Things keep getting uglier in Batland. 12-29 is the worst record in the 14-team International League by three full games. Some very strong starting pitching gave Pensacola a winning week; they’re two games under and five out, so definitely in the mix. Bakersfield was blasted routinely at the launching pad in Lancaster in 2011, but swept a three-game set there in 2012. They were the only one of the four clubs to have a winning week- and they remain the only one of the four clubs with a winning record on the year. Dayton cratered (losing six of seven). They went most of the week without getting more than five or six hits in a game. Somehow, they aren’t the worst-hitting squad in the MWL- Clinton (SEA) is four points worse in batting average (.219 to .223). However, the LumberKings (snerk) have scored one more run than the Dragons due to their hitting four more home runs. Dayton does at least have the fourth-best ERA (3.18) in the 16-team circuit despite allowing the most homers (26) of any team.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 1-6.
Overall: 12-29. Last.
5/10: Norfolk (BAL) takes three of four in Louisville, as the recently-DFA’d Brad Bergesen outdueled Chad Reineke (L 1-2, 3.96, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) 4-1. C Dioner Navarro was 3-for-3 with the Bats’ lone RBI (.326), but also committed two passed balls. 1B Neftali Soto was 2-for-4 with a run scored (.258).
5/11: Lehigh Valley (PHI) was next into town, but the results were the same- a 4-1 loss. Louisville’s total of three hits helped negate another quality start, this time from Brett Tomko (L 0-4, 3.55, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). SS Kris Negron hit homer #2.
5/12: Two runs for the IronPigs in the top of the 10th off Carlos Fisher (L 0-2, 5.00, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) pushed LV past LOU, 5-3. In case you’re counting, that’s twelve losses in fourteen. A third straight quality start, courtesy of Jeff Francis (4.17, 6.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 3 HR) went to waste. 2B Willie Harris contributed a couple of hits (2B, RBI), as did 3B Chris Valaika (.229). Nick Christiani (3.48, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K) has pitched quite well as of late.
5/13: Rained out. So no losing today.
5/14: MAKEUP MADNESS! Sean Gallagher (1-3, 6.88) and just-called-up reliever Wirfin Obispo went for Louisville against right-hander Austin Hyatt (2-2, 3.09) and lefty Pat Misch (1-4, 6.56). Gallagher permitted a lot of baserunners but kept all but one of them from scoring through six innings (W 2-3, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 91 pitches/55 strikes) and the Bats got all five of their runs in the sixth. They take it, 5-1. RF Bill Rhinehart drove in two. In the nightcap, Valaika smashed a two-run homer in the home seventh- but it left the Bats one short, as the IronPigs held on 4-3 and scored a split. Obispo allowed one run in two innings. Scott Carroll was hit hard (L 1-3, 8.27, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER). Josh Judy (3.31, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Kanekoa Texeira (1.00, 2 IP, 1 K) had better luck. Rhinehart also homered for Louisville (#3).
5/15: Off to Rochester and the Red Wings (MIN). Unfortunately for Nick Christiani, the RWs erased a 4-3 Bats lead with two in the bottom of the eighth to take the win. Christiani’s scoreless streak ended (4.22, L 0-2, BS #3, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER). Starter Pedro Villareal scattered nine hits over 6.2 (3.65, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). Rhinehart hit another homer (#4) and DH Willie Harris contributed a RBI double, run scored, and walk.
5/16: Three Rochester pitchers held Louisville to five hits and an unearned run, 4-1. Chad Reineke took the loss (1-3, 4.12, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K).
Transactions: 5/10: INF Miguel Rojas returned to Pensacola. 5/11: UT Willie Harris did accept his outright assignment and was activated. LHR Ron Mahay released. He was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 Louisville appearances. We’ll see if the almost-41-year-old goes to another team or not. 5/12: RHR Wirfin Obispo promoted from Pensacola. The Dominican righthander, 27, allowed just seven hits and two runs in 11.2 IP for the Blue Wahoos. He walked three and struck out ten. In something of a surprise, 1B-3B Mike Costanzo’s contract was purchased and he was called up by Cincinnati to replace the injured Scott Rolen. Costanzo, 28, got a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in his first major-league at-bat. 5/13: INF Miguel Rojas up from Pensacola. 5/16: OF Denis Phipps went on the DL with a shoulder injury. OF Cody Puckett up from Pensacola.
Around the minors: C Brian Esposito, let go by the Reds at the end of spring training, was picked up by the Cubs. Minnesota outrighted LHP Matt Maloney to AAA after designating him for assignment a couple of weeks back. Maloney struggled as a reliever for the Twins in April, allowing seventeen hits and ten earned runs over nine appearances in 2012.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 4-2.
Overall: 19-21, fourth place in the South Division, five games behind Mobile (ARI).
5/10: Pensacola salvages two of five at Mississippi (ATL), taking this one 4-3 in ten innings. LF Cody Puckett drew a bases-loaded walk to force in SS Didi Gregorius with the deciding run. Puckett finished 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI (.283). Gregorius also had a double and single (.300, RBI); the former was only his second extra-base hit of 2012. CF Ryan LaMarre had a pair of singles, two runs scored, and two stolen bases (9, .291). Tim Crabbe looked better this time around, albeit still with shaky control (5.13, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K). Wirfin Obispo worked three but gave up two of Mississippi’s three runs in the eighth- the first runs he’d given up in 2012 (1.54, 1 BB, 2 K). Donnie Joseph pitched the ninth and tenth for his fourth win (4-0, 0.50, 2 K).
5/11: Birmingham (CWS) hammered Justin Freeman for four runs in the top of the seventh to rally to a 6-4 win. Freeman, who’d pitched very well in 2012 prior to this game, saw his ERA inflate from the 2 range to 3.93. (L 2-3, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB). Wilkin de la Rosa let two of those four runs in. Starter JC Sulbaran fought his control but allowed only three hits over six (3.89, 3 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 5 K, 87 pitches/49 strikes). Puckett homered for the BWs (#5). DH Joel Guzman was 2-for-4 (.264).
5/12: This one was suspended in the first inning and set to be completed the next day.
5/13: MAKEUP MADNESS…sorta. The Wahoos and the Barons finished up the game from the previous day, which resulted in a 8-0 Pensacola rout. After Tim Gustafson pitched a scoreless first on the 12th, Kyle Lotzkar took over and allowed just two hits over 6.1 (W 1-1, 1.46, 5 BB, 6 K, 96 pitches/50 strikes). Veteran Koyie Hill had a big game, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored, a walk, and a solo homer (#1). RF PJ Phillips was 3-for-4 with a double and RBI (.206). 2B Brodie Greene was 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Gregorius lashed a triple.
In the day’s regularly scheduled game, Puckett and 1B Yordanys Perez slammed back-to-back solo homers in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie and give Pensacola a 4-2 sweep. Puckett’s homer was his sixth, while the 28-year-old Perez got his first US professional bomb. RF Josh Fellhauer hit a two-run shot in the first (#1, .329). Starter Mark Serrano worked five solid (3.09, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), but it was the returning Curtis Partch (W 1-2, 8.66, 1 IP) who got the win in relief. Donnie Joseph notched save #6.
5/14: Daniel Corcino gave back some of his progress earned through the first six weeks of the season, serving up six in the first two innings. He rebounded to get the next three (L 2-2, 3.64, 5 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 HR), but the hole was too deep. Birmingham takes it, 8-4. Puckett homered for the third time this week (#7) and 1B Joel Guzman was 2-for-4 with homer #5. LaMarre was 2-for-3 with a walk and steal #10 and two runs scored (.290); guy is an on-base machine.
5/15: Josh Fellhauer’s two-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the eighth provided the game’s only runs! Second bomb of the year for the outfielder. Tim Crabbe pitched seven strong (4.24, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 K). Curtis Partch, revitalized since his move to the bullpen, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the win (2-2, 8.20, 2 K). Donnie Joseph got save #7.
Transactions: 5/10: INF Miguel Rojas back from Louisville. 5/12: OF AJ Means promoted from Bakersfield. RHR Curtis Partch also back from the Blaze. INF James Ewing back to Bakersfield. RHR Wirfin Obispo up to Louisville. 5/13: INF Miguel Rojas to Louisville to replace Mike Costanzo. 5/14: 3B David Vidal promoted from Bakersfield. 5/16: OF-1B Stephen Hunt promoted from Bakersfield despite a .197/.256/.282 line in 21 Cal League games. OF Cody Puckett up to Louisville.
By the way, Koyie Hill is not a player-coach. Someone fixed the Pensacola roster page. Darn. Also, he got traded to the Cubs and was promoted back to the big leagues.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 4-3.
Overall: 23-16, second place, two and a half games behind San Jose (SF).
5/10: Righty Chad Rogers, who’s worked his way from not making the Dragons out of spring training last year to mopup duty to middle relief to starting at the next level up, befuddled Inland Empire (SEA) for eight shutout innings (W 2-2, 1.75, 1 BB, 3 K) in a 4-0 win. SS Billy Hamilton had a single and triple and run scored and steal #33 (.364) despite two errors (11). LF Don Lutz was 2-for-4 with a double and RBI (.310) and 3B David Vidal drove in two (.297).
5/11: The Blaze got single runs in each of the first three innings (two driven in by Lutz), but IE refreshed two across in the fourth, then got the deciding runs in the seventh off Dan Wolford (L 2-1, 3.79, BS #3, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K). Starter Josh Smith lasted five (5.71, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Only three hits total for Bakersfield,
5/12: Exit Partch, Means, and Terry; enter Bowe, Ewing, and Pinckard. Bakersfield wiped out a five-spot by the 66ers in the seventh with five of their own in the eighth (tying the score at 6-6) then fought through several extra innings before scoring in the top of 13 on C Chris Berset’s first home run of the season. But IE got two in the bottom of the inning off Mike Griffin (L 1-3, 9.00, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER) and Chris Joyce (1 H, 1 BB, 2-3 IRS) to win anyway, 8-7. Starter Tony Cingrani kept rolling (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K), although Jamie Walczak retired just one of six (0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB). Brian Pearl and Ryan Kiel both turned in two hitless innings. Hamilton had three hits and a walk, one a triple, and two more steals (35, .359). Vidal hit homer #7 in what would surprisingly turn out to be his last Cal League game.
5/14: Back home to face Stockton (OAK), in the midst of a 13-game losing streak. The Blaze made it 14, 11-6, with a six-run eighth that included Don Lutz’s two-run homer, #11. Lutz finished 5-for-5 on the night with four runs scored and three RBI (.326)! LF Theo Bowe, in his Cal League debut, was 3-for-3 with a stolen base, run scored and RBI. CF Bryson Smith added two hits and two RBI. Justice French pitched five shutout innings, but Brooks Pinckard fought his control and retired just one of five (4 ER, 9.82). Wolford got the win- despite racking up blown save #4- with 1.2 technically scoreless innings (W 3-1, 3.48, 1-1 IRS). Chris Joyce walked five in his 1.2 innings of work.
5/15: MAKEUP MADNESS to cover the rainout from the month before. Blaze sweep it, 2-1 and 6-1, to stretch the hapless Ports’ losing streak to 16 games. LF Juan Duran’s fourth homer of the season snapped a 1-1 seventh-inning tie in game one, with help from Jamie Walczak’s two scoreless (W 2-0, 7.78) in relief of Dan Renken (4.46, 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). Smith had hit #3 earlier on. In the nightcap, middle reliever Pat Doyle fired six one-hit shutout innings to cut his ERA to 3.28 (W 3-1, 0 BB, 4 K). Hamilton had a double, triple, and three RBI (.345) and the slap-hitting Bowe socked a solo homer.
5/16: Stockton finally broke the streak, scoring single runs in the eighth and ninth to tie and then surpass the Blaze. Final score 5-4, with Wolford taking the L (3-2, 3.63, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Starter Rogers worked five (1.98, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Smith was 2-for-4 with homer #4 (.336, a 14-for-32 hot streak) and Bowe had another (!) home run. (The five-foot-nine, 160-pound speedster had hit just two in about two hundred pro games prior to his promotion to High-A.) Hamilton went 0-for-2, but drew two walks and stole three more bags (38).
Transactions: 5/11: RHS Josh Smith activated from the temporarily inactive list. LHR Blaine Howell placed on the DL. 5/12: RHR Curt Partch sent back to Pensacola, this time as a reliever. OF Theo Bowe promoted from Dayton. OF AJ Means up to Pensacola. INF Josef Terry down to Dayton. INF James Ewing back down from Pensacola. RHR Brooks Pinckard back from Dayton. 5/13: OF Jaren Matthews activated from the Billings roster. 5/14: 3B David Vidal promoted (surprisingly quickly) to Pensacola. 5/16: 1B Dominic D’Anna activated. OF-1B Stephen Hunt up to Pensacola.
RHS Chad "Sharky" Rogers won the Cal League’s pitcher of the week award for his excellent performance on Thursday the 10th. Why Sharky? Here.
Speculation on possible California League All-Stars: one of these four’s already been promoted.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 1-6. (Second consecutive week)
Overall: 14-26. Three and a half more games lost; now 13.5 out.
5/10: In a theme you’ll see revisited, the Dragons went 0-for-9 with men in scoring position and lost to Lake County (CLE), 2-1 despite outhitting them six to four. Tanner Robles pitched well and lost (L 2-2, 2.72, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
5/11: The Dragons survived three errors and some bullpen mess to nip the Captains, 5-4. Kyle McMyne let in the tying run but notched the win (3-2, 1.56, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 K). Starter Stalin Gerson worked five shutout (4.66, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K). DH Kyle Waldrop was 3-for-4 (.257, RBI) and 2B Ryan Wright drove in three with a pair of hits (.278). Brooks Pinckard got save #2.
5/12: Lansing (TOR) hammered the Dragons at home, 16-4. SS Juan Perez (.232, 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Wright (3-for-5), and DH Josef Terry (2-for-3, HR #1, 2 RBI) each had decent offensive days. Dan Tuttle (L 1-2, 5.40, 1 IP, 4 H, 6 ER) was knocked out in the second inning. El’Hajj Muhammad struck out five in 2.2 innings on garbageman duty (2.70).
5/13: Lansing takes it again, 6-3. Dan Jensen (L 1-3, 2.28, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) took the defeat in a starting effort. RF Steve Selsky was 2-for-4 with a double (.274, RBI) and LF Juan Silva 2-for-3 with a run scored (.226).
5/14: Three in a row for the Lugnuts, 4-2. Dayton was 2-for-8 with RISP. Radhames Quezada fought his control (L 1-4, 2.92, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 2 K).
5/15: 1-for-10 with RISP; a 2-1 loss to give the series sweep to Lansing. Robles started (L 2-3, 2.89, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 K). Righty Lucas O’Rear, the former University of Northern Iowa basketball player, pitched 2.2 scoreless for Dayton despite walking four. Kyle McMyne pitched two more scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 1.27.
5/16: Dayton headed down to Bowling Green, KY to face the Hot Rods (TB). No luck, though, as the HRs claimed game one 4-1. Stalin Gerson again pitched five scoreless (4.10, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 K) but Mike Dennhardt took the loss in relief (L 0-1, 6.23, 1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER). Perez had a single and triple (.236) and Selsky was 1-for-2 with two walks and the lone Dragon RBI (.287). RISP: 3-for-10.
Transactions: 5/12: OF Jefry Sierra returned from the DL. INF Josef Terry back from Bakersfield. RHR Brooks Pinckard and OF Theo Bowe up to the Blaze. 5/13: RHS Dan Tuttle placed on the DL. RHR Lucas O’Rear activated.