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Down on the Farm – Jays MILB Thoughts – September 14, 2011

September 15, 2011

Lansing Lugnuts – Sometimes, a Nuzzo is not enough. Improbable hot streaks don’t last forever, and the hero from the previous round begin the final round going 0-4, with 2 K’s. 3B Oliver Dominguez (3-4, K, SB, R) had another good game at the bottom of the Lugnuts’ lineup, but an offense with no production from the heart of the lineup – the law firm of Marisnick, Crouse and Knecht went a combined 1-10, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K – will have a hard time leading a team to victory. Even so, thanks to a strong start from LHP Sean Nolin (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K), the Lugnuts managed to stay in the match until the very end. He left the game with a 2-0 lead, with manufactured runs of support in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. Nolin was lifted after walking the leadoff batter in the top of the 6th. RHP Dustin Antolin took over and managed to escape the inning unscathed. Antolin was brought back out for the 7th inning, got one out and then surrendered a double and a single, leaving two in scoring position and only one out to be maintained by RHP Daniel Webb. Webb allowed the runner from 3rd to score on a sac fly, but limited the damage to 1 run and the Lugnuts still led 2-1 going into the 8th inning. Webb coaxed two routine grounders to start the next inning, but the second was thrown away by SS Peter Mooney. Up next was RF Oscar Tavares, mentioned as one of the River Bandits’ biggest threats in yesterday’s article. Webb, one of the Lugnuts’ more homer prone pitchers served up a meatball and the Lugnut lead was reversed as the man with the best batting average in the MWL (not enough OPA’s to qualify for the title) yanked a pitch out to right field. The Bandits would add another run before the 8th was out, but it was just icing on the cake at that point against a team that was struggling to sequence their offense. With their last chance to comeback in the bottom of the 9th, the Lugnuts got to tw outs quickly, before putting runners on 2nd and 3rd through a Dominguez single and Jonathan Jones double. Needing only a single to score both, Lansing manager Mike Redmond brought in Markus Brisker to pinch hit for Mooney. Although he strikes out often, Brisker is quite and put over 40% of his batted balls on the ground this year. But not this time. This time, he got under the pitch and flied a ball into the waiting glove of River Bandit CF Nicholas Longmire. The Lugnuts hope to avoid falling behind 2-0 in games tomorrow night, with LHP Justin Nicolino taking the mound for the home team.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Despite the game ending with relatively close score, game 2 of the EL finals was never seriously in doubt. The Fisher Cats took the lead with a 3-run 2nd and never looked back. The highlight of that sequence was a bases-loaded double by LF-CF Anthony Gose, who also stole 2 bases in the game and made a hugely critical defensive play late in the game to help seal the victory. RHP Nestor Molina kept things quiet until the 5th, when 3B Kevin Howard doubled home a rehabbing CF Colby Rasmus to give the F-Cats a 4-1 lead. After the game, it was announced that Rasmus had completed his rehab and will be returning to the Blue Jays. The Flying Squirrels tried to make things interesting by scoring a pair of runs in the top of the 7th, but New Hampshire responded with another 3-spot in the bottom half of the inning. It could have been more, but SS Jonathan Diaz, batting with one out and the bases loaded, grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the top of the 9th, the Flying Squirrels rallied again. this time with three consecutive singles to start the inning, which, combined with a bad throw by Gose on the middle safety, allowed the first two to score on the third. However, while the Squirrels pulled within two runs, Gose made up for his last play by throwing out baserunner Johnny Monell, trying to stretch his single to a double. Given a clean slate and needing only two outs, RHP Bobby Korecky got one and then gave up another single, allowing the potential tying run, in the person of CF Juan Perez, a solid prospect in his own right, to step to the plate. Perez hit a groundball to Howard at 3rd, who fired a strike across the diamond to 1B Mike McDade, ending the game, and knotting the series at one game a-piece. After an travel-related off-day tomorrow, the series resumes on Friday evening in Richmond, with RHP Yohan Pino scheduled to start for the Fisher Cats.

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