The Hillcats had a rough stretch vs Delmarva once again getting shutout twice and having two rainouts in the process. Inconsistent pitching and not having enough lineup threats has derailed their once hot start, dropping them to 26-28 and 10 games off the pace of first place, as they’ve posted a 1-9 record in their last 10 games. 

Lenny Torres Jr. and Jaime Arias-Bautista have stepped up to help out the rotation, but the rest of it remains inconsistent, including top arm Daniel Espino, who struck out 13 last week but allowed six runs and struck out just three this week.

Hopefully some reinforcements are on the way with Jhonkensey Noel starting a rehab assignment in the ACL this week. Micah Pries did finally come back in mid-June for a week with four hits, but now he hasn’t played since June 22nd again. Miguel Jerez had a hot first week but that didn’t help a ton and that likely won’t be sustainable. The offense has Petey Halpin, Cleveland’s 2020 4th round pick, leading off now ahead of standout INF Angel Martinez, but Halpin is off to a slow start and the youngster will probably need some time to make an adjustment.

Day by Day

7/1 Ppd (rain) VS Delmarva
7/2 L 7-0 VS Delmarva – W: Davis (4-1); L: Jones (1-5); S: Watson (1)
7/3 W 3-2 VS Delmarva – W: Feliz (2-2); L: Stauffer (3-1); S: Smith (1)
7/4 L 9-7 VS Delmarva – W: Roth (3-1); L: Misiaszek (2-2)
7/6 L 3-2 AT Carolina – W: Guerrero (3-0); L: Smith (1-2)
7/7 L 4-2 AT Carolina – W: Vassaolitti (2-3); L: Espino (1-2); S: Hasler (2) 

Player of the Week

RHP Lenny Torres Jr.: 5IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 5K

Last week Torres didn’t make it out of the first inning with 31 pitches (16 strikes) and a week later he fires five no-hit innings in arguably the best start of his pro career, just walking one. He has a 3.29 ERA with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in his last 13.2 innings, so you can see things starting to click together more for Torres as he makes his way back from tommy john and the year off in 2020.

Who’s hot

LHP Jaime Arias-Bautista: 5IP, H, ER, BB, 7K 

First the Hillcats lost Xzavion Curry to a promotion to Lake County. LHP Randy Labaut moved into Curry’s rotation spot for the time being but then got hurt. Not Arias-Bautista has taken over that role and this was easily the best outing of his entire pro career. It was his longest outing and he tied his career high in strikeouts.

C/1B Miguel Jerez: 5-14 2 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI 

Jerez was has had a big week since joining Lynchburg this week to take some innings at first base and backup at catcher. The Hillcats have needed an offensive jolt at first base because they have been missing Jhonkensey Noel and Micah Pries, again. Jerez might not be a long term answer anywhere but this was a nice start to his official 2021 season.

Who’s not

OF Petey Halpin: 2-25, 2B, RBI, SB

At almost 2 ½ years younger than the rest of his Low-A division, Halpin was assigned a week ago to Lynchburg and he’s had a tough start to it. He did just add his first extra base hit on Wednesday night, so maybe he’s settling in. The timing of sending him to Lynchburg, just before the Arizona Complex League started, and his age, was a bit of a surprise. But they must believe he’s ready for the challenge and will settle in.

RHP Josh Wolf: 2.1IP, 7H, 5ER, 4BB, 2K

Wolf has had a hard time this year finding any consistency on the mound and putting back to back good starts together. He’s still quite young too but he’s never seemed to find a rhythm each week in his starts to put together any end results. This is just scouting the stat line, so he or Cleveland could have him working on something that is affecting the outcome in his outings, but at the moment, it just looks like rookie struggles in Low-A.


7/2 – INF Christian Cairo active off IL
7/4 – INF Ike Freeman moved up to Double-A Akron
7/5 – 1B/3B Jhonkensey Noel assigned to ACL Indians to begin rehab assignement
7/6 – SS Wilfri Peraltz assigned to Low-A Lynchburg
7/6 – RHP Miguel Vinicio placed on IL

Up next

7/6-7/11 AT Carolina

7/13-7/18 HOME vs. Fredericksburg

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