Facing the Herd

After the Bisons conclude their homestand on Friday night, Buffalo travels to Lehigh Valley for a short 4-game, 5-day stint away from Coca-Cola Field. The Bisons return to host Toledo and Syracuse over another 8-game homestand.

Without looking to far ahead, here are a few notables about each of the next three clubs Buffalo is preparing to play.

LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS:
POOPED PIGS: A 10:35 a.m. game Thursday probably won’t feel good for the ‘Pigs, who wound up playing in a 3:08 game Wednesday night. After ending a then franchise
record, 15-inning marathon Monday at midnight in Gwinnett, the Pigs boarded a bus for the Atlanta airport at 4 a.m. Tuesday only to play a franchise-record 16-inning game Tuesday night! During this time, the bullpen has a combined 21 IP in the last 3 G. Take out RHP Oscar Villarreal (2 IP, 4 ER), and the corps has allowed just 2 R in 19 IP.

SILENCING OF THE BATS?: Wednesday, the Pigs snapped a franchise-long, 24.0-inning scoreless draught on Dane Sardinha’s 9th-inning, 2-run single. In the last 10 G,
LHV has averaged just 2.5 R/G (they averaged 4.9 R/G in the first 29 G prior), batted just .204 (74-362) — dropping from .268 (6th) as a team to .253 (a season-low 11th),
and batted just 12-73 (.164) with RISP* — dropping from .291 to .265 overall.

RETURN OF HONDO: Thursday, RHP John Ennis — who was originally on the DL on the Pigs 2010 Opening Day Roster — rejoined the team from Reading (Double-A),
where he was 0-0, 1.35 in 4 G (6.2 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 8 K). One of just two members of all three LHV Opening Day Rosters (Tracy), Ennis was shut down after just one
game in 2009 and underwent Tommy John Surgery. Ennis went 4-3, 3.67 in 40 G with Lehigh Valley in 2008 before having his contract sold to Japan.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES: In his IL career (7/7/09-pres.), former Marlin RHP Nate Bump (33) is now an impressive 11-2, 2.34 in 18 GS (119 IP, 31 ER)…… RHP Brandon
Duckworth (34) had his win blown on 5/17, but is 1-0, 1.89 in 7 G, 2 GS and averaging 11.8 SO/9. In addition, he’s allowed just one extra-base hit in 2010 (68 AB)……
LHP Brian Mazone (33) has not allowed a R in his last 9.2 IP…… LHP Mike Zagurski (27) had not allowed an ER in his last 7 G (8 IP) and leads IL relievers in K/9 at
14.26 (28 K in 17.2 IP).

SYRACUSE CHIEFS:
STRASBURG DOES IT AGAIN: Twenty-one year old right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday night to earn a win against Rochester. Strasburg allowed just three hits and struck out nine. He has now struck out 22 batters in 18 1/3 innings and opponents are batting just .068 against him. The eleventh largest crowd in Frontier Field history watched Strasburg lead Syracuse to a 5-1 victory.

MOVIN’ ON UP (AND DOWN): The Nationals announced after Monday’s game that lefty Chuck James and right-hander Andrew Kown, both starting pitchers, had been transferred to Double-A Harrisburg. They have been replaced by reliever Victor Garate and starter Jeff Mandel. He has started one game–April 29 at Toledo–and did not earn a decision. Mandel will start tonight at Rochester.

THREE, MAYBE FOUR: After losing three games in a row to Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium, the Chiefs have now won three games in a row. This puts Syracuse on the verge of their longest winning streak of the season. Prior to today, the Chiefs have won four games in a row just once from April 22-25.

TOLEDO MUD HENS:
ON A ROLL: After losing three in a row to drop to .500 at 18-18, the Mud Hens have won their last five games and stand at 23-18 – just 2.0 games back of Columbus in the

IL West. The five-game winning streak is the longest streak of the season for the Hens. The Mud Hens remain undefeated on Mondays and Tuesdays (6-0 each day). The rest of the week, Toledo has gone 11-18, including 1-4 on Wednesdays.

PITCHING DUEL: Monday’s game between Toledo and Indianapolis featured just eight hits and three runs, lasting a brisk two hours and six minutes. Enrique Gonzalez out-dueled Brad Lincoln, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout, as the Hens won 3-0. It was the first Toledo complete game shutout since September, 2008 (Virgil Vasquez).

HEN EGGS: RHP Jay Sborz is third in the League with nine saves…… RHP Casey Fien has compiled a 0.90 ERA (20.0 IP / 2 ER) over his last 14 outings… RHP Robbie Weinhardt has not allowed a run over his last nine outings, tossing 14.0 scoreless innings…… LHP Daniel Schlereth has not allowed a run in his last eight outings, fanning 16 batters in 10.2 scoreless innings…,,, OF Ben Guez is hitting .407 (11-27) with two doubles, a home run and three RBI over his last nine games.

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