Sunday, July 13, 2014

7/13/2014 Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 5, Louisville Bats 2

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 4 of 4

This game wasn't on my schedule, but as I had no Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs games this season and I had a couple of tickets to redeem, I chose this one because...well, it's the Iron Pigs!! Too bad it wasn't a Saturday, or I could have worn by Saturday Bacon cap...but Sunday was the only redemption date available for the Iron Pigs series.
And yes, that's Sean O'Sullivan, appearing in the game as a Pinch Hitter, against Ryan Dennick! It's the second time this season O'Sullivan has been used as a pinch hitter (the first time was in May, and he struck out). O'Sullivan walked in the 8th, but in the 6th (same spot in the order) former Diamondbacks and Angels farmhand RHP Barry Enright also made a pinch-hitting appearance, flying out to center field to end the inning.

Enright was released by the Phillies just a few days later. He was one of my early baseball player twitter follows.

The Iron Pigs had former Bats LHP Jeremy Horst starting today (Horst was traded by the Reds in early 2012 for Wilson Valdez, 2 years later he's nearly faded away, but not quite). Fun fact: jason Marquis was originally scheduled to start! The Bats struck early, with a leadoff double by Hernan Iribarren, and RBI triple by Thomas Neal, and an RBI groudount by Felix Perez.  Mysteriously, Horst only lasted 3 innings, and was replaced by Ethan Martin. For the Bats, David Holmberg started and quite unexpectedly went 5 excellent innings, only allowing one earned run, and left the game with Louisville enjoying a slight lead of 2-1.

Enter Pedro VillaERAreal, who quite expectedly allowed 3 ER in 1.1 innings to give the Iron Pigs a lead that the Bats couldn't reverse. LHP Ryan Dennick gave up one more run in the top of the 9th, courtesy of a SAC fly RBI by Darin Ruf (his 2nd RBI of the game), but the Bats went in order against RHP Luis Garcia in the bottom of the 9th and lost the game with a whimper.

I went solo today, so I got to hang out with our pal Jimmy, who sits in the row in front of us. I'm squinting because THE SUN that's why.
Jimmy and I usually chat on and off during games, but this is the first time since I've been coming here, in these seats, that I've had the opportunity to converse with Jimmy alone. He's one of my favorite people to talk baseball with...Jimmy's understanding of the game and the players who come through these parts is incredible. He should be a scout!!

RHP Ethan Martin faces switch hitting SS Rey Navarro in the 4th inning. Martin is listed as #7 among the Phillies' top 10 prospects.

Navarro flies out to LF Darin Ruf

Martin vs. RF Steve Selsky in the 4th. Selsky is a relative newcomer to the Louisville squad, who is hitting .298/.431/.383 in 19 games.

Louisville LHP David Holmberg, holding his own for now but at the age of 22 he still needs some seasoning, facing Darin Ruf in the 5th inning.

Prior to Ruf's AB, Lehigh Valley 2B Tyler Henson walked and is being held at 1B by Bryan Anderson.

Holmberg's pick-off throw to Anderson...Henson beats it.

Ryan Dennick faces Iron Pigs 3B Russ Canzler in the 9th; again Tyler Henson is at first. Canzler is another International League stalwart who'm I've seen plenty over the years and often with a different team each time (Durham 2001, Columbus 2012, Norfolk and Indianapolis 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Lehigh Valley 2014). Canzler hits a chopper to Navarro...

Navarro fields the ball...

...makes the toss to 2B Hernan Iribarren...

...who fields it to Anderson, a 6-4-3 inning ending twin killing!!

SCOREKEEPER'S NOTE: This is one of those games where 3 slots for each player in the batting order just isn't enough. With the Iron Pigs pinch-hitting in the #6 spot twice by the top of the 8th inning, another substitution was made in the bottom of the 8th. So where does that 4th man go?
If you are using my customized scoresheets, then you've noticed by now that there are two "open slots" underneath the slots allocated for the #9 batter. They are seldom used, and often under-appreciated, but this is a situation where you can show them some love.  As Nate Spears comes into the game, playing 2B, and in O'Sullivan's spot in the batting order, just enter that info into the first of those 2 open slots, and jot down the batting order number to the left:
Life is good!!!

My Mystery Rookie Card pick was this 2004 Topps Matt Bush #T71. Bush was the 1st overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Padres, out of Mission Bay HS in San Diego.  
The Padres had been infamous for picking "busted" shortstops in the first round, and in 2006 Baseball Prospectus projected that Bush (who was also a pitcher) would continue the tradition. Bush spent most of his early years beset by injuries (including Tommy John surgery in 2008), and developed a bad reputation as a heavy drinker, bar fighter, and the subject of many assault incidents. He was DFA'd in early 2009, and picked up by the Blue Jays in February of that year, who notoriously installed a "zero tolerance" policy for his behavior...a policy that took Bush only just over a month to violate, as the Blue Jays released him on March 30th after he threw a baseball at a woman's head during an altercation. The Tampa Bay Rays signed him to a Minor League deal in 2010, but the injuries again became a problem and eventually Bush's behavior would seal his fate. In March of 2012, Bush ran over and nearly killed a 72-year old man in Port Charlotte, FL (while driving Brandon Guyer's car!) and faced multiple DUI and felony injury charges, for which he would receive a 4-year prison sentence. He'll be released in the summer of 2016. It will be difficult for anyone to top Matt Bush's claim to fame as the Biggest 1st-Round Bust in Baseball History.

Well, that was depressing...but HEY!! I picked up a few more Astros cards!!!

2013 Bowman Chrome George Springer #TP-20, 2013 Bowman Platinum #BPP38 (same pic, still #sexy), and this stellar 2014 Topps Jose Altuve #210, numbered 50 out of 63!

2014 Topps Jarred Cosart #89, this FINE looking 2012 Bowman Sterling Jon Singleton AUTO #BSAP-JS, and 2013 Bowman Platinum Jon Singleton #BPCP24 round out today's hauls!

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

My actual game ticket...

...and this is the Ticket that I swapped, featuring Josh Fellhauer, a fan favorite here last year who only appeared in 9 games in Louisville this season, was demoted to AA Pensacola early on, and is currently with the Milwaukee Brewers system in AA Huntsville.

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!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7/8/2014 Toledo Mud Hens 3, Louisville Bats 4

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 3 of 4

STOP THE PRESSES! Today, for the first time this season, I can record a legitimate WIN in the Mystery Rookie Card game...hands down!
Not only that, but this could be the biggest WIN of all, since I started the game a few seasons ago!

One thing I'm seeing here this season that I haven't seen for a while is really good pitching. Tonight's originally scheduled starter was Tim Crabbe, but as Crabbe went on the DL yesterday, recent call-up Mikey O'Brien was pencilled in to start for the Bats against Derek Hankins...both pitchers I had never known of before tonight.
Tonight is 24-year-old O'Brien's AAA debut; he started the season in Pensacola, appearing in 17 games (9 of them starts) and owning a 3-3 record with a 3.86 ERA. He then was demoted to Bakersfield, for unknown reasons, and was 1-0 with a 6.23 ERA in 3 starts there. Cincinnati picked up O'Brien in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft from the Yankees.

Toldeo's starter Derek Hankins is another story; he's just turned 30 and has spent time in the Pirates and Rangers organizations since 2004, prior to signing with the Tigers in 2013 (when he also spent some time with the mighty Doosan Bears of the KBO). Hankins, who hails from Effingham, IL, was pretty good with the Mud Hens last season (4-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 14 starts) but has seen his line slip a little this season, entering the game with a 4-9 record and a 5.93 ERA.

Fact of the matter is, both starters were excellent; both going at least 6IP and neither one allowing more than 2 runs. Neither pitcher was handed a decision tonight, as that trophy went to the bullpen. The damage to either team was minimal, but the game's outcome was decided during the 7th that saw the Mud Hens in the lead by 1 at the middle, and was met with a response by the Bats with 2 more runs scored. Neftali Soto's sac fly in that inning, against LHP Mike Belfiore in relief, ended up being the game-winning RBI.

SCOREKEEPER'S NOTE: While we're on the subject of the 7th inning, the first batter O'Brien faced was the legendary Mike Hessman, who reached on a throwing error by Soto. Later in the game, the Official Scorer reversed the call and ruled it a hit, but I was not about to change the ruling on my scoresheet.

I also got a second look at Donald Lutz this evening  Bloodied, yet unbowed, by his lack of #sparkle on June 14th I am hoping to see some #shine tonight...especially since Lutz has an 8-game hitting streak going on. Here, Lutz is facing Hankins.
Tonight, Lutz did see some action in left field, but ended his hitting streak at 8 games, with a sac fly RBI to his credit.

SCOREKEEPING PRO TIP: Of course, I'm trusting that all of you are always being sure that you're wearing sunscreen. That being said, when it's miserably HOT (as it was tonight), the sweat and sunscreen can add some misery to your scoresheet. We all know that sweat, sunscreen, and a little bit of rosin helps a pitcher with the grip on their ball; it's also true that sweat + sunscreen + paper = a medium that isn't fair to the application of graphite on paper (or ink, for that matter, if that's how YOU roll).
Everyone should have a small hand towel or dry washcloth in their Scorekeeper's Utility Belt. I can't handle life without mine, as it's great to keep the sweat out of your eyes and even rest your sweaty, sunscreeny hands on and protect your scoresheets. It works!

Chihiro and I are all smiles this evening!! Go Tuesday Baseball! That means $1 Hot Dogs!!

The lede for this post proclaimed my joy in finally "winning" the Mystery Rookie Card game today. Where I was nearly despondent when my pal Marty pulled a Barry Bonds RC a month ago, this is my day to celebrate the same, victoriously.
There isn't a card in the 1986 Donruss set that looks quite this amazing. Regardless of what it's "worth," it's a keeper, and also a badge of sorts. I'll keep this card in my scoring clipboard for the rest of the season.

Chihiro's pick sported a familiar face on this 2006 Topps #230...yes, I remember that guy! It's Tim Corcoran!
Tim had a really good outing with the Gwinnett Braves when I saw him here early last season. He was a 44th round draft pick by the Mets in 1996, yet didn't make his MLB debut until 9 years later, as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray, and pitching for his 3rd organization. He only appeared in 40 games with the Rays from 2005-2007 (17 of them starts), and never appeared in an MLB game afterwards. He signed with the Florida Marlins later that year, then with the Dodgers (twice) in 2009, and again in 2012. He played in 16 games with the Delfines de Cuidad del Carmen of the Mexican League in 2012, and found himself in the Braves organization in 2013 at the age of 35 and isn't active this season.

BONUS CARDS: Sure, my wallet is hurting, but certainly not my pride. Bottom line, Matt (who runs the Slugger Monkey kiosk at LSF) is keeping to his word on my requests for Jose Altuve cards, and had quite a stack for me tonight. I couldn't pick them all up, but here's what I was able to take home with me:

The 2013 Bowman Chrome Jose Altuve Refractor #194 is numbered 60 out of 250. The 2014 Topps Heritage #28 is simply darling. The 2013 Topps #35 Refractor is also darling.

Here's a 2011 Bowman #11; the 2013 Bowman #108 is numbered 4 out of 500. Sweet!!

Last time I was at LSF, I challenged Matt to find some other Astros hits for me. Here are two Carlos Correa cards, what a stud!! 2013 Topps (Pro Debut) #4 and 2013 Bowman #BP100.

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 (featuring Corky Miller, this season he broke the record previously held by Bill Lyons for most games played for the Louisville franchise)

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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