July 2010

Back on the Shore

The bus pulled into Perdue Stadium at about 6:30 in the morning from Hickory.  Pretty routine trip at this point in the year.  I just went outside (12:30 p.m) and it is scorching hot today.  Weather.com says that it is 95 degrees but it feels like 105 degrees.  Hottest day of the summer here in Salisbury.

Here are a few notes from the game notes I do…

BREAKDOWN OF OPPONENTS: The Shorebirds have 43 games remaining in 2010.  Here is a breakdown of their remaining opponents.  The ‘Birds will play: 10 games against Lakewood (17-10), four games vs. Hickory (16-12), nine games against Lexington (14-14), eight games against Hagerstown (10-18), four games against Augusta (15-13), four vs. Kannapolis (11-17) and four against West Virginia (11-17). 

 

THREE STRAIGHT WITH HOMER: For the first time this season, the Shorebirds have connected on at least one home run in three straight games.  The string started on 7/21 when Tyler Townsend hit a home run.  On July 22, Townsend and Brian Conley went yard.  Last night, Conley hit a lead off home run in the first inning.    

 

45 HITS: The Shorebirds pitching staff surrendered 45 hits in the four game series against Hickory. 

 

11 ERRORS: The Shorebirds committed 11 errors in the four game set against Hickory.  

 

SINCE 2005…: Since 2005, only two Shorebirds players have finished a season with an above .300 batting average with 200 or more at-bats.  Ryan Adams hit .308 in 2008.  Adams played in 119 games and totaled 448 at-bats.  In 2005, Jason Fransz hit .308 in 103 games and 396 at-bats. 

 

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Guys getting suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs is getting out of control.  Five more…http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100723&content_id=12548504&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

 

Ortiz and More

I usually don’t write about an opposing player, but Hickory relief pitcher Joseph Ortiz dominated the Shorebirds for a third time this season last night.  The good news is that he won’t pitch in the finale tonight because he went 3.2 innings last night. 

In 9.2 innings pitched against the ‘Birds this season, he has allowed two hits.  He has also fanned 19 batters!

He has this nasty slider that works down and in to right-handed hitters and works away to lefties.  Ortiz still needs to throw the slider for a strike more often and develop a better fastball to become a big time prospect.  He is only 19 years old so time will tell. 

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Lakewood crushed Charleston last night 10-1 to push the lead in the division to 2.0 games over Delmarva and 1.5 games over Hickory.  The ‘Claws snapped a four-game losing streak for the. 

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The Shorebirds are both second in the league in team walks (321) and strikeouts (810).  It’s interesting to note that Lakewood, maybe the best team in the league, leads the circuit in strikeouts (837).

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Here is something to think about regarding the schedule.  Hickory and Lakewood, both in the Northern division, have not played each this season.  They only meet for one series at the end of August (four games).  The Shorebirds will wind up playing Lakewood 23 times by season’s end.

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Tyler Townsend has 19 RBIs in 20 games during the month of July.  I think those statistics are pretty self explanatory.  He has been on a tear. 

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Steve Bumbry has five multi-RBI games in his last ten. 

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Critical game tonight against Hickory.  Let’s hope that the Shorebirds can get back into second place to set up a battle for first place at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium this coming weekend against Lakewood.

Beal Third in League

Jesse Beal ranks third in the league in innings pitched this season (105.1).  Jorge Bucardo of Augusta is second in the league (106) while Matt Montgomery of Greensboro leads the circuit with 118.1 innings pitched. 

Watch out for the double play ball today as Beal leads the Shorebirds staff with eight double plays turned while he is on the hill.  He has a 1.32 GO/AO (ground ball to air out), which means he induces ground outs. 

Beal has gone through at least the sixth inning in five straight starts. 

By the way, the Hickory starter today, Braden Tullis, has been tough.  He has won his last three starts over Delmarva, Greensboro and Lexington.  He shutout the ‘Birds in five innings on July 5 at Perdue Stadium.  Tullis has not allowed an earned run in his last 17 innings on the hill. 

Tullis was selected in the eighth round of the ’09 draft out of Skagit Valley College. 

I have attached a write up about him from last year when he was drafted.

http://www.goskagit.com/home/article/skagit_valley_colleges_tullis_drafted_by_texas_rangers/

He is also a pretty big deal back in Boise, Idaho.  I found this just doing some research on him.  There is a baseball camp back in his hometown that he is the marketing tool for.

http://www.futurestarssportscamps.com/Tullis1Flyer.pdf

Townsend Locked In / One Game Back

Townsend has 15 hits in his last ten games.  He now has 35 hits in just 28 games played this season.  He became the first Shorebirds player to record six RBIs in a game last night.  It was his third three-hit game in his last seven games played. 

The last player to record six RBIs in a game for the Shorebirds was Joe Mahoney.  He notched six runs-batted-in on April 12, 2009 against Lakewood at FirstEnergy Park.  He went 4-for-5 that night. 

The other really good sign with Townsend is that he is not striking out.  Last year, he struck out 39 times in 119 at-bats (once every third at bat).  This year, he has 16 strikeouts in 106 at-bats (once every 6.75 at-bats).  In the last five games, he has struck out just one time in 21 at-bats. 

If he keeps this pace up, he might be the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July.  Here are his numbers so far…19 G, .329, 2 HR & 17 RBI.  The 17 RBIs are the second most in the system in the month.  Michael Aubrey (Norfolk) has 21 RBIs and a ridiculous eight home runs.  But, he is only batting .241 so Townsend has a leg up in that department. 

On a separate note, Lakewood lost again last night to Charleston, 5-4 in ten innings.  The Shorebirds are now just one game out of first place.  There are 45 games remaining in 2010 for the Shorebirds.  Ten of those games will be against Lakewood. 

This is getting really exciting.  Don’t forget that the Shorebirds have not made the playoffs since 2005.  Make sure to pack Perdue Stadium this coming weekend.  It’s going to be a HUGE series as Lakewood is coming to town.

Hickory Player Suspended

The word came up to the press box last night at about 6:20 (40 minutes before the game).  Cristian Santana was in the starting lineup and then he wasn’t.  He has been suspeneded for 50 games (gone for the year) for taking a performance enhancer.

The article was posted last night on milb.com.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100720&content_id=12433264&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

I was watching Santana during batting practice last night and he was hitting absolutely moon shots.  He hit 11 home runs this season and now he is gone. 

Best Record in July

Heading into Tuesday night’s contest, the Shorebirds are 10-7 in the month of July.  The mark is tied for the best record in the South Atlantic League during July.  Lakewood and Greenville are also 10-7 in July.

With still 12 games remaining in July, the Shorebirds are four wins away from making July their best month of 2010.

Peaking at the right time!

Casamayor Replaces Mooney

Mike Mooney was placed on the Disabled List on the 19th and Omar Casamayor was added from Aberdeen today to replace Mooney.  He is not in the starting lineup today as his flight doesn’t arrive into Charlotte until late in the afternoon.

Helmick is playing second today and batting ninth.

Casamayor had a nice start to the season in Aberdeen.  In 24 games, he batted .309 with 10 RBIs. 

Just like Mooney, Casamayor is a switch hitting second baseman.  He also saw a little time at third and short. 

Casamayor is 23-years old (will turn 24 in November).  He has been in the system since 2005.  Last year, he hit .279 in 57 games for Bluefield. 

Good Sign – Errors Down

The Shorebirds made only two errors in the five game series against West Virginia.  In fact, the ‘Birds have only committed three errors in the last seven games.

The Shorebirds have made the fifth most errors in the league this year.  Good to see the club cleaning up the defense at a critical juncture of the season. 

Bus leaves for the park at 2:30 today.  Brent Allar makes his second start of the year and his fifth as a professional.  He has not allowed an earned run in his last 11.1 innings pitched.  It’s a hot day here in Hickory, nothing new for this club. 

Stat of the Day

Time to the load up the bus and depart for Hickory, North Carolina.  Not a hard day at all.  2:00 p.m. departure from Perdue Stadium, so we should arrive around 10 p.m. (with a stop for dinner). 

Excellent series for Delmarva this past week.  They moved within two games of Lakewood at the top of the division as Kannapolis swept a doubleheader from the ‘Claws on Sunday. 

Talk about an important stretch of the season coming up.  Four against the Crawdads, who are tied for third (0.5 game behind Delmarva) and then five against Lakewood at Perdue Stadium.  If the Shorebirds can win both series, they will have a shot to be in first place heading into August.  Obviously a lot easier said then done. 

Here is your stat of the day.  During the West Virginia series (five games), the Shorebirds plated 15 runs from the seventh inning forward.  Should bode well for the ‘Birds in the stretch run of the season. 

The rotation for the Hickory series is as follows:

Tues: RHP Matt Thompson

Wed: RHP Neil Ramirez

Thurs: RHP Braden Tullis

Fri: LHP Robbie Erlin

 

Couple other small things. Luis Bernardo will take a career high eight-game hit streak into the Hickory series.  He is 11-for-31 during the stretch. 

 

-Tyler Townsend will take a five-game hit streak into Hickory.  He went 10-for-20 against the Power.

 

-Brian Conley takes a six-game hit streak into Hickory.  He is 8-for-23 during the streak.  Conley has also reached in eight straight games.

 

-Ty Kelly takes a seven-game hit streak into Hickory.  He is 11-for-30 during the stretch. 

 

-How about the new closer David Walters.  Three appearances, 4.0 innings, three hits, no runs and six strikeouts. 

 

I will check in from the hotel in Hickory.

 

Time to Compare

I think it’s always interesting to compare records from teams over the years at the same point of the season.  The 2010 version of the Shorebirds are 45-47.

After 92 games in 2009, the Shorebirds were 48-44.

After 92 games in 2008, the Shorebirds were 50-42

After 92 games in 2007, the Shorebirds were 46-46

So, I suppose a little bit behind pace this season but the ‘Birds are playing their best baseball right now. 

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