Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The Travs went 3-5, including a week-ending doubleheader split with Springfield. Arkansas heads into the final nine games of the season a half-game behind first-half champion Springfield.
WHO'S HOT?: RHP Nick Green was named TL Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 against San Antonio and not allowing a run in 14 2/3 innings. He then went out on Friday and suffered his first loss since June 21st, yielding three runs in 6 1/3 frames to Wichita. 1B Michael Collins began the year in miserable fashion, hitting .160 in April and May, but he's hitting .318 in the second half. Games like the one he had Wednesday night against Wichita contributed to the turnaround. He went 4-for-4 and scored three runs in a Wranglers' victory at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Center fielder Brad Coon also had three hits and three RBIs on Wednesday en route to hitting .346 (9-for-26) during the week.
WHO'S NOT?: Reliever Bill Edwards has allowed runs in five of his last six outings (six runs in 7 2/3 innings) as his ERA has jumped from 3.90 to 4.29. He's 0-2 over that stretch and the opposition has hit .333 (9-for-27) against him.
ON A MISSION[S]: Nick Adenhart is considered by many to be one of the Angels' brightest pitching prospects. But his recent four-game losing streak, including dropping back-to-back starts against Corpus Christi (he allowed 12 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings), had some wondering what was going on with the young right-hander. It would appear he just needed some time against one of his favorite Texas League opponents. Adenhart started against San Antonio for the third time this season on Monday and improved to 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked just one in picking up his first victory since July 24. Adenhart then went 5 1/3 innings Saturday night to earn the victory in the opener of a doubleheader against Springfield. It was his third victory against the Cards this season and his 10th of the year.
NEWS & NOTES: Brok Butcher missed his scheduled start on Sunday because of tendinitis in his shoulder. Chris Hunter got the start instead and filled in admirably for a while, retiring eight of the first nine batters he faced. Seven consecutive San Antonio batters then reached base before Chad Huffman capped the inning with a grand slam. C Cody Collet joined the Travs as their third catcher after a two-game stint with Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League. Arkansas tied a season high with four homers in the opener of a twinbill against Wichita on Thursday, posting a 12-4 victory. The Travs had hit a combined four homers in the previous 20 games.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "He hasn't had good command the times he's faced us, but tonight was the best we've seen him," San Antonio manager Randy Ready told The Express-News after Adenhart's performance. "But that's why he's a prospect -- he located his fastball and his secondary stuff was good."
Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The first-half North Division winners had a 4-3 week, the highlight of which was taking two of three from Tulsa.
WHO'S HOT?: RHP P.J. Walters is 1-0 in his last two starts and has allowed only one run in his last 14 innings. He struck out 10 at Tulsa on Tuesday and through he didn't get a decision, he became just the third Springfield pitcher (and first in over a year) to fan 10 in a game, joining Blake Hawksworth and Mike Parisi.
WHO'S NOT?: LHP Adam Daniels didn't get a decision against Corpus Christi on Sunday, an improvement over the three consecutive losses he suffered going into the game. That, however, didn't mean he didn't struggle yet again. Daniels lasted only 2 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and five walks as his Texas League ERA ballooned to 6.30 in 12 starts (60 IP). Daniels did go four innings Saturday against Arkansas, though, without allowing an earned run. Reliever Mike Sillman had a pretty good run after being sent to Springfield from Triple-A Memphis, going six innings without allowing an earned run. That streak ended with a resounding thud on Monday when he coughed up a 4-1 lead at Corpus Christi, allowing five earned runs on three hits and two walks to take the loss and see his ERA with the Cards jump to 6.75. Still, he came on as the closer on Wednesday and picked up his first save in a 4-3 victory over Tulsa.
OUCH: Slugger Juan Richardson was placed on the disabled list Thursday and will miss the rest of the season after it was determined he has a stress fracture in his left leg. Richardson is Springfield's all-time home run leader (35). He has 18 this season and his 78 RBIs placed him second in the league. It was originally believed that he had shin splints but further testing revealed the fracture. "He tried to play through it and tried to play through it," team trainer Brad LaRosa told The Springfield News Leader. "But it just got worse on him."
NEWS & NOTES: Colby Rasmus' 22nd homer of the season, which came Sunday against Corpus Christi, set a franchise record. He had been tied with Aaron Herr (2005). For his efforts, he was named the Texas League Player of the Week. He finished the week with 25 homers. Jose Martinez also tied a franchise record with five hits (Juan Lucena against Tulsa on May 17 this year) as the Cards set a single-season high with 20 hits and tied the team record by scoring 17 runs. Cards manager Pop Warner announced in The News Leader that Rasmus will likely bat leadoff for the remainder of the season after Sean Danielson went down with a broken thumb. Todd Wellemeyer made a rehab appearance on Wednesday, tossing 30 pitches against Tulsa before being activated by St. Louis on Friday.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Dumb pitch," Warner told The News Leader after Jason Motte tried to sneak a slider past Rick Guarno Tuesday night in the series opener at Tulsa. Guarno crushed it for a game-winning homer. "You get in that situation there, you can't get beat on your secondary pitch. But that's the way things have been going. We've talked about it and talked about it. It doesn't sink in, I guess."
Tulsa Drillers (Colorado Rockies)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The Drillers went 2-4 during the week, the lowlight of which was the two consecutive losses to Springfield. Tulsa starts the final stretch of the season two games behind the first-place Cards.
WHO'S HOT?: 1B Aaron Rifkin had a huge series to begin the week, going 6-for-13 against Midland with a homer and five RBIs. OF Matt Miller continues to rebound from the swoon that saw him hit .221 in July. He's hitting .299 in August with three homers and 19 RBIs, including three runs batted in during Saturday's victory over Wichita.
WHO'S NOT?: RHP Jonathan Asahina lost for the third time in four August starts on Wednesday at Springfield. He has a 5.94 ERA in 16 2/3 innings over that stretch, allowing 21 hits and seven walks. The opposition is hitting .300 against him this month.
NEWS & NOTES: Chris Fey had his nine-game hitting streak snapped Sunday against Midland after going 0-for-4. Through 58 home dates, the Drillers were nearly 17,000 fans behind last year's attendance pace. Tulsa finally won a game when trailing after eight innings for the first time on Monday, defeating Midland, 6-5. The Drillers had been 0-44 when trailing going into the ninth inning. "The game's not over until the final out is made," Tulsa manager Stu Cole told The Tulsa World. "They battled back real well tonight." Christian Colonel hit a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth, and Aaron Rifkin's RBI single in the 11th was the game-winner.
NEW DIGS?: Team president Chuck Lamson signed a non-binding letter of intent with the River District Development Group to create a 7,000 seat stadium in the nearby town of Jenks on the Arkansas River, according to The Tulsa World. The development, according to the report, would feature restaurants, cafes and retail outlets, and could ultimately be a $1 billion project. Lamson admits that the deal has not yet been consummated and that more details will come out in the next few months. He added that if the team moved, it would retain the Tulsa name. "The Dallas Cowboys are still the Dallas Cowboys, and they're [building a stadium] in Arlington, Texas," he told the paper.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It just seems like right now when we are getting guys in scoring position, we are not coming through with the big hit like we were before," manager Stu Cole told The Tulsa World after Sunday's 5-2 loss to Midland.
Wichita Wranglers (Kansas City Royals)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The Wranglers went 5-2, determined to extend their final season in Wichita for a few more days. They sit four games behind first-place Springfield and remain an outside shot to make the playoffs.
WHO'S HOT?: RHP Justin Barnes has had a nice start to his stay in Wichita, going 1-0 and not allowing a run in 7 1/3 innings since being promoted from Wilmington of the Carolina League. He's fanned eight and has allowed only a pair of hits. RHP Gabe DeHoyos improved to 5-0 with two scoreless innings against Arkansas on Wednesday. The victory capped a five-appearance stretch in which he earned three victories and two saves. 3B Jeff Nettles is hitting .343 (37-for-108) in his last 28 games with five homers and 22 RBIs.
WHO'S NOT?: Since tossing a complete-game shutout on July 29, Danny Christenson has gone 0-2 in four starts to fall to 3-13. He did pitch seven shutout innings against Midland on August 10 but gave up nine runs on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings to Arkansas on Wednesday, sending his ERA to a season-high 6.12.
NEWS & NOTES: Kansas City starter Jorge De La Rosa made a rehab start for the Wranglers on Wednesday, who kicked off their final home stand. He pitched two innings and allowed an unearned run on four hits. Kila Kaaihue hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th inning on Wednesday to lift the Wranglers past the Travelers. "Pretty much I knew it was gone," Kaaihue told The Wichita Eagle. "It was a fastball down, middle-away. I was looking for a fastball away and he gave it to me." The club named 1B Mike Stodolka and Dusty Hughes as their player and pitcher of the year, respectively.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "From Spring Training to now, [Adam Greenberg has] made such big strides," Wranglers manager Tony Tijerina told The Wichita Eagle. "It's a credit to him and his hard work and finally deciding to relax and not put so much pressure on myself. He's gained confidence in every area of his game -- his running game, his offensive game, his bunting game, even his defense. There's no area he hasn't gotten better in through the course of the second half. He's a spark plug, a complete player, a big playmaker."
Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The Hooks went 4-3 and start the final full week of the season three games behind first-place San Antonio.
WHO'S HOT?: A day after collecting four hits, OF Ray Sadler only had just one against Springfield on Monday, but he made it count. He blasted a seventh-inning grand slam at Whataburger Field as the Hooks rallied for an 8-4 victory. "I kind of cut the swing down after that [miss] because I looked down at third and Clarkie [manager Dave Clark] told me to keep my head in because usually when I swing too hard, my head comes out. I was just trying to keep my head in there and he threw the wrong pitch. He was trying to throw a sinker in, but it didn't sink too much and caught the good part of the bat," Sadler told The Caller Times. Josh Muecke continued his recent success on Thursday by earning a victory with eight shutout innings against Midland. He is 5-0 in eight appearances (six starts) since July 21, posting a 2.47 ERA over that stretch.
WHO'S NOT?: Brian Bogusevic's woes continued on Tuesday against Midland. The former first-rounder had gone winless in his first three starts for the Hooks and looked shaky while doing it. Against the RockHounds he had his moments but struggled overall, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings as his Texas League ERA bloated to 10.05. He's averaged less than four innings per start for Corpus Christi.
NEWS & NOTES: The 17 runs allowed to Springfield on Sunday were a season high. Brad James made the start for the Hooks, his first since injuring his right hand on Aug. 11 against Springfield. He lasted only three innings, giving up seven runs on 10 hits. He finally found a groove Friday night against Midland, tossing seven shutout innings in a 2-0 victory. RHP Miguel Asencio struggled for much of the season at Round Rock, hence his demotion to Corpus Christi. He has pitched well enough through seven appearances with the Hooks, though, having only one bad outing before Wednesday's game against Midland. Scattering 11 hits through 6 1/3 innings, he earned his first victory for Corpus. Asencio allowed three runs but didn't get into serious trouble until loading the bases in the seventh.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "You've got to sit there and take it like a man," Corpus manager Dave Clark told The Caller Times after Sunday's drubbing by Springfield. The 17-10 loss was the worst home defeat in the franchise's three-year history.
Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The RoughRiders went 2-5, completing a sweep by Wichita before dropping three of four to San Antonio. Frisco, which won the division in the first half, dropped out of first place in the process.
WHO'S HOT?: Taylor Teagarden has a five-game hitting streak as the week begins, during which he's hit .352 (6-for-17) with two homers and three RBIs. Doug Mathis closed out the week with a complete-game, four-hit shutout against Midland. He struck out a season-high 10 and didn't walk a batter. Scott Shoemaker is 4-0 in his last seven appearances, two of which have been starts. He topped San Antonio on Thursday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh. He has a 2.89 ERA during those seven appearances.
WHO'S NOT?: Michael Schlact isn't exactly "not hot." He just cooled off a bit after a 3-0 start, lasting only two innings in his outing last Wednesday against San Antonio. After allowing three earned runs in 17 2/3 innings over three starts, the Missions touched him up for eight runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits and three walks over two innings. Chris Davis also cooled off, going 5-for-27 as his average dropped from .345 to .293.
NEWS & NOTES: Kendy Batista made his debut for Frisco against Wichita on Sunday in unspectacular fashion, allowing five runs -- four earned -- on five hits and three walks over five innings. The sweep at the hands of the Wranglers marked just the second time Frisco has been swept this season.
Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The 'Hounds went 2-5, closing out the week with a four-game losing streak that included three losses to Corpus, leaving Midland a half-game behind San Antonio for the Wild Card.
WHO'S HOT?: Trent Peterson put together his second consecutive solid start on Sunday at Tulsa, earning the victory after allowing one earned run and scattering five hits over six innings. He allowed three earned runs in 11 innings over the two starts. Though he took a loss Friday against Corpus Christi, he pitched well, allowing only two runs on six hits over seven innings. SS Cliff Pennington saw his six-game hitting streak snapped on Friday. He hit .417 (10-for-24) over that stretch.
WHO'S NOT?: RHP Kevin Deaton has made three starts since returning to the RockHounds and hasn't fared well in any of them. He's 0-3 with the latest loss coming Thursday against Corpus Christi. He has a 6.17 ERA while the opposition is hitting .297 against him. He had been 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA in four games (three starts) at Class A Advanced Stockton.
NEWS & NOTES: Bobby Cramer continued to put together a special season Tuesday night, this time making short work of Corpus Christi. The left-hander pushed his record to 5-0 with the RockHounds after scattering seven hits and striking out a season-high seven over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA did jump from 0.79 to 1.12. He is 4-0 in five starts for Midland and has appeared in 10 Texas League games overall. Vince Faison returned to the club on Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 6. He was home with his father, who had been ill and eventually passed away. His return was an emotional one as he picked up three hits and drove in three runs in the 8-4 victory over Corpus. "That's great beyond baseball," outfielder Myron Leslie told The Midland-Reporter Telegram. "For him to come back and kind of just get back to a little bit of normalcy, that's what we want to provide for him. Just give him somewhere he can come in and feel comfortable, be around guys and be in the situation that provides some stability." OF Richie Robnett was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. He was hitting .269 and leading the team in homers (18), RBIs (75), doubles (39) and runs (74).
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It's nice to come in after a guy really establishes the strike zone," reliever Shawn Kohn said of Cramer in The Midland-Reporter Telegram. "[Opposing hitters] are frustrated up there. It's easier to come in after that when things are going good."
San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: The Missions went 5-2 and moved into first place in the South, two games ahead of first-half winner Frisco. San Antonio also held the Wild Card lead as the week began.
WHO'S HOT?: Josh Geer picked up his league-leading 14th victory with San Antonio and finally beat Arkansas for the first time in four starts on Sunday. Chad Huffman powered the Missions to the win, connecting for a grand slam. It was his first home run in nine games, snapping a drought of 32 at-bats without one. Geer then topped Frisco Friday night to earn his 15th Texas League win and 16th overall, tying him for the Minor League lead. Cesar Ramos went 1-1 during the week but pitched well enough to win both games. He threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Corpus Christi on Saturday after allowing three runs in seven innings to Arkansas on Monday. He has a 1.47 ERA in his last three starts. Reliever Neil Jamison has allowed one earned run in his last 12 outings, a 13 2/3-inning stretch. He's lowered his ERA from 4.97 to 3.90.
WHO'S NOT?: 2B Matt Antonelli is hitting .231 (9-for-39) over the last 10 games, dropping his overall average from .339 to .311.
NEWS & NOTES: IF Brett Dowdy hit his first homer in 43 days and picked up his first multiple-RBI game in 42 days in Tuesday's victory at Frisco, helping the Missions take the division lead. Arturo Lopez returned from the Diablos Rojos del Mexico, to whom he had been loaned, on Monday. He was 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA in nine games for the Diablos Rojos. A charity auction at Wolff Stadium raised more than $2,000 for the Mike Coolbaugh Fund. The Missions lost their first series (6-1-1) at home since the All-Star break when they dropped a 3-2 decision to Arkansas on Monday. San Antonio collected a season-high 18 hits in Wednesday's 14-3 victory over Frisco. Peter Ciofrone was recalled from Triple-A Portland after San Antonio's Brett Bonvechio was likely lost for the remainder of the season with a possible herniated disc in his back.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Everybody's been struggling with this dog day of August, but it's just good to go out and have a kind of game that will hopefully carry on so we can get in the playoffs," Chad Huffman told The News Express after hitting a grand slam in a 7-1 victory against Arkansas.