Daily Dish: May 5

See also: Thursday’s Daily Dish
See also: Today’s Baseball America Prospect Report

There is no way to sugar-coat it–Brian Bogusevic’s pro career has been a disaster. Never was this more apparent than yesterday, as the lefthander allowed eight runs (seven earned) to West Virginia while allowing three homers and without recording an out.

It is hard to tell which was a bigger story last night, Bogusevic’s meltdown or West Virginia’s record-setting performance. The Power set a low Class A South Atlantic League record by belting seven home runs (six in the first inning) to defeat Lexington 17-2. Even more remarkable, the game was called after just five innings due to rain. When the game was called in the bottom of the fifth, the Power had the bases loaded with two outs and Darren Ford (who was 4-for-4) at the plate.

“I don’t want to use an excuse, but it was prior to a storm coming
in and the wind was blowing out pretty good, It assisted a couple of
balls that went out of the park,” pitching coach Charley Taylor said. “(Bogusevic) didn’t make many good pitches and it was one of those nights where
every ball found a hole. It was like a roller coaster and once it
started, there was no stopping. Just a rough, rough outing and
hopefully he learns from that and that sometimes you need to make
adjustments and make them rather quickly.”

The feat of six homers in one inning has only been done once before in minor league baseball history. The Kansas City Blues hit six homers in the third inning of a 17-4 victory against the St. Paul Saints in a Triple-A American Association game on June 29, 1952. The major league record is five home runs in an inning, most recently accomplished on April 22 when the Power’s parent club, the Brewers, did it against Cincinnati. Of the five times it has happened, four have been against the Reds.

What is perhaps most jarring is that the Power got the ball rolling against Bogusevic, who was a first-round pick of the Astros last June out of Tulane. The 22-year-old struggled last summer in his pro debut in the New York-Penn League after helping to lead Tulane to the College World Series as both a hitter and a pitcher. Because he had pitched so much during the college season, he was on a strict pitch count in the Penn League, and his struggles could be blamed on fatigue and not much was made of his line of 0-2, 7.59.

This season, he does not have fatigue as an excuse. Before last night, he was 0-1, 5.68 in 13 innings, but last night’s debacle dropped his record to 0-2, 10.66. He still has time to turn his pitching around, but if not, the two-way college player could try to fall back on hitting.


Different Animal

Thursday marked Fausto Carmona’s first start at Triple-A Buffalo since returning from the big leagues, and judging from the results in the box score, it seemed more like the 22-year-old righthander was moving from Double-A to Triple-A–not just coming down from Cleveland.

Carmona allowed six runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and stuck out six.

The Tribe’s No. 4 prospect, who went 1-2, 7.94 in 17 innings in the majors, was sent down when the club activated reliever Fernando Cabrera from the disabled list on April 30.

“You know, it was his first start since coming down from the big leagues and I think he was a little tentative with this thoughts about being back (in Triple-A),” Buffalo manager Torey Lovullo said. “That happens to young guys moving up and down, you see it sometimes. He’s going to be fine.”

Carmona’s velocity–he regularly tops out at 96–was down, sitting in the 90-91 range and peaking at 92. But regardless of how hard Carmona was hit in the early going–all six runs scored against him came in the first three innings–he settled down for the final three. Lovullo and his staff were particularly impressed with the way Carmona used his changeup, a pitch that has always lagged behind his fastball and 86-87 mph slider.

“It was a plus pitch at times and overall it was very good,” Lovullo said. “Without a doubt that’s the pitch that he needs to give a different pace to hitters. And based by what we saw when he settled in and started to really pitch after the third (inning), he was a totally different animal than what we’d seen in the past.”

In Triple-A this season, Carmona is now 0-2, 6.06 with a 15-3 strikeout-walk ratio in 16 innings.


With Top Two Gone, Sanchez Steps Up

No Pelfrey? No Soler? No problem for the St. Lucie Mets–at least not last night.

With high-profile righthanders Mike Pelfrey and Alay Soler having been promoted from the high Class A Florida State league to the Double-A Eastern League, Venezuelan righthander Jose Sanchez looked up to the challenge of becoming the new ace in St. Lucie.

Sanchez, 21, struck out five and walked none while allowing just two hits in seven scoreless innings in a win against Palm Beach. He improved to 3-1, 2.04 in six starts this year, with 22 strikeouts and six walks in 35 innings.

“I try not to think about Pelfrey and Soler leaving and me trying to be the No. 1 guy,” Sanchez told the Palm Beach Post. “I’m just worrying about doing the best I can. There’s no pressure.”

A more important question than where he pitches in the rotation is whether the 6-foot, 170-pound Sanchez can sustain his success all season. He got off to a brilliant 9-0, 2.45 start last season at low Class A Hagerstown before wearing down in the second half, finishing 11-5, 4.20 in 133 innings. The Mets believed the problem was a simple matter of stamina, not a deterioration of his stuff. Sanchez continued to show decent command of his 88-91 mph fastball, curveball and changeup–working mostly with his fastball and change–but he struggled with fatigue in the late innings, as evidenced by his 8.59 ERA past the fifth inning of games last year.

But 2005 was Sanchez’ first experience in full-season ball, and he had thrown just 55 innings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2004, so a certain drop-off was natural as he got acclimated to the heavier workload. He could be ready for takeoff now in his second full season.



• Nothing jumps out about him, but Diamondbacks righthander Enrique Gonzalez continued his workmanlike ways for Triple-A Tucson. And after going another six innings last night, the club’s No. 15 prospect brought his season average to six. Said Tucson hitting coach Lorenzo Bundy: “He’s helped our rotation when we’ve been short and saved the bullpen. He’s a strike-thrower who really pounds zone.” Gonzalez’ big league role may ultimately be as a reliever because of his size (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) and because as he tires he tends to leave the ball up . . . Toledo manager Larry Parrish will manage the International League squad in the Triple-A All-Star Game to be played July 12 in Toledo. Omaha manager Mike Jirschele will skipper the Pacific Coast League team. Parrish guided the Mud Hens to the IL title last season and his team compiled a Triple-A best 89-55 record. He was named IL manager of the year. “I know the hometown manager often is chosen to manage in this game,” Parrish told the Toledo Blade, “but I think another reason I was chosen was because of last season”s title. So the team we had here last year should receive a lot of credit for this honor.” . . . West Virginia placed outfielder Michael Brantley on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury . . . Hickory’s Steve Pearce and Springfield’s Reid Gorecki each hit their 10th home runs of the season last night, so they remain tied for the minor league lead in that category.

Contributing: Matt Eddy.