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Highlights, lowlights for the Mud Hens so far

07/15/2014, 12:00am EDT

At the All-Star break it’s time to evaluate the Mud Hens’ season:

Most valuable player: Other Hens may have had a better week or month, but OF Ezequiel Carrera has been Toledo’s most consistent player through the course of the season. He earned a starting nod in the Triple-A All-Star Game by ranking fourth in the IL in batting average (.323) and stealing 37 bases, 14 more than any other player in the league. “He’s the guy whose all-around game has been good for three months,” Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “He has played solid baseball from start to finish.”

Most valuable pitcher: For a pitcher who didn’t even begin the season on the Hens roster, RHP Kevin Whelan sure has had a huge impact on the team. Whelan quickly became the Hens closer and has thrived in that role; he currently is tied for second in the IL with 16 saves and has a 2.32 ERA. In 31 innings he has struck out 36 and walked just 14 while allowing just 23 base hits. “When he got here, he pitched well and stepped into the closer’s role, and that helped get the bullpen in order,” Parrish said. “He’s done a good job for us.”

Season highlight: Mike Hessman’s return to Toledo has been extremely successful as the slugging third baseman has hit .252 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs. He currently is tied for third in the IL in homers and hit arguably the biggest in league history June 30. His home run at Indianapolis that night gave him 259 career homers in IL play, more than any other player in the league’s 131-year history.

Season lowlight: What made the Mud Hens’ 10-16 record in April so disappointing was that the schedule was decidedly lopsided towards home games. Toledo posted a poor 5-11 record at Fifth Third Field that month and scored 35 runs in the losses. The Hens have a 18-12 home record since the start of May and will need to continue that turn-around to compete for a playoff spot: Starting July 29, Toledo will play 19 of its next 28 at home.

Worth noting: Carrera enters the All-Star break on a 15-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the IL. He tied Trevor Crowe for the longest streak by a Mud Hen this season as Crowe collected hits in 15 straight games from June 18 to July 5. Hernan Perez fell one game shy of reaching that 15-game plateau with a streak that also began on June 18 and ended July 3.

— John Wagner

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Tag(s): Mud Hens