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Monday Morning Minors

I sometimes worry that by breaking baseball down so much, we lose track of what is important. Do we see strikeout to walk ratios when we should see phenomenal athletes at the peak of human achievement? Do we see argue about what pitcher should be put in the game when we should be sharing a hot dog with our friends and family? I worry about these things from time to time, but when I see a number three hitter with a team-high in home runs lay down a sacrifice bunt, I know I have my priorities in place.

Looks like Jared Lansford is back to his old tricks. In three of his last four starts Lansford has given up exactly zero runs. In the fourth start he gave up three runs over seven innings. Unfortunately, his methods of doing so are the same. In the four game span he has 12 strikeouts against 8 walks. Let's break down his good games and his bad games so we can try and see what's going on.

In the eight games in which he has allowed zero runs, Lansford has held batters to just a .160 BABIP, and in all other games (seven starts, 30 ER, 46 hits) hitters had a .374 BABIP. Why the enormous disparity? Luck? I have no idea. Whatever the reason, having more than half of his starts be scoreless is pretty impressive. If anyone can suggest a reason, I'd like to hear it.

Steve Bondurant, who is returning from off-season shoulder surgery, has begun to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. In 12 1/3 IP he has allowed six earned runs, 12 strikeouts and five walks. The left-hander isn't considered much of a prospect, but he has put up some interesting numbers in the past, including 343 strikeouts in 387 1/3 career innings.

Since being sent down to Sacramento, Dan Johnson has been a one man wrecking crew. He has gone 16-33 with six extra-base hits and seven walks. It took him 30 Major League games this season to get 16 hits and even longer to get six extra-base hits. Of course Triple-A is easier than MLB, but what I'm wondering is if he is playing well because he is simply too good for the Pacific Coast League, or if it is because his demotion has lit a fire under him. Something else? Heck if I know, but if he keeps hitting this way he will play himself back up pretty quick.

The rest of Sacramento is taking Johnson's lead. As a team they are batting .303 with 17 home runs over their last 10 games. They have given up just 28 earned runs and have gone 8-2. Minor League journeyman Scott McClain has four home runs and 12 RBI in that span, and Nathan Espy has hit .385 with eight RBI. Not hitting? Jeremy Brown has just one hit in his last 13 ABs, and Charles Thomas four for his last 25. Shane Komine has won his last two starts, allowing just one ER and striking out nine (11 2/3 IP).