AAA Louisville

Record this Week: 4-3

Overall: 80-57, IL West Division Champions!

8/27: Louisville could muster just four hits off Columbus (CLE) starter Carlos Carrasco- Bats fall to the Clippers 7-2. Sam Lecure was unimpressive overall for the second straight start- although he did finish strong (L 9-7, 4.45, 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 95 pitches, 60 strikes). RF Luis Bolivar tripled twice and scored both Bats runs (.249). 3B Juan Francisco was 0-for-3 with a sac-fly, two strikeouts, and two errors.

8/28: 21-year-old Clips righty Hector Rondon came in to this start in the midst of a great season- an ERA under 3, 123 Ks in 125 IP, and just 26 walks. When the Bats were done with him, though, he’d served up twelve hits, seven earned runs, and three bombs in six innings. Louisville wins big, 10-4. CF Chris Heisey hit a tape-measure homer (#8) and a pair of doubles (.284, 2 R, 3 RBI). Francisco homered twice and added a RBI double (.358, 3 R, 3 RBI). SS Chris Valaika was 4-for-5 to raise his average to .233. Chris has had a strong August (.317/.340/.455) after flailing below the Mendoza Line in three of the season’s other four months (except June). Wrist injuries are bad, friends. New veteran signee Lew Ford was 2-for-4 with a triple, run scored, and RBI. Tom Cochran’s AAA debut didn’t go well (3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) but Federico Baez picked him up to earn the win (W 1-1, 4.60, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Ramon Ramirez threw 2.1 scoreless (4.03) and Enerio Del Rosario gave up one in the ninth (1.50, 2 H, 2 BB).

8/29: The Clippers got four off Travis Wood in the first three to build a lead they wouldn’t lose- they win it, 5-3. Wood rebounded to put up zeroes in the fourth, fifth, and sixth (L 4-2, 3.30, 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 95 pitches, 62 strikes). A returning-from-the-DL Jeff Kennard gave up a solo homer in the seventh (2.52), but Logan Ondrusek (2.20, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) and Pedro Viola (5.59, 1 IP, 1 H) both kept Columbus off the scoreboard. Valaika finished 2-for-3 with a double, run scored, RBI, and walk (.237).

The good news for Bats fans: with a loss by Toledo, Louisville has now won back-to-back IL Divisional Titles! Congrats to Rick Sweet and team.

8/30: The Bats went out and socked sixteen hits in a 6-3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the series. 2B Todd Frazier (.323, R, 2B) and DH Wes Bankston (.262, 2 RBI, 2B) each had four hits. Ben Jukich pitched 6.2 innings for win #9 (9-6, 4.23, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 115 pitches, 73 strikes). Del Rosario finished up for save #4 (1.33, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K).

8/31: Chris Heisey socked a two-run, first-inning homer (#9) off Columbus starter and former Red Mike Gosling to lead the Bats to another win, 7-5. Camilo Vazquez was knocked out in the fifth (5.00, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) but Greg Atencio got the win in relief (W 1-0, 6.75, 1.1 IP, 1 ER). Lee Tabor gave up a single run in the seventh, but Pedro Viola (5.47, 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K) and Logan Ondrusek (save #9, 2.08, 1 IP, 2 K) slammed the door. Heisey finished 2-for-5 with three RBI (.285). SS Luis Bolivar was 2-for-5 with three runs scored and two steals (.247, 28) and C Korey Feiner was 2-for-4 with a run scored (a good thing because Clippers basestealers were 6-for-6 off him). Francisco (.364) and Bankston (.264) each added a pair of hits as well.

9/1: Sam Lecure has all but torpedoed his chances at a post-playoff callup, as he suffered through his fourth straight start allowing four earned runs or more (L 9-8, 4.69, 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) in Columbus’ 9-2 rout. C Chris Denove was 3-for-4 with a double and run scored (.309).

9/2: Columbus gets three in the ninth off Atencio to make it look a bit close, but Louisville was otherwise pounding the Clips the whole way. They win, 10-6. Tom Cochran scattered eight hits over 5.1 innings for his first AAA win (1-0, 4.15, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Del Rosario turned in 2.1 scoreless (1.19, 2 H, 1 K, two inherited runners stranded) and Ondrusek bailed Atencio out by getting the final out (save #10). Wes Bankston continued his hot streak, slamming homer #17 among four hits (.270, 4 RBI, 3 R). Lew Ford also hit a three-run homer, his first.

Moves & Notes: LHS Travis Wood got a mention in the BA Prospect Hot Sheet from 8/28.
(8/28) RHR Sean Watson was returned to Carolina and LHS Tom Cochran was brought up from the same location. (8/30) RHR Greg Atencio up from Carolina. (8/31) INF Eric Eymann sent back to Carolina. LHS Camilo Vazquez up from Carolina. (9/2) LHR Pedro Viola called up by Cincinnati.

Manager Rick Sweet and RHS Justin Lehr were named to the International League’s Postseason All-Star team.

Ex-Reds Notes: Boston recalled RHR Marcus McBeth. Atlanta recalled RHP Buddy Carlyle. Milwaukee optioned RHP Mike Burns back to AAA when he failed to get below a 6 ERA in the rotation. The Yankees DL’d C Brian Peterson.

AA Carolina

Record this Week: 3-2.

Overall: 24-41 (second half).

8/27: Off.

8/28: Carolina got the early lead in the second, but that was their only run; Montgomery (TB) finally cracked Luis Montano (L 0-6, 6.11, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) in the seventh for three. Biscuits pin the tough L on Luis, 3-1. A key throwing error on 3B Jose Castro prompted two unearned runs.

8/29: The Biscuits buttered the Mudcats, 8-1. Jerry Gil lost (2-4, 9.57, 4 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Zach Ward did pitch two innings of scoreless relief to chop his ERA to 15.15. 1B Yonder Alonso was 0-for-2, but he did draw a pair of walks.

8/30: Rained out.

8/31: MAKEUP MADNESS goes well for the Mudcats! They sweep the doubleheader, 1-0 and 5-0, from the Biscuits. Game one was the Alex Smit Show, as he permitted just two hits in six innings (W 4-3, 3.23, 4 BB, 9 K, 94 pitches, 61 strikes) and Sean Watson took care of the seventh for save #6 (4.33, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K). C Jake Long doubled twice and scored the game’s only run on 3B Jose Castro’s single. Game two saw three Carolina relievers combine on a one-hitter- Joe Krebs (0.40, 3.1 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 K), Zach Ward (W 1-4, 13.50, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K) and Ruben Medina (3.93, 2 IP, 2 BB). Zach Cozart hit a two-run homer (#10, 2-for-4, .259) and Alonso was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and run batted in (.241). 2B Kris Negron, after swiping a pair of bases in game one, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double in the nightcap (.242).

9/1: Three straight wins! Carolina takes it, 6-4. Jeremy Horst dominated for seven innings (W 1-3, 6.65, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 100 pitches, 59 strikes) in a start where he didn’t allow a hit until a one-out seventh-inning double. The Biscuits got to Watson for three in the ninth to make it look close. Alonso was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI (.261) and Negron reached base in four of five plate appearances (.278, 2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R).

9/2: Off.

Moves & Notes: (8/28) RHR Sean Watson came back from Louisville; LHS Tom Cochran went up to the Bats. RHR Chris Kelly was sent back to Sarasota and LHS Jeremy Horst returned from there. (8/30) RHR Greg Atencio to Louisville; RHR Chris Kelly back from Sarasota. (8/31) INF Eric Eymann down from Louisville; INF Justin Tordi back to Sarasota. LHS Camilo Vazquez promoted to Louisville. LHS Matt Maloney temporarily transferred in from Cincinnati.

Travis Wood was named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher for 2009!

In addition to Wood, 3B Juan Francisco and “Utilityman” Todd Frazier also earned mentions as SL Postseason All-Stars for 2009.

High-A Sarasota

Record this Week: 2-3.

Overall: 24-40 (second half).

8/27: Jeremy Horst pitched very well (L 6-13, 3.25, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR) but Palm Beach (STL) shut out the Reds, 3-0. 2B Alex Buchholz got two of Sarasota’s six hits (.242, steal #3).

8/28: Rained out.

8/29: Charlotte (TB) won a 1-0 squeaker in 10 innings. Justin Freeman (L 2-5, 3.65, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) fired three scoreless before 3B Neftali Soto’s throwing error scored the game’s only run in the top of the 10th inning. Travis Webb started and pitched six innings of shutout ball (4.08, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K).

8/30: Sarasota bounced back by shelling the Stonecrabs, 6-2. Curtis Partch turned in seven strong innings (W 2-2, 5.29, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and Soto atoned for the previous day’s miscue with three doubles and three RBI (.246). 1B Jason Louwsma also hit homer #4 and DH Kyle Day #1.

8/31: Off.

9/1: LF Jeremy Reed’s third-inning triple scored Justin Tordi with the game’s only run- Sarasota nips Palm Beach, 1-0. Matt Fairel got the win (2-3, 3.86, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K) and Aguido Gonzalez save #1 (3.29, 2 H). Aguido had to induce a game-ending 6-4-3 double play grounder to shut the door on the Cardinals. Mace Thurman struck out three of four to lower his ERA to 1.16.

9/2: Palm Beach returns the favor, shutting out the Reds 7-0. Pedro Villareal struggled with his control (L 0-3, 5.46, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 2 K). Carlos Fisher got an inning of work in, walking two and permitting one hit in a scoreless inning. Reed was 2-for-4 (.225).

Moves & Notes: (8/28) RHR Chris Kelly back down from Carolina; LHS Jeremy Horst back to there. (8/29) RHR Marcos Molina up from GCL Reds. (8/30) Kelly back to Carolina. (8/31) INF Justin Tordi down from Carolina. RHR Carlos Fisher temporarily transferred in from Cincinnati.

Low-A Dayton

Record this Week: 3-3.

Overall: 29-35 (second half)

8/27: South Bend sweeps the series, beating Mark Serrano (L 2-1, 2.28, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HB) and the Dragons 4-2. Two of the Silver Hawks runs scored on an error by 2B Cody Puckett. Cody did drive in one Dayton run in the third with a sac-fly. The other came in on back-to-back errors by Hawks SS Victor Estevez in the eighth. Dayton got just four hits.

8/28: Dayton made three more errors (4) than it scored runs (1), falling to the lowly Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 5-1. Justin Walker looked okay (L 0-2, 2.75, 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) and Shea Snowden pitched excellent relief (4.18, 4.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). RF Tony Brown picked up two hits (.243) and SS Miguel Rojas got a pair as well (.272, RBI).

8/29: According to Reds farm publicist Jamie Ramsey and the Dayton Daily News’ Marc Katz, the Dayton Dragons got 17 of their 18 hits in their 10-6 win over Lansing with the same exact bat- one belonging to OF Josh Fellhauer. (The bat broke in the 8th inning, thus leaving 1B Humberto Sosa to ground a single to left with his own lumber.) Anyway, good story, and good show from CF Alexis Oliveras (4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, .333), Puckett (3-for-5, HR #19, 3 RBI), LF Kevyn Feiner (2-for-4, 2 R, HR #2, 4 RBI) and Brown (3-for-4, 2 R, .254). Don’t forget starter JC Sulbaran, who earned his second straight win (W 4-5, 5.30, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 HR).

8/30: Dragons win again, 8-2! This gained Dayton a game on South Bend in the MWL wildcard race, cutting the deficit to one with seven to play. Fellhauer smacked hits in each of his first three at-bats (.290, 3-for-5, RBI) and SS Miguel Rojas was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and a RBI (.277). Ezequiel Infante got the job done with a 8-0 lead after three (W 2-1, 2.85, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Hector Santana (0.96, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and Mike Bohana (5.40, 1 IP, 3 K) finished up.

8/31: Dragons fall to Lansing, 7-3, although they stay one game out of the wildcard race with South Bend’s loss. Again Jordan Hotchkiss pitched well in the starting assignment (L 3-6, 2.79, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HR). Chase Ware turned in a scoreless seventh (4.43, 1 K) but Drew Bowman was popped for four runs in the eighth (4.90, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Sosa homered in the ninth (#4) and Mendez was 3-for-4 with a run scored and RBI (.293).

9/1: Off. South Bend won, increasing the deficit to 1.5 games.

9/2: Well, Dayton faced South Bend, the club one game ahead of them in the race- so the playoff hopes all come down to this series. The Silver Hawks, thanks to a four-game sweep in the last series the teams played, had won seven of twelve in 2009. But despite a mad comeback (one in the eighth, four in the ninth), the Dragons hang on to win game one, 8-6! Donnie Joseph struck out the only man he faced for the game’s final out (save #4). Scott Gaffney had retired three in a row to bail Mark James out of the eighth, but he himself was hammered in the ninth (3.91, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER), prompting the summoning of Joseph. Starter Mark Serrano pitched excellently (W 3-1, 2.20, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K). C Kevin Coddington hit his very first homer of the season in the fifth (.279, 2-for-4). Mendez lashed three more hits (.297, 2 R) and Brown scored two and drove the same number in (.259). Puckett also contributed a pair of doubles and runs scored (.266).

So now the deficit is a half-game with five to play. Two more against South Bend.

Moves & Notes: None.

Rookie-Pioneer Billings

Record this Week: 1-6.

Overall: 8-20 (second half), 12-26 (first half).

8/27: Too many times it’s happened this year- the Mustangs get behind big early and can’t recover. Lowly Helena (well, now they have the same record as Billings) fired off six runs in the first three innings, then finished things off with four in the seventh off the hapless Mustangs bullpen. Easy Brewer win, 11-3. Tim Crabbe (L 0-6, 4.86, 2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER0 started. Jake Wiley (5.54, 3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) and Ricky Bowen (4.22, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER) didn’t fare any better. DH Trey Manz did go 4-for-5 with a solo homer (#1) for Billings. CF Yorman Rodriguez was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts to fall to .246.

8/28: Billings wastes another solid outing from Blair Carson (L 1-5, 4.14, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)- they lose to Missoula (ARI), 4-1.

8/29: Missoula wins again, 8-3. C Petr Cech was 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI (.400). Leo Astorga is fading fast (L 2-7, 5.15, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Rodriguez tripled and scored a run in four trips.

8/30: Sweep so far for the Osprey, 3-1. Game was tied into the eighth as Oscar Castro (6.14, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) pitched well, but reliever Adian Kummet (L 1-2, 4.28, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) served up a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth.

8/31: Billings scored four in the seventh to salvage one, 5-3. Luca Panerati looked decent (6.09, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) but Tzu-Kai Chiu got the win (1-1, 4.58, 2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 HR). Brian Pearl slammed the door on the Osprey for save #7 (3.65, 2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K). 3B Frank Pfister was 3-for-4 with a run scored and RBI (.253).

9/1: Great Falls (CHW) pounded the Mustangs, 16-5, overcoming early deficits of 2-0 and 5-3. 1B Tom Nurre did hit a two-run homer (#4, 2-for-4, .240). RF Sean Conner hit a solo shot, #5 (2-for-4, .228). Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.246). Tim Crabbe did not make it out of the third (5.72, 2.1 IP, 5 ER) but Mike Henry, up from the GCL Reds, got the loss (0-1, 7.71, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 1 K).

9/2: Billings took a 4-0 lead in the fourth, but the Voyagers scored ten runs between the sixth, seventh, and eighth to turn that into a 10-5 rout. Blair Carson looked good early (4.24, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Jason Braun took the loss (1-3, BS #2, 6.07, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER). SS DD Gregorius poked three hits (.324, R, 2B, BB) and Yorman drove in three runs with a double and groundout (.246). Pfister kept it going with a single, double, run scored, and RBI (.253). Contreras was 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.297).

Moves & Notes: (8/31) RHR Mike Henry up from GCL Reds.

Rookie-GCL Reds

Record this Week: 1-2.

Overall: 28-27 END SEASON

8/27: Tyler Cline toyed with the Orioles for seven innings, permitting just two hits (W 5-1, 2.09, 1 BB, 3 K) as the Reds win easy, 7-2. 3B Henry Rodriguez hit a grand slam in the fourth, his first of the year. CF Juan Silva was 2-for-3 with a run scored (.281). 2B Jefry Sierra keeps on hitting as well (.314, 2-for-4, R, 3B). SS Billy Hamilton tripled in a run (.210).

8/28: Rained out.

8/29: Twins hang on to win a 5-4 decision in a game shortened an inning by rain. CF Juan Silva was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI (.288). Rehabbin’ Dallas Buck worked two (5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Rehabbin’ Misael DeJesus two more (3 H, 2 ER). Mateo Pizziconi gave up no hits but one unearned run that proved his downfall (L 2-2, 1.88, 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K).

8/30: Off.

8/31: The Reds make as many errors (six) as they had hits (six) and lose to the Rays, 5-0. Sierra had three of those hits (.336). Jake Johnson started (L 2-3, 2.83, 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Dan Tuttle continued to impress, this time in relief (1.67, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).

With this loss, the Reds finish the GCL season in third place with a 28-27 record, six games out of first. I began following the Reds minor leagues in 2004, and I believe this is the first time I have seen this squad pull out a winning record. So congrats to them- there are some prospects here, especially among the pitchers.

Moves & Notes: (8/29) RHR Marcos Molina was rewarded for his recent strong performance with a spot-duty promotion to Sarasota.