Yesterday the Eastern League kicked off the 2012 season with six of the seven games decided by three runs or less. All told there were 115 hits – 9 of them HR – 51 runs and 6 errors. The first salvo of games included a shutout and yes, even a double-header.
Portland Sea Dogs 2 – Reading Phillies 4
Game Recap: Both starters, Chris Balcom-Miller and Jonathan Pettibone each gave up a single run but got there in very different ways. CBM went 5.0 innings for Portland allowing just 3 hits and struck out 3. A Sebastian Valle solo shot in the second inning accounted for the only real blemish on an otherwise excellent start. Pettibone, on the other hand, danced in and out of trouble allowing 10 hits in his 6.0 innings of work for Reading. Neither pitcher issued a free pass in the game. The Sea Dogs won the hit battle 12-8 but lost the war when Reading RF Leandro Castro hit a 2-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th.
Prospects Present: Five of Philadelphia’s Top-30 prospects (according to Baseball America) played in the game with Valle (#3) and Pettibone (#4) the most highly rated. The other three were Jiwan James (#9), Cesar Hernandez (#14) and the game’s hero Leandro Castro. Sebastian was the best of the Reading bunch with a 2-3 day that included 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB and a SO.
Across the diamond the Red Sox had four of their Top-30 log some playing time. 2010 supplemental pick Bryce Brentz (#5) was joined by Kolbrin Vitek (#19), Oscar Tejeda (#24) and Heiker Meneses (#30). Together they went 5-15 with an RBI, 4 SO and dubiously grounded into 3 double plays.
Player of the Game: 2B Ryan Dent (POR) 3-3, R, HR, RBI
Portland Sea Dogs 4 – Reading Phillies 7
Game Recap: The other part of the 2-game tilt between these teams wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. Juan Carlos Linares hit a solo shot in the 1st inning for Portland before Reading pushed across 7 runs off Sea Dogs starter Chris Martin in the middle innings. The score remained 7-1 until Portland pushed across one run in the 6th and another two in the 7th and final inning.
Prospect Present: For Reading – Castro went 1-3 with 2 RBI, James was hitless with 2 SO in 3 trips and Hernandez was 2-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI 1 R and 1 SO. For Portland - Bryce Brentz went 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Tejeda and Meneses again chipped in hits while Vitek went 0-2 with 2 BB.
Player of the Game: 2B Cesar Hernandez (REA) 2-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SO
Richmond Flying Squirrels 2 – New Britain Rock Cats 3
Game Recap: New Britain jumped out to a 3-0 lead getting to Richmond SP Justin Fitzgerald in the 1st and the 3rd. Rock Cats Luke French (5.0) and Deolis Guerra (2.0) combined to pitch 7.0 innings of 2 hit, shutout baseball with 2 BB and 7 SO. Daniel Turpen got knocked around before Lester Oliveros struck out the final batter to earn a save. The teams combined for just two extra-base hits – both of them doubles.
Prospects Present: Any discussion of prospects in this matchup has to start with the consensus top prospect in the Giants system, CF Gary Brown who went 1-3 with a run and a walk. Also seeing action in the game for Richmond were Tommy Joseph (#2), Ehire Adrianza (#9) and Chris Dominguez (#16).
New Britain was led by the enigmatic Aaron Hicks (#4) with Chris Herrmann (#14), Deolis Guerra (#15) and Lester Oliveros (#26) also ranked in the Twins Top-30. Of the bunch Guerra was lights out with his 2.0 hitless, 3 SO performance, though Hermann had a fine day going 2-4 with an RBI.
Player of the Game: LF Chris Dominguez (RIC) 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SO
Erie SeaWolves 4 – Altoona Curve 7
Game Recap: Altoona doubled up Erie in the hit column 14-7 with every member of the Curve lineup contributing to that total. Both SP – Jay Voss (ERI) and Mike Colla (ALT) - fared poorly in their first starts of the season.
Prospects Present: The SeaWolves only had one member of Detroit’s Top-30 – C Rob Brantley (#7) – play in the game though he did his part hitting a solo home run in the 4th inning. By contrast, Altoona’s lineup had five members from the Pirates Top-30 led by Tony Sanchez (#7). Robbie Grossman (#8), Jarek Cunningham (#17), Ramon Cabrera (#22) and Matt Curry (#25) round out the group. The quintet collectively put on a show: 8-20, 4 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 2 SO
Player of the Game: CF Robbie Grossman (ALT) 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SO
Akron Aeros 4 – Binghamton Mets 0
Game Recap: Binghamton apparently forgot to take their offense out on the field with them as four Aeros pitchers limited the Mets to just 3 hits (all singles) and added 10 strike outs to the ledger as well. Akron’s staff was far from sharp however and walked 6 on the night.
Prospects Present: For prospect hounds looking to take in a game with some of the upper echelon talent in the Mets or Indians system, this was definitely a game to miss. Only two of the Indians Top-30 – Nick Weglarz (#18) and Chun-Hsiu Chen (#26) - played and they combined to go 0-6 with 2 BB and 2 SO. Binghamton likewise only had two of the Mets Top-30 – Matt Den Dekker (#12) and Juan Lagares (#22) – and they combined to also go 0-6 with 2 BB and 2 SO.
Player of the Game: CF Tim Fedroff (AKR) 3-5, R, 2B, RBI, SO
Harrisburg Senators 2 – Bowie Baysox 4
Game Recap: Behind an excellent outing from starter Timothy Bascom (see below) Bowie was up 4-0 after the 7th inning. Harrisburg tried to rally scoring a run in the 8th and another in the 9th, thanks to a pinch hit HR off the bat of Chris Rahl, but fell short in the end. The Senators major league talent, Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse, failed to contribute out as the pair combined to go 0-5 with 4 SO and a BB.
Prospects Present: Destin Hood (#11), Jeff Kobernus (#20), Eury Perez (#22) and Sandy Leon (#24) were the four members of the Nationals Top-30 to see playing time. They combined to go 3-16 with 2 SO. Plenty of eyes will be on Bowie this season to watch some of the best talent that the Orioles system has to offer. Joining Manny Machado (#2) on the field in the Baysox opener were Jonathan Schoop (#3), L.J. Hoes (#5), Tyler Townsend (#24), and Brandon Waring (#25). Machado started things off with 2-4 night that included a solo HR in the 2nd inning.
Player of the Game: RHP Timothy Bascom (BOW) 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5 – Trenton Thunder 3
Game Recap: If you’re a regular reader of this site you know that I am a huge believer in RHP Drew Hutchison. Nothing has changed now that his 1st start of 2012 is in the books for the Fisher Cats. Four Trenton batters reached base against Hutchison in the 1st but he shut the Thunder down completely for the rest of his start.
Prospect Performances: For Trenton, Zoilo Almonte (#19) and David Adams (#26) were the only members of the Yankees Top-30 to see game action. After striking out in all four at bats on the day, Zoilo has no where to go but up the rest of the season. Adams also put up a goose-egg but did get on base by way of two walks. The Blue Jays system is deep and loaded with talent but on this day only Top-30 prospects Hutchison (#9) and C A.J. Jimenez (#12) took the field for the Fisher Cats. Based on the merits of his 3-5 performance at the plate, Jimenez was the runner up for player of the game honors.
Player of the Game: RHP Drew Hutchison (NH) 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
Topics: Akron Aeros, Altoona Curve, Binghamton Mets, Bowie Baysox, Eastern League, Erie SeaWolves, Harrisburg Senators, New Britain Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Phillies, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Trenton Thunder