Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2011 Week 4

After Batavia's 3-3 week four, right-handed pitcher Drew Benes was promoted to Quad Cities.

Current Record: 15-13 

Current Standings (as of 7/16/11): 

Pinckney Division
Club  W  L  PCT  GB  ELIM  Home  Away  L 10  Streak
Jamestown 16 12 0.571 - - 11-6 5-6 5-5 L2
Mahoning Valley 16 12 0.571 - - 12-5 4-7 5-5 L2
Auburn 15 13 0.536 1 48 7-5 8-8 5-5 L2
Batavia 15 13 0.536 1 48 8-5 7-8 7-3 W2
Williamsport 14 14 0.500 2 47 10-3 4-11 5-5 W2
State College 8 20 0.286 8 41 6-6 2-14 3-7 W1


Roster Moves:

Drew Benes – The right-hander was promoted to Quad Cities on Thursday.  Benes appeared in six games, two starts, over 20 innings for Batavia and gave up 23 hits and five walks during that span.  He allowed 13 runs, seven earned, and struck out 19 while hitting five batters.  Benes had a 2.80 FIP, 3.15 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .284 BAA, .315 BABIP and a 3.8:1 K/BB ratio. 


Of Interest:

This week saw the return of Hector Hernandez who is working his way back from a strained side muscle.  The lefty took the rotation slot previously held by fellow southpaw Pat Daugherty. Hernandez started two games totaling three innings.  Daugherty is currently on the same pitching schedule as Hernandez.


Mike O'Neill began to play more in the field than serving as designated hitter this week, including three straight games in left before getting the night off Friday.


Infielder Garrett Wittels' second professional week went much better than did his first as he picked up his first hits.  Wittels went 7-for-19 in four games for a .368/.400/.421/.821 line which was fueled by a 4-for-5 game on Wednesday.  He had one double, a walk, two strikeouts and two stolen bases.  Wittels hit in the lead off slot for the first time on Friday where he went 3-for-5.  Those stats will appear in next week's report.


There is finally some word on infielder Danny Stienstra.  He tore a ligament in his thumb while playing second base and has been out of commission since June 22nd.  The cast is scheduled to come off this week.


Batavia played a three-game series this week against the Tri-City Valley Cats.  Their manager should be familiar to Cardinals fans:  Stubby Clapp.


This week's qualifiers for batting Hot and Not are:  infielder Joey Bergman, catcher Juan Castillo, first baseman David Medina, left fielder Mike O'Neill and second/third baseman Jeremy Patton.  Qualifiers had 75% of the maximum number of plate appearances for the week.


Who's Hot: 

Catcher Juan Castillo garnered the majority of the catching duties this week by hitting .455/.520/.591/1.111, 10-for-22 with three doubles and three walks against four strikeouts.  He had a .556 BABIP.


Infielder Joey Bergman receives an honorable mention by posting his own 1.000 plus OPS.  Bergman went .333/.440/.571/1.011, 7-for-21 with three doubles, a home run and three walks with two strikeouts.  He had a .333 BABIP. 


Newly-promoted Drew Benes left on a high note, thereby grabbing Hot honors.  The righty reliever pitched five innings over two appearances and did not allow a run.  Better yet, he struck out six while walking only one.  Benes did hit three batters but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Hit batsmen due to a lack of control is a bad thing.  Batters getting plunked because the pitcher is throwing inside and the batter may be crowding the plate is just fine.  Benes allowed two hits for a 0.60 WHIP, 3.20 FIP, .125 BAA, .143 BABIP and a 6:1 K/BB ratio.


Honorable mention goes to righty starters Seth Maness and Todd McInnis.  Either pitcher could have received the Hot nod this week for their starts.  Maness' stats:  6 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.20 FIP, 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .273 BAA, .316 BABIP.  McInnis' stats:  6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.83 WHIP, .208 BAA, .227 BABIP.


Who's Not:  

Left fielder Mike O'Neill may have spent most of the week on the field but he spent it not hitting as well.  O'Neill hit a dismal .136/.333/.318/.652, 3-for-22, with one double and one home run.  He continued to get on base, with seven walks against just three strikeouts.  O'Neill also stole a base.


Jose Almarante's start on July 10th only lasted one inning.  The right-hander loaded the bases on a single, hit-by-pitch and walk then allowed four runs to score on a sacrifice fly and a home run.  He also threw in a balk for good measure.  It was a start to forget.


How They Stack Up:

Mike O'Neill is now fifth in the league with a .432 on-base percentage.  Corner infielder Romulo Ruiz's .507 slugging percentage is good for eighth while first baseman David Medina is just behind him in ninth place with a .500 slugging percentage.  Ruiz (.895) and Medina (.860) place ninth and twelfth in OPS, respectively.


Seth Maness leads the league with a 0.57 WHIP while Todd McInnis is fourth with a 0.76 WHIP.  Maness (0.32) and McInnis (1.44) are second and sixth in the league in Earned Run Average.  Southpaw closer Danny Miranda picked up his sixth save on Thursday which is good for second in the league behind Staten Island's Brandon Pinder.  Pinder is 19 months older than Miranda as the latter will not turn 21 until late August.


The cumulative team statistics comparison returns next week.


The Games: 

The Muckdogs went 3-3 this week in two three-game series against last-place teams.  The first was a road series against State College and the latter series was at home against Tri-City.


Batavia traveled to State College on Saturday to face the Spikes for the fourth consecutive game.  While the venue may have changed, the results did not as the Muckdogs pounded the Spikes 9-3.  The Centre Daily has a very good article on the game which also covers St. Louis' organization philosophy:  link


The Muckdogs' six-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday as they fell to the Spikes 8-7:  link


Batavia blew a 6-1 lead on the way to losing 7-6 to State College on Monday:  link 


Wednesday saw the Muckdogs take up where they left off as they lost their third in a row, 5-4 while hosting Tri-City, their 2010 play-off opponent.  link


Batavia got back on the winning track on Thursday, defeating the Valley Cats 6-3:  link (article includes a great photo of Hernandez in his wind up)


The Muckdogs took the series with a 4-3 walk-off win on a rather interesting play:  link


What's Next: 

Batavia has an away-home-away three-game set with nearby Auburn (Washington) then travels to Jamestown (Florida) for two games.  They host Jamestown for two games to finish the week.

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