Labor Day was the last day of the minor-league regular season. We already told you about the Lexington/Bowling Green game, but that wasn’t the only BluGrass baseball storyline.
- MinorleagueBaseball.com previews Louisville’s playoff series with Durham.
- The Bats fell 4-2 in their final regular season tune-up before the playoffs start Wednesday.
- The Hot Rods’ Web site highlights Michael Jarman’s pitching effort in the season-ending loss to Lexington.
- The Legends report on their series sweep of Bowling Green.
- Lexington also has a news release on its Web site about former Legend Hunter Pence being nominated for the Roberto Clemente award.
- Linda Younkin of the Frankfort State-Journal profiles UofL Hall of Fame inductee and career hits leader Tommy Barnes and his battle with cancer.
- Jack Etkin of Baseball America profiles former Bat Darnell McDonald.
- The Bats ranked as the ninth best team in the minor-league regular season according to BA.
The Blue Jays activated former UK pitcher Scott Downs from the disabled list Monday and added former Louisville Bat and Cincinnati Red Edwin Encarnacion to the DL to make room for Downs on the 25-man roster. Downs has served as Toronto’s closer this season and is 1-3 with a 3.41 ERA and nine saves in 12 opportunities. Toronto manager Cito Gaston said he wasn’t sure if Downs would return to his closer role.
In other Kentucky transactions, the Reds placed catcher Ryan Hannigan and outfielder Chris Dickerson on the disabled list and promoted catcher Corky Miller and outfielder Darnell McDonald from Louisville.
The Bats put on an offensive clinic and the Legends lost their 12th game in a row. Check out those stories and more in Saturday’s hot links:
Louisville Bats @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
- Louisville looks for the series victory against Lehigh Valley with Matt Maloney on the mound tonight. Maloney received a brief callup to Cincinnati earlier this season, but has spent most of the year with the Bats. Matt is 8-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 19 games for Louisville this season. Maloney’s 2.71 ERA ranks fifth best in the International League and his 106 strikeouts are tied for fourth most. Matt has shown exceptional control this season with only 19 walks in 126 innings.
- Bats outfielder Darnell McDonald had only three hits in seven games in August entering Tuesday’s game, but he broke out of that slump in a big way. McDonald finished the game 4-4 with a double. The four hits tie a season high for McDonald achieved previously on July 6 against Indianapolis with a 4-5 performance.
- Outfielder Drew Stubbs stole his 46th base of the season Tuesday. The 46 steals lead the International league and rank 11th in minor league baseball. Stubbs should easily break the 50 steal plateau with just under a month left in the season. Think 50 steals might be a Bats record? Think again, Vince Coleman stole 101 bases in 1984 for the franchise.
- The IronPigs will counter with left-handed pitcher Gustavo Chacin. Chacin was once a top prospect, winning the AA Eastern League Pitcher of the Year award in 2004, but he has failed to make a dent past AAA in his career. This season Chacin is excelling with Lehigh Valley with a 7-3 record and 3.09 ERA in 13 games. Chacin has 48 strikeouts and 29 walks in 84.1 innings this season.
With one Kentucky minor league team rained out Wednesday and another with an off day, the lead BluGrass Baseball story of the day goes to former Louisville Bat Justin Lehr and his dominate performance against the Cubs.
- Lehr pitched a complete game shutout to end an eight-game losing streak for the Reds. Wednesday was his second major league start after going 13-3 in AAA this season.
- Jordan Lyles allowed three runs in seven innings while striking out six and walking none for the Legends, but Lexington still fell 3-1 to Greenville.
- Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich profiles four St. Matthews Little League alumni (Scott Green, Tyler Kuhn, Richard Sullivan, David Slovak) in the minor leagues.
- Michael Grant at the Courier Journal profiles Bats outfielder Darnell McDonald.
- EKU alum Christian Friedrich struck out 10 in five and two-thirds inning for high A Modesto.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 3-6 with his 34th stolen base for high A Fort Meyers.
Louisville Bats vs. Toledo Mud Hens
- Reds prospect Travis Wood will make his second start of the season for Louisville tonight. Wood surrendered one run in six and two-thirds innings of work in his Bats debut on July 25 against Syracuse. Before being promoted to Louisville Wood was carving up the AA Southern League. In 19 starts for Carolina, Wood was 9-3 with a 1.21 ERA. Travis had struck out 103 batters in 119 innings pitched.
- Outfielder Darnell McDonald extended his current hitting streak to five games with a 2-4 performance Wednesday. McDonald is 9-22 (.409) with five runs scored during the streak. Outfielder Drew Stubbs extend his hitting streak to four games with a 2-4 performance Wednesday.
- Minor league veteran Kevin Barker hit his team-high 19th home run of the season Wednesday for Louisville. On the season Barker is batting .279 with those 19 home runs and 53 RBI. Barker’s 19 home runs are second most in the International League and his .544 slugging percentage is the third highest percentage in the league.
- Toledo will send RHP Rudy Lugo to the mound tonight for the third game of the series. Lugo is 8-8 with a 4.71 ERA on the season. Lugo pitches to contact as he only has 56 strikeouts in 99.1 innings of work. Lugo has won each of his last two starts and has taken a decision in his last nine starts. Rudy only has two no decisions in 18 starts this season. Lefties are hitting Lugo at a .308 clip.
The Legends and Hot Rods are both off Thursday.
Lexington Legends vs. Hagerstown Suns
- David Duncan looks to continue his resurgence in his fourth start for the Legends tonight. Duncan is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three games with Lexington, including a seven-inning, one-run performance in his last start against Lake County. Duncan struck out seven and walked none in that start. In 18 innings with Lexington Duncan has 19 strikeouts and four walks. David began the season with Lancaster where he was 0-9 with an 8.51 ERA.
- Monday’s DH Michael Diaz tied his season high with three RBIs in the 6-5 victory over Hagerstown. Diaz also had three RBI on June 13 and July 9 and has 23 RBI on the season. Diaz drove in the winning run Monday when he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning with the bases loaded.
- First baseman Brian Pellegrini hit his 16th home run of the season for Lexington Monday. Pellegrini has 37 home runs in his Legends’ career, the most of any Legend. He is nine home runs from Hunter Pence’s single-season record of 25 home runs set in 2005.
- Hagerstown will send its ace Marcos Frias to the mound tonight. Frias is 6-3 with a 3.02 ERA on the season and 78 strikeouts in 86.1 innings over 17 games. Frias held Bowling Green to one run in six innings in his last start.
Bowling Green vs. Lake County
- The Hot Rods send Frank De Los Santos to the mound tonight. The lefty is 4-6 with a 3.77 ERA on the season and is holding opponents to a .260 average on the season including .165 average from left-handed batters. De Los Santos allowed five runs in four and one-third innings against Hagerstown in his last start.
- Second baseman Robi Estrada turned in his third consecutive multi-hit game in driving in the winning run with a bunt-single in Monday. Over his last three games, Estrada is 7-12. Estrada also had three consecutive multi-hit efforts in a double header on March 23 and in the following game on the 24th.
I’m going to try a new daily post of game notes for each of the minor league teams that will go up on the site around 6 p.m. EST. The purpose of these posts is to let you know what storylines each team faces going into the game and provide a brief look at the opposition.
Lexington Legends vs. Lake County Captains
- The Legends are only 3-7 in their last 10 games, and only one batter is batting at least .300 in that span. Second baseman Andrew Simunic is 6-20 with 6 runs scored in that span. The only other hitter batting over .250 in those ten games is right fielder Eric Suttle who is batting .273 after appearing in seven of those games.
- David Duncan is finding his stride after being promoted from short-season Tri-City to Lexington. Duncan is 0-1 in his last two starts but has only surrendered three runs in 13 innings of work with 14 strikeouts and just one walk. Duncan pitched seven innings, allowed one run and struck out seven while walking one in a no decision Thursday.
- Kyle Greenwalt will look to end a two-game losing streak when he takes the mound for Lexington tonight. Greenwalt has allowed 12 runs over nine and one-third innings in his last two starts. Greenwalt will likely factor in the decision tonight as he has either a win or loss in each of his last 11 starts.
- Lake County’s big hitter is right fielder Abner Abreu. Abreu is batting .305 on the season with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Danny Salazar gets the start for the Captains tonight. Salazar is 2-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 13 starts this season. Opponents are batting .295 against Salazar.