Despite a constantly changing roster, the Sacramento River Cats had a strong month of May and are currently in the familiar spot of being in first place in the Pacific Coast League's Southern division. The River Cats went 19-11 in May and received solid contributions from the pitching staff and the offense. The month was highlighted by a stretch of nine wins out of 10 games early in the month.
Sacramento hitters batted a collective .294 in May with a .379 OBP and an 837 OPS. The team clubbed 36 homers in 30 games and stole 34 bases. Nine different regulars finished with OPSs above 810 for the month.
The pitching staff also held its own with a team ERA of 3.73. Sacramento pitchers combined for four shutouts and the staff struck-out 225 and walked 114 in 267.2 innings. The bullpen converted on six of 10 save opportunities.
Sacramento has won its first two games of June at home versus Salt Lake. They hit the road on Saturday to play Colorado Springs for four before returning to Raley Field on June 9 to take on Tacoma.
Comings and Goings
May was a busy month on the disabled list for the River Cats' parent club, and, as a result, the Oakland A's made a lot of changes to the Sacramento roster during the month. For starters, the River Cats lost two members of their rotation when Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso were recalled to replace injured A's hurlers Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross.
The Sacramento bullpen was also impacted by the injuries to McCarthy and Ross, as Joey Devine, Fautino De Los Santos and Jerry Blevins were all brought up to stock a bullpen worn down by a short start by Ross when he was injured. Devine has remained on the A's roster (and is likely to do so for the rest of the year), but Blevins and De Los Santos were both returned to Sacramento soon after being recalled (although De Los Santos has just joined the A's again on a temporary basis as Grant Balfour takes paternity leave). De Los Santos originally joined the River Cats from Midland on May 5. Earlier in the month, Trystan Magnuson was recalled to Oakland and he spent about a week in the big leagues before being sent back to Sacramento.
Starter Bobby Cramer spent some time on the disabled list in May. When he returned from the DL, he was recalled to Oakland for two days to serve as an emergency reliever. He returned to the starting rotation on May 29 after not appearing in a game for Oakland. Blevins was on a similar yo-yo in May. He was sent down to Sacramento twice during the month.
Relievers Andrew Carignan, Ben Hornbeck and Brett Hunter were all called on briefly to help replace players in the River Cats' bullpen. All three are now with High-A Stockton. Carlos Hernandez stepped into the Sacramento rotation from Midland midway through the month and has now made three starts for the River Cats. Starter Graham Godfrey missed 13 days while on the disabled list and infielder Josh Horton landed on the DL on May 19 and has yet to return.
Chris Carter missed the entire month of May on the DL, but the River Cats did get two important offensive players back from injuries: Michael Taylor and Wes Timmons. Utilitymen Adam Heether and Mitch Canham were both sent to Midland. The A's also signed veteran Lenny DiNardo to serve as a starter in the River Cats' rotation. Oakland closer Andrew Bailey made four rehab appearances in May for Sacramento before being activated by the A's.
Just before the end of the month, the A's acquired infielder Scott Sizemore from the Detroit Tigers and assigned him to Sacramento, where he has been playing third base. To make room for Sizemore in the organization, the A's traded infielder Steven Tolleson to the San Diego Padres for cash considerations.
It was a good month for hitting for the River Cats, especially for Anthony Recker and Shane Peterson. Recker led the team with a 967 OPS in May. He had a .408 OBP and five homers. He also hit .314. Peterson was the team's RBI leader with 24 in only 27 games. He also hit .316 with five homers and a 954 OPS. The first-baseman/outfielder is making the most out of the opportunity he received at Triple-A when Carter landed on the DL.
Matt Carson led the team with seven homeruns in May. He had an 858 OPS, although he struck-out a team-high 28 times. Jai Miller was limited to 15 games this month, but he managed five homeruns and 10 walks in those 15 games.
Josh Donaldson put together a nice comeback month after hitting only .175 with a 591 OPS in April. For May, Donaldson batted .290 with four homers and 19 RBIs and had an 839 OPS. Eric Sogard also recovered from a slow April to hit .316 with a .407 OBP in May.
Adrian Cardenas continued to hit at a strong pace, batting .320/.383/.437 in May. He walked more times than he struck-out. He's batting .335 with an 836 OPS in 49 games this season. Jemile Weeks also had another good month, batting .330 with an 810 OPS. He stole five bases, as well.
Timmons hit .282 with a .393 OBP in 19 games after returning from a sprained ankle. Taylor hit .318 in his first 16 games of the season, while Sizemore made a strong first impression by collecting five hits, including two doubles, in his first 12 at-bats.
On the mound, starters Travis Banwart and Graham Godfrey led the way for the River Cats. Banwart made six starts in May and had a 2.64 ERA and 27 strike-outs against only seven walks in 30.2 innings. Godfrey missed two starts but he went 3-1 in 2.61 ERA in the three starts he was able to make. He struck-out 20 and walked nine in 20.2 innings.
Carlos Hernandez provided a boost after being promoted from Midland. The left-hander had a 3.65 ERA in two May starts with 10 strike-outs and three walks in 12.1 innings. He pitched well in his first June start for Sacramento, as well. The man Hernandez replaced in the rotation, Outman, had a 2.00 ERA in three starts for Sacramento before his promotion to Oakland. He did walk 12, however.
In the bullpen, right-hander Fernando Cabrera impressed with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings. He struck-out 21 and allowed only seven hits. Vinnie Chulk had a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings with 10 strike-outs. Before being promoted to the big leagues, Devine didn't allow a run in seven innings for Sacramento. He saved three games and struck-out nine.
Willie Eyre picked up two saves and had a 3.12 ERA in 17.1 innings in May. Magnuson had a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings with 11 strike-outs. He only allowed runs in one outing (a four-run, three-walk, one-third of an inning disaster on May 27).