July 2008

As the Crowe flies

We heard the name throughout last year and even a few times this year, Tevor Crowe. Possibly, if not for a few stints of the disabled list, Crowe would have arrived even sooner from Double-A Akron. He met the Bisons outside Charlotte this morning prior to the Herd opening an 8-game roadtrip that continues through Durham.

The 24-year old was hitting .323 (64-198) with 16 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and 28RBI in 49 games with the Aeros. He also had 27 walks and a .404 on-base percentage. He hit .400 (42-105) with 10 doubles, four home runs and 24RBI in 25 June games. He’s hit .371 (13-35) in nine games this month.

Crowe was the Cleveland Indians 1st round (14th overall) pick of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

To make room, the Indians released Bisons OF Jason Tyner. Tyner hit .235 (56-238) with one home run and 14RBI in 76 games with Buffalo.

Here are today’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Charlotte Knights in the first game of a four-game series from Knights Stadium (7:15 p.m.). This contest is part of an eight-game roadtrip for the Herd as they will travel to Durham, July 29- August 1. The Bisons are coming off a seven-game homestand (4-3 record) that was shortened with yesterday’s rainout against Norfolk. On the mound today for the Herd is RHP Bryan Bullington. The righty allowed just one run in four innings on Sunday in his first start with the Bisons. Charlotte will send out RHP Lance Broadway.

TODAY’S STARTER: Bryan Bullington-Last Game: 7/20 vRIC(1): (ND, 4.0IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 4K), Bisons’ 2-1 Loss.
-2008 w/Bisons: (0-0, 6.43)(2G, 7.0IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 10K).
-2008 w/Indianapolis: (4-6, 5.52)(15GS, 75.0IP, 90H, 54R, 46ER, 25BB, 60K).
-2007 w/Indianapolis: (11-9, 4.00)(26GS, 150.2IP, 146H, 70R, 67ER, 59BB, 89K)
-2007 w/Indianapolis: 1st in starts (26), innings (150.2), wins (11).
-Originally a first overall pick in 2002 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
-Claimed off waivers by Cleveland, July 10, 2008.

BACK TO NORMAL: RHP Bryan Bullington was limited to 52 pitches in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader so he could start on Thursday on short rest. But with the rainout against the Tides, Bullington is back on normal rest today. On Sunday, he allowed just one run in four innings to Richmond. Bullington has already chalked up 10 strikeouts in his first seven innings as a Bison. The former first overall draft pick in 2002 by Pittsburgh was claimed by the Indians off waivers on July 10.

CLOUD NINE: INF Michael Aubrey’s hit streak is now at nine games, following a 1-4 performance on Wednesday. Since July 6, he has hit .405 (15-37) with three doubles, two home runs and 12RBI. The stretch has raised his average 31 points to .296.

BISONS BITS: OF Todd Linden drew two walks on Wednesday and has now reached base safely in his last 15 games (.321, 9-28, 7BB)…OF Todd Linden, INF Michael Aubrey and INF Jordan Brown have all reached base in every game since the All-Star break…INF Tony Graffanino has hit .400 (6-15) in his first 6 games with the Bisons.

Play ball!

We’re still on for the series finale at Dunn Tire Park this afternoon against Norfolk. It may be a little soggy but since it’s the last time that the Tides visit Buffalo this season they’ll try to get the game completed.

Othere really cool stuff: Today will be the final home game for Jeff Stevens. The reliever will leave the team early next week to start preparations for the Summer Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China. Stevens has experience in international league baseball as he threw seven shutout innings for Team USA in the 2007 World Cup. He recorded the save against Cuba in the championship game of that tournament. Stevens talked with me about being an Olympian: CLICK HERE!

Here are today’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: This afternoon, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Norfolk Tides in the final game of a four-game series at Dunn Tire Park (1:05 p.m.). The Herd needs a victory today to earn a split of the set with the Tides. Today’s game also concludes an eight-game homestand. The Bisons are 4-3 since the All-Star break with a 3-1 series win over the Richmond Braves. On the mound today for the Herd is RHP Bryan Bullington. The righty allowed just one run in four innings on Sunday in his first start with the Bisons. Norfolk will send out RHP Andy Mitchell.

TODAY’S STARTER: Bryan Bullington
-Last Game: 7/20 vRIC(1): (ND, 4.0IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 4K), Bisons’ 2-1 Loss.
-2008 w/Bisons: (0-0, 6.43)(2G, 7.0IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 10K).
-2008 w/Indianapolis: (4-6, 5.52)(15GS, 75.0IP, 90H, 54R, 46ER, 25BB, 60K).
-2007 w/Indianapolis: (11-9, 4.00)(26GS, 150.2IP, 146H, 70R, 67ER, 59BB, 89K)
-2007 w/Indianapolis: 1st in starts (26), innings (150.2), wins (11).
-Originally a first overall pick in 2002 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
-Claimed off waivers by Cleveland, July 10, 2008.

BULLY FOR HIM: RHP Bryan Bullington was limited to 52 pitches in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader so he could start today on short rest. That was the only thing that stopped him against the Braves as he allowed just one run in four solid innings of work. Bullington has already chalked up 10 strikeouts in his first seven innings as a Bison. The former first overall draft pick in 2002 by Pittsburgh was claimed by the Indians off waivers on July 10.

CLOUD NINE: INF Michael Aubrey’s hit streak is now at nine games, following a 1-4 performance last night. Since July 6, he has hit .405 (15-37) with three doubles, two home runs and 12RBI. The stretch has raised his average 31 points to .296.

BISONS BITS: OF Todd Linden drew two walks last night and has now reached base safely in his last 15 games (.321, 9-28, 7BB)…OF Todd Linden, INF Michael Aubrey and INF Jordan Brown have all reached base in every game since the All-Star break…INF Tony Graffanino has hit .400 (6-15) in his first 6 games with the Bisons.

Halama helps with more than win

John Halama continues to impress Duke and I with his knack to keep batters off balance at the plate. The more impressive story is a night after Buffalo had to use EVERY pitcher in the bullpen (seven in all), he saves a few weary arms by tossing a 9-inning complete game during a 4-2 Bisons win, sending nearly 13,000 home happy Tuesday.

The Bisons’ Manager Torey Lovullo said after the game the staff is starting to form their identity around the 36-year old veteran, who leads the staff with seven wins.

“He’s solidifying this entire staff,” the Bisons third year manager said. “He’s the guy we’re building around, he’s the guy everybody’s watching, and the expectations are high and he hasn’t let us down.”

Here are today’s News & Notes

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Norfolk Tides in game three of a four-game series at Dunn Tire Park. The Herd’s 4-2 win last night has evened this series at a game apiece. Tonight’s contest is part of an eight-game homestand that included a 3-1 series win over Richmond. On the mound tonight for the Herd is RHP Jeff Weaver. Weaver is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA and is coming off a solid start as pitched five innings and allowed only two earned runs in a 16-3 Bisons win. Norfolk will send out RHP Ryan Bukvich.

TONIGHT’S STARTER:Jeff Weaver
-Last Game: 7/18 vRIC: (W, 5.0IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K), Bisons’ 16-3 Win
-2008 w/ Bisons: (1-1, 5.62) (2GS, 8.0IP, 10H, 6R, 5ER, 4BB, 4K)
-2008 w/Nashville: (2-4, 6.22)(9GS, 55.0IP, 64H, 43R, 38ER, 20BB, 37K).
-2007 w/ Seattle: (7-13, 6.20)(27GS, 146.2IP, 190H, 105, 101ER, 35BB, 80K).
-2007: threw 3CG and finished 4th on Mariners with 146.2IP.
-2006 w/ STL: Won World Series Clinching Game (Game 5) vs. Detroit.
-Signed as a Free Agent on July 5, 2008.

STELLAR STUFF: In last night’s start LHP John Halama once again pitched a complete-game gem in a Bisons 4-2 victory. This is Halama’s second consecutive complete-game victory as the only blemishes to his performance were two unearned runs. Halama has now won seven of his nine starts with the Herd and is now in sole possession of the team lead in wins. Halama also ranks second with a 4.15ERA amongst Bisons active starters.

EN FUEGO: INF Michael Aubrey extended his hitting streak to eight games Tuesday night after blasting a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Over the past eight games, Aubrey is 14 for 33 (.424) with two doubles, two homeruns and 11 RBI. Since July 6, the infielder has raised his average 32 points, from .265 to .297, and more than doubled his RBI production from 8 to a season total of 19.

GETTIN’ OFFENSIVE: Since the All-Star break, the Bisons offense has put up an average of six runs per game, scoring a season high 16 on July 18 versus Richmond. In those six games, Bisons hitters have produced 63 hits, 36 runs, 9 doubles, and 4 home runs. Coming up big for the Herd has been INF Michael Aubrey (8-20, 5R, 2B, HR, 8RBI, 4BB), OF Todd Linden (9-25, 3R, 2 2B, 5RBI, 2BB) and INF Jordan Brown (6-21, 3R, 2 2B, HR, 5RBI, 6BB). All three have reached base safely in each game.

BISONS BITS: OF Todd Linden has reached base safely in his last 14 games and has recorded at least one hit in 13 of this last 14…The Bisons rank third in the International League with a team ERA of 3.78.

Marathon madness

By the time last nights game was over the only thing I had running through my head was Eric Clapton’s song, “After Midnight.” What a marathon! Fourteen innings, nearly five hours of coverage, 14 different pitchers and all the chances both sides had to take control of the game.

In my mind, one of most devastating losses of the season came against Norfolk when the Bisons sputtered in the night cap of a twin bill in Norfolk. The Herd let an 8-3 lead slip and the Tides walked away with double-dip sweep and then dropped three of four in Richmond.

While there were many chances to win and take hold of last night’s tilt, I don’t look for the same symptoms following this particular loss. The Bisons are at home and there will be a very festive crowd to play in front of tonight.

Here are today’s News & Notes

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Norfolk Tides in the second game of a four-game series at Dunn Tire Park. Tonight’s contest is part of an eight-game homestand that included a 3-1 series win over Richmond and an 8-4 loss to Norfolk last night. On the mound tonight for the Herd is LHP John Halama. The southpaw threw a complete game on Thursday in a 10-2 victory over Richmond. Norfolk will counter with RHP Hayden Penn.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: John Halama-Last Game: 7/17 vRIC: (W, 9.0IP, CG, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 3K), Bisons’ 10-2 win.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (6-2, 4.88)(8GS, 51.2IP, 55H, 28R, 28ER, 10BB, 17K).
-2008 w/ So. Maryland (IND): (4-1, 1.88)(8GS, 56.2IP, 47H, 13R, 12ER, 8BB, 48K).
-2007 w/ Long Island (IND): (8-10, 4.14)(26GS, 167.1IP, 201H, 94R, 77ER, 44BB, 93K).
-Career 56-48 with a 4.65ERA in 262 Major League Games (911.0IP, 492K).
-Originally a 23rd round pick (640th overall) of Houston in 1994 amateur draft.
-Signed as a free agent on June 7, 2008.

GOING THE DISTANCE: LHP John Halama returns to the mound after having one of the finest performances by a Bisons pitcher in 2008. In his last start, the veteran became the first Bisons pitcher to toss a nine-inning complete game. Halama allowed just two runs while striking out three and walking none. He has now won six of his eight starts with the Herd and is tied for the team-lead in wins with RHP Matt Ginter, who is currently with the Cleveland Indians.

HOT HITTER: INF Michael Aubrey stretched his hitting streak to seven games Monday night after notching a single in four at-bats. Over the past seven games, Aubrey is 13 for 29 (.448) with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI. Since July 6, the infielder has raised his average 33 points, from .265 to .298.

BULLPEN NOTES: RHP Brendan Donnelly made his Bisons debut last night and struck out one in a scoreless inning of relief…All seven Bisons relievers were used in last night’s game. The group combined for 10 strikeouts in nine innings of work…RHP Bubbie Buzachero has a 1.80ERA in his last 6 games. He has struck out 20 in his last 15.0 innings of work.

BISONS BITS: Monday night’s game was the longest contest of the year for Buffalo in both innings (14) and time (4 hours, 41 minutes)… INF Michael Aubrey was intentionally walked three times last night. His five free intentional passes on the season are tied for the team lead with INF Jordan Brown. OF Jason Cooper led the team last year with five intentional walks.

Tides & Bisons tilt tonight

The first four games of the season were played against the Tides but like the Bisons, many changes to the roster have occured since the season’s first series. Norfolk does boast the teams best offensive attack (.271) in the International League without hitting a lot of HR’s (55) but has the League’s highest staff ERA (4.56).

Clearing skies in downtown have hopes high for baseball tonight.

Here are today’s News & Notes

TONIGHT’S GAME: This evening, the Buffalo Bisons host the Norfolk Tides in the first game of a four-game series at Dunn Tire Park (7:05 p.m.). The Herd is coming off a 3-1 series win over Richmond to begin the second half of the season. On the hill for the Bisons will be LHP Zach Jackson. The lefty has allowed only one run in his first 6.2 innings of work. Taking the ball for the Tides will be LHP Craig Anderson.

ZACH ATTACK: LHP Zach Jackson will be making his first start as a Bisons this evening. In four relief appearance, Jackson has allowed only one run with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. This is a familiar role for the lefty as he led the Triple-A Nashville Sound (PCL) in starts (28) and innings pitched (169.2) a season ago.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: Zach Jackson
-Last Game: 7/18 vRIC: (ND, 1.0IP, 2H, 2K), Bisons’ 16-3 Win.
-2008 w/Bisons: (1-0, 1.35)(4G, 6.2IP, 5H, R, ER, BB, 6K).
-2008 w/ Nashville: (1-5, 7.85)(22G, 6GS 57.1IP, 61H, 54R, 50ER, 18BB, 34K).
-2007 w/ Nashville: (11-10, 4.46)(29G, 28GS, 169.2IP, 184H, 95R, 84ER, 64BB, 123K)
-2007 w/ Nashville: 1st in starts (28), innings (169.2), strikeouts (123).
-Originally a first round draft pick by Toronto in 2004.
-Acquired in trade with Milwaukee on July 7, 2008.

LINDEN’S WAY: OF Todd Linden is settling into the four spot for the Herd. The outfielder has gone 8-16 with three doubles and five RBI since the break. Linden has now hit in 12 straight, with a .404 (19-47) batting average since July 7. He has also reached base in 31 of his last 33 games since June 15, averaging .308 (37-120).

ROSTER MOVE: RHP Brendan Donnelly has been promoted from Single-A Kingston. The veteran righty made two rehab appearances with Kingston (2.0IP, H, 2K) as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery in August. To make room for Donnelly, the Herd transferred RHP J.D. Martin to Double-A Akron.

HOT HITTERS: INF Michael Aubrey and OF Jason Cooper each have 6-game hit streaks. Aubrey has hit .480 (12-25) while Coop has hit .437 (7-16) during their streaks.

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