Tag Archive | "Cherry On Top"

Wilmington Rocks Matsuzaka In 7-2 Win

Salem, VA – On frigid night with penetrating winds that shattered the warmest of layered clothing, the cherry on top had the Wilmington Blue Rocks (8-8) facing a rehabbing big leaguer in Daisuke Matsuzaka.  What appeared to be a recipe for offensive anemia instead cooked up a healthy helping of 12 hits and three home runs, both season-high marks, in a 7-2 defeat of the Salem Red Sox (7-8) on Monday night.  Wilmington’s third straight win, its fifth in seven games, lifted it to .500 for the first time on the young season.

Whit Merrifield found himself down 0-2 in the count against the two-time World Baseball Classic MVP to begin the game.  He then found himself rounding the bases, as he sent a ball over the 25-foot high wall in left for his first home run of the season.  Two batters later, Cheslor Cuthbert doubled and Brian Fletcher followed with a lengthy at-bat.  He fouled off pitch after pitch before sending a single to left that scored Cuthbert for an early 2-0 lead.

Geulin Beltre got in on the act when he slammed Matsuzaka’s first pitch of the second over the left-field fence for his first homer and a 3-0 margin.  Matsuzaka (0-1) gave up three runs on six hits over four innings in his first rehab outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.

Wilmington starter Jason Adam saw an infield hit, a soft single and a walk all come with two outs to load the bases in the second.  But the 20-year-old induced a fly-out to center from Jackie Bradley, Jr. to leave the bases loaded and cruised to his first win as a Blue Rock.  Adam (1-1) tossed five scoreless frames, struck out five and lowered his league-leading ERA to 0.40.

Cuthbert provided run-scoring hits in the fifth, seventh and ninth.  They combined with Brett Eibner’s first Wilmington homer in the eighth to make it 7-0.  Cuthbert, a highly-touted 19-year-old third baseman, went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs in his best game as a Rock.

After Sam Runion held the Sox scoreless in the sixth and seventh, Jon Keck did the same in the eighth.  In the ninth, Chase Boruff had two outs and two strikes on the board when he gave up a two-run double to Brandon Jacobs that spoiled the shutout.  He struck out Travis Shaw thereafter to end the game.

Yordano Ventura (0-1, 3.86) looks for his first win as a Blue Rock when the series continues at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night.  He will face fellow right-hander Keith Couch (2-1, 3.38).  Broadcast coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. as studio hostRob Cunningham brings fans the Rocks Report Pre-game Show, presented by Wawa, on 89.7 WGLS-FM and online at wgls.rowan.edu. 

According to the National Weather Service, winds gusted in excess of 30 mph during the course of the night.  The flags showed the wind flowing toward left field most of the game, where two of the Rocks’ three homers cleared the fence. Brett Eibner’s blow went into the wind in right-center field.

Whit Merrifield’s leadoff homer was the third of his two-year tenure with the Blue Rocks.  He fell a triple short of the cycle and scored four runs.

Sam Runion’s two scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 1.17.  The former starter has allowed just one run in four relief appearances and 7.2 innings.

Over their first 13 games of the year, the Blue Rocks scored a total of 36 runs.  In their last three they have plated 22.

While the stats from Sunday’s suspended game will not count until the game is completed and official on June 8, consider this.  A Wilmington club that entered the weekend as one of baseball’s two teams sans home run now has seven over the last three days.

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Columbus Clips Chasers In Triple-A Title Game

Columbus Clips Chasers in Triple-A Title Game
PCL Champion Omaha can’t capitalize on early 3-0 lead, drops season finale

Mike Feigen / Omaha Storm Chasers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With the ice cream sundae of a Pacific Coast League Championship already served, the Omaha Storm Chasers fell just short of putting the cherry on top in a 8-3 loss to the Columbus Clippers Tuesday night in Albuquerque. The Cleveland Indians’ affiliate won its second-straight Triple-A National Championship Game, rallying from an early 3-0 hole to cruise to victory.

The one-game, nationally-televised playoff showcase started out well for Omaha, but the offense and pitching stalled out after a first-inning display reminiscent of performances throughout this year’s championship run.

Irving Falu got things started with a one-out walk in the first, followed by a single by David Lough to put two runners on. Lorenzo Cain then drilled a two-run triple to the right-center gap, his third three-base hit of the postseason to the exact same spot on the field. One out later, John Whittleman came through with an RBI single in his first playoff at-bat, giving the Chasers a 3-0 advantage.

Omaha starter Sean O’Sullivan (0-1, postseason) retired the side in order in the bottom half of the first, but ran into trouble in his next two frames, allowing six runs on six hits. The big blow was a tape-measure three-run homer by Luke Carlin on a two-strike, two-out pitch in the second, knotting the score at 3-3. O’Sullivan and the Chasers would go on to lose for the first time in the right-hander’s final 10 starts of the season.

Clippers’ right-hander Joe Martinez (3-0, postseason) and reliever Chen Lee held Omaha scoreless on five hits after the early outburst, giving the International League champ’s offense time to tack on insurance runs in the fourth off Willy Lebron and the eighth off Kelvin Herrera. Former first-round draft pick Beau Mills took Herrera deep to start the bottom of the eighth, getting around just enough on a hard fastball to lift it the opposite way over the left field wall.

Lance Zawadzki had another fine offensive showing in the contest, going 2-for-4 to improve his batting average to .444 (8-for-18) in four playoff starts. The Chasers got hits from seven of the nine men in the lineup, with Zawadzki’s performance going down as the only multi-hit contest.

Some 800 miles to the northeast, Storm Chasers’ ace right-hander Luis Mendoza and a handful of 2011 Omaha alumni were busy defeating the A.L. Central champion Detroit Tigers by a score of 10-2 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Mendoza, the PCL Pitcher of the Year and PCL Playoff MVP, earned his first Major League victory since August 3, 2008, when he was a member of the Texas Rangers. He was aided by Chasers’ Opening Day first baseman Eric Hosmer, who went 5-for-5 at the plate with his 18th home run of the season.

Following the game, the Royals announced that six additional members of the 2011 Storm Chasers – Cain, Herrera, O’Sullivan, Jarrod Dyson, Vin Mazzaro and Manny Pina – would be joining the team in Kansas City. The occasion will mark Cain’s first appearance in the majors with the Royals and will be Herrera’s first taste of big-league action after starting the season in Class-A ball.

The PCL Champion Storm Chasers will open their title defense Thursday, April 5, 2012, when they host the Albuquerque Isotopes in the first game of a four-game series in the second full season at Werner Park.

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Dodgers Get Podsednik For Two Minor Leaguers

The Royals have traded Scott Podsednik to the Dodgers for catcher Lucas May and right handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. Podsednik has 30 steals in 42 attempts this year while batting .309/.352/.400. The Dodgers will have a club option for Podsednik in 2011 season for $2 million but the option can be voided if Podsednik has 525 plate appearances. Podsednik has $620k left on his $1.65 million deal he signed with the Royal this summer. The Dodgers will be paying all of the $620k due to Podsednik.

Lucas May was selected in the 8th round in the 2003 draft. May has been playing for AAA Albuquerque. He is batting .296 this season and has a career average of .260. May also has 11 homers to his name for the year. May was drafted as a shortstop and signed by current Royals scout Mitch Webster. May was ranked as the 17th best Dodgers prospect. Past scouting reports on May say that he was inconsistent receiving the ball mostly struggling with off-speed and breaking pitches.

Elisaul Pimentel has been in the Dodgers system since 2007. He is currently 9-3 with single A Great Lakes. Pimentel has an era of 3.49 for the year with a career average of 3 68. Pimentel who was born in 1988 is 6’2″ and 17olbs. He was also the Topps Midwest League Player of the Month for June.

The return of two minor league players is a good haul for Podsednik. It is not shocking that the Royals chose to take back a catcher because the team has been looking for talent to upgrade the position in the future at both back up and the starting slot in the lineup. Pimentel is a ways off from being in the bigs since he is currently only in A ball and can be seen as a cherry on top of this trade.

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