See also: Monday's Daily Dish
See also: Today's Baseball America Prospect Report
Lakewood has dominated the South Atlantic League's Northern Division in the second half of the season on the strength of its fantastic pitching, and it was the same old story last night.
Lefthander Matt Maloney lowered his ERA to 1.99 and improved his record to 16-8 in pitching five scoreless innings for the BlueClaws in a 3-1 victory against Delmarva. The Mississippi product allowed only one hit over five innings while walking four and striking out four to bring his league-leading total up to 172.
"(Maloney) gets big outs when he needs to. He just changes speeds well," Delmarva manager Gary Kendall told The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md. "Tonight we had some opportunities. He walked some guys which is unlike him. We just couldn't deliver with some big hits."
By scoring a run in the ninth inning last night, Delmarva avoided being shut out by Lakewood for the sixth time this season.
With last night's win Lakewood is now 44-19 in the second half and leads the Northern Division by 10 1/2 games. One look at the SAL pitching leaders tells you all you need to know.
Maloney is second in ERA while righthander Carlos Carrasco is third (2.19) and lefthander Josh Outman is fifth (2.89). The trio are also top three in the league in strikeouts.
As a team, Lakewood leads the SAL in ERA (3.06), strikeouts (1,106), home runs (46). As a result, the Claws are headed to the postseason for the first time since joining the SAL in 2001.
Golson Goes Off
Greg Golson is the kind of prospect than can leave prospect watchers scratching their heads.
Based solely on the stats, he's had a year to forget. The Phillies' 2004 first-rounder just performed poorly at low Class A Lakewood this season, hitting .220/.258/.333 with 107 strikeouts in 381 at-bats while repeating the league. The Phillies promoted him anyway when they needed to fill a hole in center field at high Class A Clearwater, after Brian Burgamy was promoted to Double-A Reading.
But when you look at his tools, he's the kind of guy that scouts will give every opportunity to get things figured out at the plate.
"He's got all of the tools. He's shown great ability in center," Clearwater manager Greg Legg said. "He has a strong arm. He has a chance to hit for power; he has speed on the bases."
Instead of falling apart after his promotion, Golson has responded to it, giving the Phillies some signs of hope with a strong finish to his season in Clearwater. That's never been more apparent than Monday night, when Golson hit for the cycle to help lead Clearwater to a 5-1 win against Fort Myers.
Golson led off the game by hitting a home run off of Miracle starter Anthony Swarzak. He followed that up with an RBI single in the second, helping to chase Swarzak after only two innings. Swarzak allowed four runs, two of them earned, in his shortest stint with Fort Myers.
Golson added a triple in the fourth, was hit by a pitch in his next trip, but then doubled in the eighth to complete the cycle. The double may have been the highlight of the night, as he turned what looked to be a bloop single into the double to complete the cycle.
"It was a hustle double," Legg said. "He never broke stride. It was a big night for him. He stayed in (on the ball) good. He laid off some breaking balls. For a high school (draftee) hitting sometimes comes later. He's starting to recognize pitches."
In 133 at-bats, Golson is now hitting .271/.336/.489 for Clearwater, with 15 extra-base hits. He also has 10 walks (an average of one per every 13.3 at-bats), compared to his average of one walk per every 20 at-bats in Lakewood.
• The Pirates placed catcher Neil Walker on the disabled list last week with a viral infection. Walker, the club's first-round pick in 2004, played in just five games at Double-A Altoona after being promoted from high Class A Lynchburg. While there is no timetable for his return, Walker still is expected to head to the Arizona Fall League in October.
• Reds righthander Homer Bailey continued his dominance over Southern League hitters on Monday. Bailey allowed just a pair of hits over six shutout innings and whiffed eight in Double-A Chattanooga's 8-7 win against Carolina. The Mudcats' first hit against Bailey didn't come until the fourth inning, when shortstop Rex Rundgren singled on a ground ball back up the middle. With Cincinnati general manager Wayne Krivsky in attendance at BellSouth Park, Bailey maintained mid-90s velocity throughout the start, mixing in his plus curveball and changeup. He topped out at 97 mph–on his last pitch of the night–while striking out Carolina third baseman Lee Mitchell. Since being promoted from high Class A Sarasota, the 20-year-old righthander is now 7-0, 1.06 with a 77-24 strikeout-walk ratio in 68 innings. Overall, Bailey has 156 strikeouts and just 46 walks in 139 innings.
• It's been a tough road for Diamondbacks outfielder Carlos Gonzalez since the 20-year-old Venezuelan was promoted to Double-A Tennessee . . . until Monday, that is. Gonzalez, who has still been feeling the effects of being hit in the neck by a pitch prior to being promoted, went 3-for-5 and hit his first Double-A home run Monday in Tennessee's 10-5 win at Jacksonville. Before that, Gonzalez was 4-for-20 as he struggled to find a comfort zone with his swing since getting plunked. "When I first saw him, he was 17 and I thought he was the best young hitter we'd signed," Smokies manager Bill Plummer said. "He's scuffled a little bit up here, but that's normal. He's a five-tool player with a 70-75 arm in right field. He's going to be just fine."
• Devil Rays outfielder Delmon Young will soon make his long-awaited major league debut. The 20-year-old was called up from Triple-A Durham when the Rays placed outfielder Jonny Gomes on the disabled list. Young hit .316/.341/.474 in 342 at-bats for Durham.
• Tigers lefthander Andrew Miller, the No. 6 pick in June's draft, will be called up today to work out of the club's bullpen. The move will also make Miller eligible for the postseason roster if the club chooses to carry a lefthanded reliever to complement Jamie Walker. A clause in his major league contract mandates Miller, 21, be called up this season, but now he's going up even sooner than expected due to an injury to Mike Maroth. He's appeared in three games for high Class A Lakeland, giving up two hits and no runs in five innings, while striking out nine.
• Pirates righthander Jonah Bayliss was called up to the major league club when lefthanders Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny were placed on the disabled list. Bayliss, 26, went 3-3, 2.17 with 23 saves for Triple-A Indianapolis.
"Bayliss really competes," Norfolk pitching coach Randy Niemann said. "He's got a tougher arm angle and good velocity. He looked like he wanted to fight you on mound. He's got outstanding makeup."
• Indians third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, 25, launched his seventh Triple-A home run last night for Buffalo, building on his breakout season that began at Double-A Akron. Between the two levels, he's hitting .384/.445/.674 in 328 at-bats.
Contributing: Matt Eddy, Chris Kline.