Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/30/11

Toledo Mud Hens (Andrew Oliver 2-1, 4.76)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 2-1, 3.38)

Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 2-1, 4.40)
vs. Reading Phillies (J.C. Ramirez 3-0, 1.33)

Harrisburg Senators (Shairon Martis 0-0, 11.25)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendriks 1-1, 4.61)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Joel Carreno 0-2, 7.02)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Manny Banuelos 0-0, 1.42)

Game of the DayMud Hens vs. PawSox - The brooms were out in full force last night as all four local teams got swept up in losses, making me think long and hard about today’s GotD. I thought that as punishment, I wouldn’t award anyone the GotD today…then I thought that I just do that sometimes because I’m lazy, so that would defeat the purpose! And who is really punished here? With all that being said, I decided to go with the best of the bunch, the 13-9, second place PawSox. Despite being shut out 3-0 by Lehigh Valley last night, the PawSox offense scored 39 runs and went 4-3 during their seven game road swing. They return to McCoy for a quick four game home set versus Toledo; the first meeting of these two teams in 2011. Toledo comes into the game with an 11-12 record, but they have rattled off five in a row and both their offense and pitching seems to be clicking. They have outscored their opponents 29-11 during this stretch. Andrew Oliver, who was clipped for 9 earned runs and 13 hits over his last two starts, gets the nod for the Mud Hens. The PawSox have Kyle Weiland on the hill and he has continually improved in each of his four starts this season. In his last two starts Weiland has allowed only 2 earned runs and five hits over 11 innings, while picking up victories in both games. The PawSox are 6-2 at home and will look for that advantage over these next four games. As a side, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that tonight is the night that Lars Anderson gets his first home run of the season.

May Promos

May starts tomorrow, so check out what the new month has to offer for great promotions around the region.

New Britain
May 12th
Poster Giveaway/Thursday Happy Hour/Pre-Game Beer Tasting – So much to do, so much to see, so much to drink! Enter the gate, get a free team poster, taste-test some beers for free and get your pallet warmed up, then BOOM, take full advantage of the Thursday Happy Hour specials and it’s game on!
May 14th - Dancing Christopher/Sammy Saturdays – If you’ve ever wanted to see a one-man Village People or Jackson 5, then Dancing Christopher is the guy for you. If you haven’t, then Samuel Adams is the guy for you. Dancing Christopher, if somehow you haven’t seen him by this point in your life, is the dude who controls two dummies on either side of him, with all figures and himself dressed up as the aforementioned groups of yesteryear. Samuel Adams is the delicious beer that you can enjoy, with great specials in store at the Sam Adams Bar & Grill in the park.
May 21st/22ndZooperstars/BirdZerk! – This is a back-to-back mascot fest at New Britain Stadium, which is apropos seeing as the Rock Cats have a seemingly endless supply of their own mascots. Zooperstars (on the 21st) are the roving band of inflatable mascots that can do many things that the normal mascot simply cannot. BirdZerk! (on the 22nd) seems to be some sort of crazy, technicolored San Diego Chicken wannabe, with a few mascot pals along for the ride.

New Hampshire
May 7thOllie Bobblehead – Ollie is the loveable bat-retrieving dog who loyally picks up the lumber from the Fisher Cats batters after a hit. Last year, for some reason, Ollie seemed to have an aversion to the black bats that players would use, but he’s coming around this season and he becomes more of a fan favorite with each passing game. The bobblehead was only a matter of time. Only 1500 of these gems will be available, so be sure to get there early as these will go VERY fast.
May 18th- Wing Off – I am a wing fanatic, so this one is right up my alley. The Fisher Cats usually blow away the competition when it comes to the cookoffs they hold each month and the Wing Off keeps momentum in their favor. I’m 100% in for this fabulous event…I’ll be the guy pounding the Tums in the 3rd inning.
May 27thT-Shirt Giveaway – The first 1000 fans through the gate can cop themselves a fresh new Fisher Cats T…which you need because you are still wearing last year’s colors aren’t you? Step up your game, get the new red, white and blue color scheme going!

May 14th
Baseball Card Set – The first 5000 fans through the McCoy Stadium gates will get a 2010 PawSox Baseball Card Set compliments of Dunkin Donuts. This game also pits your beloved PawSox versus the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees, so you got a Sox/Yankees angle here as well. Not enough you say?!!! Well how about a Motorcycle and Classic Car Show? Yeahhhhh, sounds like a damn good day at the ball park to me.
May 15thStar Wars Day – McCoy welcomes back your favorite characters from a galaxy far, far away. Come out and join the festivities and let your inner-geek fly. No word on who is throwing out the first pitch, which gets me wondering which Star Wars characters I would pick for a starting pitching staff? I think I’d go Chewbacca as my ace because you can’t have enough flame-throwing eight footers on the bump. He may even be a lefty on top of it all! Then I’d round it out with Solo, Calrissian, Fett and Akbar (because he always knows when it’s a trap).
May 27th/28thTravel Mug Giveaway/Photo Ball Giveaway - 3000 PawSox travel mugs will be given out on the 27th and 3000 PawSox photo baseballs will be handed out on the 28th. The choice is yours, or...just hear me out here…maybe you love anything with a PawSox logo on it, so maybe you get to both games and try to get both of these items?! Just a suggestion…a pretty damn awesome suggestion.

May 24th
Mike Piazza Dog Tricks – The name of this promo alone has me VERY intrigued. Will the former All-Star catcher be doing things a dog normally does? Is there a dog out there with a sick mustache who calls a great game behind the dish (the home plate variety, not the food receptacle)? It also falls on “Bark in the Park” night, so you can bring your dog to Hadlock to find out exactly what this is all about.
May 26thKevin Youkilis Bobblehead – So far, so good with regards to a return of 2010’s “Curse of the Bobblehead!” Last month’s Jon Lester Bobblehead Giveaway has not yielded an injury to Boston’s ace as of this posting…hopefully Youk’s fate is a similar one, although he was one of the many plagued by the “CURSE OF THE BOBBLEHEAD” last year.
May 30thPlay Catch of the Field – This is one of my favorite promos that pops-up all over the place throughout the season, but this is the first one noted around these parts this year, so we must make light of it. Who wouldn’t want to toss the ol’ rawhide in the shadows of the Maine Monster?!

For those who love the rockets red glaring and the bombs bursting in air(ing?), then here is the listing for FIREWORKS nights:
New Britain – 13th
New Hampshire – 6th, 10th, 27th, 28th
Pawtucket – 29th
Portland – 6th

And don’t forget about the best season-long promo running; the KRAFT Singles Tuesday Night Tickets promo, where you can buy 1 ticket and get a free 1 when you bring a wrapper from any KRAFT singles wrapper to the box office. Click the logo for more details…

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pitching Matchup; Game of the Day 4/29/11

Harrisburg Senators (Brad Meyers 3-1, 2.95)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfeld 1-0, 2.40)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Alfredo Aceves 0-0, 9.00)
vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Vance Worley 2-2, 2.78)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (B.J. LaMura 1-0, 1.20)
vs. Trenton Thunder (Dellin Betances 0-1, 1.93)

Portland Sea Dogs (Stolmy Pimentel 0-2 8.03)
vs. Reading Phillies (Josh Zeid 0-1, 5.74)

Game of the DaySea Dogs vs. RPhils - Portland has dug themselves out of the basement with a three game win streak and now look to tackle their early season road demons (1-4 road record) and pull their overall record to an even .500 tonight in Reading. The RPhils have the best record in Eastern League (13-7), one game up on New Hampshire, and are riding a two game win streak. These two teams split the season opening series in Portland, winning two games apiece. Reading gave Stolmy Pimentel a rude welcome to AA baseball, battering him for 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks back on April 9th. He is opposed by Josh Zeid who hasn’t had the best go of things in his first four starts this season, which includes a four run outing versus Portland back on Opening Day. Both pitchers are seeking their first win and they will be forced to try and earn it as Portland (.296) and Reading (.285) are 1-2 in batting average in the EL, with no other team even close (New Britain in third with .268). The Sea Dogs are hoping to keep things rolling towards the top of the standings and a win today could go a long way in keeping momentum in their favor. Plus I think that Stolmy is finally due to show off his stuff for the Sea Dogs faithful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pitching Matchups 4/28/11

Binghamton Mets (Robert Carson 2-0, 0.90)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 2-1, 5.14)

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 1-2, 3.52)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Beck 2-0, 0.60)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Felix Doubront 0-0, 0.00)
vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Ryan Feierabend 0-1, 6.23)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/26/11

Binghamton Mets (Brad Holt 0-0, 0.50)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 1-2, 9.53)

New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-1, 5.54)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzalez 1-1, 1.59)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Brandon Duckworth (2-0, 0.48)
vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Brian Bass (0-1, 5.14)

Game of the DayBMets vs. Sea Dogs – Binghamton starting pitcher Brad Holt is the Mets third best pitching prospect according to Baseball America, while Sea Dogs starter Brock Huntzinger doesn’t even crack the Red Sox Top 30 pitching prospects. Holt has allowed 1 earned run over 18 innings of work in 2011; Huntzinger has allowed 12 runs over 11 1/3 innings. Holt has 14 Ks; Huntzinger 4. Opponents are hitting only .138 versus Holt while Huntzinger has been battered to the tune of a .373 opponent BA. Holt doesn’t have a win yet, Huntzinger has 1! Advantage Huntzinger…hopefully for the Sea Dogs sake as both of these teams have identical 6-9 records and sit in the basement of the EL’s Eastern Division. The Dogs are hoping to keep the BMets road woes (3-7) rolling and take a step closer to the front door.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pitching Matchup; Game of the Day 4/26/11

Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 1-0, 0.47)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Michael Lee 0-1, 8.10)

New Britain Rock Cats (David Bromberg 1-1, 4.24)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 1-1, 2.89)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Andrew Miller 0-1, 1.32)
vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Eddie Bonine 1-2, 2.60)

Game of the DayRock Cats vs. Fisher Cats – Dos Cats are back at in Manchester after the Rocks took it to the Fishers 9-2 last night. Last week New Hampshire won two games of a rain-shortened 3 game set in New Britain, not it looks as if the Rock Cats are flipping the script here, taking it to the Fisher Cats in their own litter box. New Britain has David Bromberg going for his second win of the season after suffering a loss in his last outing which was against these very Fisher Cats back on the 18th. New Hampshire clipped Bromberg for 7 hits and 5 earned runs in that one. The way Zach Stewart has pitched in his last two starts should give the Fisher Cats even more hope in this one. He opposed Bromberg in that April 18th game, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing only 2 hits and no earned runs in picking up his only win on the season. So on paper (or screen) this looks like a gimme for the Fisher Cats…which probably means another win for the road team in what is heating up to be a nice little back-and-forth rivalry.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pitching Matchups 4/25/11

Binghamton Mets (Brandon Moore 0-0, 7.00)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 2-0, 2.70)

New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendriks 0-1, 5.87)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Joel Carreno 0-2, 8.49)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Andrew Miller 0-1, 1.32)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Jeff Manship 1-0, 0.00)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pitching Matchup; Game of the Day 4/23/11

Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 1-1, 4.26)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Anthony Swarzak 1-0, 2.30)

Game of the DayPawSox vs. Red Wings – This is our GotD for a few reasons. One is the obvious; there are no other games being played today. The second, as PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard reminds us in THIS great piece this morning, is that “The Longest Game Ever” was played 30 years ago on Easter, with the same combatants at it once again today. Kyle Weiland takes the hill for Pawtucket in his fourth start of the season. His last two starts came against the Syracuse Chiefs where he picked up one win in 9 2/3 innings of work, striking out 14 batters and allowing only 1 earned run in each appearance. Unfortunately his other start came against Rochester and he got shelled. Weiland went 3 innings against the Wings back on April 8th and allowed 7 hits and 4 earned runs before getting the hook. Rochester starter Anthony Swarzak is also making his fourth start of year. He faced the PawSox back on Opening Day and despite only going 4 2/3 innings; he completely shut them down, allowing only 3 hits, 1 walk and no earned runs while whiffing 7. It’s Easter Sunday, the birds are legitimately chirping right outside of my window, the sun is shining bright and there is baseball! Happy holidays to all and enjoy the game.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rochester 9, Pawtucket 7

A blustery Saturday afternoon in Rochester, NY paid heed to a flurry of runs and a Rochester Red Wings 9-7 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Despite Rochester’s offensive struggles, the Red Wings were able to take full advantage of mistakes by Alfredo Aceves and Matt Fox to even the series at one. Fox, initially slated to start, was bumped for Aceves who was optioned to Pawtucket after the Red Sox activated Matt Albers from the 15 day DL.

The PawSox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st after a 2-run triple from Josh Reddick and an RBI single from Hector Luna in his first at bat with the club. Rochester starter Yorman Bazardo was bailed out with a 4-6-3 double play, weathering the early storm that Rochester responded to in the bottom of the 3rd with 3 runs of their own.

Aceves began the bottom half of the inning by allowing consecutive singles to Toby Gardenhire, Ben Revere and Brian Dinkleman. After a sac-fly from SS Trevor Plouffe and an RBI single for LF Rene Tosoni, the Red Wings tied the game on a 1 out sac-fly from Dustin Martin.

Fox proceeded to relieve Aceves in the 4th and gave up two more earned runs, one of which was a solo home run to Toby Gardenhire. It was only the third of his professional career for the son of Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in 1310 at bats.

Control issues plagued both teams today as 5 batters were plunked. Matt Fox also had 3 wild pitches which came back to haunt him in the 5th when one moved Brian Dinkleman into scoring position and a second scored Dustin Martin from 3rd after a 2 run double.

Rochester’s bullpen was able to hang on, aided by two strong innings from Kyle Waldrop as he induced 5 ground ball outs. The PawSox, owners of 6 come from behind victories this season, weren’t able to break Waldrop or Phil Dumatrait, who earned the save despite allowing a solo home run to Drew Sutton.

Pawtucket will attempt to rebound tomorrow in a 1:05 start. Anthony Swarzak and Kyle Weiland are expected to get the ball for Rochester and Pawtucket, respectively.


-Coming into this afternoon, Pawtucket was 6-0 when hitting a home run. Drew Sutton and Luis Exposito went deep in the losing effort.

-Rich Hill pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. His command looked very solid today in relief.

-Hector Luna left the game in the top of the 6th after being hit by a pitch.

-Tony Thomas’ 10 game hitting streak ended today after pinch running for the injured Luna.

Pawtucket @ Rochester Live Blog

Rochester- 9
Pawtucket- 7

W- Waldrop
L- Fox
S- Dumatrait

Top 9: Dumatrait in a save situation for the Red Wings. Spears down looking. 1 out. Sutton, with the PawSox desperate to get baserunners, hits a solo home run to left center. 9-7 Rochester. 1 out, Linares to the plate and he flies out to left. Exposito bounces out 6-3.

Bottom 8: Jason Rice in to pitch for the PawSox. Rich Hill went 1.2 scoreless, 0H, 0ER, 0K, 0BB.
Navarro with an excellent play at second to turn a 4-6-3 double play. Lehmann follows suit with a solo home run to left. 9-6 Rochester.

Top 8: Paid attendance announced at 3626. Seems like a lot of Rochestarians were deterred by blustery conditions today. Phil Dumatrait warming in the Red Wings bullpen. Waldrop proceeds to walk Navarro. A broken bat 4-6-3 double play grounded into by Josh Reddick brings Tony Thomas to the plate on a 10 game hitting streak. Thomas grounds out 4-3 to end the inning.

Bottom 7: Rich Hill looking good. Hits Dustin Martin but not given a warning as it wasn't deemed intentional. Martin thrown out trying to steal 2nd, appeared to be in there safe.

Top 7: Kyle Waldrop in to pitch for Rochester. Final line for Slama: 1.1IP, 1H, 2ER, 2K, 0BB. Waldrop goes 1-2-3, all on ground balls.

Bottom 6: Defensive change for PawSox as Nate Spears moves to first. Rich Hill continues to warm in the pen. Matt Fox with his 3rd wild pitch of the day, advancing Danny Lehmann (singled) to 2nd. Rich Hill relieving Fox to face Ben Revere.
Rich Hill retires Revere and Dinkleman.
Final line for Matt Fox: 2.1 IP, 5H, 5Er, 3K, 1BB.

Top 6: Navarro hit by pitch for the second time today. Slama hits Luna as well. Runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out, and Slama looked concerned and frustrated with himself on both occasions. Tony Thomas pinch running for Luna. Lars Anderson strikes out looking and is tossed for arguing the strike 3 call. Drew Sutton redeems himself with a two run double. Kyle Waldrop warming in the bullpen for the Red Wings. 8-6 Rochester.

Bottom 5: Dinkleman singles to right and advances to second on a wild pitch. Plouffe grounds out 1-3 to move Dinkleman to 3rd. Rene Tosoni walks. Rich Hill begins to warm in the PawSox pen.
Dustin Martin 2 run double to left, advances to 3rd on the throw. 7-4 Rochester. Fox with his second wild pitch of the inning, Martin scores. 8-4 Rochester.

Top 5: Luis Exposito homers to right field. 5-4 Rochester. Bazardo follows with a K and is replaced by Anthony Slama. Final line for Bazardo: 4.2 IP, 4H, 4ER, 4K, 1BB. 62 pitches, 37 strikes. Slama gets Nava to fly out to center to end the 5th.

Bottom 4: Matt Fox relieves Aceves. Final pitching line for Aceves is 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1K, 1BB. 51 pitches, 33 for strikes. He looked very comfortable until the 3rd.
Chase Lambin hits his first home run of the season. 4-3 Rochester.
Toby Gardenhire hits a first pitch solo home run to left, only the third of his professional career. 5-3 Rochester.

Top 4: Bazardo gets Hector Luna swinging but follows it up with a 4 pitch walk to Lars Anderson. Drew Sutton having a tough day; grounds into his second 4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bottom 3: Aceves has given up 3 consecutive singles to Toby Gardenhire, Ben Revere and Brian Dinkleman. Matt Fox warming.
Trevor Plouffe sacrifice fly makes it 3-1 PawSox. Rene Tosoni singles to right, making it 3-2 Paw Sox. Runners on the corners with 1 out. Fox contines to warm; Aceves looking uneasy.
Dustin Martin with a sac-fly to left and Tosoni tags from first. He is put out 7-5-4 but the run scores beforehand. Game tied 3-3.

Top 3: Bazardo with another 1-2-3 inning on 3 fly ball outs. He appears to have settled down nicely.

Bottom 2: Aceves continues to cruise. After hitting Chase Lambin, he induces a first pitch 4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 2: Bazardo rebounds with a 1-2-3 inning. He hit his spots much more effectively, striking out Linares and Exposito.

Bottom 1: Aceves has little trouble with the top of the order aside from a 5 pitch walk to Brian Dinkelman.

Top 1: Pawtucket starts out red hot. Nava singles up the middle and Bazardo subsequently hits Navarro. A two run triple for Josh Reddick makes it 2-0 and Hector Luna's first AB with the Paw Sox goes to the same spot down the right field line to make it 3-0. Bazardo gets bailed out with a 4-6-3 double play. 3-0 Pawtucket.

Pawtucket @ Rochester Live Blog

Starting Lineups for today's 1:05 start have been released. The Paw Sox, winners of 7 of 8, bested the Red Wings last night on a pair of 6th inning home runs. They move forward without Ryan Kalish, who was placed on the DL today with a left shoulder injury. Daniel Nava's resurgence over his last 6 games (6 for 17 after an 0-14 slide) will need to continue to fill the offensive void as the Paw Sox attempt to keep pace with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on this 8 game road trip.

Paw Sox
Daniel Nava - LF
Yamaico Navarro - 2B
Josh Reddick - CF
Hector Luna - DH
Lars Anderson - 1B
Drew Sutton - 3B
J.C. Linares - RF
Luis Exposito - C
Jose Iglesias - SS

Alfredo Aceves - RHP

Red Wings

Ben Revere - CF
Brain Dinkelman - DH
Trevor Plouffe - SS
Rene Tosoni - LF
Dustin Martin - RF
Jeff Bailey - 1B
Chase Lambin - 3B
Danny Lehmann - C
Toby Gardenhire - 2B

Yorman Bazardo - RHP

Check back at game time for inning by inning updates.

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/23/11

New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Henriks 0-1, 5.87)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 2-0, 2.70)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 2-1, 3.86)
vs. Rochester Red Wings (Yorman Bazardo 0-0, 3.97)

Binghamton Mets (Brandon Moore 0-0, 7.00)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Joel Carreno 0-2, 8.49)

Game of the DayRain vs. Sunshine – Rain has had a monster season with 5 PPDs and 2 SUSPs so far this year between the four New England teams. Sure, more games have been played than not, but has Sunshine really come out to play yet? It’s starting to look like today won’t be that day either as all three slated games are under a heavy threat of Rain and cancellation. We’ll be sure to keep you posted and hopefully we can get all of these games in, because for the first time ever we have writers out in the field other than yours truly, covering the action in New Hampshire and all the way up in Rochester. Fingers are crossed, Bill Withers is queued up, but it may take a miracle...hmmm….too soon?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/22/11

Pawtucket Red Sox (Felix Doubront NR)
vs. Rochester Red Wings ()

New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfield 1-0, )
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stolmy Pimentel 0-1, 5.63)

Binghamton Mets (Robert Carson 1-1, 0.90)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Beck 1-0, 1.13)

Game of the DayPawSox vs. Red Wings - Four days after the 30th anniversary of the “Longest Game Ever,” the two opponents from that fateful day/night/other day, renew their rivalry. For the PawSox, it’s a bit of the old Good News-Bad News routine. Yesterday during a 14-0 rout of the Syracuse Chiefs at McCoy Stadium, center fielder Ryan Kalish injured his shoulder making a spectacular diving catch. No results have come back as of yet and his status is very much up in the air. On the other hand, their pitching got a whole hell-of-a lot stronger with the return of Felix Doubront, who started his season with Boston where he made three appearances out of the pen. Felix started 8 games in Pawtucket last season and compiled a 4-3 record with a 3.16 ERA. The Red Wings will counter with Andrew Baldwin who has been beat around by the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees in his two starts this year. He has allowed 14 hits, 12 earned runs and 5 home runs in 10 2/3 innings this season. The PawSox hope to have similar luck against him and improve their 3-4 road record.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/21/11

Syracuse Chiefs (Garrett Mock 0-1, 3.86)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Brandon Duckworth 1-0, 0.77)

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 1-1, 1.59)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 0-2, 15.63)

Binghamton Mets (Brad Holt 0-0, 0.00)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (B.J. LaMura 1-0, 0.82)

Game of the DayBMets vs. Fisher Cats – We have the recipe for a pitcher’s duel in this one as the Fisher Cats return to NeDDS for a 7 game home stand tonight against Binghamton. Although he is winless after his first two starts, BMets pitcher Brad Holt has been spectacular this year, allowing 0 earned runs and only 7 hits in 12 innings of work. He shut down the Fisher Cats lineup last Friday, going 7 strong, striking out 5 and allowing only 4 hits and a walk. Cats starts B.J. LaMura has been equally as good so far this year, going only one less inning and allowing only one more earned run than Holt. LaMura has whiffed 12 batters over his 11 innings of work, 4 of which were Mets hitters last Thursday in Binghamton. Neither pitcher got a decision in either of those matchups. The BMets come into tonight’s game riding a 3 game win streak after a Red Sox-esque start to the season that had them sitting at 2-6. Now has them one game back of .500 at 5-6. The Fisher Cats won their last two games versus New Britain, which pulled them into a tie for second place in the EL’s Eastern Division with a 7-5 record. Tonight son team's streak will be halted as two pitcher’s off to hot starts face off against each other and against two of the more dormant sets of bats currently going in the Eastern League.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/20/11

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzalez 0-1, 1.80)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-0, 1.80)

Syracuse Chiefs (Ross Detwiler 1-0, 1.50)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Andrew Miller 0-1, 1.17)

Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 2-0, 2.45)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 0-0, .075)

Game of the DayChiefs vs. PawSox – Since I didn’t realize that Dos Cats were scrapping at 10:30am today, I’m gonna grab a game that starts after 6:00pm for the GotD. I also am interested in seeing where the Andrew Miller experiment is heading. So far he has 8 walks in 7 2/3 innings of work, but according to PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard, the 4 walks in his last outing were a bit misleading do to a VERY tight strike zone by the home plate umpire that night (I think the 16 total walks by both teams backs Hoard here). Yet for all of his control “issues”, Miller has only allowed 1 earned run and 4 hits while striking out 7 batters and holding his opponents to a .148 batting average. Syracuse starter Ross Detwiler has gone exactly 6 innings in both of his starts and has allowed exactly one run in each of those games. He’s also struck out 12 over those 12 innings, so he’s been pretty darn consistent so far. Will Detwiler be capable of stopping the PawSox express and their 5 game win streak? Or will Andrew Miller find the zone and keep things rolling?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Farming New England - Season 2011, Issue 1

Welcome to the first edition of "Farming New England" for the 2011 season. Here is where we take a quick peek at how the teams have been doing so far this season...enjoy:

The Rock Cats are on fire in a way that they never came close to in 2010. They have raced out to a 7-5 record, good enough for second placed in the Eastern League's Eastern Division. The team didn't win their seventh game until May 15th last year and they hit that mark in game 9 this season! The attitude has changed in New Britain and a slew of familiar faces may just be the reason behind it. The offense has been led by familiar faces such as Yangervis Solarte (.342, 6 R, 2 SB) Chris Parmelee (.322, 8 R, 8 RBI), Joe Benson (.372, 8 R, 9 RBI, 3 SB) and Mark Dolenc (.286, 4 SBs). The starting pitching staff has had a similar resurgence of returning faces who have come out firing. Bobby Lanigan (1-1, 1.59), Deolis Guerra (2-0, 1.80), Steve Hirschfeld (1-0, 0.82) and David Bromberg (1-1, 4.24) have been instrumental in getting things off on the right foot and all three may soon see promotions because of it. New face Ray Chang (who may be an old face to many around here after spending last year with the Portland Sea Dogs) has also played an integral role for the Rock Cats, hitting .295 with 11 RBI and 6 runs. It's evident that all of these players feel that they have something to prove after 2010 and a six game winning streak is a nice way to put last year in the dust.

The Fisher Cats are riding some early ups-and-downs so far this season. They have a 6-5 record and currently sit in third place in the EL’s Eastern Division. They lost the season opener, and then rattled off three straight wins, followed by three straight losses, then two wins, a loss and a win. Quite the roller coaster ride to start a season. All eyes are definitely on the progression of Zach Stewart, one of the Blue Jays top pitching prospects, whom many thought would break camp with the big club this year. Unfortunately no one is quite sure how he will be used once he makes the leap. Stewart stumbled out of the gate, allowing 4 earned runs and 7 hits against Trenton in the opener. But he quickly rebounded; tossing 13 1/3 solid innings over his last two starts in which he has only allowed 2 earned runs and 2 walks, collecting a win along the way. If Stew keeps up this pace, he should be jumping up a level very soon. For the every-dayers on the roster, center field Anthony Gose has impressed with his quickness in the field and on the base paths, but his bat hasn’t had much to say yet as he heads into Wednesday batting .222 on the year. The sweet swing of Mike McDade has been the main offensive weapon for the Cats so far. McDade is one of only 3 players to play in every game so far and he has made the best of it, hitting .341. As a whole this lineup could use some more pop, as their 2 total team home runs puts them well behind the pack, tied for last in the league with Trenton.

The PawSox are putting together a nice little start for themselves here, even with a stacked lineup that has yet to live up to its potential (how does Lars Anderson have NO homeruns!!!). Second baseman Tony Thomas has been one of the exceptions so far, belting 3 homers, 2 of which were grand slams, compiling a team best .375 average and driving in 11 runs. He’s also 3/4 on stolen base attempts. Pitching vets Brandon Duckworth (1-0, 0.77 ERA, 11 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 9 Ks), Scott Atchison (1-0, 0.96 ERA, 9 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 11 Ks) and Rich Hill (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 2/3 IP, 1 Save, 0 ER, 11 Ks) have been dominating the competition so far and both may soon find themselves up with the big club if they continue on this pace. The team is in the midst of a five game win streak, putting them in a tie for first place of the North Division in the International League with an 8-5 record. Considering that 11 of their first 13 games have been against either Buffalo or Syracuse, it will be interesting to see how the PawSox hold up against the rest of the league.

The Sea Dogs record (4-6) might not reflect the hot start that their bats have had, but they currently lead the Eastern League in batting average with a plump .282 team total. That stat is boosted by three players sitting in the Top 6 in the EL in batting, including league leader Alex Hassan (.474!!!), fifth place Tim Federowicz (.361) and sixth place Will Middlebrooks (.359). Speaking of Alex Hassan, the 20th round pick from 2009 has been nothing short of spectacular to start the season. His league leading batting average is all thanks to a 10 game hit streak to start the season. Hassan also leads the team in RBI (10) and has swiped 2 bases without being thrown out. The stolen base has become a strong point for this team, swiping 12 bases with only one runner not making it. The pitching has been fairly solid as well, with starters Alex Wilson (2-0, 2.45) and Stephen Fife (2-0, 2.70) being the frontrunners of the staff. The Sea Dogs have to find a way to pull out the one run games, of which they have lost three so far.

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/19/11

Syracuse Chiefs (Yunesy Maya 0-0, 6.10)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 0-1, 5.87)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-0, 1.80)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Rey Gonzalez 0-1, 1.80)

Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 2-0, 2.45)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Mark Cohoon 0-0, 0.75)

Game of the DayFisher Cats vs. Rock Cats – We are heading down to New Britain once again as it’s a “Cat” fight with second place implications on the line. The Fisher Cats knocked the Rock Cats off of their perch in the top slot of the Eastern Division with last night’s 7-3 victory. Both teams throw starters to the hill sporting tidy 1.80 ERAs. New Hampshire has Rey Gonzalez going in his third start of the season, but his 1.80 ERA hasn’t come easy, as he has allowed 13 hits in 10 innings of work and 6 earned runs (only 2 of those have been earned however). Deolis Guerra gets his first taste of the bump in New Britain this season, following wins in his first two starts, both on the road. Currently the Fisher Cats (6-5) are a game back of the Rock Cats (7-4) and hope to claw their way to a tie in the standings with another win in New Britain. The Rock Cats are looking to get back on the winning track after dropping two straight following a six game winning streak.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/18/11

Syracuse Chiefs (J.D. Martin 0-0, 0.00)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 1-1, 5.63)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats
(Zach Stewart 0-1, 4.50)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (David Bromberg 1-0, 2.70)

Portland Sea Dogs (Michael Lee 0-0, 2.45)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Brandon Moore 0-0, 5.79)

Game of the DayChiefs vs. PawSox - We honor the 30th anniversary of “The Longest Game Ever” by putting the PawSox in our GotD. Currently Pawtucket is 6-5 on the year, one game behind first place Lehigh Valley in the North Division of the International League. Syracuse is a half game behind them, sitting at .500 with a 5-5 record. The PawSox are in the midst of a three game win streak, but they dropped 2 of 3 in Syracuse last week. Matt Fox gets his third start of the season for Pawtucket and hopes to make up for a rough one last time out. Last Thursday Fox lasted only 2 innings versus Syracuse, allowing 6 hits and 4 earned runs while picking up the “L.” He’ll be opposed by J.D. Martin, who is making his first start of the year after 2 strong appearances out of the pen where he allowed no earned runs over 5 innings of work. However, Martin has not seen any action since the 11th, so the PawSox would do best to attack the rusty spots early and often. The Sox hope to keep their potent offense rolling after putting up a 10 spot on Buffalo yesterday, and a rusty pitcher in his first start might help them do just that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/17/11

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 0-1, 4.50)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Brandon Moore 0-0 5.79)

Buffalo Bisons
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox
(completion of yesterday's suspended 1-1 game)

(Regularly scheduled game will follow completion of yesterday's game.)
Buffalo Bisons (Dillon Gee 1-1, 4.63)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Kris Johnson 0-1, 23.14)

Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 1-0, 0.00)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendriks 0-0, 0.00)

Game of the Day Sea Dogs vs. Rock Cats - With all of yesterday's weather cancelling games, including our GotD, we figured we'd just go to this Cats vs. Dogs well one last time to close out the series. The same rules and streaks apply from yesterday's GotD listing, but it looks like they are switching up the starting pitchers. Michael Lee did well for Portland in his first start versus Trenton. The lanky right-hander only went 3.2 innings, but allowed only one run on three hits and he struck out 4 batters. Veteran workhorse David Bromberg takes the hill for the Rock Cats. Fresh off his first win of the season against Harrisburg on Monday, Bromberg has put in work over the last three years, starting in at least 26 games and working 150+ innings in each of those campaigns. He may not be long for AA this year, but he can help the Cats while he is here. After a night of it raining cats and dogs, Sunday should be a day of play for these adversaries.

NOTE: The above GotD is null and void because neither team changed their starters from yesterday as Fife and Hendriks will be starting just go down a day and reread that one and we'll forget this ever happened. That's what I get for trying to be proactive and get things done before I go to bed at 3:00am!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/16/11

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Joel Carreno 0-1, 9.45)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Robert Carson 0-1, 0.00)

Buffalo Bisons (N/A)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Brandon Duckworth 1-0, 0.00)

Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 1-0, 0.00)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendriks 0-0, 0.00)

Game of the Day Sea Dogs vs. Rock Cats – We are staying in New Britain for the GotD after an exciting ball game yesterday that was decided in the bottom of the ninth when the Rock Cats Steve Singleton singled in Yangervis Solarte for the 2-1 win, after being down 1-0 going into the 8th inning. The Cats (7-2) are now in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League, having won 6 straight games. Their longest win streak in 2010 was only 4 games. Liam Hendriks gets his second start of the season after only logging one inning in his first action due to weather conditions. The righty from “down under” has whiffed four batters in 2.2 innings of work (he made a relief appearance as well) and he hopes to keep the Sea Dogs bats dormant while the Rock Cats keep rolling. Portland starter Stephen Fife had a great first outing last Sunday, shutting down the Reading Phillies over five scoreless innings of work, but the Dogs have lost 3 of their last 4, scoring only 5 runs in said loses. Alex Hassan (.467 avg., 8 game hit streak) and Will Middlebrooks (.367 avg., 2 HRs) have led the Portland offense so far this year, but the team home run total of 3 could use a boost. It’s Dogs and Cats once again, under the lights of New Britain Stadium, for game three of their four-game set.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/15/11

Portland Sea Dogs (Stolmy Pimentel 0-1, 15.00)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfeld 1-0, 0.00)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Andrew Miller 0-1, 2.45)
vs. Syracuse Chiefs (Mock 0-0, 1.59)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Chad Beck NR)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Brad Holt 0-0, 0.00)

Game of the DayFisher Cats vs. BMets – Last night’s game was a barn-burner between these two, with New Hampshire pushing a run across in the top of the ninth for the 3-2 victory. Binghamton has Brad Holt on the hill tonight, the #10 prospect in the New York Mets farm system according to Baseball America. Holt is in his third go’round with the BMets and hopes to keep his ERA somewhat respectable after blowing up with double-A ERAs of 6.21 (2009) and 10.20 (2010). Holt was 0-1 versus the Cats last season, but got off to a nice start with a strong outing at Akron last Saturday where he went five innings and allowed 3 hits, 2 walks and no runs. The Cats bring Chad Beck to the forefront after his recent callup from Dunedin. Beck is a big, strong righty (6’4”, 245lbs) in his 6th season of pro ball and is only now getting a taste of AA after shutting down Clearwater (5.1IP, 1ER, 4H, 7Ks) last Saturday. A win tonight will put the Fisher Cats over .500 on the season, a loss will be taxing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/14/11

2:00pmGAME 1
Pawtucket Red Sox
(Kyle Weiland 0-1, 12.00)
vs. Syracuse Chiefs (Yunesky Maya 0-0, 9.64)

GAME 2 (approx. 30 minutes after Game 1)
Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 1-0, 1.50)
vs. Syracuse Chiefs (Ross Detwiler 0-0, 1.50)

Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 0-1, 14.73)
vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 0-1, 1.69)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (B.J. LaMura 1-0, 0.00)
vs. Binghamton Mets (Mark Cahoon 0-0, 1.80)

Game of the DaySea Dogs vs. Rock Cats – It’s our first head-to-head matchup of the year and it’s the Rock Cats home opener, so this was a must pick for us. The Cats are on a 3 game win streak and are hopeful that some home cooking keeps things rolling. They are actually tied for first place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League right now, which is already an amazing turnaround from last season’s long, miserable nightmare. At 5-2 the Rock Cats are only two wins away from equaling their April total from 2010 and Bobby Lanigan is charged with pulling them one game closer tonight. The Portland Sea Dogs come into the game all squared up at 3-3 on the year. Starter Brock Huntzinger is hoping for better results than his initial start of the season when he got rocked for 6 runs and 8 hits against Reading back on the 8th. Outfielder Alex Hassan currently holds the hot hand in the Sea Dogs lineup, hitting safely in all 6 games this season for a .500 average while driving in 6 and swiping 2 bases on 2 attempts. The Dogs are hoping that their 13 run output in their last game rolls over into tonight’s matchup, to start the first road trip of the season off on the right foot. It’s the age old enemies, Cats vs. Dogs, meeting tonight in Connecticut!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hitting the Links

The first “Hitting the Links” of 2011 is dedicated to friends and colleagues who I’ve come across along the road and whom I have great respect for. Please check out the following websites, bookmark them, and check in all season long because they all provide top notch coverage of this great game and I promise you that you will not regret visiting any of them:

Bus Leagues Baseball - These guys are doing great work all over the Minor League baseball world. They released a book of interviews they have made along the way and they continue to roll through a town near you. Always great, always fresh!

Hadlock Headlines – Game highlights, player of the week and daily updates make this a must for anyone looking to find out how the Portland Sea Dogs are doing.

Inside the Clubhouse with Mike Antonellis – Another Sea Dogs stalwart with a view from the announcer’s booth, this blog is maintained by Mike Antonellis, seven year radio voice for Portland. He has a great perspective on the game, being around the team all the time and he is also great to listen to (which you can do for FREE every single game).

Lip Service – This is a blog that covers sports in central Connecticut, with a heavy-handed dose of New Britain Rock Cats during the season. Ken Lipshez has been covering the Rock Cats since 1997, so there’s no denying that he knows his stuff. I almost always learn something new when I visit.

Jays Prospects – This crew of dedicated Blue Jays followers does an amazing job at stacking up all that the Toronto organization has to offer up-and-down their farm system. I may be slightly partial because I contribute their as well, but I only do so because the site is so loaded and because it’s an honor to be a part of it. From Las Vegas to New Hampshire to Dunedin, they’ve got you covered on all things Jays prospect related.

Penn League Report – I came across Dave Gershman via Twitter over the offseason and this kid is all baseball all the time. His own bio reads, “Host and Producer of the BtB Podcast Freelance New York Penn League Scout Columnist at The Score, Sports Haze, & Beyond the Box Score.” So needless to say he’s got his hands in some things, and they are all good! Dave does a great job drawing up his scouting reports and he already has me very anxious for the start of the Short-A New York-Penn League season.

Top Prospects Alert – The best of the best when it comes down to letting you who is doing what and how well! These guys are legit! They are on top of every prospect in the game, constantly Tweeting out player updates and making sure that the website is up-to-the-minute with stats and links. I implore you to get them on your rotation and your Twitter feed NOW!’s Jason Mastrodonato – This is just a gratuitous shout out to a friend who nailed down a nice gig for the season as a beat writer at, following the Red Sox during their home games. He’s a great writer who will bring a fresh perspective to things over on Yawkey Way, please give him some love throughout the year.

Additionally we will have more friends/colleagues listed throughout the season…god knows there are plenty of amazing scribes and baseball gurus out there. In the meantime, we leave you with the following link, which is normally how we format this segment around here:

Do you like dogs? Do you like monkeys? Do you like watching goats being herded? Would you enjoy some combination of all three of these things at once? Well then you are in some major luck because Team Ghost Riders are coming to LeLacheur Park in Lowell in July for Cowboy Rodeo Knight. Wait…you say you aren’t familiar with Team Ghost Riders? Well may we suggest you check out the video here and then suggest that you thank us after!

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/13/11

Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 0-1, 12.00)
vs. Syracuse Chiefs (Yunesky Maya 0-0, 9.64)

Trenton Thunder (Shaeffer Hall 0-0, 7.20)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 0-1, 14.72)

Reading Phillies (Austin Hyatt 1-0, 1.80)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzales 0-0, 0.00)

New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 1-0, 0.00)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Brad Meyers 1-0, 0.00)

Game of the DayPawSox vs. Chiefs – This may be the only game of the four to actually be played, so I feel forced to pick it! Both starters are coming off rough outings, both teams lost their last games and they both have to play an afternoon game after an evening of travel…but according to, Harrisburg, Portland and Manchester all have a 100% chance of rain through tonight (and unfortunately into tomorrow). But Syracuse only has an 80% chance…so yes, we’re saying there’s a chance here, no matter how sloppy it may be!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/12/11

5:00pm GAME 1
New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendricks NR)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Erik Davis NR)

GAME 2(Approx. 30 minutes after Game 1)
New Britain Rock Cats (David Bromberg 0-0, 6.75)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Brad Peacock NR)

Trenton Thunder (Steve Garrison 0-0, 0.00)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 1-0, 5.40)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Kris Johnson NR)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Dillon Gee 0-1, 9.64)

Reading Phillies (Josh Zeid 0-1, 7.20)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 0-1, 6.75)

Game of the DayPhillies vs. Fisher Cats – I’m in interested in this game for the bounce back factor on two levels. The first being the ability of the Cats to come back after getting trounced 13-1 last night. The RPhils stopped New Hampshire (who had won three straight games) dead in their tracks, holding the Fisher Cats to only 4 hits in the game, while they banged out 18 of their own. Tonight the Cats hope to show that last night was an aberration and Zach Stewart is hoping his opening night loss (the teams only other loss this season) was much of the same. Stewart got hit pretty hard in that opener versus Trenton last Thursday in some chilly conditions. Tonight might be worse if they try to play through the rain that is expected to come through the region. Reading puts Josh Zeid, also of "getting racked on Opening Day" fame, on the bump . Zeid let up 7 hits and 4 earned runs versus Portland last Thursday in his AA debut, but hopes for better results tonight. Also of note, New Hampshire’s Mike McDade is swinging a hot bat (.450 average) and has hit safely in all five games this season.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/11/11

(last season’s Minor League stats in parenthesis)

Trenton Thunder (Manny Banuelos 0-4, 2.51)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Michael Lee 9-7, 4.42)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Brandon Duckworth 5-4, 3.32)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Casey Fossum 9-7, 3.55)

Reading Phillies (J.C. Ramirez 7-7, 4.82)
vs.New Hampshire Fisher Cats(Joel Carreno 9-6, 3.73)

New Britain Rock Cats (Liam Hendricks 8-4, 1.74)
vs. Harrisburg Senators (Erik Davis 14-3, 3.52)

Game of the DayThunder vs. Sea Dogs – OK, I fully admit it, I’m enthralled by the Killer B’s pitching prospects of the New York Yankees, most notably the 1-2 punch they got going in Trenton. Yesterday, monster righty Dellin Betances picked up a loss in his first start of the season in New Hampshire, but only allowed 1 earned run over 5.1 innings. Tonight Trenton throws the short lefty, Manny Banuelos at the Portland Sea Dogs. Banuelos, who most likely would have started in New Hampshire, had to miss the first series of the season due to a family matter that he had to attend to, so tonight will be his first start of the season. He impressed in Spring Training to the point where he arguably could have won a job with the big club, but his highest total in innings pitched was 109 in 2009 and he missed some time in 2010 with an appendectomy, so the Yanks decided to allow him time to marinate a bit more. The Sea Dogs counter with Michael Lee who is making his AA debut after steadily progressing through the Red Sox farm system over the past three seasons. The right handed Lee stands at 6’7”, doesn’t overpower hitters, but works well with his command as evident by his 56 walks over 190 innings of work in his career. The Sea Dogs are looking to roll with the momentum of yesterday’s 2-0 win over the RPhils and they catch Trenton in the midst of a three game skid after winning their opening game. It should be a nice duel at Hadlock this evening.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/10/11

(last season’s Minor League stats in parenthesis)

Reading Phillies (Chris Kissock 7-3, 2.68)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stephen Fife 8-6, 4.75)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Andrew Miller 2-9, 5.35)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Boof Bonser 2-3, 5.59)

Trenton Thunder (Dellin Betances 8-1, 2.11)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Willie Collazo 0-0, 4.70)

New Britain Rock Cats (Steve Hirschfeld 0-0, 5.63)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Clayton Tanner 9-9. 3.68)

Game of the DayThunder vs. Fisher Cats – The final game of a four-game set pitting the two teams who battled in the Eastern Conference playoffs of the Eastern League last season, comes to a conclusion today with one hell of a pitching matchup, with most eyes firmly planted on the opposition. Both pitchers seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, with the same intentions, pitch strong and get to the bigs ASAP. For the Fisher Cats Willie Collazo it has been a bit of a roller coaster career. This is his 11th season in professional baseball, and he has only seen “The Show” for a cup of coffee back in 2007 with the Mets. He has spent the last four seasons in AAA ball, but injuries hampered his 2010 season where he only appeared in 4 games, so the Blue Jays wanted to work him back with a bit more caution. His opponent today is the imposing Dellin Betances, who stands 6’8” and fires high-90s gas. The youngster was named the best pitching prospect (#3 overall) in the New York Yankees system by Baseball America. Between Single-A Tampa and Trenton last season, Betances only lost 1 game and struck out 108 batters in only 85.1 innings. He also shut down the Fisher Cats in the aforementioned playoff series last season, going 5.1 innings, allowing only 2 hits, 0 earned runs and whiffing 8. With a win against Betances, the Fisher Cats can send an early message that this year’s squad will be as strong as last, while exacting a little revenge by taking the series 3-1.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pitching Matchups; Game of the Day 4/9/11

(last year’s Minor League records in parenthesis)

Reading Phillies (Ryan Edell 11-5, 3.73)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Stolmy Pimentel 9-11, 4.06)

Trenton Thunder (Graham Stoneburner 9-8, 2.41)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (B.J. LaMura 5-6, 3.67)

Pawtucket Red Sox (Matt Fox 6-9, 3.95)
vs. Buffalo Bisons (Pat Misch 11-4, 3.23)

New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 5-4, 3.48)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Justin Fitzgerald 10-6, 3.45)

Game of the DayPhillies vs. Sea Dogs – Stolmy Pimentel will get his first taste of AA action as he takes the hill this afternoon in Hadlock with some fairly high expectations. Pimentel was projected at the 6th best prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America and he played in the 2010 Futures Game. The right-hander throws a mid-90s heater and he has continued to hone his repertoire each season. The Sox organization will be eager to see if his progression continues because he certainly has the stuff to help out the big club in the near future. He will be opposed by Lexington, Massachusetts native Ryan Edell who was picked up by the Phillies in the offseason after spending parts of the last five season bouncing around the Indians and A’s farm systems. Edell put up some very solid numbers last season, posting a 10-4 record and 3.17 ERA with AA Midland, and only allowing 24 walks over 147.1 total innings.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pitching Matchups/Game of the Day 4/8/11

(last year’s minor league records in parenthesis)

Reading Phillies (Austin Hyatt 12-5, 3.32)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 7-8, 4.14)

Trenton Thunder (Shaeffer Hall 11-7, 2.89)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzalez 8-10, 8.32)

Rochester Red Wings (Eric Hacker 16-8, 4.51)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Kyle Weiland 5-9, 4.42)

New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-13, 6.36)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eric Surkamp 4-2, 3.11)

Game of the DayRock Cats vs. Flying Squirrels – When broken down to mascots, this matchup sounds pretty intriguing and could be something you actually find on the Discovery Channel late night when nothing else is on. But tonight the Rock Cats can ill afford to drop another fight to Clark Griswold's sworn enemy. They hope to avoid a “Red Sox-esque” start to their season, much like they had last year when they started out 0-7. They throw Deolis Guerra at the Flying Squirrels and if all if right in his head, Guerra should come out with something to prove after probably expecting to start the season on a higher level. He’s opposed by Eric Surkamp, a lanky, 6’4” lefty with solid stuff who is making his AA debut. It’s only Game 2 of the season, but the Rock Cats don’t want to repeat last year’s start and they can ensure that happens by grabbing a “W” tonight.

First Impressions

Just some thoughts after watching Trenton take down New Hampshire 5-1 last night at NeDDs. First, my computer might not have been ready for the regular season as it crapped out somewhere around the 7th inning. Ironically, that was about the time I was crashing out myself, it being my first game since my son was born some six months ago. So we need to send the computer back to extended Spring Training (so that all my missing documents can be found) and I may need to schedule more day games in the coming season.

But enough about me, let’s get to the action. For Zach Stewart it was like déjà vu all over again as he got hit pretty hard in the home opener as he had against Binghamton last season. Thankfully the bleeding wasn’t as bad this time around…(last year’s line – 4.1IP, 9H, 7ER, 4BB, 2HR)…last night he went a whole inning more, allowing only 7 hits and 4 earned runs…only?! Tough first start, but if last season is any indication, it means he won’t lose much after June, so that’s nice!

Anthony Gose impressed with his speed and range all over the field. He stole two bases on the night and it’s obvious that this kid has ridiculous speed, but he has to be more careful on the base paths if he wants to be a better overall baserunner. His first stolen base of the night was actually the result of a pickoff attempt that got him jumping at first, but as mentioned this kid is F-A-S-T, and he beat the throw into second base. Then Brian from Bus Leagues Baseball (check them out NOW!) informed me that Gose had a 58% success rate in stealing bases last season…not good! Obviously some seasoning should help him out and it looks like manager Sal Fasano will be giving him ample opportunities to improve. He glides with ease to fly balls and almost made an outstanding, fully-extended diving catch in right center, but missed it by inches. At the very least it should be exciting to watch him roam the outfield this season.

As far as everything else goes, it was clear that the extreme drop in temperature affected both sides as players were a bit rusty in spots, but that will obviously all come together as things warm up and we can get a better idea of where these guys are heading. If anything else comes to mind, I’ll drop another post, but for now I have to figure out this computer mess!

Pitching matchups and Game of the Day will be up in a bit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Six in the books

It's just how the game goes down..when I say it's moving fast, it comes to a GRIDING HALT! An ugly 5th inning amounted to two more Thunder runs, but the Cats got one back in the bottom half of the inning after a botched 5-4-3 led to an errant throw, allowing Mark Sobolewsi to score. After six full innings it's 4-1 Thunder. Joel Carreno is now on to pitch for the Fisher Cats, throwing a nice array of pitches. He led the Blue Jays organization with 173 strikeouts last season while pitching for Single-A Dunedin last season. He was slated for the fifth starters spot here in New Hampshire, but the fans get to take a look at him a bit sooner than that. Buuuuut of course I say something and he hits a better...I'll shut up now!

A view of the action

Ronald Uviedo gets warm in the pen...

Fisher Cats third baseman Mark Sobolewsi readies at the plate...

Trenton reliever Craig Heyer deals...

Mike McDade (40) and Anthony Gose (24) watching the action...

Cats left fielder John Tolisano at the plate...

Moving right along...

With the sun down and temp steadily dipping here in Manchester, it's as if the players want to get this thing in the books as they breeze through the last two innings of play with Trenton maintaining a 2-0 lead.

Cats centerfielder Anthony Gose picked up his first AA back in the 3rd inning and also his first stolen base, albeit a daring one as he beat a pickoff attempt into second base. Not much else to report here, just a buncha fly balls going nowhere!

Live from "NeDDS"

Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, heretoforth known as "NeDDS", is alive with the sounds, smells and sights of the grand ol' game. Opening Day is well underway here and things are starting to look a bit like last year's home opener for Cats starter Zach Stewart, who had a brutal second innning, allowing 4 hits, one hit batter and two earned runs.

The Fisher Cats couldn't capitalize on back-to-back singles by Mike McDade and Moises Sierra and after two full innings of play the Trenton Thunder lead New Hampshire 2-0.

I'll try and get some pics up here in a bit too..

PS - I'm experiencing some major formatting problems here, so bear with me if things don't look quite right.

Today's Probably Pitchers 4/7/11

Herrrrrrre we go. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s the greatest day of the year, OPENING DAY! The following are the pitching matchups for all games on tap, with last year’s Minor League records alongside each ace, and of course our first "Game of the Day" of the year! We will be live from New Hampshire’s Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, so be sure to follow along for live updates as well…

Reading Phillies (Josh Zeid 8-4, 2.93)
vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 6-6, 5.31)

Trenton Thunder (Steve Garrison 2-4, 5.37)
vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Zach Stewart 8-3, 3.63)

New Britain Rock Cats (David Bromberg 6-9, 3.75)
vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Daryl Maday 10-12, 4.62)

Rochester Red Wings (Anthony Swarzak 5-12, 6.21)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (Alfredo Aceves 0-0, 6.17)

Game of the Day: Red Wings @ PawSox – If Alfredo Aceves can show some life early on here with the PawSox, then just maybe he could become the new “Ace” for the big club the way things are going. Sure that me be a bit of a stretch, but Aceves is out to prove that he belongs in the majors and Boston certainly needs some help, so it’s imperetive that the Aceman gets off to a hot start. Rochester starter Anthony Swarzak starts his sixth professional baseball season in Rochester for the third straight time and starts the season in the exact same spot as last year as Rochester’s starting pitcher in Pawtucket. Last year Swarzak only made it 3 innings in the opener, allowing 5 earned runs, and getting tagged with the loss. He’s obviously hoping for a better start this season and maybe that can help him gain the momentum needed to get out finally get out of AAA. As mentioned, this is a rematch of last year’s opener in which one Mr. Darnell McDonald played the hero for the PawSox. Shortly after that DMac was called up to the big club due to injuries and he hasn’t really sniffed the minors since! Who will be this year’s DMac?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April Promos

With the new season upon us, we have to jump on the opening month promos immediately. Check out the best promotions for the month of April below, pick one (or two or three) and get out to the ballpark to root on your newest MiLB heroes….as if you need any additional incentive to go see a game after being pent up all winter long.

Of course we have the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day playing out in Portland, Manchester and Pawtucket on Thursday night, so we won’t include those dates in the listings. Also of note, the PawSox have 9 home games in April, but only 3 promos, one of which are Opening Night festivities which usually amount to a magnet schedule and some extra musicians on the field before the first pitch, so forgive our PawSox promos for the month. But enough about that, let’s see what we got coming up, shall we…

New Britain
April 18th Tote Bag Giveway/College Night - Celebrate Earth Day and get a free, Earth friendly tote bag to…uh…to tote your things around?! OR, celebrate College Night, get drink specials and let the fun begin! I can see these two factions having issues that may require some security intervention. Those rowdy Earth Day-ers always make it tough for the rest of us!
April 19th - 2011 Calendar Giveway – For those of us who slept straight through the “non-baseball” months of 2011, we now have a place to go to pick up a proper calendar for us to know when games are being played! January, February and March can screw!
April 29th Post Game Pyro Technic Show – I still don’t know what this is. It’s not fireworks and it’s not a laser show…it’s a fire show I guess. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to watch this go down, even without knowing what it is in the first place? The risk alone is enough to keep me interested…actually, it may be the only thing!

New Hampshire
April 13th- Chili Cookoff – The best chili recipes will be on the line and honestly, what better time to have this than April in New Hampshire. Try this one in July and get back to me! No one knows what their fans need for comfort more than the Fisher Cats organization, and this event is proof of that.
April 25th Dollar Dog Night – I constantly search other MiLB teams to see what’s promo-ing elsewhere and without hesitation, almost everyone outside of New England has some amazing “Dollar Beer Night” or “Thirsty Thursday” with drink specials! But not here in New England, we have “Dollar Hot Dog Night!” So until the day comes when the Puritans who still run New England finally buck up and give us cheap booze and baseball, we’ll be forced to shove cheap hot dogs down out gullet instead.
April 27th Chowder Fest - Yes, yes, I fully see the food theme here, but like with Chili Cookoff, at least we have us a nice, hearty, warm bowl full of goodness served up during what could very well be a chilly night baseball game. I’m wondering if anyone can take home the coveted “Dual Bowl Trophy” for taking both the Chili Cookoff and Chowder Fest…and yes I just made that up…and yes I will actually make this up if someone wins this!

April 30Shred It Event – Yeah, this is pretty much the highlight of the promo calendar for the PawSox. Sure they got a great team this season that should draw regardless what is being handed out at the gates. So instead of giving you something, you get to give them something…your trash! At least that trash that may contain pertinent information about yourself that you don’t feel safe simply tossing into a barrel. Bring it to McCoy on this night and you can have it all shredded, for what I assume will eventually turn into confetti to be strewn about the streets of Pawtucket following the PawSox International League title this season. No word on if they will be shreding Boston Red Sox season tickets yet.

Portland April 11thTurn the Clocks Ahead – This is the night when the Sea Dogs and the Trenton Thunder don the unis of their big clubs and bring a bit of the Sox/Yankees rivalry to Maine…and if I’m not mistaken, one of the Top 2 Yankee pitching prospects should be starting this one (either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos)…a must see game!

April 27th Jon Lester Bobblehead Giveaway – This one makes me fairly queasy after last season’s bobblehead/injury fest. Across the region last season teams gave away bobbleheads of Pedroia, Youk, Ellsbury, Cameron and Lowell…hopefully they reverse this horrific trend in 2011, because having a bobblehead of your ace come out this early in the season could be a very bad thing should the “Curse of the Bobble” return!

The following are the dates for firework nights following the respective games…
NB – 26th
NH – 8th, 22nd, 28th
PAW – 30th
POR - 22nd

Last but not least, Kraft is returning their fantastic Tuesday Night Ticket Promo, allowing you to get a free ticket to the game with the purchase of another ticket and a Kraft Singles wrapper! Click the image for more info.