Overall: A very, very ugly week in the Reds’ system. An aggregate record of 4-21 is the worst single week I can remember in three years of doing this report. Just remember it's only a week.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 1-5.
Overall: 7-14, third place, three games behind Columbus (CLE).
4/22: Aroldis Chapman earned his first US professional victory, throwing 5.1 innings of three-hit, one-run ball (W 1-1, 0.60 in Louisville’s 7-1 win over Indianapolis (PIT). Chapman did walk five and throw two wild pitches, but he also struck out eight (and picked prospect Jose Tabata off first). He does need to throw more strikes- 54 out of 95 pitches. Anyway, Chad Reineke (2.38, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 K), Jesus Delgado (3.60, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K), and Lee Tabor (3.12, 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) finished up without incident. C Wilkin Castillo socked a homer and RBI single (2-for-4, .216) and 3B Juan Francisco broke his slump with a homer (#1) and double. .129 is an improvement!
4/23: 2010 has not been quite so magical for Justin Lehr. He fell to 0-3 as the Indians scalped him for nine hits and six runs, five earned, in 4.1 innings (L 0-3, 8.16, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). CF Chris Heisey doubled in 3B Drew Sutton for the lone Bats run in the fifth. Francisco pushed his line to .171 with two more hits and 2B Chris Valaika continues to swing a hot bat (2-for-4, .375).
4/24: Rained out.
4/25: This game almost got rained out as well, but after a two-hour delay the clubs took the field. Indianapolis didn’t take long to beat on Bats starter Sam Lecure, scoring three in the third and piling up ten of their fifteen hits against him overall (L 2-1, 3.09, 6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 96 pitches, 60 strikes) in a 6-1 win. RF Chris Burke tripled and singled in four trips (.196, R). Logan Ondrusek returned to competitive action after his demotion, pitching a scoreless inning with a strikeout while allowing two hits.
4/26: Travis Wood out to the hill to see if he can avoid losing for the first time this season despite a respectable 3.50 ERA. His opposition: the Indianapolis Indians and fellow lefty Donnie Veal (1-1, 4.02). Trav started the first by whiffing the first two Indians batters looking… on six pitches. He then disposed of Tabata on a fly to deep center after falling behind 3-0. Wood fell behind the first batter of the second inning (Steve Pearce) 3-0 as well, but got him to fly out to left. Brandon Moss followed with a single, but Travis quickly got a 4-6-3 double-play grounder to put a stop to that (just 20 pitches through two). He whizzed through the third and fourth, but Indy got to him for two runs in the fifth. Two more scoreless innings followed (the Bats were unable to put a dent in Veal’s line) until Wilkin Castillo hit a two-run homer to tie the score at 2 in the bottom of the seventh. Wood then permitted back-to-back singles to start the eighth. He committed a throwing error attempting to handle a sacrifice bunt, scoring the go-ahead run and earning him the hook in favor of Chad Reineke. Reineke whiffed the next two hitters, but then lost it, uncorking a run-scoring wild pitch and walking the next two men. Finally Enerio Del Rosario got the last man to fly to right to end the inning. Wood’s final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 116 pitches (!), 73 strikes. Louisville wasted no time coming back, as Drew Sutton tripled leading off the bottom of the 8th and Heisey followed with a two-run homer, his fourth. Del Rosario struck out pinch-hitter/uber-prospect Pedro Alvarez leading off the ninth, then got the next two without incident. Chris Valaika doubled to start the bottom of the ninth. Wladimir Balentien was intentionally walked. Castillo bunted both runners over. Pinch-hitter Chris Burke was also intentionally passed. Sutton stepped up with a chance to win it- and went down swinging. Heisey flied out, and to extras we went.
Jesus Delgado took over for Del Rosario (1.69, 1.1 IP, 1 K) and threw a 1-2-3 tenth. SS Zach Cozart tripled with two outs in the bottom of the tenth, but Valaika lined out to center. A 1-2-3 eleventh for Delgado (2.57, 1 K). A one-out Castillo double in the 11th also led nowhere when pinch-hitter Danny Dorn took a called third strike and Sutton flied out. Federico Baez managed to hold the line in the 12th (with some help from Castillo throwing out a runner stealing). In the 13th, though, Baez walked Indy’s Erik Kratz with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run. But Cozart led off the bottom of the 13th with a solo homer (#2)! Baez yielded to Logan Ondrusek for the 14th; he wild-pitched in the sixth Indians run. Again the Bats tied the score, thanks to a Sutton double and steal of third and a Francisco sacrifice fly. Cozart was called out on strikes with the winning run on second. Lee Tabor took over for the 15th and immediately served up a Tabata solo homer (7-6 Indians). Valaika reached on an error to begin the Bats’ 15th . (Incidentally, Kratz- normally a catcher- had to pitch this inning.) Balentien managed a dribbler to get him to second (dude is now 1-for-26). Castillo’s fly ball got Chris to third. But pinch-hitter Corky Miller flew out to end the game. Tabor took the defeat (0-1 , 5.06). Castillo finished 3-for-6 (.250) and Sutton 3-for-7 (.241).
4/27: Lefty Ben Jukich is back in the organization after St. Louis picked him in the Rule 5 draft over the winter, then decided to send him back to the Reds. He opposed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY) and ex-Astro and Rockie Jason Hirsh. Jukich looked okay (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 90 pitches, 52 strikes) but Hirsh was simply incredible, no-hitting the Bats on three walks before C Corky Miller connected for a solo homer with two outs in the eighth. Yanks closer Jonathan Albadalejo took over to retire the last four and complete a 2-1 SWB win.
4/28: Aroldis Chapman vs. the Yankees as the Bats have sunk to a 7-12 record after a 1-4 week to this point. This stacked offensive team has batted .220 so far this season. Chapman’s opponent is 23-year-old righthander Ivan Nova, a Dominican who came into this one with a 1.88 ERA over four starts. Chapman, of course, got his first pro win on the 22nd- the only Bats win of the week.
After Sutton led off by taking a third strike, Heisey fought back from an 0-2 count to slam a double to center. Dorn was also called out on strikes, though, leaving Juan Francisco and his .122 average. Francisco hacked at the first pitch and fouled it off, then hacked at the second pitch and grounded out to end the inning. Luckily things changed in the second, as the Bats strung together Zach Cozart’s scratch single, a walk, a bunt single by Castillo, a Frazier sacrifice fly, a Miller two-run single, a Sutton RBI groundout, a Heisey single, and a Dorn RBI hit to take a 4-0 lead. But SWB’s Kevin Russo connected for a two-run homer off Chapman in the third, cutting the lead in half (a line drive to Valaika turned unassisted double play got Aroldis out of a possibly worse situation). David Winfree then led off the fourth with a solo shot to make it 4-3. Chapman finished strong, retiring the Yankees in order in the sixth to finish his night at 99 pitches (1.29, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR). Louisville got just two hits after the second, so it was up to the Bats bullpen. Enerio Del Rosario retired the first five men he faced- but a single and a two-run homer from SWB’s Juan Miranda proved fatal. The Yankees steal it, 5-4. Del Rosario took the loss and blown save (1-1, BS #1, 2.84, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). Five straight losses for the Bats.
Transactions and Notes: 4/22: RHR Logan Ondrusek added from Cincinnati; RHR Carlos Fisher called up. 4/23: LHS Matt Maloney put on the 7-day DL (retroactive to 4/22) with blisters on his pitching hand. LHS Ben Jukich activated.
RHS Sam Lecure merited a “blast from the past” mention in the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for the week of 4/23.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 0-7.
Overall: 6-13, last place, 8.5 back of Tennessee (CHC).
4/22: MAKEUP MADNESS with lefty Tom Cochran starting game one for the Mudcats against SL division-leader Tennessee; they lead Carolina by four games with a 10-2 record. The Smokies started the illustriously-named righthander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, 24, an Oregon native and University of Portland (think Xavier, only purple and white and with worse men’s basketball and a dynastic women’s soccer program) graduate. (He’s also coming off a 2.04 ERA in 70.2 innings in the Midwest League last season.) Cochran, 27, was signed out of indy ball last year and posted a 3.18 ERA in 87.2 IP for Carolina in a primarily starting role. He’s off to a fast start in 2010, striking out 15 and allowing just five hits in his first 12 innings. Tom got out of the first unscathed when C Chris Denove gunned down Smokies’ phenom Starlin Castro stealing after the 20-year-old shortstop singled with one out. Carolina then got a walk to 1B Yonder Alonso and a double by RF Luis Terrero with two outs, but CF Denis Phipps struck out to end the frame. Cochran walked the first man he faced in the second; one out later he paid for it when a double made it 1-0 Smokies. He snared a line drive hit right back at him for out number two, walked the #8 hitter, then ran the count on his opposite number full before grounding him out to third. 36 pitches through two, phew! Tom rang up another 22 pitches in the third as Tennessee ran their lead to 2-0, but did get the Smokies 1-2-3 in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Mudcats failed to get any more baserunners off their Wheel of Fortune-friendly opposition (is it okay to revive the “Eye Chart” nickname given to former San Diego backup catcher Doug Gwosdz?) until the fourth, when Alonso singled. The next three left him at first, though. Cochran finished with a decent line after a runnerless fifth (1.59, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), but trailed 2-0. Tennessee got a run off Ruben Medina in the sixth, but the Mudcats stormed back to tie in the bottom of the inning when Sean Henry smashed a bases-loaded, three-run double. Closer Jordan Smith came on for the seventh.
Tennessee Top 7th
-Pitcher Change: Jordan Smith replaces Ruben Medina, batting 9th.
-Nate Samson singles on a line drive to center fielder Denis Phipps.
-Ty Wright grounds out softly, shortstop Kris Negron to first baseman Yonder Alonso. Nate Samson to 2nd.
-Tony Campana reaches on missed catch error by first baseman Yonder Alonso, assist to second baseman Jose Castro. Nate Samson scores.
-Starlin Castro doubles (4) on a fly ball to right fielder Luis Terrero. Tony Campana to 3rd.
-Tony Thomas walks.
-Russ Canzler grounds into a force out, third baseman Jake Kahaulelio to catcher Chris Denove. Tony Campana out at home. Starlin Castro to 3rd. Tony Thomas to 2nd. Russ Canzler to 1st.
-Robinson Chirinos doubles (3) on a fly ball to center fielder Denis Phipps. Starlin Castro scores. Tony Thomas scores. Russ Canzler scores.
-Brandon Guyer grounds out, third baseman Jake Kahaulelio to first baseman Yonder Alonso.
Four runs (one earned) and a scoreless bottom of the seventh later, the Smokies had game one 7-3. Smith (L 0-2, 4.50, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) has struggled with his consistency in the early going.
Game two started well enough when SS Kris Negron led off the Carolina half of the first with a home run, his first. That would be it, though, as Tennessee got just one hit off Daryl Thompson in five innings but two runs (L 0-2, 4.72, 2 BB, 4 K)- then whomped on Sean Watson (0.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER) in the sixth. It ended 8-1 as the Smokies sweep.
4/23: Carolina is beaten quite handily yet again, 16-7. Starter Alex Smit did not have it today (L 0-1, 10.80, 3 IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 2 HB). Lefty Daryl Harang was popped for six more earned over 2.2 innings of relief. Only Phil Valiquette survived unscathed (0.00, 2 IP, 2 K). 3B Jake Kahauleilo and 1B Eric Eymann each homered for the Mudcats
4/24: Matt Klinker scattered eight hits over 5.2 innings (L 1-2, 1.93, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K), but departed down 2-0. His bullpen gave up four more in the seventh and Jacksonville (FLA) won going away, 6-0. 2B-3B Michael Griffin was 3-for-4 to raise his average to .364. Carolina collected nine hits, but stranded eleven men on base.
4/25: Carolina dropped their seventh consecutive contest, 8-2. Dallas Buck did look better in this outing, permitting just one run through his first five innings. He left with one on, one in, and one out in the sixth, though, and when Sean Watson came on he let the runner score plus another five. This made a 2-1 game 8-1. Buck took the loss (L 1-3, 7.11, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Joe Krebs did throw two scoreless in mop-up duty (3.18). C Chris Denove hit a solo homer (#1).
4/26: One of those days. Jacksonville uber-prospect Mike Stanton whaled three homers in his first four at-bats- two off starter Curtis Partch, up from Lynchburg (3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER) and a third off Ruben Medina (2 IP, 3 ER). Jerry Gil was smart enough to walk the guy (3.48, 2 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, HB). (Medina did manage to strike him out swinging in AB #5.) Phil Valiquette turned in another perfect inning; that’s nine scoreless in 2010 with one walk and seven strikeouts. Anyway, the Suns stomped the Mudcats 11-2 to make it eight straight losses. Yonder Alonso did manage to get back on the field (at first base, incidentally).; he also picked up a pair of singles and a RBI (.259). Let’s move on.
4/27: Can Daryl Thompson stop this ugly losing streak? Well, the Mudcats led 3-1 as late as the sixth (Thompson left after three perfect innings and 44 pitches for reasons yet unknown.) But the Suns scorched the Carolina bullpen for eight runs in the sixth, pinning the eventual 12-6 loss on Daryl Harang (L 1-1, 6.14, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER) but also beating on Joe Krebs (5.40, 0.1 IP, 3 ER), Sean Watson (27.00, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Jordan Smith (9.93, 1 IP, 3 ER). Nine straight losses. RF Luis Terrero was 1-for-2 with two RBI, three walks, and a stolen base (#3). Negron was 2-for-5 with three runs scored (.262).
4/28: Jacksonville goes for the sweep and Carolina is trying to snap a nine-game losing streak; only one of those things can happen. Jacksonville led 3-1 after seven (Alex Smit permitted three earned on three hits and six walks in five innings; Ruben Medina pitched two shutout innings) with the Mudcat bats held to four hits. Terrero singled with two outs in the eighth, but nothing further came of it. Medina caught Stanton looking and then retired the next two to complete an impressive nine-up, nine-down relief outing (6.57). On came Suns closer Matt Peterson. With one out, Eymann singled- but Denove hacked at the first pitch and grounded into a force play. Kahauleilo flied out to center, and that’s ten defeats in a row.
Transactions and Notes: LHS Tom Cochran was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week on 4/19 for the week running 4/10-4/16 (see notes from 4/22 above). 4/26: RHS Dallas Buck demoted to Lynchburg; RHS Curtis Partch up from the CL. 4/28: Reverse that last move.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 2-4.
Overall: 7-12, last place, 4.5 behind Frederick (BAL).
4/22: Salem (BOS) continues to have the Hillcats’ number, beating them yet again (three out of four) by a 5-2 score. Solid start for Travis Webb (3.86, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) although it was the struggling-in-relief Jeremy Horst who took the loss (L 0-1, 6.35, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). C Devin Mesoraco was the only Hillcat with multiple hits (2-for-4, 2B, .300).
4/23: Mark Serrano allowed just two hits in six innings (W 1-0, 4.50, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) as Lynchburg whooped Potomac (WAS) 8-2 to record the only organizational win of the day. DH Neftali Soto had a pair of doubles and RBI (.245) and RF Jeremy Reed hit his first homer. Drew Bowman pitched two scoreless in relief and Justin Freeman finished up.
4/24: The Nationals got to the still-struggling Jeremy Horst for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to turn a 3-2 Hillcats lead into a 4-3 Potomac win. Horst fell to 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in seven appearances; he had success at High-A last year as a starter (3.25 ERA in 23 starts), so let’s hope he turns it around. Starter Lance Janke did solidly (3.00, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). LF Josh Fellhauer and Mesoraco each hit solo homers (both #3).
4/25: Potomac’s Jose Lozada hit a two-run homer off Scott Carroll in the bottom of the tenth to win another close one for the Nats, 6-4. Carroll had pitched extremely well in relief of Matt Fairel to that point (L 0-1, 3.86, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) in his 2010 debut. Fairel struggled somewhat (3.60, 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). Mesoraco is becoming an early-season success story at the plate; he slammed a three-run homer, his fourth in fifty-four plate appearances. He’s also batting .300 and has eleven RBIs. 1B Carlos Mendez was 3-for-5 with a double and run scored (.310). Neftali Soto again played catcher and this time didn’t commit an error; he also was 2-for-5 with a run scored at the plate.
4/27: 2B Cody Puckett tripled and homered (#2) to drive in three of the Hillcats’ four runs in a 4-2 win. DH Kyle Day was 3-for-4 with a double and RBI (.234, steal #2). Again a fine outing for Brad Boxberger; that’s three of four (W 2-1, 1.89, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). He’s now struck out 24 in 19 innings. Jordan Hotchkiss retired six straight (0.79, K) and Bowman and Justin Freeman (save #2, 1 IP, 1 ER) finished up.
4/28: Four straight losses, as Kinston (CLE) scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth off Drew Bowman (L 0-1, 0 IP, 3 ER) and Scott Gaffney (1 IP, 2 ER) to turn a 2-0 deficit into an eventual 5-3 win. Travis Webb threw 5.1 shutout innings for Lynchburg (3 H, 4 BB, 3 K) and Horst followed with 1.2 scoreless (5.79, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Soto, playing first base this time, slugged a solo homer (#1) and CF Dave Sappelt was 2-for-4 with a run scored and double (.288)
Transactions and Notes: At least one Reds released player from the beginning of the year has landed on his feet- C Jason Bour was signed by the White Sox and assigned to High-A Winston-Salem. 4/23: LHR Mace Thurman placed on the 7-day DL retro to 4/20; RHP Scott Carroll activated. 4/26: RHS Curtis Partch up to Carolina; RHS Dallas Buck down to Lynchburg. 4/28: Reverse that last move.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 1-5.
Overall: 10-10, fourth place, five games behind Lake County (CLE).
4/22: West Michigan (DET) beat on Jake Johnson early and often (L 0-1, 7.42, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR), then got to Junior Martinez (2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) for three in the sixth to turn a 5-3 game into an 8-3 relative rout. RF Andrew Means lashed four singles in five at-bats, but scored no runs and drove in only one as the Dragons went 1-for-7 with RISP and left ten runners on base. Means did steal base #6; he’s now batting .400 (24-for-60) albeit with one walk and fifteen strikeouts. 1B Chris Richburg hit homer #2 and 2B Henry Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and steal #2.
4/23: Dayton couldn’t get a man to second base until the eighth- in that inning they did get two runs- but it was too little too late as Lansing (TOR) took it, 5-2. Josh Ravin took the loss (L 0-1, 1.37, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). Richburg (RBI, .293) and SS Didi Gregorius (.284) were each 2-for-4.
4/24: Lansing got the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th off Dragons closer Donnie Joseph (L 2-1, 1.00, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). Final score: 9-8. Dayton scored two in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 8 and send it to extras. Richburg drove in three runs with a single and triple (the latter was what tied the score in the ninth). C Mark Fleury was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI as he makes the long trek up the interstate (.175, four-game hit streak). Starter Pedro Villareal held his own (4.71, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but the bullpen struggled- Doug Salinas gave up two in 0.2 IP and Nick Christiani three in 2.1 IP.
4/25: Brian Pearl was just coming off a great outing (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER), but the Lugnuts had his number this time around. Pearl got whacked for seven earned runs on four hits and three walks (L 1-1, 4.74, 3.1 IP, 0 K) in Lansing’s 7-3 win. Ezequiel Infante wasn’t charged with any runs in 2.2 innings, but he gave up six hits and allowed both his inherited runners to score (3.65, 2 K). Fleury kept things going with a pair of doubles and a run scored (.205).
4/27: Rodriguez doubled in Alex Oliveras, who’d singled and moved to second on Gregorius’ sacrifice bunt, in the bottom of the ninth to push Dayton past Lake County, 5-4. Chase Ware (2-0, 3.07, 1 H, 2 K) pitched 3.1 shutout innings in relief of Justin Walker (6.16, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) to get the win. Oliveras was 3-for-4 with two runs scored from the #9 slot to raise his average to .244. Rodrigurez finished 2-for-4 with two RBI (.268).
4/28: Only Byron Wiley’s RBI double in the bottom of the ninth saved Dayton from being shut out by the Captains. Lake County takes it anyway, 4-1. Jake Johnson was better this time around (L 0-2, 6.38, 5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Rodriguez was 2-for-4 (.279, R).
Transactions and Notes: 4/22: RHR Mike James added from Billings; C Kevin Coddington placed on the DL with a fractured cheekbone. 4/23: RHS JC Sulbaran placed on the 7-day DL with blisters. RHP Blair Carson activated. In other news: Former Reds draftee C Tyler Hauschild, traded to the Rays after the 2007 season, signed a free-agent contract with Toronto.