The Mud Hens suffered a 3-1 loss to Louisville at Fifth Third Field Sunday, Toledo's fifth straight setback and ninth loss in the last 10 games. The Hens are now 42-68 this season -- and with the win, the Bats are now 43-67, meaning Toledo now has the worst record in the International League.
Here are a few notes and quotes from the game, as well as some roster moves for the Mud Hens. Here we go ...
First, I talked to LHP Andy Oliver about his move to the bullpen, and he said he was comfortable with the change. "I don't have a problem with it. Whatever way I can help this team, or help [in Detroit] I'm fine with," he said. "It's definitely a different experience, and something I'll have to adjust to. But I don't think that is something that will take a long time."
I asked Oliver what the adjustments would be: "I'll need to get warmed up quicker. You don't have as many pitches to throw, so you have to get loose quicker, throw your pitches and get a good feel for them before you go out there. Also, you come into the game in the middle of the game and can come in in the middle of a situation. I don't think it's going to be a big adjustment. I don't know if it will take two or three appearances [to adjust]. But it's still pitching."
Oliver also said he has no plans to subtract pitches from his repertoire now that he is moving to the bullpen. "Until I see something different, I'm not going to change anything unless I feel a pitch isn't going to work out of the bullpen."
Click here to read about Oliver's move to the bullpen in Sunday's Blade Mud Hens notebook.
Smyly will start Tuesday's contest against Louisville, which begins at noon at Fifth Third Field. The originally scheduled starter that day, RHP Thad Weber, will have his next start pushed back until Thursday (the Hens have an off-day on Wednesday).
Thursday's originally scheduled starter, LHP Ramon Garcia, was sent to Double-A Erie after the Mud Hens' game Sunday to make room on the roster for Smyly.
Smyly was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 7 with a right intercostal strain, basically a strained muscle in his ribcage. He threw off a mound Tuesday and Sunday without incident, indicating he was ready to return to action.
Unfortunately for him, the Tigers filled his spot in the rotation when they traded with Miami for RHP Anibal Sanchez.
Smyly made 15 starts for Detroit and was 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA. He allowed 80 hits and 21 walks in 79.1 innings, striking out 75 along the way. The 23-year-old lefty had won his last two starts with the Tigers but has not pitched in a game since July 6 against Kansas City.
It's interesting to note that Smyly has struggled in two starts with the Mud Hens and has a 12.27 ERA here. He gave up three hits and two walks that resulted in three earned runs in just 1.2 innings in an April 7 start against Indianapolis, then allowed four hits and three runs, two of which were earned in a June 21 start against Lehigh Valley that was shortened to two innings because of rain.
Next, here's an update on OF Andy Dirks, who has continued his rehab assignment with the Mud Hens. On Sunday Dirks went 0-for-4 with three groundouts -- one an inning-ending double play in the fourth -- as well as a ninth-inning strikeout in the Hens' loss to Louisville Sunday.
Dirks now has gone hitless in his last 10 at-bats, although he does have a pair of walks in that span. He currently is hitting .174 with a home run, two RBIs and a stolen base in seven games with Toledo.
In short, it's what you might expect from a player who hasn't seen live pitching in nearly two months. Dirks, you may remember, was placed on the disabled list June 3 (retroactive to May 31). because of right Achilles tendinitis.
Dirks has shown no ill effects from the injury. He seems to be running smoothly, both on the basepaths and in the outfield. Dirks just needs to continue to see live pitching to get his bat back to the place where he was before the injury -- when he hit .328 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 37 games with the Tigers.
Coming in a few minutes ... a separate story analyzing Casey Crosby's start for the Mud Hens Sunday versus Louisville.