Unfortunately for the Zephyrs, the team received about as much good news as any candidate on the mayoral ballot whose name wasn't Ray Nagin.
The Zephyrs were held to just two hits in their second shutout loss of the year. OF Larry Broadway was hitless in three at-bats to snap his Pacific Coast League leading 13-game hitting streak as top Florida Marlins prospect Yusmeiro Petit was untouchable in his fourth start of the season.
Ranked as the Marlins' fifth-best prospect by Baseball America entering 2006, Petit threw 89 quality pitches and allowed the Z's only two hits of the evening. He struck out five without allowing a walk in seven innings and had a perfect game through the first 4 1/3 innings. Greg Thissen's single in front of a diving James Shanks in center ended Petit's bid for perfection.
Making matters worse for the home team, starting pitcher Kyle Denney's evening was cut short after only two innings, the result of a blister on his pitching hand. Denney walked three and allowed one run on two hits to 11 batters faced. His command was visibly off early on with Denney consistently firing too close to the belt against right-handed hitters.
The right-handed Denney is just the recent in a slew of Zephyrs players to fall victim to the injury bug early this season. Currently four players on the Triple-A club are serving DL stints with three of those players (OF Kenny Kelly, 2B Bernie Castro and RHP Steve Watkins) all nursing hamstring injuries.
The fourth player on the DL, catcher Brandon Harper, recently suffered a broken finger. OF George Lombard, a former Atlanta Braves prospect, made another pinch-hit appearance in the loss but has not started a game since April 12.
Prior to the game, the running joke in the Zephyr Field pressbox was that hamstring injuries were for sale amongst players and would make a fitting promotion for the team's next "giveaway day."
Sunday's match-up will pit LHPs Mike O'Connor for New Orleans against Chris George of Albuquerque in a 1 p.m. CDT start. Saturday's loss was New Orleans' fifth in their eight games. The Isotopes moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Coast League American Southern division at 11-6. New Orleans is now 10-6.