MLN: Bats Inconsistent, Vasquez Rolling

The Toledo Mud Hens went 4-3 this past week splitting a four-game series with Scranton, while taking the first two before losing the third game in a four-game series with Syracuse. The Mud Hens' offense continued its inconsistent ways this week, while receiving some inconsistent starting pitching also.

Virgil Vasquez picked up two more wins this week, continuing his strong pitching as of late. In his first game of the week, he unfortunately broke his steak of three straight quality starts. Vasquez lasted only five innings, giving up three earned run on seven hits while striking out five. He did manage to keep the team in the game until the offense managed to score four runs in the fifth inning. The bullpen slammed the door shut the rest of the way allowing only one hit over the last four innings while striking out four batters.

Vasquez's second win of the week was more in the dominating mold that he had shown the past three weeks. He picked up his fourth quality start in his past five outing with an eight inning gem, allowing two earned runs (each on a solo home run) on five hits and one walk, while striking out five batters.

Unfortunately, none of the other Mud Hen starting pitchers had a quality start this week, but in some of their wins this week, the bullpen made up for it. But like the rest of the team, the bullpen was inconsistent.

In three of the Mud Hens wins this week, the bullpen pitched at least four innings while giving up at most one run. Unfortunately for the bullpen, the starting pitchers seemed to put them into this position continuously this week, and not every result was as positive as those three games.

The bullpen's top game of the week was against Syracuse on June 23rd. The starter, Anquilino Lopez lasted only three innings. A four-headed monster finished the game for the Mud Hens, as Ian Ostlund pitched two innings for the win, Francisco Cruceta and Francis Beltran pitched two and one innings respectively to each get a hold, while Blaine Neal finished the game off to earn the save. Neal picked up two saves this week in increase his International League lead up to 22.

After starting the year with so many long balls, that it seemed they would crush the minor league team record for home runs in season, the Mud Hens offense has lost its deep threat. The team hit a total of six home runs (three in one game) in the seven games this week. In fact, the Mud Hens went homer-less in four games this week, three in a row at one point.

The example of this suddenly anemic offense is its suddenly struggling slugger. Mike Hessman has been struggling as of late. In his past ten games, Hessman is batting .154 with one home run (that he hit in the last game he played) and three doubles for three RBI. Also in his past ten games, he has stuck out 21 times and walked only five time (4.2 BB/strike out).

Matt Joyce had the most pop this week, pacing the team this week with two home runs. He hit both of them in the same game on his way to a 3-for-5 night with two home runs and seven RBI. He sandwiched that game between three other 0-for-3 or worse nights before and after.

Brent Clevlen hit a home run in his first game back with the Mud Hens since he was sent back down after a brief stay with Detroit. The Mud Hens might have some relief coming for their offense, as many of their early season sluggers, like Jeff Larish, are coming back down after helping out the Tigers.

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