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.

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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