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08/27/2007 12:15 PM ET
Midwest League Notebook
News & notes for the week of Monday, August 20
Cedar Rapids' Sean O'Sullivan gave up just an earned run over eight innings on Aug. 21 to stretch the Kernels' dominating streak. (Emily Smith/MLB.com)

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Beloit Snappers (Minnesota Twins)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Snappers are 30-29 in the second half and are in fifth place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: RHP Alex Burnett (8-7, 3.03 ERA) is 3-0 over his last three games with 14 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings.

WHO'S HOT: 3B Matthew Betsill is batting just .087 (2-for-23) over his last eight games without an RBI.

DID YOU KNOW: LHP Tyler Robertson (8-4, 2.10 ERA) had a season-high 11 strikeouts in a 2-0 loss to the Kane County Cougars on Thursday.

ROSTER MOVE: RHP Danny Vais was placed on the disabled list with a right elbow injury, retroactive to Aug. 19th. In 39 appearances this season, Vais is 5-4 with a 4.30 ERA and 66 strikeouts to 11 walks in 75 1/3 innings.

Burlington Bees (Kansas City Royals)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Bees are 29-31 in the second half and have dropped to sixth place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: CF Jamar Walton is batting .290 (9-for-31) over his last 10 games. ... 3B Luis Castillo has driven in five runs over his last nine games to give him 15 RBIs in 33 games.

WHO'S NOT: OF Derrick Robinson is batting just .184 (7-for-38) over his last 10 games with one RBI. ... 2B Kurt Merkins is hitting just .148 (4-for-27) over his last eight games with one RBI.

WOOD'S BIG WEEK: After tossing eight no-hit innings and striking out five in a 2-1 loss to Quad Cities Aug. 19, RHP Blake Wood was named the Midwest League's Pitcher of the Week. The 22-year old out of Georgia Tech retired the first 10 batters he faced before issuing a walk with one out in the fourth inning. He left after eight innings due to pitch count with a 1-0 lead.

DID YOU KNOW: Wood (2-1, 3.03 ERA) has not allowed a run in 17 innings, spanning his last three starts.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I was just trying to attack the hitters," Wood told MLB.com. "Plus, the guys were playing great behind me. I wasn't trying to think about it. I was just thinking about sticking with the game plan, which was to stay ahead of the hitters and keep throwing strikes."
Editor's note: Blake Wood was promoted to Class A Advanced Wilmington on Monday, August 27.

Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Kernels are 35-26 in the second half and are in second place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: RHP David Herndon (12-8, 4.18 ERA) is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA over his last seven games. He began Cedar Rapids' recent string of solid pitching performances by tossing six innings of one-run ball in the second game of a doubleheader at Wisconsin on Aug. 19. Since then, each Kernels starter has pitched at least 5 2/3 innings while allowing no more than one run. Pitchers Blake Holler and Trevor Bell each tossed seven shutout innings to notch wins on Aug. 20 and 24, respectively, while Sean O'Sullivan gave up just an unearned run over eight innings in an Aug. 21 win over Burlington. Meanwhile, relievers Warner Madrigal and Barret Browning have combined for four hitless innings and three saves.

DID YOU KNOW: Thanks in large part to the team's recent string of stellar pitching, Cedar Rapids has won a season-high 10 consecutive games, through Saturday.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It's a combination of throwing strikes and not making errors," Kernels pitching coach Dan Ricabal told MLB.com. "It's something we started talking about a month and a half ago in terms of not trying to trick opposing hitters and keeping the walks down. We're throwing 75 percent fastballs and attacking the lower half of the strike zone, and we've got some pretty good momentum going."

ROSTER MOVES: Holler, a left-hander, was promoted to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga of the California League on Aug. 21, while RHP Marco Albano joined the Kernels from Tempe of the Arizona League. Holler appeared in 23 games for the Kernels, including seven starts, going 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA over 66 innings with 63 strikeouts.

Clinton LumberKings (Texas Rangers)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The LumberKings are 25-36 in the second half and are in seventh place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: 3B Mauro Gomez is batting .303 (10-for-33) with six runs scored over his last 10 games. ... SS Jay Hafner is hitting .348 (8-for-23) over his last seven games with four RBIs and three runs scored.

WHO'S NOT: C Chad Tracy is hitting just .182 (6-for-33) with two RBIs over his last 10 games. ... SS Jose Vallejo is batting a mere .088 (3-for-34) over his last nine games.

DID YOU KNOW: 2B Jose Vallejo is second in the league with 39 stolen bases. ... LHP Zach Phillips also ranks second with 140 strikeouts.

Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Dragons are 31-30 in the second half and in third place in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: 3B Juan Francisco recorded a trio of home runs while driving in a career-high seven runs Aug. 19 to power the Dragons to an 8-7 victory over visiting Lansing. The 20-year-old belted a two-run homer in the first inning, smacked a three-run shot in the sixth and ripped another two-run homer in the seventh to give him 21 long balls on the season.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "He hit fastballs the first two times and the third one was a curveball that he was able to stay back on," Dragons manager Donnie Scott told MLB.com. "He's been having a solid year for us and has come up with a lot of big hits. He's still a young kid and can be a bit of a free swinger, but he's improved his strike-zone discipline."

DID YOU KNOW: All three of Francisco's home runs came on the first pitch of the at-bat and gave him a share of the league's home run lead with South Bend's Brad Miller. Also, with 80 RBIs, Francisco is two behind Miller for first place. ... The three-homer game was the first by a Dragon since Wily Mo Pena accomplished the feat against Cedar Rapids in 2001. The seven RBIs tied the team record, set by Adam Dunn in 2000 and matched by Joey Votto in 2004.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: RHP Rafael Gonzalez already owned a couple of Dragons franchise records heading into the week in leading the team in career starts and home runs allowed. Wednesday, Gonzalez put his name in the books once again with his 18th career victory -- via a 6-2 win over Fort Wayne -- surpassing the mark of 17 set by Juan Frias.

ROSTER MOVE: LHP Dan Donaldson returned to Dayton Friday after spending one day with Triple-A Louisville.

Fort Wayne Wizards (San Diego Padres)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Wizards are 19-40 in the second half and have moved up to fifth place with Great Lakes in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: SS Jesus Lopez is batting .407 (11-for-27) with four runs scored and an RBI over his last nine games. ... CF Cedric Hunter is hitting .333 (10-for-30) over his last nine games with four runs scored and four RBIs.

WHO'S NOT: RHP Brandon Gomes (0-4, 5.33 ERA) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a 10-0 loss to Fort Wayne Thursday, giving up eight runs -- seven earned -- on 10 hits. ... The Wizards' pitching staff ranks last in the 14-team league with 817 strikeouts. Dayton's pitching staff leads the league with 1,031 K's.

ROSTER MOVE: RHP Andy Underwood was activated from the disabled List Saturday while RHP Drew Miller was placed on the DL. ... LHP Cory Luebke, a supplemental first-round draft pick this year, was promoted to Class A Advanced Elsinore Friday.

Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Loons are 19-40 in the second half and are tied for fifth place with Fort Wayne in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: SS Francisco Lizarraga went 2-for-4 with two home runs and two runs scored in a 9-2 win over West Michigan Wednesday. Lizarraga hit a two-run homer in the second inning before smashing a grand slam in the fourth to give him six RBIs on the day.

WHO'S NOT: SS Preston Mattingly is batting just .158 (6-for-38) over his last nine games. ... C Carlos Santana is hitting .150 (3-for-20) over his last seven games.

DID YOU KNOW: Lizarraga's four-run homer marked the first grand slam in the first-year Loons' history.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Detroit Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke were in attendance at a game against West Michigan (a Tigers affiliate) last week when Scott Van Slyke (Andy's son) drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.

Kane County Cougars (Oakland A's)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Cougars are 32-27 in the second half and are in fourth place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: RHP Trevor Cahill (10-4, 2.82 ERA) struck out a career-high 10 batters over 5 2/3 innings and increased his scoreless-inning streak to 17 2/3 frames as the visiting Cougars blanked Beloit 6-0 Aug. 20. Cahill has not allowed a run in three starts.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It gives you a lot of confidence to strike out guys, especially when there are people on base," the 19-year-old told MLB.com. "I pretty much relied on my fastball and slider, and I threw a couple of good changeups."

BASEBALL ROLLS ON: Despite a disaster area declaration in Kane County and the Western suburbs of Chicago, Elfstrom Stadium was unaffected by the recent deluge of rainfall.

WHO'S NOT: 1B Sean Doolittle is batting just .158 (6-for-38) over his last 10 games. ... C Gustavo Rosendo is hitting a mere .095 (2-for-21) over his last six games.

GO FIGURE: SS Alex Valdez is hitting .205 (8-for-39) over his last 10 games but has managed a team-high nine RBIs and a home run over that same span.

Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Lugnuts are 35-26 in the second half and are in second place in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: Utility man Matthew Lane went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and four RBIs to lead Lansing to an 8-1 victory at South Bend Thursday. Lane recorded an RBI groundout in the fifth inning then blasted a three-run double in the sixth. With the bust-out night he tied his season high in RBIs, which he matched from May 31 against West Michigan.

WHO'S NOT: SS Jonathan Diaz is hitting just .158 (3-for-19) over his last eight games with three RBIs. ... 2B Sean Shoffit is batting .167 (4-for-24) over his last eight games.

DID YOU KNOW: Thursday's 8-1 win over South Bend guaranteed the Lugnuts a spot in the postseason. The victory, coupled with Great Lakes' 4-0 loss to West Michigan, meant Lansing will host a first-round playoff matchup on Sept. 5.

Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Chiefs are 34-27 in the second half and are in third place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: LHPs James Russell and Chris Siegfried and RHP Matt Maradeo and Jose Ceda combined to throw the first no-hitter in O'Brien Field history Saturday as Peoria shut out Beloit, 6-0. In just his second professional start and first for Peoria, Russell struck out four over three innings. Ceda, who has not allowed a hit in 19 innings over 13 appearances since July 17, fanned four.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "This is awesome, words can't describe it," Russell told MLB.com of the sixth-no-hitter in Chiefs history. "I've never been a part of a no-hitter before, so it's awesome. It's something I'll remember forever."

DID YOU KNOW: Saturday's no-hitter came exactly 21 years after the first no-hitter in team history when Len Damian and DeWayne Coleman combined to shut out Springfield on Aug. 25, 1986. ... It was also the first no-hitter in the five-year history of O'Brien Field and the Chiefs' first since Sean Gallagher, Walt Nolen and Jon Hunton combined for a 10-inning no-hit bid against Cedar Rapids on April 20, 2005.

BASEBALL IN HIS BLOOD: Russell, the Cubs' 14th-round draft pick in June, is the son of two-time Major League All-Star Jeff Russell.

South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Silver Hawks are 30-29 in the second half and are tied for third place with Dayton in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: OF Tyler Jones is batting .385 (10-for-26) with five runs scored and four RBIs over his last 10 games. ... SS Yunesky Sanchez is hitting .308 (8-for-26) over his last eight games without an RBI.

WHO'S NOT: 1B Steve Mena is hitting just .188 (6-for-32) over his last 10 games. ... LF Joey Side is batting .226 (7-for-31) over his last 10 games.

GO FIGURE: 1B Brad Miller is batting just .200 (6-for-30) over his last 10 games, but has managed to drive in a team-high eight RBIs over that same span.

ROSTER MOVES: RHP Evan Scribner, Arizona's recent 28th-round draft choice from Central Connecticut, was assigned to the Silver Hawks from Missoula. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder was 0-1 with two saves at Missoula while striking out 48 batters and walking nine in 37 innings. ... Pitcher Barry Enright, Arizona's 2007 second-round draft choice, was promoted to Class A Advanced Visalia in the California League. He made only one appearance for South Bend, collecting a save in two relief innings.

Swing of the Quad Cities (St. Louis Cardinals)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Swing is 37-23 in the second half and in first place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: 2B Jose Garcia is batting .364 (4-for-11) with three RBIs and two runs scored over his last seven games.

WHO'S NOT: C Nicholas Derba is batting just .167 (5-for-30) over his last 10 games without an RBI. ... OF Daryl Jones is hitting .118 (4-for-34) over his last 10 games with three RBIs.

DID YOU KNOW: In the Swing's 2-1 ninth-inning win over host Burlington's Aug. 20, 1B/OF Steven Hill went 0-for-4 to snap his 15-game hitting streak.

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Whitecaps are 40-20 in the second half and are in first place in the Eastern Division.

WHO'S HOT: OF Jeremy Laster is batting .342 (13-for-38) with a team-high 11 RBIs and eight runs scored over his last 10 games. ... C Jordan Newton is hitting .370 (10-for-27) with three RBIs over his last seven games.

WHO'S NOT: SS Audy Ciriaco is hitting just .133 (4-for-30) with three RBIs over his last nine games...Shortstop Santo De Leon is batting a mere .136 (3-for-22) over his last seven games without an RBI.

ROSTER MOVES: Prior to Friday's game, LHP Ramon Garcia (0-0, 2.25 ERA), who had not pitched since June 28, was activated from the disabled list. To make room on the roster for Garcia, RHP Dan Fyvie (0-3, 5.50 ERA) was released.

GO FIGURE: The Whitecaps entered the week with the best overall record in the Midwest League while Great Lakes has been mired in last place for most of the season. Yet after the early-week four-game series, the Loons emerged having beaten West Michigan in eight out of 12 meetings on the season.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Seattle Mariners)
SO FAR THIS SEASON: The Timber Rattlers are 24-36 in the second half and are in last place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: LF Leury Bonilla is batting a robust .391 (9-for-23) with five runs scored and five RBIs over his last seven games. ... RF Calvin Beamon is hitting .306 (11-for-36) with five RBIs and four runs scored over his last nine games.

WHO'S NOT: RHP Anthony Varvaro (4-11, 4.69 ERA) lasted just 3 1/3 innings Wednesday, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks in an 8-0 loss to Peoria.

RAVIOLI, PIZZA AND LIDDI: 3B Alex Liddi took a leave from the Timber Rattlers Thursday to play in an international tournament in his native Italy. In 113 games for Wisconsin this season, Liddi is batting .240 with 28 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 41 runs scored and 52 RBIs.

Stephanie Storm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.