The Zephyrs’ struggles to find consistency continued as they posed a 3-4 week, taking the finale against Round Rock in a 2-0 shutout before splitting a four-game set with the Tacoma Rainiers. The Zephyrs dropped the first two games against the Portland Beavers, including Saturday’s game that featured Claudio Vargas’ first Triple-A start with the organization.
Chris Aguila: 8-26, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB
Aguila continues to be one of the pleasant surprises for the Zephyrs. His .309 season average ranks third on the team, and his five home runs this season puts him second behind team leader Fernando Tatis. Aguila was red hot in April, hitting .341 with 13 RBI and a .600 slugging percentage. His big night for the week came last Monday against Tacoma when he cranked out four hits, including two home runs while driving five runs and scoring four of his own.
Ruddy Lugo: 1-0, 11 IP, ER, 7 H, 6 K, 4 BB
The 27-year-old right-hander continues to impress as he threw two more very sharp outings last week. Last Sunday in a home start against Round Rock, Lugo threw five shutout innings and walked just one as he picked up his third victory of the year. It was his second scoreless outing of the season. He followed that up on Friday night with a definitive quality outing by tossing six innings of one run ball. In four home starts and two road starts, Lugo boasts a matching 2.25 ERA. So far this season, he has demonstrated very good control, walking just eight hitters in 36 innings to date.
The B-Mets hit their first prolonged stretch of futility for the first time this season as the were shutout in their series finale against the Portland Sea Dogs last Sunday and were then swept by the New Britain Rock Cats. The offense has sputtered some over the course of the pick while the pitching did not help their cause as the staff surrendered 11 runs against New Britain last Wednesday and 19 runs in Saturday night’s whitewash at Connecticut.
Nick Evans: 7-22, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2 3B, SB
The threesome of Evans, Daniel Murphy and Mike Carp has slowed over the last week or two, but Evans did his best to keep the momentum going. His best night of the week came on Friday night against the Connecticut Defenders when he came up a double short of the cycle. He went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs and his fourth triple of the season. He has already knocked four triples this season after recording only one in 2007. As of Sunday, Evans boasted a .368 on-base percentage, .607 slugging percentage and .975 OPS.
Jonathon Niese: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 6 BB, Loss
The Mets’ top left-hander had his worst outing of the season [his second loss] last Wednesday against New Britain as he gave up more than one earned run for first time all season. His six walks doubled his season total prior to the start though he continued his average of five strikeouts per start. He continues to hold opposing left-handers in check as they have hit just .182 off Niese, not to say right-handers find a much easier time as they hit .209 off Niese.
ST. LUCIE METS:
The Mets have started to pick up some steam after being swept in four straight series prior to taking last weekend’s series against the Palm Beach Cardinals. They moved onto the next series and pulled off a sweep of their own, their first, by taking three games against the Daytona Cubs. The offense really got rolling by scoring 25 runs in three games against the Cubs before getting shutout in Saturday’s contest against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.
Ezequiel Carrera: 8-27, 5 R, 2 3B, 2 2B, 3 BB
Carrera did not provide any of the pop this week – though he was robbed of a home run last Sunday by the umpiring crew – he has been exactly what his team needs, a table setter. With three walks, four extra-base hits, and three multi-hit games, Carrera puts the rest of the lineup in a position to knock in runs. He leads the team in runs scored and leads the entire Florida State League in triples with five.
Lucas Duda: 5-23, HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 3 2B, 6 BB
Duda’s on-base percentage has hovered around the .400 mark all season, but he has yet to break out with a quality streak of extra-base hits. He tried to get that going this week as he knocked a double in three out of four games, including Friday’s game when he recorded a 2-for-5 game with a home run and four RBI. Tradition Field has been “home sweet home” for Duda as he boasts a .361 average in Port St. Lucie. Southpaws have got the best of Duda who is hitting just .200 off them [5-for-25].
Tobi Stoner: 1-0, 5 IP, ER, 7 H, 5 K, BB
After an abbreviated outing in his first start, Tobi Stoner went deep enough on Wednesday night to earn his first victory of the season. The 23-year-old right-hander, who missed most of April with a elbow injury, figures to play an important role in the back half of the St. Lucie rotation this season, so more starts like this will go a long way to continuing the team’s building success.
Dylan Owen: 1-0, 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 6 K, BB
Owen rebounded from not only his worst start of the season, but the worst start of his career, by limiting the Daytona Cubs to two runs over five innings. His six strikeouts tied a season-high and much like previous starts, his success begins with command of the strike zone. Owen has yet to go longer than six innings in any start this season, and has struggled against left-handers who have tuned him up for a .370 average.
Dillon Gee: 1-0, 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 7 K, 0 BB
Gee continues to get stronger as the season rolls on as he picked up his second victory of the season, and second straight victory, after keeping the Daytona Cubs at bay by walking none and striking out seven. The 6.2 innings was his longest outing of the season after tossing six innings in his previous start. Gee, who is dedicated to his control, has no walked zero hitters in his last two starts.
SAVANNAH SAND GNATS:
The Sand Gnats, fighting to escape the basement of the South Atlantic League Southern Division, posted a 4-2 win week. They captured the series finale against the Rome Braves [for their first series win since the first weekend of the season], then split a four-game series against the Hickory Crawdads before winning the series opener against the Asheville Tourists.
Jordan Abruzzo: 5-24, HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 BB
The second-year catcher/designated hitter got off to a slow start this week by going hitless in his first 11 at-bats, but came on strong over the last few days by knocking in and scoring a run in all three games, including a 2-for-5 effort with a home run and four RBI in Saturday’s win against Asheville. Abruzzo is hitting .356 for season, but has been an absolute terror against left-handers, recording a .484 average versus southpaws in 31 at-bats [15 hits] with an .871 slugging percentage.
Michael Antonini: 1-0, 6.2 IP, ER, H, 4 K, BB
After throwing six hitless innings in his season-opening start, the left-hander once again flirted with a no-hitter as he retired the first 17 batters he faced in last Wednesday’s start against Hickory. He left the game after giving up a seventh inning hit recording an earned run as reliever Jose Bierd gave up a home run to the first hitter he faced. Antonini has fared much better against right-handers this season, holding them to just a .190 average with 15 hits in 21.1 innings pitched.
Scott Moviel: 1-0, 6 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 K, BB
The tall right-hander had his best start since a season-opening win back on April 4 when he earned the win by allowing one earned run in five innings. On Friday night, Moviel tossed a quality start against Hickory, taking home his second victory of the season. After surrendering a combined 18 earned runs in his previous 12.2 innings pitched, it was immensely important for the 19-year-old [20 on Wednesday] to have a night just like this. Left-handers are hitting .431 off Moviel.