Only three or four more of these babies for 2010! I'm thinking I'll do overall team summaries as well once the season ends.
Overall: The Bats have now won seventeen of eighteen games, moving from nine games out to a half-game out in just two weeks’ time. Stunning. Carolina dropped five out of seven, falling from four games out in third to nine games out in fourth. Lynchburg played decently, taking five of eight, but their position in the standings didn’t budge. Dayton… won a game. One. Billings struggled with the bat, dropping four of five. The AZL Reds had another strong week, taking five of seven to move two over .500.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 7-0.
Overall: 67-51, second place, 0.5 behind Columbus (CLE). The Clippers went 1-6 and the Bats gained six games in seven days!
8/5: Thanks to Rehabbin’ Homer Bailey (W 2-0, 2.50, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 102 pitches/66 strikes), Louisville comes right back after seeing its eleven-game win streak snapped- they shut out Norfolk (BAL) 6-0. Four Bats hitters collected two hits, including LF Todd Frazier (homer #15, 2B, BB, .245, 14-for-40 over his last ten with eleven RBI), 1B Yonder Alonso (.291), RF Wladimir Balentien (.252), and C Corky Miller (.287). Carlos Fisher pitched the eighth (1.74, 1 H, 2 K) and Phil Valiquette the ninth (4.19, 2 H, 1 K).
8/6: Micah Owings makes a third start; he was stretched to 70 pitches last time, so he would have been set for 80-90 this time. That didn’t happen for some reason, as Rick Sweet called for Jason Isringhausen after Owings worked three innings in 55 pitches (2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K). Izzy turned in a scoreless fourth (2 BB, 1 K). The Bats built an 8-0 lead after four with help from SS Zach Cozart’s three-run homer (#16), 2B Chris Valaika’s fourth, and two RBI from the streaking Frazier (.248, 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, steal #7). But the Tides rolled Danny Herrera for five of their six seventh-inning runs (5.48, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER)- Jared Burton finally put out the fire after allowing all three of Danny’s inherited runners to score (2.62, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER). But Aroldis Chapman came on for the ninth and, after hitting the first batter he faced, blazed through the next three for save #3 (3.75, K). Isringhausen recorded his first Reds’ organizational victory. Balentien was 3-for-5 (.258, 2B, RBI). DH Chris Denove was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk (.277).
8/7: Chad Reineke returned to the rotation with six shutout innings (W 8-7, 3.38, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches/48 strikes) as Louisville made it fourteen of fifteen, 5-2 over Norfolk. Frazier is still raking (.251, 2-for-3, 2B, R, BB, RBI, steal #8). Alonso was 2-for-4 with a run scored, raising his average to .294.
8/8: Norfolk got two off Sam Lecure (W 7-2, 3.15, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 101 pitches/60 strikes) early, but the Bats blew things open with a five-spot in the fourth. They led 8-3 going to the eighth- but the Tides got to Jared Burton for a run in the eighth before Chapman rolled in to strike out a man and leave the bases loaded. But Chapman himself started trouble in the ninth when he committed a throwing error to start things. A strikeout later, a double made it 8-5. A two-run homer cut that to 8-7 before Aroldis struck out a man and grounded out the next to end the game (save #4, 3.90, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Miller was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of doubles, while Alonso (.297, 2-for-4, 2 R, BB) and Frazier (.253, 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B) continued their hot hitting. Cozart also added two hits and two RBI (.262).
8/9: I wonder if Matt Maloney- who has had plenty of success at the AAA level and little left to prove in the minors- is taking his foot off the gas. Now, Toledo (DET) always has a fairly decent veteran lineup, but I can’t help but wonder. Anyway, Maloney actually got the win anyway, 6-5, despite a three-run Mud Hens first and five generally unimpressive innings (W 10-5, 3.54, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 2 HB, 100 pitches/68 strikes). Phil Valiquette thought about giving up his 6-4 lead in the seventh after a scoreless sixth (4.76, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP) but Jason Isringhausen came on to strand the tying run with a strikeout to end the Toledo seventh. Enerio Del Rosario pitched the eighth and Danny Herrera the ninth (save #4) to wrap it up. RF Danny Dorn had a nice night, smacking homer #10, driving in three, and picking up three walks (.293). Alonso kept it going with a pair of doubles (.299, R, RBI, BB) and Cozart had a pair of hits as well as three stolen bases (28, .264). Frazier also had two steals (10) as well as a single and two walks (.254).
8/10: The Bats make it a crazy sixteen of seventeen as they pull out a seesaw 9-8 win over the Mud Hens following a Balentien two-run double in the top of the ninth. Wladimir finished 3-for-5 with two doubles five RBI (.264). Castillo also had a pair of two-baggers (.265, 2 R). Alonso had two more hits and two more runs scored (.301). Lefty Ben Jukich started off well but got nailed for five runs in the fourth (4.59, 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Rehabbin’ Homer Bailey pitched a quick scoreless sixth (1 BB, 16 pitches/8 strikes). Del Rosario got the win with two innings (4-3, 2.91, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB) and Aroldis Chapman set down three straight for save #5 (3.86, 2 K).
8/11: The Bats win yet another one-run matchup, as Danny Dorn doubled home Todd Frazier with two out in the top of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie. Chapman then came on to strand the tying Mud Hens run at third in the eighth, then leave two more runners to die in the ninth (save #6, 3.79, 1.2 IP, 2 BB, 3 K). Danny Herrera was charged with a blown save for allowing a sixth-inning hit that tied the score at 3 (run charged to Jason Isringhausen), but he ended up with the win (2-1, 4.56, BS #2, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 K). Starter Micah Owings lasted 4.1 innings and 73 pitches (2.35, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Frazier raised his August slash line to a ludicrous .459/.574/.730 with three hits and two RBI (.259/.327/.453 overall). Balentien (.266), Valaika (.298) and Cozart (.266, RBI, steal #29) each added a 2-for-4. This win also put Louisville within a half-game of first-place Columbus!
Transactions and notes: 8/6: UT Drew Sutton claimed on waivers by Cleveland (he went to AAA Columbus) as the Reds cleared a 40-man spot for Chris Dickerson. This means the Bats will get to play against Sutton on multiple occasions in the IL stretch drive. 8/7: RHR Carlos Fisher called up to Cincinnati. 8/9: OF Chris Dickerson traded to Milwaukee, although his roster spot was a “rehab” one so it doesn’t count against the Bats’ limit. INF Eric Eymann up from Carolina. LHS Travis Wood down from Cincinnati for one start. 8/10: RHR Jared Burton back to the DL with a left oblique strain.
1B Yonder Alonso earned a second spot on the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for 8/6- he was 11-for-23 with six walks, five runs, five doubles, a triple, a home run, and six RBI in the week preceding. BA also pronounced him to have the speed of a “dial-up modem” while pointing out that he had eleven stolen bases. If you’re 11-for-13 in steals, does it really matter if you run a 4.5 or a 44.5 forty?
Q&A with RHR Jared Burton- published the day before he went back on the disabled list (likely taking him out of the running for an August callup).
Baltimore optioned C Craig Tatum back to AAA. The Cubs sent RHR Jeff Stevens back to AAA for seriously like the sixth time in 2010. The Dodgers signed INF Juan Castro after the Phillies released him. The Pirates signed RHP Travis “Groundhog Day” Chick (named as such because he spent like 23 seasons in Double-A) out of the independent Atlantic League. The Padres also reached into the Atlantic League- for OF Wily Mo Pena! (And he’s killed the ball in his first few weeks, too. Could he be back in the big leagues again this year?) INF Pedro Lopez, now in the Nationals organization, was suspended for 50 games for failing a drug test.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 2-5.
Overall: 21-25 (second half). Fourth place, nine games behind Tennessee (CHC). The Smokies were 7-0 this week, so they picked up five games on their lead.
8/5: Huntsville (MIL) makes it three of four over the Mudcats, 5-3 in thirteen innings. Carolina got two in the top of the ninth to tie, then one in the 12th- but the Stars matched that and got a two-run game-winning homer in the 13th off the struggling Lee Tabor (L 3-1, 4.43, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) to put it away. Huntsville’s starter pitched six no-hit innings before CF Dave Sappelt led off the seventh with a double. RF Luis Terrero hit the game-tying two-run homer in the ninth (#2). Carolina got four hits over thirteen innings. Scott Carroll started (2.96, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 86 pitches/53 strikes).
8/6: C Devin Mesoraco’s three-run homer in the seventh gave Carolina a 5-4 lead, but after Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of Tom Cochran (3.03, 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 98 pitches/67 strikes), the Stars rallied for two in the bottom of the ninth to pin the supplemental first-rounder with a 6-5 loss (L 1-2, 9.68, BS #2, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Not sure why David Bell didn’t go to the bullpen when Boxberger put the first two batters in the inning on base. Sappelt also homered (#9) and added a double (.354).
8/7: Carolina got another Mesoraco homer (#12, 2-for-4, .283) in the first inning, accounting for two of the four runs they plated in that frame- plus a 4-for-4 day from Sappelt (.362, R, 2B, 2 RBI) . They spanked Chattanooga (LAD) 7-2. Travis Webb walked six but notched the win nevertheless (W 6-7, 4.91, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 91 pitches/51 strikes).
8/8: Mike Costanzo’s two-run tenth-inning homer (#9, 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, steal #5, .281) won it 8-6 for the Mudcats and Jeremy Horst (W 3-2, 2.09, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). James Avery didn’t pitch well (6.97, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) but his relievers permitted just one run over the game’s final 5.2 innings. SS Kris Negron didn’t make an out, going 3-for-3 with two walks from the leadoff slot (.260). Carolina hung on by turning three double plays and by RF Sean Henry’s three outfield assists- one at third in the first inning, one at second in the sixth, and one at home in the eighth. Henry’s groundout-followed by Brandon Yarbrough’s single- got the tying runs home in the bottom of the eighth to make extras possible. Jerry Gil also wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the ninth (4.64, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Horst then had to do the same in the top of the tenth.
Also, with a couple of hits in this game, CF Dave Sappelt has the longest consecutive on-base streak in the Southern League this season at 33 games. He’s hitting .407 with a .486 OBP during the streak- and leads the SL in batting at .362.
8/9: It’s been a struggle lately for Matt Klinker (13 R in 9 IP over his last two starts) and it looked like he was taking an early shower in this one, too. Chattanooga got four runs in the first two innings, but Klinker managed to turn it around and hold them to just one more over the next five (L 5-6, 2.75, 7 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 104 pitches/71 strikes). Carolina mounted a gradual comeback but couldn’t get much going off the Lookouts bullpen and ended up one run short, 5-4. Four Mudcat errors didn’t help, with LF Brandon Yarbrough making two on back-to-back first-inning plays. Mesoraco drew three walks to go with a first-inning double (.284, 2 R), Sappelt kept his streak going (2-for-5, .362) and 2B Jake Kahauleilo picked up two hits and two RBI (.250). Brad Boxberger ripped through two innings of relief on just 21 pitches, striking out four and permitting nothing (8.69). Good to see him succeeding after a long adjustment period following his promotion.
8/10: Both Chattanooga’s Chris Withrow and Carolina’s Scott Carroll take tremendous beatings, as Withrow gave up eleven hits and nine earned runs in 4.1 innings and Carroll nine hits and ten earned runs in three (3.82, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). To make matters worse for Carroll, he gave up a grand slam- to Withrow. Anyway, Carolina fought back from 4-3 and 10-5 deficits, but fell ultimately short, 12-10. Three Mudcats had three hits apiece- Mesoraco (homer #13, 2 RBI, 2 R, .293), Negron (2B, 2 R, RBI, .263) and Henry (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .293). Costanzo also homered (#10). Joe Krebs struck out five in two scoreless innings of relief (3.47) and Ruben Medina also kept the Lookouts off the scoreboard (2.76, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) but Jerry Gil and Carlos Mendez (pitching for some unknown reason in a one-run game) both gave up single runs.
8/11: The Lookouts go from dropping the first two games of the series to an overall win, taking this one 5-2 in ten innings as they took the previous two. Brad Boxberger fell apart in relief again, giving up the three decisive runs in the top of the tenth (L 1-3, 9.58, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 36 pitches in one inning). Starter Tom Cochran held Chattanooga to just four hits in seven innings (2.93, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 93 pitches/58 strikes). Perez drove in both Mudcat runs with a double and Negron, Mendez, and Henry each had two hits. Dave Sappelt didn’t start, but he did come in mid-game- and he picked up a single in two at-bats to run his on-base streak to 36 games.
Transactions and notes: 8/9: INF Eric Eymann to Louisville; OF Felix Perez activated from the DL.
The same BA notes column condemning effective basestealer Yonder Alonso’s speed also pointed out that C Devin Mesoraco’s .275/.344/.563 line in Double-A through 8/9 was the second-best among catchers in all of Double-A for 2010 (they said “third”, they meant “second”). It’s also sixth-best in the entirety of AA ball. Very nice for a guy who many had written off offensively (meaning batting, not in an inflammatory way) at the beginning of the year.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 5-3
Overall: 19-25, last place, six out.
8/5: Curtis Partch had what might have been his best start of 2010, allowing just one run over seven innings (W 5-8, 5.21, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K) as Lynchburg rallied for all of its runs in the final three innings to beat Kinston (CLE), 5-1. Justin Freeman pitched the eighth (2.96, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) and Donnie Joseph the ninth (2.54, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K). 2B Cody Puckett was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI (.274). RF Denis Phipps crashed his sixth homer, a two-run blast in the eighth (#6, .380).
8/6: Jordan Hotchkiss buzzsawed the Indians on four hits and a run through seven (W 8-4, 2.39, 0 BB, 8 K) and Phipps homered again (#7) to snap a 1-1 tie. Lynchburg then got another scoreless eighth from Freeman (2.91, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) and ninth from Joseph (save #12, 2.45, 1 IP, 1 K). DH Chris Richburg ran his High-A average to .362 with a pair of hits and a run batted in.
8/7: Kinston beat on Chase Ware (L 1-3, 4.05, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and Drew Bowman (5.30, 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB) early and often, building a 7-0 lead and winning 9-2. Richburg’s two-run homer (#4) accounted for the only Lynchburg runs. 1B Neftali Soto didn’t make an out, going 2-for-2 with two walks (.252).
8/8: DH Kyle Day slugged a first-inning grand-slam homer (#6, 2-for-4, 2 R, .275) off wild Indians starter Joseph Mahalic (8 BB in 3.2 IP) to give the Hillcats an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish. Justin Walker threw five scoreless innings to get the W in an 8-3 win (1-0, 0.00, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K). Daniel Guerrero allowed three runs in three innings (3.66), but Nick Christiani got the final three outs in a non-save situation (3.86, 2 K). Puckett was just 1-for-2 officially, but drew three walks, scored a run, and stole base #16 (.270).
8/9: Potomac (WAS) and the Hillcats first completed a suspended game from 8/4 where the Nationals led 8-2 after two innings (they mauled Justin Walker in his first High-A start, although he came back to get a win in his second start as noted above). Lynchburg made a game of it from the pickup, though, chipping away at the six-run deficit gradually. They got their seventh run in the ninth inning on a Puckett groundout, clearing the bases with two outs. Soto lined a single, but Denis Phipps flew out to end the game. Great relief work from Jeff Jeffords (4.03, 3.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K), Ezequiel Infante (0.00, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K) and Drew Bowman (4.88, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Aside from Puckett’s pre-suspension homer (#12), LF Josh Fellhauer picked up #6 (.253, 2-for-4, 2 R) and Day had a pair of doubles.
Lynchburg then defeated the Nationals 5-2 in the day’s regularly-scheduled game. 22-year-old righty Blair Carson pitched well in his Carolina League debut (W 1-0, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), getting scoreless innings from Freeman (2.85, 1 K) and Joseph (save #13, 2.37, 1 K). Phipps hit a two-run homer (#8) and a double and C Jordan Wideman was 3-for-3 with a double and RBI (.217). Soto added a 2-for-4 (.253).
From Jamie Ramsey at Better off Red: Freeman (Lynchburg) over his last 19 appearances has allowed just 1 run in 22.1 innings (2bb, 20k, .179oba)...on the season, he's 1-2-7 with a 2.85 ERA in a Carolina League-leading 44 games (53.ip, 18r/17er, 7bb, 50k, .235oba).
8/10: Lynchburg got two in the first of this daytime contest on Day’s two-run double, but Potomac tied the score in the fourth off Curtis Partch (5.08, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) and then whooped Pedro Villareal in his High-A debut (L, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) to take it, 5-2. 3B Jose Gualdron did manage a 2-for-4 (.284).
8/11: Hillcats ace Jordan Hotchkiss did his job well, blanking the Nats for 5.2 innings (W 9-4, 2.26, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K) as Lynchburg won 4-1. Justin Freeman gave up the one run in his two innings of work (let in by Donnie Joseph, who did still get save #14). Soto slammed homer #17 as well as a double (.255) and Richburg (.348, RBI), Day (.285, RBI) and C Kevin Coddington (.253) all had two hits apiece.
Transactions and notes: 8/4 (missed previously): RHS Lance Janke placed on the 7-day DL. 8/7: RHP Blair Carson (3-5, 3.80 in MWL) promoted from Dayton. 8/9: RHR Pedro Villareal (4-7, 3.84 in MWL) promoted from Dayton.
Neftali Soto unfortunately made the 8/6 BA Prospect Hot Sheet’s “not so hot” portion- quoting: “Soto's return to high Class A was supposed to give him a chance to regain his confidence after a rough 2009 season. And he was working on catching as well, which would add to his prospect value. Soto hasn't picked up a catcher's mitt since June 1, and he hasn't played third base since before that. As a first baseman, Soto will depend more on his bat, which means this is a bad time for a slump. Soto hasn't posted a .300 on-base percentage since May, and he's 1-for-18 (.056) in the past week for high Class A Lynchburg.”
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 1-6.
Overall: 10-34, last place.
8/5: It didn’t improve in this one, as Lake County (CLE) made it three in a row with an easy 6-1 triumph. Ricky Bowen served up three homers in four innings (L 2-6, 6.13, 4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K). Lefty Blaine Howell made his MWL debut and allowed a run in one inning with two walks and two strikeouts. Pedro Villareal pitched three scoreless in the middle (3.84, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K) but Dayton got just four hits overall. CF Ryan LaMarre singled in 1B Jonathan Kaskow in the third for the lone Dragons run.
8/6: The Dragons actually get good pitching and good (well, good enough) hitting in the same game, as Jake Johnson pitched six scoreless innings (W 6-6, 4.08, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and 3B Frank Pfister knocked in two runs in the second with a single. Dayton beats LC, 3-0. The Dragons made the most of their four hits. Doug Salinas came on in the seventh to leave the bases loaded, then finished up for save #4 (2.76, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 6 K).
8/7: West Michigan (DET) scored early off Clayton Shunick (3.18, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) but Dayton picked up two in the sixth on 1B Tommy Nurre’s single to tie the game at 3. Junior Martinez came on in the sixth to strand two of Shunick’s runners. 2B Henry Rodriguez (.292, 2-for-2, 3 BB, steal #23) knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh as Blaine Howell came on to retire six straight through the seventh and eighth. But the Whitecaps got a pair of unearned runs off the lefthander in the ninth as he went for the long save- they grabbed a 5-4 lead after RF Josh Garton’s error, a walk, and a double. But the least-walking team in organized baseball picked up three free passes in the bottom of the ninth in addition to LaMarre’s RBI single! Kevin Arico came on for the tenth and managed a scoreless inning, striking out two. (Previous to this appearance, Arico had permitted 25 hits and struck out only six in 17.2 innings.) But the Whitecaps got to him for a run in the top of the eleventh, taking a 6-5 lead (L 0-3, 4.72). Tzu-Kai Chiu finished up the inning, but the Dragons faced yet another last-ditch comeback attempt. The first two Dayton batters made outs, but Chase Weems walked. LaMarre singled (he finished 3-for-5 with two RBI, raising his average to .284) and Cam Satterwhite walked to load the bases! But Nurre went down swinging to end the game.
8/8: Where do I start? I guess the Dragons get kudos for making a game out of a nine-run Whitecaps first inning (Tim Crabbe: L 2-4, 4.29, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K); they got as close as 12-10 in the fourth. But WM piled on nine more runs to get to three touchdowns, beating Dayton 21-10. Five Dragons errors didn’t help five Dragons pitchers, each of whom gave up at least two runs. 3B Frank Pfister gave up two unearned runs in the ninth. CF Andrew Means, back from the DL a second time, did hit homer #2 and go 3-for-6 with a double and steal #20 (.264). SS Didi Gregorius also had three hits and two runs scored (.273). LaMarre had three hits and three RBI (.293) and Cam Satterwhite the same (.275).
8/9:Three in a row for the Whitecaps; they wiped out an early 2-0 Dragons lead and cruised, 8-3. Righty Daniel Corcino pitched excellently in his MWL debut, working a career-high six innings (!?- 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). But WM got to Junior Martinez (L 1-3, 4.98, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) who, like Jerry Gil above him at Carolina, will continue to struggle with consistency without better control (42 BB in 47 IP). Kevin Arico gave up three more runs in the ninth (5.85). 2B Kevyn Feiner did have a double and triple (.160, RBI) and Rodriguez can’t be stopped (2-for-4, steal #24, .291).
It was pointed out that the 10-32 Dragons are 9-12 on the road… and 1-20 at home. Could *that* be what eventually breaks the incredible sellout streak at Fifth Third Field?
8/10: Make it a sweep- 9-2. No comment.
8/11: This one stung. Jake Johnson had his best pitching performance of the year (3.86, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K) but the first fifteen Dragons were retired by Lansing (TOR)’s Drew Hutchison, making his MWL debut. The Lugnuts got to Junior Martinez in the seventh for two runs (5.04, 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Dayton battled back, scratching single runs in the seventh and eighth off the Lansing bullpen. But the Dragons missed an opportunity with two runners on in the tenth and the Lugnuts capitalized, whacking Jamie Walczak (L 0-3, 6.39, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER) for three in the top of the eleventh to win it, 5-2. LF Josh Garton was 2-for-4 with a double (.241).
Transactions and notes: 8/6: OF Andrew Means activated from the DL. 1B Jonathan Kaskow (struggling badly; he was 3-for-38 with one walk and fourteen strikeouts for Dayton) sent back to Billings. LHR Luca Panerati sent to Billings. 8/7: RHP Blair Carson up to Lynchburg. RHS Daniel Corcino up from Billings. 8/9: RHR Pedro Villareal up to Lynchburg. 8/11: RHR Ryan Smith up from Billings.
Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs
Record this week: 1-4.
Overall: 4-6 for the second half, 2.5 games out.
8/5: Billings makes it two straight games where they collect just one hit- but this time Helena (MIL) does much better against the Mustangs pitchers and wins 5-0. Sterling Gerson (L 2-3, 4.60, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Mike Henry, just up from the AZL, walked five in two innings but did not allow a hit or run. 2B Billy Hamilton got the only Billings hit, a single in the third inning. He promptly stole base #25 directly afterwards. He got #26 after walking later in the game, too.
8/6: Billings built a 4-0 lead early- three on Hamilton’s very first professional home run- although Missoula (ARI) did get to Tyler Cline for two in the sixth to cut that in half (W 2-1, 2.17, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). Drew Hayes came on to strike a man out and strand two runners. He then pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth as well (0.00 in nine total innings, 2.1 IP, 4 K). Dan Wolford finished up. Billings expanded its lead to 6-2 with sixth-inning RBI hits from CF Dayne Read and SS Devin Lohman, then piled on a couple more and won it 8-2. 3B Danny Hernandez was 3-for-5 with two doubles (.263). C Tucker Barnhart was 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.314).
8/7: Missoula got three unearned.runs in the third off Tanner Robles with the help of three errors (one his own), a hit batter, and just one hit- a two-run single. That was the only hit Robles allowed through four innings, although his side got no hits whatsoever through that stretch. He made a second error in the fifth, but still did not allow another hit (L 2-2, 3.82, 5 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). The Mustangs did break the shutout with a run in the fifth. Mark Leonard relieved Robles and pitched a scoreless sixth, but gave up two runs in the seventh (7.00, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). Billings was shut down by the Missoula bullpen and the Osprey took it, 5-1. RF Juan Duran had two hits in three trips (.236).
8/8: Again Billings’ bats struggle, as once again only Duran (.245, 2-for-3, BB) could get more than one hit among the Mustangs starters. Missoula won it, 2-1, beating Jonathan Correa (L 0-1, 3.60, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) in his first start since his promotion from the AZL Reds. Pat Doyle (4.32, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K) and Josh Smith (2.14, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K) pitched scoreless relief, but Billings couldn’t get a runner past first in any of the final four innings.
8/9: The game was suspended due to lightning with Billings leading Helena 2-0 in the fourth. Assigned for makeup the next night.
8/10: How can you finish the games when it won’t stop raining? The Mustangs and Brewers got one more inning in (Billings made it 3-0) before play was stopped again. I’m not really sure what they’re going to do now, because the two teams aren’t scheduled to play again between now and the end of the season.
8/11: Great Falls (CHW) got a run off closer Porfirio Martinez (L 2-2, 2.04) in the bottom of the ninth to nip Billings, 6-5. The Mustangs led 5-3 after six innings. Starter Sterling Gerson lasted five (4.68, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Duran got a pair of hits, scored a run, and drove one in (.252). LF Donald Lutz had a single and triple and RBI but also made two errors in the outfield. C Chris Berset was 2-for-3 with a RBI (.250).
Transactions and notes: 8/6: 1B Jonathan Kaskow and LHR Luca Panerati sent to Billings. 8/11: RHR Ryan Smith to Dayton.
Billy Hamilton made a Baseball Prospectus Future Shock Monday Morning Ten Pack with the following quote: “It's no surprise to see Hamilton leading all short-season players with 26 stolen bases in 44 games— he's a superb athlete and one of the fastest guys in the 2009 MLB draft—but what is shocking is how good he's been at the plate, utilizing a short, quick swing to hit .335/.395/.470 with plenty of speed-based doubles and triples. He's already drawing some comparisons to 13-year big leaguer Delino DeShields as a future second baseman with on-base skills and impact speed.”
Rookie-Arizona League Reds
Record this week: 5-2.
Overall record: 22-20, third place- 4.5 games out.
8/5: The Rangers beat up Wes Mugarian (L 0-1, 9.64) for five runs between the fifth and sixth, snapping a 3-3 tie and winning 8-3. Starter Kyle Lotzkar struggled with his control, walking four and allowing two hits and two runs in two innings (5.14). SS Junior Arias was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and a run scored (.304). 1B Jaron Matthews singled and tripled in four at-bats with a RBI (.239).
8/6: The Reds scored seven runs in the second to build a big ol’ lead on the Padres for Radhames Quezada. The Padres did crawl back, managing to cut the Reds’ lead to 10-5 by the end of five innings. Lucas O’Rear took over for Quezada (W 1-0, 4.15, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) and threw three scoreless innings (1.13, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). The Reds added to their lead, making it 12-5 in the eighth. (The Padres were happy to help them along with five errors and a pair of passed balls.) The Reds piled up seventeen hits- at least one from every starter. 1B Robert Maddox drove in three (.242, 2-for-5). Matthews was 3-for-3 with two walks and a run scored (.286). 3B David Vidal scored three runs and went 2-for-5 (.289), as did CF Kurtis Muller.
8/7: The Reds led 1-0 early in Josh Ravin’s rehab start. Ravin looked good, whiffing four through four scoreless innings, but the Rangers tied the score in the fifth (W 1-0, 3.38, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). The Reds made it 3-1 in the sixth, though, and Carlos Contreras pitched two scoreless while whiffing four. They added single runs in the seventh and eighth, the latter on Matthews’ fifth homer (.315, 3-for-5, 4 RBI). The Rangers got those two back off Contreras in the eighth (save #2, 6.35, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). The Reds then removed all doubt by piling on six insurance runs in the ninth . Maddox finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI (.256).
This game also represented the US professional debut of 17-year-old INF Ronald Torreyes, who’d hit .390/.468/.606 in 67 games in the Venezuelan summer league. He went 2-for-5 with a stolen base.
8/8: The Reds again started quickly, scoring two in the first with the help of another Matthews homer (#6) and a Maddox RBI double. Ismael Guillon whiffed all three he faced in the first. He also picked off both runners that reached base against him in the first two innings- via walk and Maddox fielding error. But the Athletics got four in the third with the help of an error and a passed ball on C Yovan Gonzalez as well as two triples and a single. Guillon did throw a scoreless fourth (3.19, 4 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Jose Amezcua pitched a perfect fifth, Po-Cheng Chi got through two hitless frames despite walking three (6.52), and El’Hajj Muhammad handled the eighth and ninth (2.11, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). The Reds simply couldn’t push across any more runs despite several hits. They lose a game where they outhit the opposition eleven to three. Two hits apiece for DH Jeff Taylor (.148), 3B Adam Muenster (.217), Maddox (.263), SS Junior Arias (.316), and Torreyes (.400).
8/10: The Reds beat up on the Angels, 10-1. Mitchell Clarke threw six innings of three-hit shutout ball (W 2-1, 2.25, 1 BB, 7 K) and Juan Marizan got the long save (#1, 5.40, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Maddox crushed a three-run homer (#2) and drove in a total of four runs. Torreyes was 3-for-5 with a double, triple, and RBI (.467). C Dayan Vicioso also homered (#1) and drove in three.
8/11: MAKEUP MADNESS! The Reds swept the Mariners, 6-3 in ten innings and 3-0. Game one saw 2B Adam Muenster lead the way with three hits and two RBI (.239) and Lucas O’Rear (W 1-0, 1.64, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) pick up the relief win following Nathan Driessen (2.87, 3 IP, 3 H, 6 K) and starter Wes Mugarian (7.27, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Kyle Lotzkar was turned loose for full duty in the nightcap- and he fired 5.2 shutout innings (W 1-1, 3.66, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 K). Joel Ernst got the last four outs for save #2. Maddox hit homer #3, Vidal was 2-for-3 with a RBI (.293) and Vicioso had a pair of hits (.275).
Transactions and notes: 8/6: 1B Jonathan Kaskow down from Dayton. 8/7: RHS Daniel Corcino up to Dayton. RHS Jonathan Correa up from the AZL. INF Ronald Torreyes activated (see above).
SS Junior Arias made a Baseball Prospectus Future Shock Monday Morning Ten Pack: “An 18-year-old Dominican who received a six-figure bonus in 2008, Arias has blown away scouts with his tools and athleticism in the Arizona complex league. The problem is, he's got some significant holes in his game as well. He's long-limbed and graceful and his current line is .311/.356/.520. That's good. The bad? He'll swing at anything in his zip code and he's a messy defender (21 errors through 31 games at short). With a position switch, he might be more special.”