Generally good news in the upper minors, as the Bats spent most of the week piling up a nine-game winning streak and Pensacola and Bakersfield had solid outings. Dayton struggled on both sides of the ball, though, and the AZL Reds got outslugged several games in a row. Billings is off to a strong start, though, leading their division of the Pioneer League. Both short-season teams should add a few more reinforcements over the next few weeks as draftees sign. Furthermore, both Denis Phipps (AAA) and Donald Lutz (High-A) should be back with their teams in a matter of days following rehab work in Goodyear.
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 6-1.
Overall: 31-50. Last.
Somehow, the Bats managed to not gain any ground with their nine-game winning streak. They did, however, make significant progress towards not being the worst team in the IL; Toledo (DET) has just one more victory.
6/21: Four straight wins (yesterday’s win was the squad’s first three-game winning streak of the season) over the suddenly-hapless Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (40-34)! Louisville scored six runs in the second to chase Yankee starter DJ Mitchell, then added five more insurance runs in the fifth and sixth. They win, 11-6. Tim Gustafson was shaky but did what he had to do (W 3-1, 4.29, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). RF Bill Rhinehart hit a two-run homer, #7, and SS Paul Janish connected for #3 in the midst of going 2-for-2 with three walks, three runs, and two RBI (.296). 2B Cody Puckett is now nine for his last thirteen (3-for-4, .250, 2 RBI). He also stole home (#7).
6/22: The Bats head off to Pawtucket (BOS, 45-29), the leader in the IL’s North Division. Pedro Villareal (2-4, 3.86) got the call against longtime Triple-A vet Brandon Duckworth (7-1, 3.69). Both starters pitched well- Villareal worked seven solid innings (3.86, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 97 pitches/64 strikes) and Duckworth five- but the game ended up going 13 innings. After Nick Christiani threw three shutout frames (2.89, 3 H, 2 BB), benefiting from a double play and a pickoff play at third to preserve a 3-3 tie, Donnie Joseph came on to set down six of seven (W 2-0, 0.00, 2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K). The Bats got a man as far as third in both the tenth and the twelfth, but finally broke through in the thirteenth when Felix Perez got his first and only hit of the game, a double, with one out. After Corky Miller struck out, Daryl Jones lashed a single to right to score the tiebreaking run! Kanekoa Texeira came on for the bottom of the 13th and allowed two of the first three to reach, but a forceout grounder and a 3-1 putout ended the game and gave Louisville its fifth straight victory. 2B Kris Negron picked up three hits, one a solo homer (#6, .216). Light-hitting SS Miguel Rojas also popped a homer, his first in Triple-A. (He’s still batting .177.)
6/23: Six! Three in the eight snap a 4-4 tie and push the Bats to the 7-5 win. Louisville punched out sixteen hits, including three from Janish (.306, homer #4, 2 RBI, 2B) and LF Cody Puckett (.263, 2 R, BB). 1B Mike Costanzo added two hits and two RBI (.277) and Perez, Jones, and Negron each had a pair of knocks. Sean Gallagher lasted six innings (5.11, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR), retiring eleven straight PawSox and permitting just one hits and one run after a three-run bomb in the first inning. Josh Judy allowed one run in 1.2 innings for the win (2-2, 5.23, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Jordan Smith allowed in that run charged to Judy, but then managed to get the rest of it for save #9 (4.55, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 K).
6/24: Ryan Feierabend was hammered in his first start. He allowed just two runs in his second but left in the fifth after giving up a bunch of hits. He then allowed just three hits in 5.2 in his third. In his fourth, he threw seven shutout innings in the Bats’ seventh consecutive win, a 2-0 whitewash! Feierabend walked four and struck out five (W 1-1, 4.64, 95 pitches/62 strikes). JJ Hoover returned to the IL with a 1-2-3 eighth and Joseph survived a couple of hits for save #2 (0.00 over five appearances and 7.1 innings). CF Joey Gathright still isn’t stealing bases, but he is hitting- four for five here, including a double (.315, RBI).
Milb.com beat writer Jason Stella opined that a stellar bullpen is what propelled the Bats to their seven-game win streak. We report, you decide.
6/25: Eight! Back-to-back four-game sweeps over the stunned PawSox, 6-3. Perez was 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, and his third homer (.267/.315/.360 overall; .323/.370/.493 in June). Puckett also homered, #2. Rojas had three hits and two RBI from the #9 slot (.192). (He’d end up sent back to Pensacola directly afterward.) After the game Cody would be named the IL Batter of the Week for 6/18-6/24, going fourteen for twenty-five while scoring nine runs and knocking in seven. Chad Reineke outdueled ex-Red Justin Germano (W 3-5, 4.19, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 98 pitches/55 strikes) and Smith got save #10.
6/26: Tim “Good Luck” Gustafson (3-1, 4.29) faced Buffalo (NYM, 38-40) and righty Jeurys Familia (5-4, 5.00) with the winning streak on the line. Buffalo grabbed a 2-1 lead after four as Gustafson yielded early to his bullpen (4.32, 4 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB), then made it 3-1 in the seventh off Texeira. But the Bats battled back! First a Bill Rhinehart RBI single and a Gathright sacrifice fly (following Corky Miller’s personal trademark, a heavily mustachioed hit-by-pitch) tied the score at three in the eighth. Then a bases-loaded walk to Danny Dorn and a Rhinehart sacrifice fly broke the tie in the top of the ninth, setting up Donnie Joseph to close it out for save #3. Louisville wins nine in a row! JJ Hoover pitched the eighth for the victory (1-0, 1.64) and Felix Perez raised his average to .278 with a 4-for-5, including two doubles. Rhinehart finished 2-for-4 with the two RBI (.242).
6/27: Thunk! The winning streak ends at Buffalo’s hands, 9-4. Pedro Villareal struggled (L 2-5, 4.48, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Gathright was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI (.306) and Dorn 2-for-3 with a double, walk, and RBI (.233).
Transactions: 6/22: RHR JJ Hoover sent down from Cincinnati. Hoover did fine work with the big club, turning in a 3.00 ERA in 17 appearances spanning 18 innings. He struck out 19 and walked eight. 6/23: RHR Josh Judy activated from the inactive list. RHR Wirfin Obispo sent back to Double-A. 6/24: RHR Scott Carroll placed on the 7-day DL. 6/25: UT Willie Harris was outrighted to Louisville for the second time in 2012. 6/26: SS Miguel Rojas sent to Pensacola.
Around the minors: INF Jose Castro, acquired from the Mets organization by the Reds in the 2007 Jeff Conine deal, was released by the White Sox. Castro played in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A for the Reds through 2011, and was traded to the Chicago organization early this year. The 25-year-old switch-hitter batted just .179 in 30 games between two levels for the Sox. 6/26: LHR Phil Valiquette, now with Milwaukee after missing all of 2011 (Seattle) with arm problems, was promoted to Double-A Huntsville after pitching several games at High-A Brevard County. Boston optioned RHP Zach Stewart to Triple-A upon his acquisition from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis deal. Stewart, 25, was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in one start and seventeen relief appearances for the White Sox; he won his first start for AAA Pawtucket after going to the Red Sox.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 4-3.
Overall: 4-3 second half. 38-38 overall.
6/21: The Wahoos are held to just four hits, so they fell one short despite three Chattanooga (LAD) errors, 3-2. Tim Crabbe started strong but got hit in the fourth and fifth (L 3-3, 4.08, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Chris Manno (3.42, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Curt Partch (4.97, 1.1 IP, 2 H, now 1.69 with 20 K in 21 IP since moving to the pen) finished up. The Wahoos got walks to CF Ryan LaMarre and SS Didi Gregorius and a bunt single from 2B Brodie Greene to load the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Josh Fellhauer and David Vidal struck out and AJ Means popped up to end the threat. They didn’t get another baserunner after that.
6/22: Gregorius and Greene each had run-scoring singles in a two-run seventh that turned a 2-1 Wahoos deficit into a 3-2 lead. They won it 4-2, as the Pensacola bullpen ended up working 5.1 innings of shutout ball in relief of starter Tony Cingrani (2.95, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). The lefty wasn’t hit hard, but he ran up 90 pitches by the fourth. Clayton Tanner worked a 1-2-3 sixth (W 1-3, 4.08, 1 K) and Justin Freeman got save #3 (4.08, 1 IP, 2 K). Cal League All-Star Brian Pearl worked 1.1 hitless innings in his Double-A debut. 1B Yordanys Perez was 3-for-4 with a double (.226) and Gregorius made just one out all night (2-for-3, 2 BB, .290). Tanner would be released the next day, interestingly enough.
6/23: Again a combination of deficit rallies and good bullpen work carried the Wahoos to victory. Five runs in the fifth turned a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 Pensacola win! Kyle Lotzkar lasted just long enough (W 4-2, 3.47, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K). Drew Hayes got through the next two (3.98, 2 H, 2 K, now a 1.50 ERA over his last ten appearances) and Curt Partch the last two for save #3 (4.72, 1 BB, 1 K). 1B Beau Mills made quite a Reds system debut; he went 3-for-4 with a fifth-inning solo homer and two RBI. Perez built on his previous heroics with two hits and three RBI (.233).
6/24: The Wahoos rally for a third straight night, getting Mills’ three-run homer in the top of the ninth to win 8-7 and bail out Pearl, who’d blown a 3-3 tie by giving up four in the sixth. Freeman got save #4 with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth (4.33, 2 K). Chris Manno pitched the eighth (W 1-1, 3.29, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB). Daniel Corcino had control troubles, necessitating an early exit (4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 72 pitches/30 strikes). Mills finished with five RBI total, adding a two-run double. Greene was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs (.246).
6/25: Pensacola outhit the Lookouts eleven to three, but lost the final game of the series 3-2. JC Sulbaran gave up just two hits in five innings… but uncharacteristically walked eight! (L 5-5, 4.32). LF Josh Fellhauer went 4-for-4 with a double (.341) and C Brian Peacock 2-for-4 with a double and RBI (.308).
6/26: Back home to face first-half champs Jackson (SEA, 3-2). Tim Crabbe (3-3, 4.08) to the hill opposing lefty Steve Garrison (4-3, 4.25). Garrison may not be a heavily touted prospect like several other Generals, but he held the Wahoos to four hits and a run over six to take the win, 4-2. Crabbe, who continues to fight his control (52 BB in 73.1 IP; at least he’s got 80 K), lasted five (L 3-4, 4.18, 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K). Brian Pearl turned in two (3 H, 0 BB, 0 K) and Mark Serrano finished up (3.20, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 1 K). Only Peacock had multiple hits (2-for-4, .319).
6/27: So much for the Southern League being a rough challenge for Tony Cingrani. The lefty whiffed 15 Jackson Generals en route to eight shutout innings of a 5-0 win. Cingrani threw 100 pitches, 73 strikes, and walked only one. He also picked the recipient of said walk off first base. Tony’s now 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in five SL starts and 7-2, 1.47 in 15 starts on the season. LaMarre was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, a RBI, and steal #18 (.277). Fellhauer was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI (.301).
Article on Cingrani’s dominance.
Transactions: C Chris Berset sent back to Bakersfield. RHR Brian Pearl promoted from Bakersfield. 6/22: 1B Beau Mills acquired from Cleveland for cash and activated. Mills, 25, was the Indians’ first-round pick in 2007 out of Lewis-Clark State (having transferred there following a couple of seasons at Fresno State), and the son of 1980s big-leaguer and current Houston Astros manager Brad Mills. Mills made it as high as High-A Kinston in his first season, then raked to the tune of .293/.373/.506 with 21 homers and 90 RBI for the K-Tribe in ’08. For this he was named MVP of the Carolina League. Promoted to Double-A Akron for 2009, however, he struggled to a .267/.315/.406 line. Cleveland decided to have him repeat the level, and things got worse- .241/.312/.377. Last year, Mills finally got the bump to Triple-A after going .300/.388/.522 in 61 games with Akron. He followed that with .269/.326/.496 in 35 games at Triple-A Columbus, but in 2012 he collapsed, hitting just .197/.239/.394 with seven homers but also seven walks in 39 games with the Clippers. You never know with these change-of-scenery guys; maybe the twin jolt of a demotion and a trade will kickstart Mills’ power bat. RHP Luis Atilano suspended 50 games for drugs; he’d been on the DL most of the year anyway. RHR Erik Miller back to Dayton. 6/23: Mills activated. RHR Wirfin Obispo back from Louisville. LHR Clayton Tanner released. 6/24: RHR Josh Ravin up from Bakersfield. 6/25: LHR Wilkin de la Rosa to the 7-day DL with the dreaded oblique strain. 6/26: INF Miguel Rojas back from Louisville. 6/27: RHR Josh Ravin placed on the DL. OF Bryson Smith up from Bakersfield.
Daniel Corcino quite rightfully leads the BA Prospect Hot Sheet due to his eight no-hit innings. He also garnered honors as the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending June 17.
For some reason, it wasn’t announced on the Milb.com transactions page, but: 1B Joel Guzman was released by the Reds immediately after representing Pensacola in the Southern League All-Star game! Perhaps he requested it, I have no idea. Anyway, the former Dodger phenom hit .263/.328/.394 in 65 games for the Wahoos.
FUTURES GAME ROSTER!!!!! Kyle Lotzkar is on the World team, while soon-to-be-a-Wahoo Billy Hamilton classes up the US squad.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 4-3.
Overall: 4-3 second half. 45-32 overall. Blaze win the first-half title by three games over San Jose!
6/21: Bakersfield scored in seven separate innings, piling up 18 hits and burying Rancho Cucamonga (LAD), 12-2. SS Billy Hamilton finished 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBI (.331) as well as two more steals (82). RF Steve Selsky hit a pair of solo homers in his High-A debut and C Tucker Barnhart was 5-for-5 with a two-run homer (#4), three runs, and a double (.290). The 21-year-old is now eighteen for his last thirty-five! 3B Travis Mattair also popped homer #9. Josh Smith added another quality start to his resume (W 6-4, 3.66, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) giving him seven in a row and eight of nine. Andrew Brackman retired four straight in relief and 24-year-old Josh Ravin, the Reds’ fifth-round pick way back in 2006, added a scoreless ninth. Last year Ravin pitched well as a starter for the Blaze initially before slumping (2-8, 4.61, 19 GS) and then struggling following a Double-A promotion. He’s now made two scoreless appearances out of the ‘pen.
6/22: Jamie Walczak again avoided serious issue in his stint (5.32, 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), but the Quakes rocked Chris Joyce (L 1-3, 7.04, 0.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB) for six runs in the fourth to win an 8-2 rout. Hamilton was 1-for-2 with a walk and steal #83.
6/23: The Blaze nearly blew a 10-2 lead, but they hang on, 15-10, in a classic Cal League kind of night. Bakersfield hit just one homer, Mattair’s grand slam in the fourth (#10, 3-for-4, 3 R, .238). Instead, the Blaze were 7-for-7 in stolen bases- four by Hamilton, of course (87, 1-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, errors #19 and #20). CF Theo Bowe drove in three with a single, triple, and three runs (steal #24, .373).
6/24: Another slugfest win, 14-9, give Bakersfield three of four in this series. Here’s how we ended:
Bakersfield Top of the 9th
• Pitcher Change: Scott McGough replaces Steve Smith.
• Chris Berset singles on a line drive to right fielder Jonathan Garcia.
• Kurtis Muller homers (1) on a fly ball to left field. Chris Berset scores.
• Theo Bowe called out on strikes.
• Billy Hamilton singles on a ground ball to right fielder Jonathan Garcia.
• With Niko Vasquez batting, Billy Hamilton steals (90) 2nd base.
• Niko Vasquez singles on a ground ball to left fielder Joc Pederson. Billy Hamilton to 3rd.
• Dominic D'Anna singles on a line drive to left fielder Joc Pederson. Billy Hamilton scores. Niko Vasquez to 2nd.
• Travis Mattair singles on a fly ball to right fielder Jonathan Garcia. Niko Vasquez scores. Dominic D'Anna to 3rd. Travis Mattair to 2nd on the throw.
• Juan Duran reaches on fielding error by shortstop Casio Grider. Dominic D'Anna scores. Travis Mattair out at 3rd, second baseman Scott Wingo to third baseman Alexis Aguilar.
• Steve Selsky doubles (4) on a fly ball to right fielder Jonathan Garcia. Juan Duran to 3rd.
• Pitcher Change: Robert Purpura replaces Scott McGough.
• Chris Berset doubles (3) on a ground ball to right fielder Jonathan Garcia. Juan Duran scores. Steve Selsky scores.
• Kurtis Muller singles on a fly ball to right fielder Jonathan Garcia. Chris Berset scores.
•With Theo Bowe batting, Kurtis Muller steals (4) 2nd base.
• Theo Bowe triples (2) on a line drive to right fielder Jonathan Garcia. Kurtis Muller scores.
• Billy Hamilton walks.
• Niko Vasquez walks. Billy Hamilton to 2nd.
• Pitcher Change: Freddie Cabrera replaces Robert Purpura.
• Dominic D'Anna grounds into a force out, shortstop Casio Grider to second baseman Scott Wingo. Niko Vasquez out at 2nd.
Selsky had three doubles (.421), Berset three hits and three RBI (.255), Muller three hits and three RBI (homer #1, .244) and 2B Niko Vasquez three hits (.184, 2 RBI). Hamilton was just 1-for-3, but drew three more walks, scored three more runs, and stole three more bases (90, .332, error #21). Bowe matched him with three steals as well (27) as the Blaze made it 7-for-7 stealing for the second straight night. Pat Doyle had a rough start (4.15, 4 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 5 ER) but Justice French (4.42, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and Joyce (W 2-3, 6.23, 2 IP, 2 K) finished up in solid fashion.
6/25: Visalia (ARI, 3-2) got the tiebreaking run off Mike Griffin (L 2-4, 5.33, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) in the bottom of the 10th to nip the visiting Blaze, 5-4. Chad Rogers worked five (2.43, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Hamilton got swipe #91 and didn’t make an error, although he was caught for the 19th time as well.
6/26: A second straight tough loss, as a Hamilton throwing error allowed the Rawhide to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth off Andrew Brackman (L 0-1, 5.87, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and win it. Travis Mattair is now batting .298/.359/.500 in June, as he went 3-for-4 with a first-inning three-run homer (#11) to raise his overall average to .250. Starter Josh Smith saw his quality start streak end at seven (3.76, 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR).
6/27: The Blaze blew leads of 4-0 and 6-2, but still managed two tiebreaking runs in the top of the eighth to nip Visalia, 8-6. Chris Joyce (W 3-3, BS #3, 6.16, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Kyle McMyne (save #1, 5.06, 1 IP, 3 K) finished the last two innings in excellent fashion. Starter Jamie Walczak looked solid for five innings (5.15, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR). Mattair continued raking- he was 4-for-5 with two doubles (.261) and is 15-for-37 over his last nine (.405). Bowe continued his great post-Dragons work, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, the second crucial in the eighth, to raise his average to .366. Hamilton was just 1-for-5, but scored twice and chalked up two more thefts (94) and two more errors (24). 1B Dominic D’Anna drove in two with a single and double (.241).
Transactions: 6/21: OF Steve Selsky promoted from Dayton. Selsky, 23 in a month, batted .281/.322/.395 for the Dragons so far this year. He was a 33rd-round pick by the Reds last year out of Arizona. OF Jaren Matthews, 23 was released. Matthews was a 32nd-round pick by the Reds out of Rutgers in 2010; he’d hit just .220 in 25 games for the Blaze this year after hitting .217/.272/.364 in 66 games with Dayton in 2011. C Chris Berset came back from Pensacola, while C Danny Vicioso was put on the DL with a foot injury. OF Bryson Smith, he of the .317/.382/.441 line so far this season, was activated from the DL after missing most of the last two weeks. RHR John Holdzkom was also released. Holdzkom, 24, was a fourth-round pick of the Mets in 2006 and signed as a free agent this past offseason. He had a 5.19 ERA in six Bakersfield appearances, walking 13 in 8.2 IP. 6/24: LHR Blaine Howell and his mustache activated from the DL. RHR Josh Ravin up to Pensacola.
Another transaction that went unnoticed originally: 3B Jason Christian, who’d managed to get in just five games for the Blaze this year due to injury, was traded to Atlanta for cash considerations. Christian, 25, is a Cincinnati native who attended the University of Michigan and was drafted in the fifth round in 2008 by Oakland. The Braves promoted him to Double-A Mississippi, where he’s gotten significant playing time.
How come Billy Hamilton hasn’t been promoted?
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 1-5.
Overall: 1-5 second half. 31-45 overall.
6/21: All-Star break.
6/22: Back in action hosting Bowling Green (TB). The Hot Rods hung on to win, 9-8, as both sides scored four runs in the eighth but the lead didn’t change. Big ups for RF Yorman Rodriguez, who celebrated his return to action with a two-run homer in the first and four RBI overall (2-for-4, 2 R). SS Juan Perez added two hits, three runs, a walk, and RBI (.239). 3B Junior Arias got over .200 (2-for-5, 3B). Jake Johnson started (3.60, 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) but both Erik Miller (9.64, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB) and Ryan Kemp (4.11, 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) had a rough time of it in relief.
6/23: Two in a row for the bad guys, 6-3. Dan Jensen pitched decently but lost (L 3-7, 5.51, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR). 2B Ryan Wright (.293, 2-for-3, R, 2B, BB) and Perez (2-for-3, 2B, R, .245) both had fine games.
6/24: BG made it three, 3-2, when they got two in the eighth and held Dayton to one in the bottom of the inning. C Yovan Gonzalez (.273) and RF Kyle Waldrop (… .273) both went 2-for-3 with a walk. Radhames Quezada saw his winning streak interrupted by a no-decision (3.75, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Mike Dennhardt took the loss (L 1-3, 3.18, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR).
6/25: Dayton is now 0-4 on the second half, falling to Lake County (CLE, 2-2) 8-3. Rodriguez was 0-for-5 to fall to .176 since being reactivated. Wright was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI (.300) and Perez had two more hits (.248). Tanner Robles got the defeat (L 4-5, 4.56, 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K).
6/26: 0-5. A tough 12-inning loss at home, 5-2, as Lake County got three in the top of the 12th off Erik Miller (L 0-2, 9.49) and Cole Green (2.51, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3-3 IRS). Two were unearned, as the Dragons made three errors on the night. Perez did hit homer #2 in the first, while C Nick O’Shea accounted for the other Dayton run with his first Midwest League homer. Starter Stalin Gerson deserved better, pitching six two-hit shutout innings (4.30, 1 BB, 3 K). Carlos Contreras blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth (3.28, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, BS #3).
6/27: DRAGONS WIN! Nine runs in the third inning help erase a small piece of the previous losing streak as Dayton won 10-3. Carlos Gonzalez, back with the Dragons following a short Billings stay, allowed one hit over three (5.82). James Allen dominated the next five for the win (5-2, 3.40, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K). Gonzalez smashed a three-run homer and tacked on an RBI groundout (#4) and DH Joe Terry drove in two with homer #3 and a single (.260).
Transactions: 6/21: 1B Aldrich Guzman, 18, was sent to the Dragons from the AZL Reds. Either this is a temporary thing or the Reds think very highly of the 6’4”, 235-pound right-handed hitter. 6/22: RHR Erik Miller back from Pensacola. OF Yorman Rodriguez activated from extended spring training. OF Drew Stubbs morphed into Rehabbin’ Drew Stubbs.
Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs
This week: 5-2.
Overall: 7-3, first place!
6/21: Sal Romano, the recent pitching pride of Southington, CT, made his Reds and professional debut with five shutout innings for the Mustangs in their 3-0 shutout win over Missoula (ARI). Romano allowed three hits, walked nobody, and struck out three. Southington just so happens to be the alma mater of former Reds’ reliever Rob Dibble! The 6’5” righthander was committed to the University of Tennessee but the Reds managed to lure him into signing with a $450,000 bonus following a 23rd-round pick last year. Anyway, four Billings relievers combined to allow the Osprey zero additional hits over the final four, with righty Bennett Klimesh (15th round, Trinity U.) notching the save. Third-rounder Dan Langfield worked the sixth and seventh, walking two and striking out one. 2B Sammy Diaz was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and 1B Robert Maddox drove in two.
6/22: Billings whipped Helena (MIL, 1-4) 9-4 to move to 4-1 on the season! Maddox launched a pair of homers (3-for-4, 3 R, 3 RBI, .417). Drew Cisco, a sixth-round pick in 2010 who missed all of last year following Tommy John surgery, started and worked two decent innings (2 H, 1 R, 0 ER). Carlos Gonzalez, who started the year in the Dragons’ rotation, whiffed six of eight to follow for the W.
6/23: Five runs in the sixth made the Mustangs 5-1, 7-3. Fifteen hits for the good guys, including four for 1B Carlos Sanchez (.368, 2 2B, 3 RBI) and three more for Maddox (2B, R, RBI, .500). C Fray Sosa pitched in two hits and RF Jesse Winker the same (.211, RBI). Starter Wes Mugarian fired five excellent innings (3.00, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K), Joel Bender was a little better in his second outing (19.29, 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Matt Wiley struck out both of the Brewers he faced for save #2.
6/24: Helena salvages a win from this three-game set, 6-4. LF Spencer Dickinson hit a solo homer and SS Brandon Dailey a three-run shot from the #9 slot. Robert Stephenson was a little less impressive in start #2, but certainly not bad (4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Jimmy Moran gave up three in the seventh (two let in by Sean Lucas, who followed him) to take the loss.
6/25: Back to winning, as the Mustangs stampeded into Great Falls (CHW, 4-4) to deal the Voyagers a 5-2 loss. Winker was 1-for-2 with three walks and a run scored while Dickinson had three hits (.333). Maddox drove in two runs., giving him eight RBI in eight games. Ismael Guillon struck out six in four innings (4.50, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB). Lucas O’Rear followed him for the W (1-0, 3.38, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). Wiley got save #3.
6/26: Romano wasn’t quite as impressive in his second turn (1.00, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) but still quite solid as the Billings bats hammered out 16 hits. Mustangs win, 9-6, with fifth-rounder Dan Langfield getting the W (1-0, 4.50, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Sean Lucas got the final out for the save. Winker had his best game yet (.357, 3-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI). On the other end of the draft pedigree scale, DH Brennan May, a free agent signee last spring out of Tallahassee CC, was 4-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and two RBI from the #9 slot. May, 21, managed to start most of last season for the AZL squad, batting .274/.356/.530 in 45 games with seven homers and thirteen steals. That earned him a final week with the Dragons. CF Jon Matthews got his first hit in 30 at-bats on the year, a single. Hopefully the Reds’ eighth-round pick from last year has more luck going forward now that he’s gotten off the .000 train.
6/27: Four Mustangs errors led to a total of seven unearned Voyagers runs in a 12-6 loss, six off losing pitcher Jose Amezcua (3 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR). Starter Drew Cisco lasted three (6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K). Dickinson was 3-for-5 with a double (.382) while Winker kept at it (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI).
In case you’re wondering why Ohio University's Robert Maddox, is back for a third tour of duty with the Mustangs after being the team’s best hitter last year, this article may provide some explanation. In short: he’s learning to hit to all fields.
This week: 1-5.
Overall: 2-5, fourth place.
6/21: After an impressive win in their opener, the Redlings blew a 4-0 lead in a 7-5 loss to the Mariners. Dominican RF Jonathan Reynoso, 19, was 4-for-4 with two triples and two runs scored. Five-foot-nine 2B Ty Washington, the Reds’ 43rd-rounder last year out of high school in Texas, was 3-for-4 with a triple and RBI. DH Avain Rachal (22nd round, 2012, Texas HS) was 2-for-3 with a walk, triple, and two RBI. Starter Vaughn Covington, who the Reds got in the 11th round last year out of high school in British Columbia, was very impressive for three innings before suddenly losing his control (3 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 K). Three of Covington’s runners scored off his reliever, Lorgi Pineda (3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), Austin Muehring (19th-round, 2012, Palomar C.) got the loss in relief.
6/23: The Redlings lost to the Dodgers, 10-7. Washington whaled a solo homer and Rehabbin’ Denis Phipps also had one. 3B Tanner Rahier had a pair of hits and Rachal added two hits and two RBI. 6’5” Dominican starter Jose Williams gave up four earned in 2.2 innings, although it was Luke Moran who took the L in relief. Lefty Blaine Howell, also rehabbing before he heads back to Bakersfield, gave up three runs in his inning. Another Dominican righty, Jose Guzman, pitched three pretty decent innings (2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Finally, 18th-round selection Jackson Stephens (HS, Alabama) made his pro debut with a 1-2-3 inning.
6/24: Another slugfest, another loss- this time 10-8 at the hands of the Padres. Rehabbin’ Donald Lutz led the Reds with three hits and two RBI, although fellow rehabber Phipps was 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs, and RBI. Starter Mitch Clarke worked two one-hit innings (1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) but 21-year-old Dominican righty Jonathan Perez was whacked for seven of the eight runs the Padres got in the fifth. Lefty Richard McCaffrey permitted just one more run over the next three-plus (3 H, 0 BB, 3 K).
6/25: The Mariners win 8-6, sending the Redlings to their fourth straight loss. Rachal was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs from the #9 spot (.438) while Phipps, who’s probably ready to return to the Bats, had two more hits and two RBI. I hope 5’10”, 154-pound Dominican shortstop Ronald Bueno becomes a prospect on name alone; the 19-year-old switch-hitter had two hits, a run scored, and a stolen base. Starter Pedro Diaz gave up eleven hits and seven runs in three innings for the loss, although lefty Wandy Peralta pitched quite well after him (5.14, 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). 20-year-old Dominican righty Abel de los Santos struck out three in a scoreless ninth. De los Santos struggled last year at this level (7.54 ERA, 22.2 IP) after dominating the DSL (9-1, 1.85, 14 GS) in 2010.
6/26: These are starting to look a little familiar. Yet another slugfest where the Reds show some bat but come up short, this time 11-9 to the Giants. The good guys also committed six errors, two by starting pitcher Vaughn Covington (L 0-1, 3 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K). The bullpen permitted just four hits and two unearned runs over the final six, but it wasn’t quite enough. Don Lutz is probably ready to go back to the higher levels (4-for-4, 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI). Phipps hit another homer and went 2-for-4 while throwing out a runner at the plate. Yep, shoulder healed. Washington homered for the second straight game.
Transactions: 6/21: 1B Aldi Guzman to Dayton (see above). 6/23: OF Denis Phipps (Louisville), LHR Blaine Howell (Bakersfield) and 1B Don Lutz (Bakersfield) activated for rehab.