Monday, March 31, 2014

BoS's WEEK 3 Award Winners

"Doing the Locomotion"

The Urbana Locomotives are off & running, getting contributions from everywhere. Last week's winner Garrett Jones, early on looked as if he wanted to repeat the feat, but cooled off at the end of the week. Adrian Beltre had a great week, batting .368 in 19 AB's, while delivering 3 HR's, 6 RBI, with 7 runs; Beltre's teammate Aaron Hill put together a really nice week with 7 hits as well (.304), with a Grand Slam that counted for 4 of his 7 RBI, plus 3 runs scored.

All was great as Urbana rolled to a 5-1 series victory over the Sacramento 66'ers, and a league-best (blank) record! It was too difficult to ignore their leader & early Cy Young favorite David Price who is now 4-0, 1.38 ERA & 41 strikeouts (leading in all 3 of the pitching Triple Crown categories), opponents are only batting .143 against him! Which makes Price, the first player in the league to win one of the weekly awards twice -- Price, is once again, our N.L. Pitcher of the Week, just edging King Road's Chris Sale.

Both had stellar week's...
  • David Price (URB): 2 W's (1 SHO), 16.2 IP, 19 K's with 2 ER, 3 BB's & 5 hits allowed. He also posted a 1.08 ERA & 0.480 WHIP for the week.
  • Chris Sale (KING): 2 W's (1 SHO), 16.2 IP, 14 K's with 2 ER, 1 BB & 7 hits allowed. He duplicated with a 1.08 ERA & 0.480 WHIP for the week.
Price's 5 extra K's & the fact he's leading the league in most pitching categories gives him the edge.

While the Portland Microbrewers' pitching held the Traverse City Panthers' offense to no runs for a consecutive 37 innings during the week, including a one-hitter. It was one of their sluggers that gets the
N.L. Player of the Week Award, in Todd Frazier. Frazier batted .467 (7-for-15), 2 HR's, 8 RBI & 4 runs, he is currently leading the league with a .692 slugging pct, while placing 3rd with a 1.027 OPS.

Some attention needs to be pointed out to the King Road Kings' Darwin Barney, currently leading the N.L. with a .404 batting average, each week he has been in the hunt for Player of the Week & has been consistent the first three weeks. He actually cooled off this week, batting .333 (6-for-18), oh darn! Someone needs to cut that guy!

N.L. Honorable Mentions:
  • 3B-Adrian Beltre (URB) - .368 (7-for-19), 3 HR's, 6 RBI & 7 runs.
  • OF- Andrew McCutchen (SAC) - .346 (9-for-26), HR, 2 RBI & 3 runs.
  • 2B-Aaron Hill (URB) - .304 (7-for-23), Grand Slam, 7 RBI & 3 runs.
  • OF-Nick Markakis (URB) - .304 (7-for-23), HR, 2 RBI & 3 runs.
  • SP-Jonathan Niese (POR) - W, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K & BB (Improving record to 2-1, 0.87 ERA!).
  • SP-Miguel Gonzalez (KING) - Recorded 2nd shutout (tied with Price), two-hitter w/7 K's & 3 BB's.
  • SP-Jason Vargas (SEA) - 1-1 for the week, 4 ER's, 4 BB's & 11 hits allowed in 16 IP (2.25 ERA), with 10 K & 4 BB's.
  • OF-Curtis Granderson (KING) - Only had 3 hits, but they all were HR's that contributed to 8 RBI.

"Buffalo Soldier"

Plenty of nominations for this week's awards. Carolina's starting pitching always seems to be in the hunt, though Justin Verlander falls short for this week's honorable mention even, with his 8 inning, 2 ER's & 7 hits allowed performance of 9 strikeouts, it should be noted that Verlander (2-2) has now racked up 34 K's in only 4 starts, with a 1.06 ERA. There seems to be a lot of great pitching going on actually, so good that J.V. has been left out.

C.C. Sabathia (Week 1's winner, Bronx) stacked up 22 K's in two losses, he misses out as well.

The competition was tough among the hitters as well, but in the end the choice for A.L. Player of the Week ended up going to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera's average was not the highest among the candidates (.333, 9-for-27), but his 3 HR's, 7 RBI & 6 runs, which helped the Buffalo Yankees come up with a split with Washington.

The Fairgrove Tigers had a couple guys that gave it a good run with Adam Jones & David Freese.

Despite the fact that he recorded two no-decisions in his two outings this week, his effort & performance was too difficult to ignore; This week's A.L. Pitcher of the Week goes to Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Nine. Samardzija pitched 14.2 innings, while striking out 20, allowing only 8 hits, 5 BB's & 2 ER's in the process -- 1.23 ERA & 0.886 WHIP.

A.L. Honorable Mention:
  • SP-Jered Weaver (CAR) - Two-hit shutout victory, 7 K's & 4 BB's (lowering ERA to 2.96).
  • RP-Fernando Rodney (S.S.) - 3 Saves, 6 K's & 0 BB's in 3 IP.
  • SP-Ryan Vogelsong (FAIR) - 14 IP, 2 ER, 9 K & 5 BB (1.29 ERA)
  • SP-Jake Peavy (S.S.) - 8 IP, 3 H, no ER, 1 run allowed -- 10 K's/2 BB's (lowers ERA to 2.43).
  • OF-Adam Jones (FAIR) - .440 AVG (11-for-25), HR, 4 RBI & 4 runs, 2 SB's.
  • 3B-David Freese (FAIR) - .346 AVG (9-for-26), HR, 6 RBI & 2 runs.
  • SP-Jordan Zimmerman (BUF) - 9 IP, 2 H, 9 K's & 1 BB in no-decision.
  • SS-Ian Desmond (WAS) - .458 AVG (11-for-24), HR, 7 RBI, 4 runs.
  • SP-R.A. Dickey (BOS) - W, 15 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 18 K's & 5 BB's -- 1.80 ERA for the week.
  • SS-Alexei Ramirez (BOS) - .444 (8-for-18), HR, 4 RBI & 5 runs.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 MLB Predictions at a Glance

Can Bryce Harper get the Nats back in the right direction?

A More in-depth analysis of my predictions, will be out early this upcoming week. Here is my picks, and playoff predictions.

1.     BOSTON
2.     NEW YORK (A)
3.     TAMPA BAY
5.     TORONTO

1.     DETROIT
5.     CHICAGO (A)

1.     OAKLAND
2.     TEXAS
3.     SEATTLE
4.     LOS ANGELES (A)
5.     HOUSTON

2.     ATLANTA
3.     NEW YORK (N)
4.     MIAMI

1.     ST.LOUIS
5.     CHICAGO (N)

1.     LOS ANGELES (N)
3.     SAN DIEGO
4.     ARIZONA

A.L. Wild-Card Game @ NY

N.L. Wild-Card Game @ PIT

BOSTON over NEW YORK (A)     3-2
OAKLAND over DETROIT     3-2



LOS ANGELES (N) over St. LOUIS, 4-2


(Even though my gut feeling wants to pick Oakland over St.Louis, 4-3)

A.L. MVP - Miguel Cabrera (DET)
A.L. Cy Young Award- Justin Verlander (DET)
A.L. Rookie of the Year - Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
A.L. Manager of the Year - Bob Melvin (OAK)

N.L. MVP - Hanley Ramirez (LAD)
N.L. Cy Young Award- Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
N.L. Rookie of the Year - Oscar Taveras (STL)
N.L. Manager of the Year - Mike Matheny (STL)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

BoS's WEEK 2 Award Winners

"Jonesin' in Urbana"

For Player of the Week, one player made it a easy choice -- Garrett Jones of the Urbana Locomotives, just tore the leather off the ball, setting a single-game BoS Record of 9 RBI's in a single-game, while collecting 5 hits (tied for 2nd most) & knocking out 3 HR's in the same game (one of them, being a Grand Slam). He batted .476 against the Hannibal Cavemen (10-for-21) in the series, a total of 4 HR's, 11 RBI, 7 runs with a 1.095 slugging percentage & 1.595 OPS! Up to this point, there has been no other amazing display of power on this level. Jones is our National League Player of the Week.

His 3 HR's in a game, also ties a league-record (Chris Johnson, the previous week).

Lots of great starting pitching in the National League, that's why we had to go with a reliever that stuck out, for the N.L. Pitcher of the Week, and that honor goes to Glen Perkins of the Portland Microbrewers. Perkins collected 4 saves in their series 5-0 sweep of the Seattle Rainiers. Perkins also had 5 K's, while allowing no walks, runs & 2 hits in 3.2 innings (0.545 WHIP). Two of his teammates Bartolo Colon & Hisashi Iwakuma had excellent starts this week, while Marco Scutaro was the Brew Crew's offensive star.

N.L. Honorable Mention:

  • SS-Marco Scutaro (POR)- .500 (10-for-20), 8 RBI, 2 runs & 3 doubles.
  • 3B-Ryan Zimmerman (SAC) - .294 (5-for-17), 4 HR, 5 RBI & 4 runs.
  • SP-Stephen Strasburg (HOL) - 8 IP for W, 11 K's & 2 ER, 2 walks & 7 hits allowed.
  • SP-Miguel Gonzalez (KING) - SHO, 7 K & 1 BB, while allowing 6 hits, in victory over SAC.
  • SP-Hisashi Iwakuma (POR) - 8 IP, 2 ER, 9 K's, while allowing no walks & 7 hits -- 1st win.
  • SP-Bartolo Colon (POR) - Evens record 1-1 with three-hit shutout, 3 K & 4 BB performance.
  • SP-Matt Harrison (TC) - 2 W's (one 7.1 IP start, 2.1 inning relief), 1 ER in 9.2 (0.93 ERA), lowering his season ERA to 1.53.
"Diamond in the Rough"

There was many good pitching performances in both leagues for Week 2, but a three-hit shutout by the South Shore Fighting Imps' Scott Diamond against the Washington Filibusters could not be ignored. This week's A.L. Pitcher of the Week goes to Diamond -- He improves his record to 2-0, with a 1.13 ERA. He also had 7 K's, while allowing no walks.

Diamond's teammate Joe Mauer had another strong week -- batting .421 (8-for-19), with 2 HR's, 6 RBI & 6 runs, but it still was not good enough for Mauer to win it (So instead Mauer snuck into Diamond's picture on the right!). We leaned towards the Boston Bravos' Shane Victorino for similar stats of .400 (8-for-20), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6 runs & 3 stolen bases, while the Bravos won their series 4-1 over their division rival Bronx Bombers. So congrats to Shane Victorino for A.L. Player of the Week.

The Carolina Panthers' Justin Verlander improves to 2-1, with his 3rd CG in 3 starts, allowing no ER's, 2 runs & 5 hits against the Buffalo Yankees. Verlander has 25 K's in 27 innings, so far.

A.L. Honorable Mention:

  • SP-Jeff Samardzija (CHI) - Shutout & Win, 12 K's/3 BB's (lowers ERA to 2.35).
  • C-Joe Mauer (S.S.) - .421 (8-for-19), 2 HR, 6 RBI & 6 runs.
  • SP-Madison Bumgarner (FAIR) - 3rd win, 8 IP, 2 ER, 9 K's (lowers ERA to 1.96).
  • SP-Justin Verlander (CAR) - 2-1, with a 0.69 ERA for the season, striking out 6, walking one & allowing 5 hits.
  • 3B-Aramis Ramirez (WAS) - .353 (6-for-17), 8 RBI & 2 runs.

  • SP-Dan Haren (BOS) - 8 shutout innings, 5 K/1 BB & 4 hits allowed.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Can't Hitch A Ride

Holland enters the 4th game of this series, with a 1-8 record. They lost three close games here with the Panthers that could have went either way.

Strasburg was complete control: 11 K's.

Game 4

The Panthers send Bud Norris (0-0, 4.26, 6.1 IP) against the Hitchhikers' Stephen Strasburg, who has been horrible up to this point with an 0-2 record, 8.25 ERA -- then again that was against the offensive-heavy Sacramento 66'ers.

Bottom of the 2nd
Two-out single by Alexi Amarista. Amarista tries to steal second, the throw, and it skips by Escobar into the outfield as Amarista makes it to 3rd, mark that a throwing error by the catcher Wilin Rosario. Strasburg loses Danny Descalso, and there is now runners on the corners for lefty Quintin Berry. Descalso is off & running with the pitch, it's a pitch-out, Rosario guns it down, and Descalso gets his first steal of the season. Runners now on 2nd & 3rd for Berry, the pitch, it's hit hard to Escobar, he spears it, gets up, fires it to first, and just gets him by a few inches! Game remains scoreless.

Top of the 3rd
Lead off single by Mike Moustakas. With two outs, the Panthers didn't want righty Norris to face lefty Bryce Harper, so they intentionally walk Harper to face righty Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick makes Norris pay, with a three-run blast over Berry's head in left. Holland 3, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 3rd
Stephen Strasburg cruises through the inning 1-2-3, with a pair of strikeouts, raking up his 5th K of the game on Brandon Belt.

Bottom of the 5th
Reddick robs a possible two-run HR by Austin Jackson, for the third out.

Top of the 6th
Reddick strikes out for the 3rd time, as Norris records his 7th K of the game. Eric Hosmer smacks a two-run HR in the next at-bat to right, as Hitchhikers now have a comfortable 5-0 lead!

Bottom of the 7th
Josh Reddick loses the ball in the lights, as Geovanny Soto makes it to third on a triple. Alexi Amarista delivers the RBI single to left to break up Strasburg's shutout bid. After Descalso lines to left, Amarista is caught stealing for the second out. Two-out triple for Quintin Berry. Alejandro De Aza hits a Texas Leaguer to right, as Berry scores from third. Austin Jackson grounds out to short for final out.
Holland 5, Traverse City 2

Bottom of the 9th
Holland's Santiago Casilla comes in for the save, with a generous 7.71 ERA. Strasburg exits with a 5-2 lead, 8 IP, 2 runs on 7 hits, while fanning 11 Panthers & only issuing 2 walks. Pedro Ciriaco hits a one-out single to right for his first hit of the season. Casilla settles down & logs the final two outs for the save.

The Hitchhikers end their 6-game skid, while Strasburg was in total command logging 11 K's, striking out Brandon Belt four times!

Game 5
Darvish walks off in pain, after 4 K's.

Both starting pitchers are looking to get back on track Matt Moore of Holland (0-2, 7.11 ERA) against Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.17 ERA, 20 K's & 11 BB in 11.2 IP).

Top of the 2nd
After striking out 4 of their first 5 Holland batters, Yu Darvish stepped off the mound with discomfort, and left the game -- big blow to he Panthers! The Tigers bring in Tyler Clippard early, who will log some innings, with only 2.2 innings of work this season. Clippard gets Panthers out of the inning.

Top of the 3rd
Two-out double for Martin Prado, scoring in Mike Moustakas. Holland leads 1-0.

Bottom of the 4th
Giancarlo Stanton gets a hold of one, and sends it over the left field wall, that's his 6th HR & 10th RBI of the season, as the Panthers tie this one up, with two outs. Carpenter flies to right for final out. Moore was cruising through this one with 5 K's in his first three innings for Holland.

Bottom of the 5th
One-out single for Pedro Ciriaco. Ciriaco steals second safely on Rosario's throw, in a photo finish. One strike to catcher Hector Sanchez, the pitch from Moore, just catches the plate for strikeout #7. Theriot grounds out for final out, on a strong defensive play by Alcides Escobar.

Top of the 6th
The Panthers go with Matt Harrison out of the pen, after a one-out single off Clippard by Martin Prado. Harrison pitches to Harper, Harper hits one to Ciriaco, he throws it to Alonso & it's off Alonso's glove & to the wall, Harper makes it to second, Prado advances to third, error on Alonso, E-3. Runners on 2nd & 3rd with one out, Ludwick lifts a big-league pop-up behind second base, two down. Harrison just needs to get by the switch-hitting Chipper Jones, the pitch, grounds it to Dozier, the throw to first, in time. Score remains tied at 1-1.

Bottom of the 6th
Austin Jackson belts a two-out double that almost made out of the park. Matt Moore ends up striking out Giancarlo Stanton for his 9th K of the game!

Top of the 7th
Wilin Rosario stretches a single into a double, and just makes it in there safely! A lead off single, the go-ahead run is now on base, as Josh Reddick approaches the box. Harrison winds & fires it to Reddick, and he fires it past him -- strike out! Hosmer flies to left, the runner holds. Mike Moustakas hits a hot smash for his second hit of the game, as it gets past Ryan Theriot into right, Rosario makes it to third & will have to hold. Easy force at second for Theriot on a Escobar grounder for out number three.

7th Inning stretch
Word is that Panthers' starter Yu Darvish will be out for two weeks!

Bottom of the 7th
Matt Carpenter puts a charge into this one, it could be trouble, Harper is racing back, it's off the wall & Carpenter is running full steam into second, he could go for three, but decides not to test Harper's arm. The Panthers will take Yonder Alonso out for the right-handed Josh Donaldson to take on the southpaw Matt Moore. Donaldson smashes this one to left-center, it's to the wall, Carpenter will score, as Donaldson comes into second. The Panthers take the lead, 2-1, with back-to-back doubles! After a liner to left by Pedro Ciriaco, the Panthers will pinch-run for Donaldson with the faster Brandon Belt, who will likely take over at first. Hector Sanchez flies to right, and the Panthers decide to have Belt tag up on Reddick's arm, big mistake as Belt is thumbed out at third.

Top of the 8th
Two-out double for Ryan Ludwick against Matt Harrison. Panthers will go to the pen for Kelvin Herrera, turning around Chipper Jones. Herrera sets up & fires, gets Chipper to pop up in third base foul territory to Pedro Ciriaco.
Mayberry got it started in 8th inning.

Bottom of the 8th
Panthers pinch-hit for Ryan Theriot, for John Mayberry Jr. -- The strategy pays off as Mayberry hits an insurance solo blast to left to make it 3-1! Brian Dozier hits a single to center, no outs. Moore issues his first walk, walking Alejandro De Aza, and that'll be it for Moore, who struck out 9 Panthers. Holland calls on Greg Holland (18.00 ERA) to face Austin Jackson. The Panthers counter with left-handed Quintin Berry to face Holland instead. Holland sets up, off-speed pitch, misses, loads the bases up for the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton with no outs. Holland comes to the plate, and a deep drive to left, back, back, back, and Ludwick catches it, the runners tag up, Dozier scores, the throw to third De Aza is safe, and Berry is on first, a sac fly for Stanton. Holland walks Carpenter, bases are loaded once again, this time for Brandon Belt. Belt is walked, and that forces in another run, and that's it for Greg Holland as the Hitchhikers' manager will go to the pen for Nate Jones. Pedro Ciriaco hits a single to center, and now it gets by Bryce Harper, Belt goes first to third, as Berry & Carpenter score, this one is starting to get out of control. An E-8 on Harper, as it's Holland's 2nd error of the game. Jones strikes out Sanchez for the 2nd out of the inning, the 3rd time Sanchez struck out in the game. Mayberry steps up, who started off the inning with a pinch-hit HR, strikes out for the final out. The Hitchhikers have their work cut out for them, trailing 7-1.

Top of the 9th
Mayberry stays in the game, he will play center. Danny Descalso will play at second, while Cody Allen will get some work due to the big lead. Allen strikes out Rosario to lead off the inning. Josh Reddick draws a walk. Eric Hosmer lashes a single to right, as Reddick advances to third, this one is not over yet. Moustakas grounds out to Belt at first, Belt flips the throw to Allen covering first, two away -- no advancement by Reddick at third. Cody Allen strikes out Alcides Escobar for the final out.

Traverse City wins what was overall a close game, until the bottom of the 8th, 7-1. Matt Harrison records the win in relief (2-0).

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 7, Holland 1

Traverse City Panthers win the five-game set, 4-1, to improve their record to 6-5, as Holland falls to deceiving 2-9 record, as their record does not reflect how they played this series, they just lost a really close series that could have went either way.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Close Encounters

Panthers won their home debut against the Holland Hitchhikers, I believe these two teams are similar and drafted with almost the same strategy, built more for the future. The first game went exactly the way that I thought it would, a close game -- I don't expect anything less.

Game 2

The righty Brandon Morrow (1-0, 4.50) faces Holland's right-handed started Lucas Harrell (0-1, 6.00).
Belt was in the middle of all the action.

Top of the 1st
Alcides Escobar reaches first on a questionable charged error to Chris Johnson on a tough play, the ball deflected off his glove -- but that was no give-me, guarantee either (E-5). Martin Prado hits it to the shortstop Brian Dozier, Dozier is only able to get the force at second. Bryce Harper hits a ball right passed Dozier, this one had eyes, Prado reaches second & stays. 1st & 2nd, one out for Ryan Ludwick -- Morrow comes home with it, and this one is low, free ticket to Ludwick as Morrow is not happy with himself. Bases loaded, Chipper hits a fairly deep fly to center, Austin Jackson catches it, Prado tags up, the throw to the plate, it's going to be close -- SAFE! On a close play, slid under the tag. The pitch to Wilin Rosario, and it's off his mitt, passed ball on the catcher, as the runners move up. Rosario lines out to Descalso for the final out. Holland 1, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 1st
One-out single for Austin Jackson. Two batters later, Brandon Belt hits a two-out RBI double to score in Jackson. Chris Johnson comes up & hits one into the gap, Ludwick cuts it off on the bounce, Belt is well around third, and Belt keeps strolling for home, scores. John Mayberry, Jr. starting his first game of the season (giving Stanton the day off) pops up to finish the inning. Traverse City takes the lead, 2-1.

Bottom of the 2nd
Geovanny Soto reaches first safely on the fielding miscue by Alcides Escobar at short, started to try to throw the ball to first, before having a real grasp on it. Harrell strikes out Danny Descalso. Next batter is Brian Dozier, this one is off the mitt, doesn't go far, and Soto makes it to second, score this a passed ball on Rosario (his 2nd of the game). Dozier hits a deep fly, Riddick got a late reaction to it, but readjusts and chases it down for the catch, Soto will not challenge that cannon of a arm of Riddick's. Berry flies to left, for the final out, so nothing but a few fielding miscues by the Hitchhikers, that did not end up haunting them.

Top of the 3rd
Brandon Morrow issues a free pass to Bryce Harper, leading it off, that's already the 3rd walk allowed by Morrow. Harper moves to second on Ludwick's ground-out to 3rd base. Descalso runs a long ways to catch Chipper Jone's pop fly in foul territory. Rosario pops out for third out. Score remains: Traverse City 2, Holland 1

Bottom of the 3rd
One-out walk to Matt Carpenter. Brandon Belt hits one to center, Harper sees it now, comes in on it, and it pops out of his glove! Carpenter reaches third, Belt is on first, second error for Holland (E-8), one out. Chris Johnson sends this one over Harper's head in center, off the wall, Carpenter scores, Belt is around third, they are sending him & he's in standing; Harper had a ways to go to get that one, a two-run double for Johnson. Mayberry pops up for out number two to the second baseman Prado. Soto hits a lazy fly that suddenly has Escobar going back, and Harper running in, as Harper makes the challenging, running catch -- Harper gets his exercise as the Panthers take a 4-1 lead.

Top of the 5th
Martin Prado hits one past the diving shortstop Dozier for a lead-off single. Bryce Harper hits one to short, Dozier takes it on the hop & tosses to second for the force as Prado does his job by preventing a throw to first. Morrow looks over at Harper, comes to the plate, there's no doubt about this one, Ludwick laid into this one, it's over the right field wall -- Two-Run blast! Morrow walks Chipper Jones. Wilin Rosario hits a fly to Austin Jackson in center, notch two. The lefty Reddick grounds it to Dozier at short, as Dozier throws to second for the force to finish the inning. Traverse City 4, Holland 3

Top of the 6th
Jonny Venters is in to pitch against the lefties Hosmer & Moustakas; That will be the night for Morrow, as he pitched five innings, yielding 3 runs on 5 hits & 4 walks -- certainly not the most beautiful work ever. Venters strikes out both Hosmer & Moustakas, the last one had Moustakas fired up on a questionable call by the ump. Escobar smacks this one to Brandon Belt at deep first, Venters is running over, the throw & Venters bobbles it, Escobar is safe, Venters took his eyes off the ball at the last second. Venters refocuses & strikes out Prado for the third out.

Bottom of the 6th
John Mayberry leads off with his first hit of the season, a double to left-center. Panthers pinch-hit for Soto with the left-handed Alejandro De Aza. De Aza grounds out hard to short, with no advancement by Mayberry. Descalso comes up with one out, the pitch from Harrell, and Descalso goes down swinging -- two away. The Panthers once again will counter a lefty against the righty Harrell, this time it will be Alexi Amarista, who will also likely take over the shortstop duties for Brian Dozier as well; Harrell sets & delivers, it's hit up the middle, Escobar can't reach it, Mayberry is well around third & is going home, as Harper comes up on it, Mayberry scores, Amarista is on first -- the strategy pays off! Holland's manager has seen enough, and will go with southpaw Jake McGee to pitch to the lefty Quintin Berry. Traverse City will counter with Pedro Ciriaco to try and keep this inning going. The runner is off & going, it's hit hard to Escobar, the long throw.. and in time! Panthers pad the lead 5-3.
Gregerson in for the save in Game 2.

Top of the 7th
Pedro Ciriaco who came in for RF-Berry moves over to SS. Mayberry moves over right, Giancarlo Stanton who was getting a break will come in at left, as Hector Sanchez will take over at catcher. Kelvin Herrera will be the 7th Inning guy tonight -- as the Panthers' bullpen will try & close this one out, what is turning out to be another close game. The pitch to Harper, he draws a walk.. OH! no, a late strike called by the ump, as he thumbs him out, Harper was on his way to first, and shakes his head -- he can't believe it! One away. Ludwick takes one to the track in left, as Stanton nearly ran out of room, for the second out. Chipper hits one up the middle & it's through, a two-out single. Rosario grounds out for the final out.

Top of the 8th
Herrera stays in & pitches a 1-2-3 inning, for two innings of work for the night, as he faced all lefties.

Bottom of the 8th
Looking like a 1-2-3 inning in the works, Prado commits the Hitchhikers' third error of the game, as Giancarlo Stanton reaches first safely! Stanton steals second, in which appeared to be a hit-and-run in the works, without Descalso connecting. Holland decides to call time & change pitchers, the Hitchhikers call on the southpaw Sean Doolittle. The Panthers decide to counter with righty Ryan Theriot (only batting .167 in 12 at-bats, this season). Doolittle sets & delivers, Theriot smacks this one down the left field line, Moustakas dives, it's through, Stanton will round third & he'll score! Theriot will make second on a clutch double for some extra insurance. Doolittle finishes the inning by striking out Hector Sanchez. Traverse City now leads 6-3, as they will call on their closer.

Top of the 9th
Tyler Clippard will come in for the save in this one, Theriot who replaced Descalso, will stay in to play second. Alcides Escobar gives this one a ride to deep right, as Mayberry snags it at the wall, one down. Prado hits a line drive at Belt, what a catch, that was a rocket right at Belt, as Prado just stares down Belt while going back to the dugout. Clippard to face Harper, the pitch, and this one is hit -- a no-doubter, as this one flies over the right field wall. Ryan Ludwick hits one into the gap to right, for a two-out double, tying run is now coming up to the plate in Chipper Jones. The Panthers saw enough out of Clippard, and will go to Luke Gregerson, who has a stingy 1.69 ERA, this will be his 5th appearance. Chipper hits this one to the right of Theriot, but Theriot is there to snatch the liner for the final out.

The Panthers hold onto this one, as Holland's fielding mistakes may have cost them a shot at a victory here.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 6, Holland 4

Game 3

It will be the 1-0, Alex Cobb who sports a 0.00 ERA with 6 innings of work (6 K's & 2 BB's) against Holland's lefty Mike Minor, who will get his first start of the season.

Bottom of the 1st
Lead-off single for Alejandro De Aza. Minor delivers a strike to Austin Jackson & De Aza is off & running, and he's got second stolen, as Brayan Pena couldn't get him with his throw -- De Aza's 4th steal of the season. Minor paints the corner, got him, Jackson strikes out for the first out. Minor then gets Chris Johnson to pop out to third, and notched his 2nd K of the night on Giancarlo Stanton.

Top of the 2nd
One-out double for Josh Reddick over Austin Jackson's head in center. Eric Hosmer lays into this one to left center, Jackson is back, running, he leaps it's off the wall, Stanton is up with it, tosses it to the infield, as Reddick scores easily -- Holland strikes first, with back-to-back doubles! Cobb kicks & delivers, the fastball is back to the screen, as Hosmer is down to second, score this a PB on Hector Sanchez, still only one out. Moustakas steps back into the box, the pitch, big strikeout to Moose! Two down, as Hosmer still waits on third. Brayan Pena hits this one into the gap at right, De Aza won't get it, Hosmer scores, and Pena makes it to second, a double & RBI. Cobb settles back down & strikes out Alcides Escobar, side retired.
Holland 2, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 2nd
Back-to-back two-out single by the Panthers (Hector Sanchez for his first hit of season & Ryan Theriot), as the righty Brian Dozier steps up to the plate against the southpaw Mike Minor. Dozier flies out to Reddick in right to end the inning.
Minor started itchy & ended strong. 

Top of the 3rd
Prado collects his 2nd hit of the game, with a lead off single. Bryce Harper hits a laser of a leaping Dozier at short, it's into left, as the 3rd Base coach puts up his arms for Prado to stay at second. Ludwick pops up for the first out. Cobb just catches the plate on Chipper Jones, see ya later, a strike out victim. Cobb will now have to face the lefty Reddick, and Reddick goes down swinging & leaves two men on. Holland still leads Traverse, 2-0.

Bottom of the 4th
Josh Donaldson hits one on the sweet spot, as it cruises into the left field stands, a two-out solo homer. The Panthers cut the lead in half, 2-1.

Top of the 5th
Martin Prado collects his 3rd hit of the game, a double that drops in between Jackson & De Aza in the gap. Cobb issues his first walk of the game to Bryce Harper, runners now on 1st & 2nd with one out, positioned for the double play. Ludwick is badly fooled for Cobb's 7th K of the game, two outs. Chipper pops out to second for the final out of the inning.

Bottom of the 5th
Brian Dozier hits a one-out liner to left. De Aza takes a strike, as Dozier is off & running for second, the throw from Pena, the slide, the tag, and he's safe on a close play! 2nd steal of the season for Dozier, as the tying run is now on second for Alejandro De Aza. Minor rocks & fires, this one is wide, and it's the first walk issued by Minor, runners on 1st & 2nd. Austin Jackson steps into the box, Minor comes home with it, easy bouncer to Prado, this could be two, over to Escobar for one, over to first -- Oh, double play!

Bottom of the 6th
With two outs & Stanton on first (from a single) -- Josh Donaldson strikes again, a two-run blast once again to left, as Panthers take the lead, 3-2!

Top of the 7th
Alex Cobb goes 6 innings, strikes out 8 (it's his game to win), as the Panthers go to Cody Allen here in the 7th, this season has yet to be good to Allen -- who sports a horrible 13.50 ERA & one loss. A lead off double for Brayan Pena, his 2nd double of the game, as the Panthers have the bullpen up & going just in case Allen can't hold down this inning at least. The Hitchhikers call a time out as they get Eduardo Nunez to run for the slow Pena at second. Alcides Escobar hits one down the line to deep first, but Donaldson won't be able to do anything on a throw, as Allen failed to make it down to first in time, runners on the corners -- no outs! Prado draws a walk, no wait! It's a strike, big K for Allen, he'll be hoping for a double play here to get him out of this jam. Bryce Harper the lefty comes to the plate, and the Panthers manager comes out to the mound, they are calling on the southpaw Jonny Venters (6.23 ERA). Venters comes to the plate, Escobar is off for second, strike, the throw to second, as Nunez starts for home, the throw is cut off by the shortstop Dozier, the throw to the plate, and he's... OUT! Nunez is not happy with ump, and has to be held back by the ump, as Escobar steals second. Two outs, one strike to Harper, as Venters gets ready & sets, the pitch, Harper hits a frozen rope to center for the final out. Lots of action for no runs.

Top of the 8th
Tyler Clippard will start the 8th on the mound to face the righty Ryan Ludwick. Clippard delivers & Ludwick is caught looking, one down. Chipper ropes this one right, down the line, De Aza on the run, he dives, this one likes like a trap, NO! The ump signals out, it was caught! Nice play be Alejandro De Aza. Reddick swings hard & goes down swinging -- side retired.

Bottom of the 8th
Mike Minor still in there, picks up a 1-2-3 inning, with two more K's, collecting 8 for the night. He has had Giancarlo Stanton's number for the night, as Stanton draws the infamous hat trick (striking out three times).

Top of the 9th
The Panthers go to Kelvin Herrera for the save opportunity in this one. He ends up closing out 1-2-3, as the Panthers win another close one, as Holland loses their 6th straight game of the season!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Star-Struck, Detroit Wins Series 4-3!

The Tigers excited about their last win, want to shoot for wins in these last two games -- this series has been something of a Tug of War.

Game 6

Bob Knepper walks in with a 9-4 record & 2.80 ERA, while he faces off against Melido Perez. Perez is hoping for a better outcome this time, he's 8-6, 2.95 ERA.

Top of the 2nd
Julio leads off with a single to right. Terry Francona hits one hard to O'Malley, O'Malley only has one option & that's to first for the out, Franco to second. Jose Uribe draws a walk, and that sets up the double play. Bob Knepper comes to the plate, and that gets by Hassey, a wild pitch by Knepper as both runners move up a base. Bruce Benedict pops up to Johnny Ray at second for the 2nd out.  Jim Presley grounds out to short.

Top of the 3rd

Butler gets Stars started for huge 3rd Inning.
Brett Butler leads off with a single up the middle that gets by Johnny Ray. Tracy Jones hits one up the middle, Fermin gets to it flips to Ray for the force not in time, and Jones is safe at first, no outs. Knepper rocks & fires, and George Bell lays into this one, it's over the left field fence, Knepper would like to have that pitch back! Dave Parker puts a charge into this one, it's over Barfield's head in center, and is off the bottom of the wall, this is good for extra bases, Parker rounds second, but the third base coach flashes the stop sign. Knepper issues his 3rd walk already, this one to Franco. Runners on 1st & 2nd, still no outs, and the batter will be Terry Francona. Francona smacks this one to center, Barfield is charging in & it's off his chest, he keeps the ball in front of him, Parker to home, the throw and Parker is safe, as Franco makes it to third base. This is not going well for Knepper, bullpen is already warming up. Jose Uribe hits a deep sac fly to left, to score in Franco, the first out is finally logged -- two more to go. Bruce Benedict hits a single into the left-center gap, runners on 1st & 2nd. Jim Presley hits this one hard to short, this could be trouble, Fermin is able to knock it down, but everyone is safe, bases loaded & only one out. The lineup has made itself around as Brett Butler is back up, he led this inning off with a single. Butler hits a deep fly, it bounces off Carter's glove, oh & Barfield catches it tosses it, underhands it as he falls to the ground, Carter is up with the throw, but Francona scores on the sac fly -- two away. Knepper looking to end this nightmare against Tracy Jones at the plate. Jones flies out to left, end of the inning, but not before the Stars light up the scoreboard. Looks like the Tigers fans are heading for the beer stands early in this one. Detroit 6, Traverse City 0.

Top of the 4th
George Bell smashes 3-run HR in 3rd Inn.
Jose Rijo will get the nod in relief for Knepper, who allowed 6 runs & 8 hits, 3 walks -- Rijo will try to do his best, but the Tigers bats need to contribute as well, they have only one hit up to this point. George Bell leads off with a single past Felix Fermin at short, Bell's second hit of the game. Parker hits a grounder to short, Fermin over to second for one, but Ray is taken out by the runner, they will only get the force at second. Julio Franco lifts a single to right, Parker is around second & decides to test Carter's arm, and he's out! What was he smoking? Franco advances to second on the throw -- 10 hits for the Stars already!Two outs, a man on second, as Francona comes up to the plate, and grounds out to short.

Top of the 5th
Back-to-back singles for Jose Uribe & Bruce Benedict of the Stars. Passed Ball on Ron Hassey, as the runners move up. Rijo sets to pitch to Jim Presley again, the pitch, it's hit towards the gap, Carter's after it, and it's caught in his webbing -- the runners tag up, but they decide to hold. Brett Butler hits a line-drive at Felix Fermin, two outs. Tracy Jones flies out to Carter in right, to end the possible threat. Detroit still leads 6-0 in this one.

Bottom of the 5th
Ron Hassey hits a single in the gap in left, that's only the second hit by T.C.; O'Malley follows up by almost hitting into a double play, he just beats out the toss to first. Barfield strikes out & Fermin flies to center -- The Tigers' offense is flat right now.

Bottom of the 6th
With 2 outs, Melido Perez walks off the mound, the trainers are out, he does a practice throw, and there is not much steam to it -- The Stars quickly yank him, and will have go with a reliever. The Stars go with Craig Lefferts, in which the Tigers counter with Nick Esasky. Time for the Tigers to start sending in their subs soon. Esasky strikes out. Detroit 6, Traverse City 0

Top of the 7th
Tigers send Johnny Ray out to right field to play for Joe Carter, as Marty Barrett will play at second. Nick Esasky who came in for Pete O'Brien, will stay at first base. The Tigers also bring in Juan Agosto, after three innings of relief by Jose Rijo. Smooth sailing for Agosto, 1-2-3 in the 7th, as the Tiger fans are starting to head for the exits.

The Tigers could not do anything more, as Craig Lefferts & Rob Dibble kept the Tigers scoreless in 3.1 innings of relief. George Bell was the star in this one, 3-for-5, three-run HR.

FINAL SCORE: Detroit 6, Traverse City 0

Game 7

This one is for the series, it's between Charlie Hough (7-12, 3.46 ERA) against Danny Jackson, who pitched a shutout in Game 2 against the Tigers, lowering his ERA to 1.96, while improving his record to 11-4.

Top of the 2nd
Jose Uribe draws a lead-off walk. Jim Presley hits one that ricochets off Hough's leg, he'll make it safely to first. Runners on 1st & 2nd, no outs, Hough fires it past Boone to the backstop, as the runners will advance one base on the wild pitch; Cerone settles again in the batter's box. Hough to the plate, healthy cut by Cerone, and his strikes out. Vince Coleman goes fishing for the ball in the dirt, strike three -- two away. Hough just needs to get past Brett Butler to avoid a score in this inning -- the pitch, Butler grounds it to Barrett, Barrett is up with it & flips it to first, side retired.

Bottom of the 2nd
Joe Carter hits a little looper just out of second baseman Franco's reach for a lead-off single. Mookie Wilson follows up Carter's hit, with a liner just over Uribe's glove at short, Parker is up for it, Carter takes a few steps toward third, but he'll hold up. Danny Jackson sets up to pitch, outside corner, ball four to Pete O'Brien, and the bases are loaded with no outs! Marty Barrett to the plate, the pitch, he hits it right to Presley at third, Presley tags third for the force, a run scores though. One out, runners on 1st & 2nd for Ramirez, Jackson to the plate,easy bouncer to Franco, could be two, over to second for one, over to first, double play. Traverse City only manages one run, we'll see if that comes back to haunt them.
Presley tames Tigers in final game.

Bottom of the 3rd
One-out triple by Tim Raines, hit into the right field corner -- it's his 2nd hit of the game & his 5th triple of the season. Bob Boone pops up behind third, for the second out. Winfield hits a routine grounder to short, as Uribe fires to first, side retired.

Top of the 4th
Jim Presley gets a hold of a fastball and sends this one to center, buh-bye! Two-run homer, as Detroit has taken the lead, 2-1.

Top of the 5th
Brett Butler leads off the inning with a lead-off triple. Whitaker finds his pitch, and sends this one over the centerfield wall, 4-1 Stars' lead.

Top of the 6th
Lead-off single for Jim Presley, 3rd hit of the game for Presley. Another wild pitch for Hough, as Presley advances to second. Hough strikes out Rick Cerone for the first out. Vince Coleman pops up for the second out. Brett Butler hits a two-out double, as Presley scores easily. Hough issues his 5th walk to Lou Whitaker, runners now on 1st & 2nd. The Tigers will go to the bullpen for the southpaw Ken Dayley (2.73 ERA in 25 appearances), he will try to keep the Tigers in the game. Kruk pops up behind third for the final out.
Detroit 5, Traverse City 1

Bottom of the 6th
Joe Carter delivers a two-out single to right, for his second hit of the game. Mookie Wilson comes up, the pitch, Carter is off-and-running for second, it's grounded to Franco, and Franco throws it past John Kruk towards the stands, Kruk is chasing after it, Carter rounds third, Kruk is up with and they now have Carter off third, the throw to third, Carter breaks for home, the throw to the plate now by third baseman Jim Presley, and.... he's SAFE! Mookie is on second. T.C. only cuts into the lead by one run, 5-2, Detroit leads.

Top of the 8th
After Coleman got on with a two-out single, the Tigers go to the pen to replace Eric King, with southpaw John Candelaria to face lefty Brett Butler, Butler hits it into the right field corner, as Coleman will score all the way from first -- RBI double. Detroit 6, Traverse City 2

Bottom of the 8th
The Stars bring in a reliever for Jackson, going with Mike Bielecki (2.39 ERA in 26 innings). One-out single by Dave Winfield. Ron Hassey pinch-hits for Bob Boone, and pops up for out number two. Tigers go to the bench to pinch-hit for Joe Carter this time, and goes with Johnny Ray. The Tigers got Winfield running for second, Ray connects and sends a single to left, Winfield strolls into third, executing the fundamentals, successful hit-and-run. The Detroit Stars' skipper now will make a pitching change, and elects to have Rob Dibble come in for Bielecki, before the lead slips out of their hands. Mookie Wilson steps up to the plate to face the righty, the pitch from Dibble, Ray is going for second, strike, the throw from Cerone, and Ray is safe! Runners on 2nd & 3rd now. Dibble sets & fires, and Mookie pops it up to Kruk -- Tigers come up empty!

Bottom of the 9th
Lead-off double for Pete O'Brien. Marty Barrett steps up to the plate & Dibble fires a wild pitch over his head, O'Brien advances to third. Barrett flies to right, O'Brien tags up, the throw at the plate by Butler, and he's out by inches! O'Brien is not happy with the ump. A double play, no one on now, and the hope to stay alive is up to Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez grounds it to Franco, and that does it, Detroit wins!

FINAL SCORE: Detroit 6, Traverse City 2

Detroit wins the series 4-3.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Panther's Home Debut

My Traverse City Panthers are 2-4, we lost our series on the road to the King Road Kings. Giancarlo Stanton set a league record of four games in a row, with a least a HR. In the first game of the season, Yu Darvish had no control as walked 11 batters in 5.1 innings (he recorded the loss in that game).

Harrison was on the mark for the Panthers in Game 1

Game 1

Matt Harrison will get the starting nod with a 2.25 ERA (no decisions yet) against Holland's Lance Lynn, who is 1-0, with 2.35 ERA in his first outing against Sacramento.

Bottom of the 1st
Alejandro De Aza legs out a infield single, as Hosmer gets no help from the pitcher at first. De Aza steals second, as a strike is called on Austin Jackson. Lynn comes to the plate, Jackson grounds it to Jemile Weeks at second, no play at 3rd as De Aza advances, play at first for the easy out. Brandon Belt hits it to left, records a sac fly, as De Aza tags up & scores. Lynn strikes out Giancarlo Stanton for 3rd out.
Traverse City 1, Holland 0

Bottom of the 2nd
Lead-off single for Yonder Alonso. Lynn strikes out Chris Johnson for the 1st out. Geovanny Soto delivers a double into the left field corner, Alonso decides to stay at 3rd. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, 1 out, for Amarista. Amarista pops out behind first, two outs, runners hold. Prado chases down a liner into the gap by Descalso, for the third out. Holland escapes unscathed.

Top of the 3rd
Jemile Weeks draws a two-out from Harrison. Weeks steals on Soto's weak arm, for his first stolen base of the season. Alicides Escobar comes up, and Harrison loses him, another walk. 1st & 2nd, two outs, the righty Martin Prado takes advantage of southpaw Harrison, by delivering the ball to left, Stanton is after it, Weeks around third, going for home, Stanton throws it to the plate, and Weeks is in standing, as Escobar makes it third, runners on the corners & the game is tied! That was the Hitchhikers' first hit of the game. The young phenom Bryce Harper flies to left to end the inning. It's all knotted up at one a piece.

Bottom of the 5th
Giancarlo Stanton connects on his 5th HR in 6 games, as this one carried over the left field wall. Alonso picks up his second safety with a base hit to left, no outs. Chris Johnson hits a hard bouncer to second, Weeks boots it, and it's into the outfield, runners on the corners, E-4. Soto grounds it to Hosmer, Hosmer tags first, a run will score & Johnson moves up to second. Amarista grounds a slow roller to Escobar at short, Escobar fires it across the diamond, gets his man, as Johnson advances to third. Two outs, as Danny Descalso draws a the first walk issued by Lynn, runners on the corners now for the lead-off man Alejandro De Aza. Lynn with the offering, De Aza lunges at, badly fooled, side retired. Traverse City 3, Holland 1

Stanton connects for 5th HR in 6 games!

Bottom of the 6th
One-out double for Brandon Belt that drops in between Prado & Harper in right-center. Lynn plays it safe with Giancarlo Stanton & ends up walking him, setting up a possible double play.Lefty Yonder Alonso (who already has two hits) is fanned by Lynn, big K! Two away, as Lynn delivers to Chris Johnson, Johnson hits it to Escobar, Escobar flips to Weeks for the force at second, side retired. Holland is still hanging around in this one, with their one hit to T.C.'s 6 hits.

Top of the 7th
Eduardo Nunez (pinch-hitting for Hosmer to counter the southpaw Harrison) hits a one-out double. Nunez is off & stealing third, the throw from defensive replacement Hector Sanchez, the throw is high, as Nunez steals it safely. He's now stealing home, the pitch is a strike, as Sanchez gets nailed at the plate, but Sanchez held onto the ball -- OUT! Two away, gutsy. J.D. Martinez flies out to right.

Bottom of the 7th
Nunez moves over to center, as Prado will take over at first for Holland. Lynn, still in for Holland, gets the Panthers to go down in order.

Top of the 8th
Kelvin Herrera comes in from the pen to relieve Matt Harrison, who was excellent through 7.1 innings, allowing only 2 hits & a run. Herrera is in to counter righty Alcides Escobar, Escobar goes down looking, two outs. Prado hits a single that splits the middle infielders, 2nd hit of the game for Mr. Prado, bringing up the dangerous Bryce Harper. Panthers go to the pen for southpaw Johnny Venters to get the lefty Harper out. Venters gets Harper to check-swing, call from the up first base ump, strike out! Side retired.

Top of the 9th
Luke Gregerson comes in to close this one out, he enters with a 2.06 ERA, no saves -- We'll likely see him get a fair share of saves, with the majority of them going to Tyler Clippard. The Panthers' manager feels a little more comfortable in this close game situation with division rival Holland hanging in there, the first batter he will face will be Ryan Ludwick (.182). Ludwick hits this one to right, it might have the distance, bounces off the carom, Jackson is up with it in right-center, Ludwick makes it to second -- bringing up the vet Chipper Jones. Jones flies to center for out number one, Ludwick stays. Gregerson deals, and Wilin Rosario is caught looking, two down. It's all up to Abraham Nunez, he smacks a single to left, runner moves up to third. J.D. Martinez heads back towards the bench, Holland is calling on a pinch-hitter, it will be Josh Reddick (the lefty) to battle the right-handed Gregerson. The pitch comes to the plate, Reddick turns the bat loose, and comes up empty. Panthers win their home opener in a close one.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 3, Holland 1

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Miguel Cabrera and the Lost Crusade

The Traverse City Crusaders entered their home stand, 1-5, hosting the Hollywood Werewolves -- One of the league's favorites in the American League Title, if not the 2014 MWBL World Title.

The Crusaders made headlines during the winter trading their superstar Miguel Cabrera, and they traded him to their A.L. West Division rival Hollywood. The Crusaders knew that they had to start the rebuilding process; Certainly, it's never easy trading one of the best players in the game, by the end of his career he will be one of the best ever, if he's not one of the best already.

Traverse City would have some big leads in some of the games against Hollywood, but in the end, Hollywood pulled away with the victory. In fact, the Crusaders have been one of the best teams during the first four innings...

  • In their 13 games, 18% of their total runs came in the first inning.
  • 12% during the 2nd Inning.
  • 18% during the 3rd Inning.
  • 14% during the 4th Inning.
So basically, 62% of their run production happens in the first four innings.

Their runs created stat is actually one of the best in the league (mostly due to their big starts). They have 115.5 RC compared to the likes of the Chicago Mobsters (117.4).

But it's not about how you start a game, it's about how you end a game.

The Crusaders rank 24th (out of 28) in hitting, with a .202 batting average, they have the league's 3rd fewest hits (88) in their 13 games.

They rank last in ERA. How bad? There is no team in the MWBL over 5.00 ERA, the Crusaders' team ERA is 6.75! Ouch! -- The next worst team (the Columbus Explorers) have a 4.96 ERA. The team has given up the most round-trippers with 18, and opponents are batting .321 against them.

The Werewolves & Lumber Company combined for 91 runs against the Crusaders, easily the most runs allowed by one team in all the MWBL (2nd most, has allowed 68 runs)!

This all combined accumulating to a 1-12 record! All while Miguel & his new Hollywood teammates are enjoying a 11-game winning-streak, and 12-2 record -- Yes, the Crusaders are 13 games into the season, and they are already 10.5 games out.

The Crusaders knew it would be bad, and knew that they would be trying to change the direction of the franchise, for awhile at least -- it's rock bottom.

Tigers Take 3-2 Lead over Stars.

The first two games went down in a split, meaning Cedar Park still trails Tigers by 2.5, while Detroit trails by 10.5 games.

Game 3

Charlie Hough is now good to go after a extra day of rest, he went 6-12, with a 3.54 ERA for the Valdosta Bombers -- he hopes to try to even up that record at least by the end of the season; Hough faces off against Gubicza who's record is the exact opposite of Hough at 12-6, with a  sparkling 2.20 ERA! What a one-two punch for Danny Jackson & Mark Gubicza have been for the Detroit Stars this season.

Top of the 1st
Hough strikes out the first two batters (Coleman & Butler), while the DH George Bell sneaks a single past Rafael Ramirez, and Julio Franco draws a walk. Terry Francona steps up & strikes out -- three K's to start off his Tiger debut, Hough has to be happy with that as the fans are loving it.

Bottom of the 2nd
Back-to-back one-out doubles by Joe Carter and Paul Molitor, Carter scores, as Tigers take the first lead of the game. Barfield pops up for second out. Gubicza can't find the strike zone, as he walks Ron Hassey. Runners on 1st & 2nd, as Rafael Ramirez steps up to the plate, Gubicza rocks & fires, Ramirez hits this one into the left-center gap, Tracy Jones cuts this off deep in the gap, as Molitor rounds third, Hassey will hold second, and Molitor scores easily. Mookie Wilson ends the inning by grounding out to Jose Uribe. Traverse City strikes first, 2-0!

Top of the 3rd
Charlie Hough walks his 3rd guy already in Brett Butler. George Bell comes up and ground out to second while Butler had the wheels going (no play at second), as Bell is out at first. Julio Franco hits a deep grounder to Pete O'Brien, but has to hold onto it, as the old man Hough couldn't make it down to first in time -- runners at 1st & 3rd, one out. Lefty, Terry Francona will face the righty Hough -- the pitch, swung on & missed, two away & that's already the 5th K rung up by Hough. Presley grounds out & ends the threat.

Top of the 4th
Tracy Jones hits a two-out single to right. Hough follows that up by allowing free passes to Vince Coleman & Brett Butler. Bases loaded for slugger George Bell -- Bell is not having the monster season he had with Detroit last year, when he hit 50 bombs & 158 RBI for the Stars. Hough sets, gets ready & delivers -- the pitch is over the plate, big strikeout! Bell can't believe it, he's sitting there trying to explain umping skills to the ump, as one of his coaches comes running out and pulling him by the arm -- the ump is giving him the stink eye! 6 K's now for Hough. Traverse City 2, Detroit 0

Top of the 5th
Julio Franco collects his second hit of the game to lead off the 5th, as Tiger second baseman Johnny Ray couldn't get the throw off in time. Terry Francona executes a textbook hit-and-run, as there is now runners on the corners with no outs. Jim Presley hits into a double play, but will do his job by getting Franco in to score from third, to cut the lead in half. Jose Uribe grounds out to the mound for the 3rd out.
Traverse City 2, Detroit 1

Top of the 7th
Brett Butler leads off with a single to shallow right for his 100th hit of the season. Butler is off and running with the next pitch, Bell hits what seemed to be a routine grounder, and it's off Ray's glove and into right, as Butler makes it to third, Bell is safe at first, an E-4 on Ray -- wondering if Butler's movements towards second distracted Ray, runners on the corners, as Ray makes it tough for Charlie Hough, as Julio Franco steps up to the plate. The Stars bring in pinch-runner Bobby Meacham for George Bell, Meacham will take over the DH duties in this one. Hough walks Franco, and that loads them up with no outs. Tigers will go to their pen, and go for a southpaw to face "Tito" Francona -- he'll go with Ken Dayley. Hough allowed 7 hits & walked 6, while striking out 7 batters; Dayley enters with a 2.80 ERA in 28 innings of work, he's got his work cut out for him. Dayley hands out a hat trick to Francona, as Francona has now struck out three times -- big K, but the threat is still very much alive. Dayley pitches to Presley, he grounds it to Ramirez, Ramirez to Barrett (who entered the inning as a defensive upgrade for Ray) for one over to first... double play! Dayley is pumped while walking off the mound. Hough is clapping in the dugout & is the first to high-five Dayley as he approaches the steps in the dugout! The score remains 2-1, Tigers!

Molitor: Out of Action.

Bottom of the 7th
Ron Hassey hits a ball to Julio Franco, where Franco biffed the play, and Hassey is safe, single-on-error by Hassey. Tigers mess up & pinch-hit Felix Fermin for Rafael Ramirez, he was supposed to pinch-run for Hassey, so Tigers now send achy Tim Raines out to first to pinch-run -- we'll see if Traverse City can get an insurance run despite the coaching miscues. Fermin finds his pitch, a perfectly executed control single as it skips by Franco into right, Raines makes it easily to third. Tigers had Fermin & Raines going as the pitch comes to the plate, Mookie Wilson lines it to Franco, snared, throws it quickly to first -- double play!

Top of the 8th
Brian Holton, the Tigers' setup man comes in with a stellar 1.79 ERA, with a 4-1 record (1 SV), as Fermin stays in at short, while Bob Boone takes over the catching duties for Hassey. Jose Uribe pops up for first out. The Stars will have Lou Whitaker pinch-hit for Bruce Benedict to face Holton; Holton sets up and fires, as Whitaker hits a routine grounder to Marty Barrett for out number two. Holton retires side as Tracy Jones pops out to shallow center with Barfield taking it in. Traverse City still holds a sliver of a lead, 2-1.

Bottom of the 8th
One-out single by Pete O'Brien that happens to trickle past the shortstop Uribe into left. Tigers decide to have Nick Esasky pinch-run for the slow O'Brien, and will likely take over the reigns at first for the night. Gubicza strikes out big Dave Winfield for the second out. Joe Carter is plunked in the leg with a pitch, he's down on the ground, still down, trainers come out, and he will gingerly get up and trot down to first. Gubicza settles back down & strikes out Paul Molitor.

Top of the 9th
Tigers call on their closer Doug Jones to hold down this tight game, he comes in with a 1.56 ERA in 40 innings & 23 Saves! Detroit decides to have switch-hitting Wallace Johnson come into the game to bat for Vince Coleman. The delivery, hot smash to Barrett, and just out of reach, Wallace continues his wonderful pinch-hitting success for the Stars, one on, no outs. Brett Butler steps up & sends a towering fly ball to left, Wilson is on the run, will it be deep enough? Nope, just a loud out. The Stars try to stir up some magic by having Dave Parker pinch-hit for Bobby Meacham, Parker was a nuisance in Game 2 for the Tigers -- hitting a HR & double, while collecting 2 RBI in the 6-0 victory. Jones sets & delivers, Parker sends this to straight-away center, as Barfield chases it down for the catch, two outs. It's all up to Julio Franco, gets the pitch, and sends this one to center, as Barfield tracks down the catch for the final out of the ballgame!

One earned run allowed by Charlie Hough as he will get the victory, 24th save for Jones -- and Gubicza pitches great in a losing effort

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 2, Detroit 1

Game 4

Word prior to the game that Paul Molitor is injured, and will not be able to play for four games -- The Tigers knew they were pushing it, as he's been playing pretty tired, his .324 batting average sure doesn't reflect it. Tigers will send Dave LaPoint (5-6, 3.71) to the mound against Andy Hawkins (4-11, 5.40).

Top of the 1st
Lead-off single to speedy Vince Coleman to start the game. Brett Butler smacks one to Tom O'Malley, O'Malley sets and fires it past Pete O'Brien, runners on first & second, and a E-5 on O'Malley in for the injured Molitor. George Bell pops up in the infield, for the first out to Ramirez. Julio Franco swings & misses, strike three, two down. Terry Francona pops up behind the plate, as Boone catches it next to the screen -- LaPoint & the Tigers get out this one unscathed!
Hawkins made it count for Detroit.

Top of the 2nd
O'Malley picks up his second error by throwing this one in the dirt & pulling first baseman Pete O'Brien off the bag for slow runner Jim Presley to make it safe at first on the error. Jose Uribe pops it behind the plate for the first out. Bruce Benedict hits a grounder to Ramirez, Ramirez to Ray for one, over to second, Benedict beats out the throw, a FC as they get the lead runner, two away. Tracy Jones hits a long fly out to Barfield in center. No runs, on what is becoming an interesting & scary fielding display by the Tigers, two errors early that have yet to cost them.

Top of the 4th
Two-out RBI single to right by Jose Uribe, as Julio Franco scores from second. Bruce Benedict hits a single to the left-center gap, Raines cuts it off on the bounce, Uribe holds second. 1st & 2nd for Tracy Jones, the pitch, as he pops it into foul territory behind first, 2B-Johnny Ray is over & catches for the final out... but not before the Detroit Stars strike first, 1-0.

Top of the 5th
Lead-off single by Vince Coleman, his second hit of the game. Julio Franco, hits a two-out single, and moves Coleman to second. Terry Francona hits a single to right, the runners were off with the pitch, Joe Carter throws it to home, and Coleman slides around the tag & is safe! Boone throws it to third -- SAFE! Runners on the corners, with two outs. Jim Presley hits a routine grounder to Ray, as Ray tosses it to Ramirez for the force. Detroit 2, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 5th
Tigers trying to find answers to Andy Hawkins, who only has allowed 3 hits to this point, have Johnny Ray on first (on a free pass) with Dave Winfield up with two outs. Ray is off with the pitch, as Winfield fails to make contact, a strike -- the throw to second, and he's safe! Ray's first steal of the season. Winfield ends up grounding out though, as the Stars still lead 2-0.

Bottom of the 6th
The Tigers may not be getting hits, but they are getting on base & not being able to take a advantage after a 5th walk allowed by Andy Hawkins. Traverse City scoreless through six.

Bottom of the 7th
A lead-off triple by Rafael Ramirez off Hawkins, let's see if T.C. can capitalize on this one. Tim Raines hits one deep to the shortstop Jose Uribe, Uribe turns down the throw to the plate and goes to first for the easier out, one away, but the Tigers are finally on the board as Ramirez scores. Johnny Ray gives this one a ride to center, but Coleman is there to chase it down, two away. The lefty Pete O'Brien laces a tweener into the right-center gap, as O'Brien will make second. The Stars will go to the pen, for Andy McGaffigan, who is 1-0, with a 2.67 ERA in 26 appearances for Detroit, he's looking for one out, as he faces Dave Winfield. McGaffigan sets up & fires, he's off the mark, and walks Winfield. The Stars' skipper is out again, and he will go with the stellar Bobby Thigpen  (1.45 ERA, 2 SVs). The Tigers decide to bring in pinch-runner for O'Brien, O'Brien leaves the game with three hits, as Felix Fermin will run for him. Thigpen does his job & gets Jor Carter to end the inning on a routine fly to right. Detroit 2, Traverse City 1
Thigpen sealed the Game 4 victory for Stars.

Top of the 8th
The Tigers have Nick Esasky at first, and call for a change at the mound, taking out Dave LaPoint, who pitched a fine 7-inning performance of 2 runs allowed. They call on Eric King for his 3rd appearance this series in relief, entering with a 3.83 ERA. King goes on to pitch a scoreless 1-2-3 inning to keep the Tigers' hopes alive.

Bottom of the 8th
Tigers pinch-hit lefty Ron Hassey to face righty Bobby Thigpen in a attempt to stir up a little magic, he'll come in for Bob Boone. Hassey ends up flying out to left-center, one down. Nothing more happens, as a easy 1-2-3 inning for Thigpen.

Top of the 9th
Ron Hassey stays in at backstop for T.C., as southpaw Juan Agosto takes over for King on the mound. Agosto cruises through a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom of the 9th
Rafael Ramirez leads off with a routine ground out to first. Tim Raines lays off a off-speed pitch and draws a walk. Johnny Ray steps up to the plate, Raines is off-and-running & Ray doesn't make contact, and Raines is caught in a rundown, as he is tagged out trying to retreat to first -- it appears that Ray either missed a sign or just didn't like the pitch he liked, but it looked like a hit-and-run was in effect, two away! Ray still up at the plate, waits for the pitch, hits one that's hugging the line at third, Presley lets it roll foul, but the ball refuses to nudge over the line -- Ray is safe at first, Tigers are still alive, as this one will look like a line-drive in tomorrow morning's box score. It's all up to Nick Esasky, who hits a routine grounder to Franco, Franco over to second for the easy force out, and that's the game folks!

Big save for Bobby Thigpen, and big win for Andy Hawkins, who despite the walks, pitched one of his best outings of the season when it counted.

FINAL SCORE: Detroit 2, Traverse City 1

Game 5

The series is tied 2-2, and the Tigers send their best to the mound in Greg Maddux (10-6, 3.12 ERA) against the Stars' Jose DeLeon (6-10, 3.87 ERA).

Top of the 1st
Brett Butler hits a deep fly to center that tails away from Jesse Barfield and drops in for a hit, Butler is on with a lead-off double. Lou Whitaker follows up with a RBI double. John Kruk hits a high hop grounder to deep third, O'Malley juggles it, the long throw to first, out! While Whitaker advances to third. Dave Parker taps it back to the mound, Maddux looks Whitaker over, over to first for the second out. Maddux walks Julio Franco. Runners on the corners for Jose Uribe, the pitch, breaking ball, called strike three. Detroit draws first blood, 1-0.

Bottom of the 2nd
Dave Winfield leads off with a single to the gap in left. With two outs, Ron Hassey hits a ball to deep third, Presley throws the ball past first baseman Kruk, as Winfield advances to third & Hassey moves over to second, E-5. Tom O'Malley hits a dying quail to right, drops in front of Butler, Winfield scores easily, as the Tigers hold Hassey at third. Ramirez hits into the inning-ending force, Tigers end up tying it up though, 1-1.

Bottom of the 3rd
Seeing-eye single to center between Uribe & Franco for Mookie Wilson to lead off the inning. Uribe takes a grounder off the chest by Ray, over to first out, as Wilson stands in at second. Pete O'Brien hits one to left that drops right in front of Parker, Wilson is around third, the throw to the plate, and he scores just under the tag -- Wilson just kept on running. Winfield hits one into the gap between Parker & Coleman, O'Brien could have a chance, but they'll be a bit conservative here, as Winfield trucks into second. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, with one out for Joe Carter, the pitch -- Carter chops this one down the first base line, Kruk is up with it, the under-hand throw to DeLeon & Carter is out, but O'Brien scores, Winfield moves up to third. Barfield grounds out to short for final out. Traverse City 3, Detroit 1

Bottom of the 4th
Ron Hassey leads off with a single to right, his second safety of the game. Tom O'Malley hits into a fielder's choice, as the Stars get the lead runner in Hassey at second for the out. Rafael Ramirez sends a deep fly to center, and Coleman chases it to the track, catches the ball & slams into the wall, and he's down. O'Malley will tag up and move to second, the ump calls time, and the Stars will take Vince Coleman out for precautionary measure -- Tracy Jones replaces Coleman at center. Two outs with a runner on second for Mookie Wilson, Wilson hits a room service bounce to Presley at third, the throw to first, side retired. Score remains -- Traverse City 3, Detroit 1

Report from the Detroit clubhouse, Vince Coleman will miss the next game of the series.

Bottom of the 5th
Lead-off single by Johnny Ray. DeLeon would retire the next two batters in O'Brien & Winfield (Winfield struck out). Joe Carter steps up, and shoots this one into the right field corner, Ray is chugging along, he'll score, Carter is stretching this one for a triple, the relay to third, and he's safe! Carter who has been struggling took it to another righty in DeLeon with two outs. Jesse Barfield scoots this one past Presley, Carter scores, and DeLeon will be heading to the showers early as the Detroit skipper comes walking out to the mound. Who's it going to be? The young 22 year-old prospect Jack McDowell, he comes in with a 4.78 ERA in 58.1 innings this season, he will try to do his best to keep the Stars in this game. Hassey grounds out to short for the final out. Traverse City 5, Detroit 1 -- The Tigers already have 10 hits in this one.

Top of the 6th
With Maddux on the mound, the last thing you want to do is give him a comfortable lead. Dave Parker drills one to right, that is robbed at the wall by Joe Carter for the second out. Julio Franco, the very next batter puts a charge into this one to the left field wall, Mookie times his jump, and comes back down it! Back-to-back terrific plays, it's not looking like Detroit's day.

Top of the 8th
Lead-off single for Tracy Jones of Detroit -- only the 4th hit by the Stars off Maddux. Brett Butler hits a single to left that drops in front of Mookie Wilson. Tigers will get the bullpen warming up just in case. Tigers try to stall momentarily, elects to have Maddux face lefty Lou Whitaker. The Stars' manager now calls Whitaker to the bench, and Terry Francona will hit for him instead. The Tigers now call for a change with lefty Juan Agosto (2.36 ERA in 38 appearances) -- Agosto sets up with the pitch, delivers, this one is smacked to left lands in front of Wilson, Jones is around third, he's going towards home & scores -- Butler moves to third. Runners on the corners, no outs, tying run at the plate in John Kruk. Stars go to the bench & call on righty George Bell, in which Traverse City counters with RHP Brian Holton, and upgrades second base defensively with Marty Barrett. Bell smacks this one deep to right, this could be trouble, Carter now has a read on it, and makes the catch, Tracy Jones decides not to test Carter's cannon of a arm, he has seen too much footage of Carter gunning people down at home. One out, Parker is now at the plate, and Tigers call on lefty Dave Leiper to try & get Parker to hit into a double play, or at least strike him out. Parker grounds out to O'Brien at first, he's out, but a run scores, as Francona moves to second. Tigers go to the pen once again for Jose Rijo to face righty Julio Franco. Rijo gets him to ground out to third for final out.
Traverse City holds a 5-3 edge.
Rijo: One of 5 relievers to finish off  Detroit.

Bottom of the 8th
Stars elect to go to the bullpen with Andy McGaffigan on the mound. Jesse Barfield legs out a one-out single, and then advances to second on a wild pitch by McGaffigan. McGaffigan walks Ron Hassey. O'Malley hits it to left, and Barfield rounds third and scores. Runners on 1st & 2nd, for Ramirez with one out; Ramirez will have to face righty Bobby Thigpen though -- which ends up being a routine fly out to center. Thigpen strikes out Mookie, but Traverse City tacks on another, 6-3 lead.

Top of the 9th
It's time for the Tigers' closer Doug Jones to do his thing against Detroit. With one out, Jim Presley hits a solo shot over Mookie's head, trimming Tigers' lead down to 6-4. Jones strikes out the next batter in Cerone, it's now up to Tracy Jones. Tracy Jones waits on Doug's pitch, hit to shallow center, Barfield is there for the final out.

Greg Maddux cruised through 7 innings, as Traverse City closed it out with 5 different relievers over a two-inning span, all doing their part.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 6, Detroit 4

Tigers lead the series 3-2

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

BoS's WEEK 1 Award Winners

"V for Vendetta"

You think Joey Votto (of the South Shore Fighting Imps) may have been a little steamed at the Chicago Nine for trading him? Votto seeked vengeance by hitting .458 (11-for-24), 3 HR, 11 RBI with an OPS of 1.477 -- in fact, he hit 7 RBI, going 4-for-5 in the Imps 20-5 victory over the Nine during the 6th & final game of the series.

Votto was involved in the league's only trade to date, in which the Chicago sent Votto & Brad Lincoln to South Shore in exchange for P-Kris Medlen, 1B/OF-Nick Swisher & OF-Dexter Fowler.

His performance earned him Week #1's American League Player of the Week Award.

The A.L. Pitcher of the Week was close between the Bronx Bombers' C.C. Sabathia and the Carolina Eagles' Justin Verlander. Although Verlander racked up 19 K's (allowing only 3 BB's) in his two outings against Boston (going 1-1), the award ends up going to Sabathia for his complete game shutout to earn the Game 2 win against the Buffalo Yankees, he also came into the series finale as a reliever, pitching 2 1/3 more innings of shutout ball & earning the victory. In total he went 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 11 1/3 innings, plus 16 strikeouts (allowing only 3 walks).

A.L. Honorable Mention:
  • SS/3B-Hanley Ramirez (Bronx) - .571, 16 hits, HR, 2 RBI (1.336 OPS).
  • OF-Ichiro Suzuki (Boston) - .308 (8-for-26), HR, 3 RBI & 4-for-4 in steals.
  • SP-Madison Bumgarner (Fairgrove) - 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 17 K & 2 BB (15 IP).
  • C/1B-Joe Mauer (South Shore) - .480 (12-for-25), 7 RBI.
  • SP- Justin Verlander (Carolina) - 1-1, 1.06 ERA, 2 CG, 19 K & 3 BB.

NATIONAL LEAGUE - "The Price is Right"

David Price showed exactly why the Urbana Locomotives took him at #12 overall for their first pick in the 2013 Inaugural Boys of Summer Draft. The Seattle Rainiers were no match for Price, as Price collected two of the team's victories in their 3-3 series split -- while striking out 22 batters (4 BB's) in 16 innings, with a 1.69 ERA. He collected a four-hit shutout in Game 2, while pitching 7 solid innings in Game 6 of the series. Price was the 4th starting pitcher taken in the draft, behind Clayton Kershaw (KING), Justin Verlander (CAR) & Felix Hernandez (CHI).

Price was the easy choice for this week's National League Pitcher of the Week.

Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (T.C.) set an early-league record by connecting for a home run, for four consecutive games against the King Road Kings; Although the feat was impressive, not to mention that he leads both leagues with 4 HR's (all solo shots), it was not good enough to earn this week's National League Player of the Week -- it would go to his teammate, third baseman Chris Johnson.

Johnson had some tough competition, a good handful of players from the Hannibal Cavemen were on the hunt (led by Buster Posey), while Portand's Todd Frazier & Sacramento's Erick Aybar had great weeks as well.

Johnson batted .389 (7-for-18), including league-record 3 HRs (all solo's) in Game 4 of their series with the Kings. Johnson also had 4 RBI, 3 runs for the week, while having a 1.421 OPS & the stat that put him over the edge of 19.4 Runs Created/Game.

N.L. Honorable Mention:
  • 3B-Todd Frazier (POR) - .313 (5-for-16), 3 HR, 5 RBI & 1.228 OPS.
  • C-Buster Posey (HAN) - .353 (6-for-17), 6 RBI.
  • SP-Gio Gonzalez (HAN) - 2-0, 3.29 ERA, 12 K & 2 BB in 13.2 IP.
  • OF-Denard Span (HAN) - .353 (6-for-17), RBI & 4 SB's.
  • SS-Erick Aybar (KING) - .563 (9-for-16), HR & 5 RBI.
  • OF-Giancarlo Stanton (T.C.) - .250, 4 HR & 8 RBI.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Homecoming for Crusaders

The Crusaders get ready for their home opener, as they look at packed crowd -- probably the most they will see all season, as they are probably here to see former player Miguel Cabrera, who never got to play as a Crusader, but will battling his former Severn teammates.

Game 1
Werth was red-hot in Game 1 against T.C.

It's Jered Weaver (HOL) against Mark Buehrle (TCC).

Top of 1st
One-out double by Kinsler. Cabrera hits a frozen rope to center. Buehrle intentionally walks Goldschmidt to face lefty Jay Bruce. Bruce strikes out.

Top of the 2nd
Welington Castillo hits a one-out double. With two outs, Emilio Bonifacio draws a walk. Jayson Werth hits a ball down the line, past a diving Pena, and it keeps rolling into the corner as Byrd is after it -- both Castillo & Bonifacio score, the relay is in, as Werth dives into third, a two-out, two-run triple!

Bottom of the 2nd
Brian Dozier hits a solo HR off of Weaver, it kept carrying until it went over the left field fence.
Crusaders trail 2-1.

Top of the 3rd
Miguel Cabrera, the former Severn Express star, singles over Dozier's head to keep his hitting-streak alive at 8 games now.

Top of the 5th
Lead-off double by Ian Kinsler, making it his 2nd double of the game. Miguel Cabrera pops it up behind second to Dozier, one away. Despite a great diving infield play by the pitcher Mark Buehrle, and a good throw from his knees, Paul Goldschmidt beats out the throw to first. Runners on 1st & 3rd, one out for Jay Bruce, Buehrle delivers, it's a fly to right, and he's out, Kinsler tags up & scores, as Goldschmidt retreats back to first. Hollywood 3, Traverse City 1

Top of the 6th
Mark Buehrle is taken out of the game after a lead-off single to Welington Castillo; Buerhle allowed 8 hits & 3 runs in 5 innings, he lowered his ERA to 5.40 now... it's a start. Dale Thayer comes in to relieve Buehrle. Thayer would give up a two-out, two-run HR to Jayson Werth to left-- make that 4 RBI for Werth! Hollywood 5, Traverse City 1

Top of the 8th
Jayson Werth collects a single for his 3rd hit of the game, he is now a double short of the cycle. The Werewolves leave the bases loaded.

Top of the 9th
The Crusaders' highlight of the night: Heath Bell strikes out the side.

Bottom of the 9th
Bobby Parnell goes 1/3 of an inning, by walking Pagan & allowing an RBI triple to Marlon Bryd. The lefty Javier A Lopez comes in for the save opportunity, he will first face Brian McCann. Crusaders decide to go to the bench for McCann & pinch-hit with Yan Gomes. Gomes clubs this one, it could be, and it drops into Alex Gordon's glove, but he'll have to get this one off as Marlon Bryd tags up, the play at the plate & he's....
SAFE! The lead has been trimmed to 5-3, with 2 outs. Dozier ends up grounding it hard to Cabrera at third, Cabrera throws it across the diamond, and they get him.

FINAL SCORE: Hollywood 5, Traverse City 3

Game 2

Yovani Gallardo is on the mound for T.C. (0-1, 8.44 ERA) against David Price who pitched 6 shutout innings with a victory this season.

Top of the 1st
One-out bases on balls for Christian Yelich. Miguel Cabrera hits one to left that just drops in front of Ryan Raburn, runners on 1st & 2nd, as Cabrera extends his hitting-streak to nine games. Paul Goldschmidt hits a routine fly to right, Yelich tags up & makes it to third safely, Cabrera stays at first. Jay Bruce steps up with two outs, and draws a free ticket, bases are now loaded for Alex Gordon. Gallardo comes with the pitch, and Gordon lines out. They leave them full.

The Werewolves' Price was all smiles.
Bottom of the 1st
Lead-off single to Craig Gentry. Price sets up, throws the fastball off Byrd's left elbow, he seems to be alright, as he trots down to first. Yan Gomes smacks one to right, but Werth spears it, the runners think about tagging, but hold. Ryan Raburn smacks one through the hole to right, Gentry is rounding third, Werth fires it in, as Gentry scores, Byrd holds second. Runners on 1st & 2nd, one out for Brian Dozier. Price comes to the plate, Dozier smacks it to Cabrera, Cabrera to second for one, over to first, double play! The Werewolves get out of the inning. Traverse City 1, Hollywood 0

Top of the 2nd
Back-to-back hits for the Wolves, Welington Castillo with a single & he moved to 3rd on Starlin Castro's double, no outs. The righty Gallardo gets the switch-hitting Bonifacio to go fishing -- big K. Jayson Werth gets hold of this one to dead center, Gentry is running out of room, he looks up, leaps up and grabs it over the wall -- Hollywood has the runners tagging, Castillo scores as the Crusaders cut it off to third, and he's safe! All tied up, two outs, and a runner on third now for rookie Christian Yelich --RBI single for Yelich, Castro scores, as the ball scooted past shortstop John McDonald. Miguel Cabrera steps up to the plate, finds his pitch, this one could be trouble, into the corner, Byrd is there, leaps & he's got it! Out number three, some great defense by the Crusaders! Hollywood leads though, 2-0.

Top of the 3rd
Back-to-back singles by Paul Goldschmidt & Jay Bruce. Hot smash by Alex Gordon to first, Kotchman is up with it, fires to second for one, McDonald over to first, not in time! Runners on the corners with one out, for the catcher Welington Castillo. Gallardo rocks & fires, Castillo smacks a single to right, Goldschmidt trots home, Gordon is trying for third, the throw, and he's safe ahead of the throw -- Runners still on the corners, as Hollywood adds to the lead. Another RBI single to right, Gordon scores easily, Castillo stretches it to 3rd safely, as Castro advances to second. The bullpen is very active right now for the Crusaders. Bonifacio grounds out to first, no advancement by the baserunners, two outs. Gallardo walks Jayson Werth, his 3rd walk allowed to go along with his 8 hits allowed. Yelich grounds it to McDonald at short, who turns to second for the force to end the inning. Hollywood 4, Traverse City 1

Bottom of the 3rd
With two outs, Marlon Byrd reaches first safely on a bad throw by Bonifacio (E-4). Yan Gomes follows up by hitting a single to left-center gap, cut off on the bounce by Gordon. Runners on 1st & 2nd, two outs, for Ryan Raburn, he has some pop, the pitch, and Raburn is left looking at a fastball over the plate -- Strike three! Side retired.

Top of the 4th
Gallardo still in the game. With one out, the Werewolves loaded up the bases on a single by Goldschmidt, Bruce getting plunked by a pitch, and another single by Alex Gordon. Welington Castillo steps up to the plate, the pitch, and it's a ball... ball four! A run is walked in, and that now brings up Starlin Castro. The Crusaders have seen enough, 10 hits & 4 walks allowed by Gallardo in 3.1 innings, he's responsible for all three runners -- as they go to the pen for Luke Gregerson, pretty early for Gregerson, we'll see how he deals with that. The pitch to Castro, strikes him out. Gregerson now only has Bonifacio to get through the inning, he delivers, another K for Gregerson! Only one run by the Werewolves, as they add to their lead, 5-1!

Top of the 5th
Jayson Werth sends a Gregerson pitch into orbit, solo shot to start off the inning. Goldschmidt collected his 3rd hit already, Hollywood has 12 hits after five. Hollywood 6, Traverse City 1

Top of the 7th
Cesar Ramos records 4 K's in 5 outs, before giving up a two-out double to Christian Yelich. Crusaders decide to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera & rather face Paul Goldschmidt. Crusaders go to the pen for Dale Thayer, the righty to face Goldschmidt. Thayer ties up Goldschmidt, big K, three down.

Top of the 8th
Alex Gordon scored an insurance run off a force, failed double play.

Bottom of the 8th
Two-out double for Brian Dozier, moves the runner to third base. Todd Frasier hits one into the gap in left, and both runners score. Finally, some action by the Crusaders even though it may be late. The runs prompted Hollywood to yank Bobby Parnell out for Koji Uehara. Carlos Pena comes in to pinch-hit for Casey Kotchman, and pops up to third for the final out. Hollywood 7, Traverse City 3

The Crusaders were helpless against the Werewolves, and have so far been out-hit 26-9 in two games this series. Crusaders lose their 3rd straight game & fall to 1-7, while Hollywood is built to contend with a 7-2 record, winning their 6th straight game.

FINAL SCORE: Hollywood 7, Traverse City 3

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