Toledo MLN: Falling Further Behind

The Toledo Mud Hens continued their recent struggles this past week, falling further behind in the International League West standings. Another 2-5 week has the Mud Hens sitting at 29-38 overall, 15.5 games behind division leading Columbus.

Hot and cold

Coming back from a major league sting, Andrew Oliver's first start did not go like he planned it. The lefty gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings on June 8. While he did not walk a batter, he allowed 10 hits and two home runs.

The seven runs allowed was a season high, and the only other time this season he did not make it past the fourth inning was May 24, when he was pulled after two innings because of his impending call-up.

However, Oliver rebounded nicely in his next start on June 13. He allowed one unearned run in six innings, walking five, giving up two hits and striking out nine. He picked up his fifth win of the season, and dropped his ERA to 3.82 in the process.

Extended stint

While his rehab stint was only supposed to be a couple of games, Magglio Ordonez told team management he needed more time to get adjusted and stayed with the Mud Hens until June 11.

He went 5-for-16 (.313) with two home runs and five RBI in the four extra games he spent in Toledo. In nine games overall with the Mud Hens, we was 11-for-37 (.297) with two home runs, six RBI and three runs scored.

Coming alive … sort of

After several weeks of displaying little to no power, the Mud Hens bats started to wake up this past week.

The Mud Hens clubbed six home runs this past week – albeit four came from Ordonez and Ryan Strieby, the other two came from Cale Iorg (his third) and Will Rhymes (his first).

Rhymes' bat has especially come alive of late, effectively cancelling out some of the struggles he had when first sent down. He is hitting .368 his last 10 games with four extra-base hits, four RBI and four runs scored.

His .313 batting average for the season would have him ninth in the IL in average, but he does not yet have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

Even though he did have the two home run week, Strieby is still struggling stringing together consistent at-bats. He was 4-for-24 (.167) this past week with 11 strikeouts and is hitting .240 for the season.

Meanwhile, the team's leader in home runs, Scott Thorman, also continues to struggle through a cold streak. Playing in only four games last week, he hit 3-for-16 (.188) with five strikeouts. On the season he is only hitting .210.

Solid improvements

With the exception of a few performances by Robbie Weinhardt, and one by Jose Ortega, the Mud Hens bullpen pitched exceptionally well this past week.

Matt Hoffman has been the leader of this improvement. He pitched four times this past week, picking up two holds and not allowing a run. In fact, he has only allowed two earned runs in his last 10 appearances. While his 20:13 strikeout/walk ratio leaves some to be desired, the lefty has been effective at getting people out this season.

He sports a 1.91 ERA, and is holding opponents to a .248 batting average against. While he is tougher on lefties, holding them to a .238 average, right handed hitters have not fared much better off Hoffman, hitting .254 against him.

Fu-Te Ni also had a strong week out of the ‘pen for the Mud Hens, pitching in more of a long relief capacity. In three appearances, stretching 7 1/3 innings, he did not allow a run, struck out nine batters and only walked one.

After a May 26 appearance where he allowed three runs in an inning and a third, Ni's ERA sat at 6.20. He has not allowed an earned run in four games since then, spanning 9 2/3 innings, which has dropped is season ERA to 4.20.

Despite his week getting out to a rough start (two earned runs in an inning on June 8) Brendan Wise had another strong week and, like Hoffman, has been one of the team's best relievers this season.

He did not allow a run in three of his four appearances this week (five total innings pitches), and on the season he sports a 1.82 ERA. However, his command his been spotty, as he has walked 17 hitters this year, versus only 16 strikeouts.

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