Important things first: follow Billy Hamilton’s pursuit of 145 stolen bases!

Louisville and Bakersfield cratered, while Pensacola was okay but remain several games short of their playoff goal with a couple of weeks to play. Billings is doing well in the PL second half and is a favorite to make the postseason.

AAA Louisville Bats

Record this week: 1-6. Splat.

Overall: 48-78. Last. Now three less wins than the Mud Hens!

8/9: The Bats fall just short, scoring two in the home seventh on SS Didi Gregorius’ two-run triple to make it 4-3. DH Felix Perez was picked off trying to steal second with one out in the eighth and the Bats never put another runner on. Sean Gallagher somehow put up a quality start despite walking seven, striking out zero, and serving up a pair of bombs (L 9-8, 4.83, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER). Four double plays did help.

8/10: 2B Henry Rodriguez’ RBI knock plated Gregorius in the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie and beat Gwinnett (ATL). Rehabbin’ Nick Masset worked a 1-2-3 eighth and JJ Hoover the same in the ninth (1.36, save #12). Jordan Smith (W 2-3, 4.98, 1 IP, 1 BB) got the victory in relief of Chad Reineke (4.22, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). 1B Neftali Soto was 2-for-4 with homer #14 and two RBI (.243).

8/11: Despite being out-hit eight to six, the Braves whomp the Bats 8-2. Tim Gustafson started (L 4-4, 4.32, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR). C Corky Miller was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and homer #7 (.244).

8/12: The ‘burbs got all five of their runs in the fourth off Todd “We Call You Up, But You No Pitch” Redmond, winning 5-2. Redmond worked six (L 8-9, 3.54, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR). Gregorius was 2-for-3 (.262, R, BB) and Perez 2-for-4 with two RBI (.292).

8/13: Three of four for the Braves, as they chased Pedro Villareal in the second (L 3-10, 4.81, 1.1 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 8 ER) and crushed Louisville 11-7. Rodriguez was 4-for-5 with two doubles and three runs (.258) while Perez had three hits and three RBI (.297, 2 2B). C Brian Peacock smacked homer #2.

8/14: On to Charlotte to face the first-place Knights (CHW) and (for the second time) ex-Bat Scott Carroll. Carroll was outdueled the first time, but he held his former teammates to three hits over seven this time as Charlotte handed Louisville its fourth straight loss, 6-2. Gallagher lost (9-9, 4.90, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K). Rehabbin’ Bill Bray worked a scoreless inning. Rodriguez had two more hits (.265).

8/15: Five. Charlotte wins again, 5-3, holding the Bats to five hits. Reineke took the defeat (L 5-8, 4.27, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) in relief of Rehabbin’ Masset (2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K).

Transactions: 8/9: C Dioner Navarro back from Cincinnati. 8/12: OF Bill Rhinehart to the 7-day DL. 8/14: Rehabbin’ Bill Bray activated. One more punch on that card, and he gets a free stint!

Around the minors: Arizona signed RHS Brett Tomko, released by the Reds. Interestingly, Tomko was demoted to Double-A, where his first start saw him beat…. Pensacola. The White Sox called up journeyman OF DeWayne Wise. Milwaukee activated LHR Phil Valiquette, who made a second trip to the DL this year. He’s still pitching for Double-A Huntsville. The Yankees released journeyman slugger Russ Branyan. San Diego sent C Eddy Rodriguez, a player I never thought would get one day in the big leagues, back to Triple-A. They also outrighted RHP Kip Wells to the minors.

AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos

This week: 3-3. Time is rapidly running out on the playoff hopes.

Overall: 27-25 second half, three and a half games behind new division leader Montgomery (TB) 61-60 overall.

8/9: 2B Brodie Greene singled in LF Bryson Smith (.337, 3-for-5, 2 RBI) with the winning run in the home tenth; Pensacola defeated Chattanooga (LAD) 3-2. SS Billy Hamilton had a bunt single and triple and two runs scored (and bags 132 and 133) to raise his average to .273. Starter Tony Cingrani worked six solid innings (1.94, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches/63 strikes). Curt Partch picked up the W (5-4, 4.33, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K).

8/10: Three Wahoos errors contributed to a 4-2 loss. Kyle Lotzkar, who’s struggled pretty badly over the last month, righted the ship with six quality innings (5.14, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 79 pitches/51 strikes). Josh Ravin took the loss (1-2, 5.73, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Hamilton got bases 134 and 135, but Lotzkar himself thieved a pair. This puts the mustachioed Canadian just 133 behind Billy.

8/11: Pensacola outhits the Lookouts eleven to four, but still loses (!) 6-4. Four in the seventh sunk Drew Hayes (L 2-3, 3.65, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER), Wilkin de la Rosa, and Partch. Daniel Corcino worked five, allowing just two hits (3.25, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). RF Josh Fellhauer was 3-for-4 with homer #4 and three RBI (.300). Hamilton got on base twice, going 1-for-2 in steals (136).

8/12: Wahoos win the series 3-2 with a 7-3 victory. Hamilton drove in three runs with two singles and a triple- with all three listed as line drives. That’s a good thing. He got three more bases (139) and also got picked off once. Greene was 2-for-2 with two walks (.236) and starter Wirfin Obispo kept rolling (W 5-0, 2.22, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Justin Freeman got save #13 (1.1 IP, 2.67).

8/13: Off.

8/14: Last-place Mobile (ARI) welcomed the Wahoos, only to be whipped 9-5. Struggling LF Don Lutz whaled two homers while going 4-for-5 (#4 and #5, 3 R, .205). C Tucker Barnhart, also struggling, was 3-for-5 with a double (.209). Fellhauer added two hits, two RBI, and two walks. Hamilton doubled in a run and walked, but got caught in his only steal attempt. Chad Rogers moved to 3-0 (1.59, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR). Freeman struck out three of four to get save #14 after Partch got hit for three in the eighth.

8/15: The BayBears jumped Brian Pearl (L 1-3, 7.01, 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB) in the home eighth for four runs, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 win. Cingrani struck out ten in five innings (1.81, 5 H, 0 BB, 93 pitches/62 strikes). He also went 2-for-2 at the plate. CF Ryan LaMarre was 2-for-4 with a double (.278). Hamilton got two more bases (141) after walking.

High-A Bakersfield Blaze

This week: 0-6. Bakersfield would give up nine runs or more in four of these games.

Overall: 20-31 second half. 61-60overall. Playoff-bound, this week notwithstanding.

8/9: Fourteen runs and eighteen hits for Visalia (ARI) as they chased Tanner Robles (L 3-3, 2.50, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB) in the second (he later was put on the DL with a back strain) and routed the Blaze by ten. Pat Doyle had the unenviable task of chewing up five-plus innings of long relief (5.76, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER). LF Juan Duran was 2-for-4 with homer #11 (.237) and CF Theo Bowe keeps getting on base (0-for-1, but 2 R, 3 BB, and steal #45).

8/10: Blaze headed to High Desert (SEA), an environment they generally don’t do well in even though the Mavericks aren’t usually good. They are, however, pretty good this year. Bakersfield led 2-0 until the sixth… when HD smashed Jamie Walczak (L 3-3, 5.38, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and relievers Blaine Howell (4.62, 0.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and Dan Wolford (7.16, 1.1 IP, 5 ER) for six in the sixth and five in the seventh. Easy win for the bad guys, 11-3. C Chris Berset hit homer #4 and RF Steve Selsky kept raking (.333, 2-for-4, 3B).

8/11: Again Bakersfield built an early lead, 3-0 after three, and again they lost it. HD got two in the fourth off Josh Smith, who put up yet another quality start (3.73, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) and two more in the seventh off Kyle McMyne (L 2-3, 5.79, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 3 BB). Devin Lohman was thrown out in the seventh trying to score on Travis Mattair’s single, while Kurtis Muller got to third with one out an inning later. Ryan Wright’s game-ending double play erased a ninth-inning leadoff scratch hit by Bowe, and the Blaze fell short.

8/12: A sweep for the Mavericks, as they scored in six of their eight times to the plate en route to a 13-6 thrashing. Mattair hit a two-run homer (#18). Dan Renken was hit hard (L 4-8, 5.41, 2.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 6 ER).

8/13: Off.

8/14: To San Jose (SF)- could the bleeding stop at four? As you might have guessed, the answer was no. Muller singled home Duran in the visitors’ ninth to tie the score, but the Giants’ Jarrett Parker led off the home ninth with a homer off Pat Doyle (L 9-5, 5.73, 2 IP, 1 ER) to win it. Tim Crabbe kept the Blaze in the game (3.53, 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Duran had a great night at the plate (3-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI), raising his average to .239.

8/15: Giants whip the Blaze, 9-1, to send Bakersfield to its sixth straight defeat. Walczak was chased in the third (L 3-4, 5.65, 2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 K). New callup Carlos Contreras (3.20 ERA in Dayton over 40 G and 50.2 IP with 51 K and 19 BB) threw a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts. Given how badly Bakersfield needs bullpen help, it looks like a good move.

Transactions: 8/10: LHS Tanner Robles placed on the DL; RHR Jimmy Moran up from Billings. 8/14: RHR Justice French put on the DL; RHR Carlos Contreras up from Dayton. RHS Stalin Gerson promoted to Bakersfield from Dayton. RHR Jimmy Moran down to Dayton.

Low-A Dayton Dragons

This week: 2-2.

Overall: 21-28 second half. 51-68 overall.

8/9: Rained out.

8/10: MAKEUP MADNESS… was rained out.

8/11: The Dragons stormed back from a 3-0 deficit, scoring the go-ahead run in the home eighth on LF Kyle Waldrop’s single to beat Fort Wayne (SD), 4-3. Waldrop drove in two on the night (1-for-3, .278). 3B Joe Terry didn’t make an out (except when he was thrown out at the plate trying to score), going 2-for-2 with two walks and two RBI (.271). He also stole bases 18 and 19. Ryan Kemp pitched two scoreless for the win (3-5, 4.32, 2 H, 3 K) while Carlos Contreras notched save #15. Starter James Allen was steady (3.76, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K).

8/12: SS Juan Perez’ second homer of the game, a three-run blast, tied the game at 4 in the fifth. Dayton followed with the tiebreaker the next inning with a double by the struggling Sean Buckley (.239), then got shutdown relief from El’Hajj Muhammad, Mike Dennhardt, and Contreras (save #16) to hold down the 5-4 win. Wes Mugarian (W 1-3, 6.67, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K) got his first MWL victory in relief of Robert Stephenson, who struggled a bit (3.00, 4 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). Perez’ two homers gave him nine on the season.

8/13: The TinCaps salvage one of three, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 6-3. Stalin Gerson took the defeat (L 6-8, 3.76, 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), victimized by three Dragons errors- two from Junior Arias at third (31). One was his own.

8/14: Off.

8/15: Jake Johnson’s ERAs have risen by the month- 2.40 in May, 4.50 in June, 6.98 in July, and now 9.35 in August. Lake County (CLE) won a 7-0 shutout with Johnson taking the L (1-5, 5.65, 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Carlos Gonzalez (3.22, 1 BB, 3 K) and Jimmy Moran (6.18, 1 BB, 2 K) each threw two innings of hitless relief, but Dayton mustered only five hits.

Transactions: 8/14: RHS Stalin Gerson up to Bakersfield; RHR Jimmy Moran down from the Blaze. RHR Carlos Contreras on to Bakersfield, with RHR Cole Green joining the DL (shoulder). RHS Radhames Quezada activated. LHS Ismael Guillon promoted from Billings.

1B Sean Buckley made the part of the Prospect Hot Sheet you don’t want to make: the Not-So-Hot Sheet:
• Sean Buckley, 1b, Reds: "Everything has been tougher for Buckley, 22, in his second pro season. Projected as an outfielder/third baseman out of junior college, he's now playing first base. At the plate, he's found the Midwest League to be much tougher than the Pioneer League. Buckley's strikeout rate is up, his power is down and he appears to have run out of gas in his first full season. Buckley is hitting .130/.216/.174 for low Class A Dayton in August with two extra-base hits."


This week: 4-2.

Overall: 13-4 second half, first place!

8/9: The first-place Mustangs whipped the last-place Great Falls Voyagers (CHW), 6-0. GF got all of two hits off Sal Romano (W 3-4, 5.01, 5 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K), Nick Routt (5.50, 2 IP, 3 K), Jordan Remer, and Erik Miller. SS Zach Vincej continued to rake like crazy (3-for-4, 2 RBI, .453) and 3B Seth Mejias-Brean (.347), 1B Carlos Sanchez (.283), and RF Jon Matthews (.157, 3 SB) each had two hits apiece.

8/10: The road trip continued to Missoula (ARI), with Billings grabbing a 4-2 victory in game one. LF Jesse Winker hit a two-run homer (#2) and finished 2-for-4 with a double (.358). C Wagner Gomez also popped a two-run shot (#3). Jon Moscot worked two scoreless (2.25) then Jose Amezcua picked up the next few for the W (2-4, 4.82, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). Matt Wiley got the final two outs for save #6.

8/11: Ugh. You see this every year in a league like the PL; improbable comebacks. After the visitors’ fifth, Billings led 9-0 over the Osprey- then it all collapsed. Missoula scored eleven runs over its next four at-bats and won 11-10. Mejias-Brean had a huge day (4-for-5, homers #6 and #7, 3 RBI, 3 R, now .364). 1B Robert Maddox added three hits and three runs (.268) and LF Matt Lentz had three hits and three RBI (.284). RF Jeff Gelalich was 3-for-5 (.237, 2B) and CF Daniel Pigott the same (.347, 3B, RBI). SS Brandon Dailey’s only hit was homer #4. Good news for Amir Garrett, though- his first Pioneer League start went swimmingly (3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K). Nolan Becker (0-1, 4.05) got the loss in relief. You don’t want to hear about a few of the Mustangs’ relievers’ lines in this one, trust me.

8/12: Off.

8/13: Back home to battle the Chukars (they’re birds, kinda resembling an off-brand pelican) of Idaho Falls (KC). Ismael Guillon put the capper on a fabulous stint with ten strikeouts in six shutout innings (2.29, 3 H, 1 BB); he was promoted to Dayton after the game. Billings led 1-0 until the eighth, but the Chukars pecked at Ben Klimesh (L 0-2, 3.47, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER) for three in the visitors’ eighth. Two of those were let in by Alejandro Chacin (2.21, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K), who otherwise looked good. Billings didn’t put a runner on afterwards, and lost 3-1. Mejias-Brean cannot be stopped (2-for-4, 3B, .368) and CF Beau Amaral is also doing well as of late (.284, 2-for-3, BB).

8/14: Drew Cisco just keeps getting better- he fired five shutout innings here to propel the Ponies past the Chukars, 3-0. Cisco lowered his ERA to 3.26 in 38.2 IP (2 H, 0 BB, 4 K). Dan Langfield worked a hitless sixth and seventh (3.13), Sean Lucas the eighth, and Wiley struck everyone out for save #7 (0.00). Wiley has given up zero earned runs in 9.1 pro innings. Amaral poked a pair of hits (.290, R, RBI, steal #13), Vincej got back to hitting (.433, 2-for-3, R, BB) and Matthews had a RBI triple.

8/15: Five in the home eighth turned a 3-2 game into a 8-2 rout for Billings- they win the series two games to one. Romano struck out nine to win his second game of the week (W 4-4, 4.66, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB). Four relievers each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out. Sanchez had a pair of triples, giving him eight in 41 games (!). He also drove in two while raising his average to .280. Pigott and 2B Taylor Wrenn (.290) each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Transactions: 8/10: RHR Jimmy Moran up to Bakersfield. 8/15: LHS Ismael Guillon promoted to Dayton.


This week: 2-5.

Overall: 15-30, third place.

8/9: Four errors and just five hits led to a 3-0 shutout win for the Padres. Pedro Diaz started (L 1-4, 4.25, 4 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). The Reds did steal four bases in five attempts but went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

8/10: Four in the sixth allowed the Reds to rally past the Athletics, 6-4. Jonathan Perez got the win (1-2) and Austin Muehring (4.22, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K), Ryan Fennell (1 IP, 1 BB) and Abel de los Santos (save #3) closed it out. DH Jose Valdelamar was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.182) and Australian catcher Josh Kennelly had a RBI double (.258). 2B Brent Peterson was 2-for-3 with a walk (.348) and steal #14.

8/11: MAKEUP MADNESS! The Diamondbacks and Reds split the pair, with the Baby Snakes routing the Redlings 10-2 in game one but the Reds picking up the nightcap 2-1. The D-backs got all of one hit off Nick Travieso (2 IP, 3 BB, 1 K, 3.27), Jose Guzman, Jackson Stephens (W 1-0, 2.20, 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER) and de los Santos (save #4, 1 IP, 3 K) in the second game. 1B Jhimmy Lopez provided a scant highlight in game one with homer #2. Wandy Peralta took the loss (L 2-6, 7.18, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). Robert Lewis-Walker pitched two scoreless innings of relief in game one (3.65, 1 H, 2 K).

8/12: Off.

8/13: Five errors and twenty-five hits (!) by the opposing Cubs helped equal a 17-7 drubbing. Luke Moran (0-3) started. Everyone in the Reds’ lineup got a hit, with 3B Tanner Rahier (.207) picking up two. CF Jonathan Reynoso raised his average to .306 and stole two bases (21).

8/14: 1B Wilfrel Estevez had three hits and three runs batted in (.266) to go with three stolen bases, but he grounded out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to leave the Redlings one short, 7-6. Diaz fell to 1-5 (5.08, 3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER). Mike Saunders allowed just one unearned run over 3.1 innings of relief (1.47, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K). The Reds again ran like crazy, going 7-for-7 on the basepaths.

8/15: Giants take this one, 9-5, pinning the defeat on Jose Williams (L 1-3, 6.43, 3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K). RF Adam Matthews went 3-for-5 with two triples and two RBI (.318).