Sunday, May 31, 2015

2014 BoS World Series: The Match-up

After writing that ridiculous write-up of Game #6 of the NLCS game between the Portland Microbrewers and the Traverse City Panthers, an epic game that ended up going 20 innings with a few bizarre moments. I had to skip writing the end of Game #7 -- just like the Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, the game was just an afterthought, footnote, compared to the previous game; Much in the same way as the 2004 World Series was anti-climatic compared to the amazing comeback that the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees in the ALCS, coming back from a 3-0 deficit.

The Traverse City Panthers, down 2-0 & 3-2 at points in the 2015 BoS NLCS, could not pull off the series victory, even if they pulled off the 20-inning, instant league classic in Portland. The Panthers lost Game 7 to Portland, Mike Trout took his frustration out with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first that would set the tone (Trout struck out 6 times in the 20-inning game). Matt Harvey (the slated Game 7 starter) was not good to go, so the Panthers went with Alex Cobb. Cobb did not have his best stuff allowing 4 ER's on 5 hits & 5 BB's in 5 innings. Matt Carpenter added 2 hits for the Panthers, but the rest of the team seemed to suffer a hangover from the night before.

I always felt Portland was the more deserving team in the NLCS, it was simply not my (Traverse City's) time for the Panthers to move on. Portland was the kings of the National League, and owned that league throughout the season; Owner/Manager Brad Stark has them returning to the World Series for a second year in a row -- They lost last year's BoS World Series to the South Shore Fighting Imps.

The Fairgrove Tigers won the 2014 American League Series over the defending World Champs - South Shore; 4-1. This is Fairgrove's second post-season as well, last season they got knocked off by the wildcard Boston Bravos. Home-field goes to the N.L. this year, so Games 1&2 will be in Portland, 3-5 in Fairgrove, and back to Portland (if necessary) for Game 6 & 7.

The two teams that are similar in many ways.
  • Wins: Portland 108 wins, Fairgrove 107
  • Fielding Pct: Portland .985, Fairgrove .984
  • Batting Average: Fairgrove .261, Portland .259
Portland has more power with 230-165 HR's, likely giving that OPS the .780-.741 edge. Portland's ERA is 2.67 to Fairgrove's 2.85; Portland's rotation may be better, but Fairgrove has an X-Factor in Madison Bumgarner, who is the best pitcher among both staffs.

As commissioner I won't make a prediction on who will win it, but I believe it will go at least 6 games, probably 7 -- these two teams are pretty even.

It should be a good series.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2014 BoS Playoffs: What a Game! (Game 6 - NLCS)

Fisk & the Red Sox won an amazing game that would become the measuring stick in MLB Playoff history.
You are in for a treat, when BoS owner/manager Brad Stark sent the APBA script provided by APBA BBW to our Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League Facebook Group, he would go on to say this...

After he finished the game, he posted the following, and here was a couple of our reactions without spoiling anything for everyone...


Now before we dive into the action of Game 6 of the NLCS, let's explain to all of you just joining us, how we got to this point. The Portland Microbrewers nearly broke the BoS (Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League) record of wins in a single-season with their 108 wins (The record is held by last season's World Champion - South Shore Fighting Imps with 110 wins); Portland lost the World Series to South Shore, last season, 4-1. South Shore just suffered a 4-1 series loss in the A.L. to the Fairgrove Tigers. Fairgrove awaits the winner of this series between Portland and the Traverse City Panthers.

The Traverse City Panthers was the only remaining wild card & non-100+ game winner left in the final four this season: Portland led the pack, while Fairgrove had an A.L. best 107 wins, with South Shore winning 104 games (South Shore has won 214 games in two seasons). The Panthers are one year removed from setting a league-worse 46-116 record, ending up with the top overall pick (Yasiel Puig), making a big trades that mid-season last year that landed Hunter Pence and Corey Kluber, plus the emergence of players like Josh Donaldson and Matt Carpenter have made the Panthers, a remarkable 44-game improvement in victories over one season. 

Portland had a first-round bye (given to teams with the league's best record) while the other two teams in the league would battle in a best-of-five in the League Division Series; the Panthers would defeat the team that won their division (the N.L. East) Hannibal Cavemen, 3-1. Portland, of course, had home-field advantage over T.C. for the National League Championship Series -- they would win the first two games, 3-1 & 3-0, behind great pitching performances by Bartolo Colon & Hisashi Iwakuma. The Panthers would battle back in their home confines by edging Portland by a run in both Game 3 (4-3) and Game 4 (3-2); Portland would jump off to 4-0 lead in the first inning of Game 5, but those pesky Panthers would scratch back, only to lose 4-3.

Now the series comes back to the great northwest, as the Portland Microbrewers send out Hisahi Iwakuma to the mound to battle Traverse City's Julio Teheran

GAME 6 (at Portland)

The game in the early part would play out like most other games, 

Bottom of the 2nd - Freddie Freeman lines a single to right, for only his 5th hit of the series, he's been much quieter in this season's post season (compared to his epic series against Urbana in the NLCS last year). Jhonny Peralta facing Julio Teheran, bangs a single to left center that drops between Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig, Freeman rounds third, the throw comes into Brian Dozier, and Portland is holding Freeman, as Peralta pulls into second with a double. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, no outs, for Juan Uribe, as T.C. pulls in the infield -- the pitch, strike three! Teheran gets the much-needed strikeout. Infield still drawn in, the pitch to Alfonso Soriano, it's grounded hard to short, Brian Dozier fields it, fires it to home, and Freeman missed getting in -- Two outs, as Soriano is on first. Runners on 1st & 3rd now, with two outs for Colby Rasmus, hits a liner to left center, base hit, Puig is over, Peralta will score, Soriano is well around second, but will hold. Russell Martin would hit into a fielder's choice, as Jordy Mercer flips it Dozier at second. Portland strikes first; Portland 1, Traverse City 0

Top of the 3rd - Giancarlo Stanton ropes a single to right. Jordy Mercer squares & bunts it down the first base line, Freddie Freeman is there & flips the ball to first where second baseman Jason Kipnis is covering, one out, Stanton to second. Brian Dozier hits a bullet right at Jhonny Peralta - caught! Two down. Tying runner still one second, the pitch to Matt Carpenter, grounds it into the hole, and it goes by Peralta into left, Stanton is well around third, they're waving him, he's in standing, tie game! Hisashi Iwakuma would strike out Yasiel Puig for the third out. 
Portland 1, Traverse City 1

Top of the 4th - With one out Josh Donaldson would hit a deep fly to left, giving Colby Rasmus a good run after it, Rasmus would get there barely, to make a great catch. Jason Castro makes a mistake swing, a slow roller to the left side, forcing Jhonny Peralta to make a wild throw (E6 on Peralta), runner on first, with two outs. Hisashi Iwakuma would record his 6th strikeout by putting a K on Hunter Pence

Bottom of the 5th- One out, bases empty for Jason Kipnis, the game still tied 1-1, and the rain starts to come down; The umpire calls time, and we got our selves a rain delay folks!


Game resumes, we'll see if these starting pitchers are still fresh. Panthers' starter Julio Teheran comes to the plate with the heater, Kipnis grounds it towards second, Jordy Mercer dives, and it scoots by him, base hit. One out, Mike Trout to the plate, Kipnis is off and running with the pitch, the ball is rocketed over Josh Donaldson's head at third, to left, as Kipnis will reach third -- Trout rounds first & holds; Trout's 6th hit of the series. Runners on the corners, one out for Carlos Gonzalez, the pitch, bouncer to Mercer, goes to second for one, back to first for two... oh, double play & Traverse City gets out of trouble, as Teheran pumps his fist in satisfaction.

Carpenter putting together a great series for T.C.
Top of the 6th - Matt Carpenter hits a fly ball off Hisashi Iwakuma, to right center, Mike Trout is on his horse, but he won't get there, it's off the wall! Carpenter will reach second easily, his 2nd hit of the game & 2nd double of the series -- that gives Carpernter, 8 hits for the series. Yasiel Puig follows by hitting a single to left, Colby Rasmus is right there, Carpenter rounds third, but holds, as the relay throw comes in. Runners on the corners, with no outs, for Brandon Belt; Belt rips one down the left field line, fair ball! Carpenter will score, Rasmus tracks the ball down quickly, Puig is around second, as the strong throw comes into Jhonny Peralta; Puig holds at second. Runners on 1st & 2nd, no outs, and Traverse City owns a 2-1 lead -- with Josh Donaldson coming to the plate. Iwakuma pitches a ball outside for ball one, as Portland's manager Brad Stark decided to go to the bullpen, calling on Alfredo Simon; Iwakuma exits with 5 innings of work, two runs (so far) on 5 hits, plus 6 K's -- he's responsible for the runners. Simon gets Donaldson to pop out to second for out number one. Jason Castro would hit into a inning-ending double play to prevent any more damage to Portland. 
Traverse City 2, Portland 1

Bottom of the 6th - One out, Jhonny Peralta bruises a Julio Teheran heater to the gap in left center, but Giancarlo Stanton is there to flag it down on the first bounce, Peralta dares not to stretch it, and holds with a single; That was Peralta's second hit of the game. Juan Uribe hits a one-hopper back to the mound, Teheran is up with it, to first, for the second out, as Peralta moves up to second. Alfonso Soriano bounces one up the middle, as it sneaks by Brian Dozier and Jordy Mercer -- Peralta is around third, they're waving him in, here's comes the throw home, and he's in standing... tie ballgame! Soriano holds at first with a single. Colby Rasmus hits a deep fly to right, for the third out. Portland 2, Traverse City 2

Hunter Pence smacks solo HR in the 7th.
Top of the 7th - Hunter Pence leads off the 7th with a deep solo blast off Alfredo Simon to left field. With one out, Jordy Mercer hits a single to right that had eyes, splitting Jason Kipnis & Freddie Freeman. Brian Dozier would go down on strikes for out number two. Matt Carpenter collects his 3rd hit of the game, a soft blooper to right, as Carlos Gonzalez cuts it off on the bounce, Mercer is well around second, they are waving him in, here comes the throw, and he's safe... ahead of the throw. Runners on the corner, and Portland's manager has seen enough, and calls on reliever Nick Vincent, the right-hander to face Yasiel Puig; Vincent has 1.1 innings of work for a 0.00 ERA this series, while Simon goes 1.2 innings this game in relief, one earned run (so far), on 3 hits, a HR & K -- he is responsible for the runners. Vincent with the pitch, fastball, and it hits him right in the helmet, Puig is down, but he seems to be okay, as he wanders down to first in a daze; The bases are now loaded! The Panthers would fail to capitalize as Brandon Belt flies to left for the final out. 
Traverse City 3, Portland 2

Bottom of the 7th - Julio Teheran exits after 6 innings of work, the kid allowed 2 runs on 9 hits, with 4 strikeouts on the night. His relief will be Brandon Kintzler, his 3rd appearance of the series, in which the other two games combined for only one-third of an inning & a generous 54.00 ERA to go with it. Kintzler would cruise through a 1-2-3 inning.

Top of the 8th - Portland's Nick Vincent strikes out Josh Donaldson, leading off the 8th. Brad Stark, the Microbrewers' manager will come to the mound & signal to the pen. The southpaw Tony Watson will come into the game; Vincent goes 0.2 innings, no runs, no hits & a K. Watson walks the first batter in Jason Castro. Stark is back out, asking Watson for the ball, Watson doesn't get the job done, as Portland will call on Joaquin Benoit; Benoit has worked 0.2 innings with a 4.50 ERA this series -- He's looking for the double play. Hunter Pence strides up to the plate, pounds it on the ground, Jason Kipnis stops it on one hop, to Jhonny Peralta for one, leaps over Castro, guns it to first, not in time! Pence is safe, but they do get the lead runner, two down. Giancarlo Stanton steps to the plate, the pitch from Benoit, Pence is sprinting toward second, the throw from Russell Martin, it's too late as Pence dusts himself off with his second stolen base of the series. The Brewers decide now that first base is open, to not take their chances with Stanton, as he is intentionally walked. Ends up being a good decision as Benoit gets Jordy Mercer to fly out to Carlos Gonzalez in right center. Panthers still lead, 3-2.

Bottom of the 8th - Sean Doolittle, the lefty, takes over for Brandon Kintzler on the mound. Doolittle's first task is to face lefty Carlos Gonzalez, which he strikes him out. Doolittle would rack up another K in Jhonny Peralta, two at-bats later, through a quick 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom of the 9th - The Panthers call on their closer Dan Otero. Otero was drafted by Traverse City, with the pick they acquired from Boston in the Matt Garza trade; He led the Panthers with 22 Saves, while posting a 1.28 ERA with 31 K's in 42.1 innings this series, he has 2 saves this series (not allowing a run) -- he earned the closer job from Cody Allen. The Panthers have also made some defensive changes, Jean Segura is now playing short, Jordy Mercer moves to second, Devin Mesoraco is now catching.

Dan Otero to face the first batter, Juan Uribe, the pitch, grounded to the right side, Jordy Mercer is up with it, throws to first, in time for the first out. Alfonso Soriano comes up, and drives the ball to the gap in right, Hunter Pence can't get there, it falls in, Soriano is off to second, digging, the throw from Yasiel Puig & he's SAFE! A double for Soriano, he is now the tying run as Portland is in business; Soriano's 2nd double of the game (4th of the series). Portland's manager checks out his score sheet, he'll have Coco Crisp run for Soriano, that will not make Crisp the DH. Crisp has a big lead at second, Otero comes home with it, swung on by Colby Rasmus, base hit down the right field line, Pence is after it, has it, Crisp rounds third, they are waving him in, the throw to the plate, and he's SAFE! Safe, just under the tag, it's all tied up! This Portland crowd is going crazy after a huge hit for Rasmus, who holds with a single. Russell Martin comes to the plate, the pitch, it's slapped towards second, Mercer to Segura covering second for one, Jean Segura over to first, double play! We go to extras!

Rasmus delivers a huge hit in the bottom of the 9th for Portland to keep the game alive.

Top of the 10th - Looking like a quick inning after a great defensive play, long throw by Jhonny Peralta to get Josh Donaldson out at first & Joaquin Benoit striking out Devin Mesoraco -- Hunter Pence hits a double to the right center gap. Portland changes pitchers again, and goes with the right-hander Mark Melancon. Melancon intentionally walks Giancarlo Stanton to face Jordy Mercer; Traverse City counters with the lefty Alejandro De Aza to face Melancon. The pitch to De Aza, he grounds it to short, Peralta to Jason Kipnis at second for the force & they get him to retire the side.

Bottom of the 10th - Dan Otero still in the game, retires the side, in which Mike Trout strikes out a third time. 

Bottom of the 11th - Freddie Freeman hits a lead-off double to the right field corner, off of Dan Otero, he thought about going for third, but will hold, the winning run is on second; Freeman's second hit of the game. Jhonny Peralta is now up, and the Panthers are putting him on first, they rather take their chances with Juan Uribe. Now the Panthers' manager Shawn Baier is out to the mound, he signals to the pen, they are calling on "Mr.Consistency" Luke Gregerson to take over for Otero; Otero pitched 2 innings in relief, one earned run.. so far, on 3 hits, a strikeout & walk -- he's responsible for the runners. We have a pause in the action, as Portland will have Charlie Blackmon pinch-run for Freeman at second. Gregerson delivers the pitch to Uribe, it's hit right back to the mound, Gregerson is up with it, turns & fires to second for one, over to first -- bang, bang! double play for the Panthers, but the Brewers' winning run (Blackmon) is now on third base. Coco Crisp's turn to play hero, but the Panthers have other ideas as they intentionally walk him, taking their chances with Colby Rasmus -- the same Rasmus who tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Panthers' manager is walking back to the mound again, as the southpaw Tim Collins comes out of the pen to face the lefty Rasmus; Rasmus hits an easy bouncer to Ryan Raburn (now playing second for Mercer), flips it to Jean Segura at second for the force -- out number three, runner stranded!
Traverse City 3, Portland 3

Freeman delivered a lead-off double in 11th.
Top of the 12th - Adam Lind will take over at first base for Freddie Freeman, Charlie Blackmon is out of the game. Mark Melancon, still in the game, strikes out Josh Donaldson. Devin Mesoraco, gets a hold of this one, deep to left field, has plenty of carry... fair or foul? FOUL! by a foot or two, too close for comfort for Melancon. Melancon with another pitch, its pulled hard, into the hole, past Juan Uribe at third, Jhonny Peralta is there, spins, the long throw to first, OUT! Two down, who is this guy, playing short?! He has now made two web gems here in extras. Hunter Pence is no challenge to Melancon, as he strikes out a third time.

Bottom of the 12th - Tim Collins still on the mound for Traverse. Jean Segura flashes some leather, stealing a base hit from Russell Martin. Jason Kipnis hits a single to center. Collins throws it over to first a few times, keeping tabs on Kipnis. Mike Trout fails to deliver, by striking out a fourth time. Carlos Gonzalez comes to the plate, the pitch, taken for a strike, Kipnis is off-and-running, Devin Mesoraco strong-arms it down there, the sweep tag & he's SAFE! Late throw, that's his 2nd steal of the series, 2nd steal of the game for Portland -- the winning run is now on second. The Panthers & Collins decide to give Carlos, the free bag -- they rather have Collins take his chances with Adam Lind. Collins with the pitch, it's a hard liner to Ryan Raburn at first -- CAUGHT! Three down; another failed opportunity for Portland.

Top of the 13th - Giancarlo Stanton facing Mark Melancon, drive pitch to the gap in right, Carlos Gonzalez can't get there in time as it falls in, Stanton is headed for second, digging, Mike Trout has it, guns it to second, lays the tag on him, SAFE! The ump signals safe, a double for Stanton, the go-ahead run is now at second; Stanton's second hit of the game & series. Ryan Raburn grounds it towards second, no play at third, the flip to first, in time, that's one out -- Stanton is now on third. Jean Segura is now up, the Portland infield has been pulled in, the pitch, the squeeze is on, bunted on & missed, Russell Martin fires to third, Stanton dives back towards third, SAFE! Just gets back in there. Another pitch to Segura, Segura again squares, Stanton breaks for the plate, fouled away, strike two. The two-strike pitch to Segura, swung on, strike three -- Big K for Melancon & the Brew Crew. Matt Carpenter lifts a rain bringer down the right field line, Gonzalez has it all the way, out number three.
Stanton delivers a double in the 13th, reaches third base, before being stranded.
Top of the 14th - Mark Melancon still in the game for Portland, gets Yasiel Puig to fly out to right. 
Brandon Belt hits a high and deep ball to center, Mike Trout is on the run, it's starts to tail away from him & it drops in, Belt headed for second, he's into second safe ahead of the throw. T.C. now has the go-ahead run on second, that's the 12th hit of the ballgame for the Panthers, 6th hit & 2nd double for Belt. With one & a man on second, Portland's manager heads towards the mound, he'll make a switch, who are you going to call? It's Glen Perkins, last season's N.L. Fireman of the Year; Melancon pitched 3.2 innings, yielded 3 hits, a walk, fanning four -- he's responsible for Stanton on second. Perkins will have to first get through Josh Donaldson, and he does as Donaldson flies out to center, no advancement by the base runner. Devin Mesoraco does nothing as well, popping up for the third out. We are still tied up, 3-3!

Bottom of the 14th - Colby Rasmus facing Tim Collins, it's a blast to center, Yasiel Puig runs straight back, turns & reaches -- one away! Just a loud out. Russell Martin hits a nubber to the left of the mound, Jean Segura charges in, bare-hands it, fires to first for out number two. Collins with a fast one upstairs, Jason Kipnis doesn't offer & Collins gets the call -- strike three! Third out, as Kipnis shakes his head in disbelief at the ump; That is back-to-back 1-2-3 innings for Collins, who has done more than his part for the Panthers. 
Crisp makes things interesting in the 16th.

Bottom of the 15th - The Panthers will go with a new pitcher in right-hander Tanner Scheppers, Tim Collins goes 3.1 innings, allowing no runs on only one hit & one walk, with 4 strikeouts for the night. Scheppers' first assignment? Mike Trout; Trout strikes out for the 5th time of the night -- you won't see that often. Scheppers gets through Carlos Gonzalez and Adam Lind with no problem.

Bottom of the 16th - After one quick inning by Tanner Scheppers, the Panthers call on Cody Allen here in the 16th. Allen strikes out Jhonny Peralta & gets Juan Uribe to fly out to center. Coco Crisp hits a two-out single right, for his 1st hit of the series -- the winning run is on first. Coco with two full strides off first, Allen delivers, Crisp breaks hard for second, Devin Mesoraco digs it out & fires, SAFE! That's the 3rd stolen base in this game for Portland. Traverse City's defense has been breached, the winning run is now on second. Allen intentionally walks Colby Rasmus, runners on 1st & 2nd with two outs -- They rather face the .150 hitter in Russell Martin than Rasmus, who is batting .292. The Microbrewers will counter with pinch-hitting lefty Eric Chavez to bat against the righty Allen; the offering to Chavez, well hit fly ball, left center, Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig converge, Stanton calls him off, makes the catch. The game will now head towards the 17th!

Top of the 17th - A.J. Ellis will now be doing the catching behind the plate for Portland, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez are out of the game. Glen Perkins cruises through the Panthers, 1-2-3.

Bottom of the 17th - Cody Allen strikes out the side, Mike Trout strikes out a 6th time in the ballgame. 

Top of the 18th - Glen Perkins racks up two K's in a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Giancarlo Stanton & Ryan Raburn to end the inning. 
Lind sparks a lead-off double in 18th.

Bottom of the 18th - Cody Allen against Adam Lind here in the 18th, the offering, it's ripped to right center, base hit, Yasiel Puig is chasing it down, he'll have to hurry, Lind is trying for two, the throw, and he's safe at second -- The winning run is on second for Portland with no outs; That's the 15th hit for the Microbrewers in this game. Allen intentionally walks Jhonny Peralta, and will take their chances with Juan Uribe. Uribe hits an easy bouncer to Ryan Raburn, could be two, flips it to Jean Segura at second, over to first -- bang, bang! double play, but the lead runner is now on third. Coco Crisp steps to the plate, Allen once again is putting a batter on this inning, he'll take his chances with Colby Rasmus. Allen cranks it up, another easy bouncer to Raburn over to second for the force, third out. Just like the Energizer Bunny... this game keeps going and going.

Top of the 19th - Jean Segura leading off against Glen Perkins, hit in the air to right, Carlos Gonzalez is there with the easy catch, one down. Matt Carpenter comes to the plate, grounds into the hole, Adam Lind to his right, and it's through -- that's the 4th hit of the game for Carpenter, his 10th hit of the series. First baseman Lind is holding the runner on, the pitch, strikes out Yasiel Puig, that's two outs -- Puig has now struck out 3 times. Brandon Belt comes to the plate, who has had some big hits in the NLDS, the pitch, swung on, and it's pulled hard to right, base hit, "CarGo" has a long way to go, he's there, Carpenter's around third, Gonzalez sets and fires, as they're waving Carpenter in, the play at the plate, and he's OUT! Just missed getting in, what a throw by Carlos Gonzalez

Bottom of the 19th - Game of course, is still tied 3-3; A.J. Ellis leads the inning off against Cody Allen who is still on the mound for the T.C. Panthers -- the pitch, and Ellis goes down swinging, one away. Allen against Jason Kipnis, the pitch, checked swing, they check with the third base ump, he went around, a pair of K's for Allen here in the 19th! Kipnis has now struck out three times. Mike Trout comes to the plate, has struck out an unbelievable 6 times tonight, the pitch, hit hard towards the gap in right center, Yasiel Puig is racing back, he won't get it, bounces off the wall, he's up with it, as Trout cruises into second with a two-out double -- Portland is once again, in position to finish victorious, but have yet to follow through. The pitching coach comes out to the mound, chats with Allen; Allen sets against the next batter Carlos Gonzalez, and they are putting him on first, they rather face the .200 hitter in Adam Lind, even though Gonzalez is only batting .217 this series. The Panthers' manager starts heading to the mound, that will be it for Allen, he pitched a long stretch tonight, with 3.2 innings, allowing 3 hits, 4 walks, while striking out 6 Brewers -- while falling into all kinds of good luck, but he's responsible for the runners on 1st & 2nd; The Panthers call on Tyler Clippard, who has a 5.40 ERA in 1.2 innings of work in this NLCS. Clippard sets up against Lind, and strikes him out for the third out, more Brewers stranded!

Top of the 20th - Josh Donaldson steps into the box, to face Glen Perkins -- Perkins winds and fires, Donaldson bounces one toward short, grabbed on two hops by Jhonny Peralta, the throw to first, for out number one. Perkins delivers to Devin Mesoraco, whistled to right, in there for a hit, Carlos Gonzalez momentarily bobbles the ball, but Mesoraco will stick with the single -- his first hit of the series. Perkins strikes out Hunter Pence for out number two, Pence has now struck out 5 times! One man on first, as Giancarlo Stanton heads for the box -- Perkins sets, the pitch, Stanton hangs out a frozen rope, left field, Colby Rasmus charges in for it, but he'll have to short-hop it, Mesoraco around second, but he'll hold, as the third base coach flashes the stop sign. Stanton who missed quite a bit of this series, has three hits here in Game 6 -- he's trying to help the Panthers tie up this series, and force a Game 7. Runners on 1st & 2nd for Ryan Raburn, facing Perkins, the runners take their lead, the pitch is on the way, half swing, strike three! No, wait, the bat hit A.J. Ellis's mitt, the ump calls interference on Ellis and Portland, and Raburn is awarded first, loading up the bases -- The Brewers now have committed 2 errors. Glen Perkins sets against Jean Segura, the runners take their lead, Perkins deals, Segura whacks it into right field, Gonzalez is over, he takes it on the bounce, Mesoraco scores, Stanton is well around third, Raburn's around second, they are waving in Stanton, the throw home, and he's safe ahead of the throw -- The Panthers have broke the stand still here in Portland, the first runs in the game since the bottom of the 9th, almost 11 full innings ago! Panthers up, 5-3, and Matt Carpenter, who already has 4 hits in this one, strolls to the plate with runners on 1st & 2nd, two outs; Perkins delivers, strikes out Carpenter. Traverse City 5, Portland 3

Raburn gets some love from teammates in dugout, after interesting game-altering moment during top of the 20th.

Bottom of the 20th - Jhonny Peralta facing Tyler Clippard, Peralta strikes out a fourth time in the ball game. Juan Uribe is up now, Clippard delivers, and Uribe goes the other way, slashing a single through the hole -- that is Uribe's 7th hit of the series. One on first, with one out, Clippard rocks & fires, jams Coco Crisp on the hands, it rolls slowly toward short, and Crisp picks up a scratch base hit, the 18th hit for the Brew Crew, with the tying run on second. The next batter is Colby Rasmus, who delivered the big hit in the bottom of the 9th to keep Portland alive in this game, can he do it again? The pitch from Clippard, it's popped up behind the plate, Devin Mesoraco tosses his mask away, back towards the screen, and makes the catch, two down, with two on! A.J. Ellis is now Portland's last chance, Clippard brings it, it's a line drive off the bat of Ellis, Giancarlo Stanton running to the gap, it stays up for him, he gathers it in, while Ellis thought he had himself a big hit.

The Portland Microbrewers had far more opportunities here in extras, to put this series away, and now the Traverse City Panthers live for another day. This one certainly goes down as an instant classic in the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League's young history.
FINAL SCORE : Traverse City 5, Portland 3

Stay tuned for Game 7 NLCS Results... Who will go on to play the American League Champion - Fairgrove Tigers? The Panthers or the Microbrewers? Game 7 is in Portland, series knotted up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fairgrove Dethrones Imps (BoS'14 Playoffs)

The Fairgrove Tigers won their American League Championship Series, 4-1, against the defending BoS World Champions - South Shore Fighting Imps. For a second straight season, the ALCS was a quick series, while the National League is once again dragging out their series as it appears.

Bumgarner was all business, all work horse in the ALCS.

  • Game 1  (at Fairgrove); FINAL SCORE: Fairgrove 5, South Shore 1
Two words: Madison Bumgarner; Bumgarner pitches a complete game victory, allowing only 4 hits & 2 walks, while striking out 9 Imps. Paul Goldschmidt & David Freese each hit two-run HR's. The Tigers didn't do much better in the hits department (5 hits).
  • Game 2 (at Fairgrove); FINAL SCORE: Fairgrove 2, South Shore 0
Two-run HR in the bottom of the 5th Inning by Tigers' shortstop Jed Lowrie was the difference in this one, the one big mistake by South Shore's starting pitcher Mike Leake, who otherwise had a pretty good outing: 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 K & BB. Meanwhile, the Tigers' Jarred Cossart was wearing a horse shoe somewhere, allowing 6 walks, but only 3 hits, in 7.1 innings, with 7 K's. 
  • Game 3 (at South Shore); FINAL SCORE: Fairgrove 6, South Shore 1
Jed Lowrie strikes again, with his 2nd HR of the series, adding 2 RBI to his total of 6; while C.J. Wilson pitches a solid 8-inning game, allowing 7 hits & 2 walks, but only 1 ER, with 4 K's. South Shore's came up with 9 hits, better than in their previous two ALCS games, which totaled 9 hits. John Lackey couldn't channel in on that playoff magic he has witnessed in the Majors; allowing 3 ER's in 6 innings. 
  • Game 4 (at South Shore); FINAL SCORE: South Shore 5, Fairgrove 4
Matt Holliday hits a walk-off single to keep the Fighting Imps' alive, avoiding the sweep. Mat Latos was lousy for the Tigers, allowing 8 hits, 4 walks & 4 runs in 5.2 innings; Tigers bullpen goes 3 scoreless until the winning run, in a good attempt to try to get the Tigers back in this one. The Imps had 6 doubles out of their 11 hits, led by their heart of the order in Ben Zobrist (2 hits & 2 RBI), David Wright (2 hits), Carlos Beltran (3 hits) & Joey Votto (2 hits).
  • Game 5 (at South Shore); FINAL SCORE: Fairgrove 2, South Shore 1
Madison Bumgarner bookends the series, with a 7-inning, 4 hit, 1 ER performance in the series finale for 9 K's; Bumgarner went 2-0, with a 0.56 ERA, 18 K's in 16 innings! David Freese hit a two-run double in the top of the 4th for the Tigers, while Matt Holliday went 3-for-4, with a solo HR for South Shore in a losing effort.

FAIRGROVE wins series, 4-1

The Fairgrove Tigers await the winners of the NLCS, Portland currently leads T.C., 3-2 going back to Portland. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Roaring Tigers off to 8-2 Start (NXPL)

The ace of my 1981 Tigers.
My Detroit Tigers of the NXPL (No Expansion Professional League) are off to an 8-2, first place start after two 4-1 series victories over the Seattle Mariners (at home) and the Toronto Blue Jays (on the road). They will try to keep their great start going with their next, as they continue on the road to play the second-place Minnesota Twins (7-3) and the Boston Red Sox (5-5).

My pitching has been impressive, with the overall team locked down at a 1.72 ERA in 10 games, with my bullpen logging a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings.

Pete Redfern (my #4 starter) is 2-0, with a 0.00 ERA in two quality starts for 13 innings, allowing 8 hits and one run (no unearned runs); Redfern also has 7 K's. Most of my starters don't have big-time strikeout power, only Mario Soto (1-1, 1.32) fits that bill, and he leads the team with 12 K's in 13 innings of work.

The rotation so far / 2 starts each:

  • Tom Seaver: 0-1, 1.80 ERA, 7 K/6 BB & 1.200 WHIP (15 IP).
  • Mario Soto: 1-1, 1.32 ERA, 12 K/3 BB & 1.171 WHIP (13.2 IP).
  • Dan Petry: 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 9 K/5 BB & 1.023 WHIP (14.2 IP).
  • Pete Redfern: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 K/4 BB & 0.923 WHIP (13 IP).
  • Steve Trout: 1-0, 2.19 ERA, 3 K/2 BB & 1.459 WHIP (12.1 IP).
My bullpen will be that of a committee, most of the time. My bullpen has logged 5 Saves & 6 Holds; Dave Tobik leads the team with 3 Saves, while Randy Martz has 2 Saves. Andy Hassler has been so far a pivotal piece with the Tigers, with 3 Holds & 5.1 scoreless innings of relief, with 4 K's & one hit allowed (0.188 WHIP).

The lineup did much better against Toronto, than in our first series against Seattle. I believe we barely batted over the Mendoza line that first series, and now have our team average up to .254; Led by Kirk Gibson (.371, 3 HR & 7 RBI, with 13 hits), Jason Thompson (.250, 2 HR & team-lead 8 RBI) & Alan Trammell, leading the team with his .406 batting average, to go along with his 13 hits (all singles) & 4 RBI; Trammell was not yet the offensive shortstop we get to know at this point in his career. Bill Madlock has yet to get rolling, coming back from his injury -- he's only hitting .182 so far.

*** Next we visit the Minnesota Twins for 5 games at the Metrodome. ***

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

14' BoS NLCS: Game 5

Welcome to TCSN - The Traverse City Sports Network! The Panthers didn't lie down, and have now evened up this series, 2-2, and host the pivotal Game 5 in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan; The Cherry Capital of the World.

The Traverse City Panthers will be sending Yu Darvish to the mound to face the Portland Microbrewers' Bartolo Colon; Colon was excellent against the Panthers. Let's get on down to the action, shall we?

GAME 5 (at Traverse City)

Top of the 1st - Mike Trout with one out, hits the ball deep at short, Jordy Mercer's throw was wide, pulling Brandon Belt off the bag (E6). Carlos Gonzalez follows by hitting a single up the middle, moving Trout up to third base; Portland has trouble brewing early for the Panthers. Freddie Freeman hits a fly to left, Trout tags up & scores -- Freeman picks up a sac fly & RBI; Gonzalez holds at first. Alfonso Soriano steps up to the plate with two outs, he started to go around, but checks it just in time -- bases on balls to Soriano. Juan Uribe with men on 1st & 2nd, hits a blooper to right, it might fall in, and it does, Freeman scores, Soriano is going for home, here is the relay, and he's SAFE! Juan Uribe pulls up to second; Early trouble for T.C., as Darvish is frustrated -- he doesn't appear to have his best stuff today, as the pitching coach is on the phone already. Darvish delivers the pitch to Colby Rasmus, this is poked to left, this could be trouble as Giancarlo Stanton & Yasiel Puig converge, it's through, another run scores, as Rasmus has himself a double -- back-to-back doubles! Russell Martin would end the early bleeding with a fly to left. Portland 4, Traverse City 0

Darvish being consulted by the pitching coach, during early issues with Portland.
Top of the 2nd - Panthers are sticking with Yu Darvish for now, but he'll be on short list, it appears that Julio Teheran is one of the pitchers in the bullpen at this moment. Jason Kipnis smacks a double into right-center gap, the Panthers want nothing with Mike Trout and intentionally walks him.

This just in, from our clubhouse reporter, it appears that Traverse City had benched Julio Teheran, and that his arm will not be used in this game -- they may have to go with Darvish a little longer, this may end up being a big blow, while Alex Cobb & Matt Harvey are both worn out -- Harvey of course will be saved for a possible Game 7. Darvish comes to the plate, Carlos Gonzalez foul-tips it into Jason Castro's glove, strikeout -- two away. Freddie Freeman comes to the plate, unlike last season, he has been quiet in this year's League Championship Series; The pitch from Darvish, and Freeman is out on strikes.

Uribe delivers a big two-run double during the first inning off of Darvish.
Bottom of the 2nd - Josh Donaldson hits one deep to right, Carlos Gonzalez races to the warning track, reaches up, and he's out -- just a loud out. Jason Castro smacks a single through the hole, to Freeman's right. Hunter Pence hits a deep fly into left field corner, where Colby Rasmus chases it down for out number two. Giancarlo Stanton comes to the plate for his first LCS start, and grounds out to Brad Miller at short.

Top of the 3rd - Juan Uribe collects his 2nd hit of the game, with a single to left -- his 6th hit of the series. Colby Rasmus hits a double into right field corner, runners on 2nd & 3rd, with one out. The Panthers call on Tanner Scheppers, after only 2.1 innings of work by Yu Darvish; Scheppers will try to help the Panthers get back in this one. Russell Martin hits a fly to center, Yasiel Puig is under it, caught -- but no one dares to tag up on that arm. Two down, the #9 hitter Brad Miller comes to the plate, the pitch, it's blooped towards deep second, shallow right, Brian Dozier races back and has it.
Score remains: Portland 4, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 3rd - One-out single by Brian Dozier, his first hit of the series. Matt Carpenter hits one hard at short, it bounces off the ground & off Brad Miller's chest, he's up with it, the throw to first, in time, Dozier is now on second. Yasiel Puig comes to the plate, softly hit liner towards center, Mike Trout races in & steals a hit from Puig.

Top of the 4th - Lead-off walk to Jason Kipnis. Mike Trout smacks one to center, Yasiel Puig has to run in, fields it on the bounce, Kipnis is going for third, the throw from Puig to third, and he's out -- by inches! Trout holds first. Tanner Scheppers against Carlos Gonzalez, lofts it to center, Puig has it, no advancement from the runner -- two down. Freddie Freeman bloops one to right, Hunter Pence takes it on the bounce, Trout tries for third, the throw, and he's safe -- this time the base-running paid off for the Brewers. Runners on the corners with two outs for Alfonso Soriano, flies out to right.

Bottom of the 5th- Lead-off single by Hunter Pence, only the 4th hit for the Panthers in this game. Giancarlo Stanton with the check swing, they check with the First Base ump, he punches him out. Jordy Mercer, a swing & a miss, two down, a pair of strikeouts by Bartolo Colon here. Brian Dozier gets a hold of this one, down the left field line, it could go... foul, just beyond the left foul pole. The next pitch, wide of the mark, Dozier moves on down towards first. Runners on 1st & 2nd, with two outs for Matt Carpenter, the pitch, it's a looped single over the shortstop Brad Miller's head, Pence will score, Dozier to third, he hesitates, now goes towards third, the throw from Mike Trout and he's safe, just under the tag. Runners on the corners for T.C., for Yasiel Puig to a suddenly-awake Panthers crowd -- the pitch, paints the black, strike three called -- that's the final out. Portland 4, Traverse City 1

Colon continues to have an impressive NLCS, keeping the Cats at bay.

Top of the 6th - Mike Trout draws a one-out walk, by Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers turns around and walks Carlos Gonzalez as well, for back-to-back walks. Traverse City's manager Shawn Baier signals to the bullpen, he'll call on Sean Doolittle, the southpaw, to face Freddie Freeman. Freeman grounds it towards third, Josh Donaldson with the long throw, and they get him, but the runners move up. Two outs for Alfonso Soriano, and Doolittle catches the corner, strike three, side retired.

Bottom of the 6th - Brandon Belt smacks a lead-off double to the gap in right. Josh Donaldson steps to the plate, hits a pop fly back of second, Mike Trout is coming on, coming on & catches it front of Brad Miller; Belt tags up, but stays at second. High & tight, ball four, Jason Castro will go to first, that is only the second walk issued by Bartolo Colon. The Panthers will call on a pinch-runner for Castro, it'll be Jean Segura. Colon facing Hunter Pence, delivers the pitch, struck him out -- two down! This brings up Giancarlo Stanton, two outs, with two men on board, can he deliver the tying blow? It's a line drive off Stanton's bat, Colby Rasmus runs in on it, and it stays up for him. Stanton really thought it might drop. Traverse strands two runners, trailing by three.

Top of the 7th - Tyler Clippard will come in to pitch for Sean Doolittle, while Devin Mesoraco will take over behind the plate for the Panthers. Clippard walks the lead-off man in Juan Uribe. Colby Rasmus lashes one to right, this one could be trouble, as it rolls to the wall, Uribe will have to stay at third, while Rasmus pulls up with a double. No outs, Russell Martin at the plate, foul tip -- strike out! Brad Miller's turn to try to score the extra insurance, but flies out to center, the runners stay put -- two down. Clippard walks Jason Kipnis to load up the bases for (who else?) Mike Trout.
Soft liner towards first, one-hops to Brandon Belt, under toss to Clippard at first, to retire the side. Panthers avoid the Microbrewers from breaking this game wide open.

Bottom of the 7th - Matt Carpenter hits a two-out single to right. Portland calls on a reliever for Bartolo Colon, who pitched 6.1 innings, with 7 strikeouts for the night; The reliever will be Joaquin Benoit. Benoit with the pitch to Yasiel Puig, and it's outside -- ball four! Runners now on 1st & 2nd, with two outs to Brandon Belt, the pitch, Belt hits a liner to center, it bounces off Mike Trout's chest, Carpenter is well around third, but holds, bases loaded for Josh Donaldson. The pitch, it's a single to right, Carpenter scores, Puig is rounding third, he's coming in, the throw to home, and he's safe! Belt holds at second, Donaldson at first, for Devin Mesoraco. The Tying run is at second, while the go-ahead run is at first; Traverse City will go to the bench for Ryan Raburn. Benoit still in the game, the pitch, it's bounced towards second, and he boots it! No play anywhere, an error on Jason Kipnis. Bases loaded for Hunter Pence, the runners take their lead, the pitch, it's a fly ball to the gap in right, Carlos Gonzalez races over, reaches over his shoulder, and makes the catch -- Panthers go down, but not before they tack on some runs. Portland 4, Traverse City 3

Matt Carpenter does everything he can to spark a Panther rally.
Top of the 8th - The Panthers call on their other southpaw in the pen in Tim Collins, acquired from the Seattle Rainiers this season. Wilson Ramos will take over behind the plate. Collins will at least face Carlos Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman in this outing. Collins with the pitch, Gonzalez driven to the gap to right, Hunter Pence can't get there, it drops, Gonzalez is trucking for second, Yasiel Puig with the throw, it's going to be close -- SAFE! Lead-off double for Gonzalez. Freddie Freeman gets a hit stolen by Puig, Gonzalez retreats back to second. Collins with the pitch, Alfonso Soriano doesn't offer, struck him out for out number two. Panthers call on Luke Gregerson to face Juan Uribe; the pitch, the heater, it's in there, strike three.

Bottom of the 8th - Joaquin Benoit is still in there, after a taxing 0.1 innings (5 batters faced) last inning -- he'll be facing Giancarlo Stanton first. Benoit delivers to Stanton, he goes down swinging, one away. Jordy Mercer hits a routine fly to right for out number two. Benoit strikes out Brian Dozier to retire the side.

Top of the 9th - Colby Rasmus hits a shin-burner off Luke Gregerson's right leg, Jordy Mercer is up with it, bang-bang play at first, for out number one; Gregerson is fine, shaking off the pain. Gregerson misses the strike zone & walks Russell Martin. Brad Miller up, Martin is up & running, the strong throw from Wilson Ramos, and Martin is thrown out at second -- two down! Gregerson strikes out Miller, third out,

Bottom of the 9th - Numerous changes for the Microbrewers, a double-dose of Ellis, Mark Ellis takes over at second, while A.J. Ellis is the new catcher behind the plate; Glen Perkins comes in to try to lock down the save against the Panthers -- he has to face Matt Carpenter, Yasiel Puig & Brandon Belt. Perkins catches the outside corner, strike three to Carpenter for out number one. Perkins, wheels and deals, and Yasiel Puig sneaks a single past Ellis at second. Puig well off first, Perkins rocks & fires, this one is hit by Belt, it may carry, it's way back, Colby Rasmus makes the catch at the track -- two down, as Puig gets back to first, the crowd all answers with a big "AWWWW!". It's all up to Josh Donaldson, Perkins stares him down, the pitch, Donaldson doesn't offer, and he's down on strikes -- Brewers win a close one! All three games at Panthers Park were decided by one run.

FINAL SCORE: Portland 4, Traverse City 3

The NLCS goes back to Portland, with the Portland Microbrewers leading the series, 3-2! Does the "Cardiac Cats" of Traverse City have one more fight left in them? Or will Portland make their grand return to the World Series? Stay tuned...

14' BoS NLCS: Games 3 & 4

Portland's Sanchez eyes to finish off the Panthers.
Welcome everyone to TCSN Baseball! Home network of the Traverse City Panthers -- brought to you from beautiful Panther Park, sitting on the west bay.

The Panthers trail the defending National League Champions - Portland Microbrewers, 2-0, and will have to face Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez was outstanding this season with a 18-3 record (his .857 winning percentage was tops in the entire BoS), 2.72 ERA & 200 K's in 169 innings, allowing only 119 hits. Sanchez will be facing the Panthers' Alex Cobb, who had a 8-11 record, 3.61 ERA in 24 starts, with 116 K's in 152 innings. Cobb is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA during these playoffs, a 6-inning, three-hit performance that allowed only one run vs. Hannibal in Game 2 of the NLDS; while this is Sanchez' first start of the post-season (Portland had a first round bye for having N.L.'s top seed).

The Microbrewers led their division basically all year long, at one point were on pace for 118 wins, but ended up with 2nd best single-season record of 108 wins. Meanwhile, Traverse City went from a 46-win team in the 2013 Season (2012 MLB stats), to a 90-win team in 2014, a 44-game improvement due to major players stepping up such as Josh Donaldson, Matt Carpenter & Matt Harvey, the #1 overall 2014 Draft choice in Yasiel Puig & a full-season with Hunter Pence (acquired last season from the Boston Bravos).

These two teams may be seeing more of each other in the seasons to come.

These Panthers bats will need to come alive, after being shut down in Game 2, held to three hits by Hisashi Iwakuma. T.C.'s backs are to the wall, can they claw back and hopefully make this a series? We'll see... it's Game 3 of the National League Championship Series!


Top of the 2nd - Alex Cobb in some trouble early, allowing a lead-off walk to Alfonso Soriano. Juan Uribe follows with single to right. Cobb throws wild pitch that rolls to the screen, Soriano & Uribe move up a base. No outs, with lefty Colby Rasmus coming to the plate to face righty Cobb, the pitch, it's a fly to left-center, Yasiel Puig tracks it down, makes the catch, but the runners hold, that ball just was not deep enough. Russell Martin goes fishing, down on strikes, two down. Brad Miller hits a fly to right, which Hunter Pence tracks it down with a fine running catch. Cobb escapes this one.

Bottom of the 2nd - Josh Donaldson comes to the plate, he has been on base a lot in his brief LCS performance (.667 OBP), but all due to bases on balls & getting plunked. He got injured the first game from a Bartolo Colon pitch (missing the remainder of the game), and then got plunked by Hisashi Iwakuma in Game 2. The Panthers also have been without Giancarlo Stanton, who got hurt early in the League Division Series against the Hannibal Cavemen.

Donaldson strikes out. Jason Castro barely stretches a single into a double, testing Carlos Gonzalez's arm in right, who retrieved the ball in the gap in right-center. Hunter Pence bloops a fly to the shortstop Brad Miller -- two down. Anibal Sanchez strikes out Alejandro De Aza. Still no score after two.

Top of the 3rd - A long one-out double by Mike Trout, that nearly made it over the right-center wall -- that is Trout's second hit of the game, 3rd in the series. Carlos Gonzalez draws a bases on balls, runners now on 1st & 2nd. Freddie Freeman scorches a liner to Brian Dozier, caught! Runners hold, two down, for Alfonso Soriano. Cobb strikes out Soriano.

Bottom of the 3rd - Jordy Mercer leads the inning off with a fly to center that tailed away from Mike Trout and lands, Mercer slides into second with a double (his 2nd double, 3rd hit of the series). Anibal Sanchez strikes out his 5th batter in Brian Dozier, making him look bad, one down. Matt Carpenter hits one to deep left-center, Mike Trout is after it, Mercer scores easily, as Carpenter pulls into second, RBI double for Matt -- Panthers strike first. Yasiel Puig hits a fly to left, but Carpernter holds at second. This brings up T.C.'s early hero in Brandon Belt, who had an amazing first round series against the Cavemen, but happens to be 1-for-9 against Portland. Sanchez strikes out Belt, making him his 6th victim already. Traverse City l, Portland 0

Top of the 4th - After back-to-back strikeouts by Alex Cobb (he has 5 K's) to Juan Uribe and Colby Rasmus, Russell Martin sends a ball misjudged by Yasiel Puig in center, Martin races around second to third, as the relay throw is coming to the cutoff man Jordy Mercer, Martin decides to go for home, and is nailed on a close play & great throw from Mercer.

Top of the 5th - Jason Kipnis draws one-out walk, steals second base. Mike Trout hits chopper back to the mound, Cobb looks Kipnis back to second, the throw to first, second out. Carlos Gonzalez flies to left.

Top of the 7th - Alex Cobb issues a free pass to lead-off man Colby Rasmus, that is Cobb's 4th walk in this game. There is action in the bullpen, just in case. Russell Martin squares, it's bunted to Cobb, Cobb throws it to second -- SAFE! Over to first, they get Martin by a step, a sacrifice that now has the tying-run at second. One out, Brad Miller steps to the plate -- Panthers' Manager Shawn Baier comes out, signals to the bullpen, they are calling on the southpaw Tim Collins to face Miller. The pitch to Miller, it's hit right back at Collins, Collins looks the base-runner back to second, over to first, two down! Collins will now face the lefty Jason Kipnis at the plate, who is 2-for-10 this series -- the pitch, Kipnis skies it to left, should be no problem for De Aza in left. Portland fails to score again. Score remains, 1-0 in favor of the Panthers.

We go to the 7th Inning Stretch, the Panthers only have 3 hits, Portland not much better with their 4 hits this ballgame -- Runs are certainly being hard to come by in this one.

Mercer: Getting it done with both his glove & bat.
Bottom of the 7th - Anibal Sanchez still in the game, delivers the pitch to Josh Donaldson -- this one sails, it might go, and it does, deep home run to left by Donaldson! Jason Castro follows with his 2nd safety of the game. Castro is off and running, Hunter Pence hits a ball a few steps towards Freddie Freeman's right, Sanchez runs to cover first, Freeman's under-hand toss to Sanchez, and he's SAFE! Sanchez's foot came off the bag too soon, runners on 1st & 2nd. Portland goes to the pen & calls on Tony Watson, who has had 0.2 innings of work this series, in Game 1. The Panthers counter by calling on Ryan Raburn, a righty to face the southpaw -- Raburn is on the roster, simply for reasons like this. Raburn hits a frozen rope to center, runners will not tag up on Trout's arm. Portland goes to the pen again, after Watson faced one batter, they'll go with Joaquin Benoit. Jordy Mercer steps up to the plate with one out -- Benoit delivers, it's sliced down the right field line, Carlos Gonzalez is after it, Castro scores, the relay is coming in, Pence is around third, the throw home and he's safe on a very close play, Mercer into second with a two-run clutch double. Brian Dozier pops up to Brad Miller at short, two down. Matt Carpenter hits one to the mound, it's smacked down by Benoit, Benoit is up with it, over to first, to end the inning. The Panthers tack on a few more.. Traverse City 4, Portland 0

Top of the 8th - Traverse City has Brandon Kintzler pitching the 8th, with a 4-0 lead, the righty will have to face the heart of the Portland lineup in Mike Trout, "CarGo" (Carlos Gonzalez) & Freddie Freeman. Ryan Raburn, who pinch-hit for Alejandro De Aza, takes over in left for the Panthers. Mike Trout draws lead-off walk. Carlos Gonzalez hits a slow roller to short, Jordy Mercer has to race in, picks up, throws it to first, not in time! A scratch base-hit for Carlos, and there are runners on 1st & 2nd with no outs. The Panthers call on southpaw Sean Doolittle to face Freddie Freeman, hoping for that double play ball. Freeman hits a shallow pop fly to left, in which the SS Mercer tracks it down, out number one. The Panthers once again are going to the pen, they call on Tyler Clippard to face Alfonso Soriano -- Portland counters with lefty Charlie Blackmon, only his second plate appearance this series. Clippard with the pitch, swung on & missed -- he struck him out, two down. Juan Uribe steps to the plate, and clubs it to deepest center, Puig races to the fence, but the ball wins this one, as its long gone! Three-run blast by Uribe, and its suddenly a one-run game, as the T.C. crowd is silenced. Clippard stays in the game & gets Colby Rasmus to fly out to right for the final out of the inning. Traverse City 4, Portland 3
Otero & Panthers' bullpen is a big key to their success.

Bottom of the 8th - Mark Melancon takes over the mound for the Microbrewers. One-out single for Brandon Belt that sneaks past second baseman Jason Kipnis. Melancon than clobbers Josh Donaldson with a pitch, and once again is injured for the rest of the game -- Donaldson was not happy with that one, and hollered a few things back towards the mound as he walks off to the dugout in pain, Melancon just shakes it off. The speedy Jean Segura will come in to pinch-run for him. Melancon will now face lefty Jason Castro, the pitch, it's a hard liner towards Kipnis, and it's caught -- runners hold. Hunter Pence steps in to the batter's box, but Melancon makes quick work of him, as he strikes him out, for out number three. The Panthers fail to add some insurance runs.

Top of the 9th - The Panthers call on Dan Otero to close out the game; Jean Segura stays in the game and will take over at shortstop, while Jordy Mercer will move over to third for the injured Donaldson. Russell Martin leads it off by striking out. The Brewers will call on more power in Adam Lind over Brad Miller's bat. Lind hits it to medium deep right-center, Yasiel Puig is there, he's gone -- two down. It's all up to Jason Kipnis, batting .182 this series -- the pitch, strike three! The Panthers will hold on to win Game 3 to a delightful crowd that nearly watched this one get away from them.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 4, Portland 3


Cliff Lee for Portland takes the mound against Matt Harvey.

Bottom of the 1st - Matt Carpenter leads off with single to left-center. Yasiel Puig hits into a fielder's choice, one out, Carpenter back to the dugout with Puig on first. Josh Donaldson hits a ball to Freddie Freeman's left, the under-hand toss to Cliff Lee covering first, and he's safe -- Lee's foot was off the base. Runners on 1st & 2nd, one out, to Ryan Raburn; Raburn hits a fly to center, caught by Trout, but the base runners hold. Brandon Belt hits shallow fly to Colby Rasmus for third out.

Top of the 2nd - Freddie Freeman hits lined single to center that happens to skip past Yasiel Puig, Freeman reaches second, Puig is lucky that Hunter Pence was behind him to prevent any more damage. Matt Harvey racks up his 3rd K, by striking out Alfonso Soriano. Juan Uribe pops it up behind third to third baseman Josh Donaldson. Colby Rasmus smacks an RBI double to left-center, scoring in Freeman; Portland draws first blood. Russell Martin strikes out to end the inning.
Portland 1, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 2nd - Jordy Mercer stretches a one-out single to right-center into a double -- making it his 4th double (5th hit of the series). Wilson Ramos hits a soft liner to center, Mike Trout races in and makes the difficult catch, Mercer races back to second, two down. Alejandro De Aza smacks a single past Uribe & Miller on the left side, Mercer is well around third, but decides not to test Colby Rasmus's arm in left. De Aza is off & running, Matt Carpenter smacks this one to right, it's deep enough if it's fair, it is -- gone! Three-run blast by Carpenter, as he takes his time going around the bases. Yasiel Puig fists a fly to right, Carlos Gonzalez makes a good running catch -- Inning over, but not before the Panthers took the lead. Traverse City 3, Portland 1

Top of the 3rd - Matt Harvey walks the lead-off hitter in Brad Miller. Jason Kipnis flies out to right. Mike Trout strikes out, Harvey's 5th K of the night. Carlos Gonzalez hits a two-out, RBI double to the gap in right, scoring in Miller. Freddie Freeman strikes out for final out of the inning. Traverse City 3, Portland 2

Bottom of the 3rd - A 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee with a pair of strikeouts (Donaldson, Raburn).

Top of the 4th - Matt Harvey cruises through a 1-2-3 inning, that involved his 7th & 8th strikeouts of the night in Alfonso Soriano & Juan Uribe.

Top of the 5th - Russell Martin strikes out. Brad Miller hits a single to right. Jason Kipnis becomes Matt Harvey's 10th victim of the night. Two outs, Mike Trout steps to the plate. The fastball gets away from Harvey, as Trout is clobbered in the lower back, the ump calls time, Trout is still down, but eventually dusts himself off and trots down to first. Runners on 1st & 2nd for Carlos Gonzalez, the pitch, it's in the dirt and back to the screen, the base runners will move up -- Harvey is getting a bit sloppy suddenly, catcher Wilson Ramos trots up to the mound to calm down Harvey. "CarGo" waits for the pitch, It's hit deep into the hole at short, Mercer dives, he's up with it, the long throw across the diamond, and just gets him -- third out! The T.C. fans are loving it.

Carpenter hits a clutch homer during the bottom of the 2nd.
Bottom of the 5th - Josh Donaldson beats out a deep infield single, on a good (but tough) throw by Jason Kipnis. Ryan Raburn hits deep fly to left, Rasmus puts his glove up, it's over his head, Donaldson rounds third, but holds as Raburn pulls up with a double. Brandon Belt pops up to Juan Uribe for final out. Hopefully, the Panthers won't look back at this inning & question if they should have had Donaldson try for home. Score remains: Traverse City 3, Portland 2

7th Inning Stetch - Matt Harvey has 12 strikeouts for the Panthers.

Bottom of the 7th - Giancarlo Stanton steps into the box for his first at-bat of the series; Stanton got injured during the Panthers' Division Series against division rival Hannibal. Wide pitch, Stanton draws a walk. The Microbrewers' manager Brad Stark comes out to the mound, signals to the bullpen for Glen Perkins -- so that's it for Cliff Lee. The southpaw Perkins will face lefty Matt Carpenter, Carpenter flies out to center. Portland makes another pitching change, calling on Nick Vincent to face Yasiel Puig. Stanton is off & running, the pitch, the ball is hit off Vincent's glove, he's after it, and he's going to have no play -- everyone safe, runners on 1st & 2nd, one out. Josh Donaldson pops it up behind the plate, two outs. Ryan Raburn comes to the plate, hoping to add some insurance runs for the Panthers. Vincent kicks & deals, Raburn goes down swinging.

Top of the 8th - Matt Harvey strikes Jason Kipnis out, as Kipnis earns the infamous hat trick. Harvey against Mike Trout, did he go around? No -- Trout has earned a one-out free pass, that is only Harvey's second walk issued in the night, the tying run is now on first base for Portland. Mike Trout steals second on catcher Wilson Ramos. Harvey intentionally walks Carlos Gonzalez, as the lefty Freddie Freeman heads towards the batter's box. Traverse City goes to the pen for the lefty Sean Doolittle, hoping for a double play ball. Doolittle gets Freeman to pop up to second baseman Matt Carpenter. The Panthers now call on right-hander Luke Gregerson to face Alfonso Soriano; Portland counters with Charlie Blackmon. Gregerson with the pitch to Blackmon, it's hit right back to Gregerson on the mound, over to first, and they get him -- for the third out.

Bottom of the 8th - Portland calls on reliever Tony Watson, to try to keep the Panthers from adding to their slim, 3-2 lead. Brandon Belt pops up for out number one. Hunter Pence hits a single over the shortstop Brad Miller's head, Colby Rasmus is after it in the gap, he ends up kicking it off his foot, Pence is around second, heading for third, Mike Trout tracks it down & fires towards third, as the relay comes in -- Pence is safe, mark that down as a single & a E7 (Rasmus with the error). One out, Jordy Mercer comes up, hits a come-backer to the mound, Watson to first, two down, no advancement by Pence. Mercer hits a shallow fly to center Mike Trout, as the Microbrewers get out trouble.

Top of the 9th - The Panthers call on their closer Dan Otero, to hold onto a 3-2 lead. Juan Uribe hits a shallow fly to center, Yasiel Puig makes a good running catch. Colby Rasmus strikes out, for out number two. It's all up to Russell Martin to keep Portland alive in this game, while the Panthers are hoping to tie the series, 2-2. Portland calls time, and they are sending lefty Adam Lind to the plate. Otero with the pitch, and it's lofted to right, Hunter Pence is on the run, and has it all the way for the final out -- Panthers win, as Matt Harvey was dominant in this one, putting together a fine looking post-season.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 3, Portland 2

Matt Harvey has been impressive this post-season, delivers big blow to Portland in Game 4.


MWWL Tigers' Series Opener & Changes

T.C. Tigers: Strengthening their stripes for long haul.
The Mid-West Winter League (MWWL) started its 1990 Season this week, for all of you who may not know, the MWWL is the winter-league brother to John "Stray" Corrado's Mid-West Baseball League (MWBL). The MWWL has 20 teams total, with two leagues -- both leagues having two divisions each of five teams each.

My Traverse City Tigers won the A.L. West in 1988, almost two seasons ago, the script switched last season with the Mexico City Chihuahuas & Detroit Stars doing numerous deals in the off-season (entering 1989) that left the Tigers in the dust -- the Tigers made two deals; Trading Tim Raines to the Steel City Sluggers for Harold Baines & trading Doug Jones off to the Manhattan Gas Hornets for a #1 Draft Pick.

I regretted trading Jones almost immediately, part of my draft strategy, in drafting John Wettleland (and reliever Scott Belinda) was to form a deep bullpen -- otherwise I may have drafted Marquis Grissom or one of the starting pitchers in Kenny Rogers, Kevin Tapani & Wilson Alvarez, which starting pitching has become a problem for me.

Here is my opening series at home against the Detroit Stars, seven games.

GAME #1 

Jack Daugherty hits a clutch solo HR in the top of the 7th, to help seal the victory for the Stars. Ed Whitson gets the win, allowing only 3 hits & a run in 7 innings of work. Greg Maddux pitched good in a losing effort, allowing 2 ER's & 6 hits in 6.1, with 4 K's.

Daugherty went 2-for-3, HR, RBI.


Another strong start by a Tiger starting pitcher -- This time in Jack McDowell, who went 7.1 innings, allowing only 3 hits, ER, with 4 K's. Charlie Hough was all over the place for Tigers, and had to be pulled 4.2 innings through with an injury (Out for 5 days).

Johnny Ray went 3-for-4, with a two-run double for T.C.; while Jack Daugherty added 2 more hits & a run for Detroit. Craig Lefferts locks down his first Save.


T.C. jumped to 5-0 start after 2 innings -- but Detroit does everything they can in an attempt of a comeback.

Harold Baines hit his 1st HR of the season, while Paul Molitor went 3-for-4, with 3 RBI & a run. Joe Carter and Lance Johnson added 2 hits for the Tigers.

Melido Perez was a mess for Detroit, allowing 7 hits & 5 runs in 1.2 innings. Eric King, on the other hand, for T.C. was good, allowing 7 hits & 2 ER's in 6 innings -- getting the win. Stan Belinda collects his 1st Save of the season.


In his very first at-bat in the Mid-West Winter League, Travis Fryman sends a two-run HR over the center field wall; Fryman was the 2nd Overall pick taken in the 1990 MWWL Draft behind Germantown's Frank Thomas.

Paul Molitor added 2 more RBI (5 for the season) & Joe Carter got his 4th double of the season.

Lance Johnson likes doing everything in 3's with 3 runs, 3 hits & 3 stolen bases. The game was 3-3 with Johnson on first, he stole second & third -- setting up Molitor to hit the walk-off single off of Rob Dibble.

John Kruk hit a two-run HR in a losing effort. Dibble gets the loss, while Joe Boever gets the win.

Whitson was automatic for the Detroit Stars.


Paul Molitor earned a day off for his game-winner the night before, while his replacement Travis Fryman went 3-for-4, with another HR, this one a solo shot -- but that would be Tigers' only run.

Ed Whitson pitched another solid game, he is now 2-0, with a 1.29 ERA -- he allowed a few more hits than last game with 7, allowing only one earned run in 7.1 innings. Craig Lefferts logs his 2nd Save. David West gets the loss for the Tigers.

No scoring happened for either team after the 3rd inning.


The Detroit Stars outhit the Tigers 11-6, with John Kruk going 3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI & a run. Jack Daugherty added two more hits, and is batting .400 for the Stars. Vets Dave Parker & Brett Butler also had two hits each for Detroit.

Greg Maddux pitched another good game, and seemed to escape trouble whenever trouble was brewing -- going 6.2 innings, allowing 8 hits & a run, with 6 K's; Maddux is now 1-1, with a 2.08 ERA in two starts.

Brad Arnsberg almost gift-wrapped the game to Detroit, until newly-acquired Norm Charlton (acquired in the Jose Rijo trade) came in and saved the day, for his 1st Save of the season.

Greg Brock and rookie Sandy Alomar, Jr. hit HR's for T.C.


Melido Perez was much more effective in this start for Detroit, allowing 6 hits & 3 ER's in 7 innings, with 4 K's. John Wettleland (starting for the injured Charlie Hough) was lousy, allowing 8 hits & 6 ER's, with 3 BB's in only 3.1 innings!

Julio Franco had 3 hits, while Vince Coleman went 2-for-4, with 3 RBI & a steal for Detroit. Rob Dibble got his 2nd Save, tying teammate Craig Lefferts.

Mel Hall went 2-for-4, with a HR & 2 RBI for the Tigers.

The Detroit Stars win the series, just edging the Tigers 4-3 -- in a fun series.

Entering 1990 / The Off-Season

Here is a quick look at the off-season changes for my Tigers...
Molitor: The Tigers' offensive anchor.

C - Sandy Alomar, Jr.
1B- Greg Brock
2B - Johnny Ray
3B+ - Paul Molitor
SS+ - Felix Fermin
SS - Bill Spiers
OF+ - Joe Carter
OF- Lance Johnson
DH/OF - Harold Baines
OF- Dante Bichette
SP- Greg Maddux
SP- Charlie Hough
SP- Eric King
SP- Neal Heaton
P- Luis Aquino
P- John Wetteland
RP- Stan Belinda
RP- Juan Agosto
RP- Terry Leach
RP- Brad Arnsberg

For the most part, Alomar, Heaton & Belinda are newcomers to the team -- Alomar & Belinda barely played in 1989, and Neal Heaton was acquired in a trade for reliever Ken Dayley just before the trade deadline during the season.

Boone was Tigers' starting backstop from 1988-1989.

C- Bob Boone
C+- Jody Davis
C+- Phil Lombardi
C- Rick Dempsey
1B- Pete O'Brien
2B+- Brad Wellman
2B+- Rene Gonzales
OF - Cecil Espy
OF- Thad Bosley
OF- Henry Cotto
OF- Stan Jefferson
OF- Claudell Washington
OF- Joel Youngblood
P- Brian Holton
SP- Andy Hawkins
SP- Dave Schmidt
SP- Walt Terrell

The MWWL has a great way of keeping & releasing players, the worst you are, the more players you keep, the better you are, the less. I had no problem releasing any of these players, the only one that came closest was Pete O'Brien -- since my first base depth is bad; O'Brien was acquired during my playoff push in the 1998 season. Funny thing is that I own Joel Youngblood on my NXPL 1981 Detroit Tigers.
Fryman: Wearing a familiar-looking uniform in T.C.

1990 DRAFT (*-non-rookie free agents)
3B+- Travis Fryman
1B+- Jeff Conine
2B- Mickey Morandini
1B- Ricky Jordan*
C- Greg Myers*
RP- Joe Boever*
P- Wally Whitehurst
OF- Mel Hall*
P- David West*
C- Damon Berryhill*
2B+- Luis Sojo
OF-Wes Chamberlain
P- Dave Burba
P- Alan Mills
3B/1B- Scott Cooper
3B+- Craig Wilson*

With the addition of Travis Fryman to the team, means Molitor's days at third base are numbered. The plan is to move Molitor to first base, until Jeff Conine or whoever is ready by 1993. Joe Carter may have to be trade bait -- hit 151 HR's & 566 RBI from 1990-1994; Carter's defense will be decreasing, and with no room at first with Molitor taking over there in the next season or two -- plus the fact that Harold Baines will be constant DH for years to come, that leaves Carter out of options for the Tigers' future.
Rijo was sent packing to Montana.

The Tigers traded starting pitcher Jose Rijo, (who will be solid through 1994) to the Montana Cutthroats in exchange for starting pitcher Ken Hill & reliever Norm Charlton; plus an exchange of draft picks between the two franchises, and the Tigers tossed in Dale Sveum for the even-players rule for in-season dealings. Rijo & Greg Maddux made a nasty, 1-2 combination at the top of my rotation, the only problem is that we had nothing on the horizon; Hill may not have been anywhere as good as Rijo, but he puts up respectable numbers from 1991-1997, in which Rijo hits the wall in 1994. With my team not where I wanted it to be, it made Rijo dispensible for the Tigers -- in which Hill would by us time, have a longer duration with the team, plus adding a reliever in Charlton that will tighten up my bullpen. Joe Carter may be able to bring in another starting pitcher, and then the next couple drafts will make a more solid rotation -- the bullpen will be coming around much quicker than the rotation.

It's going to be interesting to see how and where the 1990 MWWL Season takes my Traverse City Tigers, if all go right, the team should be a powerhouse no later than the mid-1990's, even with the league expanding in 1993.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...