Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Following in the footsteps of the famous speech by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora, I am going to talk about the upcoming Midwest League playoffs. However unlike the Colts, we are actually in, and our coach has not said to the media that we suck, yet. After tomorrow’s game here in Dayton, we head home for a brief off day which will involve a round of golf and probably nothing to do with baseball. Then we make the short trip down to South Bend for our first round, best of three series. For us, the main incentive to win the whole thing is staying the good graces of the organization by being a proven winner, and also the extra two weeks of games means another paycheck. To a player like me, “the anti-bonus baby” an extra couple bucks to head into the offseason wouldn’t be bad. The other main feeling running through the team is that we are either going to go big or go home. This meaning that, if we win the first series, we might as well win it all because there isn’t much sense in just hanging around and giving all the fans false hope when we are secretly really just wanting to get home and back to a calmer, more normal lifestyle. This does not mean we are trying to lose, no one ever does that, it’s just saying that no one will lose any sleep or shed tears if losing does happen. I would like to see us bring home a third consecutive championship to West Michigan, it just gives me one more thing to brag about to all my friends around pro ball (excluding the ones who are in the big leagues).
Matt Hoffman improved to 2-5 on the season with a nice start in the Tigers 5-0 win over Lowell. He gave up just one hit and five walks with two strikeouts in five shutout innings.
Eric Harryman was the hitting star in the win. He went two for four with a homerun and two RBIs.
Jonah Nickerson improved to 12-4 on the season with a nice start in the Flying Tigers 7-1 win over Clearwater. He gave up one run on six hits and one walk with two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Robbie Weinhardt picked up his fourth save with 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief to close out the game.
Brandon Timm went two for four with three RBIs. Louis Ott went three for five with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
You’d think it’d be hard to be find a high note in a game where the pitchers gave up seven runs, but Guillermo Moscoso struck out ten in six innings in his win over Akron. He did give up four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk but the ten strikeouts puts him at 122 on the season in just 86 2/3 innings.
Casper Wells hit a two run homer in the 9-7 win. Pedro Cotto tripled twice and drove in two runs.
Yorman Bazardo put a fitting end note on his disappointing season with the Mud Hens. He fell to 4-13 in the Hens 7-5 loss and he gave up six runs on nine hits and two walks with one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings.
Freddy Guzman doubled, drove in two and scored a run in the loss and he stole his 56th base (71st between his two stops). Mike Hessman went two for five with two doubles, an RBI and a run (and of course, two strikeouts).
The White Caps got some top notch relief pitching as they took care of Dayton 5-4 in ten innings. Wilton Garcia improved to 9-4 and he struck out four in three innings of shutout relief while Noah Krol pitched a shutout tenth to earn his fifteenth save of the season.
Jordan Newton drove home the game winner with a sac. fly in the tenth. Newton also homered earlier in the game and Kody Kaiser went belted a two run homer in the fourth inning.
Being a longtime fan of the Late Show with David Letterman, I am going to try my hand at writing a piece for his show, you know, just in case there is another writers strike. So here it goes, the top ten signs you have played a lot of baseball games in 6 months:
10. Instead of arguing with the umpire because of a bad call you decide against it, because it will prolong the game.
9. Advil, coffee, and Peanut Butter and Jelly is your breakfast of champions.
8. You’ve memorized every line of the movie “Grandma’s Boy.”
7. Playing an extra 9 holes on the golf course in the morning is your pre-game conditioning.
6. What day is it again?
5. You have made a little countdown calender on on your facebook page of games remaining, and have to explain to all your friends how the playoffs work.
4. Total game time eclipses the importance of the score.
3. Waking up on the bus and seeing the sunrise is normal.
2. When you get mad on the field, instead of covering your mouth, you just swear in Spanish.
1. Chicks dig your tan lines instead of the longball.
These may be a professional baseball player’s three favorite words, “Show and Go.” What this means is that instead of showing up four or five hours before game time, we get to show up an hour before game time and just stretch, throw and play. Now this is something that is not easy to talk our coaches into. Lately the procedure of the show and go has been easier to get because of the season winding down and everyone is a little worn down. There is another thing that helps the cause of the S.A.G. which is winning, also a trend of the Whitecaps of late. So to simplify, if you have a show and go towards the end of the year and you win, the team gets to keep a good thing going. Our main motivation to keep playing well at this point is to continue the show and go streak (since we have already made the playoffs). You see friends, sometimes it is the little things in a baseball life that make us players happy. Any chance I get to sleep in until one in the afternoon, and not just me, several of my teammates as well, can make me happy no matter what day it is.
When the season is over and all of us players have to go our separate ways, it can get a little tough to say goodbye to the people you saw everyday for the last six months. Then again sometimes not. However, whether hard or relieving, goodbye is always easer when you know you can stay in touch with the guys throughout the offseason. Some make phone calls or chat online, but the Whitecaps this year have upped it a notch. We have a team fantasy football league, and if there is anyone out there who does not know what this is, well then, I’d go to google right away. This way, not only can we stay in touch, but the competitive spirit will stay alive and well in our down time. This emotional roller coaster known as the fantasy football season (also called the NFL) can also cause some teammates to distance themselves from one another via the method of trash talking or bragging. I don’t think we have any of those guys in our league, but I am speaking in generalities of course. For me I like it because when I am fully exhausted from college football saturday, I can wake up on sunday and have a good reason to watch the NFL. You may ask why I don’t already have a high interest in the NFL? Well I’ll say one thing; I grew up in Michigan and I’m not really a Bears fan, hence the one team remaining I have to root for. After a lifetime of disappointments I have almost lost faith in my Lions, and the NFL in general, had it not been for fantasy football. So this past week we held a draft to pick our teams, so now all we need is week one kickoff, and plenty of distance between each other on game day.
Mark Sorenson improved to 3-3 on the season with a nice start at the Tigers took care of Aberdeen 4-2. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six solid frames.
Ben Guez belted a solo homer in the win. Brent Wyatt went two for three with a run.
Emmanuel Miguelez went the distance as the White Caps took care of the Loons 5-1. He gave up just a single run on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
Joseph Tucker went two for five with a two run homer. Kyle Peter went two for five with two RBIs and a run.
Duane Below improved to 8-7 on the season with a solid start in the Flying Tigers 7-1 win over Dunedin. He gave up four hits with five strikeouts in five shutout innings.
Michael Bertram went four for five with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Cale Iorg went two for five with a double, a homerun, two RBIs and three runs.
Dontrelle Willis threw just one inning before Matt Rusch took over to throw five shutout frames in the Hens 3-2 win over Richmond. He improved to 3-0 and he gave up just one hit with four strikeouts.
Freddy Guzman went two for four with an RBI. Maxwell Leon went two for two with two runs.
I write about August as being the dog days because for minor leaguers this is our final full month of games as opposed to the major leagues where September is where the grinding happens. For us teams who are already in the playoffs, August is a hard month to keep intensity because the playoffs start in September and you want to go into that playing well, but at the same time, don’t want to get hurt in the process. The average person probably won’t appreciate how difficult playing a full season actually is. Not only do you have to perform well each time out to keep your job, but staying injury free while doing so is a chore in itself. I never imagined how hard this would be but after going through this season, I have to say there is absolutely no room for softness in professional baseball. The one time you let up just may be the one time someone important is watching and the fate of your career in the organization may depend on that night’s performance. So the grind continues and for me I am trying to leave the best possible impression I can before all the men in charge go into winter meetings and decide if I am worth keeping around. That’s why the best teams are always decided at the end of the year; it’s not who has the best talent, but who can outlast and out perform their opponent.
Kody Kirkland and Freddy Guzman had a pair of hits each and that was all the Hens could muster in a 6-0 loss. Clete Thomas didn’t pick up a hit, but he reached base a team high three times with three walks.
A solid start by Jeremy Johnson went to waste. He gave up one run on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in five innings. Francisco Cruceta was pummelled for five runs in his 2/3 of an inning of relief.
Erie beat Connecticut 7-4 and it was Ryan Roberson who led the way at the plate. He went two for four and one of those hits was a big three run blast that put Erie on the board. Casper Wells also had a nice game and he went two for five with a homerun, two RBIs and a run.
Josh Rainwater improved to 10-6 with a solid start. He gave up three runs on five hits and four walks with a strikeout in 6 2/3 innings.
A fantastic start by Lauren Gagnier went to waste in the Flying Tigers 3-2 loss to Dunedin. He gave up three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Ryan Perry gave up an unearned run in the ninth inning and he took the loss to fall to 1-2.
Jeff Kunkel provided the bulk of Lakeland’s offense. He went two for three and he drove in both Lakeland runs.
Mauricio Robles improved to 5-3 on the season with a nice start in the White Caps 4-2 win over the Dragons. He gave up just four hits with four strikeouts in five shutout innings. Noah Krol pitched a shutout ninth and he picked up his thirteenth save of the season.
Jordan Newton went two for four with a pair of RBIs. Cory Middleton went one for two with two runs.
Billy Nowlin had just one hit but he drove in three as Oneonta edged Aberdeen 6-5. Brent Wyatt also had a nice day at the plate and he went two for four with a run and two RBIs.
Darwin De Leon picked up the win but he had a tough time finding the plate. He improved to 5-2 and he gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts in five innings.
Being so close to home I frequently have lots of family and friends come to watch me play. This means I usually have to spend about a total of an hour playing phone tag with my dad finding out just how many tickets I will need to get. The number usually starts somewhere around nine to twelve and then I get a message an hour before game time saying, “It will just be me and mom.” Well fortunately for me recently we actually settled on a number the day before the game; nine. As an added bonus I was starting that game so I had plenty of supporters in the crowd cheering me on. It’s nice bringing friends to the game because they put the people we players write down on the pass list right behind home plate in the front row, thus making me look like a genius. Anyways, this thursday we had a post game shindig with live music, free hot dogs and free beer (for personal only, everyone else has to pay). So why not take my family and friends up there for a good time, once again getting them free stuff and making me look I have a lot more pull than I really do. If you are wondering, yes I think I am doubling as a marketing executive for the Whitecaps sometimes and anyone who wants to start a petition to get me a second income, that would be great. Through all this I have learned a valuable lesson in business; There is much that can be accomplished through baseball, free beer and hot dogs.
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