One more to go, then playoffs, an Arizona Fall League rundown and an exploration of the Reds' upcoming list of minor league free agents.
AAA Louisville Bats
This week: 3-4.
Overall: 71-68, second place, way behind Columbus (CLE).
8/24: Lehigh Valley (PHI) got all six of its runs in the sixth, wiping out a 2-0 Bats lead. Louisville came back with three in the eighth, but 2B Chris Valaika flew out with men on second and third to end the inning. The Bats were then retired in order in the home ninth and fell 6-5. Daryl Thompson took the loss (3-2, 3.36, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). RF Jeremy Hermida had three hits, including homer #16 (.314). CF Denis Phipps, as has been the rule lately, lashed three hits as well (.360, 2 R, 2B, steal #4). Valaika had three hits to raise his average to .248. SS Kris Negron had two hits and two RBI (.199).
8/25: This time it’s the Bats’ turn to hold off an IronPigs comeback, as Jordan Smith (3.09, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and Brad Boxberger (save #4, 3.42, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) manage to hold off Lehigh Valley to preserve a 6-5 win. Matt Maloney moved to 6-1 (3.19, 6 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Negron led off the Bats’ first with homer #8; he later added a two-run double. Valaika doubled twice. Hermida hit homer #17 and finished 2-for-4.
8/26: Four Bats runs in the seventh give them a 7-4 win and a 2-1 series lead. Chad Reineke scattered eight hits over 6.1 (W 8-6, 3.47, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). 3B Juan Francisco hit homer #15, Hermida had two more hits, two more runs, and two more RBI (.318) and Phipps also turned in two hits and two RBI (.361). Valaika keeps with his hot streak, scoring twice following a single and double (.253).
8/27: LV got the tiebreaking run in the top of the ninth off Nick Christiani (L 2-2, 4.09, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) to win it 5-4 and earn a split. Apparently Christiani uncorked a wild pitch off an attempted intentional walk! Valaika- three more hits (.257). Hermida doubled twice. Phipps and Francisco each had two hits as well. Starter Edinson Volquez struck out 11 IronPigs over six innings, with all four runs against him scoring in the fifth (2.46, 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K). A throwing error by C Devin Mesoraco caused two of those to be unearned.
8/28: The Bats head up to Columbus to face the division-clinched Clippers (CLE). The Clips scored six in the second to doom Travis Wood (L 2-3, 5.03, 3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and win game one 8-5. Negron homered (#9) and singled. The white-hot Valaika hit homer #7 and added a single.
8/29: Ow. Daryl Thompson is chased in the first inning by a Clippers eight-spot. And most of the prospects on this Columbus team are in the big leagues! Anyway, they cruise 11-2. Thompson’s ERA climbed from 3.36 to 3.86. Jeremy Horst pitched 3.1 innings of shutout long relief, but his squad couldn’t mount a comeback. Rehabbin’ Chris Heisey did hit a solo homer.
8/30: Matt Maloney dominated the Clippers, allowing them but two hits through eight innings of a 2-1 Bats win (W 7-1, 2.99, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 101 pitches/66 strikes). Boxberger set down the Clips in order in the ninth for save #5 (3.16, 1 K). Valaika got two hits and scored a run (.261) and Francisco had two hits and a RBI and a walk (!, .307). 2B Jose Castro also had two hits and a run scored (.250).
Transactnotes: 8/25: RHS Scott Carroll placed on the DL with a left oblique strain. 8/26: LHS Travis Wood optioned from Cincinnati. 8/27: OF Chris Heisey activated for rehab. 8/28: LHP Tom Cochran activated from the DL. UT Mike Griffin placed on the temporarily-inactive list. Also, it was reported that LHR Phil Valiquette was released. He’d missed all of 2011 with injuries; still, it’s somewhat surprising as the guy throws in the mid-90s. RHR David Johnson, if you’re wondering where he went, was traded to Toronto for future considerations.
The International League’s Postseason All-Star team included C Devin Mesoraco and SS Zach Cozart. It should have included RF Jeremy Hermida, but didn’t.
I missed 3B Juan Francisco’s being named IL Batter of the Week for August 15-21; he hit .500 (12-for-24) with three homers and 10 RBI. Jeremy Hermida made the BA Prospect Hot Sheet’s “Man Among Boys” section just before being waived.
Right-handers Brad Boxberger and Nick Christiani, left-handers Donnie Joseph and Travis Webb, Grandal, infielders Brodie Greene and Cody Puckett will play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League.
AA Carolina Mudcats
This week: 3-4.
Overall: 29-35, third place behind Chattanooga (LAD). Overall 52-82.
8/24: Carolina clinches a five-game series win by taking game four of this one, 2-1 over Jacksonville (FLA). LF Josh Fellhauer singled home RF Bill Rhinehart, who’d walked, in the home ninth following a single by C Yasmani Grandal. Win to Kyle McCulloch in relief (6-6, 5.16, 2 IP, 2 K) in relief of Pedro Villareal (4.41, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) who pitched very well. 2B Henry Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with two doubles to raise his average to an even .300.
The Mudcats lost their first 13 series of the season, finally taking one from Jackson in mid-June. They have won only four of ten since then, including this current one.
8/25: The Suns take game five, 5-3. Curt Partch took the loss (2-1, 8.20, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Grandal’s pinch-hit single in the ninth drove in two, but the Mudcats couldn’t muster anything further.
8/26: On to Montgomery to face the Biscuits (TB). Carolina made four errors and lost game one, 12-9. Rodriguez did have a huge game, pasting two homers(#4 and #5), driving in six, and scoring three (.303). LF Cody Puckett also hit #13 and 1B Neftali Soto #28 (2-for-5, .266). James Avery was chased early (L 6-12, 4.85, 2.2 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K).
8/27: Carolina blew a 3-0 first-inning lead when the Biscuits got all five of their runs in the sixth. These came at the expense of Josh Ravin (L 0-2, 7.83, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 BB, 2 K), who’d been sailing to that point. Soto and Rhinehart did have a pair of hits apiece. SS Didi Gregorius came up in the ninth with Rhinehart at second, but his line drive was caught at second base to end the game.
8/28: Again Montgomery hangs on for a one-run win, 4-3. Carolina got two in the ninth and their bid for the tying run was foiled when the game ended- Rodriguez was thrown out attempting to go to third on Rhinehart’s sacrifice fly. Not the most heads-up play by Henry, seemingly. Worse, he broke his ankle on the play, ending his season. Still a good one, as he raked in High-A (.340/.378/.513 with 12-19 SB in 58 games) while making the successful leap to Double-A (.302/.367/.432, 18-21 SB, 69 games). It was a better season overall than his breakout 2010 in Dayton, even. Soto, who’d hit homer #29 earlier, had hit his own sac-fly a batter before. Justin Lehr fell to 1-2 (4.60, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR).
8/29: Finally the Mudcats solve the Biscuits, as Soto homered for the third time in the series (#30, 3-for-5, 3 R, .274) in an 8-3 triumph. Villareal, who’s really come on this month, had a perfect game until 3B Miguel Rojas’ error with two outs in the sixth. He then walked the leadoff man in the seventh, and the next man followed with a single. Villareal was swiftly relieved (W 7-3, 4.20, 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) but got the victory.
8/30: Partch (see above) has not had a lot of success at this level so far, but he showed a little something here- after the Biscuits knocked him around for two in the first and one in the second, he bore down and shut them down for the next four-plus innings- notching himself a quality start (7.36, 6.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 90 pitches/71 strikes) as his club tied the score in the fourth. Brandon Hynick stranded a runner in the seventh, then pitched a scoreless eighth (W 4-3, 3.67, 1.1 IP). Carolina exploded for four runs in the top of the ninth off Montgomery closer Zachary Quate, including a RBI infield hit from Gregorius and a three-run homer from Eric Campbell (#11). Justin Freeman was pulled for Donnie Joseph with two on and two out in the ninth, and the embattled lefty got the K to notch save #8 (6.67). Rhinehart had a pair of doubles and a RBI (.304) and Grandal had two hits and two runs scored (.301).
Transactnotes: 8/29: INF Henry Rodriguez to the DL (see above) and INF Jake Kahauleilo activated.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 2-5.
Overall: 29-35 second half, fifth place. 64-70 overall.
8/24: Rancho Cucamonga (LAD) takes game two of this series, 12-10. Five runs in the eighth did it, pinning the loss on Derrik Lutz (1-2, 3.93, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 ER). Scott Gaffney blew save #6. Starter Dan Renken had a tough one (4.32, 5 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). The Blaze got their licks in, as 2B Brodie Greene had three hits (.292, 2 R, RBI, 2B) and stole three bases (33). LF AJ Means also had three hits and two steals (.256, 35). DH Alex Buchholz hit homer #8. CF Ryan LaMarre recorded two outfield assists, swiped bag #47, and drove in two while scoring two.
8/25: A Quakes sweep, 2-0. Tim Crabbe pitched well but was outdueled (L 4-5, 3.80, 7.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K).
8/26: Off to High Desert (SEA), one of the two big launching pads of the California League. The Mavericks took the opener, holding off Bakersfield 7-6. Matt Fairel: rough (L 0-4, 10.80, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR). Four Blaze batters had two hits apiece and 1B Jorge Jimenez drove in three.
8/27: Five straight losses, as a pair of solo homers in the sixth off Clayton Shunick (L 3-3, 2.51, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) broke a 4-4 tie and led to the Mavericks’ 6-4 win. One of those was an inside-the-park job that eluded the diving Ryan LaMarre in centerfield and rolled all the way to the fence. Starter Mark Serrano was out in the fifth (4.50, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 2 HR). DH Carlos Mendez hit homer #2 and SS Devin Lohman was 2-for-3 with two runs scored (.299).
8/28: Two homers from 1B Chris Richburg (#11 and #12) and a fourth-inning grand slam from C Mark Fleury (#3) helped break the losing streak, 12-4. Starter JC Sulbaran navigated the hostile arena in fine fashion (W 9-5, 4.57, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). Drew Bowman now has a 1.26 ERA in August (4.06, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Fleury finished 2-for-4 (.269). Jimenez was 3-for-5 (.267). LaMarre swiped bag #49 and Greene #34.
8/29: HD takes the series three games to one with a 7-6 win. They rallied in the later innings off Mace Thurman and Chris Manno (BS #2, L 0-1, 0.60, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Manno chose a bad time to give up his first earned run as a Red- although it did take him 15 innings. Renken worked five (4.80, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Fleury had a single, triple, walk, and stolen base (.278). RF Stephen Hunt was 2-for-4 (.296). LaMarre had two hits (.281) and two more bags. That’s 51. He trails the Mavericks’ Daniel Carroll- who had two of his own in this game- by eight, however.
8/30: The Blaze tallied runs in seven of their eight times at bat, then survived a six-run outburst by San Jose (SF) to win it 11-6. So much for Bowman’s sparking August ERA- he was charged with five of the runs. Starter Tim Crabbe fired a one-hit shutout for seven innings (W 5-5, 3.55, 1 BB, 8 K). Greene (#14) and Lohman (#3) homered late, as everyone in the lineup excepting C Jordan Wideman (who had three walks) got a hit. Greene also swiped two bases (36) and LaMarre got #52.
Transactnotes: 8/27: OF Dayne Read activated from the DL. RHR Derrik Lutz released. The 26-year-old righthander had missed most of 2009 and all of 2010 in dealing with serious arm problems and just didn’t display the same command upon returning. He was 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 17 games for the Blaze (18.1 IP, 10 BB, 14 K) and had a 7.71 ERA in six appearances for Billings. Lutz was a 19th-round pick in 2006 out of George Washington University. His best year in the system was 2007, where he was 3-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 23 saves as Sarasota’s closer. He then put up a 1.13 mark in seven games for Double-A Chattanooga. He struggled at that level in 2008, but had a 1.99 ERA for the Lookouts in 2009 before the injury.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 5-2.
Overall: 44-20, lead by nine games over Fort Wayne (SD) and Great Lakes (LAD). Overall 79-55.
8/24: The Dragons entered this week on a fourteen-of-seventeen winning binge. They sit comfortably atop the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. However, this series opener against Great Lakes (LAD) was a blip, as the Loons hammered starter Mitch Clarke (L 3-2, 2.86, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER,0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) and won a 9-3 rout. SS Billy Hamilton was 2-for-5 with steal #92 (.269). C Tucker Barnhart (.269) and LF Juan Duran (.260, RBI) were each 2-for-4. Stalin Gerson took over for Clarke in relief, pitching 3.2 innings (3.68, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR).
8/25: With the previous day’s ugliness behind them, the Dragons went back to kicking butt. They won a 9-0 shutout behind Kyle Lotzkar (W 3-1, 4.13, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K) and 2B Ronald Torreyes (2-for-3, 2 3B, 3 RBI, R, BB). The defense turned three double plays. Barnhart overcame an erroneous pickoff throw (only his second E of the year) with two hits and two RBI. Hamilton had a single and double (.270), scored one, and drove one in. Then he struck out his other three times up- and didn’t attempt a steal.
8/26: Dragons take the series by administering a 13-4 pounding. Six runs in the first, two coming on Barnhart’s third homer. 3B David Vidal hit #18 later on. RF Theo Bowe was 3-for-4 with three RBI from the #9 slot (.258). Hamilton had three hits in six trips- and again, no steal attempts (.273). C Chris Berset busted out of his season-long slump by going 4-for-5 with a double, triple, three runs, and two RBI (.206). Starter Tanner Robles fought his control, as usual, but also was effectively wild (W 6-9, 5.71, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K). Luca Panerati picked up three in middle relief (4.41, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Dan Wolford still can’t be scored on (1.26, 1 IP, 2 K).
8/27: Daniel Corcino (W 11-6, 3.07, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and four relievers combined on a eight-hit, 2-0 shutout of West Michigan (DET). Drew Hayes finished the procession with save #22. Hamilton got two more bags (94) while going 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored.
8/28: Josh Smith tied for the Midwest League lead with his 13th win following six shutout innings (W 13-7, 2.88, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K) of a 6-0 victory. Vidal hit a two-run homer (#19) and Duran a solo blast (#15, 2-for-4, .268). RF Kurtis Muller was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two steals (8, .282). It looks like the (now) 24-year-old righthander out of Lipscomb has put his July struggles behind him, as his 3.09 ERA in six August starts compares well with the other months. Smith also leads the MWL with 159 strikeouts, eight better than his teammate Corcino and 18 more than the since-promoted Daniel Renken.
8/29: The Whitecaps salvage one, winning 5-1. Gerson started and lost (5-2, 3.68, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Clarke pitched well in relief (2.79, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Hamilton got a hit and stole base #95. Torreyes had two of the remaining three (.354) and got bag #11.
8/30: The Dragons were shut out on four hits through six by Whitecaps starter Alex Burgos, who lowered his ERA to 2.05 in 15 starts. But, trailing 2-0 in the seventh, they fought back- scoring one in the seventh when Barnhart doubled and scored on 1B Frank Pfister’s single. From there it was in the powerful hands of 1B Donald Lutz- he slammed the tying homer in the next inning. The Dragons left Jefry Sierra at second in the ninth when Hamilton struck out, sending the game to extras. Drew Hayes set down six straight (W 2-2, 1.40, 1 K) and then Lutz stepped up and homered again in the bottom of ten to win it for Dayton! Don finished 3-for-4, raising his average to .293. He now has 19 homers and 72 RBI. Torreyes had three hits in five trips (.359). Starter Kyle Lotzkar lasted five (4.09, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and Chad Rogers turned in three strong innings in middle relief (2.71, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K).
Transactnotes: I missed RHS Daniel Corcino being named the Midwest League Pitcher of the week for his 6-3-0-0-1-10 line on August 15th.
Billy Hamilton was named to the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for the August 19-25 period. Hamilton was 14-for-31 (.452) with eleven steals in twelve attempts.
Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs
This week: 5-1.
Overall: Finished first half at 20-18, second place, five games behind division champ Missoula (ARI). Second half 18-11. Overall 38-29.
8/24: Billings is locked in a struggle for the second-half title, and this was a good way to start- they outslugged Idaho Falls (KC), 13-9. Kyle McMyne, after doing quite well in his last few outings, was knocked out in the first (8.00, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 K). But Jason Braun took over (W 1-0, 3.24, 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) and the Mustangs’ bats boomed. 3B Junior Arias had a huge game (3-for-4, 4 R, 2B, homer #5, BB, 2 RBI) to raise his average to .246. C Yovan Gonzalez, back from relief duty in Bakersfield, was 3-for-5 with homer #2 and five RBI (.256). 2B Ryan Wright had a triple and first-inning homer (#5, 3 RBI, .245).
8/25: Casper (COL) came to Dehler Park looking to take the opener, but Billings rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Wright walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. CF Bryson Smith (2-for-2, R, 2B, SB, .320) singled him in. 1B Robert Maddox hit into a fielder’s choice that ended with Smith out at third and Maddox at second. RF Kyle Waldrop (4-for-5, .287) singled to score pinch-runner Cristobal Rodriguez and tie the game, and then Arias stepped up to lash a game-winning double. LF Spencer Dickinson was 3-for-4 with a double and triple from the #9 slot (.288). Starter Wes Mugarian was okay (6.02, 5 IP, 6 H, 5 ER) but it was Erik Miller who picked up the win in relief (3-0, 3.46, 1 IP, 2 K).
8/26: Game two of the series wasn’t as close, as Billings picked up its third straight win by an 11-3 score. Arias drove in three more runs (2-for-5, .249) and so did C Dayan Vicioso (.314, 2-for-4). Smith was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Wright 2-for-4 with two RBI. Cole Green, who started poorly but has really come on as of late, worked five good innings for the win (2-1, 3.91, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K).
8/27: Tony Cingrani dominated the Ghosts, striking out 13 (!) and throwing what would have been six perfect innings if not for an Arias error at third base. Nevertheless, the lefty got his first pro win (1-2, 1.56) in a 3-1 Mustangs victory. Brooks Pinckard threw a 1-2-3 ninth for save #8. SS Juan Perez popped homer #2 and Wright again had two hits.
Cingrani was shortly thereafter named Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week for throwing eleven innings of one-run ball with one walk and 21 strikeouts between August 22 and 28.
8/28: A four-game sweep put Billings atop its division by a game over Great Falls and four over the fading Missoula Osprey! The 9-4 win featured a third straight victory for lefty Ismael Guillon (W 3-5, 6.31, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) and a save for Braun (#1, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Maddox was 3-for-5 with a triple and homer #11 (.265). He drove in four overall. Two hits apiece for Wright, Dickinson, Gonzalez, and Rodriguez.
8/29: Off. News came out that 3B Sean Buckley was named to the Pioneer League All-Star team. Despite hitting only one bomb in his last ten games, the sixth-round pick is hitting .288/.376/.561 with 14 homers and 41 RBI. He is second in the PL in homers. Six Mustangs received a Honorable Mention: RHR James Allen (2-0, 1.46, 7 SV, 5/32 BB/K in 24 IP), C Yovan Gonzalez (.266/.331/.371, 34 G), OF Kurtis Muller (in Dayton, but hit .242/.380/.363 with 24/31 SB in Billings), C/1B Nick O’Shea (.269/.314/.500, 7 HR), RHS Radhames Quezada (2-3, 3.83, 10 GS, 12/55 BB/K in 49 IP), and manager Pat Kelly. I’m surprised Tony Cingrani (1.56 ERA, 5 BB and 66 K in 40 IP) and outfielders Kyle Waldrop (.281/.315/.481, 9 3B) and Juan Silva (.293/.408/.413) weren’t mentioned. Waldrop is 19 and Silva 20 in a league with a roughly 21-year-old average player.
8/30: After winning six straight, Billings fell back into a first-place tie with the victorious Great Falls by losing to the 8-20 Helena Brewers, 6-4. Four errors led to all five runs off Wes Mugarian being unearned (L 4-5, 5.48, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Maddox hit homer #12 and Waldrop added a solo shot (#5) to go with a single and second run scored (.286).
Rookie-Arizona AZL Reds
This week: 2-4
Overall: 31-27, second place behind the Dodgers. Wild card winners, lost in the semifinals.
8/24: The Reds pick up a huge win over the Dodgers in the first of three final-week games between the first and second-place clubs in the division! The Reds took advantage of six Dodger errors while playing errorless ball themselves. LF Brennan May’s two-run homer (#7) in the seventh gave the Reds the lead, then Jim Moran (W 1-1, 3.44, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K) and closer Alejandro Chacin (save #11, 1.29, 1.2 IP, 3 K) took over.
8/25: Unfortunately, the Reds handed back much of that momentum with a demoralizing 9-0 loss to the Indians. Lucas O’Rear (L 0-4, 9.00, 2 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) couldn’t get anyone out and the bats got just two hits.
8/26: The Dodgers came back to win game two, 6-3, and clinch the AZL Central title. Carlos Gonzalez got the loss (2-3, 4.70, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). RF Steven Selsky was 2-for-3 with two runs scored (.329) and 3B Gabriel Rosa 2-for-3 with two RBI (.235).
8/28: Rosa singled home RF Jon Matthews in the bottom of the ninth to push the Reds past the Brewers, 4-3. Matthews had singled, stolen second (#18) and moved to third on a resulting throwing error. Rosa was 2-for-4 with a double (245). DH Josef Terry was 2-for-3 (.242) and Selsky had two hits as well. Joel Bender pitched well (3.40, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) but Chacin (W 2-1, 1.23, 1 IP, 2 K) got the win after Moran allowed a tying run.
8/29: The Dodgers punctuate their division win with a 5-4 victory, but the Reds got the wildcard because the AZL has three divisions and no other non-division-leader is even close to the Reds’ 31-25 mark. Cesar Caceres pitched very well (L 1-1, 6.08, 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) despite getting the loss. The Reds rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth before the Dodgers got the winner in the home ninth.
8/30: The Reds, as the AZL wild-card team, headed to play the 41-15 Giants at their place. (So, across town.) Giants starter Clayton Blackburn, 18, came into the game with a 1.08 ERA in 33.1 IP; he walked three and whiffed thirty. His only loss of the season came… in his last start, when he gave up three of the four earned runs he allowed in total. The Giants boast a lineup made up almost entirely of college draftees, so don’t think they have suddenly got a bunch of prospects or anything (at least on the offensive side of the ball, which has been a problem since the days of Will Clark). The Reds got on the board first when Selsky singled in SS Humberto Valor. 1B Carlos Sanchez might have been a second run but he was subsequently thrown out trying to “steal home” (maybe trying to score on a wild pitch?) Starter Justice French (4-4, 3.99, 65 H in 58.2 IP but a 6/55 BB/K ratio and only 3 HR) then pitched a scoreless first for the Reds with the help of a 6-3 double play. DH Josef Terry had a second-inning double but the Reds couldn’t get him in. The Giants tied the score off French in the second, but he prevented a larger rally. They did get a second run in the third on a sacrifice fly. A comebacker stranded two runners in the fourth. The Reds fell short in the fifth when Matthews and Rosa left runners on second and third. Finally, in the sixth, they got the equalizer on doubles from Sanchez and May! But French was pulled in favor of righty Jose Amezcua (who made all of three appearances this season) after a run came home in the sixth. The floodgates opened, and the Giants put up six runs- four on a grand-slam homer- before Amezcua got the third out. The Reds put two men on in the seventh, but 2B Brandon Dailey grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Righty Randy Yard (1-0, 4.95, 20 IP, 18 H, 11 BB, 19 K) came on for the bottom of the seventh and allowed a ninth run. He did pitch a scoreless eighth, but the Reds went down in order in the eighth and could muster only a Rosa triple and Terry RBI groundout in the ninth- they lose 9-3.
Still, solid season for the second year in a row.