Only the Rain Can Rust the Lugnuts

Thursday, April 10 2008 @ 10:41 PM EDT

Contributed by: Marc Hulet

The streaking Lugnuts were rained out in Lansing but the other clubs went 2-1 on the night and showed some offence, unlike the parent club.

Syracuse 6 Indianapolis 1

The Chiefs had a rude welcome for former Jay and Chief Ty Taubenheim, now a starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians, after he was claimed on waivers by the parent club Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1.1 innings, Taubenheim allowed nine hits, six runs and did not strike out a batter. He fell to 0-2. Jesse Chavez then came in from the bullpen and struck out five straight Chiefs and the offence crawled into a hole for the rest of the night.

Veteran minor league pitcher Kane Davis pitched well again and went six innings and allowed only three hits and one unearned run. He walked one and struck out two. Tracy Thorpe threw a hitless innings and struck out one. Shawn Camp went two innings, allowed two hits and struck out four.

Offensively, Lind was the star as he went 4-for-4 and raised his average to .448. He hit his second homer of the year and drove in four. Russ Adams, playing right field, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Second baseman Joe Inglett performed well as the leadoff hitter and went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Pedro Lopez went 2-for-4 as the shortstop and batted ninth. He scored a run. Catcher Robinzon Diaz went 0-for-3 but drove in a run. Sergio Santos continues to struggle at the Triple-A level and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He is batting .143 and also had an error in the game.

Connecticut 4 New Hampshire 2

Canadian Scott Richmond had an up-and-down night for New Hampshire and allowed four runs over 4.2 innings of work. He walked three and struck out five. Kyle Yates pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit ball and lefty Mike Gallo went two innings and struck out two. Offensively, the Fisher Cats woke up a bit and out-hit the Defenders 11 to eight. Scott Campbell went 2-for-5 to keep his average above .500 at .524. Unfortunately, he grounded into double plays twice late in the game to kill rallies. Aaron Mathews was 2-for-4. Kyle Phillips, brother of former Jay Jason Phillips, went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Ryan Klosterman was 1-for-2 with a double, a run scored and two walks. Jacob Butler and Anthony Hatch were both 0-for-4.

Dunedin 7 Tampa 5

Reider Gonzalez had another nice outing. He went six innings and allowed one run on five hits. He did not walk or strike out a batter. He induced 11 groundball outs and six fly ball outs and is now 2-0 on the young season. Armando Benitez was roughed up and allowed five hits and three runs in one inning of work. Zach Dials recorded his third save. Offensively, Travis Snider went 2-for-5 with a double and a solo homer. Third baseman Jesus Gonzalez also went yard. Brian Dopirak continued his hot hitting and was 2-for-4. Brad Emaus has two late game hits, including a triple. He drove in two runs. Catcher Matt Liuzza had a tough night and went 0-for-4 and had two passed balls.

Lansing and South Bend was rained out. The game will be made up in May.

Despite having the second youngest offence in the league (Clinton is the youngest), the Lugnuts lead the entire league in hitting with a .328 average, .397 on-base percentage, .494 slugging percentage and doubles with 18. West Michigan, with one of the oldest offences in the league, is second in batting average at .291. Lansing is second in homers and walks.

Justin Jackson, supposedly a raw prep player when drafted, has five walks and four strikeouts in 23 at-bats as the leadoff hitter. Raul Barron, who can play 2B, 3B and SS, started the season 9-for-13 and has yet to strike out (or walk). First baseman Manny Rodriguez is 14-for-26 (.538) and has two homers and leads the league with 13 RBI. 2008 first round draft pick Kevin Ahrens is 10-for-28 (.357) and has walked six times while striking out five times.

Left-handed reliever Cody Crowell could be this year’s Seth Overbey. He has pitched in two games, and recorded nine outs on eight strikeouts. Interestingly, he has faced nine right-handed batters, walked two and struck out seven. He is a soft-tosser who may be too good for A-ball but would likely hit a wall at Double-A at this point.

Three Stars:
3. Kyle Phillips, 3-for-4, double, RBI
2. Kane Davis, six innings, three hits, unearned run, W 1-1
1. Adam Lind, 4-for-4, homer, four RBI

If you haven't already done so, you can pick up a copy of the second issue of Behind the Dish. The free, digital magazine is devoted to the Jays minor league season and is available weekly. This issue has an interview with Canadian southpaw A. J. Wideman and director of player development Dick Scott, who explains how player assignments are decided upon at the beginning of each season.