Oyervidez rests bullpen; Clayton Hamilton superb

Jack Cassel made a spot start in Portland and faced trouble in each frame. Jose Oyervidez did his best to give the bullpen a rest. Clark Girardeau will return from the disabled list. Clayton Hamilton was dominant over seven. Adam Gold has had troubles over his last few outings. Jarol Gonzalez has hit well when he is in the lineup.

Portland lost 3-0

Jack Cassel made his first start of the year, a spot start for Portland, lasting 3.1 innings and giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk. Facing runners in scoring position in each inning, he was helped out in the second inning when a runner was thrown out at home. Cassel has a 6.64 ERA over his last 15 outings and opponents are batting .378 off him during that span. He also committed two errors on successive plays trying to pickoff a runner. His WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) is an ghastly 2.14 with Portland.

Scott Cassidy made his Portland debut on Thursday. He went an inning and two-thirds, allowing one hit and walking one. He also kept an inherited runner from scoring. Cassidy, acquired in a trade for Adam Hyzdu, was pitching for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of Boston. He was 6-3 with a 4.05 ERA for the club, 3.40 as a reliever, but did surrender runs in each of his last three outings prior to being dealt. In 60.1 innings of work, Cassidy whiffed 66. During the month of June, Cassidy had a 1.53 ERA over 17.2 innings of work.

Ben Johnson, coincidentally, extended his hitting streak with Portland to 11 games by going 1-for-3. Despite not logging an RBI on Thursday, he has 15 RBI's over his last six games.

Justin Germano's nine-inning complete-game shutout on Tuesday came 364 days after his second one last year. And in the five-year history of the Beavers franchise, Germano has thrown three of the four nine-inning solo blankings. (Marty McLeary has the other.)

"The biggest thing was my fastball clicking," Germano told Portland Beavers' announcer Rick Burk. "Earlier on in the year I had a problem locating that consistently, and (this time) it was pretty much locked in where I could hit that fastball away, and it definitely was a big pitch for me."

Mobile won 4-3

Jose Oyervidez gave the bullpen a much needed rest when he provided seven innings of work, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks. He also contributed a season-high nine strikeouts to give him 7.875 K's per nine innings of work, 91 in 104 innings. Despite the high K totals, he has also walked 57, tying him for seventh most in all the minors. The right-hander has given up four hits or less in 12 of his 19 starts, while giving up two runs or less in nine of outings.

Corey Smith committed two errors on Thursday, one costing the BayBears a run in the second inning. It was his sixth over the last eight games. While he has struggled in the field, Smith has been woeful at the plate. Since the start of June, Smith is hitting .196 with 30 hits in 153 at bats. On the year he has one hit in nine at bats with the bases juiced and is batting .200 with runners in scoring position. His 101 whiffs pace the club and his 24 errors lead all third basemen in the Southern League.

Lake Elsinore had the night off

Clark Girardeau returns from the disabled list to make the start on Friday night. He has been on the DL since June 25 with tightness in his throwing arm.

Fort Wayne won 2-1 in 11 innings

Clayton Hamilton was masterful over seven innings, scattering three hits and three walks while not surrendering a run. It is his second scoreless outing in three starts and was the 12th time in 20 starts that he has given up two runs or less. Hamilton has limited the opposition to a .211 batting average against, giving up just five extra base hits in 95 at bats in such situations and has given up nine earned runs over the first two innings in his 20 starts.

Matt Varner blew just his third save of the year on Thursday, allowing a solo homer in the tenth inning. He did, however, record the win hen the Wizards scored in the bottom of the frame. Varner has allowed a .139 average against right-handed hitters but lefties are batting .333 off him. Varner has given up four runs in July – more than he has surrendered in the previous two months. He has allowed a .323 average against with runners in scoring position.

Eugene lost 11-1

Ben Krosschell made his sixth start and seventh appearance of the year, going 4.1 innings and allowing four runs, one earned on five hits and a walk. He has gone five straight outings without allowing more than three earned runs and owns a 3.32 ERA over that span. After the opposition slugged .361 off him in June, he has held them to a .244 average in July. Krosschell has had trouble closing the door in innings as the opposition is batting .412 off him with runners in scoring position and two outs. He has given up four earned runs over the first three innings in his six starts but has surrendered seven fifth run innings in the five games he has pitched into the fifth, not making it out of the inning in two of those.

Adam Gold came on with the bases loaded in the sixth and proceeded to allow all the runners to score plus three of his own. He has given up two runs or more in five of his ten relief appearances and he has given up ten earned runs on the road, as he was on Thursday, in 3.2 innings of work. He has yet to go more than one outing without surrendering a run. After opening the year by not allowing his first three inherited runners to score, the last seven have crossed the plate against Gold.

Brandon Higelin had allowed one of nine inherited runners to score before Thursday when the second crossed the dish. In two-thirds of an inning, four runs were charged to Higelin on three hits and two walks. That total output matched the number of runs he had allowed on the year in 12.2 innings. His ERA ballooned from 2.13 to 4.73 on the year. Over his last nine outings the opposition is hitting .364.

AZL won 7-4 in ten innings

Jarol Gonzalez went 1-for-2 with a double to extend his hitting streak to five games. Over the streak he is 7-for-18 with three runs scored. Gonzalez has reached base in nine of his last ten games and is hitting .394 for the year. He has batted anywhere from third through eighth in the lineup just 12 games into the season. The shortstop is hitting .455 with the bases empty but just .273 with runners on base.

Cesar Rojas gave up four runs on five hits and three walks over five innings. Rojas has a 4.76 ERA in four starts after two relief appearances netted an ERA of 0.00. He has a .188 average against but that number jumps to .300 with runners in scoring position. After giving up one earned run over his first 14 innings of work, Rojas has surrendered eight over the last nine innings.

Ernesto Frieri continues to walk opponents at a record clip but his 1.59 ERA is hard to ignore. The right-hander went two innings on Thursday, allowing one hit and walking two en route to recording the win, his second in as many games. Frieri has issued a free pass to 18 batters in 22.2 innings of work while allowing just 13 hits. He has given up just one hit in 29 at bats with runners in scoring position and has yet to give up a hit with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send Denis an email at denis@sandiegosports.net. Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during MadFriars.com weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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