Overall: Carolina has another good week despite losing Yonder Alonso to promotion, taking five of seven and gaining two games and one place in the standings. Louisville continued its mercurial swings; itís seemingly feast or famine each night. They did manage four of seven and a game in the standings. Things are not so rosy in A-ball, though; Lynchburg dropped six of seven thanks to poor defense and inconsistent pitching; Dayton is struggling to produce runs, losing four of six.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 4-3.
Overall: 17-23 last place, 7.5 games behind Columbus (CLE).
5/13: Travis Wood facing Buffalo (NYM). The Bats added Yonder Alonso (.267/.388/.406 at Carolina) and lost Danny Dorn (.295/.373/.467) to a fractured hand. Alonso did manage an infield hit his first time up, but he was stranded at first. After three scoreless innings, the Bisons got to Travis- temp catcher Jean-Luc Blaquiere- a 24-year-old whoíd hit .238 with five homers in Low-A last year and .203 in 21 games in High-A this year- slammed a pair of homers off the lefty. Ex-Royal 1B Mike Jacobs added a third bomb. Wood seems to be struggling more as the season goes on after a fast start (L 1-4, 5.10, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 100 pitches/61 strikes). Ben Jukich, Federico Baez, and Enerio Del Rosario combined for 3.2 innings of hitless relief, but all the Bats could muster was a seventh-inning solo homer from 3B Todd Frazier (#3) as they fall, 6-1. C Corky Miller went 3-for-3 (.348) and the Bats had eight total hits, but it didnít translate into more runs.
5/14: Aroldis Chapman: not ready for the big leagues yet. He struggled with his control in this one, and Rochester (MIN) let him have it to the tune of eight earned runs in three-plus innings (L 3-2, 4.63, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 75 pitches/42 strikes). More beatings were administered to relievers Jesus Delgado (3.63, 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) and Jon Adkins (9.22, 0.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) as the Red Wings cruised to a 13-4 rout. RF Mike Griffin went 3-for-4 from the #9 slot and C Jake Long singled in both his at-bats after entering mid-game.
5/15: The Bats thought about blowing an 11-1 lead, but Enerio Del Rosario retired five of six men faced (1.69, 1 H, 1 K) to close out a 12-9 victory. Justin Lehr (W 1-3, 6.57, 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) got smacked around pretty good, but managed to hang around long enough to get his first win. Logan Ondrusek served up four more runs in two innings (3.29, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 K). Alonso had a massive game, driving in six runs with three singles and a double in five trips (.385). SS Zach Cozart hit homer #5, went 3-for-4, and scored four runs (.279). CF Chris Burke was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI (.243). Louisville went an incredible 7-for-11 with men in scoring position.
5/16: Matt Maloney pitched five scoreless (heís still on a reduced pitch count due to blisters, but did get up to 85 pitches this time), but the Red Wings got four off Ben Jukich in the seventh to turn a 3-0 deficit into an eventual 4-3 win (L 1-2, 5.14, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Alonso got two more hits and a walk (.412, steal #1), 2B Chris Valaika was 2-for-3 (.333) and 1B Drew Sutton scored twice (1-for-2, 2 BB, .228).
5/17: Sam Lecure scattered eight singles over seven scoreless as the Bats split the four-game set with Rochester, 5-0. Lecure (W 4-2, 3.00, 1 BB, 8 K, 118 pitches/70 strikes) got perfect relief frames from Del Rosario (1.61, 2 K, now 2 BB and 16 K in 22.1 IP) and Adkins. DH Wladimir Balentien was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer (#4, .217) and Miller homered as well (#4).
5/18: The Bats win a 16-inning marathon over Lehigh Valley (PHI), 2-1! Starter Travis Wood dueled IronPigs veteran Nate Bump to a 1-1 deadlock after eight, with Wood whiffing eleven (4.47, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 107 pitches/69 strikes). Logan Ondrusek turned in two (2.87, 1 H, 2 K), Delgado three (3.10, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 K), Federico Baez two (W 1-0, 2.25, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K), and Del Rosario picked up the save (#1, 1.54, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K). The Bats really didnít have a lot of scoring opportunities, getting just seven hits, two walks, and a hit batter for the entire game. Finally, Burke tripled off ex-Brave and Astro Oscar Villareal with one out in the top of sixteen, then Cozart singled him home. Alonso homered in the fourth for the only other Bats run (2-for-6, BB, .370). Burke was the only other Louisville player with more than one hit (.230, 2-for-7).
5/19: Chapman tried his luck against Lehigh Valley and their starter, former first-round pick Joe Savery. The IronPigs have a pretty weak lineup, boasting journeyman DeWayne Wise in the three-hole and Dane Sardinha behind the plate. Only RF John Mayberry Jr. (899 OPS) from this LV lineup is really a threat on paper. Aroldis rang up 21 pitches in the first inning but retired the side. He allowed a hit in the second but picked the runner off first. He gave up a double to interstate-batting #8 hitter Brian Bocock in the third, but got ex-Pirate reserve Chris Duffy to take a third strike and Luis Maza to ground out to escape the jam. A two-out double to ex-Yankee backup Cody Ransom in the fourth went for naught when Neil Sellers flew out to right. It wasnít until the fifth that we saw Chapman dominate; he whiffed Sardinha, Bocock, and Savery all swinging. He walked Duffy to start the sixth but then immediately picked him off. Maza walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Chapman was pulled with a blister after he whiffed Wise (W 4-2, 3.98, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K, WP, 96 pitches/63 strikes).
Iím glad to see his control go back to where it was earlier in the year, but this was a pretty weak lineup he was facing. Anyway, the Bats led 4-0 after eight with the help of a good night from Sutton (3-for-3, 2 RBI, .241) and Balentienís fifth homer (.235, 2-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R). Jared Burton relieved Jon Adkins (7.88, 1.1 IP) in the eighth and proceeded to whiff Bocock, pitcher Ty Taubenheim, and Duffy in succession. He left with two on and one out in the ninth following a strikeout of Mayberry (13.50, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Ondrusek came on and gave up a two-run single to Sardinha (who, incidentally, is hitting .257/.288/.443- one of the best lines Iíve seen him put up in a decade). Rick Sweet had to summon Del Rosario to get pinch-hitter Rich Thompson to fly out to right, ending the game. I think we have a new closer (save #2, 1.52). Itís good to see Burton back as well.
Transactions and Notes: 5/13: OF-1B Danny Dorn placed on the DL (fractured hand). 1B-LF Yonder Alonso up from Carolina. 5/19: RHR Jared Burton activated from the DL. RHS Justin Lehr placed on the 7-day DL (retro to 5/18) with elbow inflammation.
OF Luis Terrero merited a ďBlast from the PastĒ mentioned in the May 14th edition of BAís Prospect Hot Sheet. He was also named IL Hitter of the Week for May 10-16.
RHR Terrell Young, not sighted so far this year, was placed on the restricted list. Not sure why.
Two former Reds- UT Ryan Freel and LHR Mike Gosling- both announced their retirements. Freel was playing in the independent Atlantic League, and Gosling was with AAA Columbus (where he pitched 6.1 scoreless innings in his final appearance). Best of luck to both men.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 5-2.
Overall: 18-22, fourth place, six back of Tennessee (CHC).
5/13: Carolina looked to continue its recent success without Yonder Alonso. Since their lineup is suspect with Alonso, Iím a little worried. So they go out and beat first-place Tennessee, 5-3, thanks to a good start from Dallas Buck (W 3-3, 5.30, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 77 pitches/54 strikes), four Smokies errors, and solo homers from CF Dave Sappelt (#2) and C Brandon Yarbrough (#1). Tennessee started the ninth with a pair of infield hits off Jordan Smith, but he managed a 1-5 fielderís choice on a bunt attempt, a groundout, and a flyout to end it (save #5, 5.74).
5/14: Carolina blew a 7-2 lead when Tennessee scored five times in the seventh off Alex Smit (9.38, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER) but the Mudcats got two in the eighth, one in the ninth, and held off a Smokies rally attempt off Phil Valiquette (save #3, 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5.06) to win it 10-9! Jerry Gil (W 2-1, 4.42, BS #2, 1.2 IP, 3 BB) got the win. Travis Webb pitched five strong (4.32, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Sappelt (4-for-5, 2 R, RBI, steals #3 and #4, .353) and 3B Jake Kahauleilo (2-for-6, 4 RBI, .303) led the offense. Four other Carolina starters collected two hits apiece.
5/15: Ace Matt Klinker fired seven shutout innings (W 3-3, 1.86, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 83 pitches/56 strikes) and the Mudcats took a 2-0 shutout win over Jacksonville (FLA). Joe Krebs retired six straight for save #1 (4.74). 1B Eric Eymann doubled three times in four trips, scoring one and driving one in (.289).
5/16: An infield hit by Sappelt combined with a throwing error on the play by the Sunsí Tim Torres scored the two winning runs for the Mudcats in the bottom of the ninth, 8-7! The Smokies had just scored the go-ahead runs off Jordan Smith (W 1-2, 6.48, 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) in the top of the ninth. After Kahauleilo doubled, LF Sean Henry bunted for a base hit and RF Denis Phipps was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, Eymann grounded into a 5-2-3 double play that seemed to snuff the rally. Up came Sappelt, out to second went the dribbler, and wild went the throw to win it for Carolina. Starter Daryl Thompson struck out seven in 4.2 innings (3.44, 3 H, 2 ER). Henry led the bats with three hits (.330), Thompson himself was 2-for-2 with two RBI, and the Mudcats collected a total of 14 safeties.
5/17: Rained out. The game with Jacksonville (FLA) will be made up on the 18th.
5/18: MAKEUP MADNESS! Crafty Tom Cochran started game one and pitched five solid innings (3.08, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K), departing with the game tied 2-2. Gil took over and pitched a scoreless sixth. The Mudcats got just three hits off Suns starter and ex-phenom Andrew Miller in five innings, although one was C Chris Denoveís run-scoring ground-rule double. Sean Danielson scored the other run off Miller (who walked five) on a wild pitch after drawing a free pass. Gil (3.98, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K) put the first two men on in the seventh, but got phenom Mike Stanton to fly into a double play (with Sappelt throwing out a runner trying to advance to third) and then Denove threw out the other runner trying to steal. On came Krebs for the eighth; he walked the leadoff man but then retired the next three (W 2-1, 4.50). Up stepped Sean Henry to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and THERE IT GOES! Homer #3 wins it in dramatic fashion for Carolina, 3-2. Henry finished 2-for-3 to raise his average to .339. Sappelt didnít make an out (.367, 2-for-2, R, BB, steal #5).
The nightcap was a tough loss, as Carolina rallied in the bottom of the seventh down 4-0 to score three runs and bring tying run Sean Danielson to the plate, but he flew out to end the game. Eymann was 2-for-3 with a RBI double and run scored (.298). Dallas Buck struggled (L 3-4, 5.59, 3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 65 pitches/38 strikes), although Jeremy Horst came on to strike out seven in relief (2.08, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB).
5/19: The Suns took advantage of Travis Webbís control problems to put a four-spot up in the fourth. This was all they needed, as they held off the Mudcats 4-3. Carolina had men in scoring position in the fifth, eighth, and ninth, but finished the night 1-for-7 with RISP. Webb fell to 1-2 (4.98, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 3 K). The bullpen did their job by turning in four scoreless innings.
Transactions and Notes: 5/15: LHR Jeremy Horst up from Lynchburg. LHR Lee Tabor placed on the DL (shoulder). 1B-3B Mike Costanzo signed as a free agent. Costanzo, 26, was originally a Phillies draft pick and prospect (2nd round, 2005) who was sent to Houston with Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary in the Brad Lidge deal in the fall of 2007 (heíd climbed onto the Philly Top 10 Prospects list, bashing 27 homers at Double-A Reading). He then headed to Baltimore a short time later in the Miguel Tejada deal. Since earning mention as an Arizona Fall League Rising Star in í07, heís struggled badly. He led the IL in strikeouts in 2008 with 159 while batting just .261/.333/.395. In í09 it was even worse, as he hit just .206 in AAA and then .201 after a demotion to AA. The Orioles released him before this seasonÖ and here he is. Hopefully he provides the Mudcats with a little power. 5/19: RHS Daryl Thompson back to the DL again, same reason as before.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 1-6.
Overall: 16-24, last place, nine behind Frederick (BAL).
5/13: Brad Boxberger, facing a possible promotion with continued progress, faced Wilmington (KC). Prospect Eric Hosmer doubled in a run off Boxberger in the first. Another run came home in the third, although CF Josh Fellhauer and SS Miguel Rojas combined on a relay to cut down a runner at home on Hosmerís double to prevent another. Lynchburg got a pair in the third on a two-run double from 1B Neftali Soto (.273, 1-for-3, 3 RBI)- heís cooled down a bit, but not slumping. The Blue Rocks grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth, although Boxberger kept them off the board in the fifth before yielding to righty Sean Watson (2.67, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Watson, freshly demoted after a gruesome start in AA, was victimized by 2B Jose Gualdronís throwing error that led to a tiebreaking Wilmington unearned run in the sixth. He followed that with a scoreless seventh (L 0-1, 0.00, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) but the Hillcats couldnít score again despite getting a runner to second base in each of the final three innings. Wilmington takes it, 4-3. Fellhauer continues to do fine work from the leadoff slot (2-for-3, .276, 2 R, BB, steal #3).
5/14: Four unearned runs off Mark Serrano in the third eventually led to a Winston-Salem (CHW) win, 6-3. Serrano (L 2-1, 3.58, 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) didnít have his best outing. Lance Janke pitched three scoreless in relief (5.19, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K) but the Hillcats couldnít score after the fifth. C Devin Mesoraco kept up the hot streak (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, .336) and RF Kyle Day hit homer #3. Fellhauer raised his average to .288 with three more hits
5/15: The Dash win again, 7-5, capitalizing on four more Hillcats errors. Unearned runs sunk Matt Fairel (L 3-1, 3.61, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) as well. Mesoraco did hit homer #8 and Rojas was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI (.204) as Lynchburg picked up 13 hits but stranded nine and went 2-for-10 with RISP.
5/16: Winston-Salem sweeps, 6-4. Scott Carroll pitched well (2.10, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) and the defense was better, but the bullpen collapsed (Bowman 0.2 IP, 3 ER, Hotchkiss 1.1 IP, 1 R). LF Byron Wiley, struggling since his promotion, did connect for his first High-A homer. Buchholz was 3-for-4 (.276, RBI). C Neftali Soto was 2-for-3 with a run scored and walk (.264).
5/17: Rained out.
5/18: Lynchburg split a MAKEUP MADNESS doubleheader, winning game one over Wilmington 5-1 behind Curtis Partch (W 2-3, 3.86, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and homers from Fellhauer (#4, 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Puckett (#4). They lost game two 5-4, falling short by one run in a sixth-inning three-run comeback and then going down in order in the last of the seventh. Brad Boxberger struggled a bit (L 3-3, 3.11, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). LF Kevyn Feiner (.474) and 1B Carlos Mendez (.313, steal #4) were each 2-for-3 with a RBI.
5/19: Hillcats back out there against the Blue Rocks, trying to reverse a skid thatís seen them lose five of their last six and nine of twelve. Mark Serrano has been up and down so far, with three quality starts and three where he didnít get past five innings. He did set down the first six Wilmington batters he faced. Lynchburg scratched a single run in the bottom of the second when Soto reached on an error, moved to third on Buchholzí single, then scored on Dayís double-play grounder. For some reason Serrano was pulled from the game after two innings and replaced with Daryl Harang; investigation pending. Wilmington promptly blasted Aaronís bro for four runs in the third. A solo homer in the fourth made it 5-1 Blue Rocks. Daryl managed to get a zero in the fifth, but Wimington tacked on three more in the sixth (L 0-1, 12.15, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). Lynchburg was held to seven hits- no player had more than one- and lost, 8-2.
Transactions and Notes: C Devin Mesoraco earned a spot on the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for May 14th, batting .440/.560/.800 (11-for-25) over the measured time period.
5/14: C Jordan Wideman promoted from Dayton. OF Justin Reed placed on the Billings roster. 5/15: LHR Jeremy Horst up to Carolina. LHR Daryl Harang activated from the DL.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 2-4.
Overall: 18-21, fifth place, 9.5 games behind Lake County (CLE).
5/13: Dayton scored two runs in the seventh to grab a 5-3 lead, then Doug Salinas managed to induce a game-ending popup with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and one run in to salvage a 5-4 Dragons victory over Great Lakes (LAD)! Salinas earned his second save and has a 1.37 ERA in 2010 (19.2 IP, 25 Ks). He was picked up from Tampa Bay in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft this past winter. Josh Ravin turned in a quality start (W 2-2, 2.52, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). LF Alexis Oliveras (.211, 2-for-3) hit homer #1 and 2B Henry Rodriguez #5.
5/14: Great Lakes got 11 Ks from their starter and hit three homers off the Dragonsí Justin Walker (L 1-4, 6.57, 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, two pickoffs) to win it, 5-1. Oliveras was a perfect 3-for-3 (.241, steal #2).
5/15: The Dragons and Loons fought long into the Michigan night, but Dayton burst into the lead, 3-2, when DH Mark Fleury singled in Didi Gregorius in the top of the 14th! Blair Carson then quickly retired the next two Loons after the leadoff man reached on a Gregorius error- but back-to-back doubles produced the decisive runs. Dayton loses a heartbreaker, 4-3. Carson still hasnít given up an earned run in 13.2 innings (L 0-1, 0.00, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB). Starter Jake Johnson pitched very well (5.40, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), Chase Ware turned in four scoreless (2.15, 2 H, 3 K) and Donnie Joseph struck out six of the seven he faced (0.96, 1 H). CF Andrew Means had three hits (.289) and RF Sean Conner, just activated, tripled in two runs in the sixth.
5/16: Dayton salvages one game from the series, 6-2. Pedro Villareal now has back-to-back wins (W 2-2, 3.46, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). RF Josh Garton drove in two with a double (.250) and 3B Frank Pfister was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.257).
5/18: Dayton lost a series opener to Lansing (TOR), 6-3. JC Sulbaran turned in a solid start (L 3-2, 4.65, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) but three Dragons errors, including one by JC himself on a pickoff throw and a key fielding miscue by Rodriguez in the third that led to a four-spot, helped trip him up. Pfister made up for an error of his own with three more hits (.276, RBI)
5/19: The Dragons couldnít get their bats going soon enough, falling behind 7-0 before they could dent the scoreboard. Josh Garton hit a two-run homer (#4, 2-for-4, .271) in the sixth, but it wasnít close to enough. The Lugnuts take another one, 9-3. Josh Ravin started and lost (L 2-3, 3.27, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Carson saw his no-earned-runs streak broken (0.56, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). Means added three hits (.301) but was stranded on base each time.
Transactions and Notes: 5/14: OF Sean Conner activated. C Jordan Wideman promoted to Lynchburg.
Fun article in the Dayton Daily News about the work Eric Davis has been doing with the Dragons.