Nearing the end of July, the Mud Hens were neck and neck with Louisville, fighting for the first place crown. The losses suffered from Louisville this month has put some sort of curse that has put the Mud Hens in a hole they seem to not be able to climb out of. With the loss Tuesday night to the Bats, the Hens are 3-9 in the month of August. What's equally worse is that their ERA is 5.61 and their batting average is .219, both lows in the IL. The Hens currently stand 11 games out of first place (65-60), but still second in the West Division.
On the bright side, even if the Hens don't win their division they could still be over .500—if they play good ball—which would make them have four straight seasons at .500—their first time since 1941-44. This in part would make the .500 mark an IL-best streak. The longest streak currently in the IL is the Buffalo Bisons, who, since 1995, have had 13 consecutive seasons at .500 or better. The Bisons, however, are 10 games under that mark as of right now.
On a side note, The Hens have had much success on the offensive side. "Fast" Freddy Guzman leads the IL with 44 stolen bases and has compiled 59 total this season (15 with Erie). Toledo leads the IL with 165 home runs and are on pace to break their old record of 192, which was set in 1999.
OLYMPIC NOTE: Korea defeated USA 8-7 Wednesday morning in Beijing. Mike Hessman went 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored. That night they trampled on the Netherlands 7-0; Hessman did not play.
The Hens welcomed their 500,000 fan of the season at Fifth Third Field Monday night (12th straight sell out game). The pleasure wouldn't go overlooked by Toledo either. In their best game of the week, Virgil Vasquez (8-12) came, saw and conquered Norfolk in a 2-0 annihilation of the Tides' batters. He went the distance with just giving up four hits and one walk while striking out six. The night was Vasquez's and he will try his hand again against the Richmond Braves August 17 on the road.
Dontrelle Willis was promoted to Toledo Tuesday night in place of the injured Eddie Bonine. He will make his first start back with the Hens Friday night at Richmond. Willis has had moderate success playing for Class-A Lakeland, and with Detroit seeking pitchers; it's no surprise Willis is making his way back up the ranks to see big league ball once again.
The Hens face Louisville for the last time of the season tonight. Let's hope they score first, because—as the numbers would have it— 175-54 (76.6 percent)—all time when scoring first at Fifth Third Field (27-6 in 2008). However, their success versus Louisville over the years hasn't been the finest, but with a win tonight, and maybe a good rest of August play, the Hens could make the Bats sweat a little coming down the stretch.