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Down on the Farm – Jays MILB Thoughts – September 7, 2011

September 8, 2011

Vancouver Canadians – Game 3 was a thriller, as Vancouver got to the bottom of the 9th leading by2 and the Emeralds loaded the bases with 1 run already with 2 outs still to go and the heart of the order coming to bat. Canadians’ closer, RHP Drew Permison (2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K) was on the mound, but he had already pitched the 8th and was now facing his 9th batter in 2B Travis Whitmore. The average Permison appearance this year lasted under 3 batters faced. Whitmore whiffed, watching a called 3rd strike. With the Emeralds season on the line, C Matthew Colantonio stepped to the plate. This is the situation that all kids fantasize about. 2 down, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, glory on the line. Success, and your team moves into the league finals. Failure, and the season is over. Whatever else you might want to say about Permison, he is an extreme groundball pitcher getting 3.85 ground outs per air out for Vancouver this year, including 2 already in this elongated appearance. And here, for all the marbles, he got another, a groundball to SS Shane Opitz, who flipped the ball to the keystone, into the glove of 2B Jonathan Berti, who stepped on the bag, ending the game and putting the Canadians in the NWL Final.

As key as Permison’s performance obviously was, none of that could have happened if RHP Aaron Sanchez (4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K) was not simply pitching dirty in the game’s early stages, allowing the Canadians to jump to a 5-0 lead by the time he was through. He faced 19 batters and only 7 even managed to put the ball into play. He may have had the jitters early, walking the bases loaded in the 1st inning before getting a called 3rd strike to end the frame. But he calmed down retiring the next 11 batters he faced before walking one and giving up his first hit, a line drive 2B to LF in the bottom of 5th that led to his being lifted. RHP Philip Brua held the line then, but with Sanchez out of the game, the Emerals clawed their way back in, setting up the 9th inning drama recapped above. The NWL Finals, pitting the Canadians against the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Colorado Rockies organization, begins on Friday. The finals are a best of 3, with Tri-City hosting the first game and Vancouver the 2nd, and if necessary, the 3rd.

Lansing Lugnuts – The rain in Ohio washes away playoff games. Game 1 has been pushed back to tomorrow night.

Dunedin Blue Jays – After the shenanigans of Game 1, The Daytona Cubs came into this game knowing they could not give the D-Jays the same opportunity for hi-jinx. After a scoreless 1st inning, the Cubs notched one run a-piece in each of the next 2 innings and those would prove to be enough for the victory as the D-Jays’ bats could not muster more than a single, solitary tally against Cubs LHP Jeffry Antigua, who went 7 strong, keeping the D-Jays off the bases while relying on his defense to account for 20 of the 21 outs he recorded. The impotent bats negated a solid start from Dunedin RHP Ryan Tepera (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP). Tepera, a slight 23 year-old had a decent season for Dunedin, eating up 146.1 innings with a 4.43 ERA. That accounted for an additional 26.1 on top of what he managed in 2010 for Lansing. While his ERA was nearly half a run higher, his K-rate was practically unchanged from a year ago (5.9/9 then, 5.7/9 now), while he drastically cut into his walk rate (dropped from 3.3/9 to 2.3/9). Most of the change in his numbers comes from an enhanced hits allowed rate and a slight uptick in home runs allowed (0.5/9 to 0.8/9). His batting average against rose the most, from .251 against in Lansing, to .276 against in Dunedin. Most damning for Tepera are his sizable platoon splits, most evident in his K/BB rates. Against right-handed batters, Tepera had a 3.28 K/BB, while his pitching to left-handers was much more mundane, giving him a 1.7 K/BB. His statistical profile is similar enough to recent call up RHP Chad Beck‘s, but Beck also throws in the low-mid 90’s.Tepera has not received those reports.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – The same rain clouds that wiped away today’s scheduled playoff game for Lansing also set back New Hampshire’s playoff run by a day.

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