Overall: Carolina, Lynchburg, and Dayton finish their seasons with a bit of a whimper. Billings is not playoff-bound but has been considerably better than last season's 24-52 debacle. Louisville sorta backed into it, but they won their division and went to the playoffs against Durham. One more Results Roundup for 2010!
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 2-3.
Overall: 79-64, division champs by a half-game!
9/2: Chad Reineke can’t quite stop the Indians (PIT), as a three-run homer in a four-run fourth wiped out a 4-1 Bats lead and led to a 7-5 Indy win. Reineke fell to 9-9 (3.91, 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). 1B Danny Dorn hit a three-run homer in the first (#13) and finished 2-for-4 with four RBI overall (.301). Southern League MVP Dave Sappelt kept hitting at the AAA level, going 2-for-4 with a walk, stolen base (4) and run scored (.311).
9/3: Payback in central Indiana! Louisville flogged a dog’s breakfast of minor-league veterans for sixteen runs and eighteen hits in a 16-6 rout. Tom Cochran, up from Carolina for the playoffs (maybe) didn’t dazzle (4 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Neither did Jerry Gil (5.40, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER). Phil Valiquette fired two scoreless for the win (2-1, 4.41, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K). LF Mike Griffin led the offensive onslaught, going 4-for-5 with four runs scored, four RBI, two homers (#6 and #7) and a triple. 1B Todd Frazier added a 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and four RBI (.258). So both players missed the cycle by one- Griffin a double and Frazier a homer. Dorn was 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI (.307). OF Sean Henry, up from the Mudcats, was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, a double, and RBI after entering mid-game as a pinch-hitter. The only guy in the Bat lineup that didn’t really contribute was C Devin Mesoraco, who was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and a GIDP.
9/4: Matt Klinker started and lost again (L 4-4, 5.85, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), 4-1, as four Indy pitchers held the Bats to one run despite nine hits. Sappelt was 3-for-4 (.330) but scored no runs (since Louisville was 1-for-10 with RISP). 2B Kris Negron was 2-for-4 with a double (.167).
9/5: The Bats fell to Indy, 5-3, as the Indians got two tiebreaking runs in the seventh off Danny Herrera (L 2-2, 4.30, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Starter Jeremy Horst had lasted four innings (2.51, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Phil Valiquette pitched a perfect fifth (4.29, 1 IP, 2 K). 3B Eric Eymann was 2-for-4 with a run scored (.294). Mesoraco was 0-for-4 again (.240).
9/6: Ben Jukich has earned his slot in the Bats’ postseason rotation, as he no-hit the Indians for five innings en route to his fourth straight strong start (27.1 IP, 16 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 24 K). Louisville got their offense going, too, as Sappelt crushed a solo homer in the second and Henry had a two-run single in the first. Jukich did lose the no-hitter and the shutout in the sixth, but went on to the seventh before a solo homer and a two-out walk sent Rick Sweet to the mound with a call for Micah Owings. The lefty worked 6.2 innings (3.90, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) and departed with a 5-2 lead. Owings gave up a run-scoring double but then got a popout. Todd Frazier got that run back in the bottom of the seventh with his 17th homer. Owings did turn in a scoreless eighth (2.21, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Sweet went to Jared Burton for the ninth. Burton allowed a leadoff single, but came back to get a popup. The normally sure-handed Zach Cozart committed an error to bring the tying run up with one out. Grounder to second… flip to Cozart… to Danny Dorn at first for the 4-6-3 double play. Bats win, 6-3. Jukich’s record improved to 7-4; Burton got save #4 (2.61). This win gave the Bats the IL West title by a half-game over the Clippers! They’ll play Scranton/WB (NYY) on the other side of the playoff brackets instead.
9/8: IL playoffs! Louisville (79-64) is in a rematch with 88-55 Durham (TB), the squad that won last year’s five-game series and went on to become IL champions. The Bulls also beat the Bats in 2008’s IL playoffs. Games one and two are at Louisville Slugger Field, so it’s essential to get out of the gate fast.
Chad Reineke (9-9, 3.91, 32 G, 19 GS, 131.1 IP, 136 H, 36 BB, 83 K, 17 HR, 4-3, 5.08 over his last ten outings) was tapped to start for the Bats against 26-year-old Dominican righthander Richard de los Santos (14-5, 3.52, 28 G, 23 GS, 148.1 IP, 154 H, 48 BB, 90 K, 6 HR). De los Santos is an interesting case; he was a reliever for the majority his entire pro career (spent in the Rays system since they took him from Cleveland in 2004 on a minor-league Rule 5 selection). He is 7-1, 2.68 over his last ten starts.
Louisville did what you’d hope for- they scored four runs in the second off de los Santos (Costanzo RBI single, Mesoraco sac-fly, Negron RBI triple, Sappelt RBI double) to take a 4-1 lead. They then added three more in the sixth on Costanzo’s three-run homer following a walk to Frazier and a single by Henry. Durham finally chased Reineke with two in the seventh (W, 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 103 pitches/60 strikes) but Danny Herrera and Jared Burton turned in scoreless innings to lock down an 8-4 win. Henry (3-for-4, 3 R, 2B) and Costanzo (2-for-3, 4 RBI) proved invaluable despite the former being new to this level and the latter struggling most of the time he spent here in the last couple of years. Mesoraco finished 1-for-2 with two RBI and Sappelt was 3-for-4 with a double. Three double plays turned by the Cozart-Negron-Dorn trio helped Reineke and company considerably.
Next up- game two, with lefty Tom Cochran (Carolina: 8-5, 2.69, 25 GS, 137 IP, 117 H, 53 BB, 99 K) going against Durham’s Aneury Rodriguez, a 22-year-old righthander (6-5, 3.80, 27 G, 17 GS, 113.2 IP, 104 H, 49 BB, 94 K)
Transactions and notes: John Sickels did an article about Devin Mesoraco.
9/2: LHS Tom Cochran up from Carolina. OF Wladimir Balentien placed on the 7-day DL with an oblique strain (bad timing). LHS Matt Maloney up to Cincinnati. RHR Jordan Smith also recalled by the Reds. OF Sean Henry moved up from AA.
AA Carolina Mudcats
Record this week: 1-4.
Overall: 28-40 (second half). Last place, 15 games behind Tennessee (CHC). Combined with a 30-39 first half, that’s 58-79 overall for the year, which would also be last in their five-team division. Last year saw Carolina go 65-74 in their first season as a Reds affiliate. In six years as a Marlins affiliate from 2003-2008, they won the league championship once and went to the playoffs two more times.
9/2: With players departing left and right for Louisville, the Mudcats end up with a bunch of ex-Hillcats and part-timers in their lineup as well as starter Daryl Thompson, just reactivated after his third rehab stint of 2010. Thompson lasted just three (L 0-5, 3.71, 3 H, 3 ER) and Carolina gets waxed by Birmingham (CWS), 8-0. CF Felix Perez, slumping badly since his DL stint (.177 in August), was 2-for-3 (.258).
9/3: RF Denis Phipps singled in 2B Jake Kahauleilo with the winning run in the bottom of the tenth! Carolina upended first-place Tennessee (CHC), 5-4. Perez was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer (#2, steal #8, .272). Starter Scott Carroll worked six (3.68, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 101 pitches/59 strikes). Brad Boxberger again pitched very well in relief, throwing seventeen strikes in nineteen pitches (8.79, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K). Donnie Joseph gave up three hits and a run to blow a one-run lead (BS #2, 6.00), but Ruben Medina picked up the win with a scoreless top of the tenth (W 4-1, 2.78).
9/4: The Mudcats roll into the season’s final weekend by blowing a 5-1 lead at home to the Smokies, who ended up scoring nine unanswered runs for the win. Jordan Hotchkiss pitched well (3.38, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 88 pitches/53 strikes) but the bullpen trio of Abe Woody (4.97, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER), Lee Tabor (L 3-3, 4.88, BS #2, 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER) and Gilbert de la Vara (14.40, 1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) coughed it up. 1B Jake Kahauleilo hit homer #13 and went 3-for-5 (.254). LF Kyle Day was 1-for-2 with two walks, a double, and two RBI. SS Miguel Rojas was 2-for-4 (.300).
9/5: RBIs from 2B Cody Puckett and C Chris McMurray in the seventh tied the game at 2, but Tennessee immediately came back with the go-ahead run off Ruben Medina (L 4-2, 2.87, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K) in the eighth. Tennessee closer Aaron Shafer then retired the final five Mudcats in a row to end the game. Starter James Avery pitched well (5.63, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) as he prepares for a stint in the Arizona Fall League.
9/6: Travis Webb returned from the inactive list to start the regular-season finale. Tennessee got two runs off him in the third, although he rebounded to retire the Smokies in order in the fourth. A solo homer made it 3-0 in the fifth, but Webb got a double-play ball to end the inning and prevent further damage. 3B Shane Carlson socked his first Southern League homer in the bottom of the inning to put the Mudcats on the board. Abe Woody took over for the sixth (Webb: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.93 ERA) and got the first two men out, but Carlson committed a throwing error to extend the inning. Woody got prospect Brett Jackson to ground out to end it, however. Kahauleilo led off the Carolina sixth with a single, but Denis Phipps immediately grounded into a double play. Brandon Yarbrough singled and Carlos Mendez walked, but Carlson popped out to end the threat. Woody turned in a 1-2-3 seventh (4.65). McMurray singled to lead off the Mudcat seventh- his second hit- and 2B Cody Puckett followed with a double! Felix Perez flew out to short right, but Rojas came through with a RBI grounder to cut the Smokies’ lead to 3-2. Kahauleilo popped out foul to end the inning. Justin Freeman came on for the eighth to do what he’s done all year- pitch no-nonsense scoreless ball (2.45). Donnie Joseph replicated that feat in the ninth, then Carlson led off the Mudcat ninth with a double. But McMurray’s bunt attempt became a fielder’s choice out at third, Puckett popped out, and Perez struck out to end the game. Tough loss for Webb, who finishes the year with a 6-10 record.
Transactions and notes: OF Dave Sappelt, promoted to Louisville a few weeks before, was named the 2010 Southern League MVP! Sappelt, 23, batted .361 in 89 games with nine homers, 62 RBI, a .419 OBP, fifteen steals, and a .548 SLG.
9/2: INF Shane Carlson, OF Kyle Day, and RHR Abe Woody promoted from Lynchburg. RHP Daryl Thompson activated from the DL. LHS Tom Cochran to Louisville. LHS Travis Webb placed on the temporarily inactive list. OF Sean Henry up to Louisville. 2B-LF-RF Cody Puckett up from Lynchburg. 9/6: LHS Travis Webb activated.
High-A Lynchburg Hillcats
Record this week: 2-2.
Overall: 32-36, third place, 6.5 games out. Combined with a 29-41 first half, that’s an overall record of 61-77. Would have been last in the four-team division. Last year as a Pittsburgh affiliate, the Hillcats won the Carolina League playoffs despite a record of just 73-66. The previous two years they had less wins than they had this year.
9/2: Winston-Salem (CHW) swamped the Hillcats, 11-0. Next.
9/3: The Dash win this one as well, 6-4. Josh Ravin had his first poor start in five (L 2-1, 2.08, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). 1B Neftali Soto was 3-for-4 with homer #19 (.264). DH Henry Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with a RBI in his third Carolina League game (.333). LF Kevyn Feiner hit homer #2.
9/4: The season’s final series, a three-game road set at Myrtle Beach (ATL) kicked off with Lynchburg hanging on to win, 4-3. Nick Christiani let in an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth but escaped the jam for save #4 (3.44, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER). Justin Walker started and won (4-2, 6.59, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Jeff Jeffords turned in a scoreless seventh and eighth (3.84, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Soto had a massive game, driving in all four Hillcats runs with a pair of homers (#20 and #21) and a two-run double. He raised his line to .267/.314/.460.
9/5: The Pelicans hammered Pedro Villareal (L 0-3, 6.86, 3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) and won easily, 8-3. Lynchburg got three in the top of the ninth to prevent the shutout.
9/6: The Hillcats sent Curtis Partch to the mound in their season finale. He pitched five innings of three-hit shutout ball (W 7-11, 4.98, 0 BB, 3 K) as Lynchburg won, 7-1, and ended the year on a high note. DH Cam Satterwhite was 2-for-4 with a RBI and Soto was 1-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored (.268). The Hillcats generated seven runs on just six hits and four walks thanks to some helpful Pelicans wild pitches and errors.
Transactions and notes: RHS Jordan Hotchkiss was named the Carolina League’s outstanding pitcher of the year! Not bad for a guy who began the year in middle relief. Hotchkiss, 24, was 10-4 with a 2.30 ERA (league lead) in fifteen starts and sixteen relief appearances.
9/2: OF Kyle Day, INF Shane Carlson, 2B-OF Cody Puckett, and RHR Abe Woody to Carolina. INF Henry Rodriguez and UT Kevyn Feiner up from Dayton. RHP Lance Janke activated from the DL. 9/4: OF Cam Satterwhite promoted from Dayton.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
Record this week: 2-3.
Overall: 23-46, last place. A 30-39 first half yields an overall mark of 53-85, good for last in the eight-team division. While that record is plenty not-good and sure to elicit whiny columns from the Dayton Daily News, it is better than 2004, when the franchise finished 48-92. Last year’s 59-80 record wasn’t good either, however.
9/2: Bowling Green (TB) wins, 5-1. DH Frank Pfister broke the shutout in the ninth with homer #8 (2-for-3, .262). Jake Johnson started and lost (L 8-7, 4.47, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Tzu-Kai Chiu again pitched well in relief (2.25, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 K).
9/3: Again the Hot Rods cruise, 7-1. Seven combined hits in these two games for Dayton. Clayton Shunick pitched well but lost (L 3-2, 3.92, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K).
9/4: The Dragons bounce back from the sweep to nip South Bend (ARI), 7-5, behind a big game from Pfister (3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, .266, his 33rd and 34th errors) and homers from C Mark Fleury (#10, 2-for-3, 2 R, .254) and LF Alex Oliveras (#5, .233, 2-for-4). Tim Crabbe got his control under control and pitched well (4.26, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) but a pair of unearned runs off Jason Braun cost him the win. Instead Josh Smith (1-1) got it by retiring four straight (2.13, 2 K). Blaine Howell got save #5 (2.08, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K). The Dragons had to survive four errors overall.
9/5: Again Dayton survived messy defense (three more errors) but Fleury homered again (#11) and 2B Ronald Torreyes went 3-for-4 with a run scored and RBI (.190) in a 6-4 victory. Another former AZL Red, David Vidal provided the tiebreaking two runs in the eighth with a double (.182, 2-for-4). Daniel Corcino returned to pitching well (4.31, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). Jamie Walczak got the win in relief (1-3, 6.14, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K).
9/6: Edinson Volquez was on the hill as the Dragons tried to finish their season with a sweep. He struck out ten Silver Hawks over the first five, but he served up a home run to 2009 first-round draft pick Bobby Borchering in the third to tie the score at 1. (Torreyes tripled and scored on Oliveras’ groundout in the first.) Dayton busted into the lead with two in the sixth on RBI hits from SS Samuel Diaz and Torreyes. South Bend got an unearned run off Volquez in the sixth after a Diaz error. This cut their deficit to 3-2. They tied it an inning later, as Volquez served up a second bomb- this one to a guy who’d batted .227 with four homers the entire year! Edinson’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 2 HR. That led to the summoning of the right-hander Braun, who permitted two more runs (L 2-2, 5.26, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Tzu-Kai Chiu struck out all three Silver Hawks he faced in the eighth and didn’t allow a hit in the ninth either (2.05), but Dayton couldn’t turn Pfister’s one-out double into any runs in the bottom half. Three fly balls in the ninth ended the game and the season, 5-3.
Transactions and notes: 9/2: 3B David Vidal and INFs Ronald Torreyes and Samuel Diaz up from the AZL. INF Henry Rodriguez and UT Kevyn Feiner to Lynchburg. 9/7: RHS Edinson Volquez recalled by Cincinnati.
Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs
Record this week: 3-5.
Overall: 17-19 for the second half, six games out.
9/2: Billings and Missoula (ARI) first finished a suspended game from the night before. It started 0-0 in the third (sad that it cut short a dominant start by the Mustangs’ Jonathan Correa, who whiffed six in three scoreless innings). Missoula won a seesaw matchup with the winning run in the bottom of the tenth, 7-6. CF Yorman Rodriguez was 2-for-5 with two RBI (.353) and DH Donald Lutz was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and homer #7 (.276). 2B Billy Hamilton lashed his tenth triple of the season, walked, and drove one in (.319).
Kyle Lotzkar continued to dominate in the night’s regularly scheduled game, striking out ten in five innings (0.60) but leaving in a 1-1 tie. Billings got the tiebreaking run in the top of the seventh when an error scored 3B Oliver Santos. Porfirio Martinez ended up with the win (3-2, 1.80, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Lotzkar, 20, now has two walks and 26 strikeouts in fifteen PL innings. He should be a lock to return to a full-season affiliate for his age-21 season in 2011, provided his arm holds up better than it did in 2008 and 2009.
9/3: The Osprey maul the Mustangs, 13-2. Next.
9/4: Great Falls (CHW) got six runs off Billings’ Kevin Arico in the fifth inning as the 2010 NCAA Division I saves leader couldn’t record an out (L 0-2, 7.36). The Voyagers went on to a 10-5 win. Dan Tuttle started and worked four good innings (4.32, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). C Chris Berset did go 2-for-4 with a homer (#1) and two RBI. Lutz was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, and two RBI (.284).
9/5: Tanner Robles two-hit the Voyagers for six innings (L 3-3, 2.98, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but he was outdueled, 3-1. Billings outhit Great Falls eight to four but went 0-for-5 with RISP. Billy Hamilton did swipe his league-leading 43rd base.
9/6: Four more games to go. Billings will fall short of the Pioneer League playoffs, finishing two games out of first at 21-17 in the first half and standing five and a half back at 15-18 in the second. It was Hamilton that took center stage in this 4-1 win over Missoula (ARI); he went 3-for-4 with a homer (#2), three runs scored, two RBI, and five (!) stolen bases. Jonathan Correa struck out eleven over six innings (W 2-2, 5.00, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB) for the victory.
9/7: Lotzkar did it again, shutting out the Osprey on one hit through five (W 2-0, 0.45, 0 BB, 7 K) in a 3-0 Mustangs win. Mark Leonard scattered four hits over the final two innings for the save (3.80).
9/8: Two more, both against Great Falls. Stalin Gerson started for Billings. He permitted eight baserunners in five innings, but no runs (4.88, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K). But the Voyagers jumped on Drew Hayes (L 1-3, 2.42, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) for four in the eighth and won it, 5-2. Both of Billings’ runs came in the bottom of the ninth when they were down 5-0.
Final game of the Pioneer League season is 9/9.
Transactions and notes: 9/2: RHR El’Hajj Muhammad, 1B Robert Maddox and RHR Pat Quinn up from the AZL.
OF Juan Duran made the BA Prospect Hot Sheet… in the “not so hot” section:
• Juan Duran, rf, Reds: Duran turned 19 on Thursday, but that was about the only highlight for him this week. He celebrated his birthday by going 0-for-2 with a couple of strikeouts that night for Rookie-level Billings, and he went just 1-for-15 with nine whiffs on the week. Although Duran hasn't been terribly productive as a Mustang, hitting .245/.311/.395 in 200 at-bats this year, the Reds expected he'd be a long-term project. Learning to play with a 6-foot-7, 190-pound frame takes some time."
2B Billy Hamilton (.320/.386/.458, 48/57 SB) and LHS Tanner Robles (3-3, 2.98, .187 BAA) were named to the 2010 Pioneer League All-Star team. C Tucker Barnhart and manager Delino DeShields got honorable mentions.
Rookie-Arizona League Reds
Record this week: 3-0 regular season, 1-1 playoffs.
Overall record: 31-24 regular season, 32-25 total.
Season ended. A fine inaugural year for the Goodyear-based complex squad!