Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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In order to be a baseball player there are two things one must come to terms with in order to stay sane and keep performing at a high level. One is, that there will be a lot of games played and you will travel a lot. The pressure never really goes away and you must keep having fun. The other thing that is absolutely essential to survive in the realm of pro-ball is that you must be able to embrace really, really bad tan lines. For me I like to embrace this as sort of a badge of honor, and wear it proudly. For others the thought having to walk around two toned is about a shameful as a “bad night out.” Thus, the introduction of the tanning bed comes into play. I’ve never been one for this phenomenon but whatever helps a player deal with his scars is up to them. Now let me explain just what exactly it is that I have to deal with on a daily basis; On my head, I have a darker face, and a bright white forehead. I also have a tan line on my arms three quarters of the way down my arm because of the undershirt I wear and then the best of all when I take off any white undershirt, it still looks like I am wearing it. Now my situation is not as bad as some of the hitters however. Some of our guys have to deal with wrist tape lines and my personal favorite, the eye black circles. If you have no problem with really bad tan lines, and are lucky enough to do something which reinforces them everyday, my hat is off to you and just maybe there is a little bit of ballplayer in you too.
The Flying Tigers had plenty of hitting stars in their 11-5 win over Dunedin but Brennan Boesch had a particularly big game. He went two for five with a triple, a homerun, four RBIs and two runs. Scott Sizemore was one of two hitters who had three hits and he scored three times.
Matt O’Brien improved to 4-1 on the season with a solid start. He gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in five innings of work.
Lucas French fell to 3-5 on the season with a tough start in the SeaWolves 8-6 loss to Altoona. He gave up eight runs on twelve hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Danny Worth went two for five with a solo homer. Jeff Frazier went three for five with a run.
Denny Bautista fell to 0-1 for the Hens in a 3-2 loss to the Knights. He gave up an unearned run on a hit and a walk with two strikeouts in two innings of relief. Yorman Bazardo had a decent start and he gave up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
Brent Clevlen had two hits including a solo homer, his ninth long ball of the season. Dane Sardinha drove in the other Hen run with a solo shot of his own.
The White Caps managed just five hits in a 6-1 loss to South Bend today. The lone run came on a solo shot by Casper Wells. Roger Tomas was the only hitter to reach base twice with a pair of singles.
Jonathan Kibler fell to 5-2 on the season. He gave up four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
Lauren Gagnier fell to 1-5 on the season in the White Caps 7-3 loss to South Bend. He gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six innings.
Casper Wells doubled and belted a solo homer. Ron Bourquin singled, drew a walk and scored a run.
Lakeland lost Tampa 5-4 despite coming back from three runs to tie the game. Unfortunately, Nicholas Martin gave up a run in the ninth inning and that cost Lakeland the win. Jonah Nickerson had a mediocre start and he gave up four runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Cale Iorg was the hitting star with a three run blast. James Skelton went two for four with a run and an RBI.
Brent Clevlen had a monster game in the Hens 10-2 win over Buffalo. He went three for four with six RBIs, a homerun and a run. Mike Hessman went one for three with a walk and three runs. Jackson Melian homered and drove in two runs.
Casey Fossum improved to 3-0 on the season with a nice start. He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks with ten strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Erie won a shoot out with Reading 9-7 in a game that saw plenty of hitting stars. Maxim St. Pierre went two for four with a three run homer while William Rhymes had a game high three hits with a run.
Daniel Christensen improved to 2-4 despite a mediocre start. He gave up five runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Brendan Wise pitched a shutout ninth and he earned his first save as a Seawolf.
The majority of family and friends who follow my stat line always ask about the column labeled BK. This is the statistical sign for a balk and yes I have two this year, in the same game no less. That is neither here nor there however I get mad at myself for doing it in the first place whenever I have to explain what exactly a balk is. For those who may wonder what a balk is, it’s very hard to explain without acting it or using a diagram so just Google “balk rule” and that should save me some headache. The more I sit and talk about it, the more ridiculous the whole concept of the rule sounds. I realize that rules are rules and it’s a part of what keeps baseball such a great game, but there are certain rules which umpires in particular like to take to the limit. Our team this year has already balked more times than the last two seasons combined. Balking happens, it’s one of those little mistakes that happen over the course of a long season. This amount of balks however, lends me to question whether or not there was a rule change or if umpires are looking extra hard for one of the smallest details in pitching; coming to a stop. This also triggers bad blood between pitchers and umpires, but the umpires will always win because at the end of the day whether we like it or not they can control how we do. Baseball is a game of details and inches, and every little bit and piece is equally important no matter how hard it is to admit. None the less I will have to make my adjustment and my new pre pitch thought is, aaaaand, stop.
Erie came back from a 6-2 deficit to beat Reading 8-7. Kody Kirkland singled, drove in two and scored a run while Ryan Roberson went two for four with a double, two runs and an RBI.
Anthony Tomey improved to 3-3 with two shutout frames. Casey Fien gave up a run in the ninth but he struck out the side and he picked up his third save of the season.
Virgil Vasquez’ disappointing season continued as he dropped to 3-5 in the Hens 5-3 loss to Buffalo. He gave up five runs on eleven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in just five innings. Vasquez has a 6.22 ERA and while his strikeout to walk ratio of 35/9 is very solid, batters are hitting .324 against him. And there’s basically no platoon split (just .004) so both righties and lefties are mashing him.
It took Mike Hessman a few days but he finally belted his 20th of the season. He hit a two run shot while Timo Perez went four for four with a solo homer. Derek Wathan got a hit in his second straight game since taking over first base for Jeff Larish.
Duane Below improved to 3-3 with a nice start in the Flying Tigers 4-0 win over Tampa. He gave up just two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Jay Sborz struck out two in two perfect innings to close out the game.
Jeffrey Kunkel was the hitting star in the win. He went two for three with a double, a run and an RBI.
Emmanuel Miguelez had a tough time and he fell to 1-3 in the White Caps 8-3 loss to South Bend. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Christopher Carlson had a pair of hits, one of which was a solo shot. Ron Bourquin drew a pair of walks and he drove in a run.
There are certain skills a ballplayer acquires while on the job. These include, but are not limited to; being able to name any scene from any movie ever made or any song played over a loud speaker before a game. We can also carry on a conversation using only quotes from television shows or movies. Some players can heave little airplanes made from gum wrappers over twenty yards. And last, we have the special breed, the category that I fall into. This is the person who has spent so much time watching TV in hotels, watching movies and listening to music on a bus that we can impersonate just about anything, karaoke included. I have a theory for why this is so and it is that we, as players, have two things to focus on; playing baseball and the things we do while not playing baseball. Then all this seemingly useless knowledge gets stored into the non-baseball area of our brains and comes out during bus rides and down time. Yes some are more gifted than others, for instance, my Harry Carry can usually get a rouse out of anyone. However none of this is really all that useful beyond popularity points, unless that is, somehow by a stroke of luck you are selected to be on a game show about useless knowledge.
Chris Lambert fell to 5-2 on the season with a tough start in the Hens 5-3 loss to Buffalo. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
The Hens managed just eight singles and they were all by different hitters. Mike Hessman reached base three times with a single and two walks. He’s now drawn six walks in his last six games as pitchers try to duck him.
The Seawolves scored a run in the ninth to tie the game but that tie was short lived as Angel Castro gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth and he fell to 1-1. Brendan Wise was the most effective pitcher in his first game after getting promoted from Lakeland. He gave up two hits with a strikeout in 1 2/3 shutout innings.
Jeff Frazier went two for four with an RBI and a run. Dusty Ryan doubled, drew a walk and drove in a run.
The White Caps couldn’t push a single runner across the plate as they were held to five hits in a 5-0 loss to Dayton. Joseph Bowen was the only White Cap to reach base twice with a single and a walk.
Alfredo Firgaro lost just his second decision of the season. He gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts.
One of my other passions outside of baseball is golf. I like to consider myself an avid golfer when the opportunities arise, and for the most part baseball and golf end up going hand in hand. There is plenty of down time around the game we play, so to stay busy most of us like to grab the sticks and hit the links. Through my endeavors with golf I have learned that there are plenty of lessons which can be carried over into baseball. Here are a few I have come up with:
-Get out of trouble as fast as you get into it (this rule applies on and off the field).
-Use the catcher like a caddy, he knows the lineup pretty well so when he tells you what to do, you grab the pitch and throw it.
-If you are serious about playing, stay away from the beer cart at all costs.
-Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
-Have a “go to” pitch/ shot (like Tin Cup’s 7 iron, or Rick Vaughn’s “eliminator”).
-The perfect game/ round usually never happens so don’t try to go for it, let it happen.
-Play your game, either go for it or know when to lay up.
-Warm-ups usually don’t indicate how you’ll do.
-Lost balls are never a good thing, they usually indicate you will be going home soon.
Virgil Vasquez had one of his better starts of the season in the Hens 6-0 win over the Bats. He gave up eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Francis Beltran threw perfect innings to close out the game and to complete the shutout.
Mike Hessman had three hits and three runs and one of those hits was his nineteenth homer of the season. Timo Perez and Brent Clevlen also went yard.
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