Back for the second time this year and this time things are looking quite a bit better than they were last Monday.

Louisville Bats: 12-5 overall, 81 runs scored, 78 runs allowed.

The Bats are a half game up on Columbus in the division and tied for the best record in the International League. They started off really hot, but have been average over the past week. Dave Sappelt and Devin Mesoraco are still holding down the offense with OPS’s over .900 for the Bats. The pitching has been strong for the most part. Led by guys with Major League experience, Dontrelle Willis, Homer Bailey (rehab) and Chad Reineke have combined for 48 innings of 0.94 ERA. Jeremy Horst has yet to allow a run in 9 innings for the Bats, while Tom Cochran and Kyle McCulloch have ERA’s under 3.00 as well.

Carolina Mudcats: 4-13 overall, 70 runs scored, 97 runs allowed.

The Mudcats have struggled all season long. The hitting has been below average on the whole and the team ERA is 5.69 as well. With that said, Cody Puckett and Mike Costanzo both rank in the top 10 in the league in OPS as each player is over 1.000. Neftali Soto is still out with a broken bone in his wrist. Miguel Rojas is hitting a light .353 (with a .371 OBP and a .353 SLG) for the Mudcats. On the mound Nick Christiani and Brad Boxberger are hammering down the bullpen as they have each thrown 8.2 scoreless innings over 6 games this season. Lee Tabor and Jose Arredondo (rehab) have ERA’s under 2.50 as well for the pen. After those guys though, no one is under 4.00 and seven guys are over 6.00, including four guys with at least 2 starts. Jordan Hotchkiss is on the DL with rotator cuff inflamation. I never like the sound of that, but it isn’t always as bad as it sounds.

Bakersfield Blaze: 11-6 overall, 139 runs scored, 94 runs allowed.

This team can hit. Big time. As a team they are hitting .337/.422/.511. No other team in the league has an OPS of .815. They are averaging over 8 runs per game so far. Stephen Hunt has played all of 4 games and has 13 RBI to go along with a .563/.650/1.438 line. Eric Campbell finally fell below the .500 mark this season. All he has done so far is OPS 1.333 (first in the league) with 18 RBI (tied for second in the league). Yasmani Grandal started off slowly but has been absolutely on fire and is up to a .333/.458/.750 line (second in the league in OPS) with 5 HR’s (second in the league). Josh Fellhauer and AJ Means are both over the 1.000 OPS mark as well. Henry Rodriguez is hitting .400 on the season and has 18 RBI (tied for second in the league). On the mound the Blaze have a team ERA of 4.56 which ranks 4th in the league (10 teams). Josh Ravin is 4th in the league in ERA (1.56) and 5th in strikeouts (22, but everyone ahead of him has 1 more game than he does). Pedro Villarreal is 10th in the league in ERA and leads the league in K/BB ratio (19 to 1) while also being a perfect 4-0 on the season (4 wins leads the league). Andrew Bowman has a 2.25 ERA in 7 appearances out of the bullpen, while Clayton Shunick and Mace Thurman are both under 3.25 on the season. Curtis Partch has a 3.78 ERA in 3 starts to go along with 15 strikeouts in 16.2 innings.

Dayton Dragons: 8-9 overall, 73 runs scored, 92 runs allowed.

The Dragons put together a 6 game winning streak over the last week to bring themselves back to a respectable record. The team is middle of the pack in OPS at .691 (tied for 8th in a 16 team league), but the team ERA of 4.51 is 15th in the league. However because of plenty of errors, the team is allowing 5.41 runs per game, which ties them for last in the league. There are some stand out performers though. Offensively Donald Lutz is hitting .345/.387/.690 on the season, while Dominic D’Anna is posting a .347/.458/.469 line. Tucker Barnhart isn’t showing much power, but his .422 OBP is going to carry him well as will his 44% caught stealing rate. Chris Berset is throwing out 40% of attempted base stealers, giving the Dragons one heck of a tandem behind the plate at holding the running game in check. Billy Hamilton had a good week to get his numbers back on the right track with a .357/.486/.536 line. He didn’t steal a base over his last 4 games. Like Hamilton, David Vidal has caught fire to get his season back on the right track. Over his last 10 games he is hitting .333/.378/.485. Devin Lohman started out the season 0-17, but has since been a guy helping carry the offense. The infielder has hit .364/.432/.545 over his last 10 games. On the pitching side of things, Josh Smith continues to be dominant as his 1.17 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23 innings would indicate. He leads the league in strikeouts and innings and is in the top 5 in ERA and WHIP. The Dayton bullpen has been very strong. Blaine Howell, Pat Doyle, Ezequiel Infante, Chad Rogers, Drew Hayes and Tim Crabbe all have ERA’s between 2.08 and 2.61.