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IL News and Notes07/05/2007 7:24 PM ET
RED-HOT HERD: The Bisons have won 10 of their last 14 games to build a 3.5 game lead in the International League North Division. The Herd saw that lead slip to 0.5 games on June 24 before winning a three-game series at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2-1) and a four-game home-and-home series with Rochester (3-1). A lot of the work has been done on the road, as the Bisons have the second-best road record (26-17) in the League.
LAFFEY MAKES BISONS HISTORY: LHP Aaron Laffey became the first Bisons pitcher in the Modern Era to record six victories in a single month. Laffey was a perfect 6-0 with a 0.87 ERA in six games in June (45.0 IP, 42 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 38 K). He closed the month out in style, posting season-highs in innings (8.1) and strikeouts (9) in a 4-1 victory over Rochester on June 30. Though he joined the team halfway through May, Laffey leads the Bisons in complete games (2), is tied for the lead in wins (6) and is tied for 3rd in strikeouts (44).
ALL-STAR SLUGGER KEEPS SWINGING: First Baseman Ryan Mulhern has hit in six straight games and has eight multi-hit performances in his last 10 games. Since June 23, he has hit .415 (17-41) with nine RBI. Mulhern now sports the League's 6th highest average (.320) to go along with the 4th highest slugging percentage (.542). Mulhern also leads the Bisons in doubles (23), home runs (12) and RBI (49).
KNIGHTS SET ATTENDANCE RECORD: The July 4th celebration brought in a record crowd to Knights stadium. 15,427 fans attended the July 4th game between the Knights and Durham Bulls. The previous attendance record was 14,952 which was set at the 2006 July 4th game between the Knights and Norfolk Tides.
TIDBITS: Knights starting pitcher Lance Broadway has not allowed a stolen base this season. What makes this more impressive is that Broadway is a right-hander...The Knights have two players leading the League in fielding percentage at their respective positions. First baseman Casey Rogowski has a .995 fielding percentage and outfielder Ryan Sweeney has a 1.000 fielding percentage.
WELCOME BACK BRANDON: On Tuesday, the Clippers activated LHP Brandon Claussen from the DL. This marks Claussen's third season wearing a Columbus uniform. He was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 34th round of the 1998 draft. He progressed through the Yankees chain and got his first dose of Triple-A at Columbus in 2002. Claussen was the Clippers' Opening Day starter at Indianapolis, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 6.0 innings. His 2002 season was cut short due to a sore left elbow as he was placed on the DL for the remainder of the season on June 18 (had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL on June 25). He started 2003 in Tampa recovering from his surgery before being recalled to Columbus on May 26. On June 28 he made a spot start for the Yankees against the New York Mets (Win, 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). He was sent back to Columbus where he spent another month before being traded to Cincinnati on July 31 along with LHP Charlie Manning for 3B Aaron Boone. On December 7, 2006 Claussen was signed by the Washington Nationals and had spent all of 2007 on the Clippers DL recovering from left rotator cuff surgery.
NO FREE PASSES: Clippers reliever Arnie Munoz has faced 38 straight batters without allowing a walk over his last 11 appearances (11.0 IP). He has only allowed walks in seven of his 32 appearances this season.
ORVELLA ON: Since being optioned from Tampa Bay, Chad Orvella has pitched 10 times for Durham, and has worked 11 scoreless innings. Orvella has allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out 13. Orvella also has picked up seven saves, including his last six outings.
SWITZER UP: Lefty Jon Switzer was promoted after Tuesday's game to Tampa Bay to replace the injured Al Reyes, who's now on the DL. Switzer allowed just one earned run in 17 appearances, a remarkable 0.41 ERA. Durham currently has 23 active players.
GOOD HOME COOKING: Durham finished 13-7 in a stretch of 16 of 20 at home. All of the games were against teams with winning records. Only one of the Bulls' last 25 games leading into the All-Star break involved a club with a sub-.500 record - last night's game in Charlotte. The Bulls lost 7-3.
LEADING THE WILD CARD: The Indians (47-38) lead the International League's Wild Card race over Louisville (46-40, 1.5 GB), Rochester (44-40, 2.5 GB) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (44-40, 2.5 GB).
BIG CROWDS ON THE 4TH: Wednesday night's crowd of 14,931 was the Tribe's largest of 2007. It also marked the club's 11th consecutive Fourth of July sellout at Victory Field.
LET'S PLAY 'EM ALL AT HOME: Indianapolis has posted an 18-4 record over its last 22 home games, but gone just 2-13 over its past 15 road affairs. The Indians are an IL-best 27-14 at home this year.
BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: Indians 1B Brad Eldred and 3B Russ Johnson belted back-to-back homers in a four-run bottom of the 1st on Wednesday night. It was Eldred's seventh Triple-A dinger of the season and Johnson's fifth long ball of the campaign. The Indians had not whacked back-to-back roundtrippers since LF Chris Aguila and RF Michael Ryan left the yard on May 14.
LEADING THE LOOP: Indianapolis leads the International League in team batting average (.274). The Indians also place 2nd in hits (781) and runs (403). Indians INF Brian Bixler places among IL leaders in triples (1st - 8), runs (5th - 53), stolen bases (T-5th - 19) and on-base percentage (9th - .393). UTIL Yurendell de Caster ranks among League leaders in on-base percentage (4th - .403) and walks (9th - 42).
BIXLER IS ON A ROLL: Tribe INF Brian Bixler enters Thursday night's affair with a 10-game hitting streak (.324 BA, 12-37, 5 R, 2 RBI). The 24-year-old is batting .300 with four HR and 32 RBI in 77 contests this year.
BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: For the third time this season, 1B Joey Votto and INF Aaron Herr hit back-to-back home runs last night versus the Indians. On April 8, Votto blasted a grand slam (the first of two this season) before Herr's solo shot versus Toledo. One batter later, Dewayne Wise also hit a solo shot for the Bats making it a three-homer inning on April 8. Herr and Votto's second back-to-back home run night was May 24 versus Buffalo.
STREAKING: INF Pedro Lopez is on an eight-game hitting streak (17-37) and has raised his batting average from .237 to its current mark of .310. Since the streak began on June 22, he is hitting .459. INF/OF Jeff Keppinger is also on an eight-game hitting streak; since June 26, he is batting .394 (13-33). He has hit safely in 49 of 55 games and has safely reached base in 51 of 55 games with Louisville this season.
PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: RHP Ricky Stone and INF/OF Jeff Keppinger were named Louisville Pitcher and Hitter of the Month for June. During the month, Keppinger batted .354 (35-99) with eight doubles, eight RBI, 10 walks and nine runs scored. He currently leads the IL with a .371 batting average. Stone, whose contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds June 29, went 1-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 13 games. Opponents hit just .048 (2-42) against him and he converted all six save opportunities.
SERIES BUSINESS: The Tides have earned at least a split in each of their last seven series. Norfolk has won two and split four of their past six series, and the Tides have won seven, lost seven, and split nine series this year. Since dropping a season-low 14 games under .500 on June 10, the Tides have gone 14-8.
STREAKERS: Tides' outfielder Tike Redman had a 14-game hitting streak from June 18-July 2, over which he hit .344 (21-61) with a home run and seven RBI. That streak matched Norfolk's longest of the year, previously set by J.R. House in the first 14 games of the season. Tides' infielder Mike Cervenak is nearing the 14-game mark, having hit safely in nine straight games. With another hit tonight, Cervenak would have the tenth different 10-game hitting streak by a Norfolk Tide this season.
LOOKING BACK AT CANADIAN BASEBALL HISTORY: This month, Lynx fans will take time to look back on the first 15 seasons of Lynx baseball. Saturday, July 14 is the Lynx 15th Anniversary Celebration. Special guests F.P. Santangelo and Derek Aucoin will help us pay tribute to 15 seasons of baseball in the Nation's Capital! Local baseball fans will reminisce even more at the Lynx and the National Capital Amateur Athletics Association's Tribute to the Expos. Former Expos Rodney Scott, Claude Raymond, Oil Can Boyd and Delino DeShields headline the list of special guests who will be paying tribute to Canada's first Major League baseball team.
LINEUP SHAKEUP: Two Lynx starters made their Phillies debut this past weekend. RHP J.D. Durbin was promoted to start against New York, while LHP J.A. Happ got the call to face the Mets Saturday. Happ was returned to the Lynx rotation Tuesday. RHP J.C. Romero and RHP Anderson Garcia also made the trip to the City of Brotherly Love this week, while the Lynx got RHP Geoff Geary and RHP Yoel Hernandez from the big club and RHP Landon Jacobsen from Double-A Reading. RHP Ryan Cameron and C Tim Gradoville were transferred to Reading.
PAWTUCKET RED SOX
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY: That victory last night also represented a milestone of sorts as the PawSox earned their first-ever win against the SWB Yankees after beginning this season 0-6 vs. the new Yankees Triple-A affiliate - going 0-3 both at home from April 13-16 and 0-3 in Moosic, PA from May 7-9. It might not be as dramatic as the 2004 ALCS when the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to stun the New York Yankees on their way to the World Series (we always enjoy mentioning that whenever we can), but the PawSox will look to continue their quest to come back from a 6 games to 0 deficit tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and then will have plenty of chances to make amends against the Yankees with 8 games vs. SWB over the final three and a half weeks of the regular-season. Ironically, the PawSox had dominated the former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons over parts of the last three seasons going 23-4 in their last 27 meetings while SWB was a Phillies' affiliate.
WE'LL TAKE THE SPLIT: The PawSox rolled to a 7-1 victory over Charlotte this past Tuesday night to gain a split of that 4-game series and avoid losing 3 of 4 games in a series for the fourth consecutive time. The PawSox lost 3 of 4 at Indianapolis from June 18-21, dropped 3 of 4 in Louisville from June 22-25, and lost 3 of 4 at home to Norfolk from June 26-29. They did salvage the split vs. Charlotte from June 30 - July 3, however. Pawtucket had won 3 of 4 in three straight series from June 1-12 (at Norfolk & Richmond and vs. Ottawa) along with a 4-game split vs. Richmond (June 14-17) leading up to their recent tailspin. Pawtucket is 7-11-5 in their first 23 series of the year. The Sox have been scheduled to play a 4-game series during every series since May 5 & 6 in Buffalo. That stretch has finally come to an end with this current 2-game set in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
KNOCK ON WOOD: The PawSox have used the Regular Disabled List just twice all season, and not since April 25 (Runelvys Hernandez). The only other time the Sox have put a player on the DL came on April 20 (Mike Burns). Last year the PawSox used the 7-day disabled list 12 times.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER K: The Braves followed up their season-high 15-strikeout performance at Columbus Monday by fanning nine more Clippers Tuesday and 11 Syracuse Chiefs Wednesday. The Braves last four starting pitchers (Blaine Boyer, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kevin Barry and Ryan Baerlocher) have struck out 28 hitters in 20.1 innings.
STRONG ARMING: The Braves lead the League in percentage of opponents caught stealing (49-109, .450). Corky Miller leads the League's catchers in throwing runners out (30-64, .469). The Braves have racked up 25 outfield assists for the season (Richmond had 21 all of last year). Richmond has three of the 16 IL outfielders with five or more assists (T.J. Bohn and Gregor Blanco have six, Doug Clark has five).
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
BREAK ME OFF A WINNING RECORD: The Red Wings (44-40 record) need one more win in their final five games before the All-Star break to have their fourth consecutive winning record at the All-Star break. Rochester will need their third consecutive winning second half of the season to make a playoff push. Since 2005 the Wings have a 55-51 record after the All-Star break.
HOT WING: Infielder/Outfielder Tommy Watkins has a 10-game hitting streak batting .438 (16-35) with five doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored. Watkins is tied for the team lead with 23-multi-hit games (Garrett Jones).
DRINKS ARE ON ME!: For the fourth consecutive season the Rochester Red Wings will enjoy a three-day All-Star break. This is only the sixth three-day All-Star break (2004-2007, 1999 & 1996) Rochester has had since they began playing the Triple-A All-Star Game in 1988.
COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY: SWB's 6-1 record against Pawtucket in 2007 is certainly worth mentioning, but last night's doubleheader that wasn't was just another example of why rain has been the story of the teams' season series thus far. Based on the originally released schedule, last night's game would have been the ninth meeting between the teams rather than their seventh. Both of the teams' series earlier this season (April 13-16 in Pawtucket, May 7-10 in Moosic), originally scheduled for four games each, were both cut to three games by rain, with the May 10 rainout scheduled as part of last night's doubleheader. This now means that the second game of the August 8 doubleheader at PNC Field will actually be a make-up of a make-up. With a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for tonight, the trend could continue.
PICK YOUR CHAVEZ, PICK YOUR POISON: Yankees' hitters combined to bat .333 (9-27) on Wednesday night, but it was the two men named Chavez that gave the Red Sox' pitchers the most trouble. INF Angel Chavez and C Raul Chavez combined to go 3-7 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored. It was also the first time that both Raul and Angel homered in the same game. Angel's homer was important for another reason: with it, he's now hit in 10 straight games, the longest batting streak by a Yankee this season.
CHIEFS STARTERS LASTING LONG: If you take away Jim Crowell's spot start to end the Norfolk series on July 3, over the past eight games Syracuse's starting pitching has been excellent. In the seven starts beginning with Victor Zambrano's seven innings versus Charlotte on June 27, Chiefs starters are averaging better than 6.2 innings per start. Zambrano, Jesse Litsch, Josh Banks, Mike MacDonald and Ty Taubenheim all have participated in the recent hot spell.
REHABBERS CONTINUE TO WORK THROUGH SYRACUSE: So far this season Syracuse has been a hot spot for rehabbing Blue Jays with an injured wing or foot that are trying to make their way back north of the border. OF Reed Johnson joined the Chiefs July 2 in Norfolk to become the fifth Major League rehabber to play for Syracuse this season. The others are RHP John Thomson, RHP Victor Zambrano, RHP Brandon League and C Gregg Zaun.
TOLEDO MUD HENS
RIP-ROARIN' RAMON: Shortstop Ramon Santiago went on a season-high 16-game hit streak from June 14-30. In that time he batted .386 (29-75) with two home runs, six doubles, a triple, 13 runs, two stolen bases, and 10 RBI. It was the second-longest hit streak for the team this season. Outfielder Timo Perez had the longest hit streak for the Hens from April 5-24.
QUALITY CHIAVACCI: RHP Ron Chiavacci (7-5, 3.33) has been a main component to the Mud Hens' success. Since June 5, he has gone at least six innings and not allowed more than three earned runs in each start. In his last eight appearances, Chiavacci has a record of 6-1. Chiavacci leads the team with 10 quality starts and is 5th in the IL in ERA.
WHO'S (GETTING) ON FIRST?: Infielder Jack Hannahan has reached base in 59 out of 61 games he has started since April 14. Hannahan, who currently leads the League in on-base percentage at .428, only failed to reach base at Buffalo on June 3 and at home versus Ottawa on June 29.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.