Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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The Flying Tigers blew a three run lead but then came back in the top of the ninth to top Palm Beach 6-5. Michael Bertram had the big hit with a two run single to win it in the ninth. Justin Henry had a nice day at the plate in the win and he went three for five with a run and an RBI.
Trevor Feeney was solid in no-decision start. He gave up an unearned run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts in five innings. Scott Green didn’t allow a run in the final 1 2/3 innings and he improved to 3-0.
Jeramy Laster scored on Christopher White’s ground out in the top of the tenth and that proved to be the difference as Lakeland took care of Palm Beach 7-6. This one almost got away because Brett Jacobson gave up three unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth that allowed the game to go into extra frames. The win snapped the Flying Tigers four game losing streak.
Brendan Wise picked up the win and he improved to 1-0 with two shutout frames. Scott Green pitched a shutout tenth and he earned his sixth save of the season.
Laster was the hitting star. He went two for five with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Michael Bertram also pitched in with two singles, a run and an RBI.
I guess you can say that a little publicity can go a long ways. After doing a simple run of the mill, Q & A for the Detroit Free Press, and having them mention this little tidbit of my life (which I have to thank them ever so much for), I have received some great feedback along with questions that go beyond my ordinary train of thought. No, I know what you may think, and yes please, if you think you have a better idea than me for a certain topic, feel free. I don’t relish in the fact that I may be the smartest minor leaguer out there. I am fully aware I may be nowhere close and don’t have half the interesting things to talk about or stories to tell as some guys who have been around a little longer. But I do talk to those guys and live the same life, so really, I am acting as a catalystic sponge of information, if you will. One of the interesting questions I had was if we had any sort of rituals when a player gets moved up or down, or when a new guy comes in. Well to hit on the first part, when someone gets called up, it usually happens after a game and it may be announced or it may not and the only way of knowing is if that person’s locker is empty the next day amongst the flood of rumors we may have heard. What is a little more interesting and to me, a little more fun is when we get a new player; particularly one who has not been at this team before. We usually try to think of something outrageous to do before the game in front of all the fans and say “Oh you have to do it, we’ve all done it.” And clearly no one has, but for our own humor pray that he does. For instance, in West Michigan they run a Whitecaps flag into center field before every game, and we would make new guys do that on their first day. It always got a decent laugh out of the dugout. Down here in Lakeland, things are a little slower because we don’t draw the kind of fans like other places, but we still try to find something like making new guys meet with the umpires and visiting coaches before the game to exchange lineup cards and go over any ground rules. I always hope this happens when I pitch, that way I can give my buddy a fifty before the game, and try to see if he can sway the umpires a la Rodney Dangerfield (“keep it fair, will ya”). But most of the time moves happen so fast that we don’t even know what’s going on until someone else is wearing the uniform. It’s all part of the game and everyone understands it, and any little bit of humor and laughter we can all get out of it makes the transition a little bit easier.
There are so many reasons why a person can love the game of baseball; the deep relationship and feelings towards a favorite team. The drama and story line that can play out in each game. The little intricacies which only true, hardcore fans can really appreciate, or the excitement of someone new to the game when they begin to learn the ins and outs. I have another reason why it is so easy to fall in love with baseball and that is, no matter how long you have been around or following the game, you can always see something that you have never seen before. Crazy plays happen all the time or amazing hits that seem to have eyes for the short grass. Just watch ESPN at night and look for the top ten plays of the night and it’s a constant one-up festival. Just the variety of double play combinations alone can fill a lifetime of “I’ve never seen that.” Just today I once again was stunned by how little I have actually seen in person. For starters, last night Audy Ciriaco hit a walk off grand slam in extra innings, a first for me. Moving along to today, I saw a double play I bet will never (or at least for a long time) be seen again. In the fifth inning of today’s game, Kyle Peter went back on a ball hit in the gap. He ended up sliding feet first into the wall, catching the ball over his shoulder. Now, the other team had a hit and run on so by the time Kyle caught the ball, the runner was rounding second base. It was so amazing that no one in the dugout thought he caught it, and neither did the runner. Well due to sliding into the wall, Kyle smashed his knee and temporarily couldn’t stand, so our left fielder, Chris White, came running over, grabbed the ball out of Kyle’s glove, threw it in to Justin Henry (2nd baseman) who relayed it to first to force out the runner for the double play. So to recap, we went from what we thought was a double in the gap and run for them, to an amazing catch and two down and nobody on. Or in baseball terms, an F-8-7-4-3 double play. Kyle will be okay, he just banged his knee pretty good and should be back in no time. I can most certainly add this to my list of “Never seen that before” and the next time you go to a game, maybe if you pay attention close enough you will get a glimpse of the unseen.
Audy Ciriaco had a monster game as the Flying Tigers took care of Brevard County 10-6. He finished with seven RBIs including a walk off grand slam, his second homer of the game. Kody Kaiser joined him with three hits, including a walk, a double and two runs.
Charles Furbush pitched five frames in his start but ended with a no-decision. He gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts. Chad Linder ended up with the win and he struck out one in 1 2/3 innings.
One of the things Florida summers are known for besides the sweltering heat are the rainy days that seem to come out of nowhere. I’m not kidding here, it will be blue skies and no sign of weather and then, like Zeus was sitting in the sky, lightning will just start coming down. Being a weatherman in Florida has to be the easiest job ever. All you need to do is say, “It’s going to be really really hot and humid today with a 30-50 percent chance of thunder showers.” If you don’t believe this, look at the weather for Lakeland this upcoming week. After being in a drought since the new year, the rain has started to make its appearance. None more evident than in our last two games where we got rained out in the second inning and the very next day did not even take the field. There is, however, a more interesting story that goes behind the first one. I was the starter of that game and after getting the first four outs of the game, I saw some lightning, it started to rain heavily, and two baseballs sailed over the fence in two pitches. Yep, back to back jacks. Fortunately for me, about the only good thing that came out of that game was that it was cancelled before it was official so none of the statistics count. The slate was wiped clean and I got a get out of jail free card on a bad inning. If life always worked this way and people just got to start over like nothing ever happened I think the world would be a better place because you would learn from your mistakes without even making them. Baseball is a funny game and sometimes there are little rewards hidden in the worst of situations. Well I guess for those two hitters, there really isn’t much reward, but hey, this story is about the positives in life.
Jordan Newton belted a big two run homer in the top of the fifth inning to give Lakeland the runs they needed to top Dunedin 5-3. He also doubled in the game while Kyle Peter went two for four with a double, two RBIs and a run.
Charles Furbush had a rough start and he gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. Robert Waite gave up a run in 2 1/3 innings to pick up the win and Scott Green pitched a shutout ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
If I remember correctly, I wrote last year about what the everyday routine of a (mainly myself) minor league player contains. Well this is a new year and a new team so things have changed a little bit. Also now that I am a starting pitcher, there are some variables thrown in that I am adjusting to as well (these mostly consist of different ways of learning to relax more often). The standard eleven a.m. wake up call really hasn’t changed much, I think that one stays pretty universal throughout the minor leagues (I owe waking up everyday to Amanda, she makes sure I get going via the phone). I will explain why this is here in a bit. Once I roll out of bed and head downstairs to find which of the seven kinds of milk in the fridge are mine, I eat and watch TV. The next part can get a little complicated so pay attention. We have quite a few guys living under the same roof, however not all of them have cars to get to where they need to go. Four to be exact. Since Casper Wells is on rehab from AA Erie, he has moved in and has to be in at seven a.m. One car gone. Then there usually is a group that needs to go in and workout around one before team stretch. Two cars down. Then there is everyone else who has to go together at around three, or what we call normal time. Three cars gone. Here’s where the fun starts; we have three starting pitchers in the house and none of us have to be at the field until five thirty, for a seven o’clock game. Four cars gone. If for any reason someone has to run errands in the morning they need to bring the car back or someone will be stranded. So now that I have explained carpooling I can tell you what it is I do once I am at the field. The usual pre game stuff never really changes; you go in, get dressed, stretch and take batting practice. This is the same all the way to the big leagues. Running everyday is different for everyone because starters and relievers are on different programs based around when you throw. As a starter, you take on more in game duties than normal. If you are ever at a game and see a guy sitting behind home plate with a radar gun looking completely lost- starting pitcher. If you ever see a guy walking all over the ballpark videotaping hitters and pitchers- starting pitcher. And if you look in the dugout and see a player sitting on the end of the bench, cracking jokes and throwing sunflower seeds at people- starting pitcher. We also have to do the game chart the day before we pitch so that counts for something I’d have to say. And now I will tell you why it is I sleep in. When I come home from the game which is between ten thirty and eleven, I get hungry and so I make a meal. Not just a night time snack, a full dinner. This probably goes against every bit of advice any nutritionist would give but hey, I have to eat sometime. This leads to staying up later than I want, which carries over into waking up to Amanda’s phone call and so on and so forth and we do it all again.
Andrew Hess had one of his best starts of the season as he gave up just six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six shutout innings. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up the win because Lakeland’s hitters were late on arrival. The win actually went to Scott Green, who gave up the tying run in the ninth before Lakeland rallied with a run of the bottom half of the frame for a 2-1 win.
The game winner actually came on a wild pitch as Michael Bertram scampered home with one out. Andy Dirks went two for four with an RBI.
Robbie Weinhardt gave up a pair of runs in the top of the tenth inning as Lakeland lost to Dunedin 6-4. This was after a mediocre start by Lauren Gagnier. He gave up four runs on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Andy Dirks went three for three with a double, a walk and two RBIs. Kody Kaiser went two for four with a home run, a walk and two runs.
The Flying Tigers took care of the Jays 8-5 in a game where there were plenty of hitting stars. Christopher White was a perfect three for three with a walk and a run while Kody Kaiser went two for four with a triple, two runs and two RBIs.
Charles Furbush picked up the win and he improved to 3-1. He gave up four runs on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in five innings.
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