May 2010

Comeback falls short

The Bisons’ Andy Green helped to pull the Herd to within one run of the Toledo Mud Hens when he hit his second home run of the season in the ninth inning. Unfortunately it was not enough as the Herd ultimately fell to the Mud Hens 5-4.

Mike Hessman would homer for the third time in three games against his former team. His two run blast to center field now puts his total for home runs at 17 for the season, three more than Dan Johnson of Durham. Hessman added two RBI to bring his total for the season to 53 which is ten more than second ranked Pedro Alvarez of Indianapolis.

Entering the sixth inning the game tied at three, Jeff Frazier hit a solo home run off Toby Stoner. Stoner (3-5) went 5.2 innings and allowed six hits and four earned runs was saddled with the loss.

Jesus Feliciano went 2-4 and increased his league high batting average to an astonishing .383. His average is a remarkable 60 points higher than any other player in the International League. The Herd will finish their four game series with the Mud Hens Sunday at 1:05 p.m. when right hander Dylan Owen (1-0, 3.75 ERA) retuns to the mound.

Toledo at Buffalo: Game 3

BISONS:
Jesus Feliciano – CF
Justin Turner – SS
Daniel Murphy – DH
Mike Hessman – 3B
Mike Jacobs – 1B
Andy Green – LF
Russ Adams – RF
JR House – C
Ruben Tejada – 2B
Tobi Stoner – RHP

MUD HENS:
Scott Sizemore – 2B
Maxwell Leon – DH
Danny Worth – SS
Ryan Strieby – LF
Jeff Frazier – 1B
Casper Wells – CF
Will Rymes – 3B
Keik Scram – RF
Max St. Pierre – C
Enrique Gonzalez – RHP

Big blast leads to win

Almost one year to the date of landing on the disabled list for 10 months, Dillon Gee tossed six solid innings to earn his sixth win during Buffalo’s 7-3 triumph over Toledo Friday night.

In his tenth start of the season, Gee gave up six hits while allowing three earned runs. Two on sixth inning solo shots by Ryan Strieby and Casper Wells.

Other than the sixth inning, Gee had the Mud Hens fooled all night. Gee had a season high for a Bisons pitcher when he struck out nine batters during his six inning performance.

Gee was provided with run support from his teammates early. In the third inning after center fielder Jesus Feliciano and first baseman Daniel Murphy reached base, designated hitter Mike Jacobs stepped to the plate. Jacobs wasted no time and took the first pitch he saw deep to center field for a three run home run, his fifth of the season.

Jacobs was not a one man show for the Herd however. Feliciano added to his league high batting average by going 4-5 with two RBI. Feliciano is now batting .380 on the season.

Also helping the offensive attack was Murphy and left fielder Mike Cervenak. Both had two hits on the night and Murphy added an RBI.

After hitting two home runs yesterday, third baseman Mike Hessman went 1-5 on the day but did more damage on the defensive side. Hessman set the tone early when he threw out Mud Hen second baseman Scott Sizemore at home to deny the Mud Hens a run in the first inning.

Bobby Parnell worked two innings, earned his second save while striking out four of the six batters he faced.

Toledo at Buffalo: Game 2

BISONS:
Jesus Feliciano – CF
Justin Turner – 2B
Daniel Murphy – 1B
Mike Hessman – 3B
Mike Jacobs – DH
Mike Cervenak – LF
Josh Thole – C
Russ Adams – RF
Ruben Tejada – SS
Dillon Gee – RHP

MUD HENS:
Scott Sizemore – 2B
Maxwell Leon – DH
Ryan Strieby – LF
Jeff Frazier – 1B
Casper Wells – CF
Brent Dlugach – SS
Will Rymes – 3B
Keik Scram – RF
Robinzon Diaz – C
Alfredo Figaro – RHP

Looking ahead at IL competition

The Buffalo Bisons head into the holiday weekend in the midst of an 8-game homestand. Following the series with Toledo, Thruway Cup Series rivals lock up in a 4-game set at Coca-Cola Field when Syracuse visits. Buffalo travels to face IL Southern Division opponents, starting June 4 against the Tides prior to battling Durham to wrap the roadtrip. Below are a few notables on each club.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS (May 31 – June 3)
YANKEES TO FACE STRASBURG: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre faced the minors’ top left-handed pitching prospect earlier in the season at PNC Field when they squared off against Louisville’s Aroldis Chapman on April 28th. Saturday night in Syracuse, the Yankees will face the top right-handed pitching prospect and top pitching prospect overall in Steven Strasburg in the opening game of a two-game series at Alliance Bank Stadium.

TWO TIMERS: After their second scheduled off day of the season, the Chiefs will take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees for a pair of seven-inning games tonight. Syracuse and SWB were rained out on April 23. It’s the second doubleheader of the season for the Chiefs, but the first pair of seven-inning games. The Chiefs swept a split doubleheader at Rochester on May 19.

THREE FOR ALL: With Carlos Maldonado’s ascent to the big leagues, Jamie Burke started his first game with the Chiefs Tuesday night. At this point, at least three players have started at each fielding position for Syracuse.

EARLY DECISION: As play begins today, the Chiefs lead SWB by a half game and Buffalo by a game for the lead in the North Division. Syracuse plays nine straight games starting this evening against the Yankees and Bisons. After that stretch, the Chiefs step outside the division for 22 straight games against interdivision competition.

NORFOLK TIDES (at Norfolk, V.A., June 4-7)
MAKING THEIR PITCH: Starting pitchers Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta have been outstanding through the first two months of the season. The pair are tied for the organizational lead with five wins, while Arrieta leads O’s minor leaguers with 55 strikeouts and a 1.86 ERA and Tillman is second with 47 strikeouts and a 3.12 ERA. Arrieta’s 1.86 ERA leads the IL, and the 24-year-old also ranks among IL leaders in innings pitched (1st, 63.0) and batting average against (.181).

FIGUERING IT OUT QUICKLY: Tides outfielder Danny Figueroa was promoted to Norfolk from Double-A Bowie Tuesday and wasted no time in getting himself acclimated to International League pitching. In his second at-bat, Figueroa clubbed an opposite field two-run homer, his first hit and RBI at the Triple-A level. The home run was all the offense Norfolk needed in their 2-1 win over Rochester. Danny is the twin brother of Paco Figueroa, who is also on Norfolk’s roster. Making the moment all the better was that the home run came against the Rochester Red Wings – top affiliate of the Twins.

HOMECOMING OF SORTS: The Tides travel to Pawtucket Thursday for the start of a four-game series with the Red Sox, and Norfolk’s coaching staff will be quite familiar with the area. Tides manager Gary Allenson won the 1978 International League MVP while playing for Pawtucket in 1978, while pitching coach Mike Griffin served as the PawSox pitching coach from 2003-2007. In addition to the PawSox connection, Norfolk hitting coach Richie Hebner is originally from Boston and served as the Red Sox hitting coach from 1989-1991.

DURHAM BULLS (Durham, N.C., June 8-11)
NO NO-NO: Jeremy Hellickson made a strong bid this week for Durham’s second no-hitter since the Bulls went to Triple-A in 1998. On Monday Hellickson pitched six perfect innings before a leadoff walk in the seventh. He then surrendered a leadoff single to start the eighth to Aaron Bates. It was the only hit Pawtucket got off Hellickson and Winston Abreu in a 1-0 Bulls win. Current Colorado Rockie-Jason Hammel and Juan Salas combined for the only Bulls Triple-A no-hitter against Columbus on July 16, 2006 at the DBAP.

DAN DOING IT: Dan Johnson has been one of the top hitters in the International League over the first six weeks. He is now tied for the IL lead in homers with 14 after three in the last series against Pawtucket. He is in the top three in the IL in homers, RBI, total bases, slugging and on-base percentage. Johnson tied a Bulls Triple-A record in a suspended game against Pawtucket played Saturday and Sunday. He hit two homers and had eight RBI in an 18-1 win. Only Chris Richard, with a pair of grand slams a year ago, had driven in eight runs at the DBAP in a single game. Durham’s overall Triple-A mark occurred when Scott McClain drove in nine runs in a game at Indianapolis in 1998.

SERIES SUCCESS: Before taking three of four against Pawtucket this week, Durham had not won a series in the month of May. Durham swept Charlotte in a four-game series from April 19-22. Durham is 11-12 in the month of May after a 15-8 April. Despite that, the Bulls have a 5.5 game lead over Norfolk and Gwinnett entering action tonight against Rochester.

CLOSE CALL: Durham has outscored the opposition by an unbelievable 75 runs (261-186) over the first 46 games of the season. The reason the Bulls are only six over .500 is that the team has gone 8-10 in games decided by one or two runs. Before a 1-0 win on Monday, Durham had lost eight straight close games, with the last victory coming on April 23, 5-4 over Gwinnett.

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