Skip to content

Down on the Farm – Jays MILB thoughts – September 10, 2011

September 11, 2011

Vancouver Canadians – With a chance to wrap up the Northwest League title, the Canadians fell just short on Saturday night, with 2B Jonathon Berti (2-4, RBI) grounding into a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th. Down 5-3 heading into the inning, one out had already been recorded before DH Balbino Fuenmayor doubled, giving the Canadians hope, in that one swing of the bat could end extend the game. Stephen McQuail came in to pinch hit for C Chris Schaeffer (2-3, HR, RBI, 2 R) who had given the Canadians an early lead with a 3rd inning solo home run and also accounted for the team’s third run. singling and coming around to score on a throwing error by Dirt Devils’ C Richard Pirkle. McQuail, very much an all or nothing hitter, walked, putting the game-tying run on. Like Fuenmayor (with Garrett Maines), McQuail was then lifted for a pinch runner in Andrew Burns. SS Shane Opitz (1-2, 2B, 2 BB, R, E) then continued to display the patience that he had developed as the season progressed, walking to fill the bases. It was his second walk of the game. But Dirt Devils RHP Nelson Gonzalez, not a true worm-burner, nonetheless coaxed a grounder to SS from Berti, culminating in a game saving 6-4-3 double play. The decisive Game 3 goes Sunday afternoon.

Lansing Lugnuts – As Earl Weaver so wisely said, “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.” After staying alive yesterday thanks only to a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run by 2B Matt Nuzzo overcoming a 3-2 deficit to win 4-3, RHP Marcus Walden (5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K) played the role of momentum in today’s decisive game 3 against the Dayton Dragons. Walden, who only joined the rotation in the second half of the season, after missing all of 2010 and pitching only 16.2 innings in 2009, displayed moxie if little else throughout most of this season. He struck out only 4.86 per 9, while limiting free passes to 2.5/9. He excelled at keeping the ball on the ground, generating 1.9 ground-outs per air out, while allowing a single, solitary home run in 100 innings, and that to the man who would eventually go on to lead the Midwest League in home runs – South Bend Silver Hawks 1B Yazy Arbelo. Nuzzo did his part in this game as well, as he drove home the Lugnuts’ second run of the game in the bottom of the 2nd on a ground ball single to RF. The Lugnuts would never relinquish that lead, adding a 3rd run in the 3rd, as LF Marcus Knecht (2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R) doubled home CF Jake Marisnick with two down. Knecht added more insurance to the Lansing cause in the 5th inning, with a long drive out to LF. That 4th Lugnut run had increased importance at that point, as the Dragons had scored two of their own in the top half of the inning, including the only extra base hit surrendered by Walden in the game. The Dragons did not go down easily, small balling their way to a 3rd in the top of the 7th. But between RHP Dayton Marze, RHP Daniel Webb (who I really feel is taking to pitching out of the bullpen) and RHP Danny Barnes, the Dragons’ batters produced nine outs in their final eight at bats in the game, and the Lugnuts went on to win the game 4-3, and the series two games to 1. The MWL semi-finals begin tomorrow, a best of three against the Fort Wayne Tin Caps of the San Diego Padres organization, a team including MWL Player of the Year, RF Rymer Liriano, as well as the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, 2B Cory Spengenberg. Game 2 and, if necessary, game 3 will be held in Lansing.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – With their best of five series against the Reading Phillies knotted at 1-1, the Fisher Cats sent young RHP Drew Hutchison (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K) to the mound today. Hutchison went on to provide another reason for a pundit like ESPN’s Keith Law to proclaim him as the Jays’ top pitching prospect assuming the RHP Henderson Alvarez loses eligibility by reaching 50 innings for Toronto before the season is out – he sat at 43.2 innings when he was lifted from today’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, so that seems a pretty sure bet. Hutchison was absolutely dominant against the R-Phillies, allowing only 3 baserunners across 6 innings, coaxing 8 ground ball outs and only 3 fly ball outs. His dominance was necessary, as Phillies RHP Austin Hyatt nearly matched him pitch for pitch, lasting 7 innings, also allowing only 3 baserunners, wile striking out 9 Fisher Cats. Unfortunately, 2 of those baserunners came back to back in the top of the 5th inning, as first Mike McDade and then Kevin Howard, singled. With only 1 out in the inning, LF Danny Perales hit a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to allow the lumbering McDade to tag and score the game’s only run. In the Fisher Cats’ two wins in this series, they outscored the R-Phillies by a combined 3-0. In the Phillies’ only win, the crushed the Fisher Cats by a score of 11-2. So although they have been outscored in the series 11-5, the Fisher Cats need only 1 won win in the next 2 games to advance to the Easter League finals. Game 4 is scheduled for tomorrow evening with RHP Yohan Pino on tap to make the start.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: