All-Star breaks at all of the Single- and Double-A levels kept our men off the field for part of this week. Another winning week in Louisville; finally, after all this time, the Bats’ bats may just be coming around. Paul Janish and Daryl Jones have also returned from injuries while Mike Costanzo and Kris Negron are back from fill-in stints in the majors. Pensacola finished the first half one game under .500; the general observation, I think, is that the pitching is pretty darn solid while the bats come and go. Bakersfield are YOUR official California League first-half champions; we’ll see how they do as some of the players that made this happen are moved up. I cannot fathom Billy Hamilton spending the entire season with the Blaze. Dayton split their four games as only one Dragon got airtime in the Midwest League All-Star game. Finally, the short-season affiliates are underway, with Billings taking two straight after an ugly rout in their opener while the AZL Reds took their first contest easily.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 4-3.
Overall: 25-49. Last. Now eighteen and a half games (-1 from last week) back of Indianapolis (PIT), despite the winning week. They presently have seven less wins than any other IL team.
6/14: Rochester (MIN, 30-36) gets two off Jordan Smith (L 1-3, 5.40, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) in the top of the ninth to break a 6-6 tie and win it 8-6. Ryan Feierabend was a little better than his last time out (4.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) but Wirfin Obispo got beat up pretty good (6.62, 1 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K). Nick Christiani came in with the bases loaded and allowed all three runners to score. Rehabbin’ Bill Bray whiffed all three Red Wings he faced. 1B Danny Dorn was 3-for-3 with a double and three runs scored (.225) and C Corky Miller not only homered (#3) but didn’t make an out, going 2-for-2 with two walks. DH Dioner Navarro was 3-for-4 (.333) and CF Felix Perez drove in three with a single and double (.249).
6/15: After winning his last start with an inferior performance, Chad Reineke takes another L at the hands of Rochester, 4-1, despite seven strong (L 2-5, 4.14, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 105 pitches/66 strikes). Donnie Joseph walked two but pitched a scoreless ninth. Navarro was 2-for-4 (.340).
6/16: Ex-Red Matt Maloney gave up three home runs- one to Rehabbin’ Scott Rolen, a three-run bomb to Corky Miller (#4), and a solo bomb to Mike Costanzo (#5) as Louisville whooped the Red Wings 11-5. LF Felix Perez poked three hits and drove in two (.257). Tim Gustafson did excellent work (W 2-1, 5.06, 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
6/17: Four runs in the first push Rochester to a 3-1 series win, 7-4. Pedro Villareal didn’t miss many bats (L 2-4, 3.86, 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR). Not a lot of Bats offensive excitement, either, although Dorn didn’t make an out (2-for-2, 2 BB, .231).
6/18: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY, 40-31) scored single runs off Sean Gallagher in each of the first two innings, but it was all Louisville from there. The Bats got four in the third and five more in the fourth to take a 9-2 rout at Louisville Slugger Field. Gallagher lasted five (W 6-4, 5.04, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 100 pitches/55 strikes). Rehabbin’ Bill Bray retired four of five, then Nick Christiani (3.15, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and Jordan Smith (5.18, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) took care of the rest. 2B Cody Puckett lashed three hits and drove in two (.210) while RF Bill Rhinehart did the same (.244, 2B, R, BB) and a returning Paul Janish had a pair of doubles (.297, R, BB). All told the Bats piled up 16 hits.
6/19: Back-to-back comeback wins, as Louisville got two in the seventh and an insurance run in the eighth to take game two, 4-2. Puckett’s two-run homer (#1) accounted for those seventh-inning tallies; Cody finished 2-for-2 with a walk to raise his average to .225. Navarro hit #3 in the eighth. Starter Ryan Feierabend got a no-decision, but pitched well- just three hits over 5.2 (6.91, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). The crafty lefty also picked three (!) runners off first base. Donnie Joseph pitched an inning and a third for the win (1-0, 1 BB, 1 K) and Smith got save #7.
6/20: The Bats have won a handful of series this season, but they’d never gotten a sweep- until now. Corky Miller’s two-run single highlighted a three-run seventh to propel Louisville to a 5-3 victory! Perez was 3-for-3 with a run scored and RBI (.265); he also doubled up ex-Red Chris Dickerson at first base in the third. Chad Reineke pitched into the sixth (4.20, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR) but the bullpen work was strong with Wirfin Obispo (6.05, 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K), Rehabbin’ Bray (W, 1 IP, 2 BB), a returning Kanekoa Texeira (0.78, 0.2 IP, 1 K) and Smith FTW (save #8, 1 IP, 2 K).
Transactions: 6/14: SS Paul Janish activated from the DL. Rehabbin’ Bill Bray up from Dayton. 6/15: 3B Scott Rolen activated, becoming…Rehabbin’ Scott Rolen. UT Willie Harris’ contract purchased by Cincinnati. 6/18: UT Kris Negron optioned from Cincinnati. 6/20: OF Daryl Jones (eye) activated from the DL; RHR Josh Judy placed on the temporarily inactive list. C Brian Peacock sent back to Pensacola.
Around the minors: I have some follow-up on the two Dutch players signed by the Reds in the last month or two. Those players are OF Aldrich Guzman, 19, and RHP Ibrahim Redan, 18. Both players will allegedly join the AZL Reds very shortly.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 2-2.
Overall: 34-35, third place in the South Division, five and a half games behind Mobile (ARI). The first half ended with Mobile (40-30) and Jackson (SEA, 42-28) taking the division titles.
6/14: Suspended due to rain with Mobile (ARI, 38-28) leading 3-1 in the fourth. Tony Cingrani gave up three solo homers in five innings prior to the suspension; someone else will finish the game, as it was to be made up the next night. 1B Joel Guzman hit #7 for the Wahoos.
6/15: Not much else happened in the completion of the previous day’s suspended game, with Mobile winning it 4-1. SL All-Star starter Tyler Skaggs permitted the BWs just two hits over four plus, and Cingrani got the official loss (1-1, 2.55). 2B Brodie Greene finished 2-for-3 with a double (.242). MAKEUP MADNESS! JC Sulbaran ensured Pensacola wouldn’t finish the day winless, firing 5.1 three-hit innings in the nightcap (W 5-4, 4.25, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) as Pensacola held on 3-2. Curt Partch got save #2 (5.30). Guzman singled, doubled, and walked (.262) and Sulbaran himself had two hits and a run
6/16: Not only was this game Daniel Corcino’s first eight-inning outing ever, but he didn’t allow a hit- which set up Wilkin de la Rosa to finish the 6-0 no-no and give Pensacola its first ever! Corcino ran his record to 3-4 (3.34, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 pitches/68 strikes). De La Rosa took 26 more pitches to finish up (1 BB, 3 K, 1.25). 3B David Vidal launched his first Southern League homer (.248) and SS Didi Gregorius had two hits and two runs (.286, 3B).
6/17: After the high from yesterday, a big low. Pensacola committed four errors and was stomped by Mobile 10-0. Kyle Lotzkar started (L 3-2, 3.02, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K).
6/18: All-Star Break.
6/19: The South All-Stars defeated the North, 6-2. Blue Wahoos participating for the South included CF Ryan LaMarre (0-for-3, K), RF Josh Fellhauer (0-for-1, BB, K, SB), SS Didi Gregorius (1-for-4, RBI), and RHP JC Sulbaran (1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 13 pitches/9 strikes). RHP Daniel Corcino was also selected but did not pitch.
6/20: All-Star Break. Action begins with the second half on 6/21.
Transactions: 6/20: C Brian Peacock back from Louisville.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 2-1.
Overall: 41-29, first place. Blaze win the first-half title by three games over San Jose!
6/14: Bakersfield picked up two in the sixth and two more in the seventh to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 win! This victory clinched a share of the first-half CL title for the Blaze. DH Niko Vasquez hit homer #2 (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, .200) and SS Billy Hamilton not only knocked in a key run but also got steal #75. Jamie Walczak keeps making slow improvements in his starter conversion (5.48, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). Pat Doyle turned in 3.1 scoreless for the win (W 7-2, 3.50, 3 H, 1 K) while Brian Pearl set down the final five for save #13. The unheralded 24-year-old Doyle, a 24th-round pick in 2010 out of Missouri State, has gotten steadily better with each passing month (4.91 April, 3.80 May, 1.59 June). He’s pitched four three-inning-plus scoreless stints in his last six appearances, and the one time he’s been called on to start this year he threw a one-hitter for six innings.
6/15: Lake Elsinore (SD, 35-34) got its revenge, evening the series at one apiece by a count of 8-4. Dan Renken fell to 3-3 (L, 4.05, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Mike Griffin was also hit hard (5.04, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER) although Dan Wolford dominated the final two (4.58, 1 H, 5 K). DH Juan Duran had a huge game, crushing two homers (#6 and #7) and adding a double and third run scored. He’s up to .230/.275/.382 thanks to a .302/.348/.488 June; not bad for a 20-year-old at this level. CF Theo Bowe was 2-for-3 with a run scored, walk, and steal #20 (.367) and C Danny Vicioso 2-for-3 with a RBI (.360).
6/16: After Kyle McMyne suffered his fifth blown save by permitting two LE runs in the seventh, the Blaze scored three more in their half of the inning to give McMyne and Bakersfield the W (1-1, 6.23, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR), 7-6. Brooks Pinckard retired the Storm in order in the ninth for save #1. Billy Hamilton set a new personal record with five stolen bases (80); he finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk, then got both second and third twice and just second once. Bowe, who was 4-for-5 (.386), nabbed three of his own (23 in 33 games). C Tucker Barnhart socked a two-run homer (#3, 2-for-3, .268). Starter Sharky Rogers worked just three in preparation for work at the All-Star game (2.24, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K).
6/17: All-Star break.
6/18: All-Star break.
6/19: High-A All-Star game in North Carolina! Participating for the Blaze and the Cal League against those dastardly Carolinas: SS Billy Hamilton (1-for-5, R, 2 SB), RHP Chad Rogers (1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches/11 strikes), and RHP Brian Pearl (0.2 IP, 1 K, 7 pitches/4 strikes). LHS Tony Cingrani did not play because he was in Pensacola. 1B Don Lutz has been on the DL since late May. The Carolinas whooped the Cals, 9-1, with the only real Cal highlight being some classic Billyball in the first. Hamilton bunted his way aboard, stole second and third while the #2 hitter batted, then scored on George Springer’s groundout with one out.
Apparently Hamilton was the subject of an armed robbery shortly before the game in Winston-Salem.
Let’s hope this unfortunate incident doesn’t lead to any lingering effects for the Reds’ best prospect, baseball or otherwise.
6/20: All-Star break.
Transactions: 6/14: RHP Josh Ravin down from Pensacola after being activated from the DL. LHR Chris Joyce back from Billings. RHR Porfirio Martinez back to Billings. RHR John Holdzkom back from Billings. Both Joyce and Holdzkom are listed as being on the 7-day DL.
It’s all about the Hamiltons, baby.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 2-2.
Overall: 30-40. 17.5 out.
6/14: Dayton gets three in the seventh to grab a 4-3 lead, but Great Lakes (LAD, 32-35) got single runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings to win anyway, 5-4. Ryan Kemp took the blown save and the loss (L 1-1, 3.18, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB). Starter Dan Tuttle worked five (5.03, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). RF Kyle Waldrop hit homer #4.
6/15: Off to Lake County for one more series against the Captains (CLE, 31-38). The Dragons fired on all cylinders in game one, ripping 16 hits and winning 9-3. 3B Junior Arias, batting leadoff despite spending most of his season struggling to hit his weight, lashed three hits including his third home run (.189, 2 R, SB #11). LF Steve Selsky also had three hits and a homer (#3, .281). CF Juan Silva hit a three-run homer (#1) in the second and finished 2-for-3 (.256). 1B Sean Buckley had three more hits and two RBI (.247). Radhames Quezada won his fourth straight start (W 5-6, 3.89, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K). Cole Green worked 2.1 (3.48, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and El’Hajj Muhammad finished up (2.95, 1 IP, 2 K).
6/16: The Captains evened it up, 11-2. Dayton made four errors. 2B Joe Terry was 3-for-4 (.246) and Silva homered again (#2). Arias hacked a triple (.190). He also committed three of those four errors. Starter Tanner Robles got the loss (L 4-4, 4.50, 5 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
6/17: A pair of Captains errors contributed to Dayton scoring two in the top of the ninth and taking the rubber match of the series, 5-3. Terry homered (#2) and singled. Buckley got over .250 with two more hits, while Arias had a single and double. Stalin Gerson had six pretty decent innings (4.64, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) but it was James Allen who got the win in relief (4-2, 3.95, 2 IP, 2 BB). Carlos Contreras got save #7.
6/18: All-Star Break.
6/19: All-Star game! The East slaughtered the West, 18-2. 2B Ryan Wright DHed for the winning side and went 1-for-3 with a run knocked in.
6/20: All-Star break. Play resumes on the 22nd.
Transactions: 6/16: RHR Lucas O’Rear back to the Dragons. 6/18: RHR Lucas O’Rear back to Billings.
League preview, including news on the Rockies affiliate that moved from Casper, WY to Grand Junction, CO. There’s a paragraph on Billings’ long history of success as well.
This week: 2-1.
6/18: The Mustangs kick off their 2012 season at Dehler Park with a messy, 13-3 rout at the hands of Missoula (ARI). Starter Wes Mugarian wasn’t too bad (L, 4 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Lefty Joel Bender, a NDFA and Cincinnati native who pitched for the AZL team last year, was whomped for eight earned runs in 1.2 innings. SS Brandon Dailey, freshly down from Dayton, was 2-for-4 with a double.
6/19: Billings continued to struggle at the plate in game two, but excellent pitching and CF Jon Matthews’ RBI hit in the bottom of the tenth let the Mustangs pull it out, 2-1. Dailey had two more hits and DH Robert Maddox doubled and walked twice. Starter Robert Stephenson had a phenomenal pro debut (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). Lefty Nolan Becker (1.2 IP), righty Bennett Klimesh (1.1 IP), and lefty Nick Routt (1.2 IP, 5 K) all turned in scoreless work. Righty Matt Wiley got the last out for the W.
6/20: I’m still trying to wrap my head around how Billings managed eight runs in their 8-6 win on all of four hits, eight walks, and five errors. One of those hits was the decisive blow, a three-run homer by 21-year-old Venezuelan 1B Carlos Sanchez in the eighth. (He hit .263/.310/.425 for the AZL squad last year.) Countryman and SS Sammy Diaz (back for a second year after hitting .299/.355/.402 for the Mustangs last year) knocked in two runs with a fifth-inning double. Starter Lucas O’Rear, down from the Dayton bullpen where he’d spent the last month or so, started and worked three innings (3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K). Lefty Ismael Guillon, the Venezuelan who was great in his US pro debut two years ago in the AZL but struggled last year (6.57 ERA, 78 H and 46 BB in 63 IP) in the PL, pitched the next four (5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 WP). Yet another Venezuelan, righty Alejandro Chacin (last seen dominating the AZL as the Redlings’ closer last season) gave up two runs but ended up being credited with the win. Matt Wiley again got just the final out- coming on after lefty Sean Lucas fanned both batters he faced- to notch a save.
This week: 1-0.
6/20: Opening night across the complex against the Indians. The Reds showed a nice display of power and speed, winning 11-6 behind homers from 3B Tanner Rahier and 1B Argenis Aldazoro and five-for-five stealing. Rahier is, of course, the Reds’ second-round pick this year. It’s interesting that he started at third instead of short. Dominican righty Pedro Diaz, 19, started and allowed one run in three innings. Countryman Wandy Peralta, a 20-year-old lefty, was credited with the win despite allowing the other four Indians runs in his three-inning stint. 2012 draftees Michael Salter (RH, 31st round, TX JC) and Richard McCaffrey (LH, 34th round, CA JC) finished the last three innings without incident.