THREE THINGS I THINK: 1. I am not quite as worried about the offense as I was last week. Yes, the Hens are next-to-last in the 14-team IL with a .211 team batting average. But I’m more worried about scoring just 31 runs in 11 games (that’s tied with Louisville for the lowest runs-per-game production in the league). Something to consider: There’s certainly a correlation that the two teams Toledo has played, Louisville and Indianapolis, rank one-two in the IL in ERA. But it’s also a bit of an explanation for the slow offensive start. 2. The Mud Hens bullpen has been lights-out early in the season. So far Toledo’s relievers have allowed just three earned runs in 34 innings for a 0.79 ERA. Six different relievers – Kenny Faulk, Matt Hoffman, Jose Ortega, Luke Putkonen, Evan Reed and Bruce Rondon – have not allowed an earned run, and all but Putkonen are unscored upon. 3. It’s early, but this three-game series with Indianapolis is still an important early season series. Why? The Mud Hens already have lost three times to the Indians and are four games behind them in the IL West standings. The Hens need to close the gap between the two teams early in the season, not to mention prove that Toledo can beat the Tribe.
WHO’S HOT: 1B Jordan Lennerton has hit .353 in the team’s first 10 games with a home run, six RBIs and five runs scored. … OF Quintin Berry has six hits in his last 13 at-bats and has raised his batting average from .154 to .256 in 11 games. … As mentioned above, the Toledo bullpen has been red-hot, posting a 0.79 ERA as a unit. It’s a big reason the Mud Hens are tied for second in the IL with a 3.06 team ERA.
WHO’S NOT: The Toledo offense has posted a .220 batting average in its first 10 games and is tied for last in the IL in fewest runs per game with 2.8 per contest. … OF Danny Dorn has just two hits in his last 24 at-bats (.083), although the two hits have been home runs. … 1B John Lindsey has just three hits in his last 30 at-bats (.100). … IF Danny Worth has just five hit in his last 34 at-bats (.147). … LHP Pat Misch has struggled in his first two starts, allowing 12 hits and five walks in 6.1 innings. He enters Monday’s start against Indianapolis with an 0-2 record and 12.79 ERA.
THE WEEK AHEAD: The Mud Hens will host Indianapolis for three games Monday-Wednesday, April 15-17, before closing its first homestand of 2013 with a pair of games against Columbus on Thursday-Friday, April 18-19. Then Toledo begins its second-longest road trip of the year with three games at Columbus Saturday-Monday, April 20-22.
NEWS WORTH NOTING: The Mud Hens begin this week in fourth place in the International League’s West Division, four games behind first-place Indianapolis. Toledo is three games behind Columbus and Louisville, who are tied for second. … The Hens also are four games behind Syracuse in the Wild Card chase. There are seven teams between the Chiefs and Mud Hens, though. … Pawtucket has won nine of its first 10 games this season to lead the North Division with the IL’s best record. Indianapolis is tied with Durham for the second-best record in the league. … Indy’s Brett Carroll was named IL hitter of the week after batting .588 in six games, three of which came against Toledo. It marked the second time in as many weeks that an IL player received weekly league honors playing against the Hens, as Louisville’s Tony Cingrani was the pitcher of the week after his 14-strikeout effort against the Hens.
LAST WEEK’S TRANSACTIONS: April 10-RHP Jose Valverde assigned to Toledo and placed on the inactive list; RHP Luis Marte placed on the disabled list. April 12-LHP Ramon Garcia promoted to Toledo from Double-A Erie.