Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Barons (26-35) were swept at home by Montgomery, but won the series opener at Mississippi, 2-0, in 10 innings.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-7) returned after skipping a start to strike out eight over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision, allowing three hits. ... C Cole Armstrong, hitting .302, is in the midst of an 11-for-30 stretch. ... The Barons' bullpen blew leads in five games on a 10-game homestand.
PLAYER TO WATCH: After a torrid start, OF David Cook went 1-for-22. The slump came after he hit seven homers in his first nine games following his promotion from the Carolina League. Cook, 26, has had two RBIs without a homer since, despite maintaining a .300 average, and had a tie-breaking triple in the 10th inning at Mississippi. He hit .279 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs for Winston-Salem.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP Jack Egbert (12-8) struck out 11 in six innings, although he got a no-decision when the Birmingham bullpen couldn't hold a 2-1 lead. He has struck out 158 in 152 2/3 innings, ranking second in the SL behind teammate Gonzalez (177). Egbert, 24, is 12-8 with a 2.89 ERA.
Carolina Mudcats (Florida Marlins)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Mudcats (30-31) ended Huntsville's six-game winning streak, going 4-1 on the road against the Stars before dropping the series opener at Montgomery.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: RHP Chris Seddon (6-9) combined with two relievers on a two-hitter, giving up both hits. ... LHP Blake McGinley (6-8) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on Wednesdsay.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Chris Volstad, a first-round draft choice by the Marlins in 2005, is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in five starts since being promoted from the Florida State League. The 6-foot-7 pitcher allowed three hits, including a homer, and walked one over seven innings against Huntsville, striking out five. "He's like 7-foot-10 or eight feet tall on the mound," Stars catcher Lou Palmisano told the Huntsville Times . "If he's hitting his spots, he's hard to hit." Volstad, 20, was 8-9 with a 4.50 ERA for Jupiter.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP Gaby Hernandez (9-9) won for the fifth time in six decisions, pitching eight innings in a 3-1 victory over Huntsville. He allowed two hits and a walk while striking out eight. Hernandez, 21, lowered his ERA to 3.54.
Chattanooga Lookouts (Cincinnati Reds)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Lookouts (31-30) ended a six-game losing streak, but that was their only victory in a five-game home series with West Tenn. They had lost eight of 10 despite winning the opener of a series at Tennessee.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: 1B Adam Rosales had 10 homers in 58 games since joining the Lookouts in mid-June. ... RHP Carlos Fisher (4-9) lost for the fourth time in his past five starts. ... RHP Johnny Cueto (4-3) lost his second straight start after returning from Triple-A.
SUBTRACTIONS: LHP Matt Maloney's stay in Chattanooga was a short but impressive one. Acquired from Philadelphia at the non-waiver trade deadline, he was 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 39 strikeouts to three walks in 28 innings before being promoted to Triple-A Louisville. The Lookouts also lost IF Luis Bolivar, who was hitting .297 and ranked third in the SL with nine triples.
ADDITIONS: Both prospects acquired by Cincinnati from the New York Mets in the Jeff Conine trade joined the Lookouts. SS Juan Castro, 20, and OF Sean Henry, 22, were playing at St. Lucie in the Florida State League. Castro was hitting .318 and Henry .293. RHP Steve Kelly also joined the Lookouts from Triple-A Louisville. He was picked for the SL All-Star Game in 2004 and 2006.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: RHP Sam Lecure (7-4) allowed just a leadoff hit and struck out a career-high 11 over seven innings as the Lookouts blanked West Tenn, 8-0, to end their losing streak. "His command was as good as I've ever seen it," manager Jayhawk Owens told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "That's as good as I've ever been as a pro," Lecure, who walked one, said. He retired the final 17 batters he faced. Lecure, 23, had been 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA in his previous four starts.
Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Stars (34-26) went 1-4 at home against Carolina after having their six-game winning streak snapped. They still lead the North Division by 2 1/2 games over Tennessee.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Brendan Katin, who had 23 homers and 88 RBIs, was hitting .328 in August. ... LHP Steve Hammond (7-8) lasted just three innings, giving up five runs. ... LHP Lindsay Gulin (11-5) lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak.
PLAYER TO WATCH: 3B Adam Heether cooled a little after hitting .359 in July, but was still at .313 for August. He had a three-hit game against Carolina. Heether, 25, was hitting .299 with 26 doubles, five triples, nine homers and 58 RBIs.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: IF Guilder Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the Stars' 9-6 victory over Carolina. He had just eight RBIs in his first 51 games. Rodriguez, 24, is batting .289.
Jacksonville Suns (Los Angeles Dodgers)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Suns (36-25) were 3-2 against Mississippi for their first series victory in five tries, but lost the series opener at Mobile on three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to fall two games behind Montgomery in the South Division.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Anthony Raglani was 13-for-30 during a nine-game hitting streak. ... RHP James McDonald (6-2) had his winning streak end at four with a 3-1 loss. ... LHP Greg Miller (1-2) didn't allow a hit in three innings, but walked seven and gave up two runs. ... RHP Ramon Troncoso (7-3) blew his first save in eight opportunities.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Justin Orenduff (8-4) matched his career best with 12 strikeouts, allowing three hits and a walk over seven innings in a 5-1 victory over Mississippi. It was his fifth win in the past seven decisions and he lowered his ERA to 3.86. Orenduff, 24, struck out seven of the final 10 batters he faced.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-1) got his first Double-A victory, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter in a 3-0 blanking of Mississippi. The 2006 first-round draft choice gave up two hits and two walks while striking out eight over six innings. Kershaw, 19, followed the victory by allowing one run on two hits in seven innings at Mobile, striking out 10. But he got a no-decision when the bullpen imploded.
Mississippi Braves (Atlanta Braves)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Braves (21-40) went 2-3 at Jacksonville before losing the opener of a home series with Birmingham, 2-0, in 10 innings.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: RHP Jose Ascanio was recalled to Atlanta after going 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA and 10 saves. ... RHP Phil Stockman, promoted to Triple-A, was 1-0 with three saves and a 0.59 ERA in 12 appearances. ... RHP Brad Nelson pitched 6 1/3 hitless innings in relief against Birmingham. ... OF T.J. Bohn and IF Kala Kaaihue, the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, were batting .200 and .119, respectively. Bohn had a 0-for-22 stretch.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP James Parr (4-5) won for the first time since July 12, working seven innings in a 5-2 victory at Jacksonville. He allowed one run on six hits while walking two and striking out six as his ERA dropped to 4.33. Parr, 21, lost his past three decisions and was 3-4 with a 3.18 ERA for Myrtle Beach before moving up to Mississippi.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP Ryan Baerlocher (2-1) went 8 2/3 innings in a 3-1 victory over Jacksonville, giving up four hits. He retired the first 12 batters and took a two-hitter into the ninth inning. Baerlocher, 30, struck out five and walked one. His ERA is 3.90.
Mobile BayBears (Arizona Diamondbacks)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The BayBears (30-31) won the final four games of their series with Tennessee and stretched the winning streak to five by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Jacksonville, 4-3.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: 1B Javier Brito increased his league-leading batting average to .335. ... 3B Agustin Murillo hit .320 in his first 14 games after joining Mobile from the Mexican League. ... RHP Matt Green (11-6) was winless in four August starts.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Brooks Brown (4-3) has allowed just one earned run in his past 20 innings, lowering his ERA from 5.01 to 3.52. He pitched seven innings in a 1-0 victory over Tennessee, allowing four hits and a walk while fanning five. "Brown pitched really well," Mobile manager Matt Williams told the Mobile Press-Register. "His offspeed pitches were working really good and he kept them all off-balance, so we let him go a little longer." Brown, a second-round draft choice in 2006 from the University of Georgia, started the season in the California League.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP Esmerling Vasquez (10-4) won his eighth consecutive decision, beating Tennessee, 6-1. He worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits while striking out four and walking one. Vasquez, 23, hasn't lost since May 13 and has a 2.45 ERA in his past 11 starts.
MOVING UP: OF Carlos Gonzalez was promoted to Triple-A Tucson. He hit .286 with 33 doubles, 16 homers and 75 RBIs. Gonzalez, 21, hit .352 in his last 37 games and has played in the All-Star Futures Game the past two years.
Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Biscuits (38-23) took a two-game lead in the South Division over Jacksonville thanks to a seven-game winning streak that included a sweep at Birmingham.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: C John Jaso raised his average to .319 by going 11-for-29 during a seven-game hitting streak. ... RHP Chris Mason leads the SL with a 14-4 record and 2.56 ERA. ... RHP Wade Davis improved to 6-3 while lowering his ERA to 3.03. ... OF Erold Andrus was 2-for-25.
PLAYER TO WATCH: LHP Mike Prochaska threw a complete game in his first start after returning from Triple-A Durham, allowing four hits in a 6-1 victory. He didn't walk a batter and struck out five. Prochaska, 23, was 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts for Durham and is 6-7 for the Biscuits. "Truth is, he pitched really good in Triple-A. He was just a victim of a numbers crunch up there," Montgomery manager Billy Gardner told the Birmingham News.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: 3B/1B Gabriel Martinez went 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs in a 7-3 victory at Birmingham. The home runs gave him 15 for the season. Martinez, 24, was hitting .267 and had 75 RBIs.
Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Smokies (32-29) lost the final four games of a home series with Mobile before dropping the series opener against visiting Chattanooga.
They trailed Huntsville by 2 1/2 games in the North Division.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Sam Fuld (.290) returned from Triple-A and hit in his first four games. ... 3B/C Casey McGehee was hitting .341 in August. ... RHP Mitch Atkins (1-1) has a 6.43 ERA since being promoted from the Florida State League.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Jeff Samardzija lost for the first time after three victories with Tennessee, but was still impressive. He worked six innings and allowed just a solo homer in a 1-0 loss to Mobile, lowering his ERA to 2.70. The former Notre Dame football star allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four. "That kid is good," Mobile manager Matt Williams told the Mobile Press-Register. "I'd say he chose the right sport."
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: 3B/1B Kyle Reynolds was 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs to lead the Smokies to a 9-3 victory over Mobile. He had a pair of RBI singles and a solo home run. The homer was his seventh since being promoted from the FSL and he is hitting .287.
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (Seattle Mariners)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Diamond Jaxx (26-34) went 4-1 at Chattanooga, although their streak of consecutive games with a home run ended at 12.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: 1B Marshall Hubbard was 20-for-48 with seven doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs during a hitting streak that ended at 11 games. ... RHP Joe Woerman (7-6) allowed just one run in back-to-back victories. ... OF Michael Wilson had a three-hit game, one hit being his ninth homer, but then went 1-for-12.
PLAYER TO WATCH: OF Brent Johnson went 10-for-22 at Chattanooga, getting back-to-back three-hit games. He had a homer and four RBIs during the series. Johnson, 25, was 21-for-52 with three homers and 10 RBIs during a recent spree. He was batting .299.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP Andrew Baldwin (5-12) tossed a complete game in a 5-2 victory at Chattanooga. He allowed five hits and struck out five. Baldwin, 24, won his second straight start after a three-game losing streak and has a 4.30 ERA.