July 2010

Ortiz orchestrates a beauty

On July 3 starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz took the mound in Buffalo against the Rochester Red Wings only to find himself on the losing end of a pitcher’s duel against Red Wings starter Glen Perkins. Facing the Red Wings again today at Frontier Field, Ortiz took part in another pitcher’s duel. This time however he got the best of the Red Wings as the Herd won 1-0.

Red Wings starter Anthony Swarzak played the role of Ortiz’s counterpart today and was on the losing end of the duel as Ortiz showed complete dominance over his seven inning start.

Ortiz tossed seven masterful innings by only giving up two hits and eight strikeouts while not issuing a walk. The Bisons starter also allowed only one base runner to reach scoring position when Rochester shortstop Brendan Harris got to second in the fifth inning.

The Bisons starter attacked the strike zone early and often. While picking up his first win as a member of the Herd, Ortiz threw 84 pitches in his start today with 62 of them went for strikes. Through the first three innings Ortiz could not seem to miss the strike zone as 26 of his first 29 pitches were strikes.

After issuing a single to Red Wings third baseman Trevor Plouffe who was leading off for Rochester, Ortiz then retired the next 12 batters he faced. Following Plouffe’s single, Ortiz did not allow a man to reach base until right fielder Brian Dinkleman knocked a single in to lead off the fifth inning.

While Ortiz was throwing a gem on the mound, his teammates could not drive in any runs to support their starter. The game remained scoreless until the seventh inning. Second baseman Russ Adams led off the inning with his 20th double of the year to put the Bisons in position to drive home a much needed run. Catcher Jean Luc Blaquiere then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Adams over to third to bring up 2009 team MVP Jesus Feliciano with a chance to drive home the go-ahead run.

Feliciano did his job as he lifted a 2-1 pitch just deep enough to left field to score Adams. Following the catch from Red Wings left fielder Matt Macri, he made a good throw home that Feliciano just beat out to give the Herd the 1-0 advantage.

Ryota Igarashi relieved Ortiz in the eighth inning and got through the inning relatively easy barring a single from first baseman Brock Peterson. Manny Acosta then took the hill in the ninth and en route to his fifth save of the year breezed through the Red Wings final three batters to secure the 1-0 victory.

The win for the Herd is their fifth straight, which ties their season high. The shutout is also the sixth time the Herd has blanked their opponent this year. The Bisons are now 51-45 while the Red Wings drop to 35-63.

BISONS NOTES: Mike Cervenak collected three hits in todays game, going 3-4 in the win. In his second game back with the Herd, designated hitter Mike Hessman went 0-4. He will make his return to Coca-Cola Field tomorrow when the Bisons take on the Red Wings in the back end of a home and home series with Rochester. Pat Misch looks for his tenth win of the season (9-3, 3.27 ERA) as he takes on Glen Perkins (3-8, 7.00 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.

Bisons, Stoner roll to win

Not only did the Bisons win their fourth game in a row on Monday night, they welcomed their most valuable player back to the lineup.

After missing 37 games with a hand injury, slugger Mike Hessman returned to the line up and helped the Herd to a 6-2 victory over the Rochester Red Wings from Frontier Field.

Hessman doubled in his first at-bat in over a month and later drove in his 58th run of the season to give Buffalo the insurance they needed to defeat its closest rival.

Hessman took his swings wearing extra padding on the top of his right hand, but neither that nor the time off slowed the slugger’s torrid early-season pace. He finished Monday’s contest 2-5, starting with a lead-off double in the second inning.

Then in the eighth, with the Herd nursing a 3-2 advantage, Hessman hit a towering pop fly to left. Just in front of the wall, Rochester’s Matt Macri dropped the ball, allowing Luis Hernandez to score.

Three batters later, Hessman scored on Fernando Martinez’s double to make the score 5-2 Bisons. In the ninth inning, the team’s top run producer plated his 58th run of the season with an RBI-single to left.

Hessman had been out since being struck by a pitch on his right hand on June 6 in Norfolk. The Bisons were just 16-21 without their top slugger.

After trailing 2-0, Lucas Duda put the Herd on top in the sixth inning with a two-run home run. For Duda, the blast was his 10th of the season.

Tobi Stoner (5-7) earned the win. The righty allowed just two runs on three hits in six innings of work. He induced double plays in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the Red Wings within reach for the Bisons offense.

BISONS NOTES:The bullpen combination of Brian Bruney, Ryota Igarashi and Manny Acosta kept the Red Wings scoreless over the final three innings of the game…Luis Hernandez finished the game 3-5 with three runs scored…Prior to the game, the Red Wings held a mascot kickball game. Buster T. Bison kicked the game-winning three-run homer to win the contest for his squad.

18 HRs, 57 RBI return to Herd

The Buffalo Bisons today announced that they have activated INF MIKE HESSMAN from the disabled list. The slugger will be active for the team’s game against the Rochester Red Wings on Monday night.

READ: Full team release on Hessman’s return.

Hessman was the International League’s top slugger for the first two months of the season. He was placed on the disabled list on June 10 and missed 33 games with a stress fracture in his right hand. Prior to going on the DL, Hessman lead all of baseball with 57RBI and was tops in the International League with 18 home runs.

On the season, Hessman has hit .287 (62-216) with 17 doubles, 18 home runs and 57RBI in 56 games with the Bisons. His 18 homers still rank tied for 3rd most in the IL while his .616 slugging percentage is just five plate appearances shy of qualifying as the league’s best.

Advance Scout: Rochester Red Wings

vs. RED WINGS: he Bisons are 4-3 this season against their closest rivals. The teams have split both two-game sets in Rochester. April 21-22 and July 10-11 then didn’t face each other again until the Herd took two of three on July 1-3 at Coca-Cola Field. The Bisons are 52-47 all-time at Frontier Field.

Probable starting pitchers for Buffalo at Rochester:
7/19 @ROC RHP Tobi Stoner (4-7, 5.66) vs. RHP David Bromberg (AAA Debut) 7:05 pm
7/20 @ROC RHP Ramon Ortiz (0-2, 6.84) vs. RHP Anthony Swarzak (2-6, 6.24) 12:05 pm
7/21 vROC LHP Pat Misch (9-3, 3.27) vs. LHP Glen Perkins (3-8, 7.00) 7:05 pm
7/22 vROC BUF – TBA vs. RHP Matt Fox (4-7, 4.39) 1:05 pm

‘WING-TIPS ON ROCHESTER…
SLAMA TIME–Closer Anthony Slama had a very busy All-Star break playing in both the MLB Futures Game in Anaheim, CA on Sunday and the Triple-A All-Star Game in Lehigh Valley, PA last night. Slama allowed no runs on three hits in 1.0 inning of work at the Futures Game while allowing just one walk in 1.0 scoreless inning of work in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Slama picked up the win for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He becomes the first Rochester pitcher to win an All-Star Game since 1998 when RHP Joel Bennett was the winning pitcher in an IL 8-4 victory in Norfolk, VA.

AT THE BREAK–The Red Wings 33-59 record at the All-Star break is just the third time in the last eight years Rochester has had a non-winning record at the break. Rochester will look to post their fifth winning second half in the last six years. Since 2005, the Wings have a 140-122 record after the All-Star break.

IN THE RED–Rochester hasn’t spent a day over .500 since June 3, 2009 (26-25 record). In fact, Rochester only spent six days at the .500 mark from June 4 through the end of the 2009 season (92 games).

Looking back at the Bisons & Red Wings series:
7/11/10: ROC 5, BUF 4
GAME RECAP: Ollie, Feliciano & Wings walk-off

7/10/10: BUF 11, ROC 6
GAME RECAP: Huge rally lifts Herd

7/3/10: ROC 1, BUF 0
GAME RECAP: Duda, Bisons blanked

7/2/10: BUF 2, ROC 0
GAME RECAP: Valdes wins duel, Duda homers

4/21: ROC 6, BUF 1
GAME RECAP: Plouffe powers ‘Wings win

4/22: BUF 12, ROC 3
GAME RECAP: Buffalo Pounds Rochester

Hall of Fame day in Buffalo

The Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame announced today that former Buffalo Bisons INF RICHIE SEXSON and long-time Bisons broadcaster DUKE McGUIRE have been elected as the 80th and 81st members of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame.

RICHIE SEXSON
Sexson was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 24th round of the 1993 amateur draft and played parts of two seasons with the Buffalo Bisons. The 6′ 6″ first baseman hit 31 home runs -second most in a single season in the Bisons’ Modern Era- and drove in 88 in 115 games with the Herd in 1997 to help the club earn an American Association Championship. He led the A.A. with the 31 home runs and was also a mid and post season league All-Star.

In 1998, Sexson hit 21 more home runs with 74RBI in 89 games with the club before spending the rest of the season with Cleveland. Despite playing just a little over a season and a half in Buffalo, Sexson’s 52 home runs rank as the 5th most for a Bison player in the Modern Era.

Sexson went on to play in parts of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. He hit 306 big league home runs and collected 943RBI in 1,367 career games. He was a National League All-Star with the Brewers in 2002 and 2003 and ranked in the top six in home runs in his league on three different occasions. He hit 30 or more home runs in a season five times, including a career-high 45 with Milwaukee in 2001 and again in 2003. Six times, Sexson reached 100+ RBI in a season.

DUKE McGUIRE
McGuire has been part of the Bisons organization for 32 seasons, most notably as a member of the Herd’s broadcasting team since 1991. On the air, McGuire has worked alongside fellow Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Weber, as well as announcers Jim Rosenhaus and Ben Wagner. His career with the Bisons began in 1979 when he was hired as a Director of Public Relations and Marketing. From 1981-1995, he was the team’s public address announcer and since 1985 has been instrumental in the team’s youth baseball efforts, including the Pitch, Hit and Run competition.

A native of Snyder, NY, McGuire was drafted out of high school by the Mets in 1970. He was then drafted again by the Pirates in 1972 before being selected by the Tigers in the first round of the second phase of the 1972 Draft. He played for then-manager Jim Leyland at Clinton in the Midwest League during the 1973 season. A few seasons later, McGuire was named Most Valuable Player of the 1978 Niagara Falls Pirates, for whom he served as a player-manager.

The Bisons Hall of Fame Day ceremonies will also include the induction of former Bisons OF FRANK CARSWELL and former Newark OF BOB SEEDS into the International League Hall of Fame. IL President Randy Mobley will present the league’s “Curtain Call” statue to descendents of both Carswell and Seeds.

FRANK CARSWELL
Carswell played in five seasons with the Bisons, amassing a .323 career batting average with 125 doubles, five triples, 78 home runs and 342RBI in 501 games with the Herd. He won the IL batting championship with a .344 average in 1952. He also led the circuit with 30 homers that year, falling 12RBI shy of the IL’s triple crown (101RBI). After playing just one game with Buffalo in 1946, he hit .300 and averaged 20 homers and 86RBI in four straight seasons form 1951-1954. Carswell is still among the Bisons top ten producers of home runs (6th), RBI (9th) and doubles (10th) in the team’s 124-year history.

Carswell also managed in the IL for five seasons from 1963-1966 (Syracuse) and in 1970 (Toledo). He made the playoffs three years with Syracuse and finished his career with a record of 347-391 (.470). Carswell died on October 21, 1998 in Houston, TX at the age of 78.

BOB SEEDS
Seeds played six seasons in the International League from 1935-1942, spending two years each at Montreal, Newark and Baltimore. He hit .305 (690-2,263) with 71 home runs and 407RBI in 604 total games and helped the Newark Bears to back-to-back Governors’ Cup Championships in 1937 and 1938.

It was in Buffalo where Seeds put together maybe the greatest two-game stretch in the history of the International League. On May 6, 1938, Seeds went 6-6 with four home runs against the Bisons at Offermann Stadium. The next day, Seeds hits three more homers against Buffalo, completing the two-game stretch at 9-10 with seven home runs and 17RBI. For his efforts, he was given the key to the City of Buffalo.

Known as ‘Suitcase Bob,’ Seeds was a journeyman ballplayer with 14 different teams across nine leagues during his 21-year playing career. His Major League tenure included stints with the Indians, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees and Giants.

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