Dragons beat Hot Rods 6-2 in error-riddled game

Dayton Dragons 3B Gavin LaValley went 3-for-5 with a home run.

Dragons 3B Gavin LaValley went 3-for-5 with a homer.

Five Dayton Dragons had multiple hits to lead their team to a 6-2 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods in a Saturday night game that included six errors. (A seventh error was changed to a hit after the game.)

The Dragons offense was led by Gavin LaValley, whose three hits included a solo homer. Ronald Bueno, Brian O’Grady, Avain Rachal and Narciso Crook additionally had two hits each for Dayton.

Dayton Dragons LF Narciso Crook went 2-for-5 with a two-run double Saturday.

Dragons LF Narciso Crook went 2-for-5 with a two-run double.

Jonathan Reynoso went 0-for-4 with a walk, yet managed to reach base four times. In addition to the walk, he reached base on an error three times.

Dragons baserunner Jonathan Reynoso slides back safely to first. Alec Sole is manning the base for the Hot Rods.

Dragons baserunner Jonathan Reynoso slides back safely to first. Alec Sole is manning the base for the Hot Rods.

Riley Unroe was the only Hot Rods player to collect two hits, though Thomas Milone and Mac James each drew a pair of walks.

Hot Rods 2B Riley Unroe stands at second base during Saturday's game.

Hot Rods 2B Riley Unroe stands at second base during Saturday’s game.

Just as he had earlier in the series, Milone showed off his defensive skills with a great play in the outfield. LaValley, who had homered earlier in the game, crushed the ball to deep centerfield, but Milone hauled it in by making a catch while running at full tilt.

Thomas Milone patrolled centerfield for the Hot Rods on Saturday.

Hot Rods CF Thomas Milone

LHP Mike Sullivan was credited with the win after striking out four in three scoreless innings of relief. He gave up one hit and one walk.

Dragons LHP Mike Sullivan

Dragons LHP Mike Sullivan

The four-game series closes out Sunday with a matinee game that pits Hot Rods RHP Hunter Wood (0-2, 1.44 ERA) vs. Dragons LHP Junior Morillo (1-1, 4.09 ERA). It will be my last game in Bowling Green on this road trip.

Note from the Dragons game story: Garrett Boulware and Shed Long completed three-game suspensions Saturday and will be eligible to play Sunday. Both were among seven Dragons players suspended after an on-field altercation at South Bend on June 17. Avain Rachal and Jose Ortiz will begin three-game suspensions Sunday.

Dragons 1B Avain Rachal

Dragons 1B Avain Rachal

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Dayton Dragons, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Midwest League HR leader promoted to High-A

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Casey Gillaspie (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Casey Gillaspie (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Midwest League home-run leader Casey Gillaspie has been promoted to the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League, the Tampa Bay Rays announced today.

Gillaspie batted .278 with 16 HR and 44 RBI in in 64 games with the Bowling Green Hot Rods this season. He went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s game, his last with the Hot Rods.

He is replaced on the roster by third baseman Carter Burgess.

Gillaspie is the third Hot Rods All-Star to be promoted since the All-Star Game was played Tuesday. RHP Brent Honeywell and utility player Jace Conrad were promoted to High-A on Thursday; they were replaced with LHP Jordan Harrison and catcher Sean Smedley.

Posted in 2015 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Florida State League, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Hot Rods win pitchers duel, end losing streak

Greg Harris struck out nine and earned the win for the Hot Rods on Friday.

Greg Harris struck out nine and earned the win for the Hot Rods on Friday.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods beat the Dayton Dragons 1-0 to end their eight-game losing streak Friday.

The game started 28 minutes late because of a rain delay, but it was a quick affair that finished one hour and 50 minutes after the first pitch was thrown. It was the shortest nine-inning game in Hot Rods history, and lasted only one minute longer than the shortest Dragons game.

The only run of the game was driven in by Alec Sole, who started at first base for the Hot Rods instead of usual starter Casey Gillaspie. He drove in catcher Mac James, who went 3-for-3.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 1B Alec Sole

Bowling Green Hot Rods first baseman Alec Sole

Greg Harris got the win, improving to 4-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 13 starts this season. He struck out nine while scattering three hits over seven innings. Neither he nor Dragons starter Wyatt Strahan walked anyone — the game’s only base on balls was issued by Hot Rods reliever Edgar Gomez, who struck out three batters in two innings and earned the save.

Strahan pitched the complete game for Dayton, striking out six batters while giving up one run on seven hits in eight innings. His record is now 5-5 with a 3.07 ERA.

Dayton Dragons starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan (left) and first baseman Avain Rachal

Dayton Dragons starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan (left) and first baseman Avain Rachal

The walk by Gomez was the only one issued by either team in the first two games of their four-game series. (Read my post about the first game here.)

Game 3 of the series is scheduled to begin at 6:05 p.m. CST, with RHP Jake Paulson (1-2, 2.88 ERA) starting for the Dragons and RHP Hyrum Formo (4-2, 4.96 ERA) taking the hill for the Hot Rods.

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Dayton Dragons, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Sandberg resigns as Phillies manager

Ryne Sandberg resigned Friday as manager of the Phillies. Pete Mackanin, who was Philadelphia’s third-base coach, was named the team’s interim manager.

Sandberg took over as Phillies skipper in August 2013 after the team fired his predecessor, Charlie Manuel. Philadelphia went 119-159 during Sandberg’s tenure.

Sandberg, Mackanin and Manuel each were skippers in the Midwest League at the start of their managerial careers.

Sandberg managed the Peoria Chiefs in 2007 and 2008.

Mackanin managed the Chiefs in 1985 and 1986. He replaced current Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon, who was Peoria’s field manager in 1984, and was succeeded by Jim Tracy, who managed the Chiefs in 1987 and 1988 before spending 11 seasons as a big-league skipper. Mackanin’s 1985 Chiefs team included future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Greg Maddux.

Manuel managed the Wisconsin Rapids Twins in 1983, sixteen years after he played for the Midwest League team. I previously wrote about Manuel’s time in the MWL as both a player and a manager here.

Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Dragons hand Hot Rods their 8th loss in a row

BGvD on scoreboard

The second half of the Midwest League season got underway Thursday, and I’m kicking it off with a four-day stay in Bowling Green to see the Hot Rods host the Dayton Dragons.

This is my first trip back to the Kentucky city since 2011, the year I went to all 16 MWL ballparks and started this blog as a chronicle of my travels. The Midwest League Traveler website has grown quite a bit since its humble beginnings, and I’m happy to report that Bowling Green Ballpark also has gotten better with age. Many improvements were made over the past few years; I will write more about them in a future post, but here is a teaser photo of one of the most obvious changes.

This carousel was added to Bowling Green Ballpark about a month ago.

This carousel was added to Bowling Green Ballpark about a month ago.

Anyway, both teams picked up where they left off at the end of the first half. The Dragons won 3-2, giving them nine wins in their last 10 games. The Hot Rods lost their eighth consecutive game after going 10-2 in their previous dozen.

The winning run was a solo homer by Avain Rachal, who had three hits in the game. Bowling Green’s Riley Unroe also had three hits.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 2B Riley Unroe

Bowling Green Hot Rods second baseman Riley Unroe

Hunter Lockwood went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI for the Hot Rods.

Bowling Green Hot Rods DH Hunter Lockwood

Bowling Green Hot Rods DH Hunter Lockwood at second base

Dayton’s Brian O’Grady hit a double in the 6th inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games. Gavin LaValley went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but the Dragons infielder entered the game leading all of Minor League Baseball with a .431 batting average since May 27.

Gavin LaValley bats for the Dayton Dragons.

Gavin LaValley bats for the Dayton Dragons.

Dragons LHP Seth Varner got the win, improving to 7-4 this season. He gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked none. In fact, no pitcher issued a walk in the game, which lasted only two hours and 13 minutes.

Dayton Dragons LHP Seth Varner

Dayton Dragons LHP Seth Varner

Hot Rods RHP Enderson Franco got a no-decision after giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out six batters.

Bowling Green Hot Rods RHP Enderson Franco

Bowling Green Hot Rods RHP Enderson Franco

Game 2 of the series is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. CST, with RHP Wyatt Strahan (5-4, 3.28 ERA) starting for the Dragons and RHP Greg Harris (3-5, 2.72 ERA) taking the hill for the Hot Rods.

Hot Rods transactions

Two of Bowling Green’s All-Star players were promoted to High-A before the game. RHP Brent Honeywell and utility man Jace Conrad were replaced on the roster by LHP Jordan Harrison and catcher Sean Smedley.

Jace Conrad was the Eastern Division's starting second baseman in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Jace Conrad was the Eastern Division’s starting second baseman in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2015 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Dayton Dragons, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Two MWL pitchers chosen for Futures Game

A pair of Midwest League pitchers was chosen to participate in this year’s All-Star Futures Game.

Kane County Cougars RHP Wei-Chieh Huang, from Taiwan, and West Michigan Whitecaps RHP Joe Jimenez, from Puerto Rico, were selected for the World Team.

Huang is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA, 38 strikeouts and five walks in 36.2 innings (six starts) this season. Jimenez is 3-1 with a 1.66 ERA, seven saves, 35 strikeouts and seven walks in 21.2 innings (21 appearances/10 save opportunities) this season.

There are many former Midwest League players on both the World and the U.S. teams. You can see the rosters here.

The game will be played Sunday, July 12, at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. It will be broadcast on MLB Network.

Posted in 2015 All-Star Futures Game, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

MWL All-Star Game: East beats West 5-0

Great Lakes Loons RHP Grant Holmes was one of 14 pitchers used by the Eastern Division.

Great Lakes Loons RHP Grant Holmes was one of 14 pitchers used by the Eastern Division.

Eastern Division pitching dominated the Midwest League All-Star Game as the Western Division was held scoreless in the 5-0 contest at Peoria’s Dozer Park.

The East All-Stars scored in the top of the 1st inning, on an RBI single by Lansing’s Ryan McBroom. That was enough to win before the West All-Stars even took an at-bat, and the East’s pitching staff immediately showed it meant business. Starter Jeremy Null of the South Bend Cubs gave up one hit and struck out three in his inning of work, earning him the win and the game’s Top Star Award.

Fourteen Eastern Division pitchers combined efforts to limit the Western Division to three hits and a walk. They struck out 16 batters. The fourteen Western Division pitchers struck out 13 batters.

In addition to McBroom’s run batted in, the East All-Stars got RBI from South Bend’s Charcer Burks, Bowling Green’s Grant Kay, and Great Lakes’ Mike Ahmed.

South Bend's Charcer Burks drove in a run for the East in the 4th inning.

South Bend’s Charcer Burks drove in a run for the East All-Stars in the 4th inning.

Only two players collected two hits — West Michigan’s Michael Gerber for the East and Quad Cities’ Jacob Nottingham for the West.

West Michigan's Michael Gerber collected two hits for the East All-Stars.

West Michigan’s Michael Gerber collected two hits for the East All-Stars.

Lansing’s Anthony Alford and Peoria’s Oscar Mercado each stole a base.

You can read the game’s box score here.

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2015 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Great Lakes Loons, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment