Smith Throws Scoreless Outing

Three Pensacola starting pitchers have been promoted to AAA this season and Josh Smith has finished the season strong as he tries to earn a trip to Louisville to begin next season. Smith has finished three professional seasons and been effective at every stop thus far.

Pensacola cruised to a 5-1 win at Mobile on Sunday. Donald Lutz plated the first Wahoo run with a single in the third and later scored on a groundout. That would be all the Fish needed, but Yorman Rodriguez added on by leading off the fifth with a single and later scoring on a sac fly and came back to connect on a two-run homer in the ninth. Lutz led the Wahoos with three hits while Rodriguez, and Ray Chang added two apiece.

On the mound Josh Smith got the win from another solid outing, allowing only four hits/two walks over seven shutout innings while striking out four. Drew Hayes relieved him with a perfect inning before Lee Hyde allowed one run in the ninth.

Smith has put together a very impressive ending in his final seven appearances this season by allowing eleven earned runs over fifty-three innings for a sub-two ERA during that span while bringing his overall ernie down to 3.26 on the season. His K/BB ratio is now 139/50 over 160 frames.

Smith's performance would normally earn a promotion to AAA. In his case he was a victim of competition from an effective rotation as he saw three teammates, Chad Rogers, Ryan Dennick, and Tim Crabbe, make the jump. By staying the entire season he led his team in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and his season finale brought gives him the lowest ERA of all starters save Rogers who was promoted in midseason and Carlos Contreras who made eight appearances since arriving from Bakersfield.

The Pensacola rotation is making a problem when Cincinnati decides who will begin next season in their Louisville rotation. All of their opening day quintet will finish the season with AA ERA's below four. Typically teams want at least one MLB veteran in reserve in their AAA rotation to fill in when needed on the parent team and might consider it risky to have no one available with more than a half season competing above the AA level. Also expected to return is Daniel Corcino who came into this season one of the top-rated pitching prospects in the system before going through a learning curve at the higher level, but he's made his last four appearances out of the bullpen which often happens to prospects when they have control issues.

It's a good problem to have. Smith turned 26 years old and is ready for the next level. Meanwhile the Reds are blessed with organizational depth in the rotation which could make 36 year-old Bronson Arroyo expendable after he completes his contract this season. Meanwhile Smith will try to continue getting batters out wherever he starts out next season, most likely in AAA and if not in AA with a ticket to move up at the first opportunity. The odds aren't good for a 21st rounder without an overpowering fastball that underwent Tommy John surgery while in college. Smith has been effective at every stop since starting his professional career three years ago and will soon get a chance to prove himself at the highest development level and make a case for a MLB debut.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds dropped the rubber game of their series at Colorado by losing 7-4. They tied the score in the third on a two-run home run by Shin-Soo Cho, but RBI singles by Zach Cozart in the eighth and Devin Mesoraco in the ninth were not enough for the comeback. Chris Heisey led his team with four hits while Choo added three. Mesoraco and Jack Hannahan added two hits apiece while Brandon Phillips reached safely with a hit and two walks. Mike Leake took the loss for allowing six runs in less than five innings pitched.

Louisville shut out Indianapolis in a 3-0 home win. Pedro Villarreal got the win from a splendid outing, allowing only two hits in six shutout innings while striking out eight with no walks. Kevin Whelan, Jose Arredondo, and Jose Diaz each threw a scoreless inning of relief with Diaz getting the save. Denis Phipps had two of the five Bats hits while Mike Costanzo plated all of the runs in the game with a bases-loaded double.

Bakersfield scored three runs in the first inning en route to an 8=2 win at Visalia. Jake Johnson got the win for allowing two runs on five hits in six innings pitched while striking out five without a walk. Ben Klimesh and Sean Lucas combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Juan Perez was no stranger on the base-paths with three hits, a walk, two RBI and a run scored. Leadoff hitter Junior Arias also contributed three hits including a triple, drove in one and scored twice. brent peterson added a couple of singles while Juan Duran hit a two-run homer in the first inning and walked twice.

Dayton scored two runs in the seventh inning in a 3-2 win over visiting South Bend. Daniel Piggott plated the first Dragon run with a solo homer in the sixth before Sammy Diaz provided the go-ahead run with a two-run single the next inning. Those two both had two of their team's six hits with Diaz also reaching via a walk. Nick Travieso got no decision from allowing one run on one hit/three walks over five innings. Jesus Adames retired both batters faces, the last out of the seventh and first one of the eighth, which gave him perfect timing for the win. Alejandro Chacin entered in the ninth and retired both batters faced for the save.

Billings lost a 10-7 Pioneer League slugfest at Helena. Avain Rachal reached safely with two hits and a walk. Three other Mustangs contributed two hits to the attack: Adam Matthews, Daniel Paula, and Ronald Bueno. Luke Moran took the loss for allowing seven runs (five earned) in four innings pitched.

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