May 31, 2007 - International League (IL)
LOVULLO NAMED TO IL ALL-STAR COACHING STAFF: The International League has named Bisons skipper Torey Lovullo to the League\'s coaching staff for the Triple-A All-Star Game July 11 in Albuquerque. Lovullo has led the 2007 Bisons to a 29-20 record in the first half of his second season as manager. Buffalo leads the IL with 18 road wins and has been in 1st place in the International League North Division since May 6. In 2006, the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer led the Herd to a winning record of 73-68.
THE FRANCHISE AT IT AGAIN: Outfielder Ben Francisco is putting together an even better year than one he had in his team MVP season of 2006. Francisco is currently on a 12-game hitting streak where he has averaged .420 (21-50) with five doubles, a home run, eight RBI and seven runs scored. He is now 2nd in the IL in batting average (.349), 5th in on-base percentage (.404) and tied for 5th in hits (59) and doubles (14). Francisco also leads the Bisons with 10 stolen bases.
RIVAS IS ALWAYS ON: Infielder Luis Rivas has reached base safely in each of his last 17 games, and while he has hit a solid .307 (20-65) during the stretch, it has been his patience at the plate that has really made him effective. Rivas has drawn 14 walks since May 11, including four in a game against Indianapolis on May 19. Rivas\' on-base percentage during the streak has been .430.
CHOO GETTING ON TRACK: Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is starting to show the form that made him a mid-season Pacific Coast League All-Star last year. Choo has six consecutive multi-hit games, averaging .464 (13-28) with a double, two triples and seven RBI since May 22. The stretch has raised his season average from .198 to .261.
OWENS SETS FRANCHISE RECORD: Jerry Owens set a franchise record by reaching base in 30 consecutive games. The previous Knights record was 27 games, set by Jorge Toca in 2005. What may be even more impressive is that of the 47 games in which Owens has played he has reached base safely in all but one.
FIELD GETS BATTER-OF-THE-WEEK HONORS: Third baseman Josh Fields has been rewarded for his superb play during the week of May 21-27. He becomes the first member of the Knights to win an IL weekly award in 2007. During the week of May 21-27, Fields raised his batting average by more than 30 points. For that week, Fields' batting average was .500, going 11-22 with two home runs, seven RBI and three doubles. Fields was hitting .253 with seven home runs and 25 RBI prior to going on a tear. He now has an average of .284 with nine home runs and 32 RBI. The 24-year-old is no stranger to success after becoming the 2006 International League Rookie of the Year. Fields is now in his fourth year in the White Sox organization after being selected in the 1st round of the 2004 MLB draft.
KNIGHTS MAKE ROSTER MOVES: The Charlotte Knights have made several changes to their roster over the past few days. It was much needed as many players have been forced to play out of position. Infielder Andy Gonzalez was recalled to Chicago on May 28. This is Gonzalez\'s third stint with the White Sox this season. The 25-year-old middle infielder played in 35 games for the Knights this season hitting .242 with 3 home runs and 17 RBI. The Knights received relief pitcher Andrew Sisco from the White Sox. Sisco was optioned to Charlotte on May 27. Sisco, a 6\'10", 270-pound left hander, was acquired from Kansas City in the offseason in a trade for former Knights first baseman Ross Gload. Sisco appeared in 19 games for the White Sox this season going 0-1 with an 8.36 ERA. The White Sox signed infielder/outfielder Craig Wilson to a Minor League contract on May 28 and assigned him to Charlotte. Wilson has spent the past six seasons playing at the big league level. Wilson has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and most recently the Atlanta Braves. Wilson began the 2007 season with Atlanta and hit .172 in 24 games. He was given his unconditional release on May 17. The White Sox traded relief pitcher Dwayne Pollok to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Tomas Perez on May 26. Pollok appeared in 18 games for the Knights going 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA. Perez has been assigned to Charlotte. Perez appeared in 36 games for Triple-A Las Vegas hitting .227 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI. The Knights also announced that they have placed infielder Kenny Perez on the disabled list with a pulled quadriceps muscle.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Brandon Watson has recorded a hit in every game he has played in this month, raising his batting average 63 points in the process. He is hitting .364 (39-107) during the streak. At 27 games, Watson owns the team's longest hitting streak and has now hit safely in 35 of his last 36 games. His single in the 1st inning on Monday gave him the longest hitting streak in Clippers history, passing Brian Raabe's eight year old mark of 24 games. Watson currently has the second longest hitting streak in professional baseball, trailing Mitchell Hilligoss of the Charleston River Dogs in the South Atlantic League (36 games).
REBOUNDING WELL ON THE ROAD: Monday night\'s loss at Pawtucket marked only the second time all season that the Clippers have lost consecutive road games. On the year they are 9-2 following a road loss and have thrown three shutouts.
THAT\'S A FIRST: In Tuesday night\'s game, not only did the Clippers hit back-to-back homers for the first time, but they also won a game when trailing after the 6th inning for the first time this season. The four-run comeback was the largest deficit the Clippers have overcome to win so far this year. Columbus only has two victories in their last at-bat, with the other coming courtesy of a Michael Restovich walk-off, 2-run double on May 17 versus Charlotte.
MCDONALD HAVING A MONSTER MAY: With one game to go in the month of May Darnell McDonald is hitting .402 (47-117) with a homer and 25 RBI. He has reached base in all but two games and hit in all but four this month.
SHUTOUT NO MORE: The Bulls yesterday ended a streak of playing in five consecutive games where one team went scoreless. Durham was shutout Friday and Saturday by identical 3-0 scores at Rochester. Durham then returned the favor Sunday with a 1-0 win at Rochester before Monday\'s 8-0 victory. The Bulls were then shutout Tuesday, 2-0.
FEAST OR FAMINE: Durham has lost 10 games this season when the pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs. However, in each of the last four series, the Bulls have had a game where they\'ve scored at least 10 runs, including yesterday\'s 11-3 win over Ottawa.
FIGHTING FOR .500: This is Durham\'s fourth shot this month to get to .500 for the first time since April 12. In the previous three chances, Durham was shutout. The Bulls were last at .500 at 4-4 on April 12.
NOW THAT\'S QUALITY: Durham has had 10 quality starts (3 ER or less, 6 IP or more) in 12 games, and 15 of the last 21 contests. Durham is 13-8 during that stretch. In the two starts in the last 12 where the Bulls didn\'t get a quality start, the pitchers allowed just one run total in 10 innings.
GOING DEEP: The Bulls now have hit 26 homers in a 14-game stretch after hitting four more yesterday. Durham leads the International League with 55 homers, 30 of them on the road.
ATOP THE WEST: Indianapolis (30-21) enters Thursday afternoon\'s affair atop the IL West Division, while Louisville (28-24, 2.5 GB), Toledo (28-25, 3.0 GB) and Columbus (24-28, 6.5 GB) trail the leader. Thursday is the Tribe\'s 45th consecutive day atop the IL West Division. In 2006, Indianapolis spent 119 days in either 1st place or tied for the top spot.
FIRST TO 30: The Indians were the first team in the International League to reach the 30-win mark this season. Richmond and Buffalo are both on the brink with 29-20 records. The Tribe places 3rd in the IL with a .588 winning percentage, while Richmond and Buffalo lead the circuit at .592.
DAVIS CAN\'T BE STOPPED: OF Rajai Davis enters Thursday night\'s showdown with the Tribe\'s longest hitting streak of 2007 -- 17 games (.378 BA, 28-74, 12 R, 10 RBI). The 26-year-old is batting .320 with two home runs and 27 RBI in 49 games this season. He also leads the IL and is tied for 4th in all of professional baseball with 27 stolen bases. (Indianapolis paces all of Triple-A Baseball with 83 swipes as a team).
FIRST ON THE WIN CHART: Indianapolis RHP Bryan Bullington became the IL\'s first seven-game winner on Saturday afternoon (6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R,
0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO). The 26-year-old, who is 7-2 with a 2.64 ERA, owns five quality starts (6+ IP; no more than 3 ER) in 10 outings this season.
THE TRIBE\'S TRIO: The Indians have two of the International League\'s top 11 hitters -- INF Yurendell de Caster (9th, .327) and OF Rajai Davis (11th, .320). De Caster places 2nd in on-base percentage (.446), while Davis ranks 3rd in hits (63) and is tied for 3rd in triples (4). INF Brian Bixler ranks 3rd in runs (35), is tied for 3rd in triples (4), and places 7th in OBP (.394).
DEFENSE WINS GAMES: Indianapolis is tied for 3rd in the IL with a .981 fielding percentage. The Tribe has committed just 37 miscues in 1,998 total chances through 51 contests (1,363 PO, 598 A, 37 E). The Indians are 18-9 in 27 errorless games this season.
THE NATURAL: OF Josh Hamilton, with the Bats on a Major League rehab assignment, hit the first pitch he saw for a home run Tuesday night. In his first six at-bats ever in Triple-A, Hamilton had three home runs and has gone 3-8 in two games. Hamilton has been on Cincinnati's 15-day disabled list since May 22 with gastroenteritis. In his first Major League season since the Reds selected him in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2006, he is hitting .261 with eight home runs and 18 RBI in 37 games with Cincinnati. Hamilton was named National League Rookie of the Month for April after leading all ML rookies in home runs (6), extra-base hits (10), on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.609) and tying for the ML rookie lead with 13 RBI.
THANKS FOR THE HELP: RHP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati's 2006 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, made a spot start for the Bats Tuesday night after being promoted from Class-A Sarasota. In his Triple-A debut, Cueto allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work; he walked none and struck out six Knights batters. Cueto, 21, went a combined 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 26 starts between Class-A Dayton and Sarasota last season. His 15 wins led all Reds minor leaguers and he finished 2nd in the organization with 143 strikeouts. He was transferred back to Sarasota Wednesday, May 30.
MAY FLOWERS: The Bats are guaranteed a winning month of May for the first time since the 2004 season when the team went 17-13. Going into tonight's game, Louisville is 17-12; the last season the Bats had 18 wins in the month of May was 2002. This was also the first winning month for the team since June of 2006 when the Bats won a franchise record 22 games in June (22-7). Dating back to September of 2004 (3-2), the Bats only winning months are June of 2006 and May of 2007.
WHAT A RELIEF: Tides closer Cory Doyne is 15-for-16 in save opportunities, and has held opposing hitters to a .141 average against thus far. His 15 saves are tied for the IL lead, and he is tied for 3rd among all minor leaguers in the same category. Doyne has already collected more saves than Norfolk\'s team leader from last year (Heath Bell had 12), and he is just four saves shy of moving into a tie for 5th on the Tides\' all-time single-season saves list with 19. The Tides\' franchise record for saves in a season is 26, set by Derek Wallace in the 1996 season.
ON A RUN: Tides\' outfielder Tike Redman has scored 20 runs over his last 15 games, and the 20 runs scored has already placed him 3rd among Norfolk\'s team leaders this season despite the fact that he has only played in 18 games thus far. Redman has scored at least one run in 14 of his last 15 games (including 8 straight), and the 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .313 (20-59) with a .405 on-base percentage in 18 games.
HEATING UP: Tides\' outfielder Jason Dubois has hit .378 (14-37) with three home runs and 10 RBI over his last 10 games. Over that stretch, the 28-year-old Virginia Beach native has raised his average from .186 to .239, and Dubois has hit safely in a season-high seven-straight contests. Tides\' infielder Brandon Fahey has also been swinging a hot bat lately, hitting .383 (18-47) with a HR and 10 RBI in his last 12 games. Over that stretch, Fahey has increased his average from .169 to .222, and the 26-year-old has eight extra-base hits over that span (Fahey had one extra-base hit through his first 39 contests).
LYNX SKIPPER TO LEAD THE IL\'S STARS: Lynx Manager John Russell will lead the International League All-Stars against the best of the Pacific Coast League at the Triple-A All-Star Game July 11 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Joining the Lynx skipper will be Rochester Manager Stan Cliburn, Buffalo Manager and former Lynx player Torey Lovullo, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Athletic Trainer Darren London. Russell, 46, is in his first season managing the Lynx and is the reigning International League Manager of the Year. Last year, as Manager of the Phillies\' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/
Wilkes-Barre, he led the Red Barons to a League-best 84-58 record and a North Division title. Russell led the Edmonton Trappers to a Pacific Coast League title in 2002. This is his 10th season as a Minor League Manager.
LYNX HAVE YOUR TICKET TO THE STANLEY CUP: The whole city is gripped in Sens fever and the Lynx have two fun ways for hockey and baseball fans to enjoy both Canada\'s national sport and America\'s pastime. First up is the Stanley Cup Scavenger Hunt. Lynx fans will scour the Capital Wednesday May 30 to Friday, June 1 for 16 items - one for every win needed to capture the Stanley Cup. Everyone who brings all 16 items back to Lynx Stadium during the Lynx game vs. Richmond June 1 at 6:05 p.m. will be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, where the Ottawa Senators will take on the Anaheim Ducks. The Lynx musical chairs tradition will be taken to a whole new level when we play Champion-chairs after the Lynx game Monday June 4. Contestants will be whittled down from 50 to 1 through a series of random number draws until one lucky fan is left sitting. Our champion will win dinner for two from P.J. Quigley\'s before taking in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
PAWTUCKET RED SOX
TIME MANAGEMENT: What does a Major League manager do on a rare scheduled off-day during the middle of a homestand? Why, if you are Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, you make the 45 mile trip south to Pawtucket, RI to see your Triple-A affiliate play. Francona, who has managed the Red Sox to the best record in the Major Leagues thus far this season, will be on hand along with Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell to see the PawSox take on the Columbus Clippers tonight at McCoy Stadium.
MAY DAY: The PawSox looked forward to a favorable May schedule that had them scheduled to play 20 of 30 games at home (and actually 24 of 34 games at home dating back to April 27). However, the best laid plans of mice and men...The PawSox will conclude the month of May tonight vs. Columbus at McCoy and they enter play this evening with an 11-16 record in May. The outfield of LF David Murphy (.318 with 16 RBI in 27 games), CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.295 with 10 SB in 22 games), and RF Brandon Moss (4 HR & 20 RBI in 27 games) along with utility player Bobby Scales (.299 in 23 games) have led the offense in May. Reliever Travis Hughes (3-1, 1.27 in 13 RA) has been terrific out of the bullpen and LHP Jon Lester continued his remarkable comeback from a rare form of non-Hodgkin\'s lymphoma as he went 0-1 despite a fine 1.62 ERA in 4 starts in May. That\'s the good news. The bad news is that the PawSox have lost seven games this month during the opponents\' final at-bat of the game including 5 games that they led entering the 9th inning.
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT: The Pawtucket Red Sox are pleased to announce that Counting Crows along with Live and Collective Soul will come to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket on Friday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the show will go on sale on June 2 at 10:00 a.m. Counting Crows, the San Francisco-based band that has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, will headline the Rock \'N Roll Triple Play Concert presented by Jam Productions/Mass Concerts at McCoy. Live and Collective Soul will also perform as part of a summer concert tour that will travel to 23 Minor League ballparks. "The PawSox are thrilled to bring three terrific bands to McCoy Stadium for the Rock \'N Roll Triple Play Concert as we kick-off the 2007 Pawtucket Arts Festival on Friday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m.," said PawSox president Mike Tamburro. "The Bob Dylan Show was a huge Arts Festival success at McCoy last August and we look forward to offering fans another enjoyable concert event here at McCoy this August 24."
SPEED BUMP: After an all-time club record start of 27-11 through 38 games, the Braves are enduring their first slump of the season. Richmond is just 2-9 in their last 11 games. The Braves once dominant pitching has struggled over that stretch. Richmond is allowing 5.2 runs a game over the last 11 contests. In the first 38 games the Braves surrendered an average of 2.9 per contest.
MY HERO ZERO: The Braves notched their League-leading eighth shutout of the season Monday. Richmond is on a pace to shatter the club record for most shutouts in a season (19 in 1967). The Braves current pace would give them 23 shutouts for the season. One of those was a complete game effort by Buddy Carlyle May 1. He is one of two IL pitchers to toss a 9-inning complete game shutout this season.
A PLAYER FACTORY: The Braves have sent nine players to Atlanta this season. Seven of those are pitchers. OF Willie Harris is hitting .389 in 26 games for Atlanta. Peter Moylan has a 2.59 ERA in 18 MLB games after starting the season with Richmond. The other R-Braves to make the jump to Atlanta in 2007 include Martin Prado, Kevin Barry, Steve Colyer, Buddy Carlyle, Macay McBride, Anthony Lerew, and Mark Redman (MLB rehab). Five currently active Atlanta Braves (Harris, Prado, Carlyle, McBride, and Moylan) were promoted from Richmond. 11 of the 25 current Atlanta Braves played in Richmond in the last two seasons.
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
MOVES, MOVES, AND MORE MOVES: With the subtractions of RHP Kevin Slowey and RHP J.P. Martinez and the addition of RHP Julio DePaula today, the Red Wings have endured 24 transactions in the month of May. RHP Kevin Slowey becomes the 10th Red Wings player to be promoted to the Minnesota Twins this season. Of the 10 players promoted to the Twins, seven (including Rabe and Perkins on the disabled list) are still on the Minnesota roster.
STOP KORECKY TIME: Red Wings closer Bobby Korecky recorded his 12th save of the season Wednesday night and is on pace to have 33 saves this season, which would be a new Red Wings all-time saves record for saves in a season (RHP Travis Boyer holds the record with 23 set back in 2005). The Red Wings bullpen has 18 saves this season. If Rochester can record two more saves in the next 12 games it would be the quickest a Red Wings team has recorded 20 saves in team history. Rochester needs 24 more saves to tie the 1997 Red Wings for most saves (42) by a Red Wings team in one season. Saves became an official stat in the International League in 1969.
MAY DAY MAY DAY: Going into tonight\'s game the Red Wings are just 13-18 in the month of May. This is the first time Rochester has had 18 losses in a month since 2002 when the Wings had back-to-back months with 20 losses (July 8-20 record and August 11-20 record). Rochester finished the 2002 season (last season of the Baltimore Orioles affiliation) with a 55-89 record.
ROCKET LANDING: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise has witnessed many big events in its history, including the Triple-A All-Star game, numerous playoff games, MLB exhibition games and rehab appearances by many big names. Nothing however comes close to what happened on Memorial Day when Roger Clemens started for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The Rocket made the final stop on his Minor League tour and did not disappoint. The future first ballot Hall of Famer tossed six scoreless innings in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 11,310. Fan excitement was so great leading up to the event that four lower level seats were selling for $350 on Ebay. In addition, his appearance brought more than 100 media requests and ESPN televised every pitch he threw.
ONE ALL-STAR SELECTED, HOW MANY MORE TO GO: Players like Shelly Duncan, Andy Phillips and Jim Brower are having All-Star type seasons but they will not be the first Yankees selected to the International League All-Star team. That distinction belongs to Athletic Trainer Darren London who was named to the staff today. Darren returns to the Triple-A All-Star Game after serving in the same capacity for the IL squad at the 1999 Game in New Orleans. He is in his 19th season with the Yankees organization and his 15th as a trainer at the Triple-A level. He began his career with Class-A Prince William in 1989 before joining Class-A Ft. Lauderdale in 1991, Double-A Albany in 1992, and Triple-A Columbus in 1993.
ANGELS CAN BE CLUTCH TOO: Yankees infielder Angel Chavez is the leading hitter on the club when it comes to hitting in clutch situations. The 26-year-old is hitting .310 on the season but with runners in scoring position that number jumps to an amazing .458. In 24 at-bats he has 11 hits and
14 RBI. We probably should not be surprised by the difference. As a member of the Red Barons in 2006, Chavez hit .276 overall but .297 with runners in scoring position driving in 22 men in just 64 at bats.
EXTREMELY STREAKY: The Chiefs are riding a season-high five-game win streak into tonight\'s series finale with Norfolk. Syracuse has been on an up-and-down ride the past two weeks. It began May 14 with the start of a three-game losing skid against Louisville and Indianapolis. The Chiefs rebounded with three straight victories before dropping five in a row, but now the Chiefs have reeled off five consecutive wins.
TURNING ON THE POWER: Over the past seven days the Chiefs have bashed 12 home runs. It took the team the previous 27 games to hit a dozen homers. During this week-long stretch of power Howie Clark (2), Kevin Barker (2), and Russ Adams (3) have all registered multiple homers and the Chiefs hit four long balls in a game (May 26 at Pawtucket) for the first time this season.
AN UNLIKELY POWER SOURCE: During the Chiefs\' power display over the past week, the team has received a boost in the roundtripper department from someone you might not think would be registering home runs. 2B Russ Adams is on a tear, homering each of the past two nights. He has three jacks in the last five games. The product of the University of North Carolina has five home runs on the season after hitting just three last season in 132 combined games between Toronto and Syracuse.
EXCELLENT \'PENMANSHIP: The Chiefs bullpen put together an excellent week for manager Doug Davis. Twice in a five-game stretch Davis had to ask his non-starters to throw seven innings and both times they didn\'t let in a run. In a stretch from May 24-29 Syracuse\'s \'pen threw 24.2 innings, only allowing two runs. Highlighting the performances were Blaine Neal who earned two saves and Jim Crowell who threw 4.2 scoreless innings on Monday night against Norfolk.
TOLEDO MUD HENS
RABURN GOES CYCLING: OF Ryan Raburn became the first Mud Hen to hit for the cycle in the history of Fifth Third Field on May 27 versus Columbus. The last Mud Hen to hit for the cycle was Dewayne Wise on May 14, 2005 at Pawtucket. As of May 31, Raburn has 12 doubles, 2 triples,
9 home runs and 35 RBI. Ironically, in the same game, 3B Mike Hessman was just a single shy of hitting for the cycle as well.
GRAND SLAMMIN\' HESSMAN: 3B Mike Hessman has hit two grand slams in the past week. The first one came on May 24 at Columbus in the Hens defeat of the Clippers, 7-6. The most recent grand slam was on May 30 in the Hens\' 7-0 shutout against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Pennsylvania. Hessman has a hit in 12 out of his last 13 games. In that stretch he has 9 runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs and 23 RBI. As of May 31, Hessman leads the IL with 14 home runs, 47 RBI, 28 extra-base hits and is 4th in the IL in slugging percentage at .545.
RELIABLE RELIEF: RHP Jeremy Johnson has made three solid appearances in a row. In his most recent appearance on May 26 versus Columbus, Johnson pitched 5.0 innings, giving up just four hits and one earned run. Before that, Johnson had pitched in back-to-back games on May 21 and 22, pitching one inning of relief in each game and giving up a total of one hit and no runs.
HENS GO STREAKING: Three Mud Hens ended their season-long hit streaks on May 28 against the "Rocket", Roger Clemens. OF Chris Maples and INF Chris Shelton both ended 9-game hit streaks, while OF David Espinosa had hit in eight consecutive games. OF Timo Perez has the longest hit streak for the Hens in 2007 with 18 from April 5-24.
KEEP ON WALKING: OF Ryan Raburn went 0-0 on May 30 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because he walked five consecutive times. As of May 31, Raburn is 5th among all Minor League players with 38 walks so far this season.