TWITTER POST: Mud Hens come back from All-Star Break & win 3-of-4 from SWB to improve to 10-4 in July & claim 6-1 home record since July 3
THREE THINGS I THINK: 1. The Hens have a really strong bullpen right now. Toledo has three high draft picks who are viewed as top-notch closers – Chance Ruffin, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth. Enrique Gonzalez and Fu-Te Ni have experience, Matt Hoffman has pitched well and Jose Ortega has a live arm. 2. What a difference a month makes. After posting a 7-22 record in June, the Mud Hens already have surpassed that with a 10-4 start to July. Toledo has the IL’s best record this month because of a 3.42 ERA, but the team’s .274 batting average hasn’t hurt. 3. Mud Hen catchers are struggling at the plate. Omir Santos was in a 2-for-23 slump (.087) before going on the disabled list July 5, while Max St-Pierre is in a 2-for-41 funk (.049) and Jeff Kunkel has gone 0-for-8 since returning to the Hens.
WHO’S HOT: While 1B Ryan Strieby has hit just .256 in his last 10 games, he has produced three home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored. … 2B Will Rhymes has batted .424 in his last nine contests with three RBIs and seven runs. … Since coming to the Hens on July 2, LHP Daniel Schlereth has allowed just three hits and one walk that have produced one earned run in 6.1 innings, striking out 13 in that span.
WHO’S NOT: 1B-OF Scott Thorman has played in just three of the Hens’ last 10 games and has gone 2-for-12 at the plate (.167). … OF Jeff Salazar has hit just .214 in his last eight games but does have six hits in his last 18 at-bats. … LHP Andy Oliver has given up 11 hits and 16 earned runs in his last two starts (11.2 innings). More troubling is his eight walks (to go with just seven strikeouts) in those 11.2 innings of work.
THE WEEK AHEAD: The Mud Hens begin a four-game series in Norfolk Monday through Thursday, July 18-21, then play four games in Durham Friday through Monday, July 22-25.
NEWS WORTH NOTING: The Mud Hens are 19-31 at Fifth Third Field this season, the same number of home wins as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. One problem: the Yankees have played eight fewer home games than Toledo. … The Mud Hens have two of the three toughest hitters to strike out in the IL this season. Timo Perez ranks second in that category, striking out once every 16.2 plate appearances, while Will Rhymes is next with one whiff every 9.4 trips to the plate. … After the just-completed homestand, the Mud Hens have hosted 350,790 fans in 47 “openings” at Fifth Third Field. Toledo ranks sixth in the 14-team IL with its average of 7,464 fans per game.
LAST WEEK’S TRANSACTIONS: July 15-2B Carlos Guillen completes rehab assignment and returns to Detroit; IF Danny Worth is optioned to Toledo. RHP Ryan Perry is optioned to Toledo from Detroit. RHPs Brendan Wise and L.J. Gagnier are demoted to Double-A Erie to make room on the Toledo roster for Worth and Perry. July 16-LHP Brad Thomas clears waivers and is assigned to Toledo, where he is put on the temporary inactive list.