THREE THINGS I THINK: 1. The Hens’ recent struggles against Lehigh Valley and Pawtucket have made reaching the break-even mark practically impossible. The Mud Hens were 2-6 at home and 3-5 on the just-completed road trip to put them 17 games under the .500 mark. Toledo will need to finish the season on a 37-20 roll (.649) just to have a 72-72 record. 2. The Mud Hens pitching has started to struggle. The Hens currently have a staff ERA of 3.96, fifth-best in the International League. But in the last 10 games Toledo has a 5.82 ERA, a big reason the team has gone 2-8 in that period. 3. Danny Dorn is quietly having a very productive season offensively. Dorn is batting .263 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs. He is tied for fifth in the IL in RBIs and leads the Mud Hens in both categories.
WHO’S HOT: OF Ben Guez has hit .316 with a home run, three RBIs and eight runs scored in his last 10 games. … OF Nick Castellanos has batted .294 in his last nine contests with a home run, five RBIs and six runs scored. … IF-OF Kevin Russo has hit .500 in his last five contests. … RHP Derek Hankins was nicked for four earned runs at Lehigh Valley Monday, ending a string of five straight “quality starts” (not counting the Rochester game where he was injured. Hankins is 3-4 this season but has a 3.20 ERA in 13 starts.
WHO’S NOT: IF Danny Worth has batted just .200 in his last eight games and begins the homestand in a 2-for-16 (.125) funk. … The Hens catchers have been struggling at the plate recently as Ramon Cabrera has gone 2-for-12 (.167) in his last four games while Brad Davis is just 3-for-20 (.150) in his last five, giving them a combined .156 mark. … In his last two starts RHP Shawn Hill has allowed 19 hits and seven walks in 10.2 innings. That has resulted in nine earned runs and a pair of losses that leave him 1-11 with a 5.82 ERA this season. … LHP Matt Hoffman has allowed five hits and one walk that have resulted in four earned runs in his last three appearances, while getting just one out in that span. His season’s ERA has risen from 1.03 to 2.36 after those three games.
THE WEEK AHEAD: The Mud Hens will start an eight-game homestand Wednesday with two games against Columbus. The Wednesday, July 3 game will start at 7 p.m. at Fifth Third Field, with the Thursday, July 4 game beginning at 6 p.m. Then Indianapolis comes to town for three games Friday-Sunday, July 5-7; the first two games begin at 7 p.m., while Sunday is a 6 p.m. start. Then Louisville will be at Fifth Third Field Monday-Wednesday, July 8-10, with all three games beginning at 7 p.m.
SCOUTING COLUMBUS: The Clippers are 38-48 overall and are in third place in the IL’s West Division, 17.5 games behind first-place Indianapolis. Columbus has gone 3-6 against the Hens this season. The Clippers have hit just .225 against Toledo this year, led by IF Cord Phelps (.225 in six games). The pitching staff has a 4.42 ERA against the Hens. LHP Scott Barnes is 2-0 but has a 15.75 ERA against Toledo, while RHP Preston Guilmet is 0-1 with two saves and a 3.00 ERA.
SCOUTING INDIANAPOLIS: The Indians are 56-31 overall and are in first place in the IL’s West Division, 12.5 games ahead of second-place Louisville thanks to the league’s best record. Indianapolis has posted a 9-1 record against the Hens this season. The Tribe offense has hit .255 against Toledo pitching and has been led by IF Ivan De Jesus Jr. (.350 in six games) and 1B Matt Hague (.324 with five RBIs in 10 games). The pitching staff had an impressive 2.47 ERA against the Hens. The Indy bullpen has been especially impressive: RHP Vic Black has three saves and has given up just one hit in six scoreless innings; Duke Welker is 2-0 with three hits allowed in 5.2 scoreless innings; and RHP Tim Alderson is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings.
SCOUTING LOUISVILLE: The Bats are 42-44 overall and are second in the IL’s West Division; they are fourth in the Wild Card race, just 3.5 games behind Lehigh Valley. The two teams have split their 12 meetings as Louisville has hit just .202 against the Hens, led by 1B Mike Hessman (.269 with five home runs in eight games). While IF Neftali Soto has hit just .226 in eight games against Toledo, he does has six RBIs. Louisville pitchers have a 2.73 ERA against the Hens; starters Armando Galarraga is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, while Chad Reineke is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA.
NEWS WORTH NOTING: The Mud Hens begin this homestand in fourth place in the International League’s West Division, 21 games behind first-place Indianapolis. Toledo now trails second-place Louisville by 7.5 games and is 3.5 games behind Columbus in third. … The Hens are 11 games behind Lehigh Valley, the leader in the Wild Card chase. … The Mud Hens again have the worst record in the IL. Toledo is 35-52, which is one-half game behind Syracuse (34-50) and 2.5 behind Gwinnett (37-49). … The Mud Hens will host five straight nights of fireworks July 3-7. … The Hens will offer a special screening of “The Sandlot” on July 5. … The Mud Hens will wear special Hot Dog jerseys on July 6, and Jake the Diamond Dog will entertain that night. … Muddy will celebrate his birthday on July 7.
LAST WEEK’S TRANSACTIONS: June 27-RHP Jose Valverde cleared waivers and assigned to the Mud Hens from Detroit. June 28-Tigers promoted RHP Bruce Rondon from the Mud Hens; RHP Evan Reed optioned to the Mud Hens; July 1- RHP Justin Souza was assigned to Double-A Erie; LHP Matt Hoffman was placed on the seven-day disabled list. July 2-C Bryan Holaday was optioned to the Mud Hens from Detroit; RHP Justin Souza was promoted from Erie.