Louisville is hitting .226/.313/.363 as a team with the second-worst ERA (5.19) in the International League, thus explaining their .333 start. Pensacola has cooled down quite a bit after a fast start, with some rough pitching the culprit. Two relievers were called up from High-A and starter Curtis Partch demoted, so we’ll see if that alleviates that problem. Bakersfield is on fire to the tune of nine wins in a row! Offense and blinding speed are the biggest reasons, but Dan Renken and Tony Cingrani have pitched well too. Dayton is at .500 but I must admit concern about their seemed lack of power as a team. Plenty of extra-base hits, but very few homers. The pitching seems decent so far.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 2-5.
Overall: 7-14. Last.
4/19: Again Toledo (DET) hammers the Bats starter, in this case Andrew Brackman (L 1-2, 9.28, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 88 pitches/45 strikes), in a 10-4 rout. I must say I’m surprised to see Brackman used as a starter when it seems as though his problem in the Yankees organization was consistency and control. DH Denis Phipps did hit a two-run homer in the ninth (#2) and drove in three runs total.
4/20: That’s a four-game Mud Hens sweep at Louisville Slugger Field, as the Bats left ten men on base in a 2-1 defeat. Brett Tomko pitched decently (L 0-2, 3.68, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). SS Paul Janish got three hits (.345) and RF Felix Perez two (.233, RBI).
4/21: Five straight losses for the Bats. Indianapolis (PIT) pounded Louisville 9-1 (again at home). Jeff Francis was chased after five (L 1-1, 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 83 pitches/58 strikes). Phipps had two of the Bats’ four hits (.167).
4/22: The streak is broken! The slumping Daryl Jones popped a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to salvage a win for Louisville, 3-2! This got Josh Judy (W 1-0, 1.93) the win following hitless relief work by Scott Carroll (3.00, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) and JJ Hoover (2.00, 1.2 IP, 3 BB, 2 K) in relief of Sean Gallagher (9.60, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K).
4/23: Chad Reineke turned in six strong (W 1-0, 4.57,4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) to help the Bats to back-to-back wins, 4-2. Jordan Smith got the save despite allowing a run. Janish had two doubles and two runs scored and C Dioner Navarro had two hits and two RBI (.324).
4/24: Things are getting a little better for Andrew Brackman, but not good enough. He lost his third straight start (L 1-3, 8.82, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 102 pitches/58 strikes) in Louisville’s 5-3 defeat. RF Danny Dorn did hit homer #4 but the Bats again stranded ten runners on base.
4/25: Only Mike Costanzo’s RBI knock in the ninth saved the shutout, as five Indians pitchers held Louisville to five hits in a 5-1 loss. Tomko had his best start yet, but lost (0-3, 3.48, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 97 pitches/62 strikes). Carroll was nailed for three in the seventh, blowing his ERA over five. Dorn (.226) and Costanzo (.214) each had two of the five hits.
Transactions: 4/24: RHR JJ Hoover recalled by Cincinnati to replace the injured Bill Bray.
Around the minors: It was mentioned previously that LHR Danny Herrera was put on the DL; sadly, we must note he needs Tommy John surgery.
LHP Dontrelle Willis was placed on the restricted list by the Orioles after he left AAA Norfolk. Willis’ agent says one thing, the Orioles say another. Ugly.
OF Chris Dickerson, currently at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was DL’d by the Yankees. San Diego DL’d C Yasmani Grandal.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 2-5.
Overall: 9-12 , last place, 3 games back of Jacksonville (FLA).
4/19: JC Sulbaran struck out eleven Jacksonville Suns in six innings (L 1-1, 2.65, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 HR), but was outdueled 4-3 despite his team outhitting the Suns ten to seven. SS Didi Gregorius poked two more singles (.383, slugging .383) and CF Ryan LaMarre added two hits as well (.220, RBI) although he was picked off again. Justin Freeman, Clayton Tanner, and Donnie Joseph all did their thing- pitch scoreless innings- but the bats couldn’t get the tying run.
4/20: The Wahoos jumped out to a 3-0 early lead in the second, then held on to win 5-3 behind a quality start from Pedro Villareal (W 1-1,2.22, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 96 pitches/71 strikes) and excellent work from the same trio as the day before. Joseph set down the final four Suns for save #4. C Mark Fleury had a two-run double and RF Josh Fellhauer was 3-for-3 with a walk with two runs scored (.333). LaMarre had two more safeties and a RBI (.234). Villareal beat former Reds farmhand Jim Paduch, now back in organized ball after a multi-year odyssey through independent ball.
4/21: Curtis Partch was coming off a decent start his last time out, but the wheels totally came off in this one. The Biscuits (TB) got him for seven in the first inning, and while he settled down a bit after that (L 0-2, 9.18, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 7 ER, 6 BB, 2 K), it was a hole Pensacola wouldn’t get out of. LaMarre made it three straight multi-hit games (.250, R, 3B) and 1B Joel Guzman added two more (.269).
4/22: The Wahoos led early after Brodie Greene knocked in two runs in the first (he would finish 4-for-4 with two doubles and all three of the BWs RBI, raising his average to .308), but Montgomery tied things off Daniel Corcino, who otherwise was quality (4.12, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 100 pitches/64 strikes) but Tanner would take the L in a 7-3 loss (0.2 IP, 2 ER, 2.00). Gregorius made his fourth and fifth errors, but also raised his average and slugging percentage to .391 with two more hits. The Wahoos stranded 12 men on base.
4/23: Another quality start, this time from Tim Crabbe (W 1-0, 4.74, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 93 pitches/59 strikes). The bats cooperated this time, producing plenty of support for the right-hander with four runs in the first and four more in the ninth of a 10-4 victory. Drew Hayes seems to be overcoming his slow start, retiring all six men he faced (5.59, 3 K). LaMarre scored three runs after doubling twice and drawing a walk (.260). LF Cody Puckett had three hits and two RBI (.302) and both 3B Henry Rodriguez (.295) and Guzman (.288) each contributed two hits and two RBI. Gregorius pushed past .400 with a 2-for-3 with two walks. Still no extra-base hits.
4/24: Sulbaran wasn’t able to miss lots of Biscuit bats like he did with the Suns. He was knocked out in the fifth (L 1-2, 4.98, 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 92 pitches/54 strikes) thanks to control issues. Montgomery won 7-4. Right-hander Wirfin Obispo made his US debut at age 27 with a scoreless inning.
4/25: Justin Freeman (2-2) surrendered the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the ninth to lose it, 6-5, after C Brian Peacock’s RBI single tied the game in the top half. LaMarre is on a real hot streak- two more hits along with steal #3 (.267). Gregorius got his 28th single and his sixth error. Villareal struggled (3.38, 5 IP, 6 H, 5 ER) but Joseph (1 IP, 2 K, now 9 IP and 0 R) and Hayes and new callup Wilkin de la Rosa all pitched scoreless relief.
Transactions: 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: 6-0!
Overall: 12-7, second place, a half-game behind San Jose (SF).
4/19: The Blaze were ready to face San Jose this time, riding a three-game winning streak. (If you recall, the Giants swept a four-game set in SJ last week.) Bakersfield was a mess with the gloves, committing five errors leading to three unearned runs, but DH Don Lutz was 4-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored (.308), 3B Travis Mattair hit homer #4, and David Vidal walked with the bases loaded in the ninth to force in the decisive run of an 8-7 win! The top of the Blaze lineup continues to do a great job of setting the table, with SS Billy Hamilton picking up two hits, a walk, and steal #12 and 2B Devin Lohman scoring three runs following a triple and three walks (.304). Starter Josh Smith was a tiny bit better than his last outing but still not great (8.31, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HR)but his bullpen was excellent. Brooks Pinckard turned in 1.1 scoreless (2 K), Wilkin de la Rosa two (1.17, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and Brian Pearl one (W 1-1, 2.45, 1 K).
4/20: I can only imagine this is an excellent night for Bakersfield to run promotions at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Billy Hamilton scored on a Juan Duran “sacrifice fly” (really a popup to short right, caught by the second baseman) to provide the game’s only run in the bottom of the ninth! Blaze win their fifth straight. Hamilton had singled and stolen second and third (14) to set the situation up. Starter Tony Cingrani dominated (0.53, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K) but left empty-handed. Pat Doyle pitched the last two for the duke (W 1-0, 6.43).
4/21: Six! Blaze take it, 4-1, as C Tucker Barnhart (#1, .162) and Lohman (#1, 2-for-4, .312) both homered and Kyle Lotzkar (W 2-0, 1.69, 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K) pitched six scoreless innings. Mike Griffin took care of the seventh scorelessly and Brian Pearl came on to strand two in the eighth, then set the Giants down 1-2-3 in the ninth for save #3 (2.08). Vidal also went 2-for-4 (.294) and CF Bryson Smith was 2-for-2 with two runs scored (.234).
4/22: Seven! Blaze sweep the four-game set, 8-6. After building an 8-2 lead early, Jamie Walczak gave up three in the seventh- but Wilkin de la Rosa (1.04, 1 IP, 2 K) and Dan Wolford (1.80, save #1) retired the last six Giants without a hitch to lock it down. This got Dan Renken his third win (3-0, 3.47, 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 3 HR). Bakersfield stole six bases, two each by Hamilton (16, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, BB, .375), Lohman (7), and RF Yorman Rodriguez (4, 2-for-3, 2 RBI, .189). Lutz hit a two-run homer, #3, and Duran connected for his first High-A bomb, a three-run blast in the fifth
4/23: Blaze hit the road again for Stockton (OAK). With help from Lutz’s three-run first-inning homer (#4,2-for-5, .299) and two solo blasts from Vidal (#3 and #4), they built up a 6-0 lead. Starter Chad Rogers left after six-plus with a 6-1 lead (W 1-2, 2.37, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) but his bullpen almost gave it away. John Holdzkom struggled to throw strikes (3.52, 1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) and Doyle let in both of his inherited runners. But Pearl worked another 1-2-3 ninth to finish the 6-5 squeaker (save #4), and give the Blaze their eighth straight victory.
4/24: Nine! Josh Smith had his best start yet (W 1-2, 7.23, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K), Lutz had three hits, and Mattair hit a two-run homer (#5) in a 6-4 win. Hamilton picked up his fourth triple of the year (2-for-5, R, steal #19) and Vidal was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and two bags (.313). Lefty Blaine Howell’s first appearance of 2012 was a good one (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) and Wolford finished it off for save #2.
4/25: Ten? Nope, rained out.
Transactions: 4/22: RHR Mike Griffin moved to Billings. RHR Brooks Pinckard down to Dayton. LHR Blaine Howell and OF AJ Means activated. 4/23: RHP Curtis Partch down from Pensacola; LHR Wilkin de la Rosa up to the Blue Wahoos.
Notes: SS Billy Hamilton was #1 on the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for April 13-19, hitting .536/.594/.821 or 15-for-28 with six stolen bases. He also got a ten-game hitting streak and five multi- hit games.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 4-3.
Overall: 10-10, tied for fourth, 5 games back of Lansing (TOR).
4/19: Ouch. Dayton blew a 4-0 lead during the later innings, then couldn’t score in extras. Quad Cities (STL) finally got an unearned run in the top of the 13th off the still-hasn’t-given-up-an-earnie Dan Jensen (L 0-2, 0.00, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) and won it 5-4. Dayton committed six errors total. 2B Ryan Wright keeps hitting (3-for-4, BB, RBI, .309). RF Kyle Waldrop had a single and triple (.316, R, RBI) and LF Juan Silva a single and double (.184, BB). 3B Junior Arias made two errors but did manage two hits and a run knocked in (.149). Starter Stalin Gerson had a quality start (3.78, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR).
4/20: Dayton’s bats get well for twelve runs and fifteen hits, whipping the River Bandits 12-7. Starter Carlos Gonzalez ran out of gas after four (6.43, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) so James Allen got the win despite mediocre results (W 1-0, 5.25, 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R). SS Brandon Dailey whacked a three-run homer (#1). RF Steve Selsky was 3-for-4 with two doubles (.259) and C Nick O’Shea had three hits and three RBI (.250). CF Jefry Sierra had three hits, including a triple (.188)
4/21: Dragons win the rubber match behind Justice French (W 3-1, 2.91, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K), Carlos Contreras (save #1, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and four RB errors, 5-1.
4/22: Cedar Rapids (LAA), the Reds’ A-ball affiliate back in the eighties and nineties, shut the Dragons out 2-0. Radhames Quezada fired seven strong (L 0-2, 2.14, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but his offense got all of four hits and zero walks against two Kernels pitchers. Interestingly, all four hits were doubles.
4/23: A five-run outburst in the seventh broke open a tie game and propelled Dayton to an 8-3 victory. SS Juan Perez lashed three hits and drove in two (.220, steal #5). Waldrop added three runs scored (2-for-3, BB, .327). Arias singled, tripled, drove in two, and scored two (.197) while C Yovan Gonzalez had two hits and two RBI (.394). Dan Tuttle, returning to action after serving a 50-game suspension, pitched six very nice innings (5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 HB). But it was Jensen who picked up the win (1-2, 0.00, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 K).
4/24: Contreras (save #2) bailed out Kyle McMyne (1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1.04) in the ninth to stop a CR rally and preserve a series win as well as a 3-2 decision for Tanner Robles (W 2-0, 2.66, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Wright was 3-for-3 with two triples, a walk, and a RBI (.307) while Waldrop got his average up to .346 with two more hits.
4/25: Jimmy Moran (1-2) served up a walk-off solo homer to Wisconsin (MIL) 1B Gregory Hopkins in the bottom of the 9th as the Timber Rattlers take the series opener 4-3. Gerson worked five (3.74, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and Allen took care of the sixth and seventh (4.50, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). CF Theo Bowe was 2-for-4 with a triple and walk (.220) and Selsky had two hits and two RBI (.254). Dailey added a single, double, and run scored (.320).
Transactions: 4/21: RHS Dan Tuttle activated. He’d been serving a 50-game drug suspension. 4/22: RHR Brooks Pinckard down from Bakersfield. RHRs Erik Miller and Carlos Gonzalez sent to extended spring training. 4/25: 1B-3B Sean Buckley activated from the DL.