Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2010 Week 10

Pat Biserta, Nick Longmire, Jonathan Rodriguez, Victor Sanchez and Travis Lawler are among hot players for the Cardinals' New York-Penn League club, now in first place with the season ending on September 5.

Current Record:  38–27   (Pythagorean 38–27)

Current Standing:  First place in the Pinckney Division, one-half game ahead of Jamestown (Florida), two games ahead of Williamsport (Philadelphia)



Roster Moves:

Monday, August 23rd – Catcher Roberto Espinoza re-called to A-Advanced Palm Beach


With the return of Audry Perez and Geoff Klein, Espinoza headed off on his wanderings, this time to Palm Beach.



Thursday, August 26th – Left-handed pitcher Anthony Ferrara activated from the Disabled List


This move is a pleasant surprise as information had it that Ferrara was done for the year.  He will be a nice addition down the stretch if he can round back into the form he displayed at the season's start. 



Of Interest:

Jose Rada's promotion to Quad Cities on August 5th left the Muckdogs without a shut-down closer.  His replacement, Keith Butler, has not been as steady although it may be unfair to compare the two.  Butler blew his first save opportunity after Rada's promotion the very next night, a two-run save opportunity in a game Batavia went on to lose in extras.  The next save opportunity came on August 14th and Butler came through this time, saving a three-run opportunity.  Butler was again on the mound on August 19th when he got his third save of the season although he did give up a run to make the final score 7-5.  He had his first one-two-three save the next night in a 6-4 win. 


David Kington saved his first professional game on the 21st as both closer Butler and set-up man Chase Reid were very likely not available after being used back-to-back on the 19th and 20th.  All four games of the back-to-back double-headers were save opportunities.  Butler saved the first game of Wednesday's double-header in a 4-3 win but blew the save and took the loss in the second game of Thursday's twin billing 2-1. 


Chase Reid, of whom manager Dann Bilardello said earlier in the season that he had closer stuff, saved the second game on Wednesday in a 4-1 win and the first game on Thursday as Batavia won 6-3.  Friday night's contest turned into a save opportunity when Houston Summers gave up a run on a walk, double and sac fly.  With both Reid and Butler having been used back-to-back on the 25th and 26th, Justin Wright picked up his first professional save.  More on Wright below.


- The first game of Wednesday's double-header saw the professional debut of southpaw Justin Wright, a 47th round selection out of Virginia Tech.  Wright was a late signing and the junior indicated that he had every intention of returning to the Hokies if his signing bonus requirement was not met.  He was a starter at Virginia Tech the past two seasons and struck out 100 in 98 innings while walking 33.  Wright held the opposition to a .240 batting average and spent this summer playing in the Cape Cod league. 


Below are two charts that list the August stats to date for every pitcher that took the mound for Batavia during the month.  The list is alphabetical.

Pitcher G GS IP H SO BB R/ER
Keith Butler 9 0 10.0 10 19 6 5/5
Chris Corrigan 3 1 12.0 11 2 3 4/4
Justin Edwards 4 4 23.2 31 18 4 18/10
Anthony Ferrara 1 0 1.0 1 1 0 0/0
John Gast 5 5 25.0 19 29 3 5/5
David Kington 8 0 8.1 6 8 3 2/1
Travis Lawler 8 1 15.2 10 17 5 2/2
LaCurtis Mayes 4 0 9.1 9 7 1 3/3
Nick McCully 5 5 24.1 24 14 10 17/16
Andrew Moss 3 3 16.1 19 14 4 8/8
Matthew North 7 0 9.2 12 4 6 7/7
Jose Rada 1 0 1.0 1 2 2 1/1
Chase Reid 8 0 10.0 7 11 3 5/5
Zack Russell 5 5 23.1 15 21 15 12/11
Houston Summers 4 0 8.0 13 6 6 6/5
Justin Wright 2 0 2.1 0 3 0 0/0

Keith Butler 4.50 3.40 1.60 0.250 0.333 3.17 48
Chris Corrigan 3.00 3.87 1.17 0.244 0.234 0.67 49
Justin Edwards 3.80 2.99 1.48 0.320 0.353 4.50 105
Anthony Ferrara 0.00 1.20 1.00 0.200 0.250   5
John Gast 1.80 1.36 0.88 0.226 0.322 9.67 89
David Kington 1.08 2.36 1.08 0.194 0.231 2.67 34
Travis Lawler 1.15 3.01 0.96 0.192 0.220 3.40 59
LaCurtis Mayes 2.89 3.41 1.07 0.250 0.276 7.00 37
Nick McCully 5.92 4.47 1.40 0.261 0.250 1.40 105
Andrew Moss 4.41 4.36 1.41 0.288 0.293 3.50 74
Matthew North 6.52 5.89 1.86 0.316 0.275 0.67 45
Jose Rada 9.00 5.20 3.00 0.250 0.250 1.00 6
Chase Reid 4.50 3.50 1.00 0.206 0.222 3.67 39
Zack Russell 4.24 4.14 1.29 0.188 0.184 1.40 99
Houston Summers 5.63 4.33 2.38 0.382 0.371 1.00 42
Justin Wright 0.00 1.91 0.00 0.000 0.000   8


The team leader in each category is bolded, minimum five innings pitched.  The team leader in Hits, Strikeouts and Walks is calculated based on their average-per-nine innings pitched which is not listed on either chart.  Lefty John Gast leads in innings pitched, FIP, WHIP and K/BB ratio.  Only Zack Russell leads in more than one category, hits and batting average against.  Russell has allowed the fewest hits per nine innings with 5.8/9 IP and holds the opposition to a .188 average.  Keith Butler leads in strikeouts with an average of 17.1 strikeouts every nine innings.  Former Muckdog LaCurtis Mayes walked only one batter in nine and one-third innings for a 0.96/9 IP average.  John Gast is the leader among active pitchers with an average of 1.08 walks every nine innings.  The Earned Run Average leader is David Kington's 1.08.  Kington has a very respectable 2.36 FIP. 



Who's Hot:  Outfielder Pat Biserta, Centerfielder Nick Longmire, Third Baseman Jonathan Rodriguez, First Baseman Victor Sanchez // Righty reliever Travis Lawler


This week's Hot offensive quartet features two players that posted a .900 plus OPS and two that posted an OPS above 1.000.  Pat Biserta's .912 OPS featured a high batting average of .357, 5-for-14, mixed with a couple of doubles, a couple of walks and four strikeouts.  Overall, he had a line of .357/.412/.512/.912 in six games.  He had a .500 BABIP.  Nick Longmire hit for a modest .273 average, 6-for-22, but four of his six hits were for extra bases: a double, two triples and a home run.  He walked three times, stole a base and posted a line of .273/.360/.636/.996 in seven games.  Longmire had a .333 BABIP and struck out six times.


Jonathan Rodriguez get a Hot mention for the third time in the last four weeks by going .263/.440/.684/1.124, 5-for-19 in seven games, with a triple, two home runs, five walks and four strikeouts.  He had a .231 BABIP.  Since July 31st Rodriguez has posted a .301/.408/.627/1.035 offensive line, 25-for-83 with three doubles, three triples, six home runs, 14 walks and 21 strikeouts.


Victor Sanchez combined a high average with extra base power for a line of .350/.435/.600/1.035, 7-for-20 in seven games with two doubles, a home run, two walks, a stolen base and four strikeouts.  He had a .400 BABIP.


Reliever Travis Lawler's spot start in the second game of Thursday's double-header was his first professional start.  He held up his end by shutting out Williamsport through four innings on two hits and two walks while striking out six.  When combined with his relief work, Lawler's line for the week was two hits, three walks and ten strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings with no runs allowed.  He had a 0.00 ERA, 1.26 FIP, 0.88 WHIP, .125 BAA and .200 BABIP.



Who's Not:  Second baseman Joey Bergman // Starter Zack Russell


Bergman just had a dismal week at the plate, going .056/.227/.111/.338, 1-for-18 in six games.  His sole hit was a double.  Bergman walked three times, struck out five times and had a .077 BABIP.  This week's numbers resulted in Bergman tumbling out of the league leaders listing in both batting average and on-base percentage.


August has seen Russell alternating better and worse outings.  Well, Wednesday was one of Russell's lesser efforts.  He started the first game of that day's double-header with Williamsport and gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in four innings.  That works out to a 6.75 ERA, 7.95 FIP, 2.25 WHIP and .333 BAA.  He had a .250 BABIP.  



How They Stack Up:

The only Muckdog currently in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage or slugging is Nick Longmire, whose .496 slugging percentage is good for seventh.  That number is driven by his nine home runs which places him in a four-way tie along with teammate Jonathan Rodriguez for fourth place. 


Since John Gast does not have enough innings to qualify for the league pitching leaders listing, Justin Edwards is the only Batavia pitcher listed in the top 10.  Edwards is ninth with a 2.81 Earned Run Average.  Frankly, MiLB's stats chart for pitchers is pretty inadequate.  It lists the entirely superfluous categories of Holds and Games Finished.


The team charts are omitted this week due to time constraints.



The Games: 

Batavia went 5-2 for the week and moved from a tie with Williamsport for second place and one and one-half games back of Jamestown to sole possession of first, a half game up on the Marlins' minor league affiliate.  The Muckdogs' 5-2 record is particularly impressive when you consider that the team went 4-2 in head-to-head competition with chief rival Williamsport.  They may have gained a bit of a benefit from last Monday's road game at Williamsport having to be postponed due to rain.  That game was played at Batavia instead.  But whatever advantage that may have been gained from having a road game evolve into one at home was likely diluted by the back-to-back double-headers.  Those double-headers equated to 28 innings of baseball in two days. 


Batavia won the first game of a crucial three-game road series against Williamsport 5-2.  They faced newly signed and delivered Jesse Biddle on Saturday and Philadelphia's first round selection (27th overall) left the game after four down 1-0.  The 18-year-old southpaw gave up a run, earned, on four hits and two walks.  Andrew Moss went six and one-third innings for the Muckdogs, giving up two runs, earned, on two hits and a walk against five strikeouts.  Both runs scored in the seventh inning on a lead-off walk, hit-by-pitch and a two-run double.  Neither starter figured in the decision.  Travis Lawler notched his first win of the year by shutting down the Cutters for one and two-thirds innings.  David Kington picked up his first save of the season with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts.  Audry Perez went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and two driven in.  (Box)


The Muckdogs fell to the Crosscutters on Sunday 6-2 .  Justin Edwards went seven innings and took the loss, falling to 3-4 for the season.  All five runs allowed by Edwards were unearned, including a three-run second inning and a two-run fourth inning.  He gave up 10 hits and two walks so certainly was not keeping Cutters batters off the basepaths.  Nick Longmire led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Joey Bergman's groundout.  Batavia's other run came in the ninth when Bergman coaxed a one-out walk and eventually came around to score on Jonathan Rodriguez' line drive single to center.  (Box)


The third game of the series at Williamsport was rained out which necessitated a double-header at Batavia.  Unfortunately, Tuesday's double-header had to be postponed due to wet grounds and that forced double-headers on both Wednesday and Thursday at Batavia.  Batavia swept Wednesday's double-headers winning 4-3 and 4-1, both in seven innings.  Matt North, Justin Wright and Keith Butler combined to retire nine of the ten batters they faced with the only blemish being a Cutters batter that reached in the seventh against Butler due to his own throwing error.   North picked up the win in relief of Zack Russell with Butler picking up his fifth save.  Nick Longmire's three-run slam with one out in the fifth was the big blow and tied the game.  Joey Berman drew a two-out walk and came around to score the game-winning run on first baseman Victor Sanchez' double.  (Box)


Designated hitter Pat Biserta's two-out double in the sixth broke a one all tie and was the difference in the nightcap.  Biserta's fly to center cleared the bases, scoring Audry Perez (walk), Mike O'Neill (single) and Jonathan Rodriguez (walk).  John Gast (W, 5-0) gave up just one run, earned, on four hits and two walks against six strikeouts in six innings.  Chase Reid picked up his first save of his professional career with a perfect seventh.  (Box)


The Muckdogs split Thursday's double-header, winning the opener 6-3 but falling in the nightcap 2-1.  The Batavian has a brief write-up but the best part is some dandy pictures:  link.  (First game box) and (Second game box)


Batavia traveled to fourth-place State College (32 – 24, Pinckney, Pittsburgh) for a brief two-game series and ended the week by winning the first game 7-3.  The Daily News, which regularly covers State College, has a game write-up but erroneously refers to Batavia and State College as being in the Stedler Division.  Link  (Box)



The Race to the Play-Offs:

Batavia took advantage of the schedule by winning four of six games against Williamsport and taking the first game against a basically .500 record State College.  Jamestown spent the week playing near cellar dweller Auburn whose is currently eight games below .500.  Jamestown went 3-3 against Auburn before losing to Williamsport on Friday evening. 


The wild card is a factor at the level as well.  Since the league has three divisions and a short season which makes dividing the season into halves impractical, a wild card team to balance out the play-offs.  Looking at the standings the wild card will undoubtedly come out of the Pinckney Division.  Jamestown is ten games over .500 and Williamsport is seven games over.  The next closest team is Hudson Valley, McNamara Division, which is two games over .500. 


Below is an updated chart of the three teams' remaining schedules, along with their home/road splits.


  Current Batavia Williamsport Jamestown
Opponent Record Home Away Home Away Home Away
State College 32 - 24 3 1    
Jamestown 38 - 28 1 1    
Auburn 29 - 37 2 1        
Jamestown 38 - 28     2 2    
Mahoning Valley 28 - 39     2    
State College 32 - 24     2 1    
Williamsport 37 - 30     2 2
Batavia 38 - 27     1 1
Mahoning Valley 28 - 39       3
Remaining Games:   6 3 6 3 3 6
YTD Split:   22-11 16-16 22-9 15-21 22-13 16-15

Batavia plays at State College on Saturday then hosts the same team for three games.  On Wednesday they go to Jamestown for one game then play the Jammers at home on Thursday.  The Muckdogs finish the week playing Auburn at home.


Jamestown hosts Williamsport for two more games before traveling to the Cutters for another two games.  They play a home-and-home with Batavia and finish the week with a road game at Mahoning Valley.


Williamsport's next two games at Jamestown are their final road games of the year until the very last game of the season on September 5th at State College.  The Cutters host Mahoning Valley on Wednesday and Thursday then play State College on Friday.



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