Lofgren and Lewis pitched at
Kinston all season, and have become arguably the best 1-2 punch for a single team in all of baseball. The success they had during the regular season carried over into Kinston’s 2-0 sweep of
Salem in the first round of the Carolina League playoffs this week. In Game 1, Lofgren led the way by throwing 4.2 no-hit innings before finally surrendering a hit, a swinging bunt that hit Lofgren’s glove, in the 5th with 2 outs. Lofgren only lasted a little longer as his pitch count was high (95), and departed in the 6th pitching 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 hits and 2 runs and struckout 5.
Kinston ended up winning the game 9-6, and were lead offensively by Argenis Reyes (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Nathan Panther (3-4, BB, RBI), and Jordan Brown (2-4, BB, 2B).
With the series win, Kinston is in the Mills Cup Championship Series for the third straight season and will face
Frederick . The best-of-five series opens tonight (Saturday) at Grainger Stadium.
Akron is currently up 2-1 in their best-of-five series with
Altoona . After winning their first two games scoring a combined 24 runs and getting very good starting pitching, last night in Game Three the Aeros were unable to close out the series losing 4-1. Highly touted Pirates pitching prospect Landon Jacobsen shut down the Aeros, only allowing 1 run in 6 innings. The Aeros lone bright spot in the game was the continued resurgence of Trevor Crowe (more on that later), as he went 3-5 with a triple.
In Game 2, the Aeros completely dominated the Curve in shutting them out 12-0. Starter Aaron Laffey quietly put together a very good season this year, going 12-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 29 combined appearances (23 starts) at Kinston and
Akron . He was at his best in Game 2, allowing no runs in 6 innings of work and only surrendered 6 hits and no walks while striking out 9. The game was over in the 1st inning when the Aeros put up a franchise record 11 runs in the inning, with the big blows a 3-run HR by Jarod Sandberg and a Grand Slam HR by Brian Barton. Top offensive performers in the game were Trevor Crowe (3-4, 2B, 3B, BB, 1 steal), Barton (1-5, HR, 4 RBI), Sandberg (1-4, HR, 3 RBI), and Ryan Goleski (2-4, BB, RBI).
Final Regular Season Leaders
Not to be outdone, fellow
Kinston lefty Scott Lewis won the minor league ERA title (1.48) by a wide margin. Lewis finished the season 3-3 with a 1.48 ERA, held opposing hitters to a .203 avg, and struckout 123 batters in 115.2 IP. Of note, the wins total was down because of the strict pitch count he was on all year that mostly allowed him to get in only 4-5 innings per start.
Something to Crowe About
In a puzzling move, the Indians did not callup the
Buffalo outfielder to the big league team once the Bisons season ended Monday. Francisco is not on the 40-man roster, but even still he will have to be added this offseason anyway or he’ll most definitely get gobbled up in the Rule 5 Draft. So, why not purchase his contract now and call him up to see what he can do in the final 20 games of the season for the big league club? Puzzling.
More Puzzling Roster Moves
Jason Stanford was left wondering his future with the organization after the Indians did not call him up from
Buffalo . With the Indians need to find left-handed relief pitching nest year, and with Stanford’s brief major league experience and injury history, he seemed like a good candidate to move to the bullpen. Stanford missed some time this season for various injuries, but still managed to go 6-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 21 starts at
Buffalo , pitching 112.1 innings. Apparently, Stanford did not take the news well that he was not being called up as he got into a clubhouse tussle with Jake Dittler after the season finale Monday. After being separated, he proceeded to punch the window out of a fire extinguisher case and cut his hand and had to be taken to a hospital for stitches. Whether the hand injury is the reason he was not called up, or the hand injury was the result of a blowup from being told he was not being called up is unknown…..but it looks like his days in the Indians organization are numbered.
Not only was there fighting when the season ended at Buffalo, but also at
Akron . The reason for Stanford’s outburst is pretty obvious, but it is still unknown what led to
Akron reliever Bubbie Buzachero’s beat down of 2B Eider Torres in the Aeros locker room after Sunday’s game.
The Akron Beacon Journal quoted
Akron manager Tim Bogar as saying Buzachero had “a lapse in judgement”, and Farrell was quoted saying that Buzachero’s incident was “unacceptable behavior that is considered unprofessional” and that his future in the organization is still up in the air. Given the Indians history in dealing with malcontents, Bubbie is gone.
Buffalo finished 73-68 on the year, good for third place in the International League's North Division. Of note, the Bisons were consistently average all season as they only had one five game win streak and one five game losing streak all season. The Bisons finished 7th out of 14 teams in hitting (.259), and were 3rd in ERA (3.44). The Bisons also finished 12th in the league in errors with 139, their worst defensive season since 1998.
Next year, players like Brian Barton, Brad Snyder, Eider Torres, Adam Miller, Trevor Crowe and Ryan Goleski from Akron should all get considerable time in
Buffalo , with all likely to start there except maybe Crowe. Notable final statistics that were not mentioned above: OF Franklin Gutierrez (.278/.373/.433, 27 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 9 HRs, 38 RBIs, 13 SBs); SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.263/.295/.337, 11 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 1 HR, 14 RBIs, 5 SBs); SP Jeremy Guthrie (9-5, 3.14 ERA, 123.1 IP, 88 Ks, 1.23 WHIP); SP Brian Slocum (6-3, 3.35 ERA, 94.0 IP, 91 Ks, 1.22 WHIP).
Lake County finished the season with an overall record of 64-74. The full-season Class-A league seasons are broken into two seasons, and the Captains went 29-41in the first half and then 35-33 the second half.
County finished 12th out of 16 teams in batting (.245), and were 6th in ERA (3.60).
Mahoning Valley Wrap-up
The Scrappers were led offensively by OF Jason Denham (.302, 0 HRs, 14 RBIs), C Matt McBride (.272, 4 HRs, 31 RBIs), SS Josh Rodriguez (.268, 4 HRs, 24 RBIs), and 3B Jared Goedert (.269, 3 HRs, 27 RBIs). On the pitching front, the Scrappers main contributors were SP Josh Tomlin (8-2, 2.09 ERA), SP Luis Valdez (7-5, 2.62 ERA), and closer Neil Wagner (0-1, 17 saves, 1.39 ERA). McBride, Rodriguez, Goedert and Tomlin were 2006 draft picks, and most likely will open 2007 at
County . Wagner is a hard-throwing righty who could be the Captains closer next year as well.
The only players currently on the Indians 40-man roster who have not been called up: SP Jason Stanford, SP Jake Dittler, 1B Michael Aubrey, IF Lou Merloni, OF Jason Dubois, and OF Brad Snyder. Dittler and Snyder are not ready for a callup and Aubrey is hurt….Akron 2B Eider Torres finished with 44 stolen bases, which broke the franchise record set by Damian Jackson (40) in 1995…. Mahoning Valley middle infielder Josh Rodriguez won the league’s Offensive Player of the Week Award, hitting .417 (10-24) with 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 3 HRs, and 7 RBIs….When Eider Torres was placed on the disabled list this week and Bubbie Buzachero was kicked off the team, Akron manager Tim Bogar elected to callup Lake County catcher Max Ramirez to provide an extra bat off the bench….Only two injuries of note: Akron SS Ivan Ochoa is still recovering from a right hamstring strain and is not 100%, and OF Ryan Goleski has a sore wrist after getting hit with a pitch last week.