With the other four members of the rotation doing a pretty good job of racking up quality starts, the focus has been on Vicente Padilla, who, since coming off the disabled list, hasn't looked much like the guy who won 14 games in both 2002 and 2003. Padilla might have turned a corner Sunday, getting his first win since September 29th, tossing six shutout innings, although the performance wasn't nearly as smooth as the scoreboard goose eggs would lead you to believe. Padilla, who entered the season averaging 2.76 walks per nine innings in his career, walked six Reds. He has walked 20 in 26 1/3 innings this season.
On the positive side, Padilla (1-4, 7.52 ERA) was less tentative out of the gate and had zip on his fastball from the beginning.
"I feel like Padilla is getting better," manager Charlie Manuel said, "but he still needs to work on his command. I know he walked six hitters, but I think he pitched around some left-handed hitters."
Bobby Abreu smoked the Reds over the weekend, going 9-for-14 (.643) with three homeruns and eight runs batted in. Abreu has homered in seven of the last eight games and is currently on a nine game hitting streak, batting .581 over the span. It's the hottest streak of Abreu's career.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons 15-22 7.0 GB in International League Northern Division
The Red Barons continue to struggle. After battling for the division lead early in the season, the Barons have fallen into the Northern Division cellar. Jim Rushford has provided offense in the absence of Ryan Howard, but the rest of the offense has been spotty. Pitching has also been an issue.
|Dan Giese has struggled at times this season, but pitched into some bad luck last week when an error kept him from going 2-0 on the week. Instead, he picked up a loss, while allowing just an unearned run.|
Dan Giese (3-3, 6.04) threw four innings without allowing an earned run last week, but still finished the week 1-1 thanks to some weak defense that hurt him last Wednesday. Both Jim Rushford and A.J. Hinch made key errors for Scranton.
Gavin Floyd is still trying to get back to where he was when he started the season. He's 0-4, 9.16 in four starts with Scranton. Floyd is working on some minor issues with his mechanics and believes he's close to returning to form. Reports are that his confidence remains high though and he seems to be handling the slump well.
Reading Phillies 16-21 6.5 GB in Eastern League Southern Division.
Randy Ruiz can not be stopped. Ruiz has hits in 19 of the 22 games that he's played at Reading. On the season, he's hitting .412 with 9 homeruns and 29 RBI. Even though he gave his teammates a 15 game head start, Ruiz has easily taken over the team lead in homeruns and RBI. In fact, his totals have him second in the league in homeruns (four off the pace) and RBI. He doesn't have enough at bats to qualify for the league leadership in average.
Meanwhile, Michael Bourn is struggling. Bourn, who is 0-for-12 in his last three games and went 3-for-21 (.143) last week, was given the weekend off. With Reading's off day on Monday, that will give Bourn three days rest. Bourn's average has dropped to .266, but his on-base percentage is still pretty healthy at .359 for the season.
Allen Davis (4-2, 2.82) had another good week for Reading, going 1-0 and allowing just four earned runs in 13 innings for an ERA of 2.77 for the week. Davis struck out seven hitters in six innings against Trenton last Tuesday.
Clearwater Threshers 9-28 18.0 GB in Florida State League West Division.
While winning three of the last five games isn't cause for a victory parade, it's a definite improvement for the Threshers. They went 2-2 on a trip to Brevard County, thanks in part to a mysterious good luck charm that was sent on the road with the team by a season ticket holder. The charm has apparently worked in the past for struggling teams as well.
|Beau Richardson had a perfect week for the Threshers. He threw 4 1/3 perfect innings and is looking to turn around a somewhat dismal season. His recent stretch of success pulled his ERA under the 5.00 mark for the season.|
Beau Richardson (0-1, 4.96) had a nice week for Clearwater last week, picking up a save and throwing 4 1/3 perfect innings. Richardson is a bit of an enigma. He can look dominating at times, but average at best at other times. If he puts it all together, he could move quickly through the organization.
After a dismal start to his Clearwater career, Brad Sellier is coming on. He holds the longest current hitting streak on the club at six games and is hitting .286 (6-for-21) during the stretch. Sellier is still fighting to get his average anywhere near the Mendoza line and stands at .159 on the season.
Marc Tugwell continues to hit. After going 7-for-18 (.389) last week, he opened this week with a 3-for-5 night against Palm Beach on Monday. Tugwell also drove in two runs to give himself ten RBI on the season. Overall, Tugwell is hitting at .363 for Clearwater.
On the slumping side is Tim Moss. The second baseman is in a 2-for-24 (.083) slump, which comes on the heels of an eight game hitting streak. For the most part, Moss has done well offensively this season and is still hitting .327 (16-for-49) over his last 14 games.
Lakewood BlueClaws 13-25 12.0 GB in South Atlantic League Northern Division.
Mike Dzurilla and Jason Jaramillo continue to put on somewhat of a hitting clinic, batting three and four in the Lakewood lineup. Dzurilla, who currently has an eight game hitting streak, went 13-30 (.433) last week and went 2-for-5 Monday night to push his average for the season to the .400 mark. Jaramillo went 12-for-25 (.480) last week before having a day off on Monday. Jaramillo has a four game hitting streak and is hitting an unbelievable .733 (11-for-15) in those four games.
J.A. Happ (3-1, 2.74) continues to pitch well at Lakewood. Happ started two games last week and went 2-0, 3.27 with 11 innings of work. Happ joined Lakewood after the season already started and has made just four starts, but he figures to be a fixture at Lakewood until possibly later in the season when he could move on to Clearwater if things continue to go well for him.
Lakewood's team batting average of .246 ranks them 11th out of 16 teams in the South Atlantic League in average. They also rank 11th in runs scored with 164. The team ERA of 4.42 puts Lakewood 14th in the league in ERA, but the good news is that their staff has allowed the fourth fewest walks (118) in the league.