Saturday, June 14, 2014

6/14/2014 Gwinnett Braves 0, Louisville Bats 1

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 4 of 4

"Homer Bobblehead wouldn't do that."
It's Homer Bailey Bobblehead day at LSF, and yes, I got mine!! Now I can assure you that whatever Homer Bailey does (or doesn't do) in real life, I have tangible evidence in the Dungeon that proves his plastic and resin counterpart would have stood by idly, eternally locked in his peculiar windup.

Chien-Ming Wang, the infamous Taiwanese MLB organizational nomad who signed as a free agent with the Reds in late 2013, has made 13 starts for Louisville this season with mixed success. His 8-5 record and 3.89 ERA is a bit deceiving; out of his 9 previous outings, 8 of those were Quality Starts, and the Bats are 8-5 when he's on the mound...and 6-1 in his last 7 starts. That being said, his record isn't as good as it was with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in  9 starts last season, but really looks more like his work with AAA Buffalo later on that same year.

Toss Braves starter Cody Martin into the mix, who is also good, but not great, and you could never expect a pitcher's duel of any kind. But we got one today, as Wang hurls a gem - 7.1IP, 9 H, 2K, 0 runs...and the Bats bullpen contributes to hold the Braves scoreless, despite allowing a combined 10 hits. Martin stays in for 6 innings, striking out 7, walking 3 and only allowing 5 hits and one earned run...the run that costs the Braves the game. That earned run happened in the very first inning, when leadoff batter Jason Bourgeois (who reached on a BB) actually stole home during a double-steal attempt.

This is also my first live Donald Lutz experience! He was on the roster for my previous visit to LSF a couple of weeks ago, but had been called up to Cincinnati 'real quick' and did not play. 
"Der Brauner Hulk" looked ferocious at the plate, yet saw no action whatsoever in LF...he went 0-for-4 tonight with 3Ks (2 swinging) and a lineout to right field. 

Here he is facing Martin in the 4th inning, when he was called out on strikes.

The sun was ferocious today, and proved problematic to most of my attempts at getting decent photos. But this is a good thing, as the last time I was at a game with my oldest daughter Kei, we went home early with decidedly frozen extremities.
It's Saturday, we got bobbleheads, and I'm wearing my Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs "Bacon Saturday" cap. A fun and unusual game, a great reason to beat the heat with some cool base ball and a Souvenir Soda. No complaints.

For the Mystery Rookie Card game, Kei picks this 2008 Upper Deck Denard Span #718. The price tag is $1.50, so she's kind of a winner. THIS IS DSPAN.

My pick has no price tag, but it sure does have a story. Featured on this 2004 Bowman #263 is one Jeff Allison, who was a first-round pick for the Marlins in 2003 and was a Baseball America top-50 prospect at one time (BA also honored him as the 2003 High School Player of the Year). 
Unfortunately for Allison, his story isn't really your typical "Prospect to Promise to Bust" tale, and you won't see what went wrong for him in any box score or on the back of any of his cards.  Allison will always be remembered for his substance abuse issues (addicted to Heroin and OxyContin) and would always be linked to the similar downward spiral of Josh Hamilton. Allison's struggles were documented in a 2009 feature by Thomas Farragher for the Boston Globe ($), and included episodes of suspensions for non-disclosed reasons (2005), overdoses (2006) and even prison farm assignments (2007). Unlike Hamilton, there was no rubber mattress for Allison to bounce back into pro baseball on, and in 2012 he told Peter Gammons that he was likely to retire, mostly due to a lingering potential elbow injury that would require surgery and rehabilitation...yeah, and all of that other stuff too, I guess.

BONUS CARD: 2013 Allen & Ginter Jose Altuve #AGR-JA, game used jersey. No words. Wait, I have one..."sharp."

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

Official Program (featuring Tucker Barnhart) and Scorecard

Ticket (Daniel Corcino, who did pitch for Louisville last year, but has spent this entire season in AA Pensacola)

Bat Chat and Gameday Stats

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

Monday, June 2, 2014

6/2/2014 Columbus Clippers 1, Louisville Bats 4

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 2 of 2

How's about a little HONKBAL for your Monday Night Base Ball? I hear on the way to the game that Jair Jurrjens, who signed a minor league deal with the Reds a few weeks ago, will be making his first start of the season with the Bats!!
To say that Jurrjens has had a very peculiar career, so far, would be quite the understatement. From a formidable Rookie of the Year candidate in 2008 and an All-Star in 2011 to the "boy that nobody owns" in 2012. Something happened, who knows what, to the former Brave who went 47-32 with an ERA of 3.34 (FIP 3.81) in 108 starts with Atlanta from 2008-2011. His luck (or something akin to that) seemed to run out in 2012, when he spent time in both Atlanta and AAA Gwinnett, definitely performing not-as-great as he once had been. He found a new home with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 in a minor league deal, but only appeared in 2 MLB games and went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 14 starts at AAA Norfolk. When he was picked up by the Tigers in July and made 7 starts with AAA Toledo, he was 1-4 with a 5.49 ERA.  Still unsigned to begin the 2014 season, we was the template for a star that shined brightly on the Major League stage, yet now couldn't even provide sparks at the AAA level.

All that aside, I've always admired Jurrjens, and I don't see any reason to change the way I feel. I'm certainly not disappointed, as Jurrjens enjoys a comfortable outing, 5IP (85 pitches, 53 for strikes), 5H, 1ER, 1BB, and 8K against the Clippers.

However, the Bats aren't really making an uproarious offensive statement in support of Jurrjens, and are behind the Clippers 1-0 until the 4th inning, where they finally get to starter RHP Travis Banwart (who was perfect through 3 innings) with 3 runs on 3 hits.

Many Reds fans are curious as to why Jurrjens is even around...well, judging from what I've seen tonight, they may have a reason to change their way of thinking a little bit. Perhaps some #GOML is due; I still think Jurrjens is really good at pitching baseballs - no reason to think otherwise. For now.

Jurrjens vs. Clippers C Roberto Perez

Bats SS Hernan Iribarren faces Banwart; I first saw Iribarren with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in June of 2012, then picked him in the Mystery Rookie Card game a month or so later.

In the bottom of the 5th, mayhem ensued when Bats 3B Chris Nelson reached on a single to 3rd that was a truly close play. Here, Clippers SS Justin Sellers, 2B Ryan Rohlinger and 1B Audy Ciriaco are discussing the call with rover ump Brad Myers, while Clippers Manager Chris Tremie is arguing with 1B ump Nick Lentz, who made the call.

...a few minutes later, Tremie is ejected by Lentz

Iribarren faces RHP Austin Adams in the 6th inning...Adams has pretty good stuff!!

For my pick in tonight's Mystery Rookie Card game, I'm a little stumped, as I don't have a clue who Chris Duffy is. Sure, this 2006 Allen & Ginter #258 looks awesome, but I wonder if Chris Duffy is...or was...just as awesome.
Well, yeah, he was awesome...for 39 games in 2005 with the Pirates, he had an OPS of .814 and an OPS+ of 115. That's pretty awesome. But that's only 39 games, in a season that was shortened by injuries...the staff of Baseball Prospectus surmised in 2005 that he would be "passed" by Nate McLouth (which, I suppose, he was) and in 2006 acknowledged that his "low walk rate and lack of power" were problems for him. When he won the Opening Day starter job (along with McLouth) in 2006, he slumped hard and was demoted to AAA, where he refused to report. Well, he did report after a month or so, and the Pirates actually brought him back to MLB later in the season...where he ended up slumping again, but not so bad. Starting in 2008, Duffy was still a guy with poor plate discipline who was letting his best years get behind him. We was granted free agency in late 2008, spent a year with the Brewers and a year with the Phillies, and hasn't played professional baseball since he was released in July of 2010.

So, my pick isn't looking awesome at all. When you see what my buddy Marty picked, there can be no question about who "won" today.
Yes, that's a 1986 Fleer Update #U-14. Darnit, I've been skunked again!!!!!!

And no chance of me being able to sucker Marty into a trade, either...

BONUS: Ever since the start of the 2013 season, every time I stop by the Slugger Monkey baseball card stand to pick up the Mystery Rookie packs, I'm always asked: "Anything else?" and I always respond: "Got any Jose Altuve?"

Well, we are in Kentucky, and Matt (the vendor) doesn't really know who Jose Altuve is. 10 games or so last year, every time, I come up blank when asking for Altuve. This season, it's been the same. Today, however, Matt asks me "Hey, aren't you the Jose Altuve guy?"

"Well, YES sir, I am!!"

Here's what Matt had for me...this 2012 Topps #187.
Granted, I already have this card. In fact, this card is hanging majestically in my cube at work. Jose Altuve is my spirit animal. However, I'm trying to prime the pump a little...I'm not the kind of collector who funnels hundreds of dollars a year buying packs and looking for "hits"...I'm an odd fellow with simple needs; I like the cards I like, and that's that. Sure, I'll buy a few packs here and there, but not many. So, in the interest of giving Matt some incentive to take more of my money from me down the road, I buy this for a dollar - and he lets me know he may have some more coming.

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

Official Program (featuring Tucker Barnhart) and Scorecard

Ticket (Neftali Soto)

Bat Chat and Gameday Stats

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

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