This week marks the premiere of your Louisville Bats Sunday Notebook here on Louisville.com. Here we will have a week in review and get you caught up on everything Louisville Bats. Ready? Let’s do it!
Slow out of the Gates
The Bats have started the season slow, losing seven of their first ten games. Louisville’s 3-7 record marks their worst start to a season since 2006 and is also their worst record after ten games becoming the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Going into play Sunday, the Bats are 4.0 games back of division leading Columbus Clippers.
Struggling in the Clutch
Getting off to their slow start has been a direct result of the Bats’ struggles at the plate with runners in scoring position. After going 1-9 Saturday night, the Bats are 9-for-80 on the season with runners in scoring position. That adds up to a .113 average.
The Bats are also struggling with simply making contact. Their team strikeout total of 96 is tied for the most in the International League and their combined team batting average of .194 is dead last. Louisville’s on-base percentage of .273 is also good for last in the league.
Valaika and Janish raking
Chris Valaika and Paul Janish have been the Bats’ lone bright spots in the offense. Janish is batting .364/.400/.667 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with two home runs, two doubles, one triple, and three runs batted in. Valaika is hitting .293/.286/.439 with three doubles, and homer and five runs knocked in. The two are tied for the team lead with 12 hits apiece—no other Bats player has more than 6. Valaika and Janish’s combined batting average is .324. Without them, the rest of the team is batting .155.
In 40 games last season with the Bats, Denis Phipps hit .380 with five homers and 26 RBI after coming up from Double-A Carolina where he hit .328. Phipps was named the Cincinnati Reds’ 2011 Hitter of the Year. Early in the season this year, Phipps is struggling mightily. Denis is just 4-32 (.125 batting average) and has struck out 12 times. Silver lining? Phipps was hitting just .197 at the end of May last year with Carolina only to raise his batting average to .328 before being called up to the Bats on July 27.
Louisville’s bullpen has been outstanding through ten games. In a combined 43.1 innings, the Bats’ ‘pen has relinquished just 12 earned runs on 36 hits while striking out 45 and walking just 22. That’s good for an ERA of just 2.50 and a WHIP (walks-plus-hits per inning pitched) of 1.35.
The star of the bullpen has been Kanekoa Texiera. Saturday, Texiera worked four strong innings of relief giving up one run on four hits, walking one and striking out 2. It was Texiera’s first earned run in now 9.1 innings pitched. His ERA currently sits at 0.99 and he has a WHIP of 1.10. Texiera was signed to a minor league contract by the Reds December of last year after bouncing around to five different teams in two organizations last season.
The Road Ahead
The Bats continue an 11-game homestand Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Clippers. After two more with the Clippers, they will play a four game series with Toledo Tuesday through Friday followed by a three-game series against the Indianapolis Indians that starts on Thunder Over Louisville Saturday. For tickets to any of these games, call the Bats ticket office at 502-212-2287.
Photo Credit: Max Sharp