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Down on the Farm – Jays MILB Thoughts – September 13, 2011

September 14, 2011

Lansing Lugnuts – Soaking in the Virgin Mary shower allotted to a pennant-winning team with more than a handful of underaged players (remember – in the US, one needs to reach his/her 21st birthday to drink, the Lugnuts are now preparing for the first game of their final series against the Quad Cities River Bandits. LHP Sean Nolin takes the hill in Game 1.

Players to watch for in the River Bandits’ roster include LHP Anthony Ferrara, who eats a lot of innings and finished the regular season with a 3.03 ERA, but does not strike out a lot of batters, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who struck out 9.9/9 usually pitching deep into games. Among position players, the River Bandits have 2B Kolten Wong, drafted by Cardinals 22nd overall this past June, who went straight to Low A and hit .335 with a .175 ISO in 47 games (although he struggled a bit against lefties) and 19-year-old RF Oscar Taveras, maybe the best pure hitter in the MWL this year, who finished the year batting .386v with a 1.028 OPS.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Baseball is a funny game. Scratch that. A very funny game. Sometimes, you can give up 15 hits to the opposition and still come out on top. And some other times, that works for the first eight innings, but those extra hits hits allowed in the ninth turn the tables back around. While the Richmond Flying Squirrels spread their scoring around fairly evenly, scoring 10 runs across six different innings, seven of the Fisher Cats’ nine runs came in two innings. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 3rd, the Cats exploded for four, beginning with a single from a rehabbing Colby Rasmus (his first rehab game playing the field). One out later and four consecutive Fisher Cats walked, bring them to within one run. 3B Mark Sobolewski grounded out to tie the game at 3-3 and a single by SS Jonathan Diaz (3-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K, R, E) gave the Cats the lead. It was short-lived however, as Richmond responded with a 3-spot of their own at the top of the 4th and singles in the 5th and 7th. New Hampshire added solitary runs to their tally in the 5th and 6th. Entering the bottom of the 8th, they were trailing 8-6. Sobolewski singled to lead off and was lifted for a pinch runner, in Callix Crabbe. Diaz doubled to left to put the tying run in scoring position. Crabbe scored on a sac fly to RF by DH-for-the-day Anthony Gose. Rasmus struck out and then RF Moises Sierra crushed one out fo the park to CF. New Hampshire took the lead for the first time since the third inning, with only three outs to go for Richmond. Those three outs would prove very hard to come by. Like the quartet of RHPs before him, Chad Jenkins, Deck McGuire, B.J. LaMura and Wes Etheridge, RHP Bobby Korecky could not pitch without surrendering at least one run to the Flying Squirrels. With one out and a runner on 1B, a Korecky pitch was lifted by the Squirrels’ number-9 hitter, SS Skyler Stromsmoe (4-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, E) over the RF fence to give the lead back to his team. In 263 minor league games in 5 seasons across every level of the San Francisco Giants’ organization since being singed out of college as an undrafted free agent, Stromsmoe has hit only eight home runs. He picked a great time for his ninth. After the drama of the previous eight-and-a-half innings, the Cats could not muster another rally. With two down, Diaz singled, for his third hit of the game, an Anthony Gose grounder to the Squirrels’ first baseman ended the game with the the Fisher Cats losing at home, 10-9. Game two is back in Manchester tomorrow night with RHP Nestor Molina scheduled for the start for the home team.

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