Sorry for the delay, I was on vacation. I'll save commentary on the teams and players for #3.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 3-4.
4/12: The Bats are hammered by Toledo (DET), 8-1, to make it two straight four-game series losses to open the year. Louisville collected only three hits, while starter Sean Gallagher was knocked out in the second inning (1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER). Josh Judy whiffed five over two innings and both Nick Christiani (2 IP, 2 H) and JJ Hoover (1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K) threw scoreless ball sandwiching a messy outing from Ron Mahay (1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER).
4/13: While Chad Reineke fell an out short of qualifying for the win (4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER), he was picked up by his teammates’ bats (three in the fifth, one in the sixth) and bullpen help in the form of Travis Webb (W, 1.1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K), Scott Carroll (2 IP, 2 H, 1 K) and Hoover (save #2, 1 IP, 2 K) in Louisville’s come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Columbus (CLE). 2B Chris Valaika knocked in two in that big fifth with a double, while the lineup made up for only five hits with six drawn bases on balls.
4/14: Andrew Brackman fails to get out of the first inning, as Columbus posts a five-spot in that frame and cruises to a 9-4 win. Brackman had pitched very well in his first start, but he was gone after 42 pitches (21 strikes) and two-thirds of an inning here (L 1-1, 8.10). Kanekoa Texeira picked up four innings of garbageman duty (4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). C Dioner Navarro drove in three with a homer and double and SS Paul Janish poked two more hits (.364). 3B Todd Frazier also homered.
4/15: Four runs in the sixth blew open a 1-1 game; Bats win 5-3. Brett Tomko left after 4.1 (3.86, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) but Scott Carroll picked him up for the W (0.00, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 K). Hoover notched save #3. 1B Danny Dorn hit homer #3 as everyone in the lineup save Janish got a hit.
4/16: Louisville grabs a 3-1 series win with a 7-4 triumph! Jeff Francis scattered nine hits over six innings (W 1-1, 3.18, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 107 pitches/68 strikes) and Hoover got his fourth save after Webb bailed out Josh Judy (3.18, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) by whiffing both men he faced in the eighth. Frazier drove in three with a single and double (.231) and Navarro was 3-for-4 (.238).
4/17: The Bats rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 6 and send it to extras, but Toledo scored three in the top of the 10th off Carroll (L 1-1, 2.89, 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB) and held off another rally attempt in the bottom of 10 when 1B Neftali Soto grounded into a double play to end the game. Soto had hit his first homer of the year earlier in the 9-7 defeat. Navarro was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk and two RBI and Valaika was 3-for-6 (.308). Starter Sean Gallagher was better but still unimpressive (4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 0 K).
4/18: Louisville piled on six big runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead, but the booming Mud Hens bats came right back with a six-spot of their own in the sixth as they amassed 21 hits off five Bats pitchers en route to a 13-9 win. Jordan Smith (0.1 IP, 4 ER) got the defeat in his first 2012 outing in relief of Reineke (6.32, 5 IP, 13 H, 6 ER). 3B Mike Costanzo, in his first game up from Double-A replacing the called-up Frazier, smashed a three-run homer. Soto also connected for #2 while going 3-for-4 (.234, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB). Former Red Quintin Berry was thrown out twice on the basepaths by the Bats, once at third and once at home by the 70 arm of LF Denis Phipps (who is unfortunately off to a .140 start).
Transactions: 4/14: RHS Brett Tomko activated from the DL; RHP Luis Atilano sent to Pensacola. 4/17: UT Todd Frazier called up by Cincinnati; INF Mike Costanzo promoted from Pensacola. RHR Kanekoa Texiera placed on DL retroactive to 4/15 (oblique strain); RHR Jordan Smith activated from DL and optioned to Louisville.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 3-4.
4/12: Having lost the first two games in Mobile, the Blue Wahoos came storming back to grab game three 6-3, lashing fifteen hits. Four of those went to SS Didi Gregorius, who scored two runs and drove one in (.281). 2B Brodie Greene had three more (.296) and 1B Mike Costanzo hit a three-run homer (#3). Daniel Corcino was a little better this time out (4.82, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K), but the win went to reliever Mark Serrano (W 1-0, 3.86, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K). Clayton Tanner took care of the eighth and Donnie Joseph (save #3) the ninth. Neither Tanner nor Joseph had allowed an earned run to this point in the season.
4/13: Two timely BayBears errors and a clutch Gregorius two-run single enabled the BWs to tie the game at 5, but Mobile came back with the winning run in the bottom of the inning off Justin Freeman (L 2-1, 2.57, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). CF Ryan LaMarre was 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI, but was also picked off first twice (.188). Starter Tim Crabbe worked four (2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K). He and batterymate Brian Peacock also allowed six stolen bases in six attempts.
4/14: Gregorius had three more hits (.333) and RF Yordanys Perez drove in three runs to back a great outing from JC Sulbaran (W 1-0, 1.64, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K) in a 6-1 win. Serrano (3.86, 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and Chris Manno (4.50, 1 IP, 2 K) finished up.
4/15: 1B Joel Guzman drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth to force in Miguel Rojas with the winning run in the series opener with Jacksonville (FLA), 2-1. 3B Henry Rodriguez had two hits including his second home run (.333). Gregorius had two more hits as well, as did Greene. Starter Pedro Villareal continues to pitch well (1.53, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 91 pitches/57 strikes). Joseph got the win, striking out three in the ninth (W 2-0) after Freeman retired six straight.
4/16: Jacksonville got the winning run in the top of the 13th off righty Luis Atilano (3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), making his first appearance since coming down from Louisville, and took game two 5-4. Starter Curtis Partch looked passable (6.92, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) . The rest of the pen gave up only one run over the next several innings, but Pensacola was never able to plate another run after getting four in the first. Rodriguez drove in two with a pair of doubles.
4/17: Four errors and no runs doomed Daniel Corcino (L 0-1, 4.61, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). Two of those errors were Corcino’s Perez was 3-for-3 (.313); the rest of the team collected three hits. The Suns’ Zach Neal stymied the BWs on six hits through seven in the 7-0 Jacksonville win.
4/18: The Wahoos outhit the Suns thirteen to seven, but were 1-for-12 with men in scoring position and lost 8-7. The Suns made it three out of four and guaranteed a series win (Southern League series are always five games). They scored one in the bottom of the ninth, but pinch-hitter Mark Fleury struck out with the tying run on second to end the game. Gregorius had four more singles (.368); he’s still looking for his first extra-base hit of the year. Greene hit a three-run homer (#1) and Guzman a two-run blast (#2) with LaMarre adding a solo shot (#1) to go with a triple.
Transactions: 4/15: RHP Luis Atilano down from Louisville. 4/17: INF Mike Costanzo to Louisville. 4/23: LHR Wilkin de la Rosa up from Bakersfield. RHP Curtis Partch down to Bakersfield. 4/24: RHR Wirfin Obispo activated.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 3-4.
4/12: San Jose (SF) survived three errors to nip the Blaze, 1-0, in a game shortened to six innings by rain. Chad Rogers, who enjoyed decent success as a middle reliever in Dayton last year (2.99 ERA, 24/72 BB/K in 69 IP), appears to be taking well to a starter’s conversion. He threw five pretty good innings (L 0-2, 1.17, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). SS Billy Hamilton got on base twice and stole bag #6.
4/13: Rained out- makeup doubleheader coming in two days.
4/14: San Jose defeated Bakersfield again, 6-4. The Blaze got two in the first, one from the latest round of Billyball: he got an infield single to short, stole second (#7), went to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning 3B David Vidal singled in 1B Donald Lutz, who’d doubled. Unfortunately, the Giants got to starter Josh Smith several times early, finally finishing him in the fifth (L 0-2, 8.64, 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR). The Midwest League’s strikeout king last year is 24 already, and seems to be having a tough time adjusting to this hitter’s league despite being a tick older than the median. Anyway, Vidal slammed homer #2 in the fourth (3-for-4, 2 RBI, .321) and Hamilton finished with three knocks and a second run scored himself (.310), but it wasn’t enough.
4/15: It seems like San Jose are the kings of the Cal League every year. One reason is that the Giants like to stock the team with veteran players, especially pitchers. They ran their record to 9-2 by sweeping this MAKEUP MADNESS doubleheader, 2-1 and… 2-1. Game one saw Tony Cingrani betrayed a bit by his defense, as Vidal committed a throwing error that led to a first-inning run (L 1-1, 0.90, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 73 pitches/45 strikes). Hamilton committed error #4 later, although he also got bags #8 and #9 after walking in the first (and also CS #2 late). Dan Wolford finished with two hitless (1.35, 1 BB, 1 K), but the Blaze just couldn’t crack the scoreboard again when it counted.
Game two saw Bakersfield score early when Hamilton lined a triple to lead off and scored on a wild pitch. But the Blaze couldn’t get any more, even after the SJ starter walked the bases loaded in the second and runners were on base in each successive inning. Hamilton would get a second triple late in the game, but after 2B Devin Lohman walked and stole second RF Stephen Hunt struck out to end the threat. Hamilton raised his average to .382 despite no steals and a third CS. Lohman had three walks total, and finished the night at .290 with a pair of bags. Starter Kyle Lotzkar was removed after four two-hit innings (2.70, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 68 pitches/40 strikes) which seemed odd after he worked six in his first start. Jamie Walczak and Brian Pearl kept the game tied, and in the bottom of the eighth (extra innings), San Jose’s Adam Duvall homered off Mike Griffin (L 0-1, 3.86) with one out to give the Giants the win.
4/16: Grateful to see anyone but the Giants, the Blaze headed out to Visalia to face the Rawhide (ARI). Dan Renken settled down nicely after permitting two first-inning runs by shutting down the bad guys for the next six (W 2-0, 3.12, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) and Bakersfield worked its way back with a second-inning Lutz homer (#2), a Juan Duran RBI single in the fifth, and steaks from C Tucker Barnhart and CF Bryson Smith in the sixth. Blaze break their losing streak, 4-2. Duran was 2-for-4 in his first game of 2012, while Hamilton had a single, double, and steal #10. After Walczak pitched a scoreless eighth, lefty Wilkin de la Rosa came on to grab the save.
4/17: Offseason free agent signee John Holdzkom, a 6’7” righty who missed most of 2010 and all of 2011 with injuries, fought his control in this one- but he managed to give up no hits over three (4 BB, 2 K, 1 R, 0 ER) as his bats took over. The Blaze scored at least one run in every inning from the third through the seventh, eventually outdistancing the Rawhide 8-5. Pat Doyle struggled in relief of Holdzkom (1.1 IP, 3 ER) but Mike Griffin whiffed four in 1.2 after letting in two of Doyle’s runners for the W (1-1, 2.25). Brian Pearl got save #2 (2.84, 1.1 IP, 1 K). Smith hit a solo homer (#1) and went 2-for-4 from the #9 slot, while DH Travis Mattair was 2-for-4 with homer #3. Lohman was 3-for-5 with two RBI (.300) and Hamilton had two hits, three runs scored, and steal #11.
4/18: Bakersfield finished a three-game road sweep, scoring three in the eighth. After Smith singled in RF Yorman Rodriguez (who finished 3-for-4 to raise his otherwise-rough season opening BA to .170), Hamilton lashed a run-scoring triple. As Lohman struck out catcher to first, Hamilton scored on the throw! Amazing. Billy actually didn’t steal a base in this one, but his teammates were 4-for-4. Even the strapping Lutz and Duran each got one (although the latter struck out three times and went 0-for-4). Walczak gave up a solo homer in the eighth and left a little earlier than he would have liked (4.91, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K), but de la Rosa came on to get the last out for save #2. Starter Chad Rogers was solid (2.77, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). Wolford got credit for the win in relief (W 1-0, 1.08, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K)
Transactions: 4/16: OF Juan Duran activated; the 6’7” slugger’s season was delayed a bit by some nagging injury. I could look it up, but I’m too lazy. OF Kurtis Muller moved to the Billings roster.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 4-3.
4/12: The Dragons managed all of two hits and zero walks off South Bend (ARI)’s pitchers, and in the bottom of the tenth the Silver Hawks got to Jimmy Moran (L 1-1, 3.86, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) for the game’s only run. Starter Radhames Quezada pitched six strong (0.90, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K)and Ryan Kemp set down six straight (0.00, 3 K).
4/13: After the Hawks pasted James Allen for three in the eighth to take the lead, the Dragons rallied for three of their own in the top of the ninth on RBI doubles by SS Juan Perez and LF Juan Silva along with a wild pitch to win it, 6-4. Again, good starting pitching- this time from lefty Tanner Robles (1.50, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K). Kyle McMyne stranded a runner to escape the eighth, then worked the ninth for the win (1-0, 0.00, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K). 1B Sean Buckley went 2-for-4 (.250) while 3B Junior Arias, struggling at .138, drove in two.
4/14: Righty Stalin Gerson and six-foot-eight UC product Dan Jensen combined on a three-hit, 6-0 shutout win. Gerson evened his record (W 1-1, 3.48, 6 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K) while Jensen got the long save (#1, 3 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Silva (3-for-5, 3B, RBI, .211), C Yovan Gonzalez (2-for-2, 2 BB, 2B, 2 R) 2B Ryan Wright (3-for-5, .294), and Perez (homer #1, 2 RBI) led the offense.
4/15: South Bend earned a four-game split with a 10-1 rout. RF Kyle Waldrop (2-for-3, 2B, R, .280) accounted for the majority of the Dayton offense and Carlos Gonzalez (L 0-2, 8.10, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) was knocked out in the fifth.
4/16: Justice French worked six strong and the Dragons took advantage of eight walks, two wild pitches, two errors, and a balk by Fort Wayne (SD) to roll to a 9-3 win. French ran his record to 2-1 (4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K). Waldrop had a double, triple, three RBI, and two walks.
4/17: The TinCaps bounced back to take a 4-1 win. Quezada was gone after four (L 0-1, 2.57, 6 H, 3 ER). 3B Brandon Dailey was 3-for-4 (.364) and 1B Danny Vicioso 2-for-4 with a double (.250).
4/18: Arias slammed a three-run homer (still .116) and Gonzalez added a solo shot in a 9-4 win. Fort Wayne committed four errors. CF Theo Bowe was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two steals (8). Robles got the win (1-0, 3.06, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Carlos Contreras pitched 2.1 hitless (4.05).
Transactions: 4/18: 1B-3B Sean Buckley to the DL, retro to 4/14, with a sprained ankle. 1B Robert Maddox up from Billings.