Friday, September 16, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchup, Game Preview 9/16/11

Eastern League Finals
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Yohan Pino)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Jason Stevenson) 7:05pm

GAME 3 - Fisher Cats vs. Flying Squirrels - The Fisher Cats knotted things up in their last home game of the season on Wednesday night. Now the Finals have turned into a best-of-three series to be played out at The Diamond in Richmond starting tonight. New Hampshire starter Yohan Pino gets his second start of the postseason. Pino pitched 6 inning in game 4 of the Reading series and allowed only 1 run, but did not factor in the decision. Jason Stevenson gets the nod for Richmond following his triumphant return to the game after walking away back in 2005 to deal with personal matters. Now 30-years-old, Stevenson rejuvenated himself in Indy ball and found his way back to affiliated baseball thanks to Giants who signed him to Triple-A Fresno where he made two starts before being sent to Richmond. Stevenson struck out 8 batters over 7 innings in game 2 of the semifinals versus Harrisburg, but did not earn a decision.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchup, Game Preview 9/14/11

Eastern League Playoffs (Finals)
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Daryl Maday)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Nestor Molina) 7:05pm

GAME 2 - Flying Squirrels vs. Fisher Cats – After last night’s sloppy 10-9 slugfest the Fisher Cats look to even things up in the best-of-five finals and they are hoping that their normally stellar pitching returns via the arm of Nestor Molina….Daryl Maday gets the start for Richmond after posting a 4-10 record with a 4.47 ERA in 25 appearances (19 starts) with the Squirrels. He had only five starts from July 11th to the end of the regular season, going 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA. Maday was solid in game 1 of the Squirrels first round series against Harrisburg as he picked up the win after going 7 innings in which he allowed no runs. Nestor Molina will be tasked with trying to stop the Fisher Cats from heading to Richmond down 0-2. He was amazing in the regular season, spreading a 12-3 record and 2.21 ERA over time spent with Class-A Dunedin and New Hampshire. Molina did pick up the only loss in the Cats first round series versus Reading after he allowed 6 runs (2 earned), in three innings of game 2.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchups; Game Preview 9/12/11

Eastern League Playoffs (Finals)
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Chuck Lofgren)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Jenkins) 7:05pm

GAME 1 - Flying Squirrels vs. Fisher Cats – New Hampshire looks to bring home a title to New England as they get set to face off against the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the best-of-five Eastern League Finals…Chuck Lofgren had 9 regular season starts for the Squirrels and gets the game 1 nod after spending time in Class-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno this season. He did pitch once against New Hampshire back on August 3rd when he allowed just 1 run over 7 1/3 innings, but did not pick up a decision. Lofgren did not see action in the Squirrels first round series. Chad Jenkins gets his second start of the postseason for New Hampshire after a dazzling start in game 1 of the semifinals when he allowed no earned runs and struck out nine in a 2-0 victory over Reading. The Blue Jays first-rounder from 2009 had a start against Richmond back on August 4th and picked up a win after allowing only 1 run and 3 hits over 6 innings…New Hampshire won the season series against Richmond 4-2, but dropped two of three to the Squirrels at home…The last time the Fisher Cats made the E.L. Finals was in 2004 when they swept the Altoona Curve for the title…Richmond was last in the E.L. Finals back in 2009 when they were still the Connecticut Defenders. They lost that series to the Akron Aeros 3-1…Games 1 & 2 (7:05pm) will be played tonight and tomorrow at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium with an off day on Thursday before moving to Richmond for game 3 on Friday (7:05pm) and games 4 & 5 (both 6:05pm) on Saturday and Sunday if necessary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchup; Game Preview 9/11/11

Eastern League Playoffs (First round)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Yohan Pino)
vs. Reading Phillies (Tyson Brummett) 6:05pm

GAME 4 Fisher Cats vs. RPhils – The Fisher Cats look to wrap things up and advance to the Eastern League finals for the first time since they won it all back in 2004, their inaugural season in Manchester. Yohan Pino toes the rubber for New Hampshire tonight after compiling a 4-8 record in 36 appearances for the Cats. Pino was 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA over his last five starts and faced Reading in a relief appearance back on July 31st when he only allowed 2 hits over 2 1/3 innings. Tyson Brummett starts for Reading after compiling a 5-12 record with a 4.87 ERA between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Reading. In his last three starts of the regular season Brummett went 1-1 and allowed 10 runs and 22 hits in 18 innings. New Haven (who would eventually become the Fisher Cats) beat Reading in the 1995 and 2000 Eastern League finals.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchups 9/10/11

International League Playoffs (First round)
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Brian Bass)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox
(Tony Pena Jr.)

Eastern League Playoffs (First round)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Drew Hutchison)
vs. Reading Phillies (Austin Hyatt) 7:05pm

Friday, September 9, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchups; Game Previews 9/9/11

International League Playoffs (First round)
Pawtucket Red Sox (Tony Pena Jr.)
vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Ryan Edell) 7:05pm

GAME 2PawSox vs. IronPigs – Pawtucket does not want to come home having to win all three games, so a win tonight will be tantamount to their aspirations of moving on. The IronPigs three solo home runs were enough to hold off the PawSox last night in game 1. Tonight, Tony Pena Jr. looks to keep the Sox from an 0-2 hole. Pena had two straight starts against Lehigh Valley back in July, earning no decisions while posting a 4.50 ERA over 14 innings. Randy Edell gets the game 2 start for the IronPigs. Edell picked up 10 wins on the season between Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley, including one against the PawSox back on July 29th in a relief appearance…The PawSox got six hits from six different batters last night and struck out 10 times…In the other International League playoff series, the Columbus Clippers took a 2-0 lead over the Durham Bulls with a 3-0 win in game 2 last night.

Eastern League Playoffs (First round)
Reading Phillies (J.C. Ramirez)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Nestor Molina) 7:05pm

GAME 2RPhils vs. Fisher Cats – Chad Jenkins pitched brilliantly for the Fisher Cats last night as they won their first ever playoff game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. They hope for more of the same tonight from Nestor Molina as they look to take a 2-0 lead before heading off to Reading. J.C. Ramirez gets the start for the RPhils after rattling off wins in his last three starts of the regular season. Ramirez has five starts against the Cats this season and compiled a 3-2 record, including two wins at NeDDS. Molina had five starts with New Hampshire after his call up from Class-A Dunedin, but none against the Phillies. Molina has not lost a game since May 31st (with Dunedin) and in his five starts with the Cats he has 33 strikeouts in 22 innings…Catcher Travis d’Arnaud went 2-4 with a double and and RBI last night to lead the New Hampshire offense…The Harrisburg Senators and Richmond Flying Squirrels have yet to play a game in the other Eastern League series, with two games being washed out by rain.

New York-Penn League Playoffs (First round)
Vermont Lake Monsters (Seth Frankoff)
vs. Auburn Doubledays (Brian Dupra) 7:05pm

GAME 3Lake Monsters vs. Doubledays – It all comes down to this for the Lake Monsters, who in their prior two playoff appearances, have advanced out of the first round. Now with their first round series tied at one, it’s win-or-go-home for Vermont who start Seth Frankoff tonight. He started 14 regular season games this year and was stellar over his last three, allowing no runs in 19 1/3 innings. Frankoff did not face the Auburn this season. Brian Dupra gets the start for the Doubledays after posting a 4-4 record in the regular season. Dupra has nine starts on the season, none against the Lake Monsters…Dusty Robinson picked up two of the five Vermont hits last night as the Auburn pitchers whiffed 13 Lake Monsters…The Staten Island Yankees took game 1 of their first round series against the Brooklyn Cyclones last night with a 2-0 victory.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchups; Game Previews 9/8/11

International League Playoffs (First round)
Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox)
vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Dave Bush) 7:05pm

GAME 1 Paw Sox vs. IronPigs – Pawtucket pulled into first place in the I.L.’s North Division back on August 7th and never relinquish that spot, despite some shaky stretches. They punched their first post-season ticket in three years and took their first North Division title since 2003. Matt Fox went 10-4 in the regular season and earns the start for Pawtucket in game 1. He finished the season with four straight victories and was 6-2 over his last 10 starts, which included a complete game, 2-hit gem against Gwinnett on August 14th. Fox went 6 innings, allowed 1 earned run, 2 hits and picked up a win against Lehigh Valley back on July 28th. The IronPigs counter with Dave Bush, who has had a whirlwind season in which he has played for three different organizations. Now with the Phillies, Bush has spent all of his time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, making 4 starts and compiling a 1-2 record and 3.91 ERA. Bush started the season playing with the Texas Rangers and was released after posting a 5.71 ERA in mostly relief spots. After playing with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, Bush opted out of his contract and signed with the Phillies. Bush has logged 82 1/3 innings across the board this season…The PawSox won the regular season series against the IronPigs 10-6, taking 6 of the 8 games played at McCoy Stadium…Games 1 & 2 of the series will be played at Lehigh Valley on Wednesday and Thursday with both games starting at 7:05pm. The PawSox will return home to host games 3 (7:05pm), 4 (6:05pm, if needed) & 5 (1:05pm, if needed) Friday through Sunday at McCoy Stadium.

Eastern League Playoffs (First round)
Reading Phillies (Tyler Cloyd)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Jenkins) 7:05pm

GAME 1RPhils vs. Fisher Cats – New Hampshire is in the Eastern League playoffs for the second consecutive season, this year as the Eastern Division winner. The good news for the Fisher Cats this time around is that they won’t have to face the likes of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andy Pettitte, as they were forced to do when Trenton swept them out of the 2010 post-season. Tyler Cloyd will be the Reading starter in game 1 after compiling a 6-3 record with a 2.78 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) after being called up to Double-A in June. He has not picked up a loss since July 20th and over his last seven starts of the regular season he went 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA. Cloyd did face the Fisher Cats twice this season, including that July 20th loss, and only allowed 3 earned runs in 11 innings. Chad Jenkins will get the ball first for the Fisher Cats after 27 regular season starts, 16 of which came with the Fisher Cats. He was 0-3 with a 5.19 ERA in his last four regular season starts of the season. Jenkins had two starts against the RPhils, both back in July, and compiled a 1-1 record with a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings…The season series between these teams was tied 9-9 with Reading take 7 of 10 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium…As the Eastern Division champs, the Fisher Cats will host the first two games of the best-of-five playoff series, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:05pm. The series shifts to Reading for games 3 & 4 (if needed) on Friday and Saturday at 7:05pm and the teams will return to NeDDs on Sunday for a 5:05pm start if a game 5 is necessary.

New York-Penn League Playoffs (First round)
Vermont Lake Monsters (Brent Powers)
vs. Auburn Doubledays (Taylor Hill) 7:05pm

GAME 2Lake Monsters vs. Doubledays – Last night Chad Lewis sparked a five-run, first-inning with a two-out, 3-RBI triple and the Vermont Lake Monsters would not look back as they took down the Auburn Doubledays 7-1 in the first game of their best-of-three series. The win was the first playoff victory for Vermont since September 11th, 1996 when they defeated St. Catherine’s 4-3 to win their only NYPL title. Four Vermont pitchers combined to hold Auburn to only 3 hits on the night while striking out 16. Lewis finished the night with a single, triple, home run and four runs batted in. Tonight the action shifts to Auburn where Vermont starter Brent Powers will take to the hill looking to advance the Lake Monsters to the NYPL finals. He has made 12 starts this season, compiling a 4-2 record, with all 4 wins coming over his last 7 starts of the season. Taylor Hill will hit the mound looking to help Auburn even things up in this series. He started the season coming out of the pen and was then transferred to the starting rotation where he made 5 starts and went 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA…This is the third time in team history that Vermont has reached the playoffs (1994, 1996, 2011). Vermont’s 14 years between playoff appearances was a league-high drought, which is now owned by Abderdeen who have not made the postseason in ten years.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Playoff Pitching Matchups; Game Preview 9/6/11

New York-Penn League Playoffs (First round)
Auburn Doubledays (Nathan Karns)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Drew Granier)

GAME 1Doubledays vs. Lake Monsters - The Vermont Lake Monsters earned a playoff spot on the last day of the season thanks to the Connecticut Tigers loss at the hands of the Lowell Spinners. It was the second straight season that the Tigers lost the Stedler Division on the last day of the season, in extra innings no-less. The Tigers misfortune is the Lake Monsters gain as they make the post season for the first time since 1996 when they were still the Expos. Now they face the squad that they used to be as they gear up to take on the Pinckney Division winning Auburn Doubledays in a best-of-three series. The series opens at historic Centennial Field tonight before heading off to Auburn for Games 2 & 3 on Wednesday and Thursday (if needed). The Doubledays will have Nathan Karns on the hill for the opener. He made 8 starts with Auburn and compiled a 3-2 record with a 3.44 ERA. Karns did not face Vermont this season and in his last three starts he has allowed only 2 earned runs over 16 innings. Drew Granier gets the start for the Lake Monsters after posting a 1.91 ERA in seven regular season starts. He struck out 34 batters and did not allow a home run in 28 1/3 innings of work. Granier did face Auburn back on August 11th when he went 3 2/3 innings and allowed 2 runs, 2 hits and 4 walks, but did not factor in the decision…Auburn took the season series 2-1 and outscored Vermont 20-13…The Lake Monsters (39-35) finished over .500 for just the 6th time in their 18-year history…Auburn took over the Short-A affiliation from Washington after they had been in Vermont as part of the Expos/Nationals organization since the teams inception back in 1994. There are currently nine Doubleday players that were former Lake Monsters.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pitching Matchups 9/5/11

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Yohan Pino 3-8, 4.22)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger
Trenton Thunder (Graham Stoneburner 1-5, 3.88)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 8-9, 4.31)

Rochester Red Wings (Eric Hacker 7-13, 5.85)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Greg Smith 1-1, 4.00)

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pitching Matchups 9/4/11

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Drew Hutchison 2-0, 1.80) vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Charlie Haeger 4-0, 2.45)

Tri-City Valley Cats (N/A) vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (J.C. Menna 2-7, 6.16) Lowell Spinners (Luis Diaz 4-4, 2.75) vs. Connecticut Tigers (Brennan Smith 4-3, 1.45)

Trenton Thunder (Graham Stoneburner 1-5, 3.88) vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 8-9, 4.31)

Rochester Red Wings (N/A) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Alex Wilson 1-0, 3.00)

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 9/3/11

Trenton Thunder (Craig Heyer 10-8, 4.10) GAME 1
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Logan Darnell 1-1, 4.85)

Trenton Thunder (Cory Arbiso 5-5, 4.98) GAME 2
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (N/A)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Nestor Molina 2-0, 0.47)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 3-1, 4.46)

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Manny Banuelos 2-2, 3.03)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Tony Pena Jr. 9-6, 3.40)

Tri-City Valley Cats (N/A)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Seth Frankoff 5-3, 2.55)

Lowell Spinners (Raul Alcantara 0-2, 6.94)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Wilsen Palacios 4-5, 3.38)

Game of the Day Yankees vs. Red Sox – It’s clinching time for the Pawtucket Red Sox (78-61) who can earn postseason rights with a win tonight or a Lehigh Valley loss to Buffalo…but let’s face it, it’s always nicer to win and get in than to back in. However, there stands a tough task in front of them if they wish to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2008 in front of their home fans. That task comes in the form of Scranton pitcher Manny Banuelos, who baffled the PawSox lineup on Monday when he allowed just one hit and two walks over seven innings. He is considered the Yankees best pitching prospect by most experts and the 20-year-old lefty has breezed through the system, landing in Triple-A at the beginning of August. This will be Banuelos seventh start since being called up from Trenton and he is in search of his third straight victory. Tony Pena Jr. gets the call for the PawSox tonight, his second tilt against Banuelos this week. Pena pitched admirably in that game, going 4 2/3 and allowing only 1 earned run, but of course the lack of offensive support did not help his cause. Pena picked up the loss in that game and had finished both July and August with losses, but on the flip-side he started both of those months with wins. So the big question is, will this be viewed as his first start of September, or his last?...The PawSox have not won the I.L. North title since 2003. Scranton Wilkes-Barre's streak of five straight I.L. North titles will come to end this season…Pawtucket is 8-6 versus the Yankees this season, but are only 2-4 against them at home...The PawSox won exactly 17 games in June, July and August.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 9/2/11

Lowell Spinners (Raynel Velette 2-4, 6.62) GAME 1
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Rayni Guichardo 1-2, 5.26)

Lowell Spinners (Hunter Cervenka 2-7, 5.40) GAME 2
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Luis Angel Sanz 5-4, 2.95)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Jenkins 5-7, 3.97)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Matt Rusch 0-3, 6.19)

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Adam Warren 6-7, 3.51
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 9-4, 4.04)

Trenton Thunder (Jeff Marquez 1-0, 3.00)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Pat Dean NR)

Tri-City Valley Cats (N/A)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Kurt Wunderlich 2-5, 5.44)

Game of the Day - Fisher Cats vs. Sea Dogs – New Hampshire (74-64) can be the first of four New England based teams to clinch a playoff spot tonight, as they can punch their ticket with a win in Portland (Pawtucket will need a win and a Lehigh Valley loss, so they too could clinch a playoff spot tonight). This will be the first time in team history that the Cats will make back-to-back playoff appearances. Last season they took the Eastern Division’s second place playoff spot before being swept out by Trenton. Chad Jenkins will be charged with securing New Hampshire’s ticket to an extended season. He is looking to snap a personal three-game losing streak, which came on the heels of a three-game win streak. Jenkins has been a workhorse, logging 6 or more innings in eight of his last ten starts. The Portland Sea Dogs (58-80) are also on the verge of a little history themselves, but this one is not quite as prestigious as the Fisher Cats. The Dogs are unfortunately approaching their worst season in team history. The previous low water mark came in the organization's first ever season back in 1994 when they went 60-81. Portland will need to take three of four from one of the league’s best teams to avoid this dubious fate and it will up to Matt Rusch to get the ball rolling as he attempts to hold off a dangerous Cats lineup. This will be his fourth start of the season and he is still seeking his first win. In his prior three starts Rusch has allowed 11 runs and 20 hits over 16 innings…The Fisher Cats lead the season series 12-10, but Portland has the upper-hand overall as they lead the all-time series 90-104…Portland followed a 17-13 July with a 13-17 August. The Fisher Cats finished August with a 14-15 record, their third straight month under .500…The Fisher Cats can clinch the Eastern Division with a win and a New Britain loss.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pitching Matchup; Game of the Day 9/1/11

Portland Sea Dogs (Michael Lee 1-6, 5.12)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (N/A)

Vermont Lake Monsters (Brent Powers 3-2, 4.01)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (N/A)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Dustin McGowan 0-2, 3.38)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Shaeffer Hall 10-7, 4.26)

New Britain Rock Cats (Andrew Albers 3-1, 3.41)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Ryan Verdugo 8-5, 4.11)

Brooklyn Cyclones (Chris Hilliard 3-1, 3.72)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Jason Garcia 3-2, 3.51)

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Thomas Collier 3-1, 1.97)

Game of the Day NYPL Stedler - As we enter the last few days of the season, the Connecticut Tigers (35-34) currently hold a half game lead over the Vermont Lake Monsters (35-35). Connecticut has five games remaining, all at home, and they close out a three game series against Hudson Valley tonight. Thomas Collier will get his third straight start at home for the Tigers. In four starts at Dodd Stadium this season he is 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA and has allowed only 11 hits and 7 walks while striking out 24 batters over 22 innings. Collier has not allowed a run over his last 11 2/3 innings of work.

Vermont only has four games left on the slate and none loom larger than tonight’s game against Staten Island, as the Lake Monsters look to avoid a three game sweep at the hands of the Yankees. Vermont sends Brent Powers to the hill for his twelfth start of the season. He did face Staten Island back on July 9th when he picked up a loss, but only allowed 2 earned runs and 4 hits in 5 innings. Powers has a 1.41 WHIP which is the tenth highest mark in the league and his 4.01 ERA is eleventh highest. The Lake Monsters have dropped two straight and five of their last seven games.

Lastly, it would be in everyone’s best interest to keep a close eye on the Tri-City ValleyCats (33-38), who are still three games behind the Tigers, but find themselves in an almost identical position as they did last year when they charged towards the top of the standings, passing Vermont and Connecticut along the way, to win the Stedler on the last day of the season. The ValleyCats look to sweep the Aberdeen IronBirds (22-48) tonight before finishing the season with three games in Vermont. A win tonight by Tri-City and losses by Connecticut and Vermont will make this already highly-anticipated weekend, even more insane.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hendriks dominates Paw Sox, Youkilis rehabs

The Pawtucket Red Sox got their first taste of Rochester Red Wings starting pitcher Liam Hendriks on Wednesday night at Frontier Field. It's safe to say that they don't want to see him again anytime soon.

Hendriks scattered 3 hits and struck out 6 over 8 dominant innings as the Red Wings defeated the Paw Sox 4-2.

The 22 year old Aussie posted an 8-2 record in New Britain (AA) before being promoted on July 18th to Rochester. Despite rough starts on the road in Norfolk and Durham during the beginning of August, Hendriks has come on strong of late and evened his record at 4-4 before 9,426.

Hendriks had the daunting task of facing Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis 3 times tonight but looked up to the challenge. When asked about facing Youkilis, he said, "Going in there, I was like I'm not going to over-pitch him. You see a lot of guys go in there and see a big leaguer on rehab, especially one as big as Kevin Youkilis, and they just throw all off speed. I was like I'm going to go out there and challenge him and make him hit the ball. He flied out deep a couple of times but they stayed in."

Youkilis bounced out 5-3 to end the first and, for the second night in a row, Rochester's offense got on the board in the bottom half. After a Matt Tolbert walk, Jeff Bailey doubled him in and Dustin Martin followed suit with an RBI single of his own. Rochester tacked on a 3rd run after Jair Fernandez drove in Aaron Bates in the 2nd.

Rochester's play of the year happened in the top of the 3rd as Brian Dinkelman robbed Paw Sox 2B Nate Spears of a 2-run home run. Dinkelman only stands 5-11 but he timed the jump perfectly to extend himself over the wall and make the play. Hendriks said, "Off the bat I thought it was gone. Even before he came down I thought it's gone over. All you can do is just tip your cap, give him a high five, and buy him dinner."

Dinkelman was equally surprised with the catch. "I think it's the first in my life that I've actually robbed anyone of a home run."

Hendriks didn't allow a hit until the 5th and kept the Paw Sox offense at bay. He struck out the side in the 8th and exited with 95 pitches (66 strikes).

The rehabbing Youkilis was 0-3 entering the 9th but took an 0-1 pitch to left-center field for a solo home run off Kyle Waldrop. After the game, he seemed positive about his rehab and excited to rejoin the Red Sox as they enter their stretch run. "I felt good, I was running and the one thing is when you have to do it every day you have to stay at it. At least we know where the problems are and we have a great training staff and we'll make sure every day that I stay healthy and stay strong through September."

The Paw Sox were without J.D. Drew, a late omission from the line-up. Drew injured a finger in his 2nd at bat last night and was lifted in the 5th. He was flown to Boston this afternoon to be evaluated.

In all, the Red Wings scored 4 runs on the night and produced them all with 2 outs. A considerable number of fans may have shown up Tuesday and Wednesday to see Youkilis and Drew but it's Hendriks who deserves our attention.

His ability to keep the ball around the plate without walking batters (4.5:1 K:BB rate in AA, 10:1 in AAA) will serve him and the Red Wings well as they prepare for 2012. Hendriks alluded to finishing his pitches better of late and the results certainly back it up. He doesn't lose his velocity as the game progresses either as the fastball was sitting in the high 80s to low 90s all night long. Effectively mixing his curveball proved to be the difference tonight.

His willingness to challenge a Major League All-Star shows a lot about his confidence on the mound. Kyle Gibson may have a higher projected ceiling but Hendriks has command and poise on the mound that the Minnesota Twins top prospect has lacked all year.

Suffice to say, we haven't heard the last of Liam Hendriks.

Not by a long shot.

Live Blog: Paw Sox @ Red Wings

Pawtucket 2
Rochester 4

W- Hendriks (4-4)
L - Weiland (8-10)
S- Waldrop (2)

Top 9
Kyle Waldrop in relief of Hendriks. His final line: 8IP, 3H, 1ER, 6K, 0BB.
Lin, Luna, Youk due up for the Paw Sox.
Lin lifts one to left. 1 down.
Luna gets decent wood on the ball but hits it right at Dinkelman. 2 outs.
Youkilis bomb to left center. Rough estimate 395ish? 4-2 Rochester.
Lavarnway down to his final strike and he bounces out to 3rd.

Bottom 8
Atchison in and another quick half inning as Tolbert, Chang, and Bailey all go down. 2 hours and 10 minutes in as we go to the 9th. Youk laid out for a ball at 3rd to get Bailey and made the play. Very nice!

Top 8
Liam Hendriks strikes out the side. Carroll, Spears, and Iglesias all down swinging. 6Ks on the night. Not much to say about the Paw Sox offense tonight.

Top and Bottom 7
I'm guilty of visiting a co-worker so this is very Readers Digest: Paw Sox went down 1-2-3 and Rochester has Bates leadoff with a walk only to be caught stealing for the 3rd out. Score remains 4-1. Of note, Junichi Tazawa pitched the 7th for Pawtucket and looked effective minus his lone walk. 14 pitches and 8 strikes.

Bottom 6
Brett Carroll lays out for a ball down the right field line but doesn't make the play. Bailey ends up on 2nd with a double and Lambin drives him in with 2 outs. 4-1 Rochester.

Top 6
Hendriks gets another 1-2-3 inning with Youkilis flying out to center. 7 pitches in 3 at-bats for Youkilis tonight. Hard to tell if he hasn't been selective enough or if Hendriks is doing a good job pitching to contact. I'll go with the latter due to Youk's typical plate approach.

Bottom 5
Fanboy alert: As Trevor Plouffe is showing no signs of being sent down, Fernandez is quickly rising to the occasion to take over for next season. You have been warned!
A Roberts double was squandered after Tolbert flew out to left to end the inning.

Top 5
Daniel Nava breaks up 4 innings of no-hit ball with a leadoff double. Anderson, who was 3-4 last night, flies out to the track. Brett Carroll follows with a single and Spears drives him in with a sac-fly.
Iglesias singles down the right field line and Dinkelman throws to second. They consequently send Carroll and Tolbert throws him out at home as Fernandez hangs on to the ball. Carroll hit him pretty hard...what a play. 3-1 Rochester.

Bottom 4
Dustin Martin singles through the hole in left side of the infield but Weiland gets a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play followed by a Dinkelman K to end the inning unscathed.

Top 4
Kevin Youkilis flies out to edge of the warning track in left center following Luna's popout to short. Ryan Lavarnway then gets thrown out at first by a nice barehanded play by Chase Lambin.

Bottom 3
Matt Tolbert lifts the first pitch he sees to left and his struggles continue. Ray Chang follows by grounding out to Youkilis who looks like himself tonight. Doesn't seem like the back is playing an issue. Bailey ends the inning by grounding out to Iglesias. So effortless at short.

Top 3
Hendriks starts out the inning by hitting Carroll. Looked to me the hand or wrist but he looks fine.
***Brian Dinkelman just absolutely robbed Spears of a 2R HR at the wall in right. Perfectly timed jump! Lin down looking to end the top. Dinkelman gets a standing ovation as he comes off the field. Rochester leads 3-0.

As far as September callups are concerned, don't look past Dinkelman to get another shot with the Twins. Gardenhire likes his versatility as he can be slotted at 2B as well as the corner OF spots.

Bottom 2
Jair Fernandez, recently called up from AA New Britain, drilled a 2-out double to left scoring Aaron Bates. 3-0 Rochester with all runs being produced with 2 outs.

Top 2
Hendriks continues to look solid, getting the Paw Sox 1-2-3 again. I love this kid's stuff and his ability to pitch effectively to contact. 81K 18BB in 90 IP for New Britain and, coming into tonight, 24K and 3BB for Rochester. Looks confident on the rubber.

Bottom 1
Rochester jumps on Kyle Weiland early after Matt Tolbert walks on 5 pitches. A 2-out RBI double for Jeff Bailey followed by an RBI single for Dustin Martin make it 2-0 Rochester. Martin is caught stealing to end the frame.

Top 1
Rochester starter Liam Hendriks very economical in the first, mowing down the Paw Sox 1-2-3 with 11 pitches. Kevin Youkilis bounced out to 3rd.

Live Blog: Pawtucket @ Rochester

Live blogging tonight at Frontier Field for Pawtucket @ Rochester - 7:05.

Paw Sox
Lin (8), Luna (DH), Youkilis (5), Lavarnway (2), Nava (7), Anderson (3), Carroll (9), Spears (4), Igesias (6). SP: Weiland.

Red Wings
Roberts (8), Tolbert (6), Chang (4), Bailey (3), Martin (7), Lambin (5), Dinkelman (9), Bates (DH), Fernandez (2). SP: Hendriks.

J.D. Drew hurt his finger in his 2nd AB last night and has been sent back to Boston to be evaluated.
Some interesting game notes courtesy of the Pawtucket PR Department:
  • The Paw Sox rank 13th in the IL in hitting (.253) but 2nd in pitching (3.55 ERA).
  • An 8 game errorless streak to begin August was their longest since 1994.
  • Pawtucket have stolen 19 bases in their last 19 games and have been successful in 32 of their last 39 tries (33 games).
  • They have the best record of all IL teams within their respective divisions at 45-29.
  • Pawtucket have lost 14 games on their opposition's last at-bat but have won 13 in similar fashion.
  • 15 different Paw Sox players to date have been promoted to the Red Sox this season.
Playoff tickets are now on sale at the McCoy Stadium Box Office. You can also order by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 8/31/11

Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 5-11, 6.46)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Erik Arnesen 8-4, 2.57)

Vermont Lake Monsters (Drew Granier 1-1, 1.90)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (N/A)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 8-9, 3.46)
vs. Rochester Red Wings ()

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Yohan Pino 3-7, 4.09)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Steve Garrison 3-8, 6.86)

New Britain Rock Cats (Spencer Steedley 4-4, 4.73)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Justin Schumer 0-0, 2.00)

Brooklyn Cyclones (Jeffrey Walters 3-6, 3.45)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Madison Younginer 1-5, 5.11)

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Matt Crouse 5-1, 3.19)

Game of the DayRock Cats vs. Flying Squirrels – You have seven games remaining and a half game lead in the Wild Card race. Every game is a must win at this point, which is where the New Britain Rock Cats (69-66) currently find themselves as we near the finish of the regular season. As if the pressure of that wasn’t enough, the team they face, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (72-64), are in a similar predicament, battling to extend their season as the Wild Card rep from the E.L.’s Western Division. Spencer Stedley gets the start for New Britain, his sixth of the season and fifth in the month of August. He picked up a victory over Trenton in his last start after going 5 innings and allowing only 2 earned runs. The bulk of Stedley’s work this year has been from the pen where he has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.47 ERA in 23 appearances. Justin Schumer gets his second start for Richmond tonight. He was recently called up from Class-A Augusta and has since started once and made two relief appearances, allowing only 2 runs over 9 total innings. Prior to his call-up, Schumer made 12 starts and 11 relief appearances, racking up a 5-5 record with a 5.24 ERA…The Rock Cats are 14-13 in the month of August, the Flying Squirrels are 12-16. The season series between these two teams has been split with each team winning 6 games. The season series concludes on Thursday night at 7:05pm…Richmond owns the league’s worst team batting average (.246) and they also have the least amount of doubles (211)…The Rock Cats' 75 stolen bases are by far a league-low, but even worse is the 51 times they’ve been caught stealing, leading to a horrific .595 stolen base percentage. New Hampshire Fisher Cats center fielder, and league leader in swipes Anthony Gose has 66 stolen bases and a .815 SB%...New Britain’s Yangervis Solarte is in the midst of an eight game hit streak.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PawSox @ Red Wings - Quick Hits

I had the opportunity to see the visiting PawSox tonight at Frontier Field. Some quick impressions:

- J.D. Drew was extremely comfortable at the plate in his rehab assignment. He singled in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th and looked very professional. There's something to be said about an established Major Leaguer who rehabs and acts like he cares and J.D. certainly fell into that category tonight. He was replaced in the bottom of the 5th by Nate Spears.

- Kevin Youkilis' back looks fine. DHing tonight for the PawSox, he hustled from 1st to home on a Ryan Lavarnway double in the 5th and showed the same kind of effort and intensity that we have grown accustomed to in Boston. Youk was 1-4 with a BB and was pinch run for in the 9th.

- Will Middlebrooks' throwing accuracy from the hot corner was shaky. The youngster had 2 throws go astray but Lars Anderson made great plays on both to save potential errors.

-Jose Iglesias could prove to be a very valuable defensive replacement for the Red Sox if he gets the call. He's so smooth at short and it looks effortless.

- Starting pitcher Greg Smith, an oft forgotten piece in both the Dan Haren to Arizona and Matt Holliday to Oakland deals, got battered around by a mediocre Rochester lineup. Smith let every baserunner bite him on the scoreboard. Very tough night. His final line: 5IP, 6H, 6ER, 3BB, 3K.

- The difference tonight was Rochester's ability to capitalize on their chances. The PawSox had 15 hits and drew 2 walks but were responsible for 3 double plays to kill rally opportunities.

I'll be live blogging for tomorrow's 7:05 Pawtucket @ Rochester clash. Check in for live updates or follow me @Thomas_Saucke

Pitching Matchup; Game of the Day 8/30/11

Portland Sea Dogs (Charlie Haeger 3‐0, 2.75)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Oliver Perez 3‐4, 3.04)

Vermont Lake Monsters (Tyler Vail 1-5, 4.93)
vs. Staten Island Yankees (Bryan Mitchell 1-3, 4.13)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Greg Smith 4-3, 4.20)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Cole DeVries 4-2, 4.07)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Drew Hutchison 1-0, 0.00)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Graham Stoneburner 1-4, 3.80)

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 7-9, 4.43)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Chuck Lofgren 3-1, 3.38)

Brooklyn Cyclones (Carlos Vazquez 3-2, 3.64)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Luis Diaz 4-3, 2.87)

Hudson Valley Renegades (N/A)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Brennan Smith 3-3, 1.62)

Game of the Day - Lake Monsters vs. Yankees – The Vermont Lake Monsters (35-33) escaped four straight games against Connecticut (34-33) with a half game lead in the Stedler Division over the Tigers, and six games remaining on the schedule. And it won’t be an easy final six for the Lake Monsters, who kick off a three game series against league best Staten Island (43-24) tonight. Tyler Vail starts for the Lake Monsters, his ninth start of the season with Vermont. Vail has not picked up a win since July and was 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA in August. The 19-year-old righty has some decent potential as a former 5th rounder for the A's, but he needs some work on his command as he currently has 20 walks to go with his 21 strike outs. Will Olvers gets the call for Staten Island looking for his second straight win. Oliver has been solid over his last six games, allowing 2 or fewer runs in each, including three scoreless starts. In a start versus Vermont in June, Oliver tossed 4 1/3 innings and allowed 4 earned runs…Staten Island won the previous series against Vermont, two game to one…Vermont is 13-13 in the month of August…Staten Island outfielder Mason Williams is leading the league with a .358 batting average, .021 points ahead of his closest competition…Vermont closer Tanner Peters has allowed only 3 earned runs over 23 2/3 innings of work and his 11 saves puts him third in the league, two behind Yankees closer Branden Pinder.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Games of the Day 8/29/11

Lowell Spinners (Raynel Velette 2-4, 6.80) GAME 1
vs. Tri-City ValleyCats (Kyle Hallock 2-4, 1.82)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Tony Pena 9-5, 3.46) GAME 1
vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Manny Banuelos 1-2, 3.86)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Alex Wilson 0-0, 4.50)
vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Dellin Betances 0-1, 5.00)

Connecticut Tigers (Wilsen Palacios 4-4, 3.32)
vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (Seth Frankoff 4-3, 2.85)
This game will follow the completion of the suspended game from June 25th.

Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 2-1, 4.54)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Daniel Rosenbaum 3-0, 1.37)

Lowell Spinners (Raul Alcantara 0-2, 9.82)
vs. Tri-City ValleyCats (Adam Champion 4-1, 3.72)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Nestor Molina 2-0, 0.56)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Craig Heyer 10-7, 3.88)

New Britain Rock Cats (Logan Darnell 1-0, 3.98)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Justin Fitzgerald 8-9, 3.55)

Game of the DayRed Sox vs. Yankees – As the two big clubs get set to meet at Fenway for three games starting Tuesday night, the Triple-A version of this rivalry goes into effect tonight, starting with a doubleheader, the second twin-bill between these teams in four days (Saturday and Sunday’s games were washed out by Hurricane Irene). So with eight games to play, the PawSox find themselves one game up on Lehigh Valley in the I.L. North, with the Gwinnett Braves standing as the only real Wild Card competition should they slip into second place. Tonight’s doubleheader features three starting pitchers who have all been promoted to Triple-A in August and combined have nine starts between them. The “veteran” of the group is Tony Pena who has had a “steady-as-he-goes” attitude about him all season. Despite this being only his thirteenth start of the year, Pena is tied for the team lead with nine wins and is fourth on the team with 106 2/3 innings pitched. Alex Wilson seeks his first Triple-A win in his third start for Pawtucket. In his first two starts Wilson has pitched a combined 10 innings and has struck out 10 batters, but has also yielded 9 hits and 6 walks. On the Yankees side sits two of my favorite pitching prospects in the game, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Banuelos got the call-up at the beginning of the month, so he is the experienced one at this level, in all of his five starts. He has gone at least 5 innings in four of those starts and he has struck out 24 batters in 25 2/3 innings, but he has also allowed 12 walks and 31 hits, leading to an inflated 1.68 WHIP. Betances pitched well in his first start with Scranton when he struck out 9 Durham batters over 6 innings. However, things got real dicey in his second start when he was yanked after 3 innings, despite only giving up 1 hit and 2 runs, because of the 9 free passes he allowed. As far as who is pitching which game, your guess is as good as mine…hell, it’s probably better. But based on how has listed doubleheaders with the pitching matchups backwards all year long, and since the Pena/Banuelos matchup was supposed to be Saturday initially, I figured that would be the Game 1 matchup and thus Wilson/Betances in Game 2...but just a heads up because it could be the other way around.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pitching Matchups 8/27/11

Harrisburg Senators (Tanner Roark 8-8, 4.98)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Jenkins 5-6, 4.06)

New Britain Rock Cats (Logan Darnell 1-0, 3.98) GAME 1
vs. Trenton Thunder (Craig Heyer 10-7, 3.88)

New Britain Rock Cats (N/A)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Cory Arbiso 5-5, 4.98)

Portland Sea Dogs (Michael Lee 1-6, 5.24) GAME 1
vs. Reading Phillies (J.C. Ramirez 9-13, 4.83)

Vermont Lake Monsters (Brent Powers 3-2, 4.30)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Luis Angel Sanz 5-4, 3.25)

Tri-City ValleyCats (Juri Perez 1-5, 4.31)
vs. Lowell Spinners (Raynel Velette 2-4, 6.80)

Portland Sea Dogs (Matt Rusch 0-2, 5.56) GAME 2
vs. Reading Phillies (Derrick Loop 1-2, 5.40)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Tony Pena 9-5, 3.46)
vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Manny Banuelos 1-2, 3.86)

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 8/26/11

Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 8-4, 4.21) GAME 1
vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Adam Warren 6-6, 3.29)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 8-4, 4.21)
vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Adam Warren 6-6, 3.29)

Harrisburg Senators (Shairon Martis 7-5, 2.98)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Dustin McGowan 0-1, 3.18)

Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 5-11, 6.57)
vs. Reading Phillies (Tyler Cloyd 5-3, 2.90)

New Britain Rock Cats (Andrew Albers 3-1, 3.81)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Shaeffer Hall 10-7, 4.40)

Vermont Lake Monsters (Brent Powers 3-2, 4.30)
vs. Connecticut Tigers (Thomas Collier 2-1, 2.36)

Tri-City ValleyCats (N/A)
vs. Lowell Spinners (N/A)

Game of the DayLake Monsters vs. Tigers – We finally take a breather from the heated Eastern League race (although things got even more heated after last night…but we need a break) to take a look at the New York-Penn Stedler Division, where Vermont and Connecticut stand poised to duke it out until the end. The Lake Monsters (33-30) have been atop the standings since the first week of the season without much in their way despite hovering around .500 most of the way. But after dropping two straight, the Monsters now have the Tigers (32-30) breathing down their neck, just one game back and ready to welcome them to their den to settle things in the Colosseum of baseball. Vermont is scheduled to have Brent Powers on the hill in his 11th start of the season. He is 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA over his last five games. Powers, an 18th round selection of the Oakland A’s in the July draft, has not yet faced the Tigers this season. Four rounds after Powers was taken, Detroit chose pitcher Thomas Collier who gets his sixth start tonight. The righty has impressed so-far, tallying 25 Ks in 26 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .217 batting average. In his limited time on the mound with Connecticut, Collier has posted a 2.36 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP…Vermont and Connecticut have four games remaining against each other (including tonight’s matchup), plus the completion of a suspended game from June 25th, which will be finished prior to Saturday’s game. Vermont leads the season series 4-1…Vermont reliever Tanner Peters has been outstanding this season. He has made 17 appearances out of the pen and has saved 11 games, allowing only 3 runs with 25 Ks in 21 2/3 innings…Despite batting .176 over his last ten games, Connecticut first baseman Dean Green is still hitting .352 for the month of August…The Tigers are 7-3 over their last ten game and Vermont is 6-4.

Check out all of the action live on MiLB Gameday Audio by clicking on the banner below: