The Zephyrs endured a tough week having eight games scheduled in seven days as they try to maintain the neck-and-neck race with the first place Oklahoma RedHawks. The Z’s started the week by capturing a win against Oklahoma last Sunday [for a 3-1 series win] before moving on to a four-game series with the Omaha Royals. Unfortunately, the Zephyrs dropped three of four to Omaha, including a 13-0 blanking in which they were one-hit. New Orleans ended the week by commencing a five-game series at Oklahoma and so far have won two of three.
Tony Armas: 2-0, 14 IP, 3 ER, 11 H, 16 K, BB
The 30-year-old right-hander’s impressive season continues. Including last week’s starts, Armas has gone at least six innings and surrendered three runs or less in ten straights starts [three earned runs twice]. His 88.2 innings pitched lead the Pacific Coast League and his 75 strikeouts leave him second in the league against an impressive 16 walks. If the Zephyrs are going to keep pace with Oklahoma, they will need Armas whose two victories last week came against the RedHawks. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in June.
Val Pascucci: 9-27, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 6 BB
Pascucci continues to slug away from the heart of the Zephyrs order. Now 45 games into his New Orleans tenure, he is still slugging at a .620 percentage with a .416 on-base percentage. In roughly 20 less games then his peers, he already ranks 11th in the PCL in home runs . Pascucci is hitting .395 against left-handed pitching and .355 away from Zephyrs Field.
The B-Mets continue to chug up the Eastern League Northern Division standings thanks to a combination of good hitting and complimenting pitching. Binghamton started the week fresh off a sweep against the New Britain Rock Cats before dropping two of three against the Harrisburg Senators—all three games were decided by one run. The B-Mets have won seven of their last ten, sit at 36-30 and remain 5 ½ games back of the first place Trenton Thunder.
Mike Carp: 9-19, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, 4 BB
Many superlatives have been used to describe the B-Mets’ first baseman season, but he has backed them up along the way with his Eastern League-leading .360 batting average and seemingly countless multi-hit games this season. In his injury-shortened 2007 season, Carp registered 97 hits in 98 games, but already has 80 hits this season in just 57 games. In his last ten games, Carp has six multi-hit games including three consecutive last week in which he went a combined 7-for-12. He is hitting .316 against left-handed pitching, including four of his home runs. He currently boasts a very strong strikeout ratio, having whiffed only 33 times so far this season.
Nick Evans: 7-22, HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, 3 2B, 2 BB
Evans returned from his stay in the big leagues on June 6 and after a couple games of getting back in the swing of the Eastern League, his bat has again warmed up. He began the week with a 3-for-5 with three runs and two doubles against New Britain. On June 11, he cracked his tenth home run of the year. However, a recent red flag for Evans is the spike in his strikeouts. He struck out 13 times in his last ten games including three two-strikeout games. In the first 42 games of his season he struck out 29 times.
Tobi Stoner: ND, 5 IP, ER, 5 H, 5 K, 4 BB
Stoner made his successful Double-A debut on Friday night and did so by maintaining the same characteristics that carried him to a strong first half of the season in St. Lucie. Though the four walks were a higher amount than any of his starts in St. Lucie, he again surrendered fewer hits than innings pitched and kept damage to a minimum. After a midseason promotion to St. Lucie right before the midway point in 2007, his call up to Binghamton should not come as a surprise. Stoner will likely play a intricate role if the B-Mets are to stay hot into the season’s second half and make a playoff push.
ST. LUCIE METS:
The High-A Mets began the week by romping the Clearwater Thrashers 14-2 behind a strong start by Dylan Owen and explosive hitting up and down the lineup. They closed at the week, and the first half of the Florida State League season, by splitting a four-game series with the Tampa Yankees. Heading into the FSL All-Star Weekend, St. Lucie sits at 18-49 [.269]. Unlike last year’s club which made a second-half run into the FSL playoffs, it would take unfathomable summer to duplicate that feat.
Josh Thole: 6-19, HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB
Thole unquestionably had his biggest game of the season in that 14-2 outburst. Thole, who began the season with sparse playing time thanks to a heavy rotation behind the plate, has seen his offense come around as he has earned his way into the lineup more often. The 21-year-old catcher went homerless last season in Savannah, but has already smacked three in 2008 with an improved .390 slugging percentage [.311 with Savannah in ‘07]. Thole boasts a 24 walks against 17 strikeouts in 53 games this season.
Michael Antonini: ND, 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 K, BB
The 22-year-old southpaw made his Florida State League debut on Thursday night in impressive fashion, holding down the Tampa Yankees for two runs over six innings. Antonini headed to St. Lucie after finishing his tenure in Savannah with a 4-4 record, 2.71 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 16 walks in 73 innings pitched. His quality breaking pitch and quickly improving changeup should help hold serve in the Florida State League, especially in expansive Tradition Field. He and Angel Calero were promoted on June 9.
SAVANNAH SAND GNATS:
The Sand Gnats continued their improved play this month by putting together yet another solid week as they captured a series victory against the [Yankee-affiliated] Charleston RiverDogs, before winning a three-game series against the Columbus Catfish. The Sand Gnats ended the week as they started by claiming two victories against Charleston by a combined three runs. As they South Atlantic League heads into its All-Star Break this week, the club holds a 33-36 record. It is a far cry from the 41 total victories accrued in 2007.
Casey Craig: 10-25, HR, 3 RBI, 7 R, 2 2B, 4 SB, BB
Craig, who was signed by the club back in May, has proven to be an extremely valuable hitter in the middle of the Sand Gnats order. Through 40 games this season, he is hitting .340 with four home runs and 12 stolen bases. On a team that began the season thirsty for runs, the versatile outfielder has solidified his spot in the three-hole. His .487 slugging percentage is the highest on the club with a minimum of 50 at-bats.
Scott Moviel: 2-0, 12 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, 10 K, 2 BB
The tall right-hander continues his recent surge after earning two more victories and now has a three-start winning streak. Moviel controlled Charleston over two straight starts pushing his overall June numbers to 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a .217 opponent’s batting average in 18 innings pitched. After suffering through a disastrous 1-4 record and 9.68 ERA in April, he has turned his season around by limiting his hits allowed and walks while increasing his strikeouts. Despite the early negatively, Moviel has battled back and now leads the club in victories.