Wladimir Balentien went berserk (in a good way) against New Orleans, Jeff Clement joined in the barrage, Neil Walker could be on to something, Colby Rasmus went deep twice and Kevin Mulvey and Sean Gallagher each suffered their worst starts of the year.
Check out yesterday’s Triple-A Dish.
Prospect Of The Day
At the end of play April 18, Indianapolis third baseman Neil Walker (Pirates) was batting just .173/.254/.385. He sat out a few games before returning to action Wednesday. Last night, Walker collected a hit in his fifth straight game, as part of a 3-for-5 night in which he scored two runs and hit his second triple of the season. Unfortunately, he struck out in his two other at-bats.
Since his reprieve, Walker has reeled off a hit in five of six games and is hitting .296/.345/.444 with two doubles and a triple in those 27 at-bats, with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Rochester RHP Kevin Mulvey (Twins) saw his ERA rise by more than two full runs, to 3.21, after his poor outing against Pawtucket yesterday. He struck out four in 4 2/3 innings, but surrendered seven runs on nine hits and four walks. He also served up his first home run of the season (covering 28 innings), a two-run shot to 1B Sandy Madera . . . By going 1-for-5 with a double last night, Toledo 2B Michael Hollimon (Tigers) continued his power-hitting barrage. Six of his eight hits on the season have gone for extra bases, so while he’s hitting just .258 with a .303 on-base percentage, Hollimon is slugging .613. That’s probably unsustainable, but still very intriguing for a middle infielder . . . For Columbus RHP Tyler Clippard (Nationals), Monday’s game at Louisville must have seemed just like any other. He left after six innings, having surrendered one unearned run on two hits and four walks. Little did he know, the game would continue for another 11 innings after he left. Bats CF Jay Bruce batted once as a pinch-hitter in this contest, but he lined out with two runners on in the ninth.
What To Watch For Today
The IL pitching showdown of the day commences at 7 p.m. at Lehigh Valley, where Syracuse LHP David Purcey (Blue Jays, 2-1, 2.16) meets LHP J.A. Happ (Phillies, 0-3, 4.44). Happ (32) and Purcey (30) rank Nos. 1-2 in the IL in strikeouts . . . Or if you prefer righthanders, look to Charlotte (11:15 a.m.), where Norfolk RHP Radhames Liz (Orioles, 0-2, 5.82) meets RHP Lance Broadway (White Sox, 3-1, 1.29).
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Prospect Of The Day
Tacoma right fielder Wladimir Balentien (Mariners) twice connected for two home runs in a game last season with the Rainiers, and he did so once while with Double-A San Antonio in 2006. But those outbursts paled in comparison with his performance last night: 3-for-6 with three home runs in a 15-9 rout of New Orleans. Two of Balentien’s blasts came with a runner on base—and one was an inside-the-parker—giving him five RBIs to go with his 12 total bases.
The game was just Balentien’s second after an eight-game layoff brought about when he slid into the outfield wall April 19 and bruised his left knee. Regarding his inside-the-park shot, Balentien told The (Tacoma) News Tribune (in the story, Balentien also updates the status of his knee):
“First thing I thought it was a triple. Then I saw (third base coach Alonzo) Powell waving and I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ This was very good for the team.”
Tacoma C Jeff Clement, Balentien’s Mariners teammate, connected for three hits in five at-bats yesterday, hitting his eighth double of the year, driving in a run and scoring twice. His seasonal averages now stand at .397/.535/.692, and he’s getting it done versus lefties (.978 OPS) and in Tacoma’s difficult home park (.818 OPS) . . . Memphis CF Colby Rasmus (Cardinals) also connected for multiple home runs yesterday, clubbing two as part of a 2-for-4 effort. Four of his five home runs for the year have come in his last six games . . . The Rangers’ catching logjam was loosened by Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s recall to Texas, meaning a promotion to Oklahoma for C Taylor Teagarden. He collected his first Triple-A hit yesterday, after walking twice in his debut Saturday . . . Iowa RHP Sean Gallagher’s (Cubs) suffered his worst start of the season last night at Fresno (5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 SO).
What To Watch For Today
The Royals opted to call up Luke Hochevar when Hideo Nomo was sent packing, but Omaha RHP Kyle Davies (Royals, 2-1, 0.90) has pitched just as well, if not better. His Royals play at Sacramento at 10 p.m. . . . Oklahoma RHP Eric Hurley (Rangers, 1-1, 6.93) ranks second in the PCL with 32 strikeouts, but after last week’s start in which he surrendered three long balls, he also ranks third with six homers allowed. He’ll try to get back in a groove at Portland (10 p.m.).
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