THREE THINGS I THINK: 1. The Hens’ chances of reaching the break-even mark remain practically impossible. The Mud Hens enter the All-Star Break at 41-58, and will need a 31-14 finish to end at 72-72. That 31-14 pace is a .689 winning percentage … and it would take a miracle to reach it. 2. Danny Dorn deserves the hitting accolades he has received recently. Dorn was named IL player of the week last week – click here to read the story – and also was added to the IL All-Star team. And he “quietly” has put together three very productive offensive months, giving him a chance to reach some single-season Hens highs. 3. The pitching, especially the starting rotation, is getting even more scrambled. On Sunday the Tigers announced a pair of additions to the rotation in Jeremy Bonderman and Jon Link. The staff bears watching in the final month of the season.
WHO’S HOT: OF Avisail Garcia has hit .390 with two home runs, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in his last nine games. … IF Argenis Diaz has batted .364 in his last nine contests with four RBIs and six runs scored. … IF-OF Kevin Russo has hit .500 in his last five contests. … LHP Jose Alvarez has returned to the rotation with a bang, allowing just 10 hits and three earned runs in 15.0 innings in his last two starts. … LHP Blaine Hardy has allowed just eight hits and one walk while striking out 11 in 10 July innings. Since joining the Hens in late June he is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA.
WHO’S NOT: OF Nick Castellanos has batted just .190 in his last 10 games and entered the All-Star Break in a 3-for-21 (.143) funk. … 1B Jordan Lennerton also limped into the break, going hitless in his last 11 at-bats and hitting just .194 in his last eight contests. … 3B Mike Cervenak has batted just .161 in his last nine games. … RHP Justin Souza has struggled since joining the Hens in late June, allowing 13 hits and seven walks in just 7.2 innings, which has resulted in a 16.43 ERA. In his last outing Souza seemed to settle down, throwing two scoreless innings at Louisville July 13. … LHP Matt Hoffman continues his struggles of late, allowing five hits and five runs in one inning at Columbus July 11. In his last four appearances, Hoffman, has given up 10 hits and nine runs (five earned) in just 1.1 innings, raising his ERA from 1.03 to 2.60.
THE WEEK AHEAD: The Mud Hens have three days off for the All-Star Break, then return to the road for four games at Buffalo Thursday through Sunday, July 18-21, and four games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday through Thursday, July 22-25. Toledo’s next game at Fifth Third Field is against Buffalo on Friday, July 26 starting at 7 p.m.
SCOUTING BUFFALO: The Bisons are 49-47 overall and are tied for third place in the IL’s North Division, 3.5 games behind first-place Pawtucket, and just 1.5 games behind Norfolk in the Wild Card race. This will be the first meeting between the Mud Hens and Buffalo this season. The Bisons have hit .263 this year, and are led by 1B Mauro Gomez, who leads the International League with 25 home runs and has 55 RBIs. 1B Luis Jimenez has batted .307 with 16 home runs and a team-best 61 RBIs. The pitching staff ranks near the bottom of the IL with a 4.43 ERA. One pitcher to watch is LHP Ricky Romero, a former All-Star with Toronto who is 2-3 with a 5.56 ERA for the Bisons.
SCOUTING SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE: The RailRiders are 48-49 overall and are in fifth place in the IL’s North Division, five games behind first-place Pawtucket, and three games out in the Wild Card race. The Mud Hens won three of four meetings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a series at Toledo May 14-17. Among those who hit well against the Hens in that series were 1B Dan Johnson, who batted .455 with a homer and two RBIs, and IF-OF Ronnier Mustelier, who hit .400 with six RBIs in four games). The RailRiders pitching staff had a 7.68 ERA against the Hens. One pitcher to watch on this staff is RHP Chris Bootcheck; the former Mud Hen is 9-2 with a 3.40 ERA with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and has earned a promotion to New York.
NEWS WORTH NOTING: The Mud Hens enter the break in fourth place in the International League’s West Division, 20 games behind first-place Indianapolis. Toledo now trails second-place Louisville by seven games and is five games behind Columbus in third. … The Hens are 11 games behind Norfolk, the leader in the Wild Card chase. … The Mud Hens again have the worst record in the IL. Toledo is 41-58, which is one-half game behind Gwinnett (41-57) and 1.5 behind both Charlotte (42-56) and Syracuse (41-55). … The Mud Hens have added a pair of starters to the rotation as the Tigers signed RHP Jeremy Bonderman and promoted RHP Jon Link from Double-A Erie. … The Hens rotation coming out of the break will see LHP Kyle Lobstein pitch Thursday, followed by Link on Friday, LHP Jose Alvarez Saturday, Bonderman on Sunday and LHP Ramon Garcia Monday in the first game at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
LAST WEEK’S TRANSACTIONS: July 3-OF Matt Tuiasosopo assigned to Toledo from Detroit on Major League rehab. July 5-OF Matt Tuiasosopo recalled to Detroit; OF Avisail Garcia optioned by Detroit to Toledo; 2B Brandon Douglas was assigned to Double-A Erie. July 6-RHP Shawn Hill was placed on the seven-day disabled list; LHP Jose Alvarez was optioned by Detroit to Toledo; July 7-RHP Evan Reed was called up to Detroit. July 11-LHP Matt Hoffman was activated from the disabled list; RHP Jose Valverde was placed on the temporary inactive list. July 14-RHP Jeremy Bonderman signed as a free agent by Detroit and assigned to Mud Hens, effective July 18; RHP Jon Link promoted from Erie to Toledo, effective July 18.