The Louisville Bats caught fire in the late innings of their 8-4 win over the Toledo Mud Hens Saturday. With that, it’s time to get you caught up on everything Bats with an exciting, new, fresh edition of Bats Sunday Notebook.
Hot since All Star Break
The Louisville Bats have been red hot since the All Star Break. Although their record (9-8) doesn’t show it, the Bats have caught fire at the plate since returning July 12. On July 13, they set a franchise record for runs scored in a game with 22. Winners of five of eight, the Bats of scored 98 runs in just 17 games since the break, an average of 5.76. They scored 132 runs the entire month of June, an average of 4.4.
Since the break, the Bats have hit five grand slams, including two in their 22-1 drubbing of the Gwinnett Braves July 13. The following night, Dioner Navarro capped a walk-off win with a grand slam and Saturday Puckett’s ninth inning slam capped a comeback from 4-0 against the Toledo Mud Hens. Between Navarro and Puckett, Neftali Soto sent a blast out July 19 in Columbus in a 13-12 loss that saw the Bats battle back from being down 10-4 and 13-8.
Perez at the bat
Since the month of June started, Felix Perez has been on absolute fire. Perez has hit safely in 31 of his last 42 games. 14 of those 31 games with a hit are multi-hit games, including a 3-for-4 performance in Saturday’s comeback win. In this time, Perez is hitting .342 (52-for-152) with two homers, 12 doubles, and 16 RBIs. He has raised his batting average 59 points from .227 to .286.
Didi on fire
Didi Gregorius has been terrific since joining the Bats after the break. Currently, Didi is on an eight game hitting streak that includes five multi-hit games. In that time, he is hitting .400 (14-for-35) with three home runs, two doubles, one triple, and six RBIs. Overall, he is hitting .314/.329/.586 with four homers, five doubles, one triple, and ten RBIs in 17 games with the Bats. What sticks out most for Gregorius, though, is his defense.
“The about Didi is that whatever the challenge is, he is going to play to that level,” Bats manager David Bell said. “Whenever (Gregorius’ call-up to the big leagues) comes, he is going to rise to that challenge.”
From July 2-7, Mike Costanzo went hitless and watched his average drop from .268 to .243. Costanzo has responded well, picking up hits in 12 of 16 games since then. In that time, he is hitting .370 (17-for-46) with four doubles, one homer, and six RBIs. Costanzo average has moved back to .269 in that time.
Gustafson pitching lights out
Tim Gustafson isn’t the most sought after prospect in baseball but, lately, he sure has been pitching like one. The 27 year-old righty out of Georgia Tech has been stellar in his last three starts, giving up just two runs (only one earned) on nine hits in sixteen innings of work. In his last start, Gustafson went five innings before being bumped off the mound by a two hour and five minute rain delay. In eleven starts for the Bats, Gustafson is 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA.
Soto breaking out of slump
Going into Thursday’s game, Neftali Soto was in the midst of an 0-for-20 slump. Since then, he has hit safely in three straight and five RBIs to boot, including a game winning two-run home run in the seventh inning of Friday’s rain-lengthened game.
“(Soto) has a lot of confidence,” Bell said after Friday’s win. “He knows he’s going to get through the tough times. Tonight, he came through with the big hit.”
The offensive leader of this team all season, Soto leads the team with 13 homers, 51 RBIs, 18 doubles, 42 runs scored, and is second on the team with 78 hits. Only Perez (82 hits) has more.
The Road Ahead
The Bats wrap up a quick four game road trip to Toledo Tuesday and will enjoy on off day to start the month of August. After that, they return for a four game homestand that includes four game series against the Charlotte Knights and Toledo Mud Hens. After that, there are only eight home games remaining on the 2012 schedule, so be sure to get your tickets by calling the Bats’ ticket office at 502-212-BATS (2287) or by going online to batsbaseball.com.