The Zephyrs got back on the winning track in the latter half of the week after between swept on the road by the Portland Beavers and dropping the first game of a four-game set with the Fresno Grizzlies. However, the Zephyrs rebounded in the second game of that series with Fresno and broke their six-game losing streak with a 9-7 win on May 7 [their first May victory]. New Orleans went on to win the remaining games of the series before taking the series’ opener against the Sacramento River Cats in a rematch of last season’s PCL Championship Series.
Valentino Pascucci: 10-25, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 3 2B
Pascucci was signed after being dismissed by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and despite his rather mediocre numbers there [.232, HR, 7 RBI in 25 games], he seems to fit right in with this Zephyrs’ lineup. After going just 2-for-11 in his first three games last week, Pascucci went off this week and hit .400, acting as a catalyst for the struggling Zephyrs. So far during his stay in New Orleans, the right-handed outfielder has been a terror for left-handing pitching, tuning up southpaws at a .471 clip with three home runs. He currently has a 1.154 OPS heading into Sunday.
Carlos Muniz: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 K, 3 BB
Muniz is out to show that his 10-day stay with the big league club in mid-April is worth future reconsideration for a longer call-up the next time around. So far this season, Muniz has yet to allow a run and has surrendered just five hits 12.2 innings pitched [11 games]. Though his seven walks may be a touch too high, the opposition is hitting just .122 off him while he is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities.
After beginning the season on a hot streak in large part to the explosions in the middle of the order, the B-Mets have certainly cooled in recent weeks as far as the standings are concerned. NYSEG continues to be unfavorable to the club as they entered Sunday with a 6-14 home record. The B-Mets began the week in rather ugly fashion, dropping consecutive games to the Connecticut Defenders and Reading Phillies by a combined 25-3 score, but got going as they took the last three games of the series against Reading before dropping Saturday night’s game in a tough 1-0 duel for a 3-3 record for the week.
Fernando Martinez: 11-26, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, BB, 3B
Observers all around have been waiting for Fernando to really heat up, and hopes are that last week’s effort will be that catalyst. He recorded four multi-hit games [three straight], three of which were three-hit affairs. He notched in his second and third home runs of the year on Thursday in the concluding game at Reading. Despite the surge this week, Fernando’s on-base percentage and strikeout numbers continue to pressing areas of concern as he just pushed his OBP above .300 for the first time this week while he has struck out 38 times in 34 games entering Sunday.
Jonathon Niese: 0-2,10.1 IP, 8 ER, 10 H, 8 K, 3 BB
It was a tale of two starts as could possibly be for the system’s top pitching prospect. The 21-year-old left-hander lasted only 4.1 innings in his first start of the week on May 5 at Reading. That evening he gave up seven earned runs and eight hits, striking out two. It was his second straight start in he which he not only took a loss, but lasted less than five innings. He turned it around on Saturday night as he pitched six innings of one-run ball and struck out six, but took a very tough loss as the offense could not scratch out any runs behind him. Niese has lost three straight starts and now sits at 2-4 on the season despite a 3.15 ERA and .220 opponent’s average in 40 innings pitched.
ST. LUCIE METS:
After picking up some momentum with five wins in six games last week, the Mets regressed a bit last week as they dropped three of four to the Lakeland Flying Tigers before dropping the first of three to the For Myers Miracle. It has been tough treading for the offense over the last week as it has produced more than three runs only once—in their 6-3 victory over Lakeland on May 6. It was the club’s only win of the week.
Ezequiel Carrera: 5-24, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB, 2B, 3 SB
In a week which no hitter in the lineup racked up more than five hits, Carreara still does his best to stand out in a lineup which is struggling top-to-bottom at times. Though his average backslid around the .260 mark, he continues to be a spark at the top of the order. His ten stolen bases far and away leads the team, but he also ranks first in runs, second in hits, second in total bases, and third in doubles.
Tobi Stoner: 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 0 BB, Loss
Though last Monday’s start was just his third of the season, Stoner is proving to be a very consistent member of the St. Lucie staff. The six innings was the deepest he has gone into game this season and he has yet to give up over two runs in a start. In 14.1 innings pitched this year, he maintains a 16-to-3 strikeout to walk ratio. So far this season, Stoner has shown a much improved ability to work within the strike zone and keep his walks at a minimum—a skill which could set an example for a very young staff.
Publisher’s note: May 11—Stoner: 6.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 5 K, BB
SAVANNAH SAND GNATS:
The Sand Gnats began the week by completing a split with the Asheville Tourists before going on to battle the Hickory Crawdads. In that series with Hickory, Savannah captured its first series victory since taking three games against the Columbus Catfish in the season’s first series. Savannah won three of four against Hickory by a combined score of 30-18, including a shutout on Saturday night. The Savannah roster also picked up some name recognition as Brant Rustich, the Mets’ second round pick in 2007, joined the club after an extended rehab in St. Lucie. Rustich gave up two earned runs on three hits in two-third of an inning on Friday night at Hickory.
Francisco Pena: 9-21, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 2B
After starting the season very slowly, the 18-year-old catcher has quickly picked up the pace in the last week. Pena, who hit .250 [20-for-80] in April, is off to a .379 clip in May, including three consecutive multi-hit games this week. He currently ranks second on the team in batting average [minimum 50 at-bats] and appears to warming to South Atlantic League pitching after hitting just .210 in 103 games last season. More patience would certainly go a long with Pena who has recorded just five walks in 28 games so far this season.
Angel Calero: 14.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 8 K, 2 BB
Despite two tremendous starts this week from the 21-year-old left-hander, Calero walked away with two no-decisions even though he lowered his season earned run average to 2.35. His record [0-4] clearly does not translate to other statistics as he also boasts a 33-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a .201 opponent’s batting average and has allowed 28 hits in 38.1 innings pitched—only half of his 20 runs allowed are earned. It appears Calero’s 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA in 11.2 Sally League innings [two starts] in 2007 actually was a good indicator of how he would fair in the league this season.
Michael Antonini: 12 IP, 2 ER, 11 H, 7 K, 2 BB
The other half of the strong duo in the Sand Gnats rotation did his best to keep up with Calero. Antonini—who was the Sand Gnats Opening Day starter—has now gone six innings in three straight starts and allowed only three earned runs total while striking out 11 and walking three. The southpaw’s 42.1 innings pitched ranks him fourth in the South Atlantic League.