Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday's HomeSide Highlights

We will start Tuesday's highlights in Philadelphia where Cole Hamels stopped the Padres to pick up his 3rd win of the year. Cole went 7.1 innings, allowing just 2 runs on just 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6. Ryan Howard was 1 for 4, picking up RBI #12 and Carlos Ruiz had a single and a double, scoring 2 and driving in 2. Speaking of the Phillies, MVP Jimmy Rollins is ready to start rehab assignments and Lakewood will be his first stop. J-Roll could be in Lakewood as early as Thursday, and could stay all weekend.

In Minnesota Tuesday, Gavin Floyd suffered his first loss of the year, throwing 6 innings against the Twins. Gavin was charged with 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, picking up 1 strike out in the Twins 3-1 victory.

Tuesday in Allentown, J.A. Happ pitched 7 shut out innings against Syracuse, allowing just 1 hit and 4 walks, but left the game in a 0-0 tie. The Chiefs won it with a 9th inning run, as the IronPigs could manage only 1 hit in the 1-0 loss. It was Happ's best start of the year, but he remains winless in his 6 appearances. While in Rochester, Randy Ruiz picked up 2 more hits and RBI #15 in the Red Wings 9-3 win over Pawtucket. Randy is hitting .291 for the Minnesota affiliate.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, the Fisher Cats came from 5 runs behind to top Reading 8-5 Tuesday night. Lou Marson (.306) had 3 hits and 2 RBI for the R-Phils. Ron Hill suffered the loss, giving up 3 runs in his 1 inning of work, and Zack Segovia pitched a scoreless frame. in addition to Marson, all 4 former BlueClaws in the Reading line up are hitting over .300. Golson-.309, Slayden-.310, Spidale- .316 and Donald- .340.

In Potomac, Michael Dubee started the first game of a doubleheader for Winston-Salem and pitched great. The seven inning game was tied 0-0 until the bottom of the 8th when Dubee finally let in a run to lose 1-0. In all, he pitched 7.2 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 strike outs, to fall to 2-1, 3.23 for the year.

4-run 9th gives 'Claws walk off win

Good morning HomeSiders-

Some exciting baseball since my last post, but I have to begin in Lakewood with Tuesday's thrilling 5-4 come from behind win over Kannapolis. Let me set this up first. The BlueClaws (now 12-13) exploded on Friday night in Lexington for 12 runs and 19 hits. Then only managed 7 hits the next 2 games, dropping both decisions. Last night, the team returned home on a cool, overcast, breezy night, with Drew Naylor on the mound. I cannot say enough about the starting staff, and that goes for Naylor again Tuesday. He was great, going 7 innings, surrendering 3 runs (just 2 earned) on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6 and lowering his ERA to 2.50. Certainly good enough to win on most nights, but the BlueClaws bats did not wake up until after he was gone. After being shut out by Kannapolis' starter Johnnie Lowe over the first 6 innings, the BlueClaws went into the bottom of the 8th inning down 4-0. Singles by Derrick Mitchell (3 hits, more on him later), Dominic Brown (also 3 hits) and Michael Durant (RBI #14) put the Claws on the board. After Joe Rocchio (1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strike outs, first win of the season) retired the Intimidators in the 9th, after giving up a lead off double to Sergio Morales, Lakewood began the dramatic rally. Travis Mattair was hit by a pitch, and then Freddy Galvis and pinch-hitter Karl Bolt walked to load the bases and set up the game winning rally. D'Arby Myers hit a screamer in to center that Morales made a great play on, but Mattair scored to give Lakewood their second run. this brought Mitchell to the plate. Derrick Mitchell has been struggling this year, but Tuesday night everything fell into place. Mitch belted one into off the right field fence for a double early in the game, then singled in the 8th inning rally. In the 9th, he smoked a double down the left field line to bring in the tying runs off of Santo Luis, to bring Brown to bat. The Intimidators wanted no part of Dominic, walking him intentionally. This brought up Michael Taylor, who was 0 for 4 on the night. Now, I have been watching this team for a month now, and if Taylor is 0 for 4, in my mind he is due. Sure enough, Taylor muscled a pitch into center field in front of Morales to score Mitchell with the winning run, and send the remaining crowd home exhilarated. The homestand continues Wednesday, Tyson Brummett getting the assignment.

In Clearwater Monday night, Edgar Garcia continued his strong start, shutting out the Yankees on 6 hits over 7 innings, striking out 8, to improve to 3-0, 3.34 on the year. Matt Spencer lead the shark attack with 4 singles, and Quintin Berry (2 singles, RBI, stolen base #8), Gus Milner (single, double, walk, run scored and RBI) and Welinson Baez (2 singles, RBI) all had 2 hit games in the Threshers 3-0 win. Berry, who stole 55 bases for Lakewood last year (in 73 attempts), is 8 for 10 this season.

In a game I overlooked Sunday in Colorado Springs, Gio Gonzalez was hit hard by the SkySox, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in just 5 innings, taking the loss in Sacramento's 11-2 loss.

I am running out to work now, but will post again this afternoon to update the rest of Tuesday's action.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday's highlights

A quick recap of Sunday's games start with my first trip to Coca Cola Park in Allentown. I must say I like the ballpark, but I am not sure about the parking situation. I will reserve judgment until I go later in the year, as the entire complex is still being built.

As for the game, the Rochester Red Wings won, 5-1, as the IronPigs fell to 3-22 on the year. Lehigh Valley managed just 8 hits, 2 by Shane Victorino. We got there just before the game started, but managed to say hello to Randy Ruiz, who had another hit in the game, and is hitting .273. Trying to get through the mob to the IronPigs side was not possible. For a while, I thought we might see a rare Pigs win. Travis Blackley pitched so well. He gave up 1 run on 1 hit through 5 innings, but had to leave the game on the final play of the frame, with what looked like a pulled groin running over to cover first base.

In Louisville, Matt Maloney was the winning pitcher in the Bats 13-4 win over Columbus. Maloney went 5.2 inning, giving up 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, striking out 9 to improve to 2-1, 6-65 for the season.

In Oklahoma City, Elizardo Ramirez pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, striking out 6 in the RedHawks 15-5 win over Albuquerque. Easy is now 4-2, 413 on the year.

In Reading, the R-Phils had 14 hits, 12 singles, in a 9-4 victory over Connecticut. Jason Donald had 3 hits, and is 8 for 14 since returning to the line up, after missing about 9 days with a bruised hand from being hit by a pitch. J.D. is hitting .375. Greg Golson (.312, 8th steal) and Jeremy Slayden (.313, 2 RBI) had 2 hits each for Reading. Pat Overholt pitched a scoreless 9th inning to reduce his ERA to 1.54. Reading has an off day Monday, and opens a series in New Hampshire on Tuesday night.

The BlueClaws also have an off day on Monday, after wasting a great performance by Chance Chapman on Sunday afternoon in Lexington. Chapman, 1-2, 1.67 went the whole game allowing just 1 run (unearned), on 3 hits, NO walks, striking out 6 in the 'Claws 1-0 loss to the Legends. Lakewood, who mashed 19 hits Friday night, got just 3 singles Sunday after getting only 4 hits Saturday. They return home Tuesday to face Kannapolis.

As good as Chapman was, my performance of the day has to go to Antonio Bastardo. The little lefty from the DR pitched 8 innings in Tampa, giving up just 2 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 13 to improve to 2-0, 1.17. I really believe Bastardo has nothing more to prove at "A" level and should probably be getting bumped up to Reading soon. Alan Robbins led the Clearwater attack with 3 hits, while Jay Miller and Tuffy Gosewisch had 2 hits each in the Threshers 5-0 victory. Clearwater returns home to face Tampa Monday, Edgar Garcia (2-0, 4.37) takes his turn.

Joining Garcia on Monday's schedule, Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 3.91) will get the start for Sacramento tonight at home against Omaha.

According to my calender, Hamels, Floyd, Carrasco, Happ, Savery, Naylor and Dubee all make starts on Tuesday, so there will be much to look at when I get home from the game.

stay tuned.............

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday's starters

Saturday night, RobinsonTejeda picked up his 1st professional save, pitching a 1-2-3 9th inning for Oklahoma to snap the RedHawks 3 game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Albuquerque. This makes 2 games in a row Robinson has been brought in in that role, could he be the Texas Ranger's closer later this year?

Sunday's action includes:

Clearwater - Bastardo (1-0, 1.59) at Tampa
Lakewood - Chapman (1-1, 2.37) at Lexington
Louisville - Maloney (1-1, 7.27) vs Columbus

I am off to Allentown for Rochester @ Lehigh Valley, where I believe Travis Blackley (0-3, 8.22)will pitch for the Pigs.

have a great day!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tampa tops Clearwater

The Tampa Yankees outlasted the Clearwater Threshers 9-8 in 11 innings. While the Threshers had 8 runs and 12 hits, only 2 players in the line up had more than 1 hit. Welinson Baez lead the way with 4 hits and 2 RBI. Jay Miller added 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI. Nobody else had more than 1 hit for Clearwater. Quintin Berry did have a single, a walk, a stolen base (#7), and 2 RBI.

A 2 run first inning lead and an 8-4 advantage in the middle of the 5th were not enough for Carlos Monasterios, 5.1 IP, 6 earned runs, 11 hits, 2 walks.

The bullpen fared a little better, but it was one of those nights where they could not seem to get 3 outs without giving something up. Matt German: 1.1 IP, 1 earned run. (Matt has been great so far this year, 0.82 ERA, so this is no knock on him)....Brett Harker: 3 hitters faced, 1 out, 1 hit, 1 walk....Sam Walls: 2 IP, 1 run, 2 hits, 2 walks....Dan Brauer: 1.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, game winning run.

I offer these numbers for comparison. Andy Baldwin is pitching tonight for Tacoma in Tucson, Arizona. Andy made it through 4 innings, giving up 10 earned runs, on 17 hits. At least he didn't walk anyone!!

My final note of the day goes to my Homie. Randy Ruiz had 3 more hits today, a single, 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and an RBI as Rochester blasted Lehigh Valley 10-0. The IronPigs managed only 2 hits, 1 by the rehabbing Shane Victorino. Randy's assault on Lehigh Valley concludes tomorrow afternoon. My wife and I will be in attendance to represent the HomeSide.

Kendrick notches 2nd win

The Phillies defeated the Pirates 8-4 Saturday night, and Kyle Kendrick flashed some of the form he showed in 2007. Kyle went 7+ innings, allowing just 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, NO walks, and 2 strike outs in what was his best showing this year. The young right-hander evened his record at 2-2 and lowered his ERA to 5.13. Hopefully this is a sign that he is going in the right direction. Kyle is a sinker ball pitcher, who relies on getting the hitters to hit the ball to his defense, and sometimes early in the season, before his arm gets a little tired, the ball does not move as well as it will later. Maybe, we have reached "later".

Almost as encouraging as Kendrick's outing was Ryan Howard's 5th home run of the season. If Ryno starts to come around to join Utley, Burrell and Dobbs, and Rollins and Victorino are back in the fold soon, the Phillies will be heard from.

I also want to correct what I said yesterday. Brad Harman had made his debut a few nights ago in Colorado as a pinch hitter, what I meant to say was yesterday was his first START. Sorry for the mix up.

OK, bear with me, here. Springdale, Arkansas......the Northwest Arkansas Naturals lead the Arkansas Travelers 7-2 tonight in the bottom of the 8th inning. Why should you care? Because one of the Naturals is none other than BlueClaw home run king Juan Richardson. Maybe Juan read today that I think Mike Durant will top his record and he wants to be heard from. So Richardson belted a 3-run homer, his first of this year. It is comforting to know some things don't change! Ryan and Juan go deep the same night!!

Legends top BlueClaws

The Lexington Legends stopped the BlueClaws 4-game winning streak, defeating Lakewood 4-2 Saturday night. Jacob Diekman pitched well enough to win, but Lakewood could manage only 4 hits one night after accumulating 19. Diekman threw 7 strong innings, allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits, NO walks, and 3 strike outs. Jacob left the game with the score tied 2-2, and received no decision. Walter Tejeda came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th and gave up the deciding runs.

Of Lakewood's 4 hits, 2 came off the bat of Joel Naughton, who also got the only RBI of the game for the 'Claws. The other 2 hits went to D'Arby Myers (lead off double and run scored in 1st) and Michael Taylor (double and run scored in 7th).

After rereading yesterday post, I realize I did not mention that Herman Demmink got the game winning hit in the 12th inning, so I apologize and say "way to go, Herm". The BlueClaws are now 4-2 on the current trip which ends tomorrow in Lexington.

I also overlooked another former 'Claw getting a start today, Andy Baldwin will start tonight for Tacoma in Tucson.

Outman gets first win, and HOMERS

The Reading game is over, and the Out Man Cometh!! Josh Outman threw the first 5 innings for Reading, giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks, striking out 9, to gain his first win of the season. If that were not enough, the "OutMan" belted a 3-run home run in Reading's 4-run 3rd inning, en route to a 9-2 win over Connecticut.

Jeremy Slayden had another 3-hit game, and 3 more RBI to lead an 11-hit R-Phils attack, and raise his average to .303. Jason Donald (.326) added another 2 hits, as did Luke Appert and Rich Thompson. Thompson just signed as a free agent, and the Phillies assigned him to Reading.

Zack Segovia pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning and R.J. Swindel pitched a perfect 9th. It was good to see Segovia gets some outs after that disaster in New Britain the other day, and for Swindel, his ERA is now 0.71.

Mitchinson wins again

The early Saturday results are in.

Scott Mitchinson picked up his 3rd win of the young season, a 7-1 victory for the Kane County Cougars over the Dayton Dragons. Mitch worked the first 6 of the 7 inning game (they are playing 2 tonight), giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, NO walks, 2 strike outs to improve to 3-0, 2.57 on the year.

The Cougars are the same level (low A) as the BlueClaws, and if Mitchinson continues the way he is going, the obvious promotion would be to high A Stockton in the California League. Oakland has to be smiling after snagging Scott in minor league phase of the rule 5 draft in December.

Earlier this afternoon, the St Louis Cardinals defeated Houston, 4-3. Michael Bourn returned to the line up, but was obviously rusty, striking out in 3 of his 4 at bats. Mike is too good a hitter to be down for long, and I believe he WILL bounce back.

Bourn set to return to Astros line up

Michael Bourn, sidelined for 5 days with a groin pull, appear to be ready to return to the line up today for Houston. Darrin Erstad has filled in admirably, but it appears Mike is ready to go Saturday.

Claws bash 4 homers, win 4th straight

The Lakewood BlueClaws belted 4 home runs last night, including back-to-back shots by Dennis Winn and D'Arby Myers, and survived a sub-par pitching night to capture their 4th straight win, 12-11 in 11 innings in Lexington. Lakewood pounded out 19 hits, led by 4 by Michael Taylor, who was 1 for 10 in the first 4 games of the road trip. Mike had 4 singles and a walk, stole his 4th base and lifted his season mark to .358. Winn (.281) added 2 doubles, his first home run, 3 RBI and scored 3 times. Dominic Brown (single, 1st HR, .307), Michael Durant (single, 6th HR, 2 RBI, .292), Matt Rizzotti (2 singles, RBI), Travis Mattair, and Freddy Galvis all added 2 hits for the 'Claws who rallied time and again in this one. Durant is on pace to set the all-time record for home runs by a BlueClaw, which is 22 set by Juan Richardson in our inaugural season of 2001.

I said it at the ballpark last week and I go on the record here: Durant will break the record. You heard it here first, HomeSiders!!

Reds clip Byrd's wings

In Clearwater last night, Darren Byrd continued with his early season struggle. Darren gave up 9 earned runs on 10 hits and 4 walks, losing to Sarasota 10-6. Byrd is now 0-3, 8.84 this month. A winner of 9 games last year at Lakewood, Byrd has not found it yet this year.

On the offense, once again it was P.J. Antoniato leading the attack with 3 more hits. P.J. is 9 for 20 (.450) the last 4 games and has his season average up to .349. Quintin Berry had 2 hits and 2 walks, raised his average to .263, and stole a base, his 6th in 8 attempts. (Q is now 10 for his 27 and showing signs of becoming the catalyst that he was last year in Lakewood). Jay Miller and Fidel Hernandez chipped in with 2 hits each and Gus Milner belted a 3-run double. Gus now has 15 RBI, which I believe leads all former 'Claws at this point. The Threshers fell to 7-15 on the season.

Pigs win!!!

The IronPigs won in Rochester, 6-2, last night (I believe I said that game was going to be in Allentown, but the teams remained in Rochester last night, before coming to Lehigh Valley today). Javon Moran and Jason Jaramillo had 2 hits each for the IronPigs, who stopped a 9 game skid to notch their 3rd victory of what has been a forgettable inaugural month (3-20).

Both of the Red Wings' runs were driven in by, say it with me: Homie!!! That's right, Randy Ruiz continues to knock the Pig's pitching around, this time it was a 2-run triple in the first inning. "Homie" has 12 RBI now.

In Richmond, Chris Roberson had 2 more hits in Norfolk's 8-6 defeat to Richmond. Robey is 5 for his last 7 with a walk in his last 8 plate appearances, and is now hitting .317 with 10 RBI. Mike Costanzo showed signs of coming out of his struggles, also picking up 2 hits. Mike is hitting .203.

In Oklahoma City, Robinson Tejeda was given a save opportunity, and blew it last night, surrendering the game winning home run to Brett Carroll, who is the brother of former BlueClaw Wes Carroll and major league Jamie Carroll. It was the first run given up by Tejeda in 5.2 innings so far.

Donald returns to line up

Jason Donald returned to the Reading line up last night, and immediately made an impact, singling, stealing a base and scoring on Lou Marson's hit in the first inning. J.D. is hitting .316, while Marson is batting .296 and seems quite at home in the clean up spot in P.J. Forbes' batting order. The game winning hit came off the bat of Jeremy Slayden (again), a 2 run home run for the 3-2 victory. For "Slay" it was his 3rd dinger, and upped his RBI total to 14. Shane Victorino continued his rehab, going 1 for 3 for the Phils, playing in center field.

Drew Carpenter gave up 2 runs in the first inning, but slammed the door after that, going 6, giving up 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7. Jason Kershner, who came over from the Reds as a free agent, pitched 2 scoreless inning to record the win, and Pat Overholt pitched a 1-2-3 9th, to pick up save #5. Reading improves to 10-11 on the year.

Harman makes debut, gets first hit

Brad Harman made his major league debut last night in Pittsburgh, playing second base for the Phillies. Chase Utley moved over to play first, while Ryan Howard was given a day off (to start with, anyway). Brad was 1 for 3, an RBI double in the gap in left center filed, before being removed for a pinch hitter in 8th inning of the Phillies 6-5 victory. Ryno pinch hit in the 8th inning for Tom Gordon and struck out. Howard is hitting just .174 this morning.

In another major league note, Michael Bourn is leading the major leagues in stolen bases with a perfect 13 for 13, although his .216 batting average has opened the door for veteran Darin Erstad, who has played the last few days for the Astros while Bourn tries to regroup.

Late last night in Los Angeles, the Dodgers and Rockies were in extra innings when Taylor Buchholz got the call. Taylor, who was the losing pitcher against the Phillies the other night, pitched scoreless baseball in the 11th and 12th, before giving up the game winning run in the 13th. He has now lost consecutive outings, to fall to 1-2, his ERA up to 1.76.

Saturday's starters

Included in today's action are the following assignments:

in Pittsburgh-Kyle Kendrick (1-2. 5.59) for Phillies

in Reading- Josh Outman (0-2. 3.05) for R-Phils

in Geneva, Illinois- Scott Mitchinson (2-0, 3.00) for Kane County

in Clearwater- Carlos Monasterios (2-2, 2.81) for Threshers

In Lexington, Kentucky- Jacob Diekman (0-3, 6.63) for BlueClaws

A lot to chose from tonight!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Proud to be a homie

Good Morning, HomeSiders-

With a title like this post has, you KNOW who I'm going to talk about!!

Randy Ruiz (my homie from da Bronx) hammered the IronPigs last night in Rochester. Ruiz smacked a double and a home run, driving in 4 runs in Rochester's 8-2 win over Lehigh Valley. Speaking of Lehigh Valley, Tim Gradoville has been activated as a player and assigned there. Grado joins Mike Spidale, Javon Moran, Jason Jaramillo, and J.A. Happ (Joe Bisenius is on the DL) to make 6 former 'Claws to Lehigh Valley's roster. Rochester and Lehigh Valley will move to Allentown for the next 3 days, while Reading and Connecticut meet up in Reading over this weekend. Plenty of baseball around, Homesiders. Don't let the fact that the BlueClaws are out of town stop you from going to a game!! I don't!! I will be in Allentown Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, to check out Coca Cola Park and say hi to the boys.

Last night in Norfolk, the Richmond Braves beat the Norfolk Tides, 2-1, despite 3 hits from Chris Roberson. Robey had 2 singles and a double and drove in Norfolk's lone run. Chris is hitting .298 this morning.

In Las Vegas, Kevin Howard was given the night off, but when the 51s needed a pinch hitter in the 7th inning of their 8-1 win, Kevin got the call. He responded with a 2-out RBI single, driving in his 8th run of the year, lifting his average to .294.

In Clearwater last night, the Threshers lost to Sarasota, 6-4. Joe Savery (1-1, 2.25) threw 6 innings, charged with 3 runs on 7 hits, NO walks, striking out 9. I am in New Jersey looking at the numbers, and I am as impressed as I can be without actually seeing this guy pitch. Nate Johnson came in after Savery, and struggled again. He gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, recording just 1 out. Nate cannot seem to find it. He has been charged with 8 runs in just 8.2 innings. Matt German and Dan Brauer got the last 8 outs, but the offense could not recover. P.J. Antoniato (.328) continues to shine while Adrian Cardenas is sidelined. P.J. got 2 more hits Thursday, while Gus Milner (who came into the game 8 for his last 12) picked up another hit and RBI #12. Mike Eylward had 3 more hits, and is 9 for 17 (.529) since joining the team. Shane Victorino played again for the Threshers, but has moved up the Reading, where he will be in the lineup tonight for the R-Phils.

In Lexington last night, the BlueClaws made it 3 wins in a row, topping the Legends, 6-2. Tyson Brummett (2-0, 2.32) continued the success story of the starting staff. Tyson gave us 7 solid innings, surrendering just 2 runs. He did give up 8 hits, but showed he knew how to pitch under pressure, getting out of trouble time and again. Moises Melendez and Joe Rocchio pitched a scoreless inning each to settle the issue. Dominic Brown continues to look good in the 3 slot, getting 2 more hits to raise his average to .305. Michael Durant also had 2 more hits, including his 5th home run. Mike is 4 for his last 7, and seems to be hitting the ball squarely again. Lakewood is in Lexington again tonight, Julian Sampson (1-1) gets the ball.

Finally, in Chicago last night, Gavin Floyd pitched 6 innings against the Yankees. He was charged with 5 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks, striking out 4. He received no decision and the White Sox won 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th.

I will be home by the computer tonight monitoring the action, so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Naylor, Dubee, Garcia all win

First stop, Hagerstown:

Drew Naylor pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6 in the BlueClaws 4-1 win. Drew picks up his first win of the year, lowering his ERA to 2.48. Joel Naughton was 4 for 4, including a double and Michael Durant and Karl Bolt had 2 hits each, for Bolt his first home run and 3 RBI. Lakewood heads to Lexington on Thursday night.

Michael Dubee matched Naylors effort. Pitching in Winston-Salem against Potomac, Dubee also went 6 scoreless frames, no runs, 2 hits, 2 walks! Mike got his second win of the year in the Warthogs 7-5 victory.

In Clearwater, Edgar Garcia also picked up a win, his second, by going 6 innings. Garcia gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in the Threshers 7-2 win over Sarasota. Gus Milner, Jay Miller and Mike Eylward all had 3 hits for Clearwater. Shane Victorino was on rehab assignment and started for Clearwater, smacking 2 singles, and picking up a walk and an RBI. Shane is in the line up again on Thursday for Clearwater.

Tuesday, mostly

Okay, HomeSiders, here we go now:

First, I apologize for not posting, but the wi-fi connection in the hotel where I stayed was not functioning. As a result, we have much catching up to do!!

I have to start in New Britain, Connecticut where I watched 2 wild games. On Tuesday night, Reading pounded out 15 hits in an 11-9 win. Greg Golson hit a 2-run home run in the first inning, but it was the clutch hitting of Jeremy Slayden that did the major damage for the R-Phils. Slayden drove in 5 runs with 2 2-out hits and gave Reading an insurmountable lead. Jake Blalock, John Suomi, and John Urick, playing his first game with Reading after being promoted from Clearwater, all had 2 hits for Reading. Urick replaces Juan Tejada, who was put on the disabled list. Fabio Castro made in through 5 innings to get the win, his 3rd, even though it was his weakest outing so far. R.J. Swindel pitched 2 scoreless innings, striking out 4, and Pat Overholt got the last 2 outs, both on strike outs, to record his 4th save.

The quick turnaround had us back in the ballpark for a 10:35 start Wednesday morning. It was looking good early on. Carlos Carrasco started out great. He struck out the first five hitters he faced, and when Reading scored 4 in the top of the 3rd, I though we were sitting pretty. The rally? It started with a hit by Luke Appert, his 4th in 5 at bats since I got there!! This poor guy could not BUY a hit for better than a week. I digress, sorry. Anyway, Appert is at first and Greg Golson rips a triple off the center field wall. Lou Marson hits a sac fly to deliver Golson. Then Jeremy Slayden singles to keep the inning alive and Neil Sellers hits one over the wall and just like that, it was 4-0. This was the peak of the day for the Reading fans. Carrasco gave up 1 run in the 3rd and then 5 more in the 4th. Overall, he made it through 5, allowing 6 runs on 10 hits. It only got worse.. Zack Segovia made his season debut, and could not get a hitter out. 5 batters faced, 4 hits, 1 reached on an error, the only out was recorded when Golson threw out Luke Hughes at the plate. Hughes was 4 for 5, including 2 home runs, and 5 RBI on the day. Ron Hill also got hit hard: 1 inning, 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 runs, all earned. In total, the Rock Cats had 21 hits in the 15-6 win. Some saving grace, Jake Blalock belted a home run in the 6th inning, to bring Reading to within 6-5, but it was not to be. Blalock, by the way, appears to be hitting everything hard.

Of course for those of you who missed it, it was Javon Moran who got the promotion to Lehigh Valley to take T.J. Bohn's roster spot. Moran was 1 for 3 in his debut with the IronPigs on Wednesday. He had a single and a walk, stole a base and scored 2 runs in the Pigs 5-3 loss to Rochester. Mike Spidale and Jason Jaramillo also had hits for Lehigh Valley. J.A. Happ pitched very well for the IronPigs, his best so far, going 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, and left with the lead. Rochester jumped on a trio of relievers in the bottom of the 8th to score 4 runs. Randy Ruiz had a double to give the Red Wings the lead. Then Bobby Korecky retired the Pigs in the 9th and recorded his 5th save of the year. Lehigh Valley has lost 8 straight, and is now 2-19 on the year.

We have another player on the move. Eude Brito has moved on from the Nationals to the Mets, who assigned him to Binghampton in the Eastern League. He pitched against Trenton Wednesday, giving up 3 earned runs on 4 hits a walk in just 2.1 innings.

Back to Tuesday, before I get ahead of myself and forget where I am going with this!! In Indianapolis, Matt Maloney got roughed up by the Indians. Matt has been struggling to adjust to AAA so far. Tuesday he managed just 4 innings, 4 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 walks. His ERA is 7.27 for 4 starts.

In Iowa City, the news was no better for Elizardo Ramirez. Easy made it through 5.2 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned, 2 of the 9 hits home runs. He took the loss in a 5-1 win for Iowa. Ramirez is 3-2, 3.63 for the season.

Late Tuesday night, in Las Vegas, Gio Gonzalez pitched 5 good innings for the Sacramento River Cats. He gave up 2 runs on 7 hits, striking out 5, including Kevin Howard, who was in the Vegas lineup. Gonzalez has yet to have a decision this year, but he lowered his ERA to 2.50. Howard is hitting .280 for the 51s.

Tuesday in Clearwater, Antonio Bastardo continued to shine. This time 7 innings, 2 runs 4 hits, NO walks, 12 strike outs. His ERA is now 1.59. Tampa won the game 4-3 in the 11th. P.J. Antoniato and Gus Milner had 3 hits each for Clearwater. Quintin Berry picked up 2 hits and a walk, stealing 2 bases. Q is 5 for 7 in steals. The Threshers have added first baseman Mike Eylward, who played AAA ball in Salt Lake City last year, and was in the Mexican League when the Phillies called.

Finally, Tuesday in Hagerstown, Chance Chapman got his first win of the year in Lakewood's 10-3 win, and continues to pitch well while starting. Chapman went 6 innings, just 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk. Ben Pfinsgraff got the last 5 outs, and is looking comfortable since his first outing. Ben gave up back-to-back doubles to the first 2 hitters he faced, and has not given up another earned run in 6.1 innings of work. Herman Demmink was the catalyst; a single, a double, a home run, a walk, 3 runs scored out of the lead off spot. Dominic Brown, who seems to me to be the perfect #3 hitter, had 2 singles, a double, and 4 RBI. Derrick Mitchell got his second consecutive 2-hit game, scoring twice and driving in 2.

I will have Wednesday's action later. Stay tuned.........

A split in the first trip

Good Morning, HomeSiders-

I am running out to work, but check back this afternoon. Reading and New Britain split the 2 games while I was there, R-Phils winning 11-9 Tuesday night behind 5 RBI by Jeremy Slayden, and Rock Cats taking yesterday's contest 15-6, with Carlos Carrasco getting hit hard.

I will give you all the details and these games, the BlueClaws 2 wins in Hagerstown, and the rest of the HomeSider interests when I get back later around dinnertime. I will be by the computer tonight to monitor the action. What jumps out at me right now is White Sox v Yankees tonight, Gavin Floyd pitching for Chicago, game available on YES.

Don't forget Phillies have a day game today!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Road trip

Good Morning, HomeSiders,

I am off to New Britain to see Reading take on the Rock Cats the next 2 days, but very quickly Monday's highlights-

Kyle Kendrick had another shaky outing last night, lasting just 5 innings, charged with 5 runs, on 8 hits. Carlos Ruiz drove in the game winning run, which was charged to Taylor Buchholz. Taylor came in the game with Colorado leading 6-5 and retired the Phillies 1-2-3 in the seventh, but in the 8th, after getting the first 2, he surrendered singles to Ryan Howard (who had 2 hits on the night) and Pat Burrell, before walking Pedro Feliz to load the bases. Buchholz yielded to Brian Fuentes, who gave up Ruiz' game winning hit. It is only the 2nd time this year Buchholz has been charged with runs.

Michael Bourn had a single, a walk and 2 stolen bases in Houston's 10-3 win over San Diego. Bourn is 13 for 13 in steals.

Carlos Monasterios won his second game of the year last night in Clearwater, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings against Tampa, giving up just 4 hits, and 3 walks, striking out 6 and lowering his ERA to 2.81. The Threshers won, 6-0. New Britain topped Reading last night, 5-2, despite 3 hits each for Javon Moran and Greg Golson. Golson is batting .338.

I will try to blog from Connecticut some time today, or tonight after the game.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The shuttle continues. As a result of Brad Harman's promotion to Philadelphia, Carlos Leon was sent up from Clearwater to take Harman's spot on Reading's roster. Nate Johnson, promoted to Reading 5 days ago, was returned to Clearwater, and Reading added Zack Segovia from extended spring training. I don't not know yet who will take Leon's spot in Clearwater. Lehigh Valley could use another outfielder, with T.J. Bohn going to Philley, but it appears they will not get one until they get home on Saturday. In the meantime, Spidale, Watson, and Pascucci play every game. All 4 at Reading are deserving, and all 4 former 'Claws: Blalock, Moran, Golson, and Slayden. I cannot argue with any choice, and could make a case for any of them. Let's see where it goes!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Brummett, Myers lead 'Claws

The Lakewood BlueClaws defeated Delmarva 9-2 on a picture perfect afternoon Saturday, behind strong pitching from Tyson Brummett. Brummett, 23, out of UCLA, has been very consistent in his 4 starts and was overdue to post a victory. He went 7 innings Saturday, giving up just 1 earned run on 6 hits, striking out 7. Tyson's ERA is now an impressive 2.63. Lakewood's 14-hit attack was spearheaded by D'Arby Myers, who had a break out game with 4 hits, scored a run, stole a base, and drove in a run. The 19-year old from Los Angeles had been struggling, but is now 6 for his last 9. He was rested on Sunday. Travis "Moose" Mattair had his second consecutive 2-hit game. Moose is starting to look more comfortable, and if these 2 young guys can join the core of Brown, Durant and Taylor, Lakewood will be a tough team to beat. Speaking of Michael Taylor, he had 3 more hits on Saturday.

Lakewood managed just 3 hits on Sunday, dropping the finale of the series and the home stand, 7-2. Even here, I will find some positive. As is typical of a Steve Roadcap team, the BlueClaws did not pack in a game where they trailed 7-0 going to the bottom of the 9th inning. They squeaked out 2 runs and did not go quietly. The RBI's went to Taylor (his 6th) and Durant (his team leading 10th). The 'Claws head for Hagerstown Monday for 3 games with the Suns.

Clearwater dropped games Saturday, 5-3 to Dunedin and Sunday, 3-0 to Tampa. Joe Savery pitched well enough Saturday, but Andrew Cruse continued to give up just enough runs to lose again. Savery lowered his ERA to 1.73, but Cruse suffered his 4th loss this early season, and watched his ERA balloon to 10.80. OUCH!! P.J. Antoiato had 3 hits for Clearwater, then added 2 more on Sunday. PJ is 8 for his last 16, and hitting .333 for the year. Darren Byrd pitched very well Sunday, but fell victim to lack of support. Byrd went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on just 4 hits. Carlos Monasterios goes Monday against Tampa.

Reading lost both games Saturday and Sunday in Norwich, as the Connecticut Defenders prevailed 5-4 and 6-5. Jeremy Slayden (.291) had 2 hits in each game, and Jake Blalock (.444 since promotion from Clearwater) had a 3-hit game on Sunday. I think there will be more roster moves among Lehigh Valley, Reading and Clearwater, because the Phillies disabled 2 players on Sunday, calling up outfielder T.J.Bohn from Lehigh Valley and Brad Harman from Reading. This leaves the IronPigs short one outfielder and Reading short one infielder. I will keep my eye on the wires and report as soon as I see something.

Saturday in Iowa City, Robinson Tejeda made his 3rd appearance for Oklahoma, pitching 2 more scoreless innings for the Red Hawks. He has yet to give up a run in 4.1 innings of work, all this week.

Sunday's action included:
Bobby Korecky picking up his 4th save of the year in Rochester's 10-7 win over Scranton. Bobby pitched another 1-2-3 inning to lower his ERA to 0.73.
Kevin Howard had 2 hits for Las Vegas to raise his average to .304 in the 51s 13-5 win over Sacramento.
Andy Baldwin made a start for Tacoma, throwing 4 strong innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 5, in the Rainiers 5-4 win over the SkySox.

I found another one, HomeSiders. Juan Richardson, the all time BlueClaws home run king, is playing in the Texas League, for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Juan is hitting .241 for the Royals AA affiliate.

I will be home Monday night, monitoring the games before I head for New Britain, Connecticut to watch Reading take on the Rock Cats Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I think I will catch Carrasco's turn on Wednesday.

we got another one!!

The Phillies have placed Jimmy Rollins on the DL and called up infielder Brad Harman, 2005 BlueClaw and current Reading second baseman. We now have 5 former BlueClaws on the Phillies roster. Harman, 22, is from Australia and was 6 for his last 19 with Reading.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday night lights

It was a busy night for HomeSider interest, so I will jump right in-

Let start at the major league level, where in Philadelphia, Cole Hamels was cruising along through 7 innings, with Chase Utley's 7th inning home run putting the score at 2-1 in favor of New York. Cole then gave up a single to Ryan Chuch and a double to David Wright, before passing Carlos Beltran intentionally. At this point, Cole yielded to J.C. Romero, and before the inning was over, all 3 runs scored, all charged against Cole. His final line, 7 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 4 strike outs, and his 2nd loss of the season, despite a 1.86 ERA. These 2 teams have a lot of games remaining with each other and the prospect of more Hamels v Santana in the future is certainly alluring.

In Houston last night, the Rockies took an 11-5 win from the Astros. Michael Bourn was 1 for 5 for the Astros, and Taylor Buchholz pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th for Colorado. They did not face each other.

Over in Allentown Friday, the IronPigs lost again, this time 8-3 to Toledo. J.A. Happ lost for the third time in 4 starts, as Lehigh Valley fell to 2-14 on the year. Happ went 5.2 innings, giving up 7 runs, just 4 earned, on 8 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strike outs. The big lefty has surrendered 12 earned runs in 19.1 innings for a 5.59 ERA. Val Pascucci hit his first home run of the year, after belting 34 in Albuquerque last season.

Also in the International League, in Louisville, Chris Roberson was 1 of 5 Norfolk players to get 2 hits in the Tides 10-3 win over the Bats. Robey also drove in a run, his 8th, and is hitting .292. He was caught stealing for the 2nd time in 5 attempts.

In Norwich last night, Carlos Carrasco was out dueled by Brooks McNiven of the Defenders, and Connecticut escaped with a 1-0 win. Carlos went 7 innings, allowing just 1 run, on a home run by Adam Witter, on 5 hits, 3 walks, striking out 7. He also managed to get a sac bunt down when called upon. Reading managed only 3 singles, by Neil Sellers, Gookie Dawkins, and Lou Marson. Marson got the first hit, leading off the 6th inning against McNiven. Drew Carpenter goes in the 2:00 game this afternoon.

In Winston-Salem, Michael Dubee got off to a rough start, but settled down enough to record his first win of the season in the Warthogs 9-4 win over Frederick. Dubee went 7, allowing just 4 runs (3 earned), all in the first 3 innings. He was great for the next 4 frames as his team piled on the runs.

In Clearwater, the Threshers took a 6-5 decision from Dunedin as Edgar Garcia picked up his first win of 2008. Matt Spencer belted 2 home runs for Clearwater, and Quintin Berry (2 RBI) and John Urick also had 2 hits for the Threshers, who improved to 5-10 on the year. Joe Savery goes tonight for Clearwater.

In Lansing, Scott Mitchinson also struggled early, giving up 4 in the first (3 earned), before righting the ship. Scott ended up going 7, and giving up no more runs, while the Cougar's offense came all the way back for a 7-4 win, Mitchinson's 2nd. His ERA is a very respectable 2.81.

In Lakewood last night, the BlueClaws defeated Delmarva 5-4. The game winning blow was an 8th inning home run by Michael Durant, his 4th so far. It was also his team-leading 9th RBI. Mike had 2 hits on the night, as did Moose Mattair and D'Arby Myers. A word about these two, if I may. Moose made 3 very good plays at third base last night, and although he did make an error on a throw, the 19 year old from Washington (the state) seems to be getting comfortable. D'Arby had his first 2-hit game of the year, scored a run, drove in a run, and stole a base. Last night gave me a glimpse of how good this team could be. The BlueClaws have stolen 17 bases in 18 attempts so far, led by Dominic Brown, who is 6 for 6.

For the 3rd start in a row, Drew Naylor deserved better. He left after 6 innings last night, with a 4-2 lead, striking out 7 and lowering his ERA to 3.13. He could easily be 3-0 right now, but instead he stays at 0-2 and will try again in Hagerstown next week. Walter Tejeda blew the save, but ended up with the win in relief, and Jared Simon recorded his first save with a scoreless 9th inning. (That is Jared in the picture with me on top.)

By my count, 5 of the last 6 games have been very good performances from the starting staff, with the only exception the 12-1 loss to Lake County Wednesday night, and I give Jacob Diekman a pass on that one, the team made 6 errors and I think we should just forget about it. Nobody could have won that night!!

Tyson Brummett will get the ball Saturday afternoon.

Friday night lights

Friday, April 18, 2008


I overlooked someone earlier.

Gio Gonzalez continues to pitch well. He plays for Sacramento, and I must confess, I have to remember to look there on his day to pitch. Anyway, Gio threw 5 good innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits. He has been effective in all 3 of his outings so far.

A quick check and I came up with this: all of the following pitchers will get a start today-

Cole Hamels 2-1 0.82 for Philadelphia
J.A. Happ 0-2 5.87 for Lehigh Valley
Carlos Carrasco 0-0 1.80 for Reading
Edgar Garcia 0-0 3.27 for Clearwater
Michael Dubee 0-0 6.30 for Winston-Salem
Scott Mitchinson 1-0 2.00 for Kane County

if I forgot someone, don't hesitate to let me know.....

strong pitching with mixed results

Good Morning, HomeSiders-

Thursday's games featured some strong pitching by some former BlueClaws. We will start at the major league level where Gavin Floyd took the hill for the White Sox in Baltimore. Getting a major league start as close to his home town of Severna Park, Maryland, as possible, Floyd followed up last Saturday's gem with another good effort. He retired the first 12 hitters he faced, and ended up throwing 6 full innings, giving up just 2 unearned runs on 2 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4. The Sox bullpen gave up the lead as the Orioles scored 1 in the 8th, 2 in the 9th to tie it and 1 in the 10th to win it. Floyd's ERA was reduced to 1.40 in his 3 starts so far.

Fabio Castro had a great start for Reading in Norwich on Thursday, pitching 7 shut out innings, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7 and lowering his ERA to 0.47 in Reading's 1-0 win. Greg Golson doubled and scored the only run of the game on a 2 out error by Connecticut pitcher Joseph Martinez. "Golie" also threw out a runner at home (his 3rd outfield assist this year) to preserve the win in the bottom of the 8th. Greg is hitting .345 in his first 13 games this year. Pat Overholt recorded his third save with a scoreless 9th inning.

In Fort Myers, it was Antonio Bastardo throwing for Clearwater who was impressive again. The 22-year old Dominican continues to throw "lights out" baseball. On Thursday, he went for 5.2 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 5. Although the Miracle won the game later, Bastardo's incredible run goes on. In 15.2 innings in 3 games this year, Antonio has allowed just 2 runs, 14 hits, striking out 22! 9 walks is a little high, but maybe I am just looking for a flaw at this point. Carlos Leon (2 singles, a double,and a walk, .353) and P.J. Antoniato (2 singles, .259) led the attack for the Threshers.

The pitching parade continued in Oklahoma City, where Elizardo Ramirez won his 3rd game this year, as the Red Wings blasted the Round Rock Express 19-3. "Easy" threw 6 innings, giving up just 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, striking out 4, and lowering his ERA to 3.24.

At this point, I want to correct something I said the other day. It seems I overlooked the IronPigs first win, and wrongly stated Brian Mazzone was the first one to get a win for Lehigh Valley. Actually, Ron Chiavacci had won the previous day, 3-1 over Richmond for the team's first win. They have lost the last 2 and are now 2-13.

Last night in Louisville, Chris Roberson led the Nolfolk Tides to a 7-6 win over the Bats. Robey drove in 4 runs, 3 on his first home run of the season, and is hitting .273 for Nolfolk. While in Salt Lake City, Kevin Howard continued his good start for Las Vegas, picking up a hit and a walk in the 51s 3-2 loss to the Bees. Howard is hitting .353 and playing second base for the Dodger's affiliate.

In the longest game in the major leagues since 1993, the Colorado Rockies outlasted the Padres, 2-1 in 22 innings. Of course, Taylor Buchholz pitched. This time he went 2 innings, giving up just 1 hit, striking out 3. That makes a total of 9 innings in 9 appearances for Taylor, just 1 run allowed.

Cole Hamels gets the ball tonight in Philadelphia against the Mets Johan Santana in the opener of a big series between these two newly discovered rivals. Despite the proximity of the 2 cities, these 2 teams had never been good at the same time in the past, so the rivalry here is in it's infancy. However, like Eagles-Giants and Flyers-Rangers, the intensity is not for the squeamish.

Drew Naylor gets the ball for Lakewood toinight, and that is where you can find me, so I'll see you at the ballpark.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday's HomeSider Highglights

Lets start at the top, HomeSiders.

Michael Bourn got the better of Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies, Bourn providing both runs in a 2-1 Astros victory, that Kendrick certainly deserved better from. Bourn singled to lead off, stole second (his league leading 8th) and scored the first run of the game. Then, in the 5th, Michael smacked one off the foul pole for his second home run of the year and the margin of victory for Houston. Kendrick was strong, going 7, allowing just the 2 runs on 4 hits, 1 walk, striking out 5.

Matt Maloney notched his first AAA win, working through 5.1 innings against Norfolk, 3 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk, 6 strike outs. Two of the outs he recorded came against Chris Roberson, who later singled, drove in a run and stole his 3rd base of the year.

In Rochester, Bobby Korecky gave up a run for the first time this year, and took a loss as a result. Bobby has picked up 2 wins and 2 saves so far, surrendering just the 1 run in 9.2 innings of work.

Robinson Tejeda has decided to report to AAA Oklahoma, and got into 2 games this week. In 2.1 innings, Tejeda allowed just 2 hits, striking out 5.

The Lakewood BlueClaws lost both games to Lake County, 12-1 Wednesday night and 3-0 Thursday afternoon. The BlueClaws managed just 3 hits in each game and will not be unhappy to see Lake County leave town. The Captains have won 6 of 8 against Lakewood to start the year. Chance Chapman pitched well enough to win, but received no support despite throwing 6 and giving up just 1 earned run. The BlueClaws are now 5-9 and take on Delmarva Friday night.

I will talk about the rest of Thursday's action tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

catching up

Let me share with you what I found interesting the last few days.

My favorite story started to unfold in Philadelphia last night, as Michael Bourn and the Houston Astros came to tow. Michael, wearing the honorary #42 jersey for Houston (to commemorate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game with the Dodgers), was 1 for 4, but stole his seventh base with out being caught this year. Overall in his career, Mike is 26 for 29. Impressive!

The intrigue gets better tonight when Kyle Kendrick takes the hill for Philadelphia. Kyle and Mike were teammates here in Lakewood in 2004. Is this the first at bat for former Lakewood teammates facing each other in the major leagues? I cannot think of another one, off hand. Anybody out there?

I will be at the Lakewood game, but my mind will be in Philly, when I know Bourn is stepping in against Kendrick.

Speaking of Lakewood, the BlueClaws split the 2 games in Ohio, falling 5-4 Monday night before bouncing back to win 5-3 on Tuesday. I offer these comments about the team from my perspective. The starting pitchers have been good the last time through the rotation. Drew Naylor, Tyson Brummett, and Julian Sampson all gave nice outings the last few days, each one giving us a chance to win their game. If that effort continues, this team will win more than it's share of games. Jacob Diekman gets the ball tonight, and judging by his last start, could be primed to join them.

I see that D'Arby Myers had a hit in 4 of the 5 games on the road trip, and seems to be getting around on pitches, and after a rough start, is starting to show some consistency. And Derrick Mitchell had a hit in his last 2 starts. Derrick hit a bunch of balls hard in the early games, with very few hits to show for it. Hopefully, this will even itself out with a few bloops falling in for Derrick. Early season surprise has to be Dennis Winn. Dennis has played 4 games, collecting 5 hits, 4 of them doubles, and driving in 4 runs.

My HomeSider radar is also zeroing in on Louisville Kentucky tonight, as the Bats host Norfolk. Matt Maloney will get the start for Louisville, and Chris Roberson could be in the Tides line up. Another battle of former Claws, although Matt and Robey were not teammates here.

And it has happened, folks, yes it has: the IronPigs have won a game. Brian Mazone is the first IronPigs pitcher to record a win, pitching 5 strong innings in a 4-1 victory.

The Phillies also shifted infielders with Joey Hammond going from Reading to Lehigh Valley and Gookie Dawkins leaving the Pigs to join the R-Phils.

And if I have an eye left, I will cast in the direction of Fort Myers, Florida, where Carlos Monasterios gets the start for the Threshers. In 13 innings in his first 2 starts, Carlos has given up just 8 hits and 4 earned runs. He has walked 4 and struck out 8.

11:00 AM game Thursday in Lakewood, so don't hold me to an early post, but I will be home to monitor other games in the evening.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday's highlights

Hello, HomesSiders-

Our tour begins in Houston today where Michael Bourn picked up 2 hits, including his first home run of the year, and scored 2 runs as the Astros won their second straight game 5-1 over the Marlins.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Taylor Buchholz pitched another scoreless inning for Colorado, this time against Arizona, in the Rockies 13-5 win on Sunday. Buchholz has now made 7 appearances, only allowing 1 run.

In Peoria, Scott Mitchinson won his first game for the Kane County Cougars, 2-1 over the Chiefs. Mitchinson pitched 5, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 6. Mike Dubee also threw 5 innings for Winston-Salem, but his bullpen could not preserve his win. Dubee (5 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 6 strike outs) , left the game with 4-3 lead, only to see his teammates blow it, the Avalanche winning 8-4.

Another former BlueClaw to pick up a win was Carlos Carrasco. Carlos went 6 innings in Reading Sunday afternoon, allowing 2 early home runs, but settling down after that as Reading went on to beat Altoona, 7-3. That is 2 good outings in a row for Carlos. Greg Golson (double, home run, 2 runs scored, RBI), Juan Tejeda (single, double, walk, 2 RBI), and Lou Marson (single, double, run scored, RBI) all had 2 hits. Will Savage and R.J. Swindel each threw an inning to record a "hold", for Swindel, it was his 2nd.

Number one pick Joe Savery flashed his ability Sunday in Clearwater, throwing 8 shut out innings for the Threshers in the 5-0 win over Lakeland. Nate Johnson threw a scoreless 9th to complete the shutout. Welinson Baez had 3 hits (including a double) to lead the shark attack, while Carlos Leon (2 runs, 3 RBI), and Tuffy Gosewisch chipped in with 2 hits each. Both Savery and Gosewisch each picked a runner off first base, and Jay Miller, getting a rare start, had a double, a walk and scored a run.

J.A. Happ pitched well enough to win on Sunday, settling in after giving up 2 first inning runs. He totals: 5 innings of work, just the 2 runs, 1 hit, 5 walks, and 9 strike outs. The IronPigs tied the game in the 6th to get Happ "off the hook", but succumbed to the Braves, 6-2. Mike Spidale was 0 for 3 in his Pigs debut. Lehigh Valley is now 0-11.

Also in the International League on Sunday, Randy Ruiz was 1 for 4 in Rochester's 3-2 loss to Syracuse, and Chris Roberson was 1 for 4 in Norfolk's 2-1 defeat to Indianapolis.

The final bit of good pitching was done by the current BlueClaws, who took a 7-4, 11 inning decision from Delmarva in the series finale in Salisbury. Drew Naylor was masterful. He threw 7 shut out innings, before giving up back-to-back singles to start the 8th. Both runners scored and Delmarva took a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth. Dennis Winn had doubled in 2 runs earlier for the BlueClaws and the way Naylor was going, it looked like enough. In the 9th, with 2 out and 2 on, Joel Naughton came to bat to hit for Jesus Sanchez. Motivated by the encouragement of young Brittney on the first base line, Naughton drove home 2 runs and the 'Claws had a 4-3 lead. While Jared Simon gave up the tying run to the Shorebirds in the 9th, he did pitched 2 more innings and when the BlueClaws scored 3 more in the 11th inning, got his 3rd win in his last 3 outings. Moose Mattair started the winning rally with a walk. After D'Arby Myers sacrificed Mattair to second, Naughton single again. Then they both scored on a big double by Dominic Brown. Brown later scored on a single my Michael Durant, as the BlueClaws avoided the sweep by the Shorebirds. Tyson Brummett gets the start Monday in chilly Lake County as Lakewood faces the Captains.

Boss of the Sauce

Good Morning HomeSiders,

I am running out the door to work, and will post for Sunday's games later, but don't forget the annual "Boss of the Sauce" contest at the Woodlake Country Club on New Hampshire Avenue from 5:00-7:30 tonight. Admission is FREE, and for a $5.00 donation to Ocean County Food Bank, you will receive 3 tokens with which to vote for your favorite sauce. Come on out, have some free food, and vote for Ippolito's to help us win.

Thanks to all for your support, and have a great day!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

something in the water?

I don't know what these guys had in their water (or lunch), but the pitching was outstanding on Saturday. After Gavin Floyd came within 5 outs of a no-hitter yesterday, Cole Hamels refused to be upstaged. Floyd was the Phillies #1 pick in 2001, Hamels the first pick in 2002. The comparisons were inevitable. So far, Cole has had the better of it. Last night in Philly, Hamels threw 7 1-hit innings to pick up his second win of the season in the Phils 7-1 win. He walked only 2 and struck out 5, lowering is ERA to 0.82 in his first 3 starts this year. Still feeling the glow of his pinch-hit single against the Mets the other night, Cole added a double to his resume for good measure. Ryan Howard hit his 3rd home run of the year, a 2-run shot off Ted Lilly in the fifth inning, and Carlos Ruiz had a single in 4 at bats.

Fabio Castro joined in the pitching party, also 7 innings with only 1 hit, in Reading's 5-2 win over Altoona Saturday. Greg Golson (.343) and Jeremy Slayden (.310) picked up 2 hit apiece for Reading and catcher John Suomi belted a 3-run homer. Ron Hill gave up the runs, facing 5 hitters without recording an out, in his first ineffective outing of the year, and Pat Overholt recorded his 2nd save. Jason Donald returned to the line up for the R-Phils after sitting out 3 games. Carlos Carrasco is Sunday's scheduled starter.

The BlueClaws dropped a 2-1 game in Delmarva, despite good pitching all around. Chance Chapman made his first start for Lakewood and was impressive, throwing 4 frames, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits. Walter Tejeda and Yen-Feng Lin combined for 4 scoreless innings in relief. Joe Rocchio let the winning run score in the 9th on a wild pitch. Catcher Joel Naughton believes the ball was foul tipped, but the umpires ruled otherwise. Naughton had the only 2-hit game for the 'Claws, both doubles. After his second double in the 9th inning, Joel was thrown out at home on a single off the bat of D'Arby Myers by center fielder Matt Angle. Michael Durant provided the BlueClaws run with his 3rd home run of the season. Drew Naylor tries to right the ship Sunday for Lakewood.

In Clearwater last night, the Theshers lost a game in which they had the lead twice. Gus Milner tripled home 2 runs in the opening inning. Gus then scored when the throw to third got away for Lakeland fielders. Clearwater proceeded to load the bases again, but did not put any more runs on the board. Matt Spencer and John Urick had 2 hits each for Clearwater, who fell to 3-7. Edgar Garcia started and could not hold the early 3-0 advantage. Edgar lasted 5 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits, striking out 5. Dan Brauer blew the save and was charged with his first loss. Brauer did not pitch bad, but in a tight game, a few hits here and there can cost you. Joe Savery goes for Clearwater Sunday.

The IronPigs lost again, they are 0-10 now. Joe Bisenius had a rough outing, facing 5 hitters, walking 3 (1 intentionally), and giving up 1 hit. All 4 scored in Richmond's 5-3 win. J.A. Happ will try to stop the bleeding Sunday.

Last night in Indianapolis, Chris Roberson had a single, a double, a stolen base(his second), and 2 RBI in Norfolk's 4-3 loss. Robey is hitting .286.

Elizardo Ramirez pitched well for Oklahoma last night, throwing 5 innings, and giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in the Red Hawks 5-4 win in Albuquerque. "Easy" improved to 2-1, 3.38 for the year.

Eude Brito's struggles continue. Last night in Charlotte, Brito threw 2.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits. So far Brito has made 4 appearances, throwing 5.1 innings, allowing 8 earned runs. E-Gads!!

Also having a tough time is Andrew Baldwin. Last night in Colorado Springs, Baldwin got only 2 outs in relief. Although all 5 runs he gave were unearned, he did surrender 3 hits and 3 walks, sustaining the loss the Rainier's 10-7 defeat.

The Phillies placed Shane Victorino on the disabled list Sunday and purchased the contract of Chris Snelling from Lehigh Valley. This prompted the promotion of Mike Spidale from Reading to Lehigh Valley, and the promotion of Jake Blalock from Clearwater to Reading.

Scott Mitchinson will get a start today in Peoria for the Kane County Cougars. The Cougars, an Oakland affiliate, are off to an 8-0 start. They were rained out Saturday and will play 2 today. Mitchinson will go in game 2. Also, it is Mike Dubee's turn to pitch for the Warthogs today in Winston-Salem.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great Gavination

I am on my way out the door for the evening, but I had to drop in this post. Gavin Floyd pitched 7.1 innings this afternoon against Detroit before he gave up a hit. He came out of the game in the top of the 8th, with a 1-0 lead. The Sox exploded for 6 in the bottom of the 8th for a 7-0 victory. Floyd's line: 7.1 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 4 walks, 4 strike outs, and his second win in 2 starts this year. It is his 10th major league win in his career.

The Clearwater K's

Good morning, HomeSiders-

The Clearwater Threshers defeated Lakeland last night at Bright House Networks Field 1-0, and they did it with outstanding pitching (as the score indicates). Those of you who know me know I love that. The combination of 4 former BlueClaws recorded 18 strike out among the 27 outs, allowing only 4 hits, and a solo home run by Matt Spencer in the second inning was all they would need. Antonio Bastardo continues his stellar career. After a 10-0 season (9-0 with Lakewood) with a 2.14 ERA in 2007, Bastardo threw 5 shut out innings at Lakeland, striking out 10 to notch his first win of this year. Then the bullpen followed suit. Brett Harker picked up 4 outs (3 Ks), Matt German recorded 7 outs (5 Ks) and Brian Schlitter got the last one for his 3rd save of the young season. So the Threshers win a game in which they get just 5 hits. Aside from Spencer's dinger, Quintin Berry, Jake Blalock, John Urick and Fidel Hernandez had the other hits, all singles. The Threshers ended a 3 game losing streak and improved to 3-6. I think it will be Edgar Garcia for Clearwater tonight.

Clearwater was the only Phillies affiliate to win last night. Lakewood dropped a 3-1 decision to Delmarva in Maryland. Before the game, Miguel Matos, who had yet to pitch for Lakewood (and when I spoke to him, he told me he had no idea when he would do so) was placed on the DL and replaced on the roster by Ben Pfinsgraff. I had been under the impression that Ben had been released, but during spring training, we get so many lists of players, some reassigned, some disabled, some released, that I must have been confused. Pfinsgraff came into Friday's game after Jacob Diekman gave the BlueClaws 6 strong innings, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits, walking 3 and striking out 4. "Phinney" was a little rusty at the start, surrendering back-to-back doubles to the first 2 hitters he faced, and both of them scored. He settled down after that, but the 'Claws were unable to get back in it. Lakewood managed just 3 hits on the night, a single by Michael Taylor, a double for Jesus Sanchez (his first hit of the season), and a double by D'Arby Myers. My apologies to D'Arby for misspelling his name in yesterday's post. Chance Chapman will get the start Saturday night as Lakewood tries to bounce back.

Reading lost their home opener 8-4 last night to Altoona. Neil Sellers drove in all 4 runs with a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning and an RBI single in the 8th. The R-Phils collected just 5 hits, the other 3 going to Greg Golson, a double, and singles by Jeremy Slayden and Lou Marson. Pat Overholt pitched a scoreless 9th for Reading. Fabio Castro gets the ball Saturday night.

Also losing their home opener, Lehigh Valley dropped to 0-9, as the Richmond Braves spoiled the first ever regular season home game in IronPigs franchise history, winning 6-0. The Pigs have been shut out 3 times in the first 9 games and have scored a total of just 11 runs. Ouch! The 0-9 start is the worst in the International League in over 30 years. Ouch, again!! BlueClaw fans remember the 2006 BlueClaws started out 0-9, and that team won the SAL championship that year. But I am making no promises.

Last night in Rochester, Bobby Korecky came into the game with a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh with 1 out and runners on second and third. After recording the second out of the inning on a come backer to the mound and a play at the plate, Bobby gave up the go-ahead single to Matt Watson to blow his first save this year. He stayed in the game, pitched 2 more innings and was the winning pitcher when the Red Wings rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th for a 7-5 win.

In a game I overlooked, Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, Michael Dubee made his first start for the Warthogs against Lynchburg. Dubee pitched 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6. He received no decision in the Hillcats 7-5 win. Michael appear set up to make his second start on Sunday afternoon.

I noticed on the transaction wire last night that the Texas Rangers outrighted Robinson Tejeda to Oklahoma and he was placed on the temporary inactive list. I believe he is contemplating his future. Speaking of Oklahoma, Elizardo Ramirez is their scheduled starter Saturday.

In Saturday's action, Cole Hamels will go for the Phillies tonight against the Cubs, and Gavin Floyd gets the ball for the White Sox against the struggling Tigers.

I will be away from the computer tonight, as my wife and I head to Atlantic City to see Carlos Santana in concert.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Darby Myers visits Ippolito's

Because this is my blog and I can write what I want, I will shamelessly plug my family's restaurant, Ippolito's. Darby Myers is the first of this year's BlueClaws to visit, coming by with his host family after the game last Sunday. Since it opened in 2006, Ippolito's has been discovered by many BlueClaw players. Carlos Carrasco, Orlando Guevara, Quintin Berry, Gus Milner, Garrett Hill, Tuffy Gosewisch, former pitching coach Ed Hodge and even play-by-play man Brendan Burke have all sampled the cuisine. Ippolito's is located in the Shore Plaza on Route 70 between New Hampshire and Towbin. It is just a long fly ball from First Energy Park and, take it from me, once you come in once, you WILL come back.

Tell them "Uncle John sent me!!"

PS-We will be competing in the annual "Boss of the Sauce" sponsored by 105.7 The Hawk. The competition takes place Monday at 5:00 at Woodlake Country Club. Come on out, a $5.00 admission get you all can eat. And don't forget to vote for Ippolito's!!

BlueClaws wrap up homestand with a "Winn"

The BlueClaws completed their first homestand of the season Thursday night with a 7-5 victory over Hagerstown thanks in no small part to utility infielder Dennis Winn. Winn, playing in just his second game of the season, had a single, a stolen base, a run scored and the game winning RBI with a clutch double in the bottom of the 8th inning. Winn is 3 for 6 in his 2 games so far this year. Lakewood also got 2 hit contributions from Matt Rizzotti (single, double, walk, 2 runs scored, RBI, .333), Michael Taylor (2 singles, run scored, outfield assist, .370) and Karl Bolt (2 singles, run scored, 2 RBI). Dominic Brown (.355) chipped in with a double and an RBI sac fly to clinch the win. Julian Sampson had a much better outing than last time, throwing 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits. Moises Melendez gave up 3 unearned runs, and Jared Simon got the last 5 outs to get his second win in 2 nights, after blowing the save.

If I seem to be neglecting the pitching staff, I don't mean to. I promise to give them all their props as we go along. It is just harder to get a feel for them this early on, as I don't want to make any judgments based on a few outings in the cold weather.

The BlueClaws take to the road today to take on the Shorebirds in Delmarva. I believe Jacob Diekman will get the ball in the 7:00 start.

Clearwater dropped a 2-0 decision to Fort Myers last night. Carlos Monasterios pitched his heart out, allowing the 2 runs on a 2-run, 2 out home run in the seventh inning by Whitney Robbins of the Miracle. Adrian Cardenas continued his hot start with 2 more hits, and is hitting .455 in the first 8 games. Matt Spencer (.310) also had 2 hits for Clearwater. Dan Brauer and Brian Schlitter finished off the game for the Threshers. Clearwater stays at home this weekend to face Lakeland. Antonio Bastardo is the schedule starter Friday.

The IronPigs lost again, 5-2 to Pawtucket to fall to 0-8. I believe I said they were 0-8 yesterday, but I was ahead of myself. Good news for HomeSiders: Jason Jaramillo smacked his 2nd home run of the young season. The Pigs have their home opener tonight against Richmond.

Reading had an off day on Thursday and have their home opener tonight against Altoona. Kip Bouknight (1-0) will start for the R-Phils, weather permitting.

Last night in Scranton, Matt Maloney was the beneficiary of a 4 run first inning by Louisville and was solid for 4 innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. A lead off walk (always trouble), a single, a double steal, and another single and Matt was gone. His final line was 4.1 innings, 4 earned runs, 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 strike outs. The Yankees won the contest, 11-5.

After 4 consecutive 2-hit games, Kevin Howard was walked 3 times in his 4 plate appearances last night in Las Vegas in the 51's 6-2 victory over Colorado Springs. Howard is hitting a robust .409 so far this year.

Meanwhile, last night in New York, the Mets took a 12 inning, 4-3 game from the Phillies. Two interesting notes from this game for me. One was Ryan Howard's 2nd home run of the year. It was a 450 foot blast to straight away center field and it was his 11th career home run against the Mets. That is the most against any team for Ryno. (Shea Stadium was also the site of career home run #1 for Howard during his September, 2004 call up.) The second interesting note was Cole Hamels sent into the game to bunt in the 11th inning. Charlie Manuel had used up all his players, and when Rudy Seanez turn at bat came, Manuel turned to Hamels to lay down the sacrifice bunt. Well, Cole did such a good job, the Mets couldn't get him, and he was credited with a base hit! Cole is now 2 for 5 this year, that's .400!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Durant's 4 hits lead 'Claws

After dropping 4 of their first 5 games, the Lakewood BlueClaws were looking for something to turn the early season around. On a chilly, drizzly night at First Energy Park, the reversal resounded off the hot bat of big Michael Durant. The Lakewood DH was 4 for 4, including a double and his second home run of the season, to pace an 11-hit attack and lead the BlueClaws to a 6-5 win over Hagerstown.

There was a lot of action and it started early. In the bottom of the first inning, Michael Taylor (2 for 4, 2b, RBI, .348) doubled in Freddy Galvis to give the 'Claws the first run of the game. It was the first time in the 6 games this year Lakewood scored first. Durant followed with his first hit of the night, a blistering line drive into right field. As the ball got to right fielder Michael Burgess, manager Steve Roadcap waved Taylor around third. Taylor arrived at home plate the same time the ball did, and he did what he had to do. Taylor (6'6", 250 lbs) lowered his shoulder and flattened catcher Sean Rooney. Rooney went down hard, but held onto the ball. He didn't move for a few minutes as the force of the blow smacked the back of his head on the ground, but eventually got up and walked off under his own power. It was a clean hit, and anyone who says Taylor should have slid doesn't understand how this game is played. The only chance he had to score was to knock the ball loose. It was the toughest collision I have seen in Lakewood, but NOT a dirty play.

After Steve Englund deposited one on the top of the berm in right field off starter Tyson Brummett , who pitched well enough to win (6 IP, 1 Earned run, 3 hits, 3 walks, 8 strike outs), Durant was at it again. He trumped Englund's shot with a monster blast into the center field picnic area for his 2nd home run of the year and Lakewood regained the lead 2-1.

Lakewood rallied again in the 6th. After 2 outs, Taylor started things again with a single and stole second. Durant picked up his third hit, a hustle single on a slow grounder to second, to put runners at the corners. Moose Mattair promptly singled home Taylor, and then Joel Naughton collected his first hit of the year, a booming double in the gap in right center to score Durant and Mattair, and the 'Claws led 5-1. Chance Chapman relieved Brummet and faced only 3 hitters, giving up 2 hits and a walk, and before Yen-Feng Lin could retire the side, all 3 of the runners scored. Lin gave up another run in the 8th as the Suns tied the game at 5, but it could have been worse if not for 2 web gems by first baseman Karl Bolt. This set the stage for the winning rally in the bottom of the 8th.

With 1 out, Durant doubled to the gap in left center, and Herman Demmink went in to run for him. Durant left the field to a rousing ovation, and Demmink scored the winning run on a 2-out single by Naughton. Jared Simon retired the Suns 1-2-3 in the ninth and the BlueClaws had a much needed victory.

The BlueClaws were the only team in the Phillies system to win last night. The big club took it on the chin, 8-2 to the Mets. After beating them 9 straight times, I guess New York was due. Kyle Kendrick continued his spring funk. Although victimized by poor fielding behind him, Kyle walked 6, gave up 4 hits, and was not able to get out of third inning ( 7 runs, only 1 earned). Carlos Ruiz had a double and an RBI in 4 at bats, and Ryan Howard was also 1 for 4 (2 K's). Ryno is struggling, hitting just .188 so far.

The IronPigs are wallowing at 0-8, falling again to Pawtucket, 2-0. Lehigh Valley has not scored more than 3 runs in any game yet. The best news for HomeSiders in the International League was Mike Costanzo's 3-run double in Norfolk's 7-2 win over Rochester. Chris Roberson chipped in with single and a walk in 4 at bats, scoring a run on the Costanzo hit. Randy Ruiz was 1 for 4 for Rochester. More bad news for Eude Brito last night in Columbus. Eude was called into the game in the 11th inning, after his team had fallen behind, needing to get only 1 out. Before he could get it, he gave up a walk and 3 hits, including a 3-run homer to Chris Richard of Durham and was charged with 4 runs. Ugh!!

In Bowie, Reading dropped a 3-2 decision to the Baysox. The R-Phils got only 6 hits, 2 from Greg Golson (.333), who returned to the line-up after sitting out a game with a sore foot. The foot must be OK, Golson stole base #7 without being caught yet. Mike Spidale (.357), Jeremy Slayden (double), and Brad Harman (single, 2 walks, scored both runs) also contributed. Joey Hammond picked up the last hit (as well as 2 walks), and is leading the team with a .438 mark. Josh Outman was the hard luck loser, throwing 6 innings and giving up 2 runs (only 1 earned), striking out 8. Will Savage pitched the last 2, giving up a run on a home run by Ryan Finan.

A rough night in Clearwater, also, as the Fort Myers Miracle punished the Threshers, 9-3. Adrian Cardenas (.448) had 3 hits for Clearwater and Quintin Berry picked up a double, 2 walks, and an RBI. Darren Byrd struggled with his control, giving up 6 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks in just 2.2 innings of work. Nate Johnson tossed 3.1 frames, allowing just 1 run, but Andrew Cruse gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in just 2 innings (deuces wild!). Matt German pitched a scoreless 9th.

In Houston last night, Michael Bourn picked up a double and an RBI in the Astros' 6-4 loss to St. Louis. Bourn is batting .216, with 6 steals in 6 tries, and playing everyday. He is too good a player to be down for long. The HomeSide is behind you, Mike!!

HomeSiders near Moosic, Pa. might want to go to the Louisville-Scranton game tonight as Matt Maloney gets the ball for the Bats against the Yankees.