Friday, February 28, 2014

Plenty to Come...

I've been so busy of late that I have yet to get around to a blog about my drafting week, that is all in the works. Plus some more Winter Ball highlights of the MWWL Traverse City Tigers. For the Boys of Summer our top pick overall was by the Portland Microbrewers -- taking this guy below...

More to come, with full draft results & was my strategies were on the two drafts, plus how my experiences are with both of them was like.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Battling Back (Games 3-5 vs CAL)

Traverse City will try to reverse their luck, after losing the first two games to the Quakes in extras.

Game 3
Ray hits solo HR & collects 3 hits in 3rd game.

Top of the 1st -- Tigers' pitcher Luis Aquino walks the first two runners (Ozzie Smith &Willie Randolph). Darryl Strawberry grounds it to Rafael Ramirez, which he only had a play at first, runners advance. George Brett hits one deep to second, Ray goes home with it for a fielder's choice, and Smith scores! Runners on 1st & 3rd, one out. Bringing up Dale Murphy, who has been a pain in the butt for the Tigers this series with five hits. Murphy hits it hard to Molitor, Molitor looks at third, throws to second for the force, Randolph decides not to go for home, two outs now with runners on the corners. Pat Border gives the Quakes a bigger cushion by hitting a double over Jesse Barfield's head, two runners score, and Borders advances safely to third. Quakes lead 3-0.

Bottom of the 1st -- Johnny Ray wraps a solo shot around the left field foul pole to trim the lead to 3-1. The next batter, Paul Molitor, reaches first on a error by Willie Randolph. With 2 outs, Molitor steals second base. Joe Carter hits an infield single, putting runners on the corners, Tigers threatening. Bob Boone got a hold of this one, the ball is starting to drift -- foul! Nearly a three-run homer. Instead Boone delivers a RBI single that scores in Molitor, Carter holds second. Jesse Barfield ties it up with an RBI single, scoring in Carter. Esasky strikes out for final out, Neal Heaton needed that! The score is tied up 3-3.

Bottom of the 3rd -- One-out double by Joe Carter advances Dave Winfield to 3rd. Tigers take the lead 4-3, with a RBI single by Bob Boone, Carter moves to 3rd. Sac fly by Jesse Barfield adds to the lead 5-3.

Top of the 4th -- The Quakes rumble back with a one-out single by Ozzie Smith, Aquino issues his 5th walk of the game to Willie Randolph. Strawberry would shave into the Tigers' lead with an RBI single, scoring in Smith. A deep fly by George Brett, Barfield catches it, and the Quakes don't tag up.Murphy strikes out for final out. Tigers have the slight edge 5-4.

Bottom of the 4th -- Felix Fermin reaches first on a rare error by Ozzie Smith, Johnny Ray follows that with his 2nd hit of the game. Paul Molitor hits an RBI single to score in Fermin, Ray moves to third, one out. Dave Winfield knocks it out of the park on the new reliever Jeff Bittiger. Tigers lead 9-4!

Top of the 5th -- Quakes are threatening with two outs, bases loaded, Aquino walked his 6th & 7th batter, as Ozzie Smith reached first with a deep single to short. Tigers go to the pen for Scott Terry; Aquino also had allowed 6 hits, in 4 2/3 innings. Big K for Terry! Quakes come up empty.

The Tigers would add to their lead, and get contributions throughout the game as they combined for 17 hits. Johnny Ray, Dave Winfield & Joe Carter each had three hits, while Bob Boone had a big day, going 4-for-5 with 4 RBI.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 12, California 5


Legend Nolan Ryan takes the mound for the Quakes, while the Tigers send their young phenom Greg Maddux to the mound.

Bottom of the 3rd -- With two outs, Paul Molitor reaches first on a single. The Tigers hit & run as Johnny Ray sends it to the left-center gap, Molitor's wheels are rolling, as he makes it all the way home to put the first run on the score board. Tigers 1, Quakes 0

Bottom of the 4th -- Tim Raines gets his 6th HR of the season, a solid-contact solo shot to the stands in right. Tigers 2, Quakes 0

Nolan dials up the heat in pitchers' duel.
Top of the 6th -- Ozzie Smith is thrown out at 3rd, trying to stretch a triple, great throw from Raines to Ramirez for the relay... which pretty much killed the momentum in that inning for California.

Top of the 7th -- Tom Foley comes in to pinch-hit for Pat Borders, and draws a walk. Maddux will have to face the lefty Rick Leach. Leach singles to right, the Quakes are looking to shake things up. The Tigers decide to call it a day for Maddux after 6.2 innings, allowing 3 hits (but 3 walks), while striking out only two batters; Tigers will go with lefty Juan Agosto 5-4, with a 2.43 ERA --  to face off against the switch-hitting Terry Pendleton. Agosto fires it passed him, as Pendleton flails the air. Score remains 2-0.

Bottom of the 7th -- Nolan Ryan for the Quakes (only allowing four hits to this point) records strikeouts #7 & #8 as he keeps going strong.

Top of the 8th -- Tigers make a change for Brian Holton, after 2/3 innings for Agosto. Holton comes in with a 3-1 record, 2.48 ERA, he has plenty of holds this season for T.C.

Bottom of the 8th -- Paul Molitor gets on board with his 2nd hit, with two outs. Johnny Ray steps up to the plate & gets plunked. The Quakes decide to take Nolan Ryan out, who had a fine performance with 9 K's in 7 2/3 innings -- they call on Dan Pleasac to face Pete O'Brien. Quakes get out the brief jam.

Top of the 9th -- Doug Jones steps in with a 1.35 ERA, seven saves in his last seven opportunities, as Brian Holton pitched 2/3 of an inning. After two strikeouts to Darryl Strawberry & George Brett, Jones misses the outside corner & gives up a free pass to Dale Murphy. The Quakes call for a pinch-hitter, and call on Carlton Fisk to step in for Mark Parent. Fisk grounds it to the mound, Jones over to O'Brien, and that's the ballgame folks. Doug Jones record his 19th save.

Greg Maddux is starting to rack up the wins now, as he enters the break with 7, he had a slow start in that category with a lack of run support & just bad luck.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 2, California 0


Bob Knepper takes the mound for Traverse City, he comes in with an excellent record of 7-2 & a 1.95 ERA, and recently came off a stint on the D.L.; He will have to face off the surprising Jose Bautista with his 7-7 record, 2.93 ERA for the Quakes.

Top of the 2nd -- George Brett hits a double to right with one out, nearly hit that one into the stands. Glenn Braggs hits one, over & beyond 3B-Paul Molitors glove into left, Brett holds third and thinks wisely of not testing Jesse Barfield's arm. Terry Pendleton hits one to short, Ramirez throws it to first, Brett holds third, Braggs down to second, two away. Bringing up Dale Murphy, who had a great start to this series. The runners take their leads, the pitch from Knepper (breaking ball), Murphy hooks this down the left field line, it's fair, over his head, Barfield chases it down, the runners will score easily, Murphy puts on the after-burners & stretching it for a triple, and he's safe! Pettis would line out to second, but the Quakes strike first with 2-0 lead.

Bottom of the 2nd -- T.C.'s first hit of the game comes off a single to left by Dave Winfield to lead off the inning. Tigers couldn't do anything as Molitor pops up, and Bautista turns around for back-to-backs K's against Joe Carter & Jesse Barfield.

This theme would continue for another few innings, as Traverse can't get anything going.

Bottom of the 7th -- Pete O'Brien draws a lead off walk against Bautista. Tigers will pinch-run for O'Brien, going with Felix Fermin. Dave Winfield strikes out. Paul Molitor hits a deep single to second in which Randolph was unable to do anything with it, Fermin is at second. Bautista misses low, and issues only his 2nd walk of the game, a free ticket for Joe Carter & the bases are now loaded for Jesse Barfield. Tigers decide to bring in the better hitter in switch-hitting, but aching Mookie Wilson, trying to stir up some magic. Bautista fires it, down the middle, big strikout for Bautista, as Mookie heads back to the bench. It's up to Ron Hassey. The pitch, it's smacked to right, Fermin scores easily, Murphy has it fires it in to the diamond, Molitor is well round third, and he'll score, tied up 2-2. Carter holds at second, Hassey on first. The Quakes will go with Scott Garrelts. Garrelts gets the Quakes out of the mess by striking out Rafael Ramirez.

Top of the 8th -- Pinch-hitter Otis Nixon (for Gary Pettis) leads off with a Texas Leaguer to left, the base-stealing threat & go-ahead run is on first, with Bob Knepper still on the mound for the Tigers. Otis Nixon steals second. The batter Ozzie Smith squares & does his job by bunting down the first base line, Esasky will get Ozzie at first, as Nixon moves down to third. The Quakes pinch-hit for Randolph, right hander Pat Borders steps to the plate, the Tigers decide to give Eric King a chance to go righty vs. righty. Knepper pitched 7.1 innings, 5 hits & 2 runs allowed, while striking out 6. The Quakes counter the move with Rick Leach against Eric King. The pitch, and Otis Nixon is stealing home! High strike, Hassey places the tag & he's out! Oh, what a gamble! Leach sends this one to right-center, Carter is after it, Leach is digging, and he's safe at second with a double, oh what could have been if Nixon was still on third. The Tigers ask for the ball from King, and will have the lefty Ken Dayley face off against Darryl Strawberry. Strawberry laces one to right, Raines is up with it, Leach is coming home, the play at the plate, but Leach scores in standing, the Quakes have taken the lead! Strawberry steals second for his 14th steal of the season. Dayley strikes out Carlton Fisk for the final out of the inning. Quakes 3, Tigers 2
Brett sends a blast to center!

Top of the 9th -- Tigers keep Ken Dayley out there to face lefty George Brett, the pitch this one is going, it's over Carter's head in center & it's long gone! Now the T.C. manager is walking out to the mound, he will call on Jim Acker to face right-hander Glenn Braggs -- Acker enters with a generous 7.71 ERA & is likely playing for the one out. The pitch, and Braggs got a hold of this one, and it's daja vu for Carter as he watches this one go over the center field wall! Back-to-Back taters for the Quakes, 5-2! Tigers are giving the itchy John Candelaria a little relief work, and he strikes out the switch-hitting Terry Pendleton.The Tigers go to the pen & bring in their closer Doug Jones. Jones finishes the bleeding.

Bottom of the 9th -- Dan Pleasac comes in with 8 saves, text book pitching of recently with 6 consecutive saves in 6 save opportunities.

FINAL SCORE: California 5, Traverse City 2

The Quakes win the series 3-2, and it's manager Shawn Baier's first series loss since taking over the reigns.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reflecting Back

So I was on Facebook today, and my dad's old trophy was displayed on the APBA Facebook Group, the Dice part of it at least, the original one took a fate with as John Grabb (a league member) put it, a fate met with Mr. Gravity & it has been refurbished since -- I want to say the original had a batter in between the two dice on it.

I definitely have planned on doing a trophy for our Boys of Summer Online APBA Baseball League that I am running as Commissioner. I'm hoping to add dice to the mix when it comes to the trophy, with a sturdy center to it, with the year / owner & team name plated. Each year the winner of the BoS World Championship would hold on to the trophy until the next eventual winner. Each opening day that follows the World Championships of owners, they will be rewarded with a championship plaque.

It's safe to say, I will be looking around at the local trophy shops to get an idea of what I'm thinking about, the cool thing is that I am an artist, and can draw up these ideas as well.

But it was truly amazing to see this trophy displayed on the APBA Facebook Group, and go down Memories Lane, and my earliest APBA memories coming back to life. I mentioned that Robert Breher, Ed Coates & Jeff Laity are like uncles to me, they were always at the house -- John Grabb replied for the league "They were our founding fathers..."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quakes Shake It Up in Extras!


Top of 1st - Quakes' Ozzie Smith hits a single to left, Barfield boots the ball to the wall, Smith makes it all the way to third (a single & two bases on the error), King then walks Randolph. Darryl Strawberry steps up to the plate & strikes out. The Tigers decide to intentionally walk George Brett (batting .321) and face .178 hitter Dale Murphy. Murphy hits it over Joe Carter's head in right, Ozzie scores easily, Randolph is trying for home on Carter's arm & he's... out! Brett moves to 3rd (runners on 1st & 3rd). Pat Borders flies out to finish the inning, the Quakes could have added more, but they lead 1-0.

Bottom of 2nd - Molitor leads off with single & steals second base. Joe Carter singles in Molitor to tie the game up. Joe Carter steals second on Pat Border's arm. Rafael Ramirez hits an RBI single to score in Carter for the go ahead run. Tigers 2, Quakes 1

Top of 3rd - Ozzie leads off with a single. Eric King issues his 3rd walk of the game already, walking Willie Randolph once again. King loads up the bases, walking George Brett. One out, Dale Murphy laces a single to right, scoring in Smith to tie it up 2-2, Randolph holds, as the relay comes in to Pete O'Brien. Pat Borders smacks one to right, Randolph scores, Brett rounds third, the relay comes into O'Brien who cuts it off to second to catch Borders trying to stretch it to two, Murphy moves down to third. Quakes lead 4-2 after three innings.

Top of the 4th - The Tigers make a pitching change for Ken Dayley, Eric King was just out of sync, he walked 4, allowed 4 runs & 5 hits in only 3 innings (only 1 strikeout).

Plesac closes down T.C, stops streak.
Bottom of the 5th - Lead-off double by Tim Raines, Johnny Ray follows up with a double of his own to score in Raines. The Quakes would get the other batters to go down in order, as Tigers shave the Quakes lead down to a 4-3 lead.

Bottom of the 7th - Lead-off triple by Raines, Johnny Ray is unable to get him grounding out to second. Dave Stieb strikes out Pete O'Brien, can Dave Winfield get the tying run across the plate? RBI single as the ball gets past a diving Terry Pendleton, Raines scores easily.

Bottom of the 9th - Lead off single for Rafael Ramirez, which ends the night for Dave Stieb, who went 8 innings, striking out 4, while allowing 12 hits. Dan Pleasac comes in for the Quakes with a 2.95 ERA & 8 Saves.

Top of the 11th - still tied 4-4, Juan Agosto comes in to relieve Brian Holton after three innings of relief. Darryl Strawberry gets walked earlier, and moves to second on ground out. With one out, Dale Murphy hits an RBI double for his 3rd hit & 3rd RBI of the ballgame.

Dan Pleasac stays in the game & finishes off T.C., as California breaks up the Tigers' 10-game winning streak!

FINAL SCORE: California 5, Traverse City 4 (11 Innings)


Starting off as a pitcher's duel between Traverse City's Dave LaPoint & California's Jack Armstrong.

Bottom of the 6th - Two-out single for Pete O'Brien, with Dave Winfield coming up to the plate. The Tigers pinch-run Felix Fermin for Pete O'Brien. Winfield connects with classic hit & run, now runners are on the corner for Paul Molitor. Molitor delivers a single to right, Fermin scores, Winfield decides to not force it on a run to third, stays at second. Wild pitch by Jack Armstrong, who was pitching a dandy entering this inning, runners advance one base. Carter hits it up the middle, Armstrong settles his nerves & tosses the ball to first, side retired. Tigers lead 1-0.

Top of the 7th - George Brett gets walked by LaPoint. Glenn Braggs hit one to the wall in right, that could be trouble, but Carter picks it clean, Brett back to first. Pat Borders executes the hit & run, as the Quakes now have runners on the corners with one out. The Tigers decide to have the lefty LaPoint stay in the game to face Pendleton hitting from the right side. Big mistake, this ball is over Barfield's head in center, caroms off the bottom of the wall, Brett scores easily, Borders is going for home, he scores in standing up, Pendleton now goes for third, and he's safe. Score this as a two-run double, Quakes lead 2-1. Runner on 3rd, with only one out -- and the Tigers will go to the pen. LaPoint pitched 6.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run so far, with 2 K's & a walk. Tigers will go with Scott Terry. Dale Murphy hits it deep to Ramirez at short, Pendleton goes for home, Ramirez decides to go for lead runner, and Pendleton is safe! The Tigers would get out of the mess, but they are down 3-1 to the Quakes.

Great start to Series for Murphy.
Bottom of the 7th -- With 2 outs, Johnny Ray draws a free pass, which Rafael Ramirez smacks a single to left, Ray holds second. Armstrong then loses the count to Mookie Wilson, bases are now loaded for a visibly upset pitcher, with Nick Esasky stepping up. The struggling Esasky strikes out -- big K for Armstrong! Quakes still lead 3-1.

Top of the 8th - The Tigers elect to go to Jose Rijo for some relief work, as Terry sits down after 2/3 of an inning. One-out single for Darryl Strawberry, who then steals his 13th base of the season on Bob Boone's strong arm. Tigers get out situation.

Bottom of the 8th - The Quakes keep Armstrong out there, and he issues his 5th free pass to Dave Winfield. Paul Molitor executes the hit & run for his 3rd hit of the game, as Winfield makes it to third, no outs. Joe Carter appeared to have a walk, he tosses his bat down & makes a stride towards first, and the ump calls a strike -- he struck out, Carter gives the ump a disgusted look, as he walks back to the bench. Bob Boone steps up to the plate, strike, and Molitor is off and running, and he's safe (his 15th steal of the season). Boone flies to left, but no advancing runners. Jesse Barfield hits a ball sharply down the 3rd Base line, and Pendleton snags it, fires to first! Out! Tigers come up empty. Quakes still lead 3-1.

Top of the 9th -- Tigers opt to go with Brian Holton & his 2.67 ERA, they got what they wanted out of Rijo. The Quakes will pinch-hit Rick Leach for Pat Borders to counter the righty with his left-hand bat.

Bottom of the 9th - Jeff Bittinger comes in for the Quakes to close out the game, with a 2.25 ERA. Armstrong pitched 8 innings, 7 hits, 3 K's & 5 walks. Bittinger issues a two-out walk to Mookie Wilson, Wilson then steals second. Nick Esasky hits one to the left-center gap, Pettis' arm will not get Mookie as he scores, Esasky is on first. Dave Winfield hits a ball into the left corner, Strawberry is up with it, Esasky rounds third, coming to the plate & he's safe! Tie game at 3-3, winning run on 2nd.  Bob McClure comes in for relief  & intentionally walks Paul Molitor. Joe Carter flies out to right, end of the inning, but not before the Tigers knotted things up, another game going to extras between these two teams.

Top of the 10th - Otis Nixon pinch-hits for Willie Randolph. Nixon grounds out for the 2nd out. The Tigers elect to have Juan Agosto come in to face Darryl Strawberry. Agosto pulls the string. Ron Washington would come in the bottom of the 10th to field in Randolph's spot.

Top of 11th - George Brett is safe at first on a throw by Ray that pulls Esasky off the base to lead off the inning. Brett tries to steal second on his former Royal teammate's arm, and he's out! A bloop single over second baseman Ray's head, as Glenn Braggs gets himself a single. Carlos Martinez comes in to pinch-run for Braggs at first. The Quakes decide to test Boone's arm out again, and Martinez is out!

Bottom of the 11th - Rafael Ramirez leads off with single. Mookie squares, and moves the potential winning run to second. Scott Garrelts comes in to try to get the Quakes out of trouble. The Quakes intentionally walk Esasky to face the much more dangerous Dave Winfield. Garrelts gets Winfield to hit it to Washington, Washington shuffles the ball to second for one, Ozzie to first -- Double-play & Quakes are out of the inning!

Top of 12th - Agosto rakes up a strike out, but then walks Murphy. Quakes pinch-hit Glenn Wilson for Terry Pendleton. Wilson is on with a single, go-ahead run is on second, with one out. Ron Washington delivers a ball into the left-center gap, Winfield's throw is late, as the Quakes take the lead 4-3. Wilson at 2nd, Washington at first.

Bottom of the 12th - Strawberry moves to center, Glenn Wilson is in left, and a defensive upgrade with Tom Foley at second, Garrelts will try to lock this one up for the Quakes. Molitor leads off with his 4th hit of the ballgame, as the Quakes head to the bullpen & calls on Trevor Wilson. Molitor steals second for his 2nd steal of the game, as Joe Carter is up to the plate. Carter grounds out, and fails to advance the runner. Bob Boone strikes out, and it's all up to Jesse Barfield. Or is it? Tigers trying to stir up some magic, with Tim Raines coming up to the plate, Barfield has been 0-for-5 in this one. Raines grounds it deep to first & Brett hustles over, steps on the base & the Quakes win another one in extras!

FINAL SCORE: California 4, Traverse City 3 (12 Innings)

Friday, February 14, 2014

What's Going On?

No, no... I'm not going to start kicking into Marvin Gaye's classic song here, no one wants to hear my horrible voice trying to conjure up a sorry excuse of a singing voice.

Here is an update on what's been going on though...

  • The Traverse City Tigers get ready to play the California Quakes. The Tigers are currently on a 10 game-winning streak, and are 30-5 since I took them over. For Tiger fans we do know what 35-5 means, I never thought I would be in the neighborhood of a stretch like that. I'm just hoping to win the series, and enter the All-Star Break with great momentum.
  • My Boys of Summer Online APBA Baseball League kicks off it's inaugural draft tomorrow! The Portland Microbrewers (Brad Stark's team) has the #1 overall pick, we are all anxious to see who he takes, everyone has their theories, but we won't know until 9:30 am Eastern Time.
  • A week from tomorrow, I will have my first experience drafting in the Mid-West Baseball League (MWBL) Draft, anxious, nervous, excited -- all the things I like, can't wait until that as well. My team the Traverse City Crusaders are in the middle of a rebuilding project.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Still Rolling (Games #64 - 67)

Game 4

This one is a pitcher's duel through the first 5 innings between John Tuder (Janesville) and John Candelaria (Traverse City).

Bottom of the 5th -- Nick Esasky hits a two-out single to score Tim Raines. Johnny Ray is plunked by a pitch, runners on 1st & 3rd. Rafael Ramirez hits an RBI single to score Esasky from 2nd, runners on 1st & 2nd - 2 outs. The Nauts would get out of the inning, but not before the Tigers score two.

Top of the 7th -- With 2 outs, the Tigers go to the pen for Brian Holton. Candelaria allowed only one hit & no runs in 6 2/3 innings, with 5 K's.

Bottom of the 7th -- Jesse Barfield kicks off the inning with a solo blast to right off Tudor. Tigers lead 3-0.

Top of the 8th -- The Tigers counter with RP-Juan Agosto to the Juggernauts' pinch-hit move of Larry Sheets, Brian Holton pitches a scoreless 7th in relief.

Bottom of the 8th -- Joe Carter hits a two-out, two-run homer for some insurance runs. Janesville takes out John Tudor in favor of reliever Cecilio Guante.

Top of the 9th -- Doug Jones comes in for a non-save situation to give Agosto a rest, Lance Johnson is in as a defensive replacement for Raines; Raines had two singles & a steal. Jones walks Trammell, and that's followed up by a Rob Deer double, suddenly the Juggernauts are trying to get something going, maybe a little revenge for the night before. Deer's double was only the 2nd hit in the game for Janesville. Steve Buechele gets a hold on this one, and drives in both runners, the shutout is broken up, and we have back-to-back doubles by J'ville. Back-to-back fly-outs, as the Juggernauts are down to their final out, Danny Tartabull steps up to the plate. The pitch, and it's a pop-fly in foul territory, Ray calls off O'Brien and makes the final play of the game.

FINAL SCORE - Traverse City 5, Janesville 2

Game 5

Dave LaPoint vs Bob Welch -- LaPoint looks to reverse his fortunes as a Tiger after two lop-sided starts.

Bottom of the 1st -- Tigers pay for their aggressiveness, as Mookie Wilson (tagging up) is thrown out at third on a great throw by Danny Tartabull, inning-ending double play.

Bottom of the 2nd -- lead-off single by Dave Winfield, is followed up with a free pass to Joe Carter. RBI single by Jesse Barfield, as Winfield challenges Mickey Hatcher's weak arm. Runners on 1st & 2nd, no outs, Ron Hassey drills this one to short in the hole, diving stop by Trammell, flip to second for one, over to first double play! Juggernauts doing their best to keep this close, Carter moves to 3rd base. Rafael Ramirez flies to center for final out. Could have been a lot worse, Tigers lead 1-0.

Bottom of the 3rd -- Tom O'Malley getting a rare start (starting at 3rd, Molitor at 2nd to give Johnny Ray a day of rest), hits a lead-off single. Mookie sacrifices O'Malley over to 2nd. One, out Paul Molitor hits an RBI double for the Tigers. Pete O'Brien steps up to the plate, wild pitch Molitor advances to third. O'Brien hits a liner at Welch, which is caught -- two away. Dave Winfield comes up and hits a fly to center to end the inning. Tigers 2, Nauts 0

Bottom of the 4th -- Lead-off double by Joe Carter, Jesse Barfield advances Carter to 3rd on a fly that falls just short of the warning track. With one out, Ron Hassey got some serious wood on this one, but he must have got under it a bit as it dies out and lands in Mike Davis's glove, Carter tags up & scores.

Holton: One of league leaders in Holds.
Top of the 5th -- With one out, Ray Knight smokes one to center at Jesse Barfield, Barfield looks to have it in sight, but it's over his head... Knight would make it all the way to third on a triple. Chris Speier hits a deep grounder to Paul Molitor at second, Molitor looks Knight back, and goes to first for the second out. Speier didn't get the job done for the Juggernauts, as Dave LaPoint is one out away from getting out of this one. A hot smash by Mike Davis down the baseline at first, great dive by Pete O'Brien as he gets up & tags first, final out. Lots of noise, but no scoring as Tigers remain in the lead 3-0.

Top of the 6th -- The Juggernauts get back-to-back singles by Alan Trammell and Joel Skinner, a wild pitch by Dave LaPoint moves the runners up to 2nd & 3rd with no outs. Steve Buechele grounds out, but gets a runner across the plate, as Skinner advances to 3rd, one out. Bobby Bonilla hits a RBI double, as Skinner scores, trimming the Tigers lead now, down to a run. LaPoint for the most part was pitching a really good, effective game, the last inning he got out of trouble, and now the question is will he at least get out of this inning with a 3-2 lead? The answer will be no in a pitching stance, as the Tigers will send righty Scott Terry to try to get righty Mickey Hatcher out. Hatcher flies to center for the 2nd out. Danny Tartabull now steps up to the plate, hits one to shallow left, Ramirez chases it down for the third out. Tigers 3, Juggernauts 2

Top of the 7th -- Brian Holton comes in for Scott Terry, Terry worked the last 2/3 off last inning. Ray Knight hits a single to right, the Juggernauts pinch-run with Jim Walewander. Walewander tries to steal third, Hassey throws it over Molitor's head, Winfield comes over, Walewander goes for third, the throw.... and he's OUT! The aggressiveness does not pay off for the Nauts. Holton walks Speier with one out. Mike Davis hits into a fielder's choice, as they get the lead runner Speier out. A ball to Trammell, Davis is off & running, the throw, this time is on target & in time -- Hassey nails Davis at second -- still 3-2, Tigers.

Top of the 8th -- Steve Buechele hits two-out double, as Bobby Bonilla steps up to the plate. Tigers go to the pen for RP-Ken Dayley (the southpaw) to face Bonilla; Holton went 1 2/3, yielding two hits, he wasn't too sharp tonight... we'll see if T.C. can get out of this one, and get the ball to Doug Jones in the 9th. Bonilla flies to left for the final out of the inning.

Top of the 9th -- Doug Jones pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, to record his 16th save of the season.

Game 6

Luis Aquino, up for another spot start, as he faces off against Jeff Parrett, once again. Tigers currently lead the series 4-1, but it's been closer than the end result indicates. Those Juggernauts are pesky!

Top of the first -- Two-out RBI double for Bobby Bonilla, as Surhoff scores from second. Juggernauts lead 1-0.

Bottom of the first -- One-out single by Johnny Ray, which Pete O'Brien follows that up by burying into a pitch and sending the ball into the stands in right. Tigers 2, Juggernauts 1.

Top of the 2nd -- Larry Sheets hits a one-out single. Garry Templeton pops it up for the 2nd out. Jim Walewander laces a single to right to keep the inning alive with runners on 1st & 2nd. Alan Trammell steps up to the plate & hammers a pitch to left-center, Larry Sheets is rounding third, Dave Winfield decides to gun it for home, Sheets is safe, Walewander & Trammell advance a base -- Runners on 2nd & 3rd, two outs; Game tied 2-2. Lefty B.J. Surhoff steps up against rightie Aquino. Surhoff pulls it to right, the runners both score, Surhoff stretches it for second -- a Double! Two ribbies for B.J.! The Nauts take a 4-2 lead.

Janesville's Guante: Feeling a case of deja vu.
Bottom of the 3rd -- Single by Mookie Wilson, Sheets boots it, Mookie runs to second, score that as a single, as Wilson moves to 2nd on the error by Sheets. Johnny Ray grounds it to second & advances the runner to 3rd, one out. Pete O'Brien who hit a two-run homer up last time, takes the pitch & lines it to Parrett, two away. RBI single for Dave Winfield, as the ball scoots by Walewander at second. Tigers trim it to a 4-3, J'ville lead.

Top of the 7th -- The Juggernauts' Jim Walewander gets things going with a single & a steal. Alan Trammell steps up smacks the ball past a diving Molitor, as the ball goes into the left-field corner, Walewander scores & Trammell trucks into second with a RBI double. Juggernauts add to their lead 5-3.

Bottom of the 9th -- Lead-off single for Dave Winfield that drops into right, beyond Walewander's glove. Tigers pinch-run for Winfield with Lance Johnson, as Molitor steps up to the plate against reliever Cecilio Guante. Molitors execute a perfect hit & run, runners on 1st & 3rd, no outs. Do we have Deja vu, going on here? RBI single by Joe Carter, Johnson scores easily, as Molitor makes it all the way to third, he's the tying run. Bob Boone executes to hit & run, as Molitor ties it up, Carter moves to third, he's the winning run with no outs. Mitch Williams is called upon by Janesville, while Tim Raines steps up to the plate. Raines is walked, bases loaded, no outs. Rafael Ramirez steps up to the plate. The pitch, the ball skips past Garry Templeton's outstretched glove! It's over! Not again, can you believe these Tigers?!

Maddux starting to cruise in 1988 Winter League after sluggish start.

Game 7

Top of the first -- B.J. Surhoff scores from third on a fielding error that bounced off Paul Molitor's shoulder.
Juggernauts strike first, 1-0.

Bottom of the 1st -- Ramirez is walked, Raines hits into a force, as J'ville gets Ramirez out, but fails to double-up Raines. Raines is off with the pitch, O'Brien smacks it to Buckner, Buckner boots it, no play anywhere, runners on 1st & 2nd. Winfield pops out for second out, while Paul Molitor is walked by Clancy. Joe Carter smacks a single with bases loaded, two runs score, runners on 1st & 2nd, 2 outs. 2-1 Tigers lead, with Bob Boone stepping up to the plate. Boone ground out for final out of the inning.

Top of the 4th -- Danny Tartabull hits a solo HR over Barfield's head, to tie it 2-2.

Bottom of the 4th -- Lead-off walk to Bob Boone, Barfield hits a single to make it 1st & 2nd, no outs. Ground out by Johnny Ray to first, moves runners up one base. Rafael Ramirez is walked, loading up the bases for Tim Raines. Jim Clancy pitches a big strikeout, as Raines walks back to the dugout frustrated with himself. Pete O'Brien drills one to right, Rob Deer has his glove out, this one keeps carrying -- GRAND SLAM! 6-2 Tigers lead!

Bottom of the 5th -- Jim Clancy is taken out of the game for David Palmer, after a one-out single by Joe Carter. Palmer's first pitch, a two-run homer to Bob Boone. Tigers pad their lead, 8-2.

Top of the 7th -- The Juggernauts add a run on a sac fly by Jim Walewander (Templeton scores).

Bottom of the 7th -- Tigers add an RBI double by Jesse Barfield (Joe Carter scores). Tigers lead 9-3.

Complete game, victory for Greg Maddux.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 9, Janesville 3

A look at the A.L. West Standings
Traverse City               45-21          ---
Cedar Park                     39-26          5.5
Mexico City                    33-31           11
Detroit                            32-34           13
Janesville                       27-43           20

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tigers vs Pesky Nauts (Games #61 - #63)

Barfield hits go-ahead HR in Game 1.

Game 1

Traverse City calls up Luis Aquino for a cup-of-coffee start, to help the aching staff, while he faces off against the 3-3, 5.55 ERA record of Jeff Parrett.

Bottom of the 2nd -- No outs, Joe Carter reaches safely to second on a wild throw by Janesville's shortstop Garry Templeton. With two outs, Johnny Ray smacks a single into right-center gap & scores Carter, who ran through a red light... just safe under the tag, recorded as a single, as Ray advances to 2nd on the throw to home. Tigers 1, Juggernauts 0

Top of the 3rd -- Wit two outs, the Juggernauts record back-to-back singles by Alan Trammell and B.J. Surhoff, Trammell's single seemed to confuse Ramirez & Barfield as the ball drops in between the two players in center. Which opens up the opportunity for Danny Tartabull, who takes clear advantage of it with a two-out double, Janesville takes the lead 2-1. Aquino walks Bobby Bonilla. Bringing up Bill Buckner, who had a home run picked from him by Joe Carter in right, the last time up -- Buckner pops up for final out.

Bottom of the 4th -- The Tigers' Dave Winfield leads off with a single. Jesse Barfield with one out, hits one to left, the wind must have caught this one, because now it's carrying over the fence, what appeared to be a deep routine fly turns out to be a two-run HR, as Traverse City takes the lead, 3-2.

Top of the 5th -- lead-off walk to Bobby Bonilla, Bill Buckner would move him to 2nd on a successful sacrifice bunt -- Tigers get Buckner at first on good defensive play at first by Pete O'Brien tossing it to Johnny Ray from his knees to first. Aquino then walks the struggling Mike Davis. The Tigers go to the pen for lefty Ken Dayley (4.32 ERA in 15 appearances), he'll be looking for the double-play against Larry Sheets. Aquino goes 5 1/3, 2 ER's so far, on 6 hits & 3 walks. Sheets does the Tigers a favor by doing exactly that, hitting into a double-play. Score remains 3-2, T.C. leads.

Top of the 7th -- Templeton leads the inning off with a single off Dayley. Walewander squares to bunt, a weak bunt, Hassey pounces on it, guns it to 2nd for one, the throw to first, beautiful double-play! Winfield drops a routine fly to left by Trammell, Trammell makes it to second. But the Juggernauts couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, as T.C. gets out of the inning.

Bottom of the 7th -- Ron Hassey leads off with a single to the right field corner. Johnny Ray moves Hassey to second on a swinging bunt, one out. Tigers pinch-run for Hassey with Lance Johnson now running for him, he's got good wheels. Parrett still in for Janesville strikes out Rafael Ramirez, and then intentionally walks Mookie Wilson. But nothing comes of the inning as T.C. couldn't get in any insurance runs.

Top of the 8th -- Tigers now have Bob Boone behind the plate, as they keep Dayley in. With one out, Bobby Bonilla draws his 3rd free pass in the game. Johnny Ray boots the ball hit by Buckner, Bonilla moves to 3rd; Runners on 1st & 3rd with only one out. Tigers call on Juan Agosto, the southpaw, to face Mike Davis. The Juggernauts bring in righty Mickey Hatcher to counter Agosto. The Tigers get out of the inning with a double-play.

Top of the 9th -- Tigers call on their closer Doug Jones, Jones comes in with a stingy 1.01 ERA! Gets the lead-off man in pinch-hitter Steve Buechele to ground out to Ray. Strikes out Templeton for the second out. Jim Walewander keeps the Juggernauts' hopes alive with a single over Paul Molitor's head, with Trammell coming to the plate. Trammell makes Ramirez work on this one, but the Tigers get Tram by a step. Doug Jones gets his 15th save of the season.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 3, Janesville 2

Game 2

The Tigers will have Eric King (2-0, 2.13 ERA) face off against veteran righty Jim Clancy (4-6, 3.52 ERA).

Top of the 1st -- Two-out single by Danny Tartabull is followed by a single Bobby Bonilla, bad throw by Paul Molitor as the ball gets by Pete O'Brien -- Tartabull to 3rd, Bonilla to 2nd, J'ville is in business. A deep fly to right by Buckner, Carter reaches over his shoulder, falls to the ground with the catch. No score.

Bonilla is an on-base machine for Nauts.
Top of the 2nd -- Back-to-back hits by the Nauts, with a lead-off single by Mike Davis, Larry Sheets hits a double to put runners on 2nd & 3rd with no outs. Garry Templeton breaks his bat on a RBI single to right, Sheets holds at third, but Janesville is on the board as Davis scores (1-0). No outs, and Jim Walewander clears the bases with a two-run triple. Alan Trammell gets an RBI single, seventh hit by the Juggernauts, as Eric King just looks off today, the Tigers have the bullpen warming up. B.J. Surhoff hits a single, runners now on 1st & 2nd, and the Tigers' manager has seen enough. The Tigers go to Scott Terry, the right-hander, the last time he pitched, he pitched a no-hitter in Mexico City; he enters with a 2.31 ERA. Runners advance to 2nd & 3rd on ground out by Danny Tartabull. Bonilla hits a fly to right, Trammell scores on the sac fly, two outs, Surhoff stays on 2nd for Janesville. The Tigers finally get out of the inning, but have their work cut out for them, down 5-0 early.

Top of the 5th -- Tigers take Scott Terry out of the game on three innings of relief (no hits or runs allowed), they will try to preserve some arms, as they have Jim Acker log in his first innings of the 1988 season. A pair of singles by Danny Tartabull & Bobby Bonilla kicks off the inning. With two outs, Jim Acker throws a wild pitch with Larry Sheets at the plate, runners advance to 2nd & 3rd. The next pitch, Sheets hits this one to shallow center, Raines dives, it's off his chest, Raines comes up with the throw, but both runners will score. Acker would strikeout Templeton to end the inning, but not before the Juggernauts add two more for a huge cushion of a 7-0 lead.

Top of the 6th -- B.J. Surhoff  gets his 2nd hit of the game, a two-out single. Danny Tartabull hits a double to right as Surhoff scores on a close play at the plate. J'ville 8, T.C. 0.

Bottom of the 8th -- Mookie Wilson leads off with a triple off Jim Clancy. The very next play, Paul Molitor hits a deep foul ball to right, Mookie tags up & breaks up Clancy's shut-out.

Top of the 9th -- Tigers yank Jim Acker out of the game, who pitched 4 innings of mop-up work, while the Tigers call on Brian Holton. Holton walks the lead-off man in Bonilla, and then gives up back-to-back singles to Bill Buckner & Mike Davis (Davis has two hits in the game). RBI single for Larry Sheets, bases still loaded with no outs. Buckner scores on the force to second, runners on 1st & 3rd, one out. Another runner would score on a ball hit by Jim Walewander, Molitor could only get the force at 2nd, he couldn't get the ball out quick enough to set up the double-play. The Nauts add three more, 11-1.

Jim Clancy is taken out after 8 strong innings, 6 hits & 1 walk (1 run) allowed, with 2 K's. Todd Stottlemyre will get some work for Janesville. Joe Carter would hit a deep solo homer to left, but it's much too late as Janesville really took it to the Tigers today on 18 hits!

FINAL SCORE: Janesville 11, Traverse City 2

Game 3

Eric Show walks in with an excellent ERA of 2.15, while posting a 7-5 record -- as Maddux tries to get the Tigers back to their winning ways, with an even 4-4 record, as he has lowered his ERA down to 3.45.

Top of the 1st -- Alan Trammell leads off with a single that drops in front of Joe Carter in right. The ump then calls a balk on Maddux. Maddux sets, oh what's this? Another balk! Maddux can not believe this, Trammell moves down to 3rd. With one out, the Nauts' Danny Tartabull flies to deep left, foul territory, Trammell tests Jesse Barfield's stong arm in left, and he's doubled up at home, side retired! Trammell has to be cooled off by his manager, as he argues with the ump.

Top of the 2nd -- Bill Buckner hits a one-out double, Mike Davis moves him to 3rd on a single. Larry Sheets hits into what looks like an inning-ending double-play, but Sheets reaches first just in time -- Buckner scores, Johnny Ray just didn't come up with that ball quick enough. Janesville 1, Traverse 0

Bottom of the 2nd -- Lead-off homer to left by Joe Carter (his 12th)!

Boone: Walk-off hero in Game 3.
Top of the 7th -- What is turning out to be a pitcher's duel between Greg Maddux (T.C.) & Janesville's Eric Show, gets interesting as Danny Tartabull leads off with a double that drops between Lance Johnson & Joe Carter. Bobby Bonilla with no outs, hits a single to center, moving the runner to 3rd. RBI single by Mike Davis with one out, scoring in Tartabull, Bonilla moves to 3rd. Mike Davis tries to steal 2nd, but Hassey guns him down, Bonilla holds, 2 outs. Larry Sheets gets a hold of this one as it just clears the wall over Carter's head, a two-run homer! Janesville leads 4-1.

Top of the 8th -- Ken Dayley comes in for Maddux, who just didn't have his 'A' Game today, yielding 9 hits & 4 runs in seven innings.

Bottom of the 8th -- Cecilio Guante comes in for Eric Show; Show pitched seven solid innings of three-hit ball, allowing only one run (the solo HR to Carter in the 2nd).

Top of the 9th -- Scott Terry gives up a one-out double to Bobby Bonilla (Bonilla's 3rd hit of the game), Tigers make a change & call on Juan Agosto. Juggernauts go with Mickey Hatcher to pinch-hit for Buckner, as they pinch-run Chris Speier for Bonilla. Hatcher plucks a single to right, still one out, with runners on 1st & 3rd. Agosto walks Mike Davis, bases loaded for Larry Sheets. Agosto strikes out Sheets, and gets Templeton to end the inning with a fly out to Barfield. Janesville still leads 4-1

Bottom of the 9th -- Guante still out there for the Nauts, Hatcher stays at first, while Steve Buechele comes in as defensive replacement for Speier. Two-out single by Pete O'Brien, the Tigers bring in pinch-runner Felix Fermin. The Tigers will bring up Tim Raines to pinch-hit for Joe Carter, for the platoon-advantage against Guante. What a good move that was as Tim Raines sends this one over Mike Davis's head for a two-run homer, the Tigers are now down by only one run, but they are also down to their last out. That brings up Paul Molitor batting .320 for the season, he has 7 HR's for the season. Molitor hits a single to right, the tying run is on first -- The Tigers go to the big guy to come in off the bench for Jesse Barfield, the crowd is going nuts, prompting J'ville's manager to make a switch for reliever Mitch Williams, the lefty. A perfectly executed hit & run by Winfield, tying run at 3rd, winning run on 1st. The Tigers will go with righty Bob Boone to pinch-hit for lefty Ron Hassey. The pitch, this one is hit, it's off the center-field wall, Davis is up with the ball, Molitor scores easily, they are sending Winfield around for the winning run, the throw comes into the infield, the relay, and he's SAFE! A walk-off by Bob Boone, as Janesville blows this one. The Tigers' offense entered that inning flat.

FINAL SCORE - Traverse City 5, Janesville 4

Tigers record now stands at 41-21.

Shadow Shocked

Sorry, I saw my own shadow and decided six more days until blogging... or I could have used the other excuse that the Groundhog saw it's shadow, announcing six more weeks of winter, which made me too depressed to send out a post. Which by the way, the whole Groundhog Day is little silly don't ya think? Six more weeks of winter? My calendar says that anyways, plus I live in Northern Michigan, we get six months of winter normally, so there is no warm weather on it's way, at least outside is telling me that.

But the good news is that pitchers & catchers in MLB are reporting, so it tells my inner soul that regardless how the weather is outside, the warm weather is on it's way... slowly, but surely, on it's way.

Two new posts on their way on the Traverse City Tigers in the Mid-West Winter League, as we inch closer towards the All-Star Break in that league.
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