Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/31/10

Rochester Red Wings (David Bromber 1-3, 3.45)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Fabio Castro 6-9, 4.84) @ 7:05pm

Harrisburg Senators (Ryan Tatusko 2-1, 2.38)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Clint Everts 4-1, 6.09) @ 6:35pm

Binghamton Mets (Eric Beaulac 0-1, 5.40)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 6-6, 5.03) @ 7:05pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfeld 0-0, 4.58)
vs. Reading Phillies (Michael Cisco 4-9, 4.54) @ 7:05pm

Vermont Lake Monsters - Completion of 8/21 suspended game
vs. Brooklyn Cyclones @ 6:00pm

Vermont Lake Monsters (Bobby Hansen 3-2, 4.17)
vs. Brooklyn Cyclones (N/A) @ 7:00pm

Tri-City ValleyCats (David Martinez 4-2, 2.78)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Madison Younginer 3-6, 4.74) @ 7:05pm

Aberdeen IronBirds (Bruno Sanchez 3-4, 4.80)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Clemente Mendoza 6-5, 4.72) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Monday, August 30, 2010


Through games played on 8/30/10

Honors Abound

The honors for local players have been flying furiously lately and we got backed up by a week on these matters...Our apologies! Let's not waste any time here and get you caught up on all the accolades.

One thing thing that we are definitely a week behind on is the International League Pitcher of the Week honors earned by Pawtucket's Ramon Ramirez. He took the honor for the week of August 16th-22nd when he went 2-0, worked 12 innings and allowed only 2 earned runs and 8 hits.

Sticking in the International League, Josh Reddick provided the PawSox with back-to-back weekly honors, taking the I.L. Player of the Week award for the week of August 23rd-29th. This is the second time that the Pawtucket outfielder has taken the award this season, winning back at the beginning of the month during the week of August 2nd-8th. Last week Reddick had a .500 average with 17 hits, 5 homers, 4 doubles and 12 RBI.

In the Eastern League another Red Sox prospect took Player of the Week honors as Portland's Ryan Lavarnway earned the distinction for the week of August 23rd-29th. The Sea Dogs catcher batted .421 with 4 home runs, 7 runs scored, 7 RBI and 9 walks on the week. Lavarnway reached base at least two times in the seven games played over the span.

Staying in the E.L., the league recently announced their annual, end-of-the-season All Star team. The Portland Sea Dogs were represented by Ray Chang who was selected in the Utility Player slot. New Britain Rock Cats Ben Revere was one of three local outfielders chosen for the team. He is flanked by Darin Mastroianni and Eric Thames of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, who are both helping to rewrite the franchise record books. Another Fisher Cat rounded out the local All Stars as Kyle Drabek was named to the squad as the best right-handed pitcher in the league. The All Stars are voted on by Eastern League managers, coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.

Kyle Drabek was showered with even more (well-deserved) adoration by the Eastern League when he was named Pitcher of the Year. With one start to go in the regular season, Drabek has compiled the most wins in the Eastern League with a 14-9 record. He is first in the league with 159 innings pitched, second in the league with a 2.89 ERA, second with 127 strikeouts and fourth with a 1.19 WHIP. Drabek has picked up 5 wins and a no decision over his last 6 outings in helping lead the Fisher Cats to a playoff berth. The highlight of the season came back on July 4th when Drabek tossed a no-hitter, which helped him earn E.L. Player of the Week honors. The 22 year old was the key piece of the Toronto Blue Jays off season trade of Roy Halladay and is the son of former Major League Cy Young Award Winner Doug Drabek.

The last award on our hit list takes us to Vermont where Lake Monsters catcher David Freitas picked up the Tom Racine Award as team MVP. The award is voted on by the fans who thought Freitas' efforts this year were worthy of the honor. Freitas put together a franchise record 21 game hit streak earlier in the season, he made the New York Penn-League All Star game and won the Home Run Derby. The California native is hitting .308 on the year with 4 home runs, 17 doubles, 38 RBI and 30 runs scored.

Congrats to all the players on their much deserved recognition. Six new awards were probably announced while I wrote this, so I'll go check things out and report back on any other local laurels that come about.

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/30/10

Rochester Red Wings (Matt Fox 6-8, 4.08)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Rich Hill 2-0, 3.57) @ 7:05pm

Harrisburg Senators (Brad Peacock 2-1, 3.72)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Randy Boone 4-9, 3.65) @ 6:35pm

Binghamton Mets (Robert Carson 1-5, 8.26)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 2-11, 4.97) @ 7:05pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Matthew Williams 1-3, 6.53)
vs. Reading Phillies (Austin Hyatt 1-0, 4.60) @ 7:05pm

Vermont Lake Monsters (Chad Jenkins 2-6, 4.31)
vs. Aberdeen IronBirds (Justin Anderson 4-4, 5.92) @ 7:05pm

Staten Island Yankees (Dustin Hobbs NR)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Keith Couch 1-5, 4.74) @ 7:05pm

Brooklyn Cyclones (Jonathan Kountis 0-1, 6.55)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Brennan Smith 1-5, 3.36) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Lake Monsters @ Aberdeen - It's been a grueling stretch of road for the Vermont Lake Monsters as-of-late. They've gone 2-5 over their last 7 games with a postponement, a cancellation and a suspended game in between. During the slide they've allowed the Connecticut Tigers to pull into a tie for first place in the Stedler Division with 8 games left (plus the completion of that suspended game), all of them on the road. So it's put up or shut up time for the Lake Monsters tonight in Aberdeen. Chad Jenkins gets the ball for Vermont with hopes of earning his first victory since July 17th. His last two appearances have been out of the pen and he allowed only 1 hit and an earned run over 4 innings of work. Aberdeen counters with Justin Anderson who is coming off of his best start of the season on August 24th when he tossed 5 innings of 1 hit ball against the Staten Island Yankees. In his prior three starts, Anderson allowed a whopping 19 earned runs over 9 2/3 innings. Vermont can take the season series against the IronBirds with a win tonight, but more importantly they can provide some momentum leading into a hefty 4 game series against Brooklyn, the best team in the New York-Penn League.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today's Probable Pitchers 8/29/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Adam Mills 3-9, 5.05)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Kyle Gibson 0-0, 1.72) @ 1:05pm

Bowie Baysox (Ryohei Tanaka 6-12, 6.03)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-10, 6.24) @ 1:35pm

Portland Sea Dogs (Kyle Weiland 5-8, 4.72)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 8-3, 3.73) @ 1:5pm

Brooklyn Cyclones (Angel Cuan 5-0, 1.91)
vs.Connecticut Tigers (Josue Carreno 4-6, 4.47) @ 1:05pm

Staten Island Yankees (N/A)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Hunter Cervenka 0-4, 3.81) @ 5:30pm

Vermont Lake Monsters (Taylor Jordan 2-2, 5.33)
vs. Aberdeen Ironbirds (Tyler Sexton 1-6, 7.20) @ 5:35pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - PawSox @ Rochester - The PawSox are in the midst of a 5-game win streak, their second longest on the season. If they desire to tie their longest win streak of the season, they'll have to be on their game as they face a tough opponent in Kyle Gibson today. Gibson is a familiar face to the GotD from his time with New Britain this season. Since being called up to AAA Rochester earlier this month, he has made 3 starts, all no decisions, but has posted a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings of work. In 26 starts on the season, over three different levels of play, Gibson has posted an 11-6 record with a 2.96 ERA. The PawSox will put Adam Mills in charge of keeping the momentum and the win streak rolling. Mills started the win streak back on the 24th when he threw 6 solid innings, allowing no runs and only 5 hits in picking up the "W". He faced the Red Wings back on July 9th and got a no decision, but was roughed up for 5 runs and 9 hits over 5 innings. Pawtucket currently leads the season series 7-5, with one left to play in Rochester, followed by a two game series against each other in Pawtucket, starting tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/27/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Ramon Ramirez 4-4, 5.20)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Anthony Swarzak 5-10, 6.37) @ 7:05pm

Bowie Baysox (Pedro Viola 3-3, 3.21)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Tyler Robertson 3-12, 5.56) @ 7:05pm

Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 3-4, 6.41)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (B.J. LaMura 5-5, 3.89) @ 7:05pm

Lowell Spinners (Tyler Wilson 2-3, 3.70)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (Richard Martinez 3-1, 2.35) @ 6:00pm

Connecticut Tigers (Patrick Lawson 2-3, 2.81)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Aaron Barrett 0-3, 8.79) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hitting the Links

Ryan Westmoreland will be in uniform before the end of the season! This is amazing news following his preseason surgery for a cavernous malformation on his brain stem. He will not be playing, but will get the opportunity to suit up and train with teammates. Westmoreland is scheduled to hit Lowell for three games and Greenville for the remainder of the year. Full Count

PawSox radio broadcast Steve Hyder catches up with third-year Pawtucket hitting coach Rich Sauvier. As only a coach can do, Sauvier finds the silver linings in an otherwise tough season. Hyde's Inside Pitch

The Manchester Union Leader's Kevin Gray talks Anthony Rizzo, the Portland Sea Dogs, Kyle Drabek and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats run at the record books. Kevin Gray's On Baseball

Felix Doubront started the season in Portland, made the jump to Pawtucket and now works out of the Boston Red Sox bullpen. Check out how he got there. WEEI.com

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/26/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Fabio Castro 5-9, 5.11)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (David Bromberg 1-2, 3.23) @ 7:05pm

Bowie Baysox (Steve Johnson 7-7, 5.23)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfeld 0-0, 3.29) @ 7:05pm

Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 6-6, 5.12)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Scott Richmond 0-0, 1.80) @ 7:05pm

Lowell Spinners (Keith Couch 1-4, 4.66) GAME 1
vs. Staten Island Yankees (Kramer Sneed 0-2, 6.50) @ 6:00pm

Lowell Spinners (Madison Younginer 3-5, 4.78)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (Zachary Varce 2-5, 4.73) @ 30 minutes after conclusion of GAME 1

Connecticut Tigers (Clemente Mendoza 5-5, 4.74)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Matt Grace NR) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Tigers vs. Lake Monsters - After last night's win the Tigers crawled to within 2 games of the first place Lake Monsters, so that makes this one GotD worthy to-be-sure...But wait, there's more. Last night's victory by Connecticut also evened up the season series at 4 games apiece with 2 games left to play against each other. Even more intriguing is the middle-man, in this case the Tri-City ValleyCats, who sit only 1/2 game out of first place and who may just crash the whole party for both New England teams. For the Lake Monsters, pitcher Matt Grace makes his Lake Monster debut after making 8 appearances with the Gulf Coast Nats and 33 relief appearances for UCLA during this past college season. Grace was drafted in the 8th round by Washington and went 1-1 in the Gulf Coast League. Connecticut counters with their ace Clemente Mendoza who is in search of his 4th straight victory from the bump. Clemente got a no-decision against Vermont back on July 22nd when he tossed 4 1/3 innings, allowing 5 earned runs and 7 hits. Can Vermont put some distance between themselves and the Tigers while closing out their home schedule on a high note or will Connecticut steal the show and set the table for a three team run to the top over the last 11/12 games of the year?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/25/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Rich Hill 2-0, 3.82)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Raul Valdez 1-1, 2.11) @ 7:05pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 2-3, 5.50)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Robert Carson 1-4, 7.43) @ 5:35pm

Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 2-10, 4.80)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Brad Peacock 1-1, 4.63) @ 7:00pm

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Randy Boone 4-8, 3.83)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Adam Warren 4-2, 3.29) @ 7:05pm

Lowell Spinners (Keith Couch 1-4, 4.66)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (Kramer Sneed 0-2, 6.50) @ 7:00pm

Connecticut Tigers (Brennan Smith 0-5, 3.67)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Matthew Grace NR) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Fisher Cats @ Trenton - It's worked the past two days, so we're closing out the New Hampshire/Trenton series with a third straight GotD. Since the Fisher Cats took down the Thunder in the first two, they have now pulled within 1 1/2 games of first place in the Eastern Divison. A win tonight would provide them with tons of momentum heading down the stretch, where they hope to get in the driver's seat for home field advantage in round 1 of the playoffs. Randy Boone hits the hill with a chance to help New Hampshire sweep. Boone has 2 wins and a no decision over his last three starts and is coming off of a complete game 2 hitter over the New Britain Rock Cats. He lost to Trenton back on July 29th, allowing 9 hits and 3 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of work. Unlike the last two nights, the Thunder are will not be throwing a pitcher in his AA debut. Adam Warren gets the nod and he has a 4-2 record in 7 starts with Trenton this season. He is also the reigning Eastern League Pitcher of the Week, due to his 15 strikeout performance against the Bowie Baysox on August 18th. Warren lost to New Hampshire in his only start against the Cats back on August 1st. After tonight, New Hampshire will stand either 2 1/2 games back or a 1/2 game back of Trenton and with only 12 games left to play it'd be a lot more interesting if they things got a little tighter in the divison race.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/24/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Adam Mills 2-9, 5.31)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Mike Antonini 1-1, 4.50) @ 7:05pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Chris Province 6-5, 4.89) GAME 1
vs. Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 3-3, 5.47) @ 5:35pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-9, 6.20) GAME 2
vs. Binghamton Mets (Jenrry Mejia 1-0, 1.77) @ 30 minutes after conclusion of GAME 1

Portland Sea Dogs (Kyle Weiland 5-7, 4.61)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Tom Milone 10-5, 2.87) @ 7:00pm

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 8-3, 3.81)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Dellis Betances NR) @ 7:05pm

Connecticut Tigers (Josue Carreno 4-6, 4.21)
vs. Tri-City ValleyCats (Bobby Doran 4-4, 4.24) @ 7:00pm

Vermont Lake Monsters (Billy Ott 0-1, 6.00)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Keith Couch 1-4, 4.66) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Fisher Cats @ Trenton - We're going back to Trenton for the GotD until it somehow becomes less intriguing. Last night Kyle Drabek helped the Fisher Cats move within 2 1/2 games of first place and as noted yesterday in this very spot, today is the most important game of the season...and the pitching matchup up is damn near the same setup as yesterday's game. The Fisher Cats are throwing Zach Stewart, one of their two aces, at the first place Thunder. Stewart hasn't notched a victory since July 18th, picking up 1 loss and 4 no-decisions over his last five games. Stewart pitched well against the Thunder back on June 25th when he picked up the "W" and struck out 7 batters over 6 1/3 innings. Trenton is throwing Dellin Betances who is making his AA debut tonight after being promoted from Single-A Tampa. In 14 starts with the Tampa Yankees, Betances had an 8-1 record, 1.77 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched. Much like last night's starter Manny Banuelos, Betances is a top pitching prospect in the Yankees organization. The Fisher Cats are hoping that they can welcome him to AA in the same manner they did Banuelos on Monday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mastro Hits the Books Again

Despite a dismal, steady rain falling all day long, the Fisher Cats and Rock Cats gutted it out for nine inning in Manchester yesterday. I like when they simply play out the frames even though the rain is coming down. There was never a time when it was coming down hard enough to delay the game, which they didn't need since this one kicked around the three hour mark.

One player that I was keeping an eye on was Darin Mastroianni, in hopes that we would see some history made. His next stolen base would set the franchise mark for most in a season. I was sure that if he got on base that he was going for it in an effort to get it done in front of the home crowd.

He doubled in his 1st at bat and there was no steal attempt made of third. He walked in the 5th but Jonathan Diaz was in front of him, so it wasn't happening this time. He reached on a fielders choice in the 6th and the time was right as he stood at first with no traffic in front of him. Mastroianni got a great lead and a decent enough jump on his way to second base, but he was gunned down on a perfect throw from New Britain catcher Jeff Howell.

With the rain still beating down on the field, I figured there was no way they'd send him again if he got on. And he did get on again with a single in the bottom of the 8th. Just like that, Mastroianni made history...but not by way of stolen base. The single was Darin's 143rd hit on the season, tying the franchise mark set in 2004 by Dominic Rich. So I did get to see some history go down!

The folks in Trenton will probably get to see Mastroianni set both the stolen base and hits records at some point over these next three games. As we've noted many times over the past few weeks, he and fellow outfielder Eric Thames are lighting a flame to the team record book this season and it's been fun keeping an eye on it all. We will certainly keep you updated on their runs at history.

I got some nice pics of Mastroianni's last at bat which I will post up below with some of the other, better pics of the day that I was capable of capturing (click on the individual photos for a larger, clearer view).

At the knees for a strike

Bearing down on history

Hit #143 on the year

#10 Evan Bigley

#27 Estarlin De Los Santos

Fisher Cats Clint Everts (top); Rock Cats Tony Davis (middle); Fisher Cats Alan Farina (bottom)

Cates to Parmelee for the out

Fisher Cats win

Tonight's Probable Pitchers 8/23/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Kris Johnson 4-12, 5.43)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Dillon Gee 12-7, 4.84) @ 7:05pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Chris Province 6-5, 4.89)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 3-3, 5.47) @ 6:35pm

Portland Sea Dogs (Blake Maxwell 4-0, 1.69)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Aaron Thompson 4-12, 5.74) @ 7:00pm

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Kyle Drabek 13-9, 3.12)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Manny Banuelos NR) @ 7:05pm

Connecticut Tigers (Josue Carreno 4-6, 4.21)
vs. Tri-City ValleyCats () @ 7:00pm

Vermont Lake Monsters (Taylor Jordan 2-2, 5.84)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Hunter Cervenka 0-4, 4.02) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Fisher Cats @ Trenton - Everyone always talks about how your next game is the most important game of the season. For the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this holds true tonight and with a victory, tomorrow night and with another, the next night. Sitting 3 1/2 back of Trenton in the Eastern Division, the Cats have their last regular season shot at their 1st place foes and hope to bridge the gap towards earning home field in the first round of the playoffs. They've lined up their guns as they pushed back Kyle Drabek's Sunday start to Monday. This allowed Drabek to miss the constant rains in Manchester, while also allowing New Hampshire to put forth their best arms against the Thunder. Trenton counters with Manny Banuelos, who is making his AA debut after earning a 2.19 ERA in 12 starts with the Gulf Coast and Tampa Yankees. Banuelos has also struck out 68 batters over 49 1/3 innings and is a big-time pitching prospect for the New York Yankees. So despite it only being his first AA start, the Fisher Cats are sure to have their hands full with the 19-year old pitcher. Drabek is seeking his 5th straight win on the mound and the extra day's rest could help him accomplish just that. It's a first round playoff preview tonight in Trenton, with the possible right's to home field advantage on the line.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Warming up in Manchester

It's a dreary, drizzle-filled day so far at MerchantsAuto.com Stadium where the New Britain Rock Cats face off against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in their last cat fight of the year. This is a rubber match of a three game set where it is "Country Western Day" at the all ballpark...where they have both kinds of music, Country & Western.

As I type there is a huge line dance session going on along the foul territory and stretching all the way from first to third base. I will not be pulling out my camera for this one.

However I did catch some earlier warmup action on the field...

Rock Cats pitcher Cole Devries

Deolis Guerra

7-footer Loek VanMil

Fisher Cats pitcher B.J. LaMura

Zach Stewart

Keeping things dry until game time

Today's Probable Pitchers 8/22/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Ramon Ramirez 3-4, 5.45) GAME 1
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Josh Stinson NR) @ 1:05pm

Pawtucket Red Sox (N/A) GAME 2
vs. Buffalo Bisons (N/A) @ Approx. 30 minutes after conclusion of GAME 1
Trenton Thunder (Andrew Brackman 3-7, 3.68)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 3-4, 6.79) @ 1:00pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Tyler Robertson 3- 11, 5.31)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Clint Everts 4-1, 6.08) @ 1:35pm

Brooklyn Cyclones (N/A)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Bobby Hansen 3-2, 4.17) @ 1:05pm

Staten Island Yankees (Shane Greene 2-6, 4.59)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Rayni Guichardo 2-2, 2.98) @ 1:05pm

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Miguel Celestino 2-1, 1.78) @ 1:35pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today's Pitching Probables 8/21/10

Pawtucket Red Sox (Fabio Castro 5-8, 4.87) GAME 1
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Fernando Nieve 2-0, 4.19) @ 5:35pm

Pawtucket Red Sox (N/A) GAME 2
vs. Buffalo Bisons (N/A) @ Approx. 30 minutes after conclusion of GAME 1

Trenton Thunder (Hector Noesi 7-4, 3.30)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 6-5, 4.95) @ 7:00pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirshfeld 0-0, 3.38)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Scott Richmond N/R) @ 7:05pm

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Tyler Wilson 2-3, 4.11) @ 5:05pm

Brooklyn Cyclones (N/A)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Bobby Hansen 3-2, 4.17) @ 6:05pm

Staten Island Yankees (Zachary Varce 1-5, 5.32)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Patrick Lawson 2-2, 2.98) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio >

Hitting the Links

The mecca that is Baseball America had a recent piece highlighting the lowlights of the New Britain Rock Cats season. The Cats are well on their way to a franchise-worst season and may end up putting their name among the few that have lost 100 games in a single season. Since no local players made the BA Prospect Hot Sheet, this is our sole Baseball America link this week, but it's an eye opener. Baseball America

I'm always curious as to how a big leaguer endures a stint back down in the minors. The Manchester Union Leader's Kevin Gray brings us into the recent rehab stint of Blue Jays All-Star catcher John Buck, who joined the Fisher Cats for three games last week. Some interesting tidbits of info in this one. Gray Matter

Some great news down in New Britain as Ben Revere may not be done for the season after all. Ken Lipshez of the New Britain Herald recently reported that the star centerfielder may be returning to the Rock Cats sometime in the coming week. Thought to be done for the year after being hit in the face by a pitch, Revere would be a welcome site for the team and the fans heading into the last few weeks of the season. New Britain Herald

The season can certainly feel like a circus to any manager, so it's nothing new for PawSox skipper Terry Lovullo to be juggling things around. It's been a long, grueling season for Pawtucket, but now they come to a critical stretch where Lovullo must find a way to come up with 6 starting pitchers in 4 days. The Providence Journal brings us int0 the maddening mind of a manager with moves to make. ProJo

Friday, August 20, 2010

Farming New England (8/20/10)

The dog days of the season have passed and the heat is now on for the stretch run. There are approximately 18 games left for each team, give or take a game, but we are not ready to put a bow on things just yet. Let's take a look at how our teams are gearing up (or not) for the final harvest.

The Pawtucket Red Sox were 1-5 over the last week when they didn't have Dustin Pedroia in the lineup and 2-0 with him in the lineup. Unfortunately Dustin was only in town for two games as part of a long line of Boston players who had to rehab with the AAA squad. The positive from all of this (besides the two wins) was that McCoy Stadium was banged out during Pedroia's weekend visit. Saturday night they drew a crowd of 11,991 and bested that on Sunday by pulling in 12,154. At this point, the PawSox need 6 wins to improve on last seasons 61-82 record and they have 19 games to get it done. They finish off their home stretch against Lehigh Valley on Friday night then they hit Buffalo for a six game series that includes a double header on Saturday. Starting pitchers Kris Johnson and Adam Mills lead the team with 21 starts each, yet Johnson hasn't won a game since July 15th and Mills hasn't won since June 29th!

The New Britain Rock Cats capped off their first series sweep of the season when they took out the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Thursday night. The Rock Cats will not even come close to last seasons 65-61 record and they are well on their way to the team's worst season ever. The team would need to win 14 of their last 19 games to avoid that recognition...7 of those games are against Trenton and New Hampshire, the two best teams in the Eastern Division respectively. The key for them at this point is making sure they don't lose 13 more games and become one of only three Minor League teams with 100 losses over the last 50 years. Of those players with enough at-bats to qualify, third baseman Juan Portes currently holds the worst batting average in the Eastern League with a .203 showing. Since Mike McCardell was pulled from the starting staff after earning his only win of the season back on July 31st he has made 4 appearances from the pen and has allowed 6 earned runs and 17 hits over 11 2/3 innings. Sadly, he has not earned another win.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have a 9 1/2 game lead on third place Binghamton in the Eastern Division after dropping 2 out 3 games against the Mets, including a 1 hit shutout on Thursday night. It is the last time these two teams will play against each other this year after splitting the season series 11-11. The Cats are currently 3 1/2 behind first place Trenton who they will see next week for three games. Darin Mastroianni has company in the record books. Eric Thames and Mastroianni now both have 88 runs scored on the season, which surpasses the previous franchise mark of 85. Mastroianni entered the record book once again as he tied the franchise record for stolen bases in a season with 42. Another Fisher Cats record was set when the team played a 19 innings game against the Altoona Curve last Friday night, becoming the longest game in team history. The Fisher Cats are already 6 games above their 64 win total of 2009.

The big news in Portland this week is the recent shut down of top pitching prospect Casey Kelly for the remainder of the season, a popular trend in the Red Sox organization as of late. Kelly was suffering from a lat muscle strain and was 3-5 on the season before being sidelined. The Sea Dogs are 2-4 since a 3 game sweep of Bowie at the beginning of last week. According to Baseball America, Portland has six of the best tools in the Eastern League...wait, that may have come out wrong. Regardless, Manager Arnie Beyeler was named the "Best Manager Prospect" in the league , while players Ray Chang (Best Defensive Third Baseman), Jose Iglesias (Best Defensive Shortstop), Che-Hsuan Lin (Best Defensive Outfielder), Anthony Rizzo (Best Defensive First Baseman) & Nate Spears (Best Strike Zone Judgement) also received honors. The Sea Dogs need 8 wins over their last 18 games to tie their win mark of 67 from last season.

The Connecticut Tigers have allowed the Tri-City Valley Cats to pass them in second place in the Stedler Division after Tri-Valley swept a two game series against the Tigers in Connecticut. The five Tiger All-Stars combined to go 4-9 at the plate with 2 runs and 2 RBI in the New York-Penn All Star game this past Tuesday, and catcher Julio Rodriguez has the only stolen base for the American League. Connecticut is in the midst of a four game losing streak, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Outfielder P.J. Polk is third in the league with 20 stolen bases, he has only been caught 3 times. Josue Carreno (48) and Brennan Smith (47) are 12th & 13th in the league in strikeouts. The Tigers have had seven different pitchers pick up saves this season and Logan Hoch leads the team with 4. Connecticut faces Staten Island for three games over the weekend, then they battle Tri-City again for two to start next week.

Although it was an amazing ride, it just wasn't meant to be for Lowell's Seth Schwindenhammer in the MILB.com Minors Moniker Madness tournament. The Hammer took it to the limit, losing in the finals to NW Arkansas' Rowdy Hardy. The Spinners have won 7 games in the month of August, besting their July win total with 12 left to play. Lowell has been involved in 10 one-run games this month and they are 5-5 in those games. Even the All-Star game was a one run game and it was won on the bat of Spinners shortstop Jose Gracia who drove in Trent Mummy with a single in the 3-run eighth inning, helping the American League to win 4-3. Kolbrin Vitek has been a beast as of late, collecting 13 hits over his last 7 games including 2 home runs and 10 RBI. Felix Sanchez still leads the NY-Penn with 28 steals, but he is being chased down by Williamsport's Cesar Hernandez who now has 26. Lowell has a five game home stand which starts tonight against the Hudson Valley Renegades.

The Vermont Lake Monsters halted a current three game losing streak by eeking out a 10-9 victory over Lowell on Thursday night. The team is currently 1 1/2 games up on second place Tri-City in the Stedler Division. David Freitas won the home run derby during the New York-Penn All Star festivities. Vermont All Stars Freitas and Blake Kelso went a combined 0-4 at the plate and reliever Neil Holland tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the National League, striking out two batters and plunking two. After the team ERA finally started going back down last week (from 4.15 to 4.11), the team allowed 43 runs over fives games, sending their ERA skyrocketing to 4.46, 2nd worst in the league. The Lake Monsters welcome the Brooklyn Cyclones to Burlington for three games starting Friday night. Brooklyn is the best team in the NY-Penn with a record of 39-20.

Tonight's Pitching Probables 8/20/10

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Brian Mazone 6-12, 3.71)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Rich Hill 2-0, 2.87) @ 7:05pm

Trenton Thunder (Cory Arbiso 4-2, 3.62)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 2-9, 4.82) @ 7:00pm

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 2-2, 4.73)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Randy Boone 3-8, 4.08) @ 7:05pm

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Madison Younginer 3-5, 4.99)

Brooklyn Cyclones (N/A)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Aaron Barrett 0-2, 9.26) @ 7:05pm

Staten Island Yankees (Kramer Sneed 0-1, 6.75)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Clemente Mendoza 4-5, 5.05) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Staten Island vs. Tigers - The Tigers could not grapple their way to a victory during Wrestling Night on Thursday, but maybe they can provide the sparks tonight for Fireworks Friday at Dodd Stadium instead. Connecticut has gone a game under .500 after dropping four straight games and they have dropped to third place in the Stedler Division. They welcome in the Staten Island Yankees for three games and Clemente Mendoza will be the first pitcher out of the gate who is tasked with trying to stop the bleeding. Mendoza has won his last two starts and he has gone 6 or more innings in his last 4 starts. However, he did lose to Staten Island back on July 29th. Kramer Sneed gets the nod for the Lil' Yanks. He is coming off his worst outing of the season when he allowed 7 earned runs in 4 innings of work against Tri-City. Sneed saw some action out of the pen against Connecticut back on July 30th, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing only 1 earned run. The Tigers are still only 2 games back of first place Vermont and it would be a good idea for them to step up right now, against another sub .500 team, to show that they are capable of making a run for the playoffs down the the stretch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tonight's Pitching Probables 8/19/10

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Vance Worley 0-2, 4.32)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Adam Mills 2-8, 5.27) @ 7:05pm

Altoona Curve (Bryan Morris 6-4, 4.25)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Kyle Weiland 5-7, 4.28) @ 12:00pm

Richmond Flying Squirrels (Clayton Tanner 8-8, 3.25)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-9, 5.99) @ 7:05pm

Binghamton Mets (Jenrry Mejia 0-0, 2.70)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzalez 2-3, 6.90) @ 7:05pm

Lowell Spinners (Keith Couch 1-4, 3.38)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Colin Bates 3-3, 5.25) @ 7:05pm

Tri-City ValleyCats (Jay Buchanan 3-4, 3.92)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Brennan Smith 0-4, 3.54) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Altoona @ Sea Dogs - We are picking this game for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's a noon game on a perfect, 80 degree, Thursday afternoon in Portland and you look fairly sick, so you should play it safe and call in to work. Then you can head on down to Hadlock for a stress free, relaxing day of baseball. The second reason that this is our GotD is because it is Portland's last chance this season to beat the Curve. The Sea Dogs are 0-5 on the year against the second best team in all of the Eastern League, but they remain hopeful that they can solve them today to avoid a season sweep. Stone Temple Pitcher Kyle Weiland is looking for his first win since July 19th. He has gone 0-2 over his last four starts while allowing 12 earned runs and 20 hits. However Weiland has had 22 Ks over that same span. The Curve counter with Bryan Morris who hasn't lost a game since July 8th. Morris is 2-0 over his last five starts with 21 Ks. He faced Portland back on June 23rd and walked away with the victory after tossing 6 2/3 innings allowing only 1 earned run and 6 hits. So the choice is yours, sit in front of a computer in your cube showered by fluorescent lighting all day OR let the sun shine all over your face while you take in the last weekday afternoon home game for Portland this season. I'm thinking the choice is pretty easy here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tonight's Pitching Probables 8/18/10

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Ty Taubenheim 0-2, 6.06) GAME 1
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Kris Johnson 4-11, 5.38) @ 5:05pm

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Vance Worley 0-2, 4.32) GAME 2
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Ramon Ramirez 2-4, 5.85) @ 30 minutes following Game 1

Altoona Curve (Jeff Locke 1-1, 3.71)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Blake Maxwell 4-0, 2.08) @ 7:00pm

Richmond Flying Squirrels (Mike MacDonald 4-7, 4.14)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Chris Province 5-5, 5.22) @ 7:05pm

Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 2-3, 5.80)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zack Stewart 8-2, 3.75) @ 7:05pm

Lowell Spinners (Hunter Cervenka 0-4, 4.40)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Billy Ott NR) @ 7:05pm

Tri-City ValleyCats (Bobby Doran 3-4, 4.83)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Josue Carreno 4-5, 4.27) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tonight's Pitching Probables 8/17/10

Altoona Curve (Tony Watson 4-2, 2.81)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 3-3, 7.04) @ 7:00pm

Richmond Flying Squirrels (Daryl Maday 9-6, 2.83)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Tyler Robertson 2-11, 5.17) @ 7:05pm

Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 2-3, 5.80)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Kyle Drabek 12-9, 2.92) @ 7:05pm

You can listen to all games at:
MiLB Gameday Audio

Game of the Day - Binghamton @ Fisher Cats - The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have loaded up the guns and are making a full push towards an Eastern League Championship. It all starts with the Cats 1-2 pitching punch of Kyle Drabek and Zack Stewart, the two top prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. So-much-so that the team decided to skip Drabek's last start in an effort to preserve him for the playoffs. Tonight he returns to the hill in search of his fourth straight victory. He last started against the BMets back on July 17th, which was the last time that Drabek lost a game. New Hampshire is hopeful that his return to the rotation helps with their current slumps. The team is 3-4 over their last 7 games and 5-7 in the month of August. Binghamton puts Mark Cohoon on the bump tonight as they hope for him to build off of his best start of the year. In his last outing on August 10th, Cohoon picked up a win against Harrisburg by tossing 7 innings of 3 hit ball, allowing only 1 run to cross the plate. Cohoon faced New Hampshire back on July 11th when he was roughed up to the tune of 5 runs in 3 2/3 innings. These two teams have already played some great series against each other this season, so there is no doubt that these last three games will go the same way. The Fisher Cats hold a slight 10-9 lead over Binghamton in the season series.


Last chance to make history folks...

Monday, August 16, 2010

There is no OH in Lowell

Going from first to worst can be a recipe for disaster. The team is down, the organization becomes complacent and the fans stop showing up to support the product. Yet somehow the Lowell Spinners have avoided this letdown in the face of a rough season for the team.

The 2008 and 2009 Stedler Divison champions of the New York-Penn League are all but eliminated from playoff contention with about 3 weeks left in the season. For all intents and purposes, they were eliminated about halfway through July, but they carried on with business as usual. The organization's staff walks around LeLacheur Park with smiles on their faces, truly happy to be doing what they do for a living. The fans come out in droves, as evident by their 405 straight sellouts. Even the team continues to go out and play hard each and every night.

Despite their 16-40 record on the season, the team has come on as of late and has provided some serious opposition to all foes. The team went 4-9 in the month of June then 6-23 in the month of July, including an 11 game losing streak. So far in August, the team is 6-8, matching their July win total with 14 game left to play this month. They are also 4-4 in one-run games in the month of August, proving that they are always in to it until the end.

Boston Red Sox 2010 first round draft pick Kolbrin Vitek started much like the team...slowly. He batted .279 over 13 games in June with 6 RBI. From there he slumped down to .257 in 27 games and added 12 RBI. In 11 games played in August, Vitek has a .308 average with 3 home runs and 9 RBI and has truly come on as of late, smashing 11 hits with 8 RBI over his last 5 games.

On the hill, Miguel Celestino has showed his worth since being called up from the Rookie League Gulf Coast Red Sox. In 6 starts he has allowed only 6 earned runs over a span of 30 1/3 innings. Opponents are only batting .206 against him and he's whiffed 18 of them. He has had half of his starts in the month of August and although he didn't do bad in June, he's definitely come on. This month he is 2-1 with a 1.10, giving up only 7 hits and 5 walks in 16 1/3 innings of work.

So in spite of the bad times, the Lowell Spinners show us that there is always some good things to come from it. The players are showing their abilities and in the face of a terrible season they show their true grit by gutting it out every single time they hit the field. You can always bet that the fans will be loud and rowdy, as I was witness to on Sunday. It was eye opening to hear how loud 4,000+ can get for a team that is 24 games under .500. And you can be sure that the organization and staff will go the extra mile to ensure that everyone has the best experience every time they walk through the gates at LeLacheur Park.

I'm going to leave you with some final images from our trip to Lowell on Sunday, August 15th. It was a perfect way to spend a summer Sunday and I want to personally thank Jon Boswell and the Lowell Spinners organization for their amazing hospitality. Go support the team...you won't regret it!

Grounds crew watering down the infield prior to game time

Manager Bruce Crabbe hands in the lineup card

Seth Schwindenhammer (15) and Bryce Brentz (14) warming up

Canaligator and family standing for the National Anthem

Madison Younginer delivers to Mahoning Valley's Carlos Moncrief

A break in the action

One last thing here...the following video is played on the big screen out past the left-center field wall when the Spinners are trying to get a rally going. For some reason I found it hilarious...aaaaaaand the song was stuck in my head the whole next day.