Monthly Archives: August 2012

Season on the Brink

“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance……YEAH!” – Dumb and Dumber

It doesn’t look good, friends.  The story is the same.  We need to win.  We need Pawtucket to lose.  And, now, we need it to happen every night.  We can withstand one slip-up, either direction, but no more.  Luna’s jumped ship.  Schwimer’s arm is sore.  Nope.  No good at all.

But, there’s four more games.  There are fireworks tonight.  There are wings at the PigStop.  DiPro and I will be tailgating before tomorrow’s game (come and join us, won’t you?  Look for the flags in the LSI lot.)  Many of my Top Ten Reasons still exist.  C’mon out and say “hello” and “good-bye” one more time!

Friday: Fireworks, Wings at the PigStop

Saturday: Tailgating, plus the Phanatic (memo to DiPro:  use your connections to invite the Phanatic to the tailgate.  That would be a riot.)

Sunday: Drawstring Backpack for the kiddos

Monday: Fan Appreciation Day.  Mr. Landes says “no” to my suggestion of free beer and free parking, but I hear there will be contests and games and perhaps a food discount (memo to self: wait until late in the game to eat.)

So, I’ll  see you at the park.  And, hey, I’ve still got a chance to win the Morning Call Triple Play with two more chances.

@Kram209

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Let’s Go

The IronPigs got a big win last night, over Scranton-Wilkes-Barre ace Ramon Oritz, to remain 1/2 game up in the International League wild card standings, and pull within six games of the IL North lead.

Derrick Mitchell launches a 3-run blast to propel the IronPigs to the lead in the bottom of the third. Photo courtesy Cheryl Pursell.

Yesterday was a long day for the Krammer.  It started at 8AM with a baseball game “Away” in a neighboring community for the older kiddo.  It progressed through four tournament soccer games in the afternoon, then on to the ‘Pigs game.  My young one was the starting goalkeeper for the first soccer game of the day.  Unfortunately–and despite his usually outstanding play–they fell behind 0-2 in the time-shortened tournament game.  They battled back, though, and won a well-earned 3-2 victory.  They don’t always win, but they didn’t give up and it paid off. 

I took time between the games to post a comment over on the excellent Bacon and Biscuits board:  I was fearful of last night’s game because I’m always nervous when the guys come home–that the bus ride will have them flat or that other distractions of life could get in the way of a win.  I was also concerned about the pitching matchup:  Scranton’s best starter–by record, experience, and ERA–versus one of our young, and largely untested guys.  Mario Hollands had one start for us Tuesday night as part of a doubleheader and has started 17 games this year across FOUR LEVELS of minor league baseball, but remains somewhat of an enigma.  He’s not been dominant, really, at any level.  He’s got a pitch–perhaps it’s a cutter–that he sometimes has some difficulty locating, and a reasonable fastball which touched 95 last night.

The 4-1 lead through 2 1/2 innings did little to calm my fears, but we had baserunners and the guys were playing hard.  Up steps DMitch with two on, and already one in, and my young goalkeeper says, “I don’t think we’re ever going to come back in this game.”  Really young Padawan?  What happened when you were down in your soccer game?  Isn’t Mitchell your favorite player since Rich Thompson left?  Yup.  Three-run dinger to left.  ‘Pigs take the lead, never to look back.

Juan Marillo got the win.  He touched 98 on the notoriously slow Coca Cola Park stadium gun, and froze several batters with his big hooking curve.  He’s a dynamic pitcher; stats show he sometimes struggles when asked to pitch more than one inning.  Control is the thing.  My friendly neighborhood usher, who frequents Reading games as well, points out that with him throwing gas like that, the backstop is always in danger of damage.  In short, he’s our new Aumont. But last night he did fine over two innings to earn the win–his first at AAA.

Morillo kicks and fires. And earns the win. Photo courtesy Cheryl Pursell

Today:

OF Nate Schierholtz will start a rehab today with the IronPigs.  Rumor has it, he will remain with us until the rosters expand September 1.  However, reports out of Philadelphia this morning suggest that his rehab may not begin until tomorrow.  Stay tuned to Twitter for the latest on today’s lineup.  The ‘Pigs send the so-far-excellent Jonathan Pettibone (4-0, 1.69) to the mound to face the Future-Frogs’ Justin Thomas (1-1, 3.58, only his sixth start in 33 AAA games this season) in a 1:35PM tilt.  Tomorrow’s a school day; that’s my assumption on the unique August Sunday start time.  Back to 5:35 next Sunday, with the Monday holiday following.

There Once was a Team from Pawtucket…

The PawSox won last night to remain a half game behind us in the wild card chase.  Talk at the bar last night quickly turned to the Boston Red Sox’ massive trade with the Dodgers.  Boston gutted their team to save on salary as money seems to be no problem for the Magic Johnson owned Dodgers.  How does this affect us?  Well, Boston’s going to have to replace those players who were traded.  Here’s a look at a couple of transactions impacting the Pawtucket roster over the past week:

8/25 SS Jose Iglesias, OF Che-Hsuan Lin, and RHP Junichi Tazawa from Pawtucket to Boston

8/25 INF Ivan DeJesus, Jr. in from Los Angeles, assigned to Pawtucket

8/22 3B Danny Valencia from Boston to Pawtucket

8/18 INF Mauro Gomez from Pawtucket to Boston

So, good or bad?  It remains to be seen.  Pawtucket loses a couple good players, but gets a couple back.  They remain in the midst of their 8-game far-southern road swing with two more in Charlotte followed by four in Gwinett.  They will then return to Pawtucket to face Scranton.  IL-record is the tie-breaker for the wild card, and we seem to be on the short end of that.  With IL games remaining, though, we could gain ground.  Aim remains the same:  Win.

The Big Screen

As much as I love Cheryl Pursell’s photography, I’m really a multimedia guy at heart.  So I flipped last night when I saw this; I must have watched it ten times.  I just love this video she put together using her photos, and I’m leading the charge to get it on the big screen when (not “if”) we host our first playoff game this season.  Enjoy, and spread the word.  Let’s go!

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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Reason Number One: People!

The final installment of my “Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Park in August” series comes to a close.  I hope we can be successful in our final push towards the playoffs. 

The Number One Reason to Come to the Park During This Final Home Stand:  People!

Likely you’ve made some friends at the park.  It’s the folks who sit in your section and your favorite usher and the guy who takes your $3 as you enter the lot.  Not to mention the bartenders and the other folks you meet at the game.  Some of these nice people you won’t see until April.  Perhaps they won’t be back next year.  C’mon out and say “hello” and “good-bye” one final time.  You’re going to miss them.  I know it.  Plus, there might be one or two more tailgate parties in the works.  Stay tuned for news on that.

Last Night:

The good guys lost a Cloyd game.  I’ve been counting on Tyler and John to be rock solid in those two spots in the rotation, but it wasn’t to be last night.  Cloyd did fine, of course, taking a no-hit bid through six, but a couple homers chased him.  A boot by Orr and a couple hits given up by Savery and we let one slip away. 

The IronPhils did well to win last night in extras, with a few of our old friends making contributions:  Mayberry, Kratz, Brownie, Franny–even Phillipe got into the act with a scoreless and wild-pitch-less frame.  A nifty move by Frandsen on a bunt, to avoid the tag of another old IronPig Miguel Cairo, was a highlight:

http://www.the700level.com/baseball-philadelphia-phillies/news/Video-The-Legend-of-Frandsen-Grows?blockID=762151&feedID=8510&qv=1#bp

Ahead:

One more game in Rochester tonight, then back home for the final 9 games in 10 days.  We might get a player or two back, as Ruiz and Scheirholtz are reportedly doing better, and could be activated sometime next week.  I can only speculate, but I would think maybe Kratz and Martinez would be the ones to come down.  I wouldn’t mind a pitcher, if they could spare Rosenberg.  Our friend Michael Schwimer is back, but is having some difficulty with his arm–so we’ll see how that works out.  We hope for him to be healthy, first, then worry about the rest.  More news on that, as it becomes available. 

See you at the park, tomorrow,

@Kram209

PS: Here’s the PigStop Menu:

Saturday, August 25th – London’s Burning…Cajun Grilled London Broil Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Muenster Cheese

 

Sunday, August 26th – The Sensation…A Spicy Buttermilk Battered Chicken Breast Sandwich with Fried Banana Peppers, Muenster Cheese & Salsa

 

Monday, August 27th – The Mac Down…A Cook to Order Mac & Cheese Bar with Assorted Sauces & Toppings

 

Wednesday, August 29th – North vs. South…Pulled Pork Sliders with Coleslaw on Slider Rolls

 

Thursday, August 30th – The Quandary Quesadilla…A Monstrous Quesadilla with Carne Asada or Cilantro Lime Chicken, Nacho Chips, Lettuce, Salsa, Sour Cream & Black Beans

 

Friday, August 31st – 50-cent Wing Night

 

Saturday, September 1st – Patty Melt on Marble Rye

 

Sunday, September 2nd – The All American…Grilled Meatloaf with Cheddar Jack Cheese, Bacon & Caramelized Sweet Onions all Served on a Onion Roll

 

Monday, September 3rdLabor Of Love…Pulled BBQ Chicken with Pepperjack Cheese Sauce & Coleslaw Sandwich

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IronPhils – Downtown Domonic Brown – making the best of it!

As we saw many times at Coca-Cola Park former IronPig Domonic Brown (now a member of the IronPhils) had one heck of game on Wednesday despite the Phils loss and a lost ball in the twilight. Brown made two great plays in RF and added his first home-run in the bigs this year and added a double.

Downtown Domonic Brown – Foorrrggeett Abooouutttt Ittt!

Click here for the Downtown Highlight Reel.

See Below for another great article by Todd Zolecki about Brown.

Downtown Dishing

Brown puts on show, but Phillies fall to Arroyo

Outfielder stars in field, homers as he auditions for next season

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com | 8/22/2012 11:19 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA — Domonic Brown found himself in the middle of almost everything Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies hope it is just a start.

Brown hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning and ripped a double in the eighth inning in a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He also made two impressive plays (and one not so impressive) in the field.

“I wasn’t even really thinking about it, really,” Brown said of his homer. “Just trying to do whatever I can do for the team. Just saw a ball up and hit it.”

Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo handled everybody else in the Phillies’ lineup rather easily, much to the chagrin of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Arroyo carried a perfect game into the fifth, when Brown hit his two-out solo home run to right field. Arroyo retired the next eight batters he faced after Brown’s blast, until Brown ripped a double off the right-center-field wall with one out in the eighth.

“I didn’t know a whole lot about him,” Arroyo said. “I just tried to throw a 0-0 sinker on the outer half [in the fifth]. I thought he would take it, and he hit it out of the park. I went soft away with the breaking ball [in the eighth], and he stayed back on it and hit that nice, too. I didn’t have a huge scouting report on the guy, and I hadn’t had any history with him. You’re kind of feeling your way through the game, and he beat me twice.”

It was an impressive showing from Arroyo, who allowed three hits and two runs in eight-plus innings. He was 0-6 with a 10.29 ERA in his last six regular-season starts against the Phillies. The Phillies did rally against Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen’s single forced Arroyo’s exit, and pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton hit a one-out RBI single, before Chapman ended the threat for his 31st save.

The Phillies are watching Brown closely the final few weeks of the season. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he believes Brown has the talent to be an everyday player in right field or left field, both offensively and defensively.

But Amaro and Manuel also are quick to point out that Brown is not a finished product. Brown has had some of the team’s most impressive at-bats since he started playing regularly this month. He also had not shown much power until Wednesday.

The Phillies said they believe the power will come.

“When you see him start hitting some balls out in front like he did, you’re going to see some power numbers,” Manuel said. “He swung the bat good. He was the guy in our lineup who swung the bat good.”

“I think they’re just throwing me more in,” said Brown, asked if he feels he is pulling the ball more. “I think they’re checking out the charts. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and I’ve got to make the adjustments just like they’re doing.”

Brown made a diving catch to end the third inning. He lost a ball in the twilight with one out in the third, which allowed Jay Bruce to reach third for a triple. Brown made up for it when Todd Frazier skied another ball into the air with runners on first and third and one out in the fourth inning. Not only did Brown catch the ball, but he threw a laser to home plate to get Bruce out at the plate and end the inning.

“I was just trying to make a play for Vance [Worley],” Brown said. “I already messed up a ball.”

The Reds scored two of their three runs in the fifth against Worley. Ryan Hanigan worked a walk and advanced to second on Arroyo’s sacrifice bunt. Hanigan scored on Drew Stubbs’ bloop single to right-center field to make it 1-0. Brandon Phillips followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second with two outs when Ryan Ludwick hit a ball to right-center to score Stubbs and make it 2-0.

They would be the only runs Worley would allow in six innings, his longest start since Aug. 1. Worley has pitched six or more innings just twice in his last six starts. He allowed eight hits, two runs, two walks and struck out three Wednesday.

“I did get to six today, didn’t I?” Worley said. “That felt good. It’s just part of the game, I guess. I kept the team in it, and they didn’t really hit the ball hard. So I can say that I did my job.”

Brown did his job, too. The Phillies are hoping that he will continue to grow in the remaining 38 games of the season, so that on Opening Day 2013 they will feel they have a guy ready to compete and produce on a daily basis. They will need it.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reason Number Two: Yankees

This is the latest installment from my “Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Park in August” Series.  I’m more gung-ho this season compared with years past.  Here’s why I think you should be, too:

Reason Number Two: Yankees

At the time of this writing, the IronPigs have 14 games left.  Eleven are at Coca-Cola Park (two are home games for the Yankees).  Five are with the Yankees.  Wins over our nomadic rivals from the north will go a long way towards the division and wildcard standings, as well as the tiebreak process should the PawSox continue to hang around. 

You may have noticed, I’ve already started referring to them as the “Trolley Frogs,” as there’s a very high probability that will be their moniker next season.  So, let’s get out there and SQUISH THOSE FROGS!

Last Night:

Is the game over yet?  The game seemed to last forever, as the IronPigs threw an awful lot of pitches.  The good guys were within a run several innings, twice with the bases loaded late in the game, but just couldn’t convert it.  The home plate umpire was wearing a camera on the top of his helmet for the first two innings or so–not SECTV or IronPigs related Mr. Schuler from the Morning Call tells me; however, I’m not sure we can blame it on him.  Perhaps the balk call was questionable, but balls and strikes seemed reasonable to me.  Phillipe Aumont wasn’t able to hit water from a boat and that did us in.  But hey, today’s another day!

And That Day Is:

It’s Fan Cave Giveaway Day today.  The prize pack seems a bit less extraordinary this year, but the idea is sound.  I’m not involved, but I hear there are going to be some wild entries.  Good luck to all who are participating; I look forward to watching the competitions on the field.  It’s also “football night,” so go ahead and throw on your jersey I guess–support your favorite team.  Plus, I think the Eagles and Patriots are on TV playing a practice game, so you can keep track of those teams on the flat screens about the park.  Jonathan Pettibone’s on the mound tonight; he’s been fun to watch since he came up from Reading.  I’m hopeful for good things tonight–and that includes the weather!

See you at the park–if a little late following baseball practice,

@Kram209

Note the camera on the home-plate umpire’s head. Photo by Kram209.

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Walk It Off!

With the ‘Pigs trailing 3-2 tonight in the seventh inning–our ace Tyler Cloyd having been knocked out–I leaned over to Matt and said, “I don’t know why, but I am very confident that we will win this game.” 

His Response?

“What?!?”

Let’s go back to Tuesday:

In a teen-league baseball game (I’m an assistant coach/statistician/agitator) Matt’s team was ahead 4-2 in the 4th inning of a game scheduled to go 7.  The bases were loaded for the other team, with no outs.  The batter hit a soft tapper to the pitcher, who threw home for the easy force.  The catcher (not Matt) stepped forward into the field of play and fired the ball towards first to get the batter.  Somehow, the first baseman missed the ball, and it rolled into right field.  Three runs came around to score, and next thing you know–we’re down 5-4.

Fast forward to tonight:

In the bottom of the eighth, with two outs, still down 3-2:  “Speedy” Pete Orr doubles to right.  Jake Fox then got hit by a pitch.  With runners at first and second, Jason Pridie hit a soft tapper in front of the plate.  Mud Hens starting pitcher Thad Weber fielded the ball and threw high to first, pulling the first baseman off the bag.  Pridie safe.  Speedy Petey came around to score.  Just like that it’s 3-3 and all the momentum shifts to the IronPigs.

Ninth inning: Aumont on to pitch.  He strikes out the first two, while the third batter hits a long drive to right caught by Susdorf up against the wall.  Bottom of the ninth:

Lefty reliever on. 

Mitchell pinch hits for Susdorf and strikes out.  1 out.

Suomi “the money” singles to center.

“Let’s Go” Blanco hit by a pitch.  First and second one out.

Kyle Hudson down 0-2, comes back to walk.  Bases loaded one out. Score tied at 3.

Infield in.  Outfield in. Cesar Hernandez to the plate.  Mud Hens manager to the mound.  Ryno with a word for Cesar.

TALL fly to left.  Fielder has a chance to get back, but NO chance to make a throw (unless his name’s Dave Parker). 

Pigs Fly!

baseball’s funny that way…

Epilogue:

Pigs win in walk-off fashion for the THIRTEENTH time this season.  We figured on the way home that we’ve been present for 12 of the 13, having left early on Blanco’s first walk-off homer.

Pawtucky lost tonight, with a Trolley Frog win, putting the IronPigs 4 games back in the IL North, but tied for the wild card.  Rochester, Columbus, and Norfolk can only await a collapse. 

‘Pigs player of the game?  I go Pridie, with two hits and the crucial game-tying RBI (could have been an error, but…).  Ramirez, Diekman and Aumont all with clean innings out of the ‘pen to give the team a chance.

Tomorrow:

Brummett to start.  He has a 1.06 ERA in four games started this year.  He will face off against lefty Adam Wilk, 5-11 with a 2.96 ERA.  It’s Domonic Brown jersey shirt day for the kids, and pre-game party for the IronHeads.  5:35PM first pitch.

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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Buffalo Recap; Pigstop Menu

Our ‘Pigs had to settle for a split up in Buffalo as they fell 4-2 this evening behind Scott Elarton.  I know he’s been atrocious some nights, but other times it seems that he’s just had the bad luck.  The other thing that’s getting him is two-out hits/runs.  It seems something changes (who knows if he relaxes or tightens up?) when there’s two outs, but good things seem to happen for the other team. Scott went 4.1 tonight allowing 6 hits and 3 runs with 3 BB and 5 K.  Morillo pitched 1.2 with only a walk, while Savery allowed the other run on two hits and a walk.  JC Ramirez finished with a clean inning.  “Let’s Go” Blanco hit a solo homer. 

But, we got that out of the way (I’m sorry Scott, but that’s the way I have to think of it at this point), and the ‘Pigs are headed home for four with Toledo.  The Mudhens are traveling from Syracuse where they won 6-2 tonight.  The ‘Hens are 8-2 over their last 10 headed into the “Battle of the Barnyard.”  They should not be taken lightly.  But then, “Say hello to my little Cloyd.” 

The future Trolley Frogs took down Pawtuckey again tonight to open up a three game lead in the IL North.  The baby scarlet sox are three games back, with only a one game margin on the IronPigs.  Columbus, Norfolk and Rochester continue to hang around a couple of games back of us. 

Here’s the Pig Stop Menu for the upcoming series:

Saturday, August 18th – The Polish Committee…Kielbasa, Pierogi & sauerkraut Sandwich with Spicy Mustard

Sunday, August 19th – Cuban Panini

Monday, August 20th – The Mac Down…A Cook to Order Mac & Cheese Bar with Assorted Sauces & Toppings

Tuesday, August 21st – Patty Melt on Marble Rye

 

See you at the park,

@Kram209

PS: Nothing fancy, but there’s a chance I’ll be cooking sausage sandwiches in the (LSI) parking lot tomorrow before the game…

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