Download the complete version of the notes here.
• YESTERDAY: LOU launched 4hr and took its second straight game from COL, 10-7, to tie the season series at four games apiece.LOU scored in each of the first six innings, a season-high streak for innings scored. IF Mike Hessman went 3-for-3 and swatted a HR for the third straight day (and fourth out of five) and extended his season-long hitting streak to five games. He also knocked in a season-high three runs. OF Josh Fellhauer went 2-for-3 with his third HR and scored three runs. In the fifth inning, catchers Nevin Ashley (DH’ing) and Konrad Schmidt notched LOU’s first back-to-back HR of the season with a pair of solo shots off COL starter RHP Trevor Bauer. Bauer (2-2) allowed 7er in 4.2ip to take the loss (7h, 4bb, 3k, 4hr, 1wp, 1hb). LOU starter RHP Armando Galarraga went 5.0ip to earn the victory. Galarraga (3-3) allowed 4r (3er) on 7h (1hr) and 4bb with 3k. RHP Yohan Pino tossed two scoreless innings to earn his fifth save in six chances. LOU won despite being outhit 14-11 and committing three errors for the third time this season. For COL, IF Lonnie Chisenhall went 4-for-5 with 2rbi, IF Cord Phelps went 3-for-6 with a 3-run HR and former Bat OF Jeremy Hermida went 3-for-5 with 1rbi and a run. Hermida’s double in the fifth was initially ruled a HR before the umpires collaborated to change the call. The change resulted in argument from and the subsequent ejection of COL manager Chris Tremie. It was the second time this homestand the opposing manager has been ejected (Gary DiSarcina, 5/24 vs. PAW).
• YESTERDAY (CONT,): The game marked the first time LOU has scored in six straight innings since the Bats scored in each of the first six innings 5/7/10 in a 16-3 win vs. ROC at LSF. LOU led 16-2 after six full innings and collected 15 hits in the game. SS Zack Cozart and DH Wladimir Balentien hit the Bats’ two homers in the game and C Corky Miller was 2-for-4 with 2 2b and 4rbi. In all, seven Bats (including the aforementioned three) had multi-hit games (two hits each) and eight of the nine starters recorded at least one hit.
• ON THE MOUND: RHP Greg Reynolds (4-0, 3.16) makes his 11th appearance (10th start) for LOU and will be opposed by RHP Danny Salazar (0-0, 0.00) for COL. Reynolds is off to a 4-0 start for the first time in his career and is the first LOU starter to accomplish that since LHP Adam Pettyjohn started 4-0 in 2008. He leads the team with 62.2ip and is second on the team with 41k, two behind Armando Galarraga. He took the no decision his last time out on 5/25 vs. PAW as he allowed 4er in 6.1ip on 11h and a walk in a 6-5 LOU loss. He has pitched through seven innings four times, including three straight outings from 5/8-5/18, tied for the longest outing by a LOU starter this year. Of his nine previous starts, six have been quality starts. LOU is 5-5 in his 10 outings. Reynolds was the number two overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft by Colorado. Reynolds holds a 5-8 record at the ML level with a 7.47era in 27g (16 starts).
• MAY FLOWERS: LOU has produced 35 hits in the first three games of this series vs. COL and is hitting .290 as a team in May, up from .215 in April. The .290 avg. is the best in the IL for the month. The team has recorded 10+ hits in 15 of its last 22 games, including nine straight from 5/7-5/15 and two in seven-inning games 5/20 at GWN. The Bats rank seventh in the IL in total hits (456) and eighth in avg. (.255) after ranking last in both categories (.200 avg. and 113 hits) going into play on 4/22. LOU is 14-13 in May and is looking for their first month with a record above .500 since they went 16-7 in April 2011. The Bats need win one of their last two games in May to accomplish that feat.
• HESSMAN ON FIRE: IF Mike Hessman launched his team-leading 13th HR of the season yesterday, his third in as many games. He is now one behind GWN’s Ernesto Mejia for the IL lead. He is 18-for-46 (.391) in his last 11g with 6hr, 12rbi and 11r scored. He has reached base in 24 straight games. His 26 runs are second on the team behind Billy Hamilton’s 35. He hit 2hr in each of his first two games w/LOU, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit multiple HR in the first two games of the season. Hessman has hit 232hr in the IL, 26hr shy of Ollie Carnegie’s all-time mark (258hr) set w/BUF from 1931-1945. He is MiLB’s active career leader in professional home runs with 397 (377 in minors, 14 in MLB and 6 in Japan).
• BILLY GOES HAM: OF Billy Hamilton went 1-for-4 yesterday with 2sb, 1cs, 1bb, 1k and 1r scored. He is hitting .281 in May, up from .205 in April. Hamilton leads the IL with 29 stolen bases on the season by eight over SYR’s Jeff Kobernus. He has stolen second base 17 times, third base 11 times and home once (2 CS at 2B and 3 at 3B). Hamilton has stolen a base in 3 straight games and his season high for consecutive games with a steal is five (4/17-4/21). His career high in consecutive games with a stolen base is 13 (5/22/12-6/4/12 w/BAK). Hamilton is coming off seasons where he stole 103 bases (Dayton, 2011) and 155 bases (Bakersfield and Pensacola, 2012). The latter set a new professional baseball single-season record that had been held by a former LOU Redbird, Vince Coleman, when he stole 145 bases with Macon in 1983. Baseball America rates Hamilton as the top prospect in the Reds organization for 2013 after rating him second in both 2011 and 2012.
• VS. THE CLIP SHOW: LOU and COL meet for their ninth contest of the season tonight. The teams have split their first eight meetings as they will meet 21 total times in 2013. LOU is 3-3 vs. COL at Louisville Slugger Field this year. The Bats went 7-14 against COL in 2012, and 5-5 at LSF. COL defeated LOU the last 7 times the teams met in 2012 from 8/20/12 through 9/1/12 (four of those coming at LSF). LOU is 152-141 against COL since 1988 and 88-60 in Louisville (79-44 at LSF).
• MILLER UNCORKS: C Corky Miller launched his third home run of the season 5/21 at GWN, his 49th as a Bat. He is currently 4hr shy of passing Danny Dorn for third on the franchise’s all-time HR list. He is 53 games played shy of holding the franchise record, currently held by Bill Lyons. He needs just 36 hits (currently has 436) and six 2B (currently has 92) to become the franchise’s leader in those categories. Miller is appearing in a LOU uniform for the ninth different season, a franchise record.
• RISING REINEKE: RHP Chad Reineke is in a LOU uniform for the fourth straight season. The righty is now second in franchise history in games started (75), 11 behind Matt Maloney. He also ranks third all-time in innings pitched (462.2) and is tied for fourth with 27 wins. With four strikeouts 5/28 vs. COL, Reineke is now fifth in strikeouts (304) and 21 away from fifth in walks (137). In addition, Reineke owns the franchise marks for losses (30) and most hits allowed (507).
• TRENDING: LOU designated hitters are 27-for-118 on the season (.229). Twelve of the Bats’ 27 hits by a DH have come from Felix Perez… 33 of LOU’s 47hr have been solo HR… LOU catchers have caught just 10 of 68 would-be base stealers (.147). Last year, LOU catchers caught 54 of 159 runners (.340)… LOU starters have turned in 18 quality starts in 2013 and LOU is 11-7 in those games. In 2012, Bats starters had 55 quality starts and LOU went 28-27… LOU is 9-4 (.692) in day games, but just 17-23 (.425) in night games… LOU is 22-8 when scoring first and 4-19 when their opponent scores first… As a team, LOU is 18-10 when hitting a HR.
Plenty of musical icons have thrown out first pitches. Sometimes they sing the Star Spangled Banner. At any rate, it’s their day jobs that makes them famous. At ballgames, their music sometimes makes fans scratch their heads.
It’s a thought that crosses every baseball fan’s mind at one point or another when attending a professional baseball game.
“What is that song?”
Today on The Bats Signal, we’re going to answer that question for the home team that graces the diamond at Louisville Slugger Field. Here are some of the songs you will hear this summer when the Louisville Bats step to the plate.
Billy Hamilton – No Worries – Lil’ Wayne
Artist Fun Facts: 2009 was a banner year for one of rap’s most popular artists. Lil’ Wayne won four Grammy awards including wins for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. He’s also from New Orleans, home to the Zephyrs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins in the Pacific Coast League.
Henry Rodriguez – Bien Loko – Nova & Jory
Artist Fun Facts: The reggaeton duo from Puerto Rico recorded together from 2003 to 2012 before splitting up. One of their nicknames was “Las Dos Nuevas Amenazas”, which translates to “The Two New Threats”. Fernando Gonzalez (Nova) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the hometown of Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Alomar.
Felix Perex – Chacarron Macarron – El Chombo
Artist Fun Facts: El Chombo, an American-born Panamanian (according to Wikipedia) is best known for the song that plays before Felix steps to the plate, which has become a huge YouTube hit. His real name is Rodney Clark.
Neftali Soto – We Still in This – B.o.B
Artist Fun Facts: Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. has been nominated for five Grammy awards in his career. His debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in April of 2010. He is only the 13th solo male artist to have a debut album arrive at number one on that list.
Denis Phipps – Dale Mami – Wilo De New
Artist Fun Facts: While there isn’t any Wikipedia readily available for the artist of Phipps’ walk-up jam, folks whose eardrums are graced by this hidden gem will likely come away from the game calling it the most catchy song of them all. They’ll also likely wonder what it’s called, which is why we’re here.
Mike Hessman – Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
Artist Fun Facts: While rock legend Ted Nugent may be in the news these days for his conservative political stance, he has sold over 30 million records in his career. “Stranglehold” was also the walk-up song for Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee last season.
Kristopher Negron – Pony – Ginuwine
Artist Fun Facts: “Pony” was produced by now-famous artist Timbaland, who was one of Ginuwine’s main collaborators. His single, “Differences”, peaked at number four on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 2001.
Corky Miller –
I Play Chicken With The Train – Cowboy Troy
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Corky Fun Fact: The fun fact here is that Corky is the only Bat with three different walk up songs. He’s earned that right, as he is now in his ninth season with Louisville. Truly the stuff of legends.
Konrad Schmidt – Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Artist Fun Facts: The multiple styles of the iconic Johnny Cash have earned him inductions into the Rock n’ Roll, Country, and Gospel Halls of Fame. He has also won 17 different honors at the Grammy awards. “Folsom Prison Blues” was the song that he traditionally played to begin his concerts following his famous phrase “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”
Emmanuel Burriss – Started from the Bottom – Drake
Artist Fun Facts: The Canadian rapper was an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation before rising to hip-hop stardom. His debut album Thank Me Later debuted as the number one album on the Billboard 200 in June of 2010. His latest album Take Care won the Grammy award for Best Rap Album in 2013.
Josh Fellhauer – Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) – Jay-Z
Artist Fun Facts: Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z has won 17 Grammy Awards, and his net worth is an estimated $500 million. He recently signed Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano as the first athlete in his latest venture, starting a sports agency.
Nevin Ashley – The Only Way I Know – Jason Aldean
Artist Fun Facts: Aldean is from Macon, Georgia, the same hometown as Bats pitcher (currently on the disabled list) Justin Freeman. He has also been nominated for three Grammys and has won 2 CMA Awards.
Ray Chang – Peaches & Cream – 112
Artist Fun Facts: “Peaches & Cream” was the only single that the R&B quartet was ever nominated for a Grammy alone. They won a Grammy in 1997 for featuring in the song “I’ll Be Missing You” with Sean Combs and Faith Evans.
Mon vs. COL: RHP Daniel Corcino (2-7, 7.03) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-0, 1.36) 4:05 p.m.
Tues vs. COL: LHP Tony Cingrani (2-0, 0.00) vs. LHP T.J. House (1-2, 6.03) 6:35 p.m.
Wed vs. COL: RHP Armando Galarraga (2-3, 2.66) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (2-1, 3.96) 11:05 a.m.
Thur vs. COL: RHP Greg Reynolds (4-0, 2.88) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (0-0, 0.00) 6:35 p.m.
Affiliate: Cleveland Indians
Twitter: @CLBClippers – Their favorite hashtag is #ClipShow in case you were wondering.
Record: 28-22 (2nd in IL West Division)
2012 Record: 75-69 (2nd in IL West)
Bats Record vs COL in 2012: 7-14 (5-5 at Home)
Bats Record vs COL in 2013: 2-3 (Game on 4/16 was postponed due to rain)
City: Columbus, Ohio
Stadium: This will be the third season that Huntington Park will be the home to the Columbus Clippers. Huntington Park won three Ballpark of the Year awards in 2009 (We think LSF is better). The park holds a little more than 10,000 fans.
Team Name: Clippers. According to the internet, a clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century.
Mascot: Lou Seal (Clever, right?)
Manager: Chris Tremie (1st year) – Tremie is a former MLB catcher. Last season, he coached the Akron Aeros (AA) to a 82-59 record in 2012.
Players to Watch:
RHP Trevor Bauer (2-1, 3.96 ERA) – Bauer is the #2 prospect in the Indians organization and is expected to start on Wednesday against Louisville. Drafted in 2011, Bauer has made 3 starts in the majors this season. In those 3 starts, Bauer posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1-2 record.
RHP Danny Salazar (0-0, 0.00 ERA) – Salazar is the #8 prospect in the Cleveland farm system. Beginning the year in AA Akron, Salazar has just 2 starts in AAA. In those 2 starts, Salazar pitched 9 innings and only allowed 2 hits. Salazar takes the mound Thursday.
C Chun Chen (.321, 1 HR, 3 RBI) – Along with having a top 20 name, Chen is a top 20 prospect, #19 in the system. Just recently called up to AAA, Chen only has 28 at bats with the Clippers this season. We may see him a few times this series.
RF Jeremy Hermida (.228, 7 HR, 25 RBI) – Hermida has been in and out of the majors for several years now. He even spent some time with Cincinnati and Louisville in 2011. In 105 games with the Bats, Hermida hit .319 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. This season, the outfielder leads the #ClipShow in HRs (7), RBIs (25) and walks (42).
As of May 25th, 2013 at 8:15pm, Mike Hessman has 394 career homeruns, 374 of those in MiLB and 228 of those in the International League. Which got me thinking, where has he hit them and who has he hit them against? Is he better on the road or at home? Is there a certain month he dominates?
He has 6 HR’s in Japan, 14 in MLB, 35 in Triple-A Pacific Coast League, 229 in Triple-A International League and 110 in sub-AAA (RK, A, A+, AA). But the Bats only play in the International League, so that’s where we will focus our attention.
What does this tell us? Thank goodness he is here, because 13% (31 of 229) of his HR’s in the IL are against the Bats. He has a homerun against Syracuse and Durham every Triple-A season since his debut in 2002, EXCEPT for 2003 when he didn’t hit one against either team. He batted against Durham in eight games that season, three games against Syracuse. The Bats have yet to play those teams this season but will play eight games against both later in the summer.
These numbers are skewed thanks to Mike spending five very profitable seasons with the Toledo Mud Hens. Of those 74 hit at Fifth Third Field, only 3 were hit as a visitor. 30 of the 31 against the Richmond/Gwinnett franchise came against the Richmond squad. His lone HR against Gwinnett came just last week. There was a lot of talk when he came here about how much he liked hitting here at Louisville Slugger Field and how his history here was astronomical. Well, these numbers debunk those myths. His four homerun’s in the first two games this season did help though…
Home Field Advantage?
Number’s that don’t need a chart, but are quite surprising, are his Home vs. Away stats. Thanks to the solo homerun tonight, Mike is one homerun over .500. 115 of the moon shots have come at his home fields; 114 have come on the road.
Timely Homerun Hitting
Generally speaking, MLB clubs don’t call up many players in the April-May months. Whether it be lack of performance from the players who are up, or injuries that are sustained, there aren’t many reasons to call up in the early months. Hessman, as a veteran, knows this and starts putting numbers on the board in April and May. Most MiLB teams finish their seasons around Labor Day weekend which doesn’t give the players much of a chance to perform in September.
Mike is only 29 homeruns behind the all-time International League mark of 258, a record that has stood since 1945 when Ollie Carnegie did it for Buffalo. There is a bit more distance between him and the all-time minor league baseball homerun kind Hector Espino, who hit 484 homeruns in minor league baseball. But hey, if he finishes this season with 30, he’ll be at 394. He hits 90 over the next three seasons…who knows.
Louisville finished their month of April with a 9-5 win at Lehigh Valley to bring their record to 12-14. Last night, Louisville matched April’s win total with eight games left to play. Let’s take a look into the Bats’ success in the month of May.
Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers point to Louisville’s hitting as their key to the turnaround. Fueled by Billy Hamilton, Henry Rodriguez and Felix Perez, the Bats have seen their team batting average rise 80 points from April’s .215 average. Through 21 games in May, Louisville is hitting .295 which is second best in the International League. In April, Louisville scored an average of 3.3 runs per game. Their run production is up to 5.3 runs per game in May.
May’s good hitting has brought the Bats to fifth in the league in hitting on the season (.253). On April 22nd, Louisville ranked last in hits with 113. A month later, they are now fifth with 398. They’ve been able to accomplish this by gathering 10-plus hits in 13 of their last 16 games, including 17 hits last night.
Individually, the Bats have been led by Billy Hamilton, Henry Rodriguez and Felix Perez. This graphic shows their improvements at the plate.
With 8 games remaining in May, the 12-9 Bats are looking to record their first month with a record above .500 since April of 2011. In order to do that, they’ll need to win just 3 more games. Last night, they took the first of 3 against Pawtucket (27-20). The Red Sox have a team ERA of 3.70, fifth in the league. After this series, Louisville hosts Columbus (28-19). The Clippers boast the third best ERA, 3.66. On May 31st, the Bats travel to Toledo (15-33) to face the second best ERA. It’ll be a tough stretch for the Bats’ offense, but if the middle of the lineup continues to perform, Louisville should be able to post a winning record this month.
Download the complete version of the notes here.
• LAST NIGHT: CHA earned the series split with a 4-2 win over LOU. CHA touched LOU starter RHP Armando Galarraga for 4er in the first three innings of the game and that would be all they needed as they got six strong innings from RHP Tony Pena, Jr. (5h, 2er, 1bb, 8k). Galarraga (2-2) suffered the loss to even his record and went 6.0ip and allowed the 4er on 7h and 2bb while striking out six. CHA’s runs came on a Josh Phegley RBI single in the first, a two-run home run by Seth Loman in the second and a Lars Anderson single in the third. Phegley went 8-for-16 in the series with five runs scored, 2 2b, 2hr and 7rbi. C Corky Miller accounted for LOU’s only two runs in the top of the second with a two-run single to score OF Josh Fellhauer and IF Kristopher Negron. Miller and Negron both finished 2-for-4. IF Emmanuel Burriss notched his second three-hit game of the series and now has a modest four-game hitting streak. RHP Kevin Whelan and RHP Nick Christiani tossed scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth, respectively, in relief of Galarraga. LOU dropped to 3-17 when their opponent scores first and 14-3 when outhitting their opponent.
• WE’RE GOING STREAKING: IF Emmanuel Burriss now has the longest active hitting streak for LOU at four games (8-for-17, .471). Last night, OF Felix Perez (0-for-3) and OF Denis Phipps (0-for-4) each saw their hitting streaks come to an end. Perez was 15-for-37 (.405) during his team season-high nine-game streak and Phipps went 9-for-28 (.321) in his seven-game streak. OF Billy Hamilton’s eight-game streak was snapped Thursday night as he went 0-for-4. Hamilton went 16-for-40 (.400) during his streak. IF Henry Rodriguez’ seven-game streak (14-for-32, .438) and Soto’s second eight-game streak (13-for-37, .351) of the year were both ended Tuesday night as they each went 0-for-5. Monday night vs. BUF, IF Kristopher Negron’s personal season-best five-game streak (6-for-19, .316) came to an end as he was 0-for-1 after entering the game in the eighth inning. Last year, OF Joey Gathright had a team-high 10-game hitting streak from 5/24-6/4.
• MILLER UNCORKS: C Corky Miller went 2-for-4 with a double and 2rbi last night. He launched his second home run of the season Wednesday night and his 48th as a Bat. He is currently 5hr shy of passing Danny Dorn for third on the franchise’s all-time HR list. He is 60 games shy of holding the franchise record for games played, currently held by Bill Lyons. He needs just 38 hits (currently has 434) and six doubles (currently has 92) to become the franchise’s leader in those categories. Miller is appearing in a LOU uniform this year for the ninth different season, a franchise record.
• ON THE MOUND: RHP Greg Reynolds (3-0, 2.92) makes his ninth appearance (eighth start) for LOU and will be opposed by LHP Yohan Flande (1-3, 4.95) for GWN. His last time out on 5/13 vs. BUF, he took the no decision after allowing just 2er in 7.0ip (7h, 2bb, 6k). He has pitched through seven innings four times, tied for the longest outing by a LOU starter this year. LOU is 4-4 in his eight outings, but have won just one in his last five (5/8 at LHV, 7.0ip, 2er). Reynolds was the number two overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft by Colorado. Reynolds holds a 5-8 record at the ML level with a 7.47era in 27g (16 starts).
• VS. THE G-BRAVES: LOU is 1-3 against GWN this year, having taken the first game of their April 23-26 series at Louisville Slugger Field before dropping the final three. The teams split their eight games in 2012, each taking three of four games at their home park. LOU is 17-18 against GWN since the Braves moved from Richmond, Va. to Lawrenceville, Ga. for the start of the 2009 season and 8-7 at Coolray Field. Since they first met in 1988, LOU is 94-89 against the Braves.
• LEATHER PENDING: LOU did not commit an error last night and has gone six straight games without an error, the team’s longest errorless streak of 2013. LOU has not committed an error since the third inning of 5/11 vs. BUF, a streak of 58 consecutive errorless innings. Still, the Bats have committed 39 errors and allowed 19uer this season. The team currently has a .975 fielding percentage, 12th in the IL. LOU’s 39 errors are seven fewer than GWN’s 46, the most in the IL. LOU is on pace to commit 133 errors this season, which would be the most since the 2007 Bats committed 137 errors.
• MAY FLOWERS: LOU is hitting .280 as a team, up from .215 in April. The team recorded 10+ hits in nine straight games from 5/7-5/15. LOU is 8-8 in May and is looking for their first month with a record above .500 since they went 16-7 in April 2011. Five of LOU’s 13 remaining games in the month are with below-.500 teams (GWN [.372] and TOL [.326]).
• FLYING FELIX: OF Felix Perez went 0-for-3 last night, but has hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games, including nine straight up until last night. He has recorded multiple hits in ten of his last 18 games and leads the team with his .308avg. He also leads the team with his 25rbi, 73 total bases and .878ops. He is tied with Denis Phipps for the team lead with 11 2b. Perez led LOU last year with his .301avg and had a career-high 35rbi in 116g (already has 22rbi in 39g in 2013).
• BILLY GOES HAM: OF Billy Hamilton did not steal a base last night for the fourth consecutive game. On Tuesday he snapped a streak of three straight games with a stolen base. Hamilton still leads the IL with 21 stolen bases on the season, three more than SYR’s Jeff Kobernus. Hamilton’s season high for consecutive games with a steal is five (4/17-4/21). His career high in consecutive games with a stolen base is 13 (5/22/12-6/4/12 w/BAK). Hamilton is coming off seasons where he stole 103 bases (Dayton, 2011) and 155 bases (Bakersfield and Pensacola, 2012). The latter set a new professional baseball single-season record that had been held by a former LOU Redbird, Vince Coleman, when he stole 145 bases with Macon in 1983. Baseball America rates Hamilton as the top prospect in the Reds organization for 2013 after rating him second in both 2011 and 2012.
• TRENDING: LOU designated hitters are 16-for-88 on the season (.182). Eight of the Bats’ 16 hits by a DH have come from Felix Perez… 22 of LOU’s 31hr have been solo HR… LOU catchers have caught just six of 52 would-be base stealers (.115). Last year, LOU catchers caught 54 of 159 runners (.340)… LOU starters have turned in 15 quality starts in 2013 and LOU is 9-6 in those games. In 2012, Bats starters had 55 quality starts and LOU went 28-27… LOU is 8-3 in day games, but just 12-19 in night games… LOU is 17-5 when scoring first and 3-17 when their opponent scores first.
• LAST NIGHT: A three-run HR by Mauro Gomez off RHP Jose Diaz in the top of the eighth helped lift BUF to a 5-4 win over LOU in the teams’ season series finale. The runs were the first three earned runs Diaz has allowed this season as BUF took the season series from LOU 5-3. Louisville starter RHP Greg Reynolds did not factor in the decision, but matched a season-high for LOU pitchers going 7 innings while allowing just 2er on 7h with 2bb and 6k. Reynolds threw a LOU season-high 112 pitches. Offensively, IF Neftali Soto matched a LOU season high with four hits as he went 4-for-5 with 2rbi. IF Henry Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and now has at least one RBI in four straight games. OF Denis Phipps collected the other LOU RBI and now has one in three straight games. The loss was just the Bats’ second when outhitting their OPP (now 12-2 when getting more hits) with both coming in the just-completed four-game set with BUF. The Bats also fall to 5-8 in one-run games. The game was also only the third time LOU had lost when leading after seven innings (15-3).
• WE’RE GOING STREAKING: LOU currently has four players on 6-game hitting streaks or longer. OF Billy Hamilton and OF Felix Perez have hit safely in six straight games. IF Henry Rodriguez is on a 7-game hitting streak and IF Neftali Soto has hit safely in eight straight, matching his own 2013 LOU season-long (4/24-5/2). Over the course of their respective streaks, these players are hitting a combined .410 (50-122). Last night vs. BUF, IF Kristopher Negron’s personal season-long 5-game hitting streak came to an end as he was 0-for-1 after entering the game in the eighth inning to play left field. OF Denis Phipps went 1-for-3 last night to bring his 2013 personal best hitting streak to four games.
• BILLY GOES HAM: OF Billy Hamilton had two steals last night, bringing his IL-leading total to 21 on the season, six more than SYR’s Jeff Kobernus. It was Hamilton’s third straight game with a SB after a season-high six straight games without a stolen base (5/4 to 5/10). The SB draught was his longest since going 6g without a steal in 2011 (7/29-8/3) w/Dayton. Hamilton’s longest career stolen base draught was 13g from 7-25-09 to 8-11-09 in his first pro season w/ the GCL Reds. Hamilton is coming off seasons where he stole 103 bases (Dayton, 2011) and 155 bases (Bakersfield and Pensacola, 2012). The latter set a new professional baseball single-season record that had been held by a former LOU Redbird, Vince Coleman, when he stole 145 bases with Macon in 1983. Baseball America rates Hamilton as the top prospect in the Reds organization for 2013 after rating him second in both 2011 and 2012.
• ON THE MOUND: RHP Pedro Villarreal (1-2, 2.96) makes his eighth start for LOU and will be opposed by CHA RHP Andre Rienzo (2-2, 8.72). Villarreal made four consecutive quality starts to begin the 2013 campaign, but allowed 6er in 2.2ip (4/28 vs. LHV) and 4er in 5.0ip (5/4 at BUF) in his next two outings. Last time out, Villarreal bounced back, tossing six scoreless, three-hit innings to earn his first win of the season 5/9 at LHV. He’s walked just 6 batters in 38.2ip this season, but has allowed 7hr, the highest total on the staff by two and tied for the most in the IL. In his only other career start vs. CHA on 8/3/12, he allowed 2er in 6.0ip and suffered the loss despite allowing just 3h and 1bb with his 4k. The righthander made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2012, pitching a perfect ninth inning 9/5/12 vs. PHI in a 6-2 loss. In that appearance, Villarreal threw 9 of 11 pitches for strikes and struck out the first batter he faced (Dominic Brown).
• MAY FLOWERS: LOU is 6-6 in May and is hitting .279 as a team, up from .215 in April. LOU is looking for their first month with a record above .500 since they went 16-7 in April 2011.
• VS. THE KNIGHTS: LOU and CHA meet for the first of four games in Fort Mill and first of eight games in 2013. In 2012, the Bats were 2-6 vs. the Knights and 0-4 at Knights Stadium. LOU hasn’t won at Knights Stadium since a 12-inning 4-2 win 7/16/11 and hasn’t won a series at CHA since taking three of four 7/19/10 to 7/22/10. LOU is 88-72 vs. CHA since the teams first met in 1998 and 43-37 in Fort Mill. The teams will meet again for a four-game series at Louisville Slugger Field 6/25-6/28.
• TRENDING: LOU designated hitters are 12-for-71 on the season (.169) and their only two RBI have come from Felix Perez. One came Saturday 5/11 vs. BUF on Perez’ run-scoring single in the 7th inning and the other on his walk-off solo HR on Opening Night, 4/4 vs. TOL. In fact, seven of the Bats’ 12 hits by a DH this season have come from Perez… 20 of LOU’s 28hr have been solo HR… LOU catchers have caught just six of 47 would-be base stealers (.128)… LOU starters have turned in 15 quality starts in 2013 and LOU is 9-6 in those games. In 2012, Bats starters had 55 quality starts and LOU went 28-27… On his current 7-game hitting streak, Henry Rodriguez is hitting .438 (14-32) with 3 2b and 8rbi. His avg. has increased from .223 at the start of the streak to .271 following Monday’s game.
• FLYING FELIX: OF Felix Perez went 1-for-5 with a stolen base last night and has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games, including a streak of five straight (recorded multiple hits in eight of those games), and leads the team with his .300avg. He also leads the team with his 22rbi, .888 OPS and 64 total bases and is tied for the team lead w/ 9 2b. He has recorded an RBI in ten of his last 15 games. Perez led LOU last year with his .301avg and had a career-high 35rbi in 116g (already has 22rbi in 36g in 2013). 5/4 at BUF, he recorded his third outfield assist of the season, throwing out BUF’s Eugenio Velez at home plate. In 2012, he had 16 outfield assists, second in the IL.
• OFFENSIVE DEFENSE: LOU did not commit an error last night and has gone two straight games without an error, matching LOU’s longest errorless streak of 2013 (4/17-4/18 and 4/22-4/23). The Bats have committed 39 errors this season and allowed 19uer. The team currently has a .973 fielding percentage. LOU’s 39 errors are just five behind GWN (44) for the most in the IL. LOU is on pace to commit 148 errors this season, which would be sixth-most in franchise history (the 1983 Redbirds committed a franchise-high 170 errors and allowed 90uer). Last year, LOU committed 114 errors and allowed 59uer.
• SEE BILLY TROT: OF Billy Hamilton recorded his first career multi-home run game Friday with two solo shots off BUF RHP Dave Bush. His first home run led off the game and was his second career lead-off home run, the last coming w/Dayton on 7/22/11 vs. Peoria in a 2-0 Dragons win. Hamilton hit just two home runs all of last year and his career high is 3hr in 2011 w/DAY. He now has nine professional HR (5 of which that have not been inside-the-park home runs), 382 behind teammate IF Mike Hessman.
• TRANSACTIONS: Yesterday, C Corky Miller was outrighted to LOU after being designated for assignment by CIN on 5/10. Miller hit .125 in 6g w/CIN and scored a pair of runs while filling in for the injured C Ryan Hanigan. Also yesterday, C Konrad Schmidt was placed on the 7-day DL (lower back strain, retro to 5/12). Schmidt was hitting .162 in 23g and had a catcher’s ERA of 3.50.
Opened: March 30, 2008 (The Phillies beat the IronPigs 5-3 in an exhibition game)
First Home Win: 3-1 vs. Richmond April 14, 2008
The Bats are in the midst of a four-game set in Allentown, PA this week as they take on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Allentown became home for the franchise for the 2008 season, as did Coca-Cola Park (not to be confused with Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field). The stadium opened its doors for the ’08 season and still sports that “new-park smell.” Modeled after Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, groundbreaking for Coca-Cola Park took place in September 2006.
The ballpark is the smallest in the International League with 8,200 seats. With the berm beyond the left-center field wall, the park holds just over 10,000 people. A scoreboard with a 20’ by 50’ hi-def video board provides the berm’s backdrop and the trademark Coca-Cola bottle atop the board gives the park perhaps its most distinguishing feature. Fireworks fly from the oversized bottle with every IronPig run that crosses the plate.
Other features include a Tiki Terrace in left field where fans can enjoy food and drinks and where right-handed sluggers (like the Bats’ Mike Hessman) can deposit long balls. Out in right field, there’s the Bud Light Trough where fans can gather and watch the game. Another feature, located on the concourse, is a wall of Lehigh Valley alumni that have gone on to become Major Leaguers, a space reserved for “Pigs to the Bigs.” Fans have flocked to Coca-Cola Park since its 2008 opening and the Pigs have boasted the highest attendance in the minor leagues the last three seasons with 688,821 turning out in 2012.
The field’s dimensions closely match those of the Phillies’ home field with a distance of 334 feet to left, 400 feet to center and 325 to right. After a loss to open this year’s trip there, Louisville is 11-10 all-time at Coca-Cola Park. In all, the IronPigs are 190-184 all-time at Coca-Cola Field.
For the record, Louisville allowed the IronPigs’ first ever grand slam at Coca-Cola Park as Lehigh Valley’s Andy Tracy launched one off Louisville’s Ben Jukich in the fifth inning of a game August 13, 2009. Also, the last time a Bats’ pitcher hit a home run was at Coca-Cola Park as Daryl Thompson hit one in Louisville’s 87, 13-inning loss June 11, 2011.
• LAST NIGHT: LHV took the first of a four-game set from LOU 4-1. The Bats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning as OF Felix Perez grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring IF Henry Rodriguez from third. Perez was 2-for-4 in the game, bettering his team-leading average to .294. Perez’s RBI was his team-leading 16th and he also recorded his team-leading 9th double. Rodriguez was also 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in 7 of his last 9 games. Bats starter RHP Chad Reineke allowed 2r on 6h and 3bb in 5.2 innings with 7k. Reineke picked up his first loss of the season, ending his 3-decision win streak and keeping him from his first ever 4-0 start. RHP Kevin Whelan allowed 2er in the 7th inning, the first runs he’s allowed since 4/18 vs. IND (a span of 5 scoreless appearances). LOU is now 2-15 on the year when being outhit (8-0 when outhitting OPP) and falls to 12-4 when scoring first.
• GLAD HE’S ON OUR SIDE: After a solo homer Sunday, his second of the BUF series (Friday, 5/3), IF Mike Hessman is T-2nd in the IL with 7hr. Six of his seven HR have been with the bases empty. Friday’s HR was Hessman’s first since 4/9 vs. COL, breaking a string of 60 at-bats without a long ball. He hit two home runs in each of his first two games w/LOU, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit multiple home runs in the first two games of the season. Hessman has hit 226hr in the IL, 32hr shy of Ollie Carnegie’s all-time mark set w/BUF from 1931-1945. He is MiLB’s active career leader in professional home runs with 391 (371 in minors, 14 in MLB and 6 in Japan).
• ON THE MOUND: RHP Armando Galarraga (1-1, 1.80) makes his sixth start of 2013 and will be opposed by RHP B.J. Rosenberg (0-3, 5.11) for LHV. Galarraga is making his third start since coming off the DL on 4/25 (blister). His last time out on 5/2 at BUF, he allowed a run on 3 hits in 0.2ip. Galarraga left the game in the 1st inning after taking a hard-hit ball from the bat of Luis Jimenez off his right foot. His longest outing of 2013 was a 5.2 inning performance as he took the loss 4/10 vs. COL allowing 2er. Galarraga picked up the win in his Bats debut on 4/5 vs. TOL, going 5.0ip and allowing 2r (1er) on 5h with 3bb and 6k. Galarraga went 3-2 with a 4.12 era in 9 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2012. He also saw 5 starts in the Majors w/HOU, going 0-4 with a 6.75era. Rosenberg is a University of Louisville (’04-’08) and Meade Co. HS product. Rosenberg made 47 starts as a Cardinal, ranking 2nd on UofL’s all-time list and was a 3rd Team All-Big East selection in 2008.
• VS. THE PIGS: LHV took the first game of the four-game set from LOU Monday night. LOU and LHV split the first four games of their season series 4/27-4/30 at Louisville Slugger Field and the teams are meeting for the last four games of their season series at Coca-Cola Park. LOU went 3-5 against LHV in 2012 and 2-2 at LHV. LOU is 26-19 against the IronPigs since they moved to Lehigh Valley from Ottawa for the 2008 season and 11-10 at Coca-Cola Park. LOU is 62-63 vs. the LHV/OTT franchise since they began play in 1998.
• FLYING FELIX: After his 2-for-4 night with a 2b and rbi Monday, OF Felix Perez has recorded multiple hits in five of his last seven games (including his last 2) and leads the team with his .294avg. He also leads the team with his 9 2b and 16rbi. Perez led LOU last year with his .301avg. Saturday, he recorded his third outfield assist of the season, throwing out BUF’s Eugenio Velez at home plate. In 2012, he had 16 outfield assists, second in the IL.
• SLUMPING SOTO: IF Neftali Soto notched a hit in the first inning Monday night, breaking a streak of 15 at-bats without a hit. The hit was Soto’s first since recording a base hit in the third inning 5/2 at BUF, the final game of his LOU season-high 8-game hitting streak. The slugger is now 1-for-his-last-19. He was 13-for-29 (.448) during the 8-game hitting streak. His season average reached as high as .318 following 4/30 vs. LHV, but has since dipped to .264.
• BILLY GOES HAM: OF Billy Hamilton did not steal a base last night, his third straight game without one. His 17sb are still tops in the IL by four over SYR’s Jeff Kobernus. Hamilton stole at least one base in five consecutive games from 4/17-4/21. His career high in consecutive games with a stolen base is 13 (5/22/12-6/4/12 w/BAK). Hamilton is coming off seasons where he stole 103 bases (Dayton, 2011) and 155 bases (Bakersfield and Pensacola, 2012). The latter set a new professional baseball single-season record that had been held by a former LOU Redbird, Vince Coleman, when he stole 145 bases with Macon in 1983. Baseball America rates Hamilton as the top prospect in the Reds organization for 2013 after rating him second in both 2011 and 2012.
• BURGLAR BATS: LOU did not steal any bases Monday, but have stolen at least one base in 14 of their last 19 games, including a string of seven straight games between 4/17 at COL and 4/23 vs. GWN. Included in the 7-game stretch was a 6sb game (4/21 at IND, 3sb by Emmanuel Burriss, 2sb by Billy Hamilton, 1sb by Denis Phipps), six of Hamilton’s IL-leading 17sb and 1sb by RHP Pedro Villarreal (the first of his career). LOU is T-3rd in the IL with LHV with 34sb behind IND (41) and DUR (39) and is currently on pace for 158sb, which would be the most since the 1999 RiverBats swiped 168sb (the 1998 Redbirds hold the franchise record with 190sb).
• JUMBO’S JURISDICTION: Reliever Jose Diaz tossed a scoreless eighth inning Monday night. He has allowed 0r and just 5h and 7bb in 10.0ip (8g) since joining LOU on 4/15. He has 9k and batters are hitting just .139 against him.
• TRENDING: LOU designated hitters are 7-for-56 on the season (.125) and their only RBI came on Felix Perez’ walk-off solo HR on Opening Night, 4/4 vs. TOL… 15 of LOU’s 21hr have been solo HR… Following last night’s loss, LOU is now 12-4 when scoring first and 2-15 when being outhit… Prior to Friday night’s loss, LOU tied a season-high winning streak by taking three straight (4/29-5/1) following a five-game losing streak (4/24-4/28). The losing streak was the first time the Bats had lost five straight in 2013… LOU defense has committed 33 errors and is T-13th (GWN) in the IL with a .971 fielding percentage… LOU catchers have caught just five of 42 would-be base stealers (.119) and allowed two stolen bases in two attempts last night… LOU starters have turned in 11 quality starts in 2013 and LOU is 6-5 in those games. In 2012, Bats starters had 55 quality starts and LOU went 28-27.
• APRIL SHOWERS: LOU went 12-14 in April and recorded their 12th straight month (including Septembers) of not having a winning record. They have finished a month with a .500 record three times since their last winning month in April 2011 (16-7). Not including the short September months, LOU’s 10-month streak of non-winning records ties a franchise record set from June 2004 to May 2006.
He stands at a noticeable 6’4″, but he is also noticeably soft-spoken.
He didn’t say much, but made sure to politely introduce himself to by-standers at the Louisville Bats’ picture day ahead of the start of the 2013 season. As it turns out, his play has said plenty. While he may lack an energetic and extroverted front, there has been nothing quiet or dull about the way Tony Cingrani has started this season.
Unsurprisingly, Cingrani was a man of few words with a small gathering of media following his eye-opening Triple-A debut in which he struck out the first seven batters he faced and totaled 14 punch-outs in his six no-hit innings. The outing even warranted a call from national media, another task that resulted in short, quiet, but measured responses from the young prospect.
MLB.com’s organizational prospect rankings, found here, project the now-former Louisville starter as an “average” Major League starter. Behind Bats center fielder Billy Hamilton and pitcher Robert Stephenson, who started this season with Cincinnati’s Class-A affiliate Dayton Dragons, Cingrani sits third in the Reds’ top 20 prospects breakdown.
For those who are privy to Cingrani’s work so far in 2013, he’s been anything but average in his six combined starts between Louisville and Cincinnati. While in Louisville, he started three games, threw 14.1 innings, struck out 26 batters, and didn’t allow a single run. For the record, he only walked two and only gave up three hits over that period.
It wasn’t a surprise when the Reds called for the then-Bats lefty on April 18 after Johnny Cueto went to the disabled list due to a strained right lat muscle. While he still has his rookie eligibility, Cingrani isn’t a complete stranger to baseball’s top echelon. In 2012, he got a taste of life as a big-leaguer when he was a late call-up once rosters expanded in September. He appeared in three games with the Reds and only allowed one run while striking out nine in five innings of work.
As the injured Johnny Cueto nears his return with a rehab assignment anticipated to begin in early May, Cingrani certainly doesn’t look like he’s ready to go anywhere.
This season, the Chicago-area native has shined under the bright lights of the bigs. Over four starts, Cingrani is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA. He has been the same pitcher in Cincinnati that he was in the River City. In his 24 innings of work, he’s struck out 33 and walked five, a ratio that ranks sixth amongst starting pitchers in Major League Baseball heading into play on May 6.
In Louisville, Bats manager Jim Riggleman certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Cingrani in his rotation again at some point this season. Though it was a pleasure to watch the fast-working youngster pitch at Louisville Slugger Field, Reds fans in the Commonwealth have been equally content watching the quiet big man make plenty of noise just an hour and a half up I-71.
Their next opportunity to do so will come on Friday night when Cingrani takes the mound at Great American Ball Park against the Milwaukee Brewers.