Just a few more to go!

Overall: Louisville grabbed first place with an incident, then got swept by Columbus and fell back into second place. They are almost certain to make the IL playoffs barring a collapse, however, as they lead the wild card race by several games. Carolina again struggled, losing more than they won. Lynchburg had a second straight winning week, but they will need a streak to have a chance at the CL playoffs. Dayton did manage to win two times this week, which is their best result in several weeks. Billings treaded water. The AZL Reds continue to be better than the GCL squad was in the past few years.

AAA Louisville Bats

Record this week: 3-3

Overall: 70-54., second place, 1.5 behind Columbus (CLE). Louisville does lead the wild-card race by several games.

8/12: The Bats barged into first place in their division, winning for the nineteenth time in twenty games. They defeated hapless Toledo (DET) 10-4. Chad Reineke notched win #9 (9-7, 3.47, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Just-promoted lefty Jeremy Horst worked two scoreless after him. Horst’s former Mudcats teammate Dave Sappelt also had his IL debut- the center fielder went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a walk. He also got picked off once. It was RF Wladimir Balentien and 2B Chris Valaika that led the 17-hit Louisville attack, though; both players were 4-for-5. Balentien scored three runs and stole base #8 (.274) while Valaika had two runs scored and three RBI (.304).

8/13: Sam Lecure to the hill as Columbus (CLE) hosted the Bats. The Clips have the only win over Louisville in the good guys’ last twenty games! With first place at stake, Columbus countered with super-smiley lefty David Huff (6-0, 3.80 in seven AAA starts; 2-11, 6.21 in fifteen big-league ones). After a scoreless first, the Bats grabbed a 2-0 lead when Frazier led off the second with a four-pitch walk, then Balentien pounded homer #21 over the left-field wall. Columbus retaliated by loading the bases on a single, walk, and hit batter with two out, but Lecure quickly got two strikes on the Clippers’ Jose Constanza. Disaster struck- the slap-hitting Constanza smoked a bases-clearing triple, giving Columbus a 3-2 lead. Lecure did improve in the third, going through the heart of Columbus’ lineup (now including the claimed-on-waivers Drew Sutton) 1-2-3. Yonder Alonso led off the Louisville fourth with a Texas League single, but the next three Bats left him on base. C Corky Miller walked to start the fifth, but he too was left floating. Sam’s luck completely ran out in the fifth- the first four batters to face him got hits, with the Clippers quickly stacking up three more runs. Sutton then capped the rally with a two-run homer to make it 8-2. Left in anyway, Lecure then got two strikeouts and a pop up to finish the inning. Then, as he neared 100 pitches, he was sent back out for the sixth. He got one out, but gave up a single (L 7-3, 3.76, 5.1 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). This led to Phil Valiquette’s summoning. The lefty quickly set down the next two Clippers to end the inning and also got through the seventh in a nice outing (4.62, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K, just 19 pitches). Alonso (2-for-4, .300) doubled home Sappelt, who’d walked, to cut the deficit to 8-3 in the eighth. On came Jason Isringhausen for the eighth. An Alonso error put the leadoff man on base, then a single for the #9 hitter and a walk to Constanza (4-for-4 with three RBI already on the day) loaded the bases with nobody out. A popup recorded one out, but Columbus’ Cord Phelps followed with a grand-slam homer to put the game out of reach at 12-3. Isringhausen’s ERA ballooned to 9.53 with seven walks in 5.2 innings. Is he going to be able to contribute? I’m not certain he will. The Bats managed one ninth-inning run on a Balentien triple (.277, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Valaika groundout, but that was it. Clips win, 12-4.

8/14: Columbus broke a scoreless tie against Matt Maloney with a single run in the fourth. Travis Wood started for the Bats but left after two (3 H, 1 BB, 2 K). This was by design to hold the 23-year-old’s innings down. Maloney threw shutout ball through the next several innings (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K), but Louisville couldn’t crack the scoreboard by the end of eight innings- going 0-for-9 with men in scoring position. We went to the ninth- and after Frazier and Balentien struck out, it was up to Danny Dorn. Dorn hacked at the first pitch- and flied out to center to end the game. Tough loss for Maloney, who fell to 10-6 despite reducing his ERA to 3.43.

8/15: Columbus sweeps the series, stunning the Bats and Rehabbin’ Aaron Harang 7-3. Harang gave up five hits and five runs in five innings (2 BB, 5 K, 77 pitches/51 strikes). Enerio Del Rosario gave up a pair of solo homers in the sixth (3.13, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) although Aroldis Chapman (3.74, 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches/8 strikes) and Danny Herrera (4.39) had scoreless stints. Sappelt kept hitting, picking up three singles in five at-bats with a RBI (.353). Valaika was 3-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI (.307). The Bats left fourteen men on base and went 0-for-11 with men in scoring position. They outhit the Clippers twelve to eight.

8/16: Off.

8/17: Syracuse (WAS) comes to Louisville Slugger Field for a four-game series as the Bats attempt to protect their three-game advantage in the International League’s wild-card race. Louisville got started right, scoring three in the first and then adding to it a little at a time over the course. Behind three hits and three RBI from Alonso (.299) and a two-run homer from Balentien (#22), the Bats win it 8-5. Ben Jukich did his job (W 5-4, 4.60, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). When Jeremy Horst struggled in the ninth, Rick Sweet summoned Aroldis Chapman- and one strikeout later, he had save #7.

8/18: What a debut for Devin Mesoraco. After struggling offensively for most of his first three pro seasons at three different levels (.219/.310/.270 in 2007 in the GCL, .261/.311/.399 in 2008 in Dayton, and .228/.311/.381 in 2009 in Lynchburg) and drawing mixed-at-best reports about his defense and conditioning, the 2007 first-round pick was labeled a bust by some as we entered 2010. He raked at Lynchburg (.335/.414/.620 in 45 games), earning a promotion to Carolina. After a slow start in the first week or two, he slugged there as well- going .294/.363/.594 in 56 games. He’s also quelled some doubts about his defense, throwing out 42% of basestealers in 2010. The Reds have decided to challenge the 22-year-old- and what a debut. Devin struck out his first two at-bats against Syracuse starter Matt Chico, a lefty with a season and a half or so of big-league experience. His third time up, he doubled off reliever Josh Wilkie, who otherwise allowed no hits and struck out five in two scoreless innings. The Bats trailed 3-0 heading to the ninth, as it appeared Chad Reineke’s excellent start (3.41, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 95 pitches/63 strikes) was going to waste. First, Yonder Alonso led off the Louisville ninth with a home run on an 0-2 pitch (#10). Frazier scratched an infield hit off the third baseman’s glove. Juan Francisco grounded back to the mound against a new pitcher, lefty Atahulpa Severino. Balentien drew a walk. Chris Valaika got another infield hit, this one to second base. This loaded the bases for Mesoraco. The count ran full…

Jerry Gil struck out three of the four batters he faced for a win in his debut AAA appearance as a pitcher.

Transactions and notes: 8/12: OF Dave Sappelt and LHR Jeremy Horst up from Carolina. RHR Jesus Delgado placed on the DL with a PCL tear. RHS Homer Bailey’s rehab assignment ended. 8/14: RHR Jason Isringhausen placed on the DL with an arm strain. 8/15: INF Juan Francisco down from Cincinnati; RHS Aaron Harang added on a rehab assignment. 8/17: C Devin Mesoraco up from Carolina. RHP Micah Owings designated for assignment. C Chris Denove down to Carolina. RHR Jerry Gil up from Carolina.

Todd Frazier made the “in the team photo” section of the 8/13 BA Prospect Hot Sheet. He was 12-for-26 (.462) with three doubles, seven RBI, seven runs scored, and six walks over the week previous.

Wladimir Balentien got “blast from the past” with his 36-for-90 (.400) performance with eight homers, ten doubles, 25 RBI and an .800 slugging percentage since the AAA All-Star break.

Aroldis Chapman was rated as having both the best fastball and best breaking ball in the International League. Chris Valaika was considered the best defensive second baseman. Wladimir Balentien has the best outfield arm.

Another mention of Chapman and his relief efforts.

AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 2-4.

Overall: 23-29 (second half). Last place, ten games behind Tennessee (CHC).

8/12: Carolina travels to Jacksonville (FLA) to face off against the Suns. Jax takes game one of the series, 8-5, as Travis Webb is knocked out in the fifth (L 6-8, 5.24, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 HR). RF Denis Phipps (back at Double-A after a “challenge demotion” to Lynchburg saw him rake to the tune of .333/.398/.720 with nine stolen bases in 25 games) slammed a two-run homer (#3) and drove in three. SS Kris Negron was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, steal #32, and homer #10. Negron, 24- acquired late last year in the deal sending Alex Gonzalez to Boston- is batting .380/.456/.500 in August after a good July (.300/.347/.455). Right-hander Nick Christiani made his AA debut (after starting the year at Dayton) and gave up two hits and one run in one inning of work.

8/13: The Mudcats and James Avery endeavored to try again against the Suns and starter Tom Koehler, a 24-year-old righthander with a gaudy 13-2 record (2.85 ERA) coming in. (The Suns aren’t quite as talented as they were when Mike Stanton was hitting twenty homers in a half-season earlier this year.) Negron punctured some of the Koehler mystique by hammering his sixth pitch out of the ballpark to give Carolina a 1-0 lead. Koehler came back from a 3-0 count to whiff Felix Perez, but RF Luis Terrero doubled. Tom came back to get C Devin Mesoraco and Costanzo to pop up, however, limiting the damage. Phipps led off the second with a single, but quickly got picked off. This hurt, because two batters later 3B Jose Castro doubled. Instead, they got no runs. Avery walked two Suns with two out in the second, but he got his opposite number to fly out to end that threat. Negron also singlehandedly made it 2-0 in the third, leading off the inning with a double and then scoring on a throwing error stemming from Suns C Chris Hatcher’s pickoff attempt during Perez’ at-bat. Terrero again doubled with one out, but this time Costanzo whiffed and Mesoraco grounded to short. Two of three Jacksonville hitters singled to start the Suns’ third, then 3B Matt Dominguez was Rudied with a pitch to load the bases. But Avery got .300-hitting Lee Mitchell to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning! He was better in the fourth, facing the minimum three batters. Koehler’s night ended an inning or two earlier than expected, as he was lifted for a pinch-hitter after five innings and 84 pitches. That pinch-hitter tripled off the center-field fence; the next man homered to tie the score. Avery, to his credit, bore down and got two outs- but the next three batters all singled to make it 3-2 Jax. They got one more run in the sixth, as Avery departed down by two runs (L 0-2, 6.61, 6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 107 pitches/60 strikes). Lee Tabor took over for him, but the lefty also had trouble recording outs. The Suns loaded the bases with one out (with help from a Castro fielding error), then got a sacrifice fly for a 5-2 lead. That was out number two, but a two-run single followed- making it 7-2. All three runs were unearned for Tabor (3.91, 1 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K). That’s how it ended. Castro went 3-for-4 (.248) and Negron 2-for-2 (.271) before leaving midgame for reasons not yet clear.

8/14: Matt Klinker is seemingly back to his old self again, firing seven innings of five-hit, one-run ball (W 6-6, 2.65, 0 BB, 7 K) as the Mudcats win, 6-1. Mesoraco was a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI (.294) and Terrero homered (#4) and doubled (.292). Joe Krebs, back from Louisville, turned in a scoreless eighth- and Jerry Gil took care of the ninth.

8/15: Jacksonville ace Elih Villanueva, the Southern League ERA leader at 2.15, got credit for a no-hitter in a game shortened to the minimum five innings due to rain. The Suns win, 1-0, with Scott Carroll (L 3-8, 3.75, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) saddled with the tough-luck L.

8/16: Brad Boxberger and Jerry Gil were both charged with late runs, but the Mudcats still had enough to hold off the Suns, 3-2, and get Tom Cochran his eighth win (8-5, 2.82, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K). Boxberger’s ERA came down to 9.55 (1 IP, 1 ER, 2 K) and Gil got save #7. Justin Freeman made his SL debut by retiring six of seven. Henry was 2-for-4 with two RBI and steal #11 (.295) and Negron was 2-for-4 with a run scored (.273). Cochran himself contributed a single, double, RBI, and run scored. 1B Carlos Mendez managed a pair of hits as well (.222).

8/17: Off.

8/18: Ow. Mobile (SD) scored seven runs off Joe Krebs (4.56- all earned) in the top of the ninth to turn a close game into a 13-5 rout. Lee Tabor actually got the loss (L 3-2, 4.47, 2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER). A rain delay caused the exit of both teams’ starters early. Costanzo did manage homer #11.

Transactions and notes: 8/12: OF Dave Sappelt and LHR Jeremy Horst up to Louisville. OF Denis Phipps back from Lynchburg; RHR Nick Christiani promoted from Lynchburg. RHP Daryl Thompson and LHS Matt Fairel placed on rehab assignments in Goodyear, AZ with the AZL Reds. 8/14: RHR Justin Freeman promoted from Lynchburg; RHR Nick Christiani back to the Hillcats. 8/17: C Devin Mesoraco promoted to Louisville; C Chris Denove down from AAA. RHR Jerry Gil up to Louisville.

SS Kris Negron was rated as the best defensive shortstop in the Southern League by Baseball America (link above). Negron was also named the Southern League Batter of the Week for 8/9-8/15, batting .500 (10-for-20) with 2 HR, a .565 OBP and .900 SLG.

High-A Lynchburg Hillcats

Record this week: 4-2

Overall: 23-27, last place, 5.5 out.

8/12: Rained out.

8/13: Righty Josh Ravin, a 22-year-old who made 12 starts in Dayton earlier in the year before heading to the DL and the AZL for rehab, was given a “challenge” promotion to High-A quite unexpectedly. He responded in a big way, firing six innings of one-hit, no-run ball in Lynchburg’s 6-1 spanking of Kinston (CLE). CF Andrew Means, in his own High-A debut, singled, stole second and scored on DH Neftali Soto’s base hit. Means finished 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Soto later hit homer #18 (2-for-4, .257, 2 R).

8/14: Justin Walker whiffed eight Indians over six one-run innings, notching his second Carolina League victory in three starts (W 2-1, 6.57, 5 H, 1 BB) as the Hillcats won again, 3-1. RF Kyle Day smacked a pair of doubles (.285, RBI) and DH Chris Richburg was 2-for-3 with a double and walk (.356). Blair Carson got Lynchburg two outs into the eighth (2.70, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K), then Donnie Joseph came on to strand two and blitz through the ninth (save #15, 2.18, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K).

8/15: Get out the broom! Lynchburg sweeps this home series from Kinston, 6-4. The Hillcats scored four runs in the bottom of the first, then withstood an ineffective three innings from Pedro Villareal (7.71, 3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) to hang on. Daniel Guerrero (W 1-1, 3.57, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) scored the duke. Jeff Jeffords fired two scoreless after him (3.97, 1 H, 2 K) and Joseph notched save #16 (2.12, 1 IP, 2 K). LF Cody Puckett hammered homer #13 in a 2-for-4 day (.267). Richburg kept hitting, singling and doubling in four trips (.364, R, RBI). 3B Jose Gualdron had a key two-run single in that first inning.

8/16: Curtis Partch turned in a quality start (L 5-9, 5.05, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR) but he was outdueled by righty J.J. Hoover and Myrtle Beach (ATL), 7-4. The Hillcats went down swinging, scoring three runs in the ninth.

8/17: Lynchburg scored in five separate innings and starter Jordan Hotchkiss shut the Pelicans down for 5.1 after a two-run first (W 10-4, 2.30, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Hillcats take it, 5-3. Nick Christiani came on to strand two and pitch the eighth (3.68, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K) and Joseph got save #17 (2.31, 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB). 2B Brodie Greene scored three runs and went 2-for-4 (.268). Richburg cannot be stopped; he drove in two more runs with a pair of hits (.361). SS Miguel Rojas returned to action for the first time in almost two months and went 0-for-3 with a walk and error (.223).

8/18: The Pelicans got two unearned runs in the top of the ninth off Jeff Jeffords (L 2-1, 3.78, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) to beat Lynchburg, 4-2. Starter Josh Ravin’s two runs were also unearned (0.00, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 2 WP). 3B Shane Carlson, despite committing one of the errors that led to said unearned runs, did go 3-for-4 with his second homer of the season (.302). Rojas was 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases (9).

Transactions and notes: 8/12: OF Denis Phipps and RHR Nick Christiani to Carolina. RHS Josh Ravin back from rehab and up from Dayton. OF Justin Reed activated from the restricted list and demoted to Dayton. OF Andrew Means up from Dayton. 8/14: RHR Justin Freeman up to Carolina; RHR Nick Christiani back to the Hillcats. OF Andrew Means back to the DL (third time in 2010). 8/17: SS Miguel Rojas activated.

Lynchburg’s Josh Ravin was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for 8/9-8/15. Ravin won his Lynchburg debut on Friday (see summary above).

Low-A Dayton Dragons

Record this week: 2-4

Overall: 12-38, last place.

8/12: Lansing (TOR) piled on five runs in the top of the ninth off Jason Braun and Kevin Arico to turn a close game into a 10-3 rout. Six losses in a row for Dayton. Clayton Shunick held his own (L 0-1, 3.78, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). SS Didi Gregorius popped a first-inning solo homer (#5). 3B Frank Pfister ripped two doubles and a single and drove in two (.266).

8/13: Another tough, tough loss. Tim Crabbe and two relievers allowed Lansing just two runs on five hits, but the Dragons, despite scoring first, could only punch one across. Tim Crabbe started (L 2-5, 4.28, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K). Josh Smith let in two inherited runners that were charged to Crabbe but otherwise looked decent in his Low-A debut (2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Blaine Howell set down seven straight to finish up (1 K). DH Alexis Oliveras tripled, then scored on Kevyn Feiner’s sacrifice fly for that lone run.

8/14: Henry Rodriguez was determined to keep the Dragons from adding yet another tick mark to the right side of the ledger, going 4-for-4 with a homer (#13) and three RBI (.296) in Dayton’s 4-2 triumph over Lake County (CLE). Daniel Corcino again pitched well (W 1-0, 1.64, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and Doug Salinas bailed out Junior Martinez (1.1 IP, 2 ER) with 2.2 innings of shutout ball (save #5, 2.33, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K).

8/15: Pfister hit a two-run homer (#7) in the second inning, but the Dragons couldn’t get any other offense beyond that. Meanwhile, Ricky Bowen got nailed for eleven hits in five innings (L 2-8, 6.61, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Lake County wins, 5-2. Lefty Tzu-Kai Chiu pitched well in relief (2.84, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K).

8/16: Give the Dragons credit for battling to the end in this 11-10 seesaw loss to the Captains, but they just don’t have the bullpen to pull it off. Junior Martinez (L 1-4, 5.26, 0.2 IP, 1 ER) got the defeat after giving up the decisive run in the bottom of the 11th. Doug Salinas, the nominal Dayton closer, blew the save in the ninth by permitting four hits and a pair of runs; this after Dayton had scored three in the top of the ninth to grab a 10-8 lead! Dragons fielders also committed six errors, which never helps. C Mark Fleury had an especially unmemorable night: he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts at the plate, committed a throwing error, and failed to throw out any of the six runners attempting to steal on him. Anyway, a few Dragons did do quite well at the plate- CF Ryan LaMarre was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer (#4), steal #17, and four RBI (.282). Rodriguez had two steals (28- including one of home) and finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored (.297). Pfister committed his 29th and 30th errors of the year, but did go 3-for-5 with a run scored and RBI (.268). 1B Dominic D’Anna, debuting at his third level of the season, went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Starter Jake Johnson struggled (4 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).

8/17: Off day.

8/18: Clayton Shunick fired 6.2 innings of four-hit ball (W 1-1, 3.47, 1 BB, 3 K) as Dayton beat Great Lakes (LAD), 4-2. Blair Carson came on to get a strikeout and strand a runner, then Blaine Howell finished the final two innings for the save (3.48). Fleury had a key two-run single and both Rodriguez (.298, 2B, RBI, steal #29) and Gregorius (.270, 2B, R) were 2-for-4. Pfister added two hits and a RBI (.270) and DH Alexis Oliveras was 2-for-3 with a run scored (.236).

Transactions and notes: 8/12: OF Andrew Means and RHS Josh Ravin up to Lynchburg. OF Justin Reed down from Lynchburg. 8/13: 1B Tommy Nurre placed on the DL with a strained hip. 8/14: 1B Dominic D’Anna up from Billings. RHR Kevin Arico down to the Mustangs. 8/15: RHR Blair Carson back to Dayton from Lynchburg.

SS Didi Gregorius was rated as having the best infield arm in the Midwest League by Baseball America (link above).

As of this 8/16 BA report, the Dragons, at 41-77 (.347), have the fourth-worst record in all of organized minor-league baseball.

Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs

Record this week: 3-3.

Overall: 7-9 for the second half, one game out.

8/12: Right-hander Jesus Adames had struggled all year in relief. So Billings tried him as a starter, and he responded by shutting Great Falls (CHW) out for five innings (W 1-2, 5.10, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K) in the Mustangs’ 14-2 stampeding of the Voyagers. SS Devin Lohman drove in five runs with a three-run homer (#1) and a double (.260). DH Donald Lutz hit homer #4. 2B Billy Hamilton was 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, two RBI, and steal #27 (.340). LF Theo Bowe was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two steals (7, .289). RF Juan Duran continued to surge after a frozen start, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a walk ,and a run batted in (.258).

8/13: 21-year-old lefty Tanner Robles, one of six pitchers drafted out of Oregon State in 2010, has really come on after a rocky start (just three earned runs in his last 24 innings). He shut GF out for six innings here, striking out seven and walking none (W 3-2, 3.27). 3B Oliver Santos gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead in the fourth with a triple that scored Duran and 1B Jonathan Kaskow. Duran then homered (#4) in the eighth for an insurance run (.265) and Ryan Smith threw three one-hit innings for save #1 (3.74, 3 BB, 3 K).

8/14: Lutz and Duran crushed back-to-back homers (both #5) to give Billings an early lead, but Great Falls came back off Jonathan Correa to tie the score in the top of the third. An inning later, Correa served up a gopher ball to give the Voyagers a 3-2 lead (L 0-2, 5.00, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Mark Leonard set down six straight in relief, then tacked on a third scoreless inning (5.25, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Mike Henry followed with a perfect eighth and Porfirio Martinez the ninth, but Billings couldn’t get another run across (in fact, they couldn’t get a hit over the last four innings) and fell by one run.

8/15: Off.

8/16: Billings scored eight runs in the first two innings off the Ogden (LAD) starter, chasing him after an inning-plus. They cruised to a 9-1 win. Two first-inning Raptors errors led to three unearned runs. Hamilton led the offense, going 3-for-4 with steal #28 and two runs scored (.340). Duran hit homer #6, his third straight game with a longball. LF Dayne Read was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two steals from the leadoff slot (.270) while Lohman was 2-for-5 with two RBI (.255). Starter Dan Tuttle was effective but control problems ran up his pitch count early (4.56, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 4 K). Pat Doyle came on to cover the middle innings and notch the W (3-0, 3.38, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K). Kevin Arico- demoted from Dayton after the 2010 tenth-rounder and NCAA Division I saves leader served up 35 hits in 21 MWL innings- took care of the final two (2 H, 0 BB, 0 K).

8/17: An error on Devin Lohman led to Ogden’s game-ending three-run homer off Drew Hayes (L 0-1, still 0.00, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K)- final was 7-4. Sterling Gerson worked five (4.91, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR) and Luca Panerati retired six straight (0.00 in 8.2 total innings on the year). Yorman Rodriguez’ second game back saw him go 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored (.359). LF Theo Bowe was 3-for-4 in the leadoff slot, although he was also caught stealing twice (.309).

8/18: Ogden lowered the boom on the Mustangs’ bullpen, scoring eleven of their fourteen runs after the departure of starter Jesus Adames (L 1-3, 4.91, 3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER). They win easy, 14-4. Mike Henry, Dan Wolford, and Ryan Smith all struggled badly. DH Trey Manz did hit a two-run homer (#3) and Bowe hit his first professional home run after three hundred or so at-bats.

Rookie-Arizona League Reds

Record this week: 3-2.

Overall record: 25-22, third place- 5 games out.

I am not sure this is an official thing, but I’ve seen the AZL club referred to as the “Goodyear Reds”. I think I’ll take the liberty of using that once in a while, if you don’t mind.

8/12: The Dodgers chased Carlos Contreras in the fourth (L 2-4, 6.45, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER) en route to an 8-4 win over the Reds. 3B Samuel Diaz was 3-for-4 with a double and run scored (.333) while CF Kurtis Muller was 3-for-5 with two RBI and steal #5 (.322).

8/13: The Royals grabbed an early two-run lead before both teams had four-run innings mid-game. Starter Radhames Quezada worked five (4.00, 6 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). The Royals made it 7-4 in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. The Reds got one back, but not the other two- and fell 7-5. SS Junior Arias committed his 22nd error in his 40th game of the season. 1B Robert Maddox did hit homer #4 and 2B Ronald Torreyes lashed a pair of hits (.379).

8/14: Off.

8/15: The Reds get revenge for their loss a few days back, beating the Dodgers 7-4. Torreyes had three of the Reds’ 15 hits, including his first US home run and three RBI (.389). SS Miguel Rojas, the 21-year-old who’d struggled in Lynchburg before going on the DL a couple months back, kicked off his rehab assignment with two singles and a triple, a run scored, and one batted in. His Venezuelan countryman Ismael Guillon started and lasted four (3.50, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Lucas O’Rear followed and struggled with his control, walking three of the six men he faced (2.31, 0.2 IP, 1 ER). But Juan Marizan (W 2-0, 4.67, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 K) and Joel Ernst (save #3, 2.02, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K) locked down the game’s end.

12th-round pick Kyle Waldrop made his pro debut in this game as the DH. He went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and a strikeout.

8/16: Kyle Lotzkar fell juuuust short of qualifying for the win (3.33, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) but he still looked strong for the second start in a row. The Reds smacked 14 hits and cruised past their complexmates the Indians, 6-2. Righty Jose Amezcua took over (W 1-0, 2.84, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Maddox had a sacrifice fly and two-run homer (#5) to total three RBI. Vidal (R, 2 RBI, 2B) and LF Drew Poulk (2B, 3B, RBI) each had three hits (.287 and .296, respectively).

8/17: Rained out.

8/18: The Reds take a tight one from their complexmates the Indians, 2-1. They got single runs in the seventh and ninth innings on RBI hits from Waldrop and Vidal (both 2-for-5). Wes Mugarian pitched quite well, firing four shutout innings (4.97, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K). Fellow 2010 draftee El’ Hajj Muhammad followed with three more strong innings (1.69, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Nathan Driessen took care of the last two, earning the win (1-2, 2.55, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K). The Reds also survived three errors while outhitting the Indians ten to three.

Transactions and notes: 8/17: C Yasmani Grandal, the Reds’ first-round draft pick in 2010, was activated.