Final stop, Flower city
The bus breaks squelched outside the team hotel shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday morning, ending a six hour jaunt from Pawtucket, R.I. to Rochester where the Bisons will take the field for the final two games of season against their Thruway rival.
This trip started with dominating pitching and ended with a relentless offensive slug fest – both on the good side for the Herd taking the first two of the final four. Impressive how the Bisons have been able to battle Pawtucket, a playoff bound club, all season long. The Bisons took 10 of the 16 games this season and collected their third straight 10-win season against the PawSox.
On to Rochester, the ‘thorn in the side’ of the Bisons for majority of the season. Games that looked like wins didn’t materialize, error plagued marathons carried long into the night and until recently the Bisons had to stop a seven game skid against the ‘Wings.
TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Rochester Red Wings in the first game of a two-game series from Frontier Field (7:05 p.m.). The Herd is on a three-game win streak as they enter the final two-game series of the season. On the mound tonight for Buffalo is LHP John Halama. The southpaw has lost two straight starts but was named the Bisons 2008 Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher on Wednesday. The Red Wings will counter with RHP Anthony Swarzak.
TONIGHT’S STARTER:John Halama
-Last Game: 8/26 vSWB: (L, 7.0IP, 9H, 9R, 7ER, 3BB, 2K), Bisons’ 9-1 Loss.
-Named Bisons 2008 Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher
-2008 w/ Bisons: (8-6, 4.74)(15GS, 2CG, 100.2IP, 115H, 59R, 53ER, 17BB, 41K).
-2008 w/ So. Maryland (IND): (4-1, 1.88)(8GS, 56.2IP, 47H, 13R, 12ER, 8BB, 48K).
-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.
BURST THEIR BUBBLES: RHP Bubbie Buzachero has collected a save on each of the last three days. He now has 10 saves on the season, with nine of them coming in the month of August. Buzachero has posted a 0.71ERA in his last 13 appearances. Since July 29, he has allowed just seven hits and struck out seven in 12.2 innings of work.
COUNT ON BROWN: While 10 different Bisons batters collected a hit in the team’s 18-hit performance last night, INF Jordan Brown led the way. Brown went 3-6 with a double, a home run and three RBI. The double was Brown’s team-leading 30th of the season, while he also became the second Herd batter to drive in 50 runs this season. He has now hit in seven of his last eight games, with a .364 average (12-33) since August 19.
EVERYDAY ANDY: All INF Andy Cannizaro has done since joining the Bisons is hit. Last night, the infielder went 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored. Acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay on August 4, Cannizaro has reached base safely in 20 of 23 games with the team. He’s averaged .316 (24-76) with four doubles, three home runs and 13RBI. In 51 games with Durham this year, Cannizaro hit .240 with one home run and 14RBI.
PRONK: DH Travis Hafner went 1-3 last night and drove in the game’s first run. In six games with the team, “Pronk” is hitting .316 (6-19) with three doubles and four RBI. Hafner has also scored three runs and failed to reach base in just one of his six games with the Bisons.
ROSTER MOVE: INF Jorge Velandia was traded today by the Indians to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations. Velandia hit .209 with three doubles and eight RBI in 52 games with the Bisons this season.