August 2008

Close'n time downtown

TODAY’S GAME: This afternoon, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Dunn Tire Park in the final game of a five-game home-and-home series (1:05 p.m.). The Herd needs a win today to avoid a Yankee sweep of the series. This will also be the final home game for the Bisons in 2008 as the team will finish up the season with four road games. On the mound today for Buffalo will be LHP David Huff. The southpaw has allowed three runs or less in each of his last eight starts. The Yankees will counter with LHP Chase Wright.

-Last Game: 8/23 @SYR: (ND, 5.2IP, 10H, 3R, 3ER, 4K), Bisons’ 5-4 Loss.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (5-4, 2.97)(15GS, 75.2IP, 66H, 29R, 25ER, 13BB, 77K).
-2008 w/ Akron (AA): (5-1, 1.92)(11G, 10GS, 65.2IP, 44H, 17R, 14ER, 14BB, 62K)
-2007 w/ Kinston (A): (4-1, 2.72)(11GS, 59.2IP, 57H, 23R, 18ER, 15BB, 46K).
-2007 Carolina League All-Star, missed second half of season (left elbow strain).
-2006 w/ Mahoning Valley (A): (0-1, 5.87)(4GS, 7.2IP, 9H, 5R, 5ER, 8K).
-Drafted by Cleveland in the 1st round (39th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft

HOME FINALE: The Bisons enter today’s game with a 32-38 record at Dunn Tire Park this season. It’s the first time since 1999 (33-38) that the team will finish under .500 in Buffalo. Over the last eight seasons, the Bisons have averaged 43 home wins a season. Since the ballpark opened in 1988, the team has finished a season with a home losing record only three times.

COOP’S RECORDS: OF Jason Cooper drove in both of Buffalo’s runs last night in what was his 202nd game in Dunn Tire Park. Coop is the only person to play 200 games in this ballpark. His 119RBI are also more than any other player while his 105 runs scored and 36 doubles rank second in the parks history.

VERY IMPRESSIVE: RHP Preston Larrison threw another shutout inning relief last night. The righty has now tossed 11 consecutive scoreless outings, a streak that began on August 1. During the streak, Larrison has struck out 11 and allowed 10 hits in 11.1 innings of work. Overall with the Herd, Larrison is 0-2 with a 3.52ERA and one save in 18 outings.

MVP: Last night, OF Todd Linden was named the Bisons Stan Barron Most Valuable Player. The switch-hitter has failed to reach base in only 12 of 85 games while leading the club in home runs (13), walks (51), on-base percentage (.385) and slugging percentage (.472). A clutch performer, Linden has averaged .341 (31-91, 35RBI) with runners in scoring position.

Big names, big game

The names featured throughout the series have been in, out and sometimes staples in Big League lineups throughout the year. Travis Hafner will miss the game, for the third consecutive day but Josh Barfield and Victor Martinez will be on the card for the Herd. Phil Hughes stars for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on the mound and Melky Cabrera will be in center field for the “Baby Bombers” tonight.

The names are here but tonight’s overall theme will be centering around the fans. Tonight, the Bisons will hold their annual Fan Appreciation Night. The team will announce their MVP and other End of the Season awards prior to the game. The team will also debut a “Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero” award in honor of the late Mayor of Buffalo. That award will be presented to the player who performed the best at home this season. The Bisons will also hand out prizes to fans after every inning break, with the second largest Fireworks Show of the year post game.

Tonight’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Dunn Tire Park in the fourth game of a five-game home-and-home series (7:05 p.m.). The Bisons are 0-3 so far in the five-game series, with a pair of defeats at PNC Field before last night’s 9-1 loss at home. The Herd is now 5-3 in their last eight home games. On the mound tonight for Buffalo will be RHP Bryan Bullington. The righty didn’t allow an earned run over six innings on Friday to collect his first victory as a Bison. The Yankees will counter with RHP Phil Hughes.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: Bryan Bullington
-Last Game: 8/22 @SYR: (W, 6.0IP, 5H, 3R, 0R, 3BB, K), Bisons’ 6-3 Win.
-2008 w/Bisons: (1-2, 4.73, 1SV)(8G, 6GS, 40.0IP, 46H, 27R, 21ER, 11BB, 35K).
-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 BRYAN: RHP Bryan Bullington earned his first victory with the Bisons on Friday in Syracuse. The righty allowed just three unearned runs in six innings of a 6-3 Buffalo win. In his last four starts with the team, Bullington is 1-1 with a 3.38ERA. The pitcher has also made two relief appearances this year and earned a three-inning save on July 31 in Durham.

V-MART: C/INF Victor Martinez had two more hits last night and has now averaged .313 (5-6) with a double, two RBI and four runs scored in five rehab starts with the Bisons. The two-time American League All-Star is scheduled to DH tonight, his second try at playing in back-to-back games. Martinez has been out of Cleveland’s lineup since having elbow surgery in June.

EVERYDAY ANDY: Since joining the Herd on August 4, INF Andy Cannizaro has hit in 16 of 20 games with the Herd and has failed to reach base in a game just twice. The infielder went 2-3 last night and drove in the Bisons lone run. Overall with Buffalo, Cannizaro has hit .323 (21-65) with four doubles, two home runs and 12RBI.

Downtown milestone

Tonight’s game will be the 1,500th regular season game played at Dunn Tire Park. Since opening in 1988, the Bisons are 890-609 in front of the fans of Buffalo (.593 winning percentage). In the first 1,499 games, the Bisons have scored 7,038 runs on 13,042 hits. The team has slugged 1,271 home runs at Dunn Tire Park with Hall of Famer Jeff Manto leading all players with 47 (14 more than any other Bison).

Other cool stuff to cheer about… Victor Martinez is in the lineup tonight and is likely to be his final night in the field. The two-time All Star is slated to DH Wednesday night for the Herd. Travis Hafner will have anther two days of rest before coming back to bat for Buffalo Thursday afternoon. Josh Barfield is on schedule for his off day. Jeff Stevens returned back to the states and to the Bisons clubhouse early this afternoon toting his bronze medal. He will be part of the pre-game festivities prior to Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday.

Tonight’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Dunn Tire Park in the back end of a five-game home-and-home series (7:05 p.m.). The Bisons are 0-2 so far in the five-game series, losing both games played at PNC Field. On the mound tonight for Buffalo will be LHP John Halama. The southpaw has pitched six innings or more in each of his last eight outings with the team. The Yankees will counter with LHP Kei Igawa.

-Last Game: 8/21 vLHV: (L, 6.0IP, 13H, 7R, 7ER, BB, 2K), Bisons’ 7-3 Loss.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (8-5, 4.42)(14GS, 2CG, 93.2IP, 106H, 50R, 46ER, 14BB, 39K).
-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.

RIDING HALAMA: LHP John Halama continues to pace the Bisons pitching staff with eight wins on the season. The southpaw has worked five or more innings in all 14 of his starts while working seven innings or more in seven of those efforts. In his 6 starts at Dunn Tire Park, Halama has gone 4-1 with a 3.40ERA and two complete games.

HOME FINALE: Tonight, the Herd opens up the final homestand of the season as they welcome the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to town. The home team has won 11 of the 13 games in the season series with the Yankees. If Buffalo can hold court, they will earn an 8-8 split of the series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

EVERYDAY ANDY: Since joining the Herd on August 4, INF Andy Cannizaro has hit in 15 of 19 games with the Herd and has failed to reach base in a game just twice. The infielder has collected four doubles and a pair of home runs to go along with a .306 batting average. Cannizaro hit .258 (60-233) in 70 games with Durham to begin the 2008 season.

BISONS BITS: INF Tony Graffanino has a five-game hit streak where he has averaged .562 (9-16)… OF Todd Linden has reached base safely in 15 of his last 16 games. Linden has added 10 walks to a .333 (19-57) average during that span…RHP Bubbie Buzachero has converted his last seven save opportunities.

Marquee match ups and more

A few very cool things to look forward to during the next three games at Dunn Tire Park…

1. The return of Jeff Stevens. The Bisons reliever has been with Team USA competing in the Olympics and will be toting his bronze medal back to Buffalo. Get in line, skipper Torey Lovullo said he’ll be the first one to have his picture taken with the bronze hanging around his neck!

2. The last hurrah. Even though the Bisons finish up on the road, the final three home games are expected to be a fitting sendoff into the off season from capacity crowds each game. The buzz of a ballpark that packed full of fans getting their last taste of summer is exhilarating from my seat. The promotions, weather and good play from the Bisons are combining to make this a “can’t miss” final three days at the ball yard.

3. Big guns, big names. Come for the fun, food, entertainment and the GAME! Three rehabs and some of the most prized possessions from the Bronx are in town – are you kidding me.

Josh Barfield, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez will be in uniform continuing their return to play program prior to rejoining the Indians. Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre will also have Melky Cabrera and Shelly Duncan on the card. Not only that check out the pitching match ups between the Yankees and Bisons the next three days.

The scheduled pitching match-ups for the three game series include LHP Kei Igawa (13-5) against Bisons team-leader in wins, LHP John Halama (8-5), on Tuesday. For Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, August 27, the Yankees are scheduled to throw prospect RHP Phil Hughes (0-0) against Buffalo’s RHP Bryan Bullington (5-8). LHP Chase Wright (2-0) is expected to go against Buffalo’s LHP David Huff (5-4) on Thursday for the final home game of the season.

Dandy duel: Laffey vs. Kennedy

Today’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the second game of a five-game home-and-home series (7:00 p.m.) After this evening’s game, the series will shift to Dunn Tire Park for the Herd’s final three home games of the 2008 season. The Bisons lost 2-0 to the Yankees last night despite a complete-game effort from LHP Scott Lewis. On the mound tonight for Buffalo will be LHP Aaron Laffey. The southpaw hasn’t lost since returning to the Herd on August 4 with a 3-0 record in four starts. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will counter with RHP Ian Kennedy.

-Last Game: 8/20 vLHV: (W, 5.0IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 5K), Bisons’ 10-5 win.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (6-1, 2.82ERA)(9GS, 51.0IP, 45H, 19R, 16ER, 16BB, 43K).
-2008 w/ Cleveland: (5-7, 4.23)(93.2IP, 103H, 52R, 44ER, 31BB, 41K).
-2007 w/ Bisons: (9-3, 3.3.08)(16G, 96.1IP, 89H, 36R, 33ER, 23BB, 75K).
-2007 Bisons Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher (Buffalo 13-3 when he pitched).
-2007 Indians Bob Feller Minor League Pitcher of the Year (13-4, 2.88ERA).
-Selected in the 16th round (468th overall) of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

FINAL LAUGH: LHP Aaron Laffey has been impressive with the Herd this season with a 6-1 record and a 2.82ERA in nine starts. In 51.0 innings of work, the southpaw has struck out 43 and allowed just 45 hits. In his last 22 starts as a Bison (since June 2, 2007), Laffey is 15-1 with a 2.26ERA. During that stretch, he has struck out 112 and walked only 34 batters. In his start on Wednesday against Lehigh Valley, Laffey went five innings and struck out five for the win.

VS. THE BEST: The Yankees/Bisons series this year has been dominated by the home team (home team 10-2). Buffalo is 4-1 at Dunn Tire Park against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but only 1-6 at PNC Field. The Bisons next six games are against their division rivals headed towards the IL playoffs. Buffalo is 13-13 thus far on the season vs. Scranton/WB and Pawtucket.

HOT HITTER: OF Todd Linden has hit in 14 of his last 15 games with a .345 (19-55) batting average since August 7. He has added six doubles, four home runs and eight RBI in those 15 games. Linden’s 13 home runs and 49 walks are currently tops on the team. He is currently 10 plate appearances short of qualifying under the league’s standards. If he had enough, his .388 on-base percentage and .482 slugging percentage would lead the Bisons team.

BISONS BITS: LHP Scott Lewis threw the fourth complete game for the Bisons this season. LHP John Halama leads the team with two of them…On their rehab assignments, C Victor Martinez has hit .250 (3-12, 2R, 2B, 2RBI, 4BB) and DH Travis Hafner has hit .308 (4-13, 2R, 2 2B, 3RBI, 2BB)…RHP Bubbie Buzachero has converted his last seven save opportunities.