The Bees were 5-2 on the week, thanks in large part to another strong series against the Tucson Toros, and now sit at 11-7 overall, tied for the lead in the Pacific North division. They are 6-2 against Tucson after a pair of four-game series.
The club faces a test in the coming weeks as its schedule - which allowed hitters to feast mostly on pitching from Tucson and Portland in the first two weeks - now features a 12-game stretch against Tacoma and Las Vegas, two of the better pitching staffs in the league.
Regardless of the opponents faced, the squad's offense has been a force thus far, leading the circuit in runs scored, while ranking in the top three for home runs, hits, batting average and stolen bases.
Howie Kendrick got off to exactly the kind of start the Angels' front office was hoping for before he claimed a spot on the big-league roster Sunday. His .386 average was fifth in the league when he got promoted. Erick Aybar is tied for third in runs scored and fourth in RBIs, an impressive feat for a leadoff batter. Dallas McPherson, starting to recover from his slow start, is tied for third with 12 extra-base hits.
Utility man Adam Pavkovich had a strong week, posting homers in three consecutive games, while playing three different positions. The 24-year-old, who was drafted out of the University of Alabama with an 11th-round pick in 2003, needed 165 at-bats to record his third home run of the year in 2005.
On the mound, the team has posted a 3.86 ERA, good for seventh in the league. Although the staff ranks in the top five in hits allowed, they have surrendered 20 homers, putting them 15th out of 16 teams in the league.
Jered Weaver has posted 26 strikeouts in 23 innings and currently leads the PCL. No other member of the staff appears on any leader board, although Weaver, Dustin Moseley and Chris Bootcheck all have ERAs in the threes.
Weaver was hit-and-miss for the week. On Wednesday, he tossed his second stellar start of the year, leading the squad past Tucson. Monday, however, the Beavers tagged him for five runs in five innings, collecting seven hits and two walks.
Names of note: Steven Shell, who had a 4.00 ERA in three starts with Arkansas, was promoted to fill the roster spot of Kevin Gregg, who joined the major league team on Wednesday. Shell allowed two homers to behemoth left-hander Walter Young in his first appearance for the Bees Sunday night. … Jason Bulger has not surrendered a run in 10.2 innings this year, striking out 15 while allowing only four hits. The former first-rounder is now two years removed from his shoulder surgery. … Moseley, who had been lights out through three appearances, also got roughed up in Portland over the weekend. He gave up five runs in five innings Sunday to take his first loss. … McPherson has hit in seven of his last eight games, collecting nine extra-base hits in that span. His .246 average is 100 points higher than it was before this streak.
The Travelers managed just a 2-6 record on the week, surrendering at least five runs in every contest. After getting swept in a five-game series at home against Tulsa (four games last week), they split four with last-pace Wichita. And now head out to San Antonio and Corpus Christi. With the bad week, the team falls to 8-10 overall, four games behind Springfield in the North Division.
The Trav's ERA ballooned to 4.77 this week, dropping them to sixth overall in the league. They have allowed more hits than any other staff, surrendered the second-highest walk total and continue to lag well behind in strikeouts.
Ironically, while James Holcomb is among league leaders with a 3.72 ERA, teammates Tim Bittner and Bill Edwards are tied for second in the league with a pair of wins each. Lefty Daniel Davidson is the only other pitcher among league leaders with 23.2 innings of work.
At the plate, the team is hitting .279, fourth overall on the circuit. Their 90 runs scored, 55 walks and 139 strikeouts are all in the bottom half of the league. Mike Eylward continues to pace the team, ranking among the leaders with a .379 average (4th), 19 RBIs (2nd), a .652 slugging percentage (5th) and 13 extra-base hits (4th). Dwaine Bacon has sped his way to a pair of triples, good for second in the league, and four stolen bases, tying him for third. Matt Brown and Brandon Wood each have four homers, good for a share of fifth place.
Names of note: Rule 5 draftee Eric Rodland, claimed from the Tigers organization, is hitting .320 on the year. He and Bobby Wilson are the only Trav's regulars with as many walks as strikeouts on the year, helping each of them to a .397 on-base percentage. … Rafael Rodriguez made his first start for Arkansas Monday night, giving up four runs in six innings of work while striking out three. The righty had allowed just one run in three starts for Rancho before his promotion. … Reliever Allen Buckley's 12 strikeouts and four walks gives him the best ratio on the staff.
The Quakes cooled just a bit, going 4-and-3 on the week, but remain in sole possession of first place in the South Division, just a half-game behind San Jose for the best record in the league.
Their offense remains the most potent in the league, placing in the top two for average, hits, runs scored and stolen bases, and third in homers. Individually, Cody Fuller, Michael Collins and Sean Rodriguez are all in the top five for average, and each also appears on at least one other leaders list. Collins ranks among the Cal League's best with 25 hits, 16 RBIs, a .451 on-base percentage and 14 runs scored. Rodriguez's .611 slugging percentage and 21 hits are both fifth on the circuit, while Fuller's five stolen bases are fourth and .462 OBP is third-best.
From the hill, Quakes pitchers have posted the second-best ERA in the league at 3.27, although they took a hit when Rodriguez was promoted to Arkansas. The righty was leading the league with a 0.53 ERA and three wins. Starter Jose Arredondo is fifth in the league with 23 strikeouts in just 15 innings, and lefty Nick Green has worked 22.2 innings through four starts to rank fourth.
Names of note: Francisco Rodriguez went from extended spring training to the Quakes bullpen to the starting rotation in the course of a week. Added to the roster when Karl Gelinas was suspended, Rodriguez started Monday night's game, taking Rafael Rodriguez's spot in the rotation. The righty from Mexicali, Mexico, gave up two runs in five innings. … Slugger Matt Pali is just 4-for-26 over his last six games with only one extra-base hit. … Daniel Hawkins joined the club from Cedar Rapids and gave up one earned run in his first outing on Saturday. … Kevin Lynch has yielded just a .154 average against in his first 8.1 innings of work in the Cal League. The righty out of Florida State yielded just 35 hits in 38.1 innings of work at three levels in his professional debut last year.
The Kernels went 4-4 on the week, splitting against the Devil Rays and Whitecaps. The squad is now 10-8 overall, in second place in the Midwest League Western Division. They open a series at Lansing Tuesday.
The Lugnuts are the only team that has done better on the mound so far as Cedar Rapids has yielded only a 2.55 ERA. Kernels pitchers have avoided hurting themselves, surrendering the second-fewest walks and only five homers through the first 18 games. Nick Adenhart has been the most dominant starter thus far, posting a 1.46 ERA through 24.2 innings. The fact that it's good for only ninth underscores just what a pitching-friendly circuit the Midwest League is. He also is part of a tie for fifth place with 24 strikeouts. Fellow teenager Tommy Mendoza is just behind him among the leaders with 23.2 innings pitched.
At the plate, Kernels hitters have managed only a .243 average, good for just ninth place. The team has hit a league-low five homers, but has swiped 33 bases to lead the circuit. Brad Coon is tied for third with six so far, but Hainley Statia and Pat Reilly are just behind him with five a piece. Reilly, who is one of 12 players in the league with a pair of doubles, is the only other Kernel among league leaders.
Reilly continues to pace the squad with a .310 average and by slugging .500. His .385 on-base percentage is behind only Travis Schlichting.
Name of note: Righties Tim Didjurgis, Chris Howell and Tim Mattison have been lights out in relief. They have combined to allow just four earned runs in 30 innings of work. … While Ryan Aldridge has racked up 16 strikeouts in just nine innings, his ERA is skewed high because he surrendered four runs in his first two outings. He has given up just one in his last 7.2 innings of work and has been particularly deadly against lefties, who have just one hit in 17 at-bats against him. … Last year's seventh-round pick Robert Romero joined the club from extended spring training over the weekend. He surrendered one run in his first outing.