Just two more to go- #22 will pretty much wrap up everyone's regular season, while #23 should finish any playoffs still in progress.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 3-4.
Overall: 77-61, second place, 0.5 behind Columbus (CLE). Louisville should be a lock to go to the playoffs as a wildcard whether they win the division or not.
8/26: Columbus fires back, taking this one 5-2 from the Bats at Louisville Slugger Field. Matt Maloney was just a little too hittable (L 10-7, 3.36, 8 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 106 pitches/70 strikes). DH Wladimir Balentien (2-for-4, R, .289), 3B Juan Francisco (2-for-4, R, 2B, .286) and RF Danny Dorn (2-for-3, RBI, 2B, BB, .291) provided most of the offense the Bats could muster.
8/27: 2B Wilkin Castillo’s game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth (2-for-4, .266) pushed Louisville past Columbus, 2-1. Danny Dorn had walked and C Devin Mesoraco singled to set up Castillo’s heroics. Aroldis Chapman hit 105 on the radar gun while getting the win (9-6, 3.57, 1 IP, 3 K). Ben Jukich looked quite good (4.16, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) and Jordan Smith took care of the eighth. 1B Yonder Alonso was also 2-for-4 (.298).
8/28: Toledo stymied the Bats after Louisville tallied three in the first- they battered Chad Reineke (L 9-8, 3.66, 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) and the bullpen for eight from the third through the ninth, winning 8-3. (Columbus lost, so the Bats retained their one and a half-game lead.) Mesoraco singled in two runs in that three-run first (1-for-4, .333) and 1B Todd Frazier was 2-for-3 with a walk, run scored, and stolen base (#12, .256).
8/29: Mesoraco’s third Bats homer and twenty-sixth of 2010 came in the fourth, expanding the Louisville lead to 2-0. Micah Owings started and pitched three scoreless (1.96, 2 H, 2 K). Jeremy Horst followed with another strong outing (1.74, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K), but had to be bailed out by Smith, who came on to get a popup and strand two runners. Jordan then pitched a scoreless seventh. Dorn hit homer #11 to make it 3-0 Bats. 3B Eric Eymann singled, 2B Mike Griffin scratched an infield hit. An error allowed the runners to move to second and third. Dave Sappelt grounded back to the mound, but SS Zach Cozart lined a two-run single to center to make it 5-0. Alonso then pounded a two-run homer, #12, to bring in runs six and seven. Carlos Fisher came on to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth. Dorn doubled and Sappelt singled him in to increase Louisville’s lead to 8-0. Phil Valiquette worked a scoreless ninth to close it down. Horst got the win, his first AAA decision. Sappelt finished 3-for-5 (.307); everyone in the Bats lineup save Wladimir Balentien got in on the action.
8/30: Toledo C Max St. Pierre, in the news because the Tigers called him up after he spent 14 seasons in the minors without a day in the bigs (note the comment link that mentions the Braves called up ex-Reds farmhand JC Boscan after 14 years for him), hit two homers off Louisville pitching in the Mud Hens’ 6-2 win. Matt Klinker took the loss (L 4-3, 5.74, 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 100 pitches/64 strikes). Balentien hit homer #25 and Dorn was 3-for-4 with a double (.300). Devin Mesoraco was 0-for-4 with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt.
8/31: Again power got Toledo a win, as Enerio Del Rosario gave up a pair of bombs (L 4-4, 3.16, 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) in his three-inning stint relieving Matt Maloney (3.34, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Louisville went down 4-1 as only Dorn’s 12th homer dented the scoreboard.
9/1: Ben Jukich played stopper, firing seven innings of three-hit shutout ball in Louisville’s 8-3 victory (W 6-4, 3.89, 1 BB, 7 K). Jared Burton returned to action, pitching a scoreless eighth (2.75, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Cozart hit homer #17 (and stole bag #30) and Mike Griffin hit #5 in a pinch-hitting role. Mesoraco had a pair of doubles and two RBI (.303). Sappelt was 2-for-3 with two walks from the leadoff slot (.302). With this win, the Bats stayed just a half-game behind Columbus with five to play. All five are against the 68-71 Indianapolis Indians.
Transactions and notes: 8/26: LHR Lee Tabor back to Carolina. 8/27: 3B Juan Francisco recalled by Cincinnati. 8/31: LHR Aroldis Chapman called up by the Reds. The rest is history, of course. SS Kris Negron up from Carolina. 9/1: The Reds took RHR Carlos Fisher, 1B Yonder Alonso, and C Corky Miller for roster-expansion time. OF Luis Terrero and INF Mike Costanzo up from Carolina as well. LHR Joe Krebs replaced Chapman. RHR Jared Burton activated.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 2-4.
Overall: 27-36 (second half). Last place, 12.5 games behind Tennessee (CHC). 57-75 overall for the year.
8/27: Mississippi (ATL) got to Scott Carroll (L 3-9, 3.64, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) for three in the fifth to wipe out the Mudcats’ 2-0 advantage. Carolina was held to just two singles over the final four innings and ended up losing 3-2. Gilbert de la Vara and Brad Boxberger each pitched 1-2-3 innings (Boxberger: 2 K, 10.22 ERA). RF Sean Henry was 2-for-4 with a RBI (.304).
8/28: The Mudcats led the Braves 3-0 going to the bottom of the ninth, but the Biscuits pounded Donnie Joseph for three runs on two hits and two walks, tying the score. But Carolina got a run in the top of the tenth when C Chris McMurray (3-for-4, HR #1, 2 RBI) led off with a single, moved to second on pinch-hitter Luis Terrero’s sacrifice bunt, third on CF Felix Perez’ single (2-for-5, .264), and scored on a wild pitch. Lee Tabor got through the bottom of the tenth (surviving a runner-on-third, one-out jam) for save #1. Not a victory Joseph would be proud of, but a win nonetheless. Starter Tom Cochran returned from the DL to pitch six innings of two-hit shutout ball (2.69, 2 BB, 3 K, 73 pitches/45 strikes). 3B Mike Costanzo and 2B Jose Castro each had a pair of Carolina’s thirteen hits (.268 and .244) and RF Denis Phipps socked homer #4.
8/29: Jordan Hotchkiss pitched five decent innings (L 0-1, 3.60, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) but some untimely bad defense and a few bloopers put three unearned runs on the board for the Braves in the fifth. He departed down 4-0 as Carolina got all of one hit through seven innings off 20-year-old righthander Randall Delgado. That hit was a bunt single in the seventh by SS Kris Negron! The Mudcats still managed to get two runs that inning, however, with the help of three walks and a hit batter. Justin Freeman followed Hotchkiss with two hitless innings (2.57, 1 BB, 1 K). De la Vara gave up a two-run homer in the eighth to make it 6-2 Braves. From there the Mudcats could add only a Costanzo single to the board.
8/30: Rained out.
8/31: 2B Jake Kahauleilo smashed a three-run homer in the sixth (#12) to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead; the Mudcats beat Mississippi (ATL) going away, 9-4. C Chris Denove was 3-for-5 with two RBI (.333). Costanzo had two hits and two RBI (.270). James Avery got the win (2-3, 6.09, 5.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Joe Krebs added 1.1 innings of relief (4.29, 2 H) and Brad Boxberger turned in two very nice innings (9.45, 2 H, 2 K, 17 strikes in 22 pitches).
9/1: Birmingham gets a 5-0, one-hit shutout win. Travis Webb (L 6-9, 4.91, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR) started.
Transactions and notes: 8/26: LHR Lee Tabor back from Louisville. The organization also signed and activated LHP Gilbert de la Vara, 25, a former 15th-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2004 (Arizona’s Pima CC) who’d gone 2-2, 4.94 in eight starts with AAA Toledo (DET) in 2010. He’d walked only three and struck out 25 in 23.2 IP, but also allowed 39 hits. De la Vara was also picked to Midwest League and Carolina League All-Star teams in 2006 and 2007, respectively. 8/27: RHR Abe Woody sent back to Lynchburg. 8/28: LHS Tom Cochran activated from the DL. 8/31: SS Miguel Rojas back from Lynchburg. SS Kris Negron up to Louisville.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 2-5.
Overall: 30-34, third place, 5.5 games out. The bad week pretty much took Lynchburg out of the race.
8/26: Not much to see here, as Winston-Salem (CHW) whacked Lynchburg 7-1. Curtis Partch continued to pitch pretty well (L 6-10, 4.71, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR; three ER or less in each of his last seven starts) but took the defeat. The bullpen served up the other five Dash runs.
8/27: The Hillcats blew a 5-3 lead when Wilmington (KC) got runs in the eighth and ninth. Blair Carson pitched a scoreless tenth and eleventh (3.46, 3 H, 2 K), but the newly promoted Doug Salinas was whacked for three in the top of the 12th. Lynchburg managed two runs in the bottom of the inning (with RF Ryan LaMarre smacking a bases-loaded single), but Josh Fellhauer grounded into a forceout to end the game. 3B Jose Gualdron hit a two-run homer (#2). LF Brodie Greene was 3-for-6 with two runs scored (.282). Five other Hillcats had two hits apiece (Puckett, Day, Soto, Fellhauer, and Rojas). Daniel Guerrero made his first start and lasted five (3.34, 6 H, 3 ER).
8/28: Lynchburg got a run in the seventh and one in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie and beat the Blue Rocks, 3-1. Josh Ravin just keeps rolling- he did give up his first earned run after 22 consecutive innings without an earned run allowed. Sadly, because he gave up that run in the middle of his final inning (0.40, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) it was Abe Woody who got the win (W 1-0, 3.86, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Nich Christiani pitched a clean ninth for save #3 (3.65, 1 K). LaMarre slammed his first Carolina League homer (2-for-3, .333, outfield assist) and LF Cody Puckett hit #18 to provide the insurance. 1B Neftali Soto didn’t make an out (.262, 3-for-3, 2B, BB).
8/29: Lynchburg and Wilmington battled to a 3-3 tie through seven. Chase Ware started on bullpen day (4.14, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). But Drew Bowman (5.08, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Jeff Jeffords (3.56, 3 IP, 1 BB, 3 K) kept the Blue Rocks scoreless after the fourth. 3B Shane Carlson (#3) and DH Kyle Day (#7) hit solo homers and both Soto and DH Chris Richburg each had triples. Abe Woody came on and threw a scoreless tenth. SS Miguel Rojas led off the Hillcats tenth with a single, moved to second on C Jordan Wideman’s sacrifice. Greene reached on an error to put men on the corners, the Puckett grounded a game-winning single into left to give Lynchburg the win. Woody got his second win in as many appearances. Puckett’s three hits raised his average to .275. Soto finished 2-for-4 (.264, R).
8/31: The Hillcats are shut out by Winston-Salem in North Carolina, 6-0. Pedro Villareal (L 0-2, 5.40, 3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 2 HR) gave up all the game’s runs in one inning. Ezequiel Infante (4.60, 3 IP, 4 H) and Doug Salinas (6.75, 2 IP, 1 K) pitched scoreless relief.
9/1: The Dash administer another sound whooping, scoring nine earned runs off Curtis Partch (L 6-11, 5.17, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) and winning easy, 10-2. Puckett did go 3-for-4 (.277) and Didi Gregorius was 2-for-4 with a run scored in his Carolina League debut.
Transactions and notes: 8/26: SS Miguel Rojas back from Carolina. 8/27: RHR Abe Woody back from Carolina. OF Efrain Contreras was released. The 23-year-old Venezuelan had struggled badly this season, hitting just .199/.270/.316 in 62 games with the Hillcats and .203/.253/.215 in 24 games with Dayton. Contreras had hit quite decently the year before at Billings (.301/.395/.412, six steals) and at the complex level in ’08 as well. But when you’re old for your league and didn’t get a huge bonus, you can’t not hit for an entire season and keep your spot. 8/31: SS Didi Gregorius promoted from Dayton. SS Miguel Rojas to Carolina.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 5-2. A second straight winning week!
Overall: 21-43, last place.
8/26: Ricky Bowen fired six innings of three-hit ball (W 4-8, 5.88, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and C Mark Fleury was 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored (.243) as Dayton beat South Bend (ARI), 3-1. That’s five wins in six games.
8/27: Make it six of seven! The Dragons had 16 hits in beating the Silver Hawks again, 5-3. Jake Johnson got the victory (8-6, 4.37, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Josh Smith got the save (0.00, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K). 1B Tommy Nurre was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (#4, .215). C Chase Weems was 3-for-4 (.225).
8/28: Dayton blew a 2-0 lead by allowing the Lugnuts (TOR) five in the bottom of the first off Clayton Shunick. But the Dragons fired back with a five-spot of their own in the third to grab a 7-5 lead. Shunick allowed just one run over his final five (W 3-1, 4.08, 6 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) and Dan Renken (0.00, 2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K) and Blaine Howell (save #3, 2.51) were near-perfect over the final three. 2B Henry Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, two runs, a walk, and two stolen bases (32, .306). Fleury added a two-run triple and LF Kevyn Feiner, CF Jeremy Reed, and Nurre each had two hits.
8/29: The Dragons again showed their increased patience at the plate, logging three walks in the sixth inning as they got the tying run. Tim Crabbe allowed nine baserunners in five innings but only a solo homer actually crossed the plate to that point. Unfortunately, a three-run bomb in the sixth chased the right-hander (L 3-7, 4.34, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 2 HR) and put Lansing up 4-1. The Lugnuts then wrenched Jason Braun for three more in the seventh (5.40, 0.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER), making it 7-1. Junior Martinez came on to strand Braun’s inherited runners and close the inning. Dayton got two in the ninth, but that was it; Lansing wins it, 8-3. SS Didi Gregorius had two hits and a run batted in (.273).
8/30: Dayton scored seven runs in the top of the ninth to beat Lansing, 9-7! Where was this Dragons team a month ago? Blaine Howell pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to notch save #4 (2.35) and get the first MWL win for Tzu-Kai Chiu (2.55, 1 IP, 2 H). Here’s the pivotal inning:
Dayton Top of the 9th
• Josh Garton walks.
• Dominic D'Anna singles on a line drive to center fielder Jacob Marisnick. Josh Garton to 2nd.
• Tommy Nurre singles on a line drive to center fielder Jacob Marisnick. Josh Garton scores. Dominic D'Anna to 2nd.
• Frank Pfister pops out to shortstop Justin Jackson on the infield fly rule.
• Alex Oliveras singles on a line drive to center fielder Jacob Marisnick. Dominic D'Anna to 3rd. Tommy Nurre to 2nd.
• Pitcher Change: Casey Beck replaces Scott Gracey.
• Justin Reed singles on a ground ball to third baseman Kevin Ahrens. Dominic D'Anna scores. Tommy Nurre to 3rd. Alex Oliveras to 2nd.
• Didi Gregorius hit by pitch. Tommy Nurre scores. Alex Oliveras to 3rd. Justin Reed to 2nd.
• Henry Rodriguez flies out to left fielder Brad Glenn.
• Mark Fleury walks. Alex Oliveras scores. Justin Reed to 3rd. Didi Gregorius to 2nd.
• Josh Garton singles on a line drive to center fielder Jacob Marisnick. Justin Reed scores. Didi Gregorius scores. Mark Fleury scores. Josh Garton to 3rd. Throwing error by center fielder Jacob Marisnick.
• Dominic D'Anna walks.
• Pitcher Change: Steve Turnbull replaces Casey Beck.
• Tommy Nurre pops out to second baseman Kevin Nolan.
Starter Daniel Corcino struggled (4.78, 5 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Jamie Walczak followed him with two perfect innings (5.45, 2 K). Every hitter in the Dragons lineup had at least one hit; five had two apiece.
8/31: Dayton swamped the hapless Lugnuts, 12-0. Six Lansing errors helped the situation as well as starter Ricky Bowen’s third straight strong outing (W 5-8, 5.38, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Fleury was 4-for-5 with three RBI (.249) and Rodriguez drove in four with three hits (.307). Feiner added three hits to get his average off the interstate at .200. LF Alexis Oliveras scored three runs despite going 0-for-4 with a walk.
9/1: The Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB) got the unenviable task of facing Edinson Volquez, whom the Reds optioned to Dayton so he could work on some mechanics. The Hot Rods did manage a single run in seven innings (5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) but Dayton was shut out themselves until the seventh, when they finally managed to tie the score. BG then pounded on reliever Josh Smith for four runs over the final two innings (L 0-1, 2.38, 2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) as they pulled out a 5-3 win over the Dragons. Reed hit a solo homer in the eighth (#2).
Transactions and notes: 8/31: RHS Edinson Volquez optioned from Cincinnati. INF Didi Gregorius promoted to Lynchburg. 9/1: INFs Ronald Torreyes and Samuel Diaz and 3B David Vidal promoted from the AZL. INF Henry Rodriguez and UT Kevyn Feiner promoted to Lynchburg. SS Orlando Cabrera added on a rehab assignment.
Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs
Record this week: 4-2.
Overall: 14-14 for the second half, four games out. They lost a game in the race despite the good week.
8/26: Billings takes two of three against the Raptors of Ogden (LAD), whomping ‘em 14-5. 1B Donald Lutz was 4-for-4 with three runs scored, a triple, and RBI (.284). C Tucker Barnhart added three hits, two runs, and two RBI (.340). He now has a ten-game hitting streak. CF Jefry Sierra doubled twice and drove two in (.269) and SS Devin Lohman was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.242). RF Yorman Rodriguez chipped in two hits, a stolen base (#9) and two runs scored (.348). Starter Jonathan Correa struggled, but made it through five (W 1-1, 7.00, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). The relievers- Mark Leonard (3.86, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Drew Hayes (0.55, 1 IP, 1 K) did a nice job closing the door on any vintage Pioneer League comebacks in the later innings.
8/27: Kyle Lotzkar turned in his second straight dominating start (5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 K) but Billings didn’t get the game’s only run until the seventh. Ryan Smith ran his record to 4-0 (5.11, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Kevin Arico finished up for save #1. Rodriguez knocked in Sierra with a single for said run (.348, another walk). 2B Billy Hamilton stole three bases off a single and two walks (.316).
8/28: Starlin Gerson had his best start of 2010, allowing just two hits and a run over six innings while whiffing nine (W 3-3, 4.72) as Billings hung on to beat Orem (LAD), 3-2. Luca Panerati pitched 1.2 scoreless (1.69, 3 H, 3 K) but had to be bailed out by Porfirio Martinez, who stranded two (1.96, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). Dan Wolford in turn stranded a man before racking up save #3 (5.04, 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K). Again Hamilton stole three bases (39, 1-for-3, R, RBI, BB). Rodriguez had two more hits, yet another walk, and a run batted in (.355, steal #10). The Mustangs stole a total of seven bases in the game, aided by nine Owlz walks allowed.
8/29: Orem beat on Billings starter Dan Tuttle for three in the first inning. He made it through a scoreless second and Jesus Adames turned in mostly zeroes in the third. But the Owlz put up another three-spot in the fourth to take a 6-0 advantage. Then another the next inning. This was ugly. CF Dayne Read did hit his third homer to break the shutout. Mike Henry, a Canadian righthander who’s struggled seriously with his control, came on and pitched two excellent shutout innings with four strikeouts (8.00). The game was delayed by rain with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Then it was rained out. Not the best of days for the Mustangs.
8/30: Rained out.
8/31: The Mustangs completed their suspended game against Helena (MIL) from August 9th. I admit that I don’t remember where things picked up per se, but the Mustangs did win 7-5. RF Stephen Hunt hit a ninth-inning solo home run and Hamilton stole three bases while going 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Lohman had two doubles, two runs scored, and a RBI. Dan Wolford (W 2-2, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) got the victory and Pat Doyle survived a two-run Brewer ninth (save #3, 4.74, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) for the save.
The night’s regularly scheduled game saw the Brewers get the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth off Drew Hayes (L 1-2, 1.00, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Helena wins, 3-2. Kevin Arico preceded Hayes with three innings of one-hit shutout relief (2.45, 3 K). Starter Tanner Robles again looked good (2.98, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Rodriguez had a single and triple, scored one, and drove one in (.351). He also stole two bases, giving him 12. Hamilton reached base three times with a hit and two walks, but was picked off first (CS #9) and didn’t try to add to his Pioneer League-leading 42 steals at any other point.
9/1: Game suspended in a scoreless tie until the next night.
Transactions and notes: 9/1: RHR El’Hajj Muhammad, RHR Pat Quinn, and OF-1B Robert Maddox promoted from the AZL.
Rookie-Arizona League Reds
Record this week: 3-0 regular season, 1-1 playoffs.
Overall record: 31-24 regular season, 32-25 total.
8/26: The Reds held on to pick up a huge 6-4 win over the Dodgers, the team that was leading them in the wild card race. Radhames Quezada stymied the Dodgers on three hits through six (W 2-2, 4.82, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). 2B Ronald Torreyes had three hits and three RBI (.378) and 1B Robert Maddox had a key two-run ground-rule double in the first.
With the win, the 29-24 Reds were tied with the identical-record Dodgers and Royals. The Athletics were a half-game off at 29-25.
8/27: Two more games! The Reds have pretty much owned the 21-33 Indians, beating them five times in seven meetings. This made six of eight, as the eternally rehabbing Daryl Thompson (2.45, 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K), Mitchell Clarke (W 3-1, 2.08, 3 IP, 1 H, 3 K) and Jose Amezcua (3.65, save #1, 3 IP, 2 K) combined on a 3-0, two-hit shutout. DH Jeff Taylor was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and RBI (.206) and C Yasmani Grandal was 2-for-2 with a walk (.269).
8/28: The season’s last game! The Reds came through, too, shutting out the Padres 5-0 to clinch a tie for the AZL wild-card berth! Big-time outing for Wes Mugarian (W 1-1, 4.03, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K), El’Hajj Muhammad (1.38, 3 IP, 1 H, 5 K) and Joel Ernst (2.08, 1 IP, 2 K). Maddox was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer (#7, 2B, .283).
Now we wait. The Royals hung on to beat the Dodgers 5-4; they’re the one team that could have tied the Reds.
8/30: So the Reds are in the AZL playoffs! First up were the Giants, who won the East division with a 34-20 record. The Reds started their ace lefty Ismael Guillon (3-3, 3.32, 73 K in 57 IP). Guillon was coming off a six-inning, eleven-K performance his last time out- and he nearly equaled that this time, whiffing eight Giants in five shutout innings (3 H, 2 BB). The Reds added four runs to their 2-1 lead in the eighth- which was good because the Giants got to Clarke (0.2 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB) and Pat Quinn (1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB) for a four-spot of their own in the bottom of the eighth. But after Quinn managed to strand the tying run on second by getting a fly ball and strikeout (and after the Reds wasted Grandal’s leadoff triple in the ninth, stranding him at third), Joel Ernst came on to work a scoreless ninth to save a 6-5 win! Torreyes was the clear hitting star; he drove in five of the Reds’ six runs with three hits- a single, double, and triple. 3B David Vidal had a pair of doubles. CF Kurtis Muller and LF Juan Silva also had triples- making four for the game for the Reds.
Now it’s on to the AZL Championship Game (yes, the complex leagues have one-game rounds)!
8/31: So here we are for all the marbles! Even with the Reds’ stretch-run surge, the Brewers still finished two and a half games ahead of the Reds with a 34-22 record. The Reds actually outscored the Brewers by three runs (331 to 328) on the season; they also had a team ERA a half-run better (3.63 to 4.13), although the actual runs-allowed differential is only fifteen (Reds 260, Brewers 275) due to unearned runs. I’m guessing Junior Arias had something to do with that. Arias also had something to do with the Reds’ AZL-leading 34 home runs, too.
ANYWAY, the game! The Brewers have the AZL’s ERA champion, lefty Charly Bashara (5-2, 2.37, 64 K in 57 IP, just 15 BB), but he pitched in the semifinal game against the Rangers (and wasn’t much help, allowing four earned runs in three-plus innings). So they went to their #2 man, righty Dan Britt (2-1, 3.33 in 24.1 IP, 29 H). The Reds countered with Radhames Quezada (2-1, 2.09 in seven DSL starts; 2-2, 4.82 in 28 AZL IP with 34 K). The Reds grabbed leads of 1-0 and 3-1, but three in the third and four in the fourth chased Quezada after 3.1 IP (7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Britt was also chased in the fourth. The Reds battled back to a 8-8 tie in the seventh with two runs, one on Maddox’ solo homer. El’Hajj Muhammad worked 2.2 innings (4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Nathan Driessen turned in a scoreless seventh, but the Brewers got two off Juan Marizan in the eighth. Vidal led off the Reds’ ninth with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Maddox’ flyout moved him to third. Grandal drew a walk, but Muller flew out and RF Jaron Matthews grounded out to end the game and the Reds’ season.