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Albuquerque Isotopes Week in Review: Topes go streaking

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Newcomers Tapia and Valaika help fuel seven straight wins.

Raimel Tapia has 10 hits in his first 22 at-bats with the Albuquerque Isotopes, who have won seven games in a row.
Raimel Tapia has 10 hits in his first 22 at-bats with the Albuquerque Isotopes, who have won seven games in a row.
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Albuquerque Isotopes lost both games of a doubleheader on Aug. 5. They have not lost a game since, rattling off seven straight victories after Saturday night’s 13-7 win at Colorado Springs. Hitting-wise, they got back on track after a brief lull, while just as importantly, the starting pitchers made some amends for their recent struggles. The Isotopes (55-64) have outscored the opposition 57-25 during their streak.

Hitters

The big news of the week was the arrival of outfielder Raimel Tapia and shortstop Pat Valaika from Double-A. Tapia made an immediate impact, going 10-for-22 with seven runs, two doubles, a triple, two RBI and three stolen bases in his first five games. Valaika showed his stuff defensively, while going 5-for-14 with three runs, a double and three RBI at the plate.

Catcher Tom Murphy has remained ridiculously hot, extending his hitting streak to 15 games on Saturday and his on-base streak to 26 games since July 1. Since that day, Murphy has hit .490/.528/.959 with eight home runs and 27 RBI in 26 games.

Outfielder Stephen Cardullo has continued his surprise progression as a hitter, picking up the pace in August to the tune of a .405/.447/.857 line through 12 games this month. He has four home runs after going all of July without a single ball clearing the fence.

Pitchers

Eddie Butler was a mess in July. Then along came a slight adjustment to his delivery, one that has produced big results. He allowed just two runs in eight innings at Tacoma on Aug. 2, then followed that with a seven-inning shutout in a doubleheader against Las Vegas on Aug. 9. It was the first shutout by an Isotopes since Dana Eveland in 2011.

After an ugly start at Tacoma on Aug. 1 (six earned runs in 2.2 innings), Jeff Hoffman rebounded somewhat on Aug. 7 against Las Vegas. He continues to adjust to life with a low pitch count, tossing four scoreless innings against the 51s, though he used up all 75 pitches in that span.

German Marquez made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday. He threw six shutout innings before things went awry in the seventh. The right-hander finished with a line of four earned runs allowed on eight hits, no walks and seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Marquez did earn the win as Albuquerque hung for an 8-7 victory over Las Vegas.

There were some bright spots in the bullpen as well. Simon Castro has allowed just two runs in 14 innings over 13 games since the start of July, racking up 20 strikeouts and allowing just two walks. For the season Castro has 49 strikeouts and 10 walks in 43.1 innings.

Matt Flemer has adapted well to his role in long relief. Over his last four appearances, the right-hander has allowed three earned runs in 14.2 innings, with 11 strikeouts and just four walks.

The Isotopes will be on the road all week before returning home for the final nine games of the season on Saturday. Look for more in-depth coverage starting next weekend.