Mets Minor League Notebook - June 8th

Victor Diaz's hot bat could not help Bob Keppel and the Tides Monday; Neal Musser's string of six straight quality starts comes to an end in Binghamton's loss to Norwich; Brett Harper returns to St. Lucie with a bang as the Mets defeated the Yankees; and Lastings Milledge extends two impressive streaks in the Bombers' victory. All this and much more in Tuesday's edition of the Mets Minor League Notebook.

Norfolk Tides: The Tides were defeated 7-2 Monday by the Ottawa Lynx in the home opener of a four-game series. RHP Bob Keppel was hit for four earned runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, picking up his second loss while with the Tides. It was Keppel's fourth AAA start this year, and coincidentally, his fourth straight start allowing at least four earned runs. He has allowed 32 hits in his 24 innings pitched for Norfolk this season as International League batters are hitting .337 off of him so far. RHP Tyler Yates pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the loss, just his third scoreless relief appearance (in six tries) since returning to the bullpen on May 28th.

RF Victor Diaz (3-4, 2 Doubles, RBI) continues to stay red-hot, hitting .398 with 24 RBI in his last 23 games played. 1B Craig Brazell (0-4) went hitless in the loss and is now just 1 for his last 16 after having his season high 11-game hit streak snapped on Friday. CF/LF Jeff Duncan went 1-3 with a double and an RBI Monday. After a slow start upon his demotion to Norfolk, Duncan has picked it up as of late...hitting .355 (11-31) in his last nine games. What's even more impressive is the fact he's drawn as many walks (8) as he's struck out (8) during that stretch.

Binghamton Mets: LHP Neal Musser's string of six straight impressive starts came to an end in Monday's 6-4 loss to the Norwich Navigators (Giants). Musser was lit up for six earned runs on nine hits in five innings to pick up his first loss since losing way back on April 28th. He entered Monday's start allowing two runs or less in his previous six starts, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.70 ERA during that stretch. RHP Tim Lavigne threw two innings of perfect relief in the loss. It was just the second time in his last ten appearances that Lavigne had not allowed an earned run and has a 6.13 ERA during that time. LHP Blake McGinley, who had allowed seven earned runs in his previous 11 2/3 innings, looked like his old self Monday, throwing two innings of perfect relief, sriking out five batters.

3B David Wright (2-4, HR, 3 RBI) ended his drought Monday. Wright had a stretch of eleven straight games without a home run (his longest such drought of the season) before homering to dead center field in the first inning. Wright's two-run double in the fifth inning game him four doubles in his last five games and his 26th multi-hit game of the season! Catcher Justin Huber is starting to show the signs of regaining that old top prospect form, going 2-2 with a home run and two walks Monday. Huber collected back-to-back multi-hit games for just the second time this season and his .428 on-base percentage for Binghamton is starting to reflect his turnaround. 2B Chase Lambin went 0-1 in a pinch hitting role in the loss. Lambin is just 3 for his last 28 (.107) with one RBI in his last nine games.

St. Lucie Mets: 1B Brett Harper was recalled from AA-Binghamton and sparked St. Lucie to an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Yankees Monday. Harper (2-5, Double, HR, 3 RBI) took an 0-6 in Binghamton's 11-inning win Monday, but does have three multi-hit games in his last four games played. CF Jonathan Slack (2-5, 2 Runs) has hit safely in nine of his last ten games, hitting .349 with 11 runs scored during that stretch. While "Slack" has been hot, "Rags" has not. SS Corey Ragsdale (1-3) is just 3 for his last 20 (.150). RF Bobby Malek snapped an 0-16 slide with a 1-3 evening. Malek's numbers are somewhat of an enigma this season. He has seven 3-hit games this year (3 more than Brett Harper), but also has 22 hitless games in his first 58 games played.

RHP Brian Bannister scattered three earned runs on six hits in seven innings Monday to pick up his fifth win of the season. Bannister is 3-1 in his last four starts, allowing just four earned runs in the 20 innings he's pitched in the three victories. He has 27 strikeouts in his last 24 2/3 innings ptiched, walking just four batters. RHP Joey Cole pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 16th scorless appearance of the season.

L. Milledge
Lasting Milledge: Has 15 RBI in his last 8 games.
Capital City Bombers: CF Lastings Milledge extended two streaks in the Bombers' 10-3 win over the Augusta Greenjackets Monday. Milledge (1-5, Double, RBI) extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI double in the fourth inning. He also has driven a run in eight straight games which is just two games away from tying Bladergroen's team high ten-game streak earlier this season. Milledge also has an extra-base hit in three straight games and in four of his last five games played. 2B Blake Whealy, yes the same Blake Whealy that spent 24 straight games below the "Mendoza" line earlier this season, is one of the Bombers' hottest hitters as of late. Whealy (1-3, Double, Run), who had just 10 extra-base hits in his first 32 games played, is hitting .355 with 10 extra-base hits in his last 13 gams played to raise his average to a respectable .240 for the season. 1B Ian Bladergroen (2-3, Double, 2 RBI) has an extra-base hit and at least one RBI in his last four games played. RF Jamar Hill (1-5, Run) has put together a modest five-game hit streak, tying his season high set May 6th-11th.

RHP Vincent Cordova, the Mets' 9th round draft choice out of Loyola Marymount last year, allowed just two earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up his third win of the season. It was his second consecutive decent outing, the first time he's put together two quality starts in a row all year. LHP Brian Walker pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the victory Monday, his fifth straight appearance without allowing an earned run since coming off the DL on May 28th. While Milledge and Whealy have been blistering at the plate, reliever Shane Hawk remains "lights out" on the mound. Hawk pitched a scoreless ninth inning, his 11th straight appearance without allowing an earned run. In his last 14 2/3 innings pitched, Hawk has given up just ten hits and five walks while striking out 20 batters!

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