Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 2 of 2
LAST GAME OF THE SEASON
2 trades after the fact and it’s obvious from this picture on the Pepsi Vision Jumbotron that Ryan Ludwick is STILL a Cardinal!
As if I wasn’t ‘grey’ already, knowing that the MiLB season is drawing to a close today, the weather had to up and remind me that Summer is truly and nearly dead. It was bloody hot yesterday, but today it was cool, overcast, almost drizzly, and a tad windy. Football weather, yes…baseball weather? SHEESH.
The whole family joined me for today’s game, as the Bats are set to finish 16 games or so behind the league-leading Columbus Clippers and not make a trip to the IL playoffs for the first time since 3 consecutive appearances. A win to end the season would be nice, but it is September 5th…which means: September 1st expanded roster call-ups by the Reds (who must believe they still have a chance…!?!) have depleted what was left of many of the Bats’ “major league ready” players on the roster and replaced them with a group of folks who will undoubtedly return in 2012 as ‘next year’s talent’…it’s great to see so many new faces, but the Indians are still playing well (3 games ahead of the Bats) and the question is, can the new guys eke one last “BATS WIN” on a day like this?
The answer was YES. And even with Ryan Ludwick on rehab assignment from the Pirates (parent club of the Indians). I squealed with joy when I saw his name on the lineup card, since he was a Cardinal I’ve enjoyed watching him play…now I get to see him here! UNRULY!!
Jeff Locke on the bump for the Indians…yeah, you already know about my Jeff Locke mancrush if you read this post. He struck out 6 (2 of those were against Mike “hard luck strike zone” Costanzo) and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits in 5 IP. Great stuff, mesmerizing smooth delivery. Ex-Cub Sean Gallagher (where did all that hair come from?!?) pitched 3 innings in relief for the Indians. Same ol’ Sean Gallagher, but with more hair.
The new guys (and some of the not-so-new guys) pulled it off, all Bats runs were driven in by Denis Phipps (only with the club for a month or so), Mike Costanzo (here since July), and newest call-up Neftali Soto, who nailed a shocking 2-run HR in the 1st inning…quite a statement.
I took quite a few pictures…rather than try to arrange them, since there are so many, here they are inning-by-inning.
Indians LF Ryan Ludwick crouches on deck
Ludwick enters the batter’s box, recent Bats call-up Yasmani Grandal behind the mask
Ludwick at bat…note the newly acquired ‘open stance’
Indians LHP Jeff Locke
Bats freshman CF Quintin Berry faces Jeff Locke
RF Denis Phipps
Phipps fouls one back
Phipps facing Jeff Locke
Another recent call-up, 1B Neftali Soto at bat…one pitch later Soto crushes a HR to Right Center to drive in Phipps and put the Bats on the board first
Soto and Phipps return to the Bats dugout after crossing the plate, Danny Dorn on deck
LF Danny Dorn faces Jeff Locke
Indians 1B Jeff Clement, from Marshalltown, IOWA!
Indians 3B and Major League veteran Andy Marte faces Chad Reineke
RHP Chad Reineke
Indians RF Miles Durham (great baseball name!)
Switch-hitting stud Catcher prospect Yasmani Grandal
Grandal faces Jeff Locke
Another great shot of Jeff Locke
Bats 3B Mike Costanzo, seems like every game I’ve seen him in this season he’s had a “hard luck strike zone”…take from that comment whatever you like!
Costanzo vs. Locke, Grandal at 1B…Costanzo is called out on strikes
Bats 2B Michael Griffin faces Locke, Grandal still at 1B
Griffin fouls one back
Jeff Locke, Andy Marte at 3B…I tried to get a shot of Locke ‘checking the runner’ but he’s too quick for my geezer camera skills
Griffin’s AB continues, he strikes out swinging…Grandal still at 1B
Chad Reineke breaks his bat as he flies out to 1B Jeff Clement to end the inning, stranding Grandal
Indians SS Brian Bocock chugs on over to 1B on a single to RCF
Ludwick looks at a strike…
Ludwick checks his swing…
Ball Four, Ludwick gets a free pass from Reineke
Ludwick at 1B, oh so lonely…
Ludwick at 1B, not being held by Griffin and Soto
Jeff Clement…meaty swing delivers a sharply hit grounder to RCF
Clement reaches 1B, Ludwick advances to 2B
Marte faces Reineke for the second time, Ludwick at 2B, Clement at 1B
Marte: G6-3 to end the inning, 2 runners stranded
Bats SS Kris Negron at 1B after an infield single, Clement holding him
Phipps faces Locke; at a full count Phipps belts a clean line drive to LF but is thrown out 7-5-4 attempting to stretch it into a double
Indians CF Gorkys Hernandez faces Reineke, Durham at 1B
Grandal walks, Griffin fouls one back
Griffin lines out to short to end the inning
Former Cub RHP Sean Gallagher takes the mound for the Indians
Soto versus Sean Gallagher after Phipps singles to LCF (Soto walks)
Grandal, on the other side of the plate for Gallagher (Grandal walks)
Grandal walks; now the bases are full of Bats (Phipps-Soto-Grandal) for Mike Costanzo, who is 0-2 with 2 strikeouts so far today
Costanzo hits a SAC fly to CF, Phipps tags up and scores an insurance run – Bats are up 4-2
Sean Gallagher enters the batter’s box
Indians 2B Brian Friday faces LHP Tom Cochran
Indians C Eric Fryer faces RHP Brad Boxberger
Miles Durham grounds into a Fielder’s Choice (3-6), Fryer is erased on the play
Boxberger is set for Indians PH Wyatt Toregas
After the game, my wife and Kei headed home while Chihiro and I waited outside the East entrance for baseball players. In the minor league tradition, on the last game of the season the players from both teams toss most of their non-lethal personal equipment (caps, batting gloves, etc) into the crowd. Chihiro wanted to head down to the dugout to get this, but we didn’t think it was a great idea. Lots of kids outside had some of this equipment for the players to sign. Chihiro decided to go for broke, and instead of waiting for one player to sign her baseball, she got everyone who came out from the Bats to do so, collecting about 10 signatures on her ball.
Ryan Ludwick darted out of the building, aggressively avoiding autograph seekers, and headed straight for a cab. My guess is he’s heading to the airport to return to Pittsburgh. However, the cab must not have been his cab, as he stood by the vehicle for a few minutes and did end up signing a few items for the kids.
Official Scorecard, signed by Chris Valaika, and Bat Chat
Official Program, #3 of 3 for the 2011 season, featuring CORKY MILLER on the cover!