AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 3-3.
Overall: 30-36, last place, 9.5 games behind Columbus (CLE).
6/10: The Bats scored seven times in the seventh to blast a 2-0 game wide open. They cruise past Syracuse (WAS), 9-1. Travis Wood didn’t need to be great, but he was (W 4-4, 3.77, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 108 pitches/70 strikes). Balanced attack from the hitters- five players with two hits apiece and six with a run batted in. C Wilkin Castillo hit his sixth homer (2-for-4, 2 R, .271). 1B Yonder Alonso busted out of his recent slump with a single, double, and walk in five trips (.221). Only SS Zach Cozart wasn’t able to contribute some way- he ended up 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and an error (.242).
6/11: A three-run rally over the final two innings isn’t enough, as Louisville gets the tying run to the plate in the ninth but no more. They fall, 5-3. Chad Reineke started and lost (L 2-5, 2.90, 6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Joe Krebs retired five straight to lower his Bats ERA to 0.90. RF Wladimir Balentien slugged his tenth homer in the eighth. Alonso had two more hits and another walk (.233). 2B Chris Valaika had a second straight multi-hit game (.317, 2B, R, RBI).
6/12: Aroldis Chapman is back on the horse. Sure, Pawtucket and former Red Ramon Ramirez beat Chapman and the Bats 1-0 in a game shortened by rain to five innings- but Chapman struck out nine in five innings while allowing just four hits (L 5-4, 4.22 1 ER, 2 BB, 83 pitches/51 strikes). The two walks came back-to-back in the fourth and the second one forced in a run- but Chapman bowed his neck and got through the jam. Anyway, that’s it for this one, unless you want me to wax rhapsodic about Alonso’s single (.237).
6/13: Lefty Ben Jukich made the spot start (his fourth of the year) with the Reds deciding against letting Homer Bailey do any more pitching while they figure out what’s giving him shoulder pain. Jukich is used to this, having started seventeen games and relieved in twelve in Louisville last year. Anyway, LF Drew Sutton and Cozart led off the first with back-to-back singles (make that 31 straight games Sutton has reached base). Alonso followed with a base hit to score Sutton. Balentien popped up, Frazier flied out, and Castillo popped up to end the inning. Pawtucket fielded a supremely weak lineup for this one, with no one over six homers or a .283 batting average. Jukich walked .185-hitting Gil Velazquez with one out but got out of it. He also issued a free pass to noted slugger Aaron Bates (batting .243) to start the second- but caught the next two hitters looking and flew out the third to extinguish the mortal threat. Sutton punched another single to start the Bats’ third. Cozart forced him at second. Alonso doubled down the left-field line, but Cozart had to stop at third. Balentien then lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Louisville. Jukich survived a leadoff double in the PawSox third by setting down the next three, then turned in a 1-2-3 fourth. Cozart doubled with two outs in the fifth but Alonso flied out to strand the runner. PawSox C Gustavo Molina- no relation to the Dominican Molina triplets- led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer to cut the Bat lead in half. A walk followed to the next man. One out later, a double put two in scoring position. This brought up Velazquez, and Rick Sweet opted to go for Carlos Fisher with Jukich at 84 pitches (3.72, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). Carlos struck Velazquez out, then grounded out the next guy to end the threat. Frazier and Castillo both singled with one out in the Bats sixth. Slumping CF Chris Burke managed a sacrifice fly to restore the two-run Louisville advantage. Valaika kept things going with a single, but Denove flew out after a nine-pitch battle to end the inning. Fisher walked a couple in the seventh, leading Sweet to call for Joe Krebs with two on and two out. He got a foul popup to end the Pawtucket threat. Fisher cut his ERA to 2.77 (1.1 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 K, BK). Former Reds draftee Robert Coello came on to pitch for Pawtucket in the seventh. He walked Sutton, but caught Cozart looking, got Alonso to pop up foul, and whiffed Balentien on three pitches. Krebs returned to pitch the seventh and retired the first two, but walked the third (0.82, 1 IP, 1 BB). On came Jared Burton, but he walked the first man he faced. Then he walked the next one (the eighth of the day by Louisville pitchers). Finally Bates grounded out to end the inning. On came Rehabbin’ Bill Bray for the bottom of the eighth. He looked good, retiring the side in order on nine pitches (only one was out of the strike zone). Closer Jon Adkins was up to his old tricks in the ninth, though, giving up a single, walk, and sacrifice bunt to put the tying runs in scoring position with one out. A line out to second prompted an intentional walk, leaving it to Bates for all the marbles. Adkins jumped out ahead 0-2 in the count, but Bates worked it to 2-2. SWING AND A MISS! Louisville wins it 3-1, Fisher gets the victory, and Adkins got save #8.
6/14: The Bats will hopefully get a shot in the arm from Juan Francisco’s return. The soon-to-be-23-year-old slugger last played on May 9th, heading to the DL for an emergency appendectomy on a 17-for-36 tear. His overall AAA line after a brutal start is .258/.293/.505 (that’d be a .115 April and a .531 May). Anyway, he lined out to second in his first at-bat. Matt Maloney got double play balls to snuff out possible PawSox rallies in each of the first two innings, then gave up two in the third after Louisville went ahead 1-0 on a Burke single (scoring Valaika). It’s the same weak Pawtucket lineup as the day before; Maloney doesn’t seem as sharp in this one. Sutton increased his on-base streak to 32 with a single in the fourth. The PawSox made it 4-1 in the fourth, but Louisville fired back with two in the fifth and three more in the sixth to grab the lead! Burke hit a two-run homer (#4) in the fifth and tripled in Denove in the sixth; he finished 3-for-5 with four RBI (.227), missing just a double for the cycle. Alonso’s two-run double capped the sixth’s rally (2-for-4, BB, .252, ten hits over his last five games). Maloney was lifted in favor of Jesus Delgado with two on and one out in the sixth; not one of his better outings (W 6-3, 3.27, 5.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 93 pitches/62 strikes), but a winning one thanks to his bullpen. Delgado quickly stranded both runners (3.06, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K), then Krebs (0.73, 1.1 IP, 1 H) and Adkins (6.56, save #9, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) managed to close out a 6-5 win. In addition to Burke and Alonso’s heroics, Denove ended up 3-for-4 with two runs scored (.378). He’s done a fantastic job since coming up from Carolina to take Corky Miller’s spot. Francisco finished 1-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.
6/15:Red Sox prospect Michael Bowden flung a three-hit shutout for 7.2 innings; Pawtucket with the 2-0 shutout. Travis Wood had a great outing (L 4-5, 3.56, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 103 pitches/69 strikes) but it went for naught. Bill Bray followed him with a scoreless eighth (1 H, 1 K).
Transactions and Notes: Todd Frazier merited an “in the team photo” for his 12-for-27 stretch. In the same BA Hot Sheet, Aroldis Chapman got a cherished spot on the Not So Hot sheet. 6/11: RHS Matt Klinker back down to Carolina, unfortunately. He deserved to stay. 6/13: LHR Bill Bray up from Lynchburg to continue rehab. 6/14: INF Juan Francisco activated from the DL after missing more than a month; C Jake Long released. 6/15: RHR Enerio Del Rosario optioned to Louisville from Cincinnati.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 4-2.
Overall: 29-36 last place, 11 back of Tennessee (CHC).
6/10: Huntsville (MIL) isn’t as good this year as they’ve been in the past couple, but they were good enough here to bust Travis Webb (L 2-4, 4.97, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 95 pitches/59 strikes) for four runs in the first inning- a lead they never reliquinshed. Stars take it, 5-3. 3B Mike Costanzo hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first (#3). That was one of only four Mudcats hits.
6/11: Huntsville wins again, 2-1. Carolina is held to six hits this time. Matt Klinker, resuming his role of Mudcat ace, pitched well enough to win (L 4-4, 1.73, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 91 pitches/60 strikes). RF Denis Phipps tripled in LF Brandon Yarbrough for the sole Carolina run. C Devin Mesoraco was 0-for-4, dropping his AA line to .158/.214/.368 in twelve games.
6/12: Devin Mesoraco slammed a game-winning solo homer (#3) in the bottom of the 11th as Carolina took one from Huntsville, 6-5. Mesoraco finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored (.209) in his best Southern League game to date. CF Dave Sappelt added three hits (.350, 2 R, 3B, RBI). Scott Carroll lasted six innings (1.82, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 74 pitches/48 strikes). Excellent Mudcat bullpen work- no runs after the sixth for the Stars, thanks to Lee Tabor (3.45, 1 IP, 1 K), Phil Valiquette (4.13, 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K), Jordan Smith (5.08, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K) and Jeremy Horst (W 2-2, 2.41, 1 IP, 1 H).
6/13: Lefty Tom Cochran’s turn. He blitzed through the first, then escaped the second on a nifty 3-2-3 double play with the bases loaded. The first two Stars reached in the third, but Cochran craftied back to get a strikeout and a DP grounder to end that. RF Denis Phipps led off the the Carolina third with a single. C Chris McMurray followed with a walk. Negron singled to load the bases. Light-hitting 3B Jose Castro followed with a RBI single on an 0-2 count! Sappelt then stroked a two-run single to put the Mudcats on top 3-0. An out later, Kahauleilo singled to drive in another run- a pair of errors by Huntsville’s Lorenzo Cain allowed Sappelt to score from first and Carolina led 5-0! Cochran cruised through the fourth with just a walk against and the fifth and sixth with nothing across. Finally Huntsville got a double and single to put men on the corners with one out in the seventh. A single broke the shutout, prompting manager Pat Kelly to call for Daryl Harang. He quickly got first-rounder Brett Lawrie to ground into a double play to end the inning. Cochran pitched well (W 3-2, 2.62, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 97 pitches/61 strikes). Harang struggled with his control in the eighth, though, walking the bases full with two outs. Jerry Gil came on to strike out a batter and leave the bases loaded! He then stayed in for the ninth and whiffed the first two men in that inning, too. A Lawrie single broke that up, but Gil struck out Cain to end the game in impressive fashion (save #1, 4.81, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 4 K).
6/14: Daytime action in scenic Zebulon. Lefty Matt Fairel bounced back nicely from a nightmarish sophomore start in Double-A (5 IP, 10 H, 9 ER, 5 HR on 6/4) to throw 5.1 innings of solid ball (W 1-2, 6.75, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 90 pitches/58 strikes) in Carolina’s 6-3 victory. Lee Tabor (3.12, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K) and Ruben Medina (save #1, 3.53, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) were excellent out of the pen. Costanzo slugged a three-run homer (#4). Mesoraco hit a two-run shot (also #4) and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.234).
6/16: The Mudcats scored a single run in each of the last four innings, tying the game at 3 in the eighth and then winning it in the bottom of the ninth, 4-3, when Sean Henry’s single scored Jake Kahauleilo with the decisive run. Phil Valiquette, in what would turn out to be his last Southern League appearance for the time being, got the win (2-0, 3.99, 1 IP, 1 H). Ace starter Matt Klinker kept on rolling (1.82, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2 HB, 101 pitches/66 strikes). Henry finished 3-for-4 (.306) and 1B Eric Eymann was 3-for-4 with a solo homer (#5, .264).
Transactions and Notes: 6/11 RHS Matt Klinker down from Louisville. No corresponding move made; he’s taking the retired Alex Smit’s spot. 6/15: RHR Jordan Smith, in a surprise, was called up to Cincinnati. Immediate corresponding move not made.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 2-3.
Overall: 27-38, last place, 11 behind Frederick (BAL).
6/10: Potomac (WAS) got a home run from phenom C prospect Derek Norris in their 3-0 shutout of the Hillcats. Again Mark Serrano turned in a quality start but got no run support (L 2-4, 3.62, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). Bill Bray’s third rehab outing went well (1 IP, 1 H, 3 K). RF Cody Puckett had a double and triple (.276).
6/11: Turnabout is fair play. Lynchburg got thirteen hits but only three runs- although it’s three more than James Avery (W 2-1, 2.96, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K) and three relievers allowed the Nationals. Justin Freeman worked 1.1 and struck out three (4.61, 2 H), Bray got two of three hitters out (0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) and Donnie Joseph handled the ninth for save #2 (1.93, 1 BB, 2 K). 3B Carlos Mendez poked three singles (.296, RBI). Every single player in the Hillcat starting lineup got at least one hit.
6/12: I’m curious as to why the Reds are choosing to rehab their big-leaguers at Lynchburg; I guess it’s a shorter drive than Carolina? Anyway, Edinson Volquez made his first appearance of 2010 against Potomac. He ended up pitching three strong innings, allowing two hits to the first two men he faced- then nothing afterwards (3 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K). Jordan Hotchkiss followed and dominated the Nats (W 4-0, 1.57, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K) as Lynchburg cruised to a 6-0 win. 1B Neftali Soto slugged a two-run homer (#9) and RBI double (.261) and 2B Alex Buchholz was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, and RBI (.279).
6/13:Curt Partch’s control got the better of him early on in this one, as he walked three Nats and uncorked a wild pitch in the first inning- leading them to a run without benefit of a hit. Luckily for Partch, Puckett tied the score in the bottom of the inning with his eighth home run. He settled down and pitched a scoreless second and third without any more walks (or any hits). Potomac broke through in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Partch threw a scoreless fifth (L 2-5, 3.81, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), then yielded to Drew Bowman still trailing by a run. Bowman couldn’t get anyone out and was pulled in favor of Jeff Jeffords with the bases loaded and nobody out. Jeffords got out of the inning with only one scoring, not bad (5.73, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K). 3-1 Potomac after six. Sean Watson got through the eighth with three strikeouts despite a couple of baserunners. Donnie Joseph blitzed through the ninth without incident (1 IP, 2 K). Puckett was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth. He went to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball as Jose Gualdron struck out. Mendez singled to make it 3-2. Another wild pitch put Carlos in scoring position. Buchholz lined a hit to center, but Mendez was held at third. On came a new pitcher… and he struck out Neftali Soto and got Efrain Contreras to line out to center to end the game. Lynchburg falls just short, 3-2. Puckett finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored (.284) and Gualdron collected two more hits to raise his average to .325.
6/15: Kinston (CLE) wins a tight 2-1 decision over Lynchburg. Brad Boxberger pitched decently (L 4-6, 3.25, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) and he got great bullpen work to back him up from Nick Christiani (1.13, 2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Justin Freeman (4.30, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Only C Kevin Coddington managed multiple hits (2-for-4, .260).
6/16: Rained out, to be made up 6/17.
Transactions and Notes: RHS Brad Boxberger was the only Hillcat named to the Carolina League All-Star team (Devin Mesoraco would have been a lock, but he got promoted). 6/11: C Kevin Coddington made temporarily inactive; OF Justin Reed added from Billings (his suspension’s up). 6/13: LHR Bill Bray off to Louisville for more rehab. 6/15: Coddington reactivated.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 4-2.
Overall: 28-37, seventh place, 15 games behind Lake County (CLE).
6/10: Dayton outhit Beloit (MIN) eleven to six, but the Hammerheads got a 3-1 lead in the sixth and hung on, 4-3. 2B Henry Rodriguez was called out on strikes to end the game with the tying run in RF Cam Satterwhite on third. Satterwhite finished 4-for-5 with two RBI (.358). 3B Frank Pfister added three hits (.272, R, steal #2). Justin Walker pitched five shutout innings but fell apart in the sixth (L 1-8, 5.32, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR).
6/11: Rained out.
6/12: MAKEUP MADNESS IN WISCONSIN! The Timber Rattlers (MIL) get skinned in two straight, 10-0 and 3-2. Game one saw the Dayton bats pile up twelve hits and score in five of their seven innings, led by the torrid Cam Satterwhite (.373, 3-for-5, 2 R, homer #1, 1-for-3 with steal #3 in game two). Pfister hit homer #3 and added a double and run scored. SS Didi Gregorius also hit homer #3 (.282, 2-for-4, 2 R in game one, 2-for-4 in game two). Jake Johnson went five for the win (3-4, 4.64, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K). DH Chris Richburg provided all three Dayton runs in the nightcap with a three-run homer (#8) off 2009 supplemental first-round pick Kyle Heckathorn. Tim Crabbe went five strong for the win (1-0, 1.98, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and Junior Martinez survived a comeback attempt for the save (#1, 4.32, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). CF Ryan LaMarre, this year’s second-round draft pick out of Michigan, made his professional debut and finished 0-for-4 with a run scored.
6/13: The Dayton bats remained hot early on in this one, with the Dragons getting seven hits over the first three innings (two each by Richburg and 2B Shane Carlson) and leading 3-0. This doubled to 6-0 when Gregorius slugged a three-run homer in the fourth, his fourth. Wisconsin did break through on Pedro Villareal with three in the fifth (3.59, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), making it 7-3 Dragons. Mike Konstanty could retire only one of the four batters he faced, leaving a bases-loaded, one-out jam for lefty Ezequiel Infante. Two of those runners scored, thus cutting the Dragons lead to 7-5. Blair Carson came on in the seventh after the first batter reached against Infante. He got two outs, but walked a man and then served up a game-tying double! The TRs brought on righty Jeremy Jeffress, the flame-throwing, frequently-suspended #1 draft pick from a few years ago. He had no problem with Dayton in the eighth. Carson managed the same on Wisconsin (W 1-2, BS #2, 1.69, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). In the top of the ninth, Satterwhite gave the Dragons the lead back by slamming his second home run of the year! It fell to Chase Ware to close things out. He did so, striking out a couple in the process (save #5) and Dayton escapes despite blowing a seven-run advantage. Richburg finished 3-for-4 with two doubles (.258) and five other Dragons had two hits apiece. LaMarre got his first pro hit- and showed off his great speed by stealing no less than three bases.
6/15ayton survived a four-run eighth-inning rally from Fort Wayne (SD) to win it, 9-8. Chase Ware managed to get save #6 with 1.2 innings of one-run ball (1.53, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Ricky Bowen lasted five for the win (W 1-0, 4.24, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). Jason Braun (1 IP, 2 ER) and Junior Martinez (5.13, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 BB) struggled. Frank Pfister led the Dragons’ offensive attack, going 4-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored (.294).
6/16: Again the bullpen struggles, with Blair Carson- who’s pitched quite well out of the ‘pen for the Dragons to date- giving up a tiebreaking eighth-inning run as the Wizards take it, 5-4. Carson fell to 1-3 (1.91, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB). JC Sulbaran pitched five innings in relief (4.99, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 2 HR) of Josh Ravin (4.79, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 K). Rodriguez drove in two runs and C Chase Weems was 2-for-4 with a double and two scored (.206). LaMarre, batting .083 coming in to this one, managed to go 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an outfield assist at third base.
Transactions and Notes: 6/10: OF Andrew Means placed on the DL with a broken finger. 6/12: OF Ryan LaMarre activated.
2B Henry Rodriguez was named to the starting lineup for the MWL All-Star Game. He was the only Dragon picked. The game is June 22nd.