Saturday, September 1, 2007

Miracle defeat Jays, stretch win streak to 3 games

Errol Simonitsch

Fort Myers 7 at Dunedin 4

Record 37 - 30

W: E. Simonitsch (5-0, 4.17); L: R. Ray (3-3, 4.86)
HR: FTM: J. Portes (12).

If anyone on the Miracle deserves a call up to AAA to end the season, it is without doubt Errol Simonitsch, sho seems to have worked past his injury and has pitched quite well over has past several starts.

Simo allowed 6 Jays hits and walked 1 but allowed only 1 run in 7 innings of work while striking out 7. A hit batter and 2 singles allowed Jesus Gonzalez to score to give the Jays their first run of the game and by then, the Miracle had put up a lead that Dunedin found tough to overcome.

A Brian Dinkelman single, a Steve Tolleson walk and a Dustin Martin single combined to get Dinkelman across the plate and the Miracle on the scoreboard in the first.

Dink and Erik Lis would also score runs in the 3rd with the pair hitting singles and then having Martin join them on base after being hit by a pitch. Juan Portes line drive brought the two initial runners in, but a Johnny Woodard strike out and a Dwyane White pop out left 2 men stranded.

If Portes had not made a case for a promotion to AA next season, he certainly did so in the 7th when he homered in Martin to give the Miracle a 5 run lead before Dunedin solved Simonitsch.

Toby Gardenhire singled and stoled second in the eighth inning, coming home on a Tolleson line drive to tack one more on to the visitors lead.

A Martin double off Connor Falkenbach and a Dwayne White single finished off the scoring.

Winston Marquez, a big southpaw who played the entire GCL season as starter, made a late season FSL appearance for the Miracle in the 8th. He allowed only a Kyle Phillips single in that inning, but a Luke Hetherington double greeted him in the 9th as the Jays attempted a rally.

He would walk Brian Jeroloman and Chris Gutierrez single to load the bases before Kevin Boles sent Rob Delaney out to the mound, Hetherington would score on Carlo Cotas' ground out a Jeroloman would be plated by a Anthony Hatch sac-fly. An Eric Nielsen single brought in the last of the inherited runners. A Jacob Butler fly out would strand 2 to end the game.

The two teams meet again tonight with Jay Manship (7-5, 3.41) taking to the mound against Adrian Martin.

The Miracle remain entrenched in fourth place in the division, but the win knocks the Blue Jays down into second place after the Threshers split a pair with the Flying Tigers last night.


Playoffs: The Elizabethton Twins won 5-1 over the Danville Braves to pick up their 2nd Appalachian League Championship in the last three years. Starter Michael McCardell (1-0), who began the season with the GCL Twins, gave up five hits and a walk while striking out seven over six scoreless innings for the win. The 22-year-old right-hander went 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA in eight outings for the Twins. He won his last four regular-season decisions and carried a no-hitter through six frames on Sunday.

The AA New Britain Rock Cats kept their playoff hopes alive with a 10-5 win over the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox). In AAA Rochester, the Red Wings playoff bid took a turn for the worse as they lost 10-7 to Buffalo, falling a game and a half behind in the wild card race.

The GCL Yankees locked up the GCL Championship, 2-games-to-1 over the GCL Dodgers.

In the FSL East division, the St. Lucie Mets locked up the second half division title and will face off against the Brevard County Manatees in the first week of September in search of a FSL crown.

One-hit: Former Miracle starter Scott Baker took a perfect game into the ninth inning on Friday night at the Metrodome and was then just two outs from a no-hitter before Mike Sweeney jammed the second pitch he saw into short left-center field to break up Baker's chance at immortality. Baker fanned nine and threw 111 pitches -- 81 for strikes -- in the 5-0, Twins victory, which lasted just two hours and 16 minutes. It was his first career nine-inning shutout. Baker had the crowd on its feet, cheering for the first time with two outs in the seventh inning, and it pretty much stayed that way for the rest of his performance.

Baker also saw the birth of his second son, Easton, who was born in Shreveport, La., late last Friday night. Easton was born five weeks premature, and Baker has been traveling back and forth to Louisiana due to the birth, his last start, and his bullpen sessions.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Puppy the Stealer Stopper

Dan LehmannIris wanted the roster and schedule for instructs because "I'm the most important person who needs them." I corrected her, as I'm the one that provides the info to people I'm the one that needs them the most.

In any case, in an attempt to yank her chain, I walk by later and say "Dog the Bounty Hunter is coming to instructs."


"Dog. The Bounty Hunter." I was wondering if she lived under a rock or something.

"You mean that guy from TV?"


"Who's he coming to catch?"

"He's not coming to catch. He's coming to watch."

"Well, why would he do that?"

"Because we signed his nephew."

"Wait a minute," says Ed, breaking into this conversation. "Who signed him? The Miracle or the Twins?"

"The Twins." It was a stupid question. The Miracle don't sign players but it's kind of pointless sometimes to argue with Ed.

"What's his name?" Iris asks. "Puppy the bounty hunter?"

"Lehmann," I answer.

"What's he play?" Ed wants to know.

I thought that was obvious. "Catch. He's a puppy. He plays catch."


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dog Days are upon us


Monday was bring a Dog to the Game Day, a rescheduling of the semi-rained out Dog Daze. I look over to 108, and Jay Rainville is sitting there with Josh "Maddog" Rabe next to him. I thought it very appropriate.

"So, it was bring your Dog to the Game Day," I say to Jay, "and so you brought Maddog?" They both lost it.

I had been looking though my card collection and had found the top prospect card, unsigned so I had it with and had him sign it.

"That's an old one," he says, and gives it to Jay so he can look at it. After I thought about it, it occured to me that he hadn't signed the Miracle one from that year either, as he left at the All-Star break and the card sets came out afterwards. So I dug that one out and I will take it with me tonight, but I'm not really expecting him to be there again.

Still, you never know.

Tonight is the last home game of the season (sad, I know) and it's against Sarasota. They are having Miracle players on the concourse to sign, but I'll be down at the Reds dugout trying to get some of the cards from the team set I got last Friday signed.

Yes, I did go to Sarasota. The game got rained out. I did get a program though, which is very well done. I did not stop to get money on the way in and they do not have an ATM at the park(!) and so I didn't end up bringing a merchandise haul back with me.

The only really interesting bit about the rain out was the old lady that was there, that I found very rude. "I'm a baseball chaplin and I've been watching this game for 27-years and..." I was talking to someone...Iris the Miracle park and mentioned the woman and she said "She was here!" And agreed that she was very rude. Mrs. Chaplin baby sat Kevin Boles when he was a youngster and likes to make a big fuss about it.

Jeff-Jeff had purchased the 2004 Miracle set at the gift shop Monday night. "I need to look these guys up on the internet and see where they went."

"Which guys," I ask.

"Well, like this guy, Travis Bowyer."

"He was traded to the Marlins for Luis Castillo and suffered and injury coming out of spring training. That was 2 years ago, and he hasn't pitched since."

"Oh...How about..."

I take the cards from and run through them really fast for him.

He looked impressed. "You do know your Miracle." Oh yeah.

Chad Blackwell

Brett stopped by GCL on his way to the airport Sunday to give me this autographed Bowman of Chad Blackwell. I thought it was very sweet of him, considering it was him and TJ who insisted I sit right by the dugout, Blackwell always comes out the dugout.

It does not however, mean I've forgiven Mr. Blackwell for breaking my heart and not signing my ball.

I got a few guys on the Threshers ball, which I need to shoot to put up, most notably major leaguer Francisco Rosario who is rehabing a right shoulder strain. After watching Andrew Carpenter pitch a 7-inning perfect game, I think I got the wrong guy. Well, I said I wanted to see a no-no this year, and I now, I did. Yohan Pino pitched one too, but he walked four.

With the season over I'll get more of the graphs up and some of the cards I've picked up too. I notice Homer Bailey is still with the Reds, so I need to take those cards as well. He seems to have been the theme for the past few days. He pitched 3 innings on the 25th, so perhaps he'll be in the stands, which would make him easy to get. Maybe I should bring all my Homer Bailey stuff in case he turns out to be a real nice guy.

I'll also have a chance to work on both the Miracle site and the GCL site, and get them both up to snuff for next season. I didn't really work on them last winter and I really need to do that this time around. I also have some changes planned for the Goalie Annex and well, there's Everblades hockey coming up.

Never a dull moment around here, let me tell you.

The GCL Twins fell to the GCL Yankees yesterday in the playoffs. Danny Rondon, who started out the season really well, but who had been exhibiting some control problems late in the season allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, a walk and a hit batter. I kind of figured, sooner or later, he'd blow up. Ah well. Nelson should have left Nolte in to close the game. He went 3 up, 3 down. It was a fun season. And now...nothing until the very short Instructional League at the end of September.

Well, must get to work now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

GCL Twins top GCL Orioles, 6-5

GCL Twins 6 at GCL Orioles 5

Current Record: 37 - 19

W: J. Eacott (3-0, 2.28); L: L. Madrigal (2-1, 1.65); SV: L. Martin (1)
HR: None.

The GCL Twins capped off their regular season with another win, defeating the GCL Orioles 6-5 at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota.

The Twins took an early lead in the first when James Beresford and Ben Revere both drew walks off Baltimore's Leonardo Madrigal. A wild pitch moved the pair along. They would be plated by Yangervis Solarte's single to short. A throwing error by Robert Vasquez would give Solarte an extra base. That proved dangerous as Juan Richardson brought him in with a line drive out to right. Richardson would be caught stealing through, and Madrigal found a pair of outs to retire the side with.

The Twins added to their lead in the 3rd, when Revere singled, stole his 21st base of the season and came home on an Angel Morales line drive.

A wild pitch by Winston Marquez, and a walk led to a pair of runs in the bottom of the 3rd for the O's.

The Twins took advantage of a pitching change in the top of the 7th, when Andrew Conklin hit Danny Rams with a pitch. A pair of singles by Nick Papasan and Beresford, and another plunked batter, this time Revere, lead to 3 more runs with the last coming on Solarte's sac-fly out to left.

A fielding error by Papasan, and pair of wild pitches and a balk by Jose Acosta lead to 2 more runs. Then with Lee Ellis at bat, Acosta let loose three straight wild ones to move Robert Vasquez around the diamond and bring him home. Ellis would end up walking, but Arthur Bonevacia lined out to end the inning.

Richardson was the only player with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 as the Twins used the final game of regular season to give a lot of the players work, with many players rotating out during the game.

Charles Nolte, Rodney Guessman, Dominique Rogers, Jarrad Eacott and Lee Martin each pitched an inning for the Twins.

The Twins travel to Tampa on Tuesday to face the GCL Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of today's contest will progress to the best-of-three championship series against the GCL Dodgers.


End of Regular Season

Instructs: Members of this years GCL team that have been invited to instructs are pitchers Danny Berlind and Charles Nolte, catchers Danny Rams and Alexander Soto, infielder James Beresford, Jeanfred Brito, Nick Papasan, Juan Richardson and Jon Waltenbury, and outfielders Angel Morales and Ben Revere. Also included is infielder Reggie Williams who has not played previously this year.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

GCL Twins blank GCL Red Sox

Current Record: 36 - 19

W: M. Hamburger (2-1, 1.20); L: B. Huntzinger (0-1, 2.57)
HR: TWI: A. Morales (2).

E: Wright (2, pickoff).

The GCL Twins used 5 pitchers that combined to hold the GCL Red Sox to only 7 hits over 9 innings in a blanking of their cross town rivals. The victory gave the Twins a new team record for most victories in a GCL season.

Tom Wright took the start and went 3 innings, allowing 4 hits and walking 2 while striking out 2.

Wright's was shakey in his first inning when 2 hits and a bad throw on a pick off attempt moved Victor Serrano to 3rd base with 2 outs. Wright would walk Jered Stanley to load the bases, but got Ricardo Burgos to hit into a ground out to first to end the inning, stranding the Red Sox players.

A throwing error by Red Sox catcher Peter Gilardo, who was trying to catch Juan Richardson stealing 2nd moved Richardson in to a position to come home on a wild pitch by Brock Huntzinger. That put the Twins on the board in the second inning.

They would add to their lead in the 4th when Richardson singled his way onto base and then trotted home when Angel Morales put his second yarder of the season over the center field wall. A Danny Rams double and a pair of singles by the two Nicks, Biagini and Papasan gave the Twins 1 more to make it 4-0 for the home team.

Richardson would then double in Alex Soto in the bottom of the 5th to finish off the scoring.

Mark Hamburger would pick up the win, working 2 innings and allowing on 2 hits while striking out 2. Michael Mopas mopped up through 2 allowing only 1 hit and striking out 3. Jakob Toufar and Nelvin Fuentes each worked an inning a piece, keeping the Red Sox off the bases.

Richardson would go 4-for-4 in the game, while Papasan was 3-for-4 and Morales was 2-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 strike outs. Soto also recorded a pair of Ks while James Beresford and a frustrated Jon Waltenbury put up 3 each.

The Twins finish up their regular season Monday at 10:00 AM at Twin Lakes Park. The Dodgers continue to lead the GCL with a 39-15 record a .722 win percentage, meaning the Twins will travel to Tampa on Tuesday to face the Yankees in the first round of the GCL playoffs.

Jeanfred Brito suffered a broken leg on Saturday and underwent surgery on Sunday to repair it. The thoughts and prayers of the extended GCL Twins family are with him with hopes that he will make a complete recovery and be ready to go and wow the crowd in Elizabethton next summer.