Pensacola Loses after 17-1 Lead

Pensacola is the only Cincinnati affiliate under .500 on the young season, but they won a 17-1 blowout on Monday and have the top hitting team in the Southern League. Blue Wahoo fans, along with those in other Reds minor league cities can enjoy seeing success on the field from a lot of players returning to the same levels where they played in 2013.

On the heels of a 17-1 win Pensacola was unable to get a winning streak started when they dropped the third of a four-game series at Jacksonville by a score of 6-5. The loss dropped the Blue Wahoos to 8-11, three and a half games out of first place in the Southern League South Division. Thus far Pensacola is the only team in the Reds minor league development system with a losing record.

The Wahoos took the early lead by scoring a run in each of the first two innings on a bases-loaded walk to Bryan Anderson and an RBI single by Rey Navarro. They tied the game in the fifth on RBI hits by Travis Mattair and Anderson. It looked like they were headed for a win in the seventh when Mattair hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot to left field, but the Suns came back in the bottom of the inning to plate two for the final score. Mattair led the offense with two extra bases hits while Navarro and Anderson added a couple of singles apiece.

On the mound Jon Moscot got no decision after laboring for a quality start, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits/four walks in six innings pitched. Mikey O' Brien began the seventh and allowed the game winners for the loss. Fabian Williamson finished the inning and the game without allowing a run.

On Monday night the Wahoos erupted for a 17-1 blowout win. They pounded out 22 hits led by Donald Lutz who went for the cycle, 5-6 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Mattair, Navarro, and Devin Lohman added three hits each including a homer by Navarro. On the mound Robert Stephenson improved his record to 2-1 by allowing one run on four hits/three walks in seven innings while striking out seven. Shane Dyer relieved him with three scoreless frames before Williamson shut that one down by avoiding any runs in the ninth.

Thus far the Pensacola offense has gotten the job done by leading the Southern League in batting average and slugging percentage. Lutz has led the way by starting out at .349 AVG/.406 OBP/.683 SLG/4 HR. Juan Silverio had a nice season at Bakersfield last year and he's sustaining that thus far in 2014 by hitting .327 and slugging .462. Yorman Rodriguez is also over .300 with a couple of homers while Navarro is hitting .270 AVG/.347 OB/.506 SLG and is tied for the team lead with four HR.

Their pitching hasn't been that bad either, with a team ERA of 3.53 which is around the middle of the league. Michael Lorenzen has been moved into the rotation and has a 1.75 ernie after three starts. Moscot's last start gave him the team lead in innings and he's now at 2.82. Carlos Contreras is back with the Wahoos and he's below four after three outings. It's a little surprising to see top prospect Robert Stephenson starting out over four after three turns, but he's got a long season ahead of him to lower it. Daniel Corcino has been demoted from Louisville where he spent 2013 and he's keeping a 4.35 ERA despite a continued struggle with command, walking 13 in 20 innings.

In the pen Jamie Walczak has put together the best start thus far with a miniscule 1.08 ERA in six appearances. Dyer and Timothy Adleman are also under two after four games each. Drew Hayes has been closing and has four saves despite an ERA near six. Daniel Renken has pitched in five games including a start and has kept his down at 2.53. Williamson (3.24) leads the staff with eight appearances.

Though the offense has a lot of returnees, there average age is still in the younger half of the league and they should be expected to put up good numbers for the remainder of the season. Stephenson struggled at AA in four starts after arriving late last year from his second promotion of the season. He's dominated at the lower levels and can be expected to get the hang of the new level before the end of the season. Cincinnati has replenished the top levels of their development system after a high turnover at AAA a couple of years ago and now has reduced upward movement in the system. As a result fans in the towns of their affiliates can expect to see a lot of wins this year from teams fielding a lot of returnees. Pensacola is still under .500, but it's still early and there are plenty of bats there to put runs across the plate and arms in the rotation to prevent opponents from scoring.

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