July 2010

Advance Scout: Columbus Clippers

The Bisons posted a 5-3 mark against the Clippers last year. The teams split a four-game series at Coca-Cola Field (May 21-24) with Columbus taking the first two games and Buffalo winning the last two contests. Last season at Hunington Park, Buffalo dropped the opener before taking the final three games against Columbus last August (Aug. 6-9).

Upcoming Probables for Buffalo at Columbus:
7/27 LHP Bobby Livingston (3-8, 5.28) vs. LHP Eric Berger (0-0,-.–) 7:05 pm
7/28 RHP Dillon Gee (9-6, 4.82) vs. RHP Jeanmar Gomez (7-8, 5.37) 7:05 pm
7/29 RHP Tobi Stoner (5-8, 5.67) vs. LHP David Huff (5-0, 3.28) 7:05 pm
7/30 RHP Ramon Ortiz (1-3, 4.62) vs. RHP Carlos Carasco (9-4, 4.00) 7:05 pm

Clipper Quick Clips
THE LAUNCHING PAD: The Clippers had their Huntington Park homer streak snapped at six games Sunday (homered in 19 of the last 22, 38HR) but added three more dingers Monday night. The PawSox failed to homer, Sunday for just the second game this season in which no long balls were hit at HP (5/31 vs.Louisville; 12 homerless games last season). With 20 games to play at HP, there have been 135 homers hit (130 hit all of last year).

TEAM EFFORT: Columbus leads the IL in hitting at .288 (14 points higher than 2nd place, Durham), but has only three players that qualify for the league batting title. Michael Brantley is currently leading the IL at .315, but is set to drop off the board after tonight’s game and Jose Constanza sits in a tie for 3rd (.307) after qualifying last night (Wes Hodges is the other qualifier).

CORD UNPLUGGED: Cord Phelps lost the longest active hitting streak in the IL (also a Clipper best) Monday at 13 games. Phelps has batted .408 (20×49) on the stretch, scoring 12 runs with 2HR and 4RBI. In his last 27 games, he has collected a hit in 25 of them (13 multi-hit games). Between Akron and Columbus, he is hitting .326 (106×325).

JB GETS JOB DONE: Jordan Brown picked up his 28th RBI with the bases loaded last night (15PA, 0HR) with a 2-run base knock. He leads the IL in bases loaded RBI this year (Durham’s Dan Johnson is in 2nd with 14 in 14PA, 1HR). Since 2005, only two IL players have had as many as 28RBI with the bases loaded in a season, Durham’s Justin Ruggiano in 2009 (17PA, 3HR) and Toeldo’s Mike Hessman in 2007 (19PA, 2HR).

2ND GO-AROUND: Since ending their affiliation with the Yankees after the 2006 season, the Clippers have seen 13 players wear a Columbus uniform with two different organizations. Saul Rivera, who pitched in one game for the Clippers in 2007 (Washington), became #13 with his appearance on 4/9. Shelley Duncan, who played in 12 games for the Clippers in 2006 (New York), was the 12th (4/8).

Looking back at Buffalo v Columbus in 2009
May 21: COL 6, BUF 4
The Bisons lose to the Clippers, the new Triple-A affiliate for the Cleveland Indians, 6-4. Sixteen former Bisons players return to Coca-Cola Field as members of Columbus. Javier Valentin hit his second home run of the season in the first inning for Buffalo.

May 22: COL 10, BUF 4
The Clippers jump out to a 9-0 lead after four innings to paste the Bisons, 10-4, at Coca-Cola Field. Jonathon Niese struggles in his return to the Bisons rotation, yielding 12 hits and nine runs in 3.2 innings. Nelson Figueroa rejoins the Bisons from New York and Michael Antonini is transferred to Binghamton before the game.

May 23: BUF 4, COL 3
Javier Valentin’s eighth inning home run unties a 3-3 game and gives the Bisons a 4-3 victory over the Clippers. The Herd gets another solid outing from Nelson Figueroa, who strikes out seven in six innings in his first start for the Bisons since May 10.

May 24: BUF 5, COL 3
The Bisons earn a split of their four-game series vs. Columbus thanks to a strong start from Fernando Nieve, who allows two runs in six innings and strikes out four.

August 6: COL 9, BUF 6
A late-innings Bisons rally falls short as Buffalo drops their sixth in a row, 9-6, against Columbus at Huntington Park. The Herd plates four runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by a two-run homer from Nick Evans, cutting the Clippers lead to 7-5. But two runs in the bottom half of the inning thwarts the comeback. Evans now boasts a 14-game road hitting streak.

August 7: BUF 4, COL 3
Three Bisons home runs account for all four runs as the Herd snap their six-game losing skid with a 4-3 victory over Columbus. Mike Lamb, Rene Rivera and Chip Ambres all hit home runs for Buffalo. Nick Evans’ 14-game road hit streak ends with an 0-for-3 night.

August 8: BUF 2, COL 1
Adam Pettyjohn strikes out seven and allows just six hits and no walks in eight scoreless innings as the Herd squeak past the Clippers, 2-1. Argenis Reyes and Jesus Feliciano pick up RBI for the Bisons.

August 9: BUF 12, COL 8
Robinson Cancel’s three-run homer caps a six-run sixth inning as the Herd out-slugs the Clippers, 12-8, to take the series and win their third straight. Five Bisons have multi-hit nights, including Nick Evans who goes 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the first.

Late inning unravels on Herd

If it wasn’t for bad luck the Buffalo Bisons would have had no luck in today’s 5-1 loss against the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field.

Entering the eighth inning the game was tied at one apiece between the two ball clubs. Riding a strong start from Bisons pitcher Pat Misch the Herd looked to reliever Ryota Igarashi to keep the game knotted up at one.

Today wasn’t Igarashi’s lucky day as an unusual bounce off of catcher Michael Barrett and an error from second baseman Justin Turner led to four Toledo runs as they completed the sweep of the Herd.

With one out in the eighth, Mud Hens DH Jeff Frazier attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch from Igarashi but was called out by home plate umpire Craig Barron. Frazier stood in the batter’s box to argue the call but the pitch from Igarashi ricocheted off of Barrett’s shin guards and rolled into the Bisons dugout. Because it tapped into the Herd’s dugout, Frazier was awarded first without ever taking a step out of the box.

Following Frazier first baseman Ryan Strieby hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Ruben Tejada which could have resulted in a double play. A twin killing would have negated Frazier’s reach on the dropped third strike and gotten the Herd out of the inning with no damage done. Turner unfortunately made an error trying to receive the toss from Tejada allowing everyone to reach base safely.

Center fielder Casper Wells then singled to center to score the go-ahead run in Frazier, giving the Mud Hens a 2-1 lead. Third baseman Max Leon hit a two RBI triple to right, giving the Mud Hens a 4-1 lead. They would add another run in the inning to make the final tally 5-1 in favor of Toledo.

The unlucky eighth inning for the Herd denied Misch his tenth win of the season. While getting the no-decision Misch went seven strong innings, giving up one run and six hits. Misch also struck out eight which is a new season high for the left hander.

The loss for the Herd is their sixth straight and they are one away from matching their longest losing streak of the season when they dropped seven in a row back in June. The Herd’s record is now at .500 at 51-51. Buffalo is at the .500 mark for the first time since June 28th when they were 39-39 after a 13-12 loss to Charlotte.

BISONS NOTES: The Herd will look to end their losing streak when they start a four-game series with the Columbus Clippers tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Bobby Livingston (3-8, 5.28 ERA) will try to end the losing skid by taking on a pitcher still to be named as slated starter Josh Tomlin was called up to the Indians.

Advance Scout: Toledo Mud Hens

vs. MUD HENS: This series marks the second meeting between the Bisons and Mud Hens this season. Buffalo took 2-of-4 versus Toledo at Coca-Cola Field in late May. Former Hen, Mike Hessman hit a game-winning homer on Kids Day (5/24) to open the series. The Bisons won game two before dropping the final two of the set.

Since rejoining the IL in 1998, the Bisons have handled the Mud Hens to the tune of 55-45 record, that includes a 28-24 record at home and 27-21 record in Toledo. Last year, Toledo won the season series, 6-2, over the Herd. Both of Buffalo’s victories came at Coca-Cola Field.

Upcoming Probables for Toledo vs Buffalo
7/23 LHP Andrew Oliver (NR) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (9-5, 4.51)
7/24 RHP L.J. Gagnier (3-4, 3.56) vs. RHP Tobi Stoner (5-7, 5.51)
7/25 RHP Alfredo Figaro (8-6, 4.18) vs. RHP Ramon Ortiz (1-2, 5.34)
7/26 RHP Scot Drucker (3-4, 5.34) vs. LHP Pat Misch (9-4, 3.56)

RED CARPET TREATMENT: Buffalo 3B Mike Hessman, who spent five seasons (2005-2009) with the Mud Hens, returns to Fifth Third Field this weekend for the Bisons’ only visit to Toledo on the year. Hessman will be honored on the field before the game on Sunday.

IL Honor: OF/1B Jeff Frazier was named IL Batter of the Week for the period from July 15-18. Frazier led the International League with three home runs and a 1.286 slugging percentage in the recently completed All-Star shortened week. He was also second in the IL with eight hits and a .571 batting average. After appearing in the Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday as the starting left fielder for the International League, Frazier was 0-2 on Thursday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He then proceeded to go 8-12 in the remaining three games of the series, blasting three home runs, driving in six runs, and scoring four more. Frazier is now 2nd in the League this season with 20 homers and 62 RBI while leading the IL in extra-base hits.

Hens Eggs: INF Will Rhymes is batting .365 (38×104) with 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 12 RBI over his last 25 games…1B/OF Ryan Strieby has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games, batting .293 (22×75) with seven doubles, a home run and eight RBI…1B/OF Jeff Frazier is hitting .417 (10×24) with a twos doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI over his last seven games…RHP Brendan Wise has posted a 0.79 ERA (11.1IP/1ER) over his last six outings.

Can They Make It Six Straight? Toledo finished the 2009 season with a winning record for the fifth straight year. The streak breaks a number of franchise and league records. Toledo’s longest such streak was six straight seasons (1896-1901). The Hens’ streak continues the current International League best. The longest stretch of .500 or better seasons was held by Buffalo from 1995-2008 (13 straight seasons). However, the Bisons relinquished that streak in 2008 to Toledo, who carry the torch to 2010.

Miscellaneous Fun Facts:
-This season, the Mud Hens have 3 walk-off victories.

-The Mud Hens are 214-64 (76.98%) all-time when scoring first at Fifth Third Field (13-7 in 2010).

-This season, Toledo has 15 come-from-behind wins and has lost 23 games when leading at any point in the game.

-The Hens are 279-11 (96.21%) in the history of Fifth Third Field when taking a lead into the ninth inning (33-1 in 2008, 29-2 in 2009, 15-2 in 2010).

Looking back at the Bisons & Mud Hens series:
5/30: TOL 8, BUF 7
GAME RECAP: Hens edge Herd

5/29: TOL 5, BUF 4
GAME RECAP: Comeback falls short

5/28: BUF 7, TOL 3
GAME RECAP: Gee & a blast lead to win

5/27: BUF 8, TOL 7
GAME RECAP: Hessmans heroics in Buffalo win

Bisons blanked in finale

Following last night’s defeat to the Red Wings and seeing their five-game winning streak snapped the Herd looked to start a new winning streak in this afternoon’s game against Rochester. That will have to wait until tomorrow as the Bisons were shut out by the Red Wings 10-0 at Coca-Cola Field this afternoon.

Rochester jumped to an early lead when Trevor Plouffe took the second pitch of the game from Bisons starter Bobby Livingston deep to left field for his sixth home run of the year, giving the Red Wings a quick 1-0 advantage. The Red Wings kept pouring it on by scoring six runs in the first three innings to put the game out of reach early.

Making only his second start since June 13, Livingston (3-9) made an early exit after throwing three innings and giving up seven hits and six runs, five of them being earned. Livingston’s three innings marked his shortest start of the season.

The Red Wings continued to pile on the runs following Livingston’s exit as Rochester put up crooked numbers in six different innings.

While the Bisons pitching staff was getting roughed up by the offense of the Red Wings, Rochester’s pitching staff was holding one of the IL’s most potent offenses to no runs.

Coming into the game tied for third in most runs scored in the IL, the Herd was shutout in this afternoon’s game as they were only able to collect seven hits as a team. The shutout is only the seventh time this year the Herd has been held scoreless.

On the bump for Rochester, Red Wings starter Matt Fox gave his team a quality start when he got through six shutout innings while only allowing four hits.

If there was one positive aspect to today’s disappointing loss it is the fact that center fielder Jesus Feliciano is back in full form. Feliciano went 3-5 today and saw his batting average climb up to .362. Today’s game also marked the first time since Feliciano’s return to the Herd on July 15 that he had a multi-hit game. Feliciano only needs 18 more plate appearances to re-qualify among the league’s leaders.

At .362, Feliciano’s batting average would be 47 points higher than any other player in the IL. If he continues to swing a hot bat like he did today, it’s safe to say by the time that Feliciano qualifies back he will still be back at the top of the IL in batting average.

The loss for the Herd now drops their record to 51-47 while they stand six games back in the IL North. The Red Wings improve to 37-63 after sweeping the Herd in the back end of a home and home series between Rochester and Buffalo.

BISONS NOTES: In his first game back with the Herd since July 15, Justin Turner went 1-4 today with a single in the ninth inning. The Herd will hit the road for the next eight days as they will travel to Toledo and Columbus for a pair of four-game series in both stops. Tomorrow the Herd will take on the Mud Hens when Dillon Gee looks for his tenth win of the season (9-5, 4.51 ERA) as he takes on Andrew Oliver at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night.

Bisons, Mets sign PDC extension

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The New York Mets and Buffalo Bisons today announced a two-year extension of their player development partnership through 2012.

Ike Davis, R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, Elmer Dessens, Chris Carter and Bobby Parnell all began the season in Buffalo and have become key contributors to the success of the 2010 Mets. The Mets and Bisons partnership began with the 2009 season, and 12 of the 25 players on the current major-league roster have played for the Bisons since the start of last year.

“The Mets have proven to our organization and our baseball fans that they care about winning and the team they put on the field in Buffalo,” said Bob Rich, Owner, Buffalo Bisons. “The success that many Bisons players have had this season in Buffalo and then in New York has been vital to the success of both teams.”

“We are thrilled with our partnership with the Rich family and how the Bisons are developing players who are making significant contributions at the major-league level,” said Jeff Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer. “Bob and Mindy share our vision of success on the field and our philosophy of helping New Yorkers make a lasting impact in the community.”

The extension allows the Mets to strengthen its ties to New York with minor-league clubs in Buffalo, Binghamton and Brooklyn. The close proximity of the affiliates to the major-league club in Queens expedites baseball operations travel for players, coaches and scouts.

The Mets first partnered with the Bisons in 1963 for three seasons as the team’s affiliate in the International League. The 1964 Bisons went 80-69 and qualified for the International League Playoffs.

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