Bowling Green Notebook: Hot Rods Clinch

Austin Nichols checks in with his weekly look at what's happening on the field in Bowling Green, KY with the Low-A Hot Rods. Inside, the team clinches the Midwest League Eastern Division First-Half Wild Card spot, starter Parker Markel is starting to find his groove after coming back from injury, outfielders Drew Vettleson and Todd Glaesmann are hot at the dish, plus the latest roster moves.

Hot Rods Clinch Postseason Berth

The Bowling Green Hot Rods (37-32) defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps 4-0 on Saturday to clinch the Midwest League Eastern Division First-Half Wild Card spot. This is the second year in the row the Hot Rods will be competing in the postseason after failing to make the playoffs in the team's first three years.

The squad clinched in front of season-high 5,764 fans and rode the left arm of starter Ryan Carpenter, who threw seven shut-out innings and had a career-high 9 strikeouts. Going into play on Sunday, Bowling Green pitchers had hurled 20 consecutive scoreless innings. The Quarterfinal round of the 2012 Midwest League Playoffs begins on September 5, 2012.

Markel Heating Up

Parker Markel recently spent a month on the disabled list and upon returning on May 19th, struggled in his first four outings back by going 0-2 and allowing 18 hits and 11 earned runs in 11 innings pitched.

In his last two starts however, he seems to have turned a corner. On June 10th, against Dayton, he gave up two runs on five hits in four frames and in his last outing, on Friday against the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Markel looked the best he has since returning to the mound.

The 6'4" right-hander threw six shutout innings against the Tincaps, allowing just three hits while striking out five. The six inning outing was Markel's longest start since returning from the DL and he looked to be zoned in.

Hot Rods manager Brady Williams said he tips his cap to the young California native for his start on Friday and said it was not only good for Markel but came at a great time in the season for the team as well.

"He's been working hard," Williams said. "He did an outstanding job."

Vettleson Almost A Hero

In the last ten games Drew Vettleson has been on fire. He is hitting at a .391 clip in 43 at bats and he's also added a home run, 6 RBI and 6 runs during the stretch.

Vettleson was involved in an exciting series of events in the game last Wednesday against West Michigan. The outfielder had already been thrown out at the plate twice in the game and he had his opportunity for redemption in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Hot Rods a win.

With the bases loaded, the Hot Rods down two, and two outs, Vettleson came to the plate with a walk-off opportunity. He proceeded to hit a home run ball that landed just foul. He then battled back later in the at-bat hitting a deep fly ball to right field that looked to be a walk-off grand-slam, until West Michigan 6'7" right-fielder Steven Moya robbed the ball and prevented Vettleson and the Hot Rods from walking-off.

Williams is impressed with the way Vettleson has been swinging the bat as of late.

"He's getting his hits," Williams said. "He's swinging the bat well."

Williams credits Vettleson's success to shortening up at the plate and being much more selective.

"I think he's getting better pitches to hit," Williams continued. "He's not swinging as hard."

Glaesmann Snaps Streak

Hot Rods outfielder Todd Glaesmann held a 14 game hitting streak going into play on Father's Day, before going 0-for-4 with three punch-outs on Sunday. In the last 10 games of the 14-game hit streak, Glaesmann hit .341 with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI.

On Friday against Fort Wayne, Glaesmann hit what looked to be a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth, but it turned out to be a triple off the wall that scored Drew Vettleson from first and the Hot Rods walked-off nonetheless.

Williams has been very pleased with Glaesmann's approach at the plate and cites it as the key component to Glaesmann's recent success.

"He's taking what the pitcher is giving him," Williams said. "He's not trying to do too much."

Floethe Injured, Cononie and Castillo Called Up

Jake Floethe was scratched from his start on Wednesday because of back spasms and then subsequently placed on the disabled list. Reliever Charlie Cononie who has a 4.15 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 26 innings was re-called to the Hot Rods to take Floethe's roster spot.

Andrew Bellatti made the spot start for the injured Floethe and ended up receiving the loss, throwing three innings, but giving up four earned runs off of West Michigan grand slam.

Catcher Keith Castillo was called up from Hudson Valley before Sunday's game and was promptly inserted into the lineup at DH. Castillo started the year at High-A Charlotte, where he hit .218 with 3 RBI in 16 games.

Outfielder Joel Caminero, who was hitting just .209 for Bowling Green in 134 at bats, was sent to Hudson Valley in a corresponding roster move.

Austin Nichols is the Bowling Green beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @Nichols_HotRods.


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