NEW BRITAIN, CT - The Binghamton Mets entered Sunday still in a position to earn an Eastern League…
Week in Review Across the Farm
The Zephyrs picked up momentum last week as they ran their winning streak to four games [first since June 6-9] before splitting a four-game set with the Las Vegas 51s and taking the first two games against the Memphis Redbirds. The pitching staff got a boost as another arm was called up from Binghamton. This time it was Bobby Parnell who got the call on Saturday night, earning his first call up to Triple-A. The Z's have won seven of their last ten and are 59-62 overall, six games back of first place in the PCL American South.
Jesus Feliciano: 11-26, HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, BB
Though his offensive numbers may not pop, the 29-year-old outfielder continues to do all the things hoped for out of a lead off hitter. He cracked his second home run of the season as he compiled four multi-hit games during the week. The centerfielder has not hit below .296 in any month and is hitting .355 since July 1 and .409 in 22 games since the PCL All-Stark Break. He is a .350 hitter [35-for-100] with runners in scoring position and has struck out just 48 times in 119 games.
Jonathon Niese: 2-0, 12 IP, 4 ER, 11 H, 7 K, 3 BB
Niese has certainly taken a shining to Triple-A as his two victories last week pushed his record with the club to 3-0 [three starts]. Pacific Coast League opposition is hitting just .209 off him in those three starts as he has allowed 14 hits in 19 innings pitched. He is sustaining success by getting the ball down, indicative by his 2-to-1 groundball/flyball ratio. Right-handers have mustered just a .180 average off Niese.
The B-Mets are fighting consistency as a team as the roster shakeups come fast and furious. They managed a 3-4 record for the week as they took their series against the Bowie BaySox, but dropped two of three against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The B-Mets are 5-5 in their last ten and are 63-59 overall as they sit 10 ½ games back of the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League Northern Division. The B-Mets too dipped into the lower levels as Dillon Gee was plucked from St. Lucie to fill in for the departing Parnell.
Caleb Stewart: 8-26, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2 2B, 5 BB
With the departures of Nick Evans and Daniel Murphy, Caleb Stewart was plugged into the fourth spot in the order with the responsibility to buoy the B-Mets offense. Stewart hit his first home runs in the month of August on back-to-back nights against Bowie as he collected multi-hit games each night of the series. Stewart is hitting .281 in the second half with an .868 OPS in that time.
Tobi Stoner: Win, 7 IP, 3 H, 6 K, BB
Stoner is coming on stronger than anyone on the roster at the moment. He has now won four straight starts, shutting out the opposition for the second time in his last three. After seeing his ERA balloon to 6.82 in his first seven starts, Stoner rebounded by posting a 1.03 ERA during his four-game win streak with a 19-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio while hitters have accumulated just a .140 batting average.
Jose Sanchez: Win, 7 IP, 4 H, 11 K, 3 BB
The 24-year-old right-hander took over the team lead in wins as he earned his 11th of the season by blanking New Hampshire over seven innings on Thursday night. The 11 strikeouts were a career-high. It was the second time in four starts he went seven innings without giving up a run—last done on July 19 against the Connecticut Defenders. The three walks allowed were the most for Sanchez since issuing three free passes to the Trenton Thunder on June 21.
The High-A Mets did the seemingly impossible in recent weeks and completed a full week's slate of games. St. Lucie was certainly facing off against familiar competition as they played a round robin against the Vero Beach Rays and the Jupiter Hammerheads as they posted a 5-2 record for the week. Since the start of the month, all nine games they played were against either Jupiter or Vero Beach heading into Sunday's action against the Palm Beach Cardinals. The Mets' 25-19 second half record puts them 1 ½ games back of the Daytona Cubs for a playoff spot.
Ezequiel Carrera: 7-24, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 3B, 6 BB, 3 SB
The most impressive part of Carrera's summer is his escalating power. His two-dinger night last Monday was his second in the last two weeks, boosting his slugging percentage for the month to .528—his slugging percentage has climbed every month this season. His 11 triples this year lead the Florida State League and his 25 steals are good for sixth. In a surprising move, after leading off for the entire season, Carrera was moved down to the third spot in the order.
Dylan Owen: 2-0, 13 IP, ER, 13 H, 7 K, 4 BB
The 22-year-old right-hander earned his 10th and 11th victories of the season by giving up one earned run over two starts against Vero Beach. He has now won five straight decisions [six starts] and has not lost since July 3 against Daytona, with only three losses since May 1. He has gone seven innings in three of his last six starts and is 7-2 in ten second half starts with a 3.70 ERA. His 127.2 innings pitched rank him fifth in the FSL entering Sunday.
The Sandgnats have battled tough all season, but momentum appears headed downwards after they snapped their four-game win streak on August 2. Since their 12-4 victory on the first of the month, the club is 1-7 including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Columbus Catfish. After climbing to three games within first place in the Sally League South back in July, they have slid to ten games back due to a 21-26 second half record. The Sandgnats did lose their spark atop their lineup as second baseman Greg Veloz, who is on a tear as of late, was promoted to St. Lucie on Sunday.
Francisco Pena: 11-25, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3B
Pena has not shown much power as of late, but simply putting together consistent contact will be important for the 18-year-old catcher down the stretch as his durability will be closely watched. Last week, he strung together five multi-hit games in a row, raising his August batting average to .406 in ten games. He is hitting .297 in the second half of the season [43-for-145].
Brant Rustich: Win, 5 IP, 2 H, 3 K
Rustich, who has been hampered by a nasty blister in recent weeks, has bounced back and forth from the bullpen to starting of late but got back on the mound last Tuesday for his sixth start of the season. He is now 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA in those six starts and has struck 20 against six walks. It was just the second time as a starter, and the second time this season, that he has gone five innings in an appearance.
The Cyclones are looking to build off a positive week and keep their momentum going. Brooklyn went 4-2 over the week including a three-game sweep over the Lowell Spinners in which they allowed just two runs in three games. The team has won 9 of its last 12 games and is 27-24 overall, four games back of the first place Staten Island Yankees. The club welcomed first-round pick Reese Havens back to the lineup after missing action since July 19.
Chris Schwinden: Win, 7 IP, H, 12 K, BB
The rookie right-hander put together the best night of young career as he nailed down Lowell with his fastball as he fanned a dozen hitters. His 1.02 ERA does not qualify among league leaders because of his comparatively low innings total [35.1], but he is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts, and is 0-1 with a 0.90 ERA in six relief outings. The opposition is hitting just .203 against Schwinden as he has struck out 40 against six walks.
Jeff Kaplan: 7 IP, 2 Saves, 5 K, 2 BB
The coaches experimented with Kaplan as a starter at the beginning of the season, but has since been moved into a long-man/late inning role. Last week, he tossed seven hitless innings and picked up saves against Staten Island and Lowell. He went longer in each outing, throwing one inning, 2 2/3 innings and 3 1/3 innings respectively in each appearance.
The K-Mets battled through their week as they took the series finale against the Elizabethton Twins before taking both games in a rain-shortened series against the Princeton Rays. The club split the first two games against the Bristol Sox, ending the week with a 4-2 mark. The K-Mets are 28-23 overall, 3 ½ games back of the first place Twins.
Wilmer Flores: 10-26, 6 RBI, 2 R, 4 2B, BB
Flores may have slowed from the scorching pace he set at the start of the season as he hit .268 in his last ten games, but he is still putting together multi-hit games [four last week] and driving in runs in bunches. He is homerless in nine games this month, but is still hitting .306 in that time. His .326 season average ranks eighth in the Appalachian League while he ranks tied for third in RBI  and fifth in hits .
Phillips Orta: ND, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 K
The 22-year-old right-hander, who works over hitters with a power fastball and snapping breaking ball, made his first start of the season and blanked Princeton for five innings. The bulk of Orta's 2007 work came in Kingsport where he made 11 starts totaling 53 innings. This season, the opposition is hitting .217 off him as he maintains a groundball/flyball ratio at nearly 2 ½.
The Gulf Coast League Mets pieced together their longest winning streak of the year as the captured four wins in a row with victories over each of their divisional opponents. The Mets are an even .500 [21-21] entering Sunday.
Jeffrey Flagg: 5-18, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 5 BB, 2 SB
Flagg, the Mets' 27th round pick out of Mississippi State, holds just a .215 average in 35 games [23-for-107] entering Sunday, but at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds with good speed [7 SB, 0 CS], he is firmly on the radar despite being 22 years old in the GCL. He has struggled against right-handed pitching with a .198 average [19-for-96] though he has done well against southpaws in limited action [4-for-11].
Kyle Allen: 2 ND, 9 IP, ER, 9 H, 11 K
The hard-throwing 18-year-old and 2008 24th round draft pick is mowing down GCL opposition as he tossed another scoreless outing, going four shutout innings last Sunday before surrendering one run in five innings on Friday. In nine outings [three starts], he boasts a 1.42 ERA with four earned allowed in 25 1/3 innings pitched. The opposition is hitting just .196 off Allen has possesses a near 2-to-1 groundball/flyball ratio and 31 strikeouts against seven walks.
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