in relief (he often struggles in the close matchups) and was credited with the win (3-4, 4.47, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K). Phil Valiquette worked the eighth, surviving a hit batter and a Zach Cozart throwing error (3.38, 1 IP) and Logan Ondrusek got save #6 (1.71, 1 K).
7/22: Matt Klinker gave up a couple of early homers and the Mudcats never really got going off Huntsville starter Sam Narron, falling 6-1. Klinker (L 3-2, 3.23, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR) wasn’t helped by the bullpen either, as Ramon Geronimo struggled with his control (5.57, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K). 2B Jose Castro (.267, RBI) and Francisco (.256) were each 2-for-4.
Moves & Notes: (7/17) INF Eric Eymann up to Louisville for fill-in duty; INF Justin Tordi up from Sarasota for similar purposes. (7/20) RHR Chris Kelly down to Sarasota; RHR Enerio Del Rosario up from Sarasota. C Jason Bour came up from the S-Reds as well, replacing Brian Peterson. (7/22) LHS Lee Tabor inactivated temporarily; RHS Scott Carroll promoted from Sarasota.
Record This Week: 3-4
Overall: 11-15, second half. 39-55 overall.
7/16: Fort Myers (MIN) administered another severe beating, 13-4. Travis Webb was gone after three (L 5-8, 4.66, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR0 and Joe Krebs took some more (2.77, 1.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Finally Josh Beal (1.99, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K), Mark Pawelek (4.50, 1 IP, 1 K) and Enerio Del Rosario (2.06, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER) managed to quiet the Miracle down. Six Reds errors, two by C Devin Mesoraco (8) and two by SS Shane Carlson (3) certainly didn’t help matters. Carlson did manage to go 2-for-3 with a walk, run scored, and RBI; he’s hit .381 since coming up to High-A. CF Dave Sappelt drove in two late with a double (.250).
7/17: Sarasota bounced back nicely, scoring three in the second and then making it stand up, 3-2. SS Alex Buchholz led off that inning with a triple. 2B Jake Kahauleilo doubled him in. A sac-fly by Jason Bour scored C Devin Mesoraco (who’d singled) and Jason Louwsma knocked in Kahauleilo with a base hit. Sappelt threw out a runner trying to score from third on a fly ball in the fifth; this proved important when the Miracle’s Mark Dolenc hit a two-run homer off starter Luis Montano (W 7-8, 5.05, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Mace Thurman turned in 2.1 hitless innings in relief, stranding two inherited runners (1.65, 2 BB, 2 K) and Del Rosario pitched the ninth for save #7 (2.02).
7/18: Clearwater immediately got to Sarasota starter Scott Carroll in the first, sandwiching a pair of hits around a stolen base to score once. But Mesoraco tied the score in the second by launching his sixth homer! More singles got the Threshers the lead back at 2-1. The Reds tied the game in the fifth on an error resulting from Sappelt's fielder's choice grounder, and that's the way things stayed for a while. Carroll actually went eight entire innings without walking or striking out a single man (2.68, 7 H, 2 ER). The Reds blew a chance in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out after Mesoraco hit into a double play. Justin Freeman turned in a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of Ks. We headed to extras; Freeman K'd several more in scoreless tenth and eleventh innings (4.61, 2 H, 5 K). Bour led off the top of 12 with a double, then left for pinch-runner Shane Carlson. Louwsma bunted him over to third, then Sappelt knocked the run in to put Sarasota three outs from victory! He then stole second (#5) and scored on Denis Phipps' base hit for an insurance run. Steve Otterness headed out to go for the save; he promptly put the first two men on base with a single and walk. A sac-bunt moved them up, and an infield single scored one. But the lefty caught the next man looking and then whiffed a pinch-hitter swinging to end the game. Whew! Freeman got the well-deserved W (1-3).
7/19: Jeremy Horst started this one and made it through five (L 5-10, 3.32, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR) but departed down 3-0. Josh Beal threw a scoreless sixth, but got hit with a run in the seventh. Del Rosario turned in a 1-2-3 eighth. Sarasota never cracked the scoreboard, losing 4-0. 1B Neftali Soto and C Jake Long both had two hits (.246 and .150, respectively).
7/20: Dave Sappelt led off the game with a solo homer (#3) and Devin Mesoraco and Jake Kahauleilo both picked up RBIs in a two-run fourth, giving Sarasota enough runs to hold on through a Clearwater (PHI) comeback and win it, 3-2. A throwing error on SS Alex Buchholz allowed the Threshers to pick up an unearned run in the ninth off Mace Thurman (save #2, 1.59, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) but the lefty struck out one man and grounded out the next to leave the bases loaded! Raffi Gonzalez bounced back nicely from a beating his last time out (W 3-4, 4.60, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Joe Krebs did the same by firing a scoreless seventh and eighth (2.66). Newly promoted Kyle Day picked up a single and double in four trips as the Reds’ DH.
7/21: Travis Webb looked a little better after absorbing back-to-back beatings his last two outings- but it wasn’t enough, as Clearwater shut down the Reds bats, 4-1. Webb worked five (L 5-9, 4.70, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Newly-demoted Chris Kelly turned in two scoreless innings of relief. LF Jeremy Reed’s RBI double scored the only Sarasota run. Sappelt (.257) and Soto (.246) each had two hits.
7/22: Sarasota got a run in the first when Dave Sappelt singled, stole second (6), moved to third on Reed’s single, and scored on Phipps’ sacrifice fly. That was pretty much it for the highlights. Luis Montano pitched well (L 7-9, 4.89, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) but lost. Mark Pawelek had a disastrous relief outing (7.82, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 K).
Moves & Notes: (7/20) C-1B-OF Kyle Day, 23, promoted from Dayton. He hit .258/.348/.365 in the MWL with four homers and 26 RBI in 67 games. He was a 12th-round pick in ’08 out of Michigan State. Apparently the Reds have signed RHP Zach Ward, their 2005 third-round pick who was traded to Minnesota for Kyle Lohse, as a free agent and assigned him to Sarasota. After Ward went to the Twins organization he went 5-17 (despite a 4.08 ERA) in the FSL in 2007, then two years in AA as a reliever before getting let go early this year. He’d walked 25 batters in 29 innings in ’09. (7/22) RHP Pedro Villareal promoted from the GCL Reds to Sarasota. RHS Scott Carroll went to Carolina.
Record This Week: 4-2.
Overall: Second half: 11-14. Overall 39-56.
7/16: Dayton led early by two, but Quad Cities (STL) tied the game at 3 in the sixth in Mark Serrano’s MWL debut (2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and took the lead for good in the seventh with two more off Mark James (L 1-4, 4.60, 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). C Kevin Coddington was the only Dragon with multiple hits (.299, 2-for-4, R, RBI). JC Sulbaran started and went four decent innings (5.12, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
7/17: Oscar Castro (L 2-3, 7.14, 3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) and Junior Martinez (9.30, 1 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 0 K) both got torpedoed by QC. Dragons lose, 15-5. 2B Cody Puckett hit a two-run homer (#15) and added a sacrifice fly. Toolsy CF Andrew Means drew a couple of walks and recorded his 18th stolen base (.272).
7/18: Lance Janke to the hill against Beloit (MIN). Dayton drew first blood in the second, plating one when Puckett doubled, went to third when Kevin Coddington struck out on a dropped third strike, and scored on a passed ball. Beloit tied it when first-round pick Aaron Hicks homered off Janke in the third, but Dayton pushed the lead to 2-1 in the fifth on a Rojas double and Kevyn Feiner single. They made it 3-1 the next inning on a Coddington sac-fly. Janke was cruising; he allowed just four hits over seven innings (W 5-5, 4.09, 1 BB, 5 K). The Dragons busted things open in the seventh with three more runs; RF Byron Wiley smashed a bases-clearing double. Rojas got his third hit and second run scored of the night. Aguido Gonzalez came on to pitch the eighth, but the All-Star struggled, getting popped for three runs- two on a homer. This cut the score to 6-4. Aguido stayed in to begin the ninth and proved better this time, retiring the Hammerheads in order to wrap up the win. Rojas finished 4-for-4 to raise his average to .269; he's hitting close to .400 in July.
7/19: Dayton again survived a late Beloit surge, holding on to win by the same 6-4 score as the day before. Matt Fairel went six for the W (7-5, 3.04, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) and Mark Serrano threw a scoreless seventh and eighth (4.50, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Drew Bowman took a beating in the ninth (5.51, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) but got out of his own jam eventually. CF Josh Fellhauer socked his first pro homer and DH Tony Brown hit a two-run shot, #2. 1B Carlos Mendez had a double, triple, RBI, and run scored (.274).
7/20: Dayton picked up two runs in the first on a Mendez RBI double (scoring Means, who’d doubled) and a Puckett single, but Curtis Partch gave that lead back in the fifth as Beloit got three runs. That’s all they got, though, as Partch worked seven for another strong effort (W 7-7, 4.68, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). The Dragons grabbed the lead back for good in the seventh when Fellhauer homered for the second straight game, this time a two-run blast. Rojas and Konstanty then turned in RBI hits in the eighth for insurance. Ezequiel Infante retired two of three in the eighth (2.79) and Mike James finished up for save #2 (4.47, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Fellhauer’s 2-for-4 put him at .324/.378/.515 for his first 16 pro contests. Mendez (.278) and Puckett (.268) each had a pair of hits as well.
7/22: The Dragons scored early and often on Wisconsin (MIL), getting runs in five separate innings. The bullpen expertly bailed out starter Oscar Castro (7.18, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER) with 5.2 shutout innings, 3.2 from Jordan Hotchkiss (W 1-3, 3.04, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K) as Dayton wins, 9-4. Make it three straight homerin’ games for Fellhauer, who connected on a two-run bomb in the fourth. LF Byron Wiley had three walks (one with the bases loaded) and a RBI triple and scored twice (.276). Coddington was 3-for-5 with a run scored, stolen base (9) and RBI (.304). Rojas got two more hits, a steal (11), and a run scored to push his average to .274. 2009 third-round pick Donnie Joseph, promoted from Billings to replace the DL’d Scott Gaffney, pitched 1.2 hitless relief innings in his Midwest League debut.
Moves & Notes: (7/20) C-1B Humberto Sosa back up from Billings (where he was torching the PL) to give it another go in the MWL. C-1B-OF Kyle Day to Sarasota. (7/22) LHR Donnie Joseph up from Billings. RHR Scott Gaffney DL’d with a strained hamstring.
Record this week: 2-4.
Overall: 9-18, last place.
7/16: Billings managed to record the only victory in the entire Reds system on this day, popping Orem 6-3 to make it three straight wins. Four runs in the seventh blew open a 2-1 game. RF Sean Conner drove in four runs with a single, triple, and groundout (.266, 2-for-4). SS Mariekson Gregorius, still younger than most players at this level at just 19, continues to hit like crazy; he lashed three more singles and stole base #4 (.413). Shea Snowden lasted seven innings to get his first win (W 1-2, 4.05, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Brian Pearl went the last two for save #1 (4.22, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K).
7/17: The Owlz snapped the Mustang winning streak at 3, scoring two in the top of the 10th off Daniel Corcino (L 0-2, 6.97, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) to edge Billings, 8-6. Luca Panerati started (7.77, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Righties Jason Braun (8.38, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 K) and Adian Kummet (5.19, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) held Orem largely in check, allowing Billings to fire back with four in the eighth (a three-run error really helped) and Humberto Sosa’s sacrifice fly in the ninth to tie things at 6. The Mustangs got the tying runs aboard in the bottom of 10 in the person of Josh Garton (walk) and Alexis Oliveras (single), but Gregorius popped out to end the game. He still went 3-for-6 with a double and run scored (.423). Oliveras finished 3-for-5 (.300). Conner recorded a pair of outfield assists, one at second in the first and one at home in the seventh.
7/18: Tim Crabbe continues to struggle in his first few pro outings. Ogden got him for two runs in the first, although they were unearned thanks to an error on 3B Frank Pfister. Billings got one back when Gregorius reached on an error and scored on a Sosa single. The Raptors made it 3-1 in the second on another Pfister E and unearned run. Luckily for Crabbe, Pfister handled a 5-3 chance flawlessly in the third, causing the hurler to retire the Raptors in order. He reached his pitch count two outs into the fourth (L 0-3, 4.72, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K), giving way to lefty Bryan Gardner. The Raptors beat on him for three more runs in the fifth before Forest Cannon took over to throw a perfect sixth. A balk did bring in a second Mustangs run, leaving the score 6-2 after 6. Ogden would go on to take it, 8-2.
7/19: RF Sean Conner homered twice and LF Josh Garton hit his second of the season, but those four runs left Billings one short as they fell to Ogden, 5-4. Conner is now hitting .267 with 11 RBI. Justin Walker keeps struggling; he fell to 0-3 (5.76, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 HR). Blair Carson’s Pioneer League debut went well, though- he relieved Walker and stranded two runners, then went three more innings without incident (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K). Donnie Joseph threw a 1-2-3 ninth (0.77).
7/20: Four consecutive defeats; Ogden wins it again, 6-3. Billings led by a run after four, but despite seven free passes in four innings from Raptors reliever Antonio Castillo, the Mustangs could scratch just one hit and one unearned run off him. C Mark Fleury did hit his first pro homer (.143, 1-for-3, 2 R, BB) and 2B Mauro Pimentel was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (.163). Starter Leo Astorga lasted five (5.33, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). Jason Braun got the loss in relief (0-1, 7.71, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).
7/21: Despite being out-hit thirteen to five, the Mustangs not only beat the Raptors 7-6 but came from a five-run deficit to do it! Four of the comeback runs came in the third; Sean Conner led off with a double and scored after a pair of groundouts. Gregorius was hit by a pitch and Yen-Wen Kuo reached on an error, bringing up local product Tom Nurre- who slugged his first pro homer to make it 5-4. 3B Frank Pfister singled in the tying run the next inning. In the fifth, Nurre walked and Fleury doubled; both Mustangs scored after a throwing error. LITTLE LEAGUE HOMER WOO! That made it 7-5. A Fleury passed ball let Ogden score one in the seventh, but Brian Pearl bore down and got out of the inning (3.55, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Daniel Corcino then pitched the ninth for save #2 (6.35). Starter Shea Snowden struggled in his first start since a seven-inning W last time out (4.99, 4 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR).
Moves & Notes: (7/18) RHP Blair Carson promoted from GCL Reds. (7/20) Humberto Sosa and his .359/.427/.577 line in 21 games sent back to Dayton.
Thought I’d relink a really great scouting report on the Mustangs from a guy who’s contributing to Doug’s Reds Minor Leagues site. Videos of several players- Gregorius, Kuo, Oliveras.
Record this week: 3-1.
7/17: Okay, this one was nuts. The Reds led the Rays 3-0 and brought in closer Jake Wiley to begin the bottom of the ninth. Wiley had allowed just two runs in ten innings. But this time he walked four consecutive batters, leading to his replacement with righty Raul Rodriguez (who had an ERA under 2). Rodriguez walked the first man he faced to make it 3-2. He came back to catch the next batter looking, but walked the third to tie the score. Next man up- SMACK! Right in the back. Game over. Anyway, starter Harold Johnson (1.00, 4 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 4 K) and Chase Ware (5.00, 4 IP, 2 H, 5 K) both pitched quite well before the meltdown. LF Juan Duran smashed a two-run double (.138) and 2B Henry Rodriguez and 3B Oliver Santos each got a pair of hits. SS Billy Hamilton returned to action after missing most of a week and was 0-for-3 with a walk (.227).
7/18: The GCL Reds snapped out of their funk by beating the Orioles, 11-5. Six runs in the sixth made it a 10-0 ballgame; this time the bullpen managed to hold on. Daniel Tuttle's pro debut resulted in two scoreless innings (2 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Tzu-Kai Chiu went four for the win (1.35, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). C Danny Vicioso was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and his second home run. Duran was 2-for-5 with two RBI and CF Juan Silva 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three walks. LF Theodis Bowe was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and steal #7.
7/19: Tyler Cline threw six innings of one-hit shutout ball (W 2-0, 1.00, 1 BB, 6 K) as the Reds beat the Red Sox, 3-0. The good guys got only four hits, two by Bowe- but he stole four bases, thus reducing the need for more hits. RF Carter Morrison had a RBI triple (.170). Hamilton struck out three times, but did steal base #10 when he walked in his fourth AB (.208).
7/20: Rained out.
7/22: Five Reds pitchers combine on a three-hitting of the Rays, 4-1. Marcos Molina, who actually gave up the run, also got the win (3-1, 3.00, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). Jake Wiley fixed his control from the debacle on the 17th and whiffed two of three for save #5. Raul Rodriguez, also part of said debacle, pitched two scoreless to set Wiley up (1.50, 1 H, 1 K). Yorman played RF and was 2-for-4 (.297). Hamilton walked twice, scored a run, and stole base #11 as his average dropped to .200. DH Henry Rodriguez was 2-for-3 to raise his mark to .333 in 17 games. Silva picked up a RBI triple (.200). Lefty Mitchell Clarke’s pro debut went well- he retired six straight, striking out two.
Moves & Notes: RHP Blair Carson promoted to Billings.