Pensacola Splits DH

Some have considered Tim Crabbe as a sleeper in the Reds organization since they picked him up from a 14th round selection in 09. After a decent start at Pensacola last year he ran into some challenges that prompted a trip by to high-A. Now he's back in AA and has begun the season with a sub-one ERA & WHIP after two starts.

Pensacola played a doubleheader at Mobile on Friday to make up for a rainout the previous day. Even though there was a lot baseball, there wasn't a lot of scoring as the two teams split, 1-0 Pensacola and 2-1 Mobile. Both squads finished the day with 4-4 records.

In the first game Tim Crabbe came out strong and threw six shutout innings for his first win of the season, allowing only two hits and a couple of walks while striking out four. Curtis Partch struck out all three batters faced in the seventh and final inning of the shortened DH game for his second save. Tucker Barnhart had a couple of hits in the game and drove in the game's lone run with an RBI single in the fourth.

In the nightcap the Wahoos took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Travis Mattair. That would be the only time they crossed the plate in the evening as Bay Bear pitchers held them to three hits. Yohan Pino came out of the bullpen to make his first start of the season, acquitting himself well with four shutout frames allowing only two hits without a walk while striking out seven. Drew Hayes relieved him with two innings and allowed an unearned run. Lee Hyde took the loss when he allowed the game-winner in the seventh.

Crabbe is a pitcher that the Reds hope turns out to be a late-round sleeper after they picked up him in the fourteenth round of the 2009 draft out of Westmont (CA) College. Now in his fifth professional season, he has an ERA under one after two starts. He began last year at Pensacola and fared okay at first before some rough outings prompted a demotion to Bakersfield in the second half of the season. He finished strong in his return to the California League with a 5-2 record and a 3.28 ERA in ten starts. After that he continued pitching in the Arizona Fall League and finished with a win in the league's championship game.

Now in his second time around in AA it appears he's going to stick. That's not really surprising for someone with a mid-90's fastball and a sharp slider that he's used to strike out over one batter per inning throughout his minor league career. As is common with many young pitchers, he's been plagued by control issues in the past and walked almost seven per nine innings during his time against advanced hitters in the Southern League last year. Thus far in 2013 he's got 9 K's against 4 BB's in eleven innings.

He's also working on a changeup which is frequently taught to pitchers in the Cincinnati system by Mario Soto who perfected it in the 80's during his career with the Reds. If he's unable to develop a third pitch or reduce walks, he's still got a future pursuing a career as a reliever. Right now the Reds are content to continue allowing him to develop in the rotation and yesterday he made a strong statement that is where he belongs.

Though he's still not one of the top pitching prospects in the Cincinnati organization many feel he has the stuff to crash into that list. The right-hander is now 25 years old and will likely continue working for the Reds for a while, even if they have to use a spot on their 40-man roster next year to protect him against the Rule 5 draft. In the meantime Crabbe will continue throwing to Southern League hitters to work toward a promotion to AAA, perhaps as early as the latter part of this season.

Other News in the Organization: The Reds fell to 5-5 after opening up a series in Pittsburgh with a 6-5 loss. Mike Leake had a rough start when the Pirates scored a run in the first inning and four more in the second to take a four-run lead. The Reds battled back and tied the score in the sixth off a two-run homer by Brandon Phillips. It was Phillips's second dinger of the game after opening up Reds scoring with a solo shot to lead off the second inning. Devin Mesoraco also plated a run with an RBI double in the sixth. Phillips and Jack Hannahan each had two of the Reds eight hits while Joey Votto reached on a single and two walks.

On the mound Leake finished six innings, but allowed five runs and ten hits along the way. J.J. Hoover started the bottom of the sixth and allowed the go-ahead run off a home run by Andrew McCutchen. Hoover took the decision and has now been charged with three of the Reds five losses. Logan Ondrusek was the third pitcher to work the seventh and finished with 1+ scoreless innings.

Louisville dropped a low-scoring affair in a 2-1 loss at Toledo. Pedro Villarreal allowed only two runs (one earned) and four hits without a walk in six innings, but still took the loss. Jose Arredondo and Chad Reineke each tossed a scoreless frame of relief. The Bats' bats could only muster four hits on the evening while Neftali Soto doubled home their only run in the seventh.

Bakersfield scored three in the eighth inning to finally break into the win column with a 6-4 victory over visiting Stockton. Sammy Diaz and Yorman Rodriguez had two hits each and both were instrumental in the game-winning rally. Diaz led off the inning with a single and Rodriguez later emptied loaded bases with a two-out double. Previously Kyle Waldrop broke a 2-2 tie with a solo home run in the third. Starter James Allen was lifted in the fifth and charged with three runs. Michael Dennhardt threw 1+ scoreless innings to pick up the win and Brooks Pinckard retired the side in order in the ninth with a couple of strikeouts to get the save.

Dayton got only five hits but made the most of them in a 8-5 win over visiting Great Lakes. They took a two-run lead in the second off a three-run rally that was highlighted by a two-run homer by Humberto Valor. Later they broke a 3-3 tie with five runs in the eighth inning which included three errors and a wild pitch by the Loons. Beau Amaral and Jesse Winker both reached safely twice via a hit and walk. Ismael Guillon navigated around six hits and a couple of walks in four innings to hold the opponents to two runs while striking out seven. Wandy Peralta relieved him with two scoreless frames before Jose Amezcua blew a save and then hung around to pick up the win.

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