The Zephyrs’ week was split by the Pacific Coast League All-Star Break, but they did bookend their week with two victories in last Sunday’s double-header and Saturday’s victory over the Albuquerque Isotopes—good for a 3-1 mark for the week. The Z’s headed into the second half nine games back of the pulling-away Oklahoma Redhawks.
Val Pascucci: 5-13, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB, SB
The short week did not prevent Pascucci from continuing his power display. He clubbed his 18th and 19th home runs of the year, pulling into a tie for the team lead with Chris Aguila. He and Aguila are now tied for sixth in the entire PCL in homers. In 73 games before the break, Pascucci held a .988 OPS which was good for fifth in the entire league. He best game of the week came in the second game of last Sunday’s doubleheader when he went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI.
Brandon Knight: Win, 6 IP, 3 H, 12 K, 3 BB
The 33-year-old right-hander backed up his naming to the U.S. Olympic team last week by putting together his finest start of the season. After spending his first six appearances in the bullpen, Knight is 4-1 as a starter with a 2.08 ERA and 39/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while the opposition hits .172. In three July starts, he is 3-0 with a miniscule 0.95 ERA in 19 innings pitched. He became the fourth Zephyrs pitcher to strike out 12 in one game.
Like their Triple-A counterparts, the B-Mets had their week interrupted by the All-Star Break, but for Binghamton the break could not have come at a better time. The B-Mets closed out the first half of the season losing 10 of 15, including three of four to the Trenton Thunder. The club began the second half by splitting the first two contest against the Connecticut Defenders.
Daniel Murphy: 5-17, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 BB, SB
While the club continues to starve for runs, Murphy has done his best to try and carry some of the load, but like the team, it appears a break was needed for the newly tabbed second baseman. Heading into the break, Murphy had five hits in his previous 32 at-bats. Out of the gate in the second half, he promptly went 5-for-9 with a home run and two doubles. He finished the first half with a .302 batting average and 90 hits against 45 runs. He currently ranks fifth in the Eastern League with 57 RBI.
Tobi Stoner: Loss, 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 K, BB
Though Stoner has yet to pick up his first victory with Binghamton [now 0-4 in Double-A], he continues to show important signs of progression against higher level opposition despite early inning battles he has faced in each start. Last week, he did a good job of commanding the potent Trenton lineup, surrendering just a two-run homer in the contest. He pitched well enough, and got the support from his bullpen to pick up his first victory, but the offense behind faltered as they were shutout.
It was not an All-Star break that chewed up St. Lucie’s week, but instead the High-A club’s schedule was once again tormented by rain outs. They have now endured nine rain outs since July 7 which is going to cause questions about pitching arrangements until the schedule balances out. Despite the rain outs, St. Lucie did manage to split a two doubleheaders against the Lakeland Flying Tigers and remain tied for first in the FSL East with a 15-11 second half record.
Ezequiel Carrera: 6-13, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 SB
When St. Lucie did take the field last week, it was their leadoff man who provided much of the offensive spark. Though he went 0-for-3 and 0-for-2 on Thursday and Saturday respectively, he did record a 2-for-4 effort in Game 1 on Thursday and even more impressive 4-for-4 night in Game 1 on Saturday—homering in both games. After a slow start in which he posted a .244 average in April and May combined, he is hitting .313 since June 1 with all four of home runs coming in that time.
Michael Antonini: Win, 7 IP, ER, H, 7 K
Perhaps no player has taken advantage of promotion quite like the St. Lucie left-hander. In seven starts in the Florida State League, he holds a 4-0 record with a 1.84 ERA, a 33/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .211 opponent’s batting average. IT took Antonini 13 starts to pick up four victories while in Savannah earlier this season. He has yet to surrender three earned runs in a start in St. Lucie.
The Sandgnats had a successful week following the previous week’s lull. The club finished off a sweep of the Lexington Legends before earning a tough-fought split with the Greensboro Grasshoppers. It is no surprise that another week went by and the club registered another three one-run contests, upping their total to ten in July. Though the Sandgnats have been competitive, they still remain at 13-16 in the second half, five games back and in last place in the Sally League South.
Jose Jiminez: 7-23, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2B, BB
The Sandgnats’ first baseman has battled bouts of inconsistency throughout the season, but appears to be piecing together a nice streak as of late. He is hitting .300 over his last ten games with three home runs. He has increased his slugging percentage nearly 150 points month over month. His production has slipped since hitting a .312 in May and if the club is to hang in with their division race despite being in last place, they will need Jiminez to recapture his early season spark.
Scott Moviel: 2 G, 1-0, 10.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 8 K
Moviel began the week by picking up his sixth straight victory as he blanked Lexington over six innings, walking none and giving up just three hits. However, his second outing of the week did not go as smoothly as he surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings against Greensboro. It was the first time since May 29 that he could not make it out of the fifth and the first time since May 24 in which he gave up more than three earned runs in a start. A good sign from his poor outing was that he walked none. It is the first time all season he walked none in back-to-back starts.
Though the Cyclones’ offense did pick up the pace in small measure last week, though the club still dropped four of six games including a sweep at the hands of the Oneonta Tigers. The club ranks in the middle of the New York-Penn League pack in batting average and home runs, but rank last in the entire league in runs scored and RBI. The rookie-laden roster rests at 13-18 going into Sunday’s action, seven games back of the first place Staten Island Yankees.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis: 9-24, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3B, BB, SB
The third-round pick in this year’s draft popped his first home run of his career on Friday night against Oneonta and appears to be picking up momentum in recent weeks. The 6-foot-3 Cyclones’ centerfielder is hitting .333 over his last 16 games after hitting .240 in his first 14 contests. He has reached base nearly 40 percent of the time July and currently ranks second on the club in RBI .
Brad Holt: 2 Gs, 1-0, 12.1 IP, ER, 9 H, 17 K, 4 BB
If any 2008 draft pick has made a splash in Brooklyn, it is their big right-hander. Holt recorded his first double-digit strikeout outing when he fanned ten against State College last Sunday on his way to his second victory. He followed that up by striking out seven in 5.1 innings on Saturday night against Staten Island. Holt’s 37 strikeouts and 1.91 ERA rank him third and second respectively in the NYPL.
Following their five-game win streak to start the month, the K-Mets have struggled to find consistency as a club and that pattern continued last week. They went 3-4 for the week, but did have two offensive outbursts as they notched double-digit run totals for the third and fourth time this season.
Rafael Fernandez: 13-33, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B, 3B, 3 BB
The K-Mets’ outfielder, who turns 20 on August 3, extended his hit streak to nine games on Saturday night, but more impressively he recorded his second five-hit game in his last nine games. In the club’s 12-inning victory on July 14, Fernandez went 5-for-7 with two doubles. He is hitting .435 over his last ten games and is tied for seventh in the Appalachian League with a .351 average. The left-hander is just 3-for-14 against southpaws this season.
Daniel Stegall: 10-31, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 2B, BB
Stegall’s name has not been singled out much this season, but after once again failing to elevate his game in 32 games with Savannah [.196, HR, 9 RBI], the 20-year-old outfielder is showing positive power and production in 30 games with the K-Mets. He is hitting .295 with three home runs and a .365 on-base percentage. The home runs are on-base percentage are a far cry form the zero home runs and combined .288 on-base percentage he recorded in 2007.
Like the High-A club with whom their share the complex, the GCL club had two games washed out on Wednesday and Thursday. When they did take the field, the won two of three games with both victories coming against the GCL Dodgers.
Robert Carson: Win, 6 IP, H, 4 K
The 14th round selection in the 2007 Draft put together the finest back-to-back starts of his young career. He has now pitches 12 scoreless innings in his last two starts with 16 strikeouts and zero walks. He has thrown scoreless outings in three of his five starts. His 25 strikeouts rank him third in the Gulf Coast League and his 1.57 ERA is good for sixth.