I've been on the road since late last week doing amateur coverage on the East Coast, so I'm once again delinquent with my week in review. Quite frankly, it wasn't a great week to review anyway.
Overall, we were 2-5 since I last wrote. Offensively, we hit .258/.321/.395 as a team, which isn't too bad, but we reached the critical four run threshold just three times (going 2-1 in those games). For the season we're 10th out of 16 in the NL in runs scored and have a 103 OPS+ (100 is the baseline and anything above 100 is above average). Both of those marks are fine, but we think we can do better.
Our pitching had a tough week. As a team we posted a 6.36 ERA pushing the season total from a 3.83 to a 4.74 overall. That isn't going to cut it in the long run. We did keep our opponents under four runs three times (2-1 in those games), but we didn't do a good enough job in the other games to give our offense much of a chance.
Our bullpen has been quite strong, despite a few lapses, with Bell, Meredith, Gregerson, Moreno, and Mujica combining for a 3.10 ERA so far. Bell, obviously, has been outstanding, and if the rest of the young guys can continue to settle in, we like the depth there.
We made a couple of roster moves this week, designating both RHR Eulogio DeLaCruz and RHR Mike Ekstrom for assignment in order to make room for LHR Arturo Lopez and RHS Chad Gaudin. Though we haven't had a lefty in our pen so far this season, that wasn't the sole reason for bringing up Arturo. He had a great spring this year and continued that performance into the first few weeks for Portland striking out 15 in 14.1 innings of work. We signed Gaudin in order to build him up as a starter after the Cubs released him at the end of spring training hoping that he might be ready by early May. He made two appearances in Portland without yielding a run and when we needed him earlier than anticipated, he did the same for the Major League club last night in Colorado.
Overall, injuries have become an issue for us early in the season. We currently have seven guys on the DL (already 129 DL days as a team and we're not even out of April), all of whom have either been on the team or were expected to be on the team except for Mike Adams. We knew we were taking risks with a couple of the guys due to injury history, but we've also run into some bad luck especially in our rotation. Fortunately, Cha Seung Baek started a rehab assignment last night in single A, and Mike Adams is feeling good and appears to be ahead of schedule.
Portland (11-9) - Kyle Blanks continues to pace the Beavers with a .319/.430/.528 batting line and just hit his fourth homer of the season last night. Between stints on the ML club, Drew Macias has hit .321/.446/.453 in AAA while also registering more walks than strikeouts. After yielding a run in his first appearance of the season, Greg Burke has thrown up nothing but zeros en route to a 0.90 ERA. Even better, Joe Thatcher is still sporting a perfect 0.00 ERA after 8.2 innings.
San Antonio (8-10) - Mitch Canham, Craig Cooper, and Eric Sogard still lead the offensive charge for the Missions, while Cooper's 26 hits are good for the Texas League lead. Luis Durango also is leading the Texas League in his category of choice - stolen bases. On the mound Stephen Faris has a 1.99 ERA while also pitching the 2nd most innings in the league, and Evan Scribner, the reliever acquired last season for Tony Clark, has a 1.04 ERA, striking out 11 hitters in 8.2 innings.
Lake Elsinore (10-9) - In his first stint with a full-season club last year in Ft. Wayne, 1B Felix Carrasco banged 16 homers, though he also struck out 162 times in 450 plate appearances. This year, however, Felix has maintained his power numbers while cutting his k rate by an outstanding 33%. All told he's hitting .286/.416/.444 for the Storm. A supplemental pick in last year's draft, Logan Forsythe continues his hot start as he's reached base in all 17 games he's played while compiling a .323/.455/.484 line. The rotation is still the big story in Elsinore as the five starters (Hefner, Kluber, Luebke, McBryde, and Pelzer) have ERA's ranging from 2.35 to 3.86 and have combined to strike out 106 batters in 89.1 innings compared to just 23 walks - all this in the hitter-friendly Cal League. In the bullpen, Bryan Oland has been stellar racking up six saves and striking out 14 batters in 11 innings.
Fort Wayne (14-4) - Yes, they finally lost a game, but Ft Wayne continues to play well. After a handful of games in extended spring training, we activated OF Jaff Decker this week and he is hitting .250/.429/.563 through his first five games. Reliever Brad Brach has five saves already but more impressively has allowed just one baserunner in his eight innings on the mound.
Like I stated at the beginning, this wasn't our best week. Nevertheless, we're 11-9 to start the season with a schedule that has included a bi-coastal three city road trip and opponents like the Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Phillies, and the surprising Pirates. It doesn't get much easier this week as we get four more with the Dodgers starting tomorrow and no off-days in site. Fortunately, after that we get to play 13 of our next 19 games at Petco, so if we can stay away from more DL time it could be a nice stretch.