Monday, August 14, 2017

Charging Biscuits, Nickname the New Guy, Historic Stuff

Bradys Boys have not given up on winning the division, threatening to sweep the Generals on Monday and make a late season charge at the 20 games left in the second half.

Dalton Kelly
The Generals scored first in the series on a Kevin Cron homer in the top of the first but since then the series has been all Biscuits. Scoring eleven runs in the bottom of the first quieted the opposing bench and in each game the Skitz have answered each Jackson run with multiple tallies of their own.

The new farmhands have firmly taken hold in the Skitz lineup and rotation. Guys like 1B Dalton Kelly and SP Benton Moss have Biscuit fans hoping for a bit of postseason magic.

The final few weeks of the regular season has a favorable schedule for the Biscuits. This week, after the current home series against the Generals wraps up, the Skits commute to Bham for five games.

SP Anthony Mi-something-something
Okay, Anthony, I have to admit, I can't spell your name yet.
Or pronounce it.

But you pitch great and I can't wait to hear everyone around me having the same trouble figuring out how to say it. Followed by, "whatever his name is he pitches great."

The lefty looked great in his first Biscuits game, southpaw heat and tough as nails. So I am asking for help here. Can we get a nickname for this dude?

Anthony is a six-foot-one lefthander from Detroit. He went to Michigan State and is wearing #29 for Montgomery. He has dogs and a girlfriend visible on his twitter feed, so the chances of him being a serial killer are probably low.

He deals it and we are gonna be talking about him alot over the next couple weeks, so a nickname would be super helpful. Something I can spell would be a bonus. 

Send Submissions to: DrMiraculous atsign Knology dot net
or via twitter to @DrMiraculous

I asked pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein about the Biscuits high number of pitches per inning. I mentioned that Montgomery hurlers are among the highest pitches per inning in all of MiLB but R.C. was not at all concerned about it.

"To be honest, I haven't even talked about it before," Lichtenstein told me. "A lot of that comes from pitchers like Baez, Espinal, guys who are still learning how to put hitters away. That can skew team averages really badly. It's not a concern at all."

Fans at the park who score the game and count the pitches have noticed that opposing teams seem to throw fewer pitches than Biscuit moundsmen. But it doesn't seem to be something the organization feels is a problem.

Remember Jhan Marinez?
No, I didn't really think you would and thats okay. He only tossed five games for the Skitz back in 2015. But Marinez has a place in history that is pretty unique. Marinez is one of just six players in baseball to have been traded for a MANAGER.

Way back in 2011 Marinez was one of two players sent by the White Sox to the Marlins for Ozzie Guillen. There are only four other such trades involving players swapped for a manager in all of MLB history.

How did it feel?
"When they told me I was traded for the manager, I thought "Seriously?'" said Marinez, "I must be a good player to be traded for a manager."

Skeeter slides into third base vs Montgomery Rebels
We see Skeeter Barnes in Montgomery a few times a year as a roving instructor for the Tampa Bay Rays.

He was our hitting coach back in 2004 and is still one of the friendliest faces to see in the Biscuits dugout. Occasionally he will coach first base, getting a good look at the team's hitters up close.

But back in the day, Skeeter was a ballplayer. And he wasn't helping Montgomery win any games!

Barnes played his double-A ball for Nashville in 1979 and managed at least one triple against the Rebels, immortalized in this press photo.

For the record, Barnes hit .266 with a dozen homers and 77rbi in 1979, just his second season in pro ball. He would go on to play in nine seasons at the major league level.


AUGUST 14, 1970
Southern League/ At Patersen Field; Montgomery, AL; Montgomery Rebels 3, Savannah Indians 0. Charles "Chips" Swanson of the Rebels pitched a  perfect game.

AUGUST 15th, 1909 
Pitcher Ted Breitenstein hurls a no hitter versus Montgomery, walking only four men during the game. New Orleans wins 2-0

AUGUST 15 1920 
Montgomery, AL
"Grey Sox Return to Play Knoxville - After a successful road trip, in which they won three straight games from the Birmingham All-Stars, the Grey Sox returned home yesterday for the hardest battle of the season when they will meet the fast Knoxville Giants in a series of games to determine the pennant winners of the Southern League for negroes.

The Grey Sox are still leading the lead by a safe margin and the only obstacle in their path to the pennant is the strong Knoxville team who have played such sensational ball all of the season."

1920 Montgomery Gray Sox

Montgomery, AL
"Grey Sox Defeated Knoxville Sunday
Local Negro Team Wins First Game of Big Series From Near-Champs, 2 to 1

In a game that was featured by sensational plays and jam up pitching, the Grey Sox won the first game of the series from Knoxville, 2 to 1 at South Side Park, yesterday.

Despite the cloudy weather before the game there were approximately fifteen hundred fans present and it was acclaimed by all present to be the best game that has been seen on the local diamond this season.

Things looked pretty bad for the locals in the first inning when the visitors had two men on bases and one out and the batter hit a long fly to left field scoring the man on third, but McGavock made a perfect peg, to the plate, from deep left and cut the second runner out at home. The pitchers then settled down to a grueling duel, and both pitched jam up ball until the eighth inning but in this inning, Williams connected with one of Posts's fast curves for a single, McGavock stepped in to one for a double and Meyers hit for a single, scoring Williams, McCavock scored on a wild throw to the plate by Post and the locals took the lead, which the visitors were unable to overcome.

The honors of the day go to McGavock, the local left fielder. It was his perfect peg to the plate in the first that held the visitors down and then in the ninth inning he pegged in a long fly from deep center that cut the runner off at the plate and saved the game for the locals. In the eighth his two bagger was largely responsible for the locals first score and later he scored the run that gave his team the lead.

Both teams played good errorless ball and had it not been for one bad inning, the first, the locals would have made a better showing. The teams will play again this afternoon at South Side Park at 4 o'clock."

Site of South Side Park, near Holt Street

Monday, August 7, 2017

Are Biscuits Lucky or Good?

Are the Biscuits a great team with rotten luck or an average team with great luck? Would you rather be lucky or good?

Its hard to know which is which sometimes as ability and fortune mingle on the field.

But consider that the Biscuits avoided a sweep at the hands of the Lookouts by one game, involving the aid of a ball that hit the second base bag, a pitcher dropping the ball on the mound for a balk and a soft liner that fell in fair territory just inches from the chalk. Whatever it was, Biscuit fans will take it!

The team itself is a very good squad, more apt to win than lose on any particular day. However they face a high roster turnover rate this summer and have three quarters of a new infield.

New men Cronenworth, Lowe and Kelly have all appeared in recent weeks, giving the Biscuits a new look for the second half of the season.

The reinforcements have arrived, now Montgomery will try to nurse a slim lead through the last month of the season to earn a postseason rematch against the Lookouts.

Man, who can keep up?
We have between twenty and thirty guys. If someone you are looking for isn't there, he has likely been promoted to Durham. Or on rehab in Tampa. Either way, he will probably be back. Unless he's been traded.

Grant Kay is back from Durham. When his number got issued to someone else we thought it meant Kay was gone for good, but not so fast. I guess the clubbie had to get out his sewing kit again!

Justin O'Conner found a way to avoid the Southern League suspension he got for arguing with an umpire and its resulting ejection. He simply took a promotion to the Durham Bulls!

Its a great thing for O'Conner, who has gotten himself back into form after a rough 2016 campaign. He remains the Biscuits all time leader in catcher arm rating with an 80/80 rank.

2B Brandon Lowe and catcher Brett Sullivan each have more homers than the Biscuits team leader. They both had .300+ batting averages for the Stone Crabs.

Jake Cronenworth takes over as the starting shortstop and leadoff man. Batting .268 for the Crabs at the time of his promotion, he also had a dozen stolen bases. He uses good speed to earn doubles and has nice range afield.

Former Skitz, catcher Mike Marjama and reliever Ryan Garton, were shipped to Seattle by the Rays. Their departure means a current Biscuit could be on the move to Durham.

On the same day, the Mariners dealt former Biscuit Boog Powell in order to make room for Garton on their 40 man roster.


Justin Williams 23 RBI over the last thirty days leads the Rays organization. His walk rate is also up from last year and is much higher than his career mark, showing improvement in patience and strike zone knowledge. J-Dubs .346 BABIP is also pretty smackin and lets us know he is making good contact when he does choose a pitch to hit.

The Rays are currently 26th in affiliate home runs. Rays minor leaguers have combined to go yard just 354 times this year.

The Biscuits have stranded a whopping amount of baserunners so far this year, only the Smokies have left more men on base.

In spite of the stranded runners, the Biscuits run differential is 40, good for third in the league. Montgomery simply scores more runs than most of the other teams in the league.

Ian Gibaut picked up his seventh save on Sunday. Gibaut has emerged as a solid option out of the pen for Brady Williams late in games when closer Kyle Winkler needs a rest.

The Biscuits pitchers have been made to work hard this year, posting an average of 16.8 pitches per inning. Only three teams in all of affiliated baseball have a higher average number of tosses per inning, and even they are a mere 0.1 higher.

The Biscuits are among the top twenty MiLB teams in total number of pitches, only two other Double-A teams reside there, the rest are triple-A clubs.

The annual charity jersey auction is expected to be featuring the home white uni tops. Always the most popular of the jerseys since they include player names, the jersey auction is an odd showdown that features the usual folks trying to take home the game used uniform of their favorite player.



AUGUST 7, 1969 
Pitcher Lerrin H. LaGrew of the Montgomery Rebels had 5 wild pitches v the Birmingham A's.

AUGUST 7, 1972 
Pitcher Danny W. Fife of the Montgomery Rebels gave up 5 intentional walks.

AUGUST 8 1906 
Southern league Umpire Frank Rudderham is convicted by jury in Montgomery County Court of using abusive language and fined $50 for cursing at a spectator on May 30th at the Montgomery Ball Park.

AUGUST 8 1973 
Rebels pitcher Dave Lemanczyk no hits Ashville 3-0

AUGUST 9 1920 
Montgomery, AL
"Grey Sox Open With New Orleans and Win - Black Pelicans Trounced 6 to 3 Yesterday; Moss Hulred Air tight Ball for Locals -
Grey Sox team photo

Grey Sox pitcher Jim Moss
By hitting the lil pill to all parts of the lot and playing tight on ball behind Moss, the Grey Sox broke their losing streak yesterday afternoon, and won the first game from New Orleans, 6 to 3. The honors of the playing go to Red Cunningham, McCormick, and Carpenter, whose heavy hitting was largely responsible for the locals six scores.

New Orleans started the scoring of the game with two in the second and one more in the fourth but after this frame Moss tightened and held them scoreless for the remainder of the game.

The Grey Sox scored five runs in the sixth inning when Carpenter slammed out a three bagger, with three men on bases and Red Cunningham hit for two bases with two men out another score was added in the seventh frame when Scales walked and scored on McCormick's three bagger.

Grey Sox OF George Scales
In spite of the fact that the Grey Sox lost four straight games in the last series, they are still leading the league by a safe margin as the strong Knoxville team, which is second in the standing, was going to Nashville, while the Grey Sox were long to the Black Crackers. Out of a four game series played with Nashville, the strong Knoxville Giants were able to witness another game which gives the Grey Sox practically the same lead that they held before the series with Atlanta.

The Grey Sox showed up in old time form Monday afternoon and it looked as though they were trying to take out their Atlanta, grudge on the New Orleans team. Every player on the team played a good game and did good work with the stick, and the team showed the old time pep and enthusiasm that was lacking in the Atlanta series."

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lookouts Deja Vu

Like an annoying neighbor that just won't go away and let you finish your yardwork, the Lookouts returned to derail the Biscuits winning streak. After sweeping the Smokies the Skitz are homestanding against the division leading Chattanooga who have seemed to have a mojo working against Montgomery.

Every year there is one division team that we see an extra time, this go around that team is Chattanooga. Of course.

Genesis Cabrera
After playing 21 innings the day before, the Lookouts used extras to down the Biscuits in game one of the series. Spoiling the nice work of starter Genesis Cabrera, the Lookies had some luck against the hometown bullpen. However its a much tougher Montgomery team that the Lookouts face this time around.

The Lookouts sit atop the standings, having won the first half and showing no signs of dropping out of the top spot in the second half.

The Biscuits have a firm grip on second place, offering them a playoff spot if they can hold it. Dispatching the Smokies helps the cause, leaving the Jackson Generals as the closest contender chasing Montgomery.

The last time Chattanooga visited Montgomery they swept the Biscuits out of the playoff race for the first half. However even another sweep by the first place Lookouts will leave the Biscuits in a tie for second and a fighting chance in the final weeks of the season.

If the Biscuits can avoid a sweep with even one win in the series, they will hold onto second place and its potential playoff spot.

Deja vu, Lookouts? Not this time.

Now healthy, pitcher Greg Harris has begun working out of the bullpen. To match his new role the hurler has a new look to match - sporting a "Rays-Hawk" on his return to Riverwalk Stadium.
Its a good look!

Franco does some of his best work from the pen
Also headed to the 'pen, Mike Franco, having topped his previous season high in innings pitched. Effective in his thirteen starts for Montgomery this season, a stint on the DL likely tipped the balance and sent him to the relief squad to limit his innings.

Only two Biscuit pitchers have faced more batters than Franco so far this summer.

Franco is no stranger to coming into games in late innings, of his 100+ games more than 80 are as a reliever. A quality arm in either role, the Biscuits now have two extra starters who have headed to the bullpen.

The Lookouts are undefeated in three extra inning games in the second half after being winless in their two extra inning contests in the first half.

The Biscuits team ERA against the Lookouts this season is a harsh 4.57, in contrast the Chattanooga pitchers have a tidy 3.20 ERA against the Skitz entering this series.

Michael Russell is the Biscuit who has had the most success against Lookouts pitchers, batting to a .306 clip.

Of the ten hitters in the Southern League with the most strikeouts, two are Lookouts. None are Biscuits, though Andrew Velasquez isn't too far off.

Chattanooga's Lamont Wade is second in the circuit in free passes with 64 bases on balls.

Montgomery's Joe McCarthy is third in walks, just four behind Wade and five behind the leader, JXN's Colin Walsh.

McCarthy shares the league lead in triples with Chattanooga's Nick Gordon (7). Mojo is also among the league leaders in Runs Scored, Hits, Batting Average and OPS.

Cade Gotta is third in the league in stolen bases with 22.

Kyle Bird has moved into second place in the Southern League with seven holds. Bird has become a steady arm for Brady Williams late in games.

Dalton Kelly
Can the Biscuits make the playoffs without a single player with 10+ home runs?

Dalton Kelly is the man most likely to break into double digit homers, his seven Biscuit bombs in just 27 games tie him with departed Grant Kay for the team lead.

Four players follow with six each, Ciuffo, Squid and the two Justins - O'Conner and Williams.

Kurtis Blow tosses first pitch
I asked about our promotional schedule for next year. In the past few years the Biscuits are among the first ones to release their promotions sked, usually in early August.

However we should not expect that to be the case this year, there will not be another "roll over" of the same old theme and fireworks dates. "This year we are really working on it" I was told by a well placed source, "maybe around January."

After the first thirty days of new ownership, there is a visible difference in how Biscuit baseball is being run. The attendance appears to have ticked up, fans curious to see if Lou & Crew have really made a change. So far, fans like what they see.

It can be guessed that the front office is at working putting together a top notch schedule with new promotions and appearances. Things seem to be moving in the right direction, though we won't know the full details until the winter.



JULY 31 1905
Yellow Fever shuts the Cotton States league, meaning no more baseball for teams in Mobile, Meridian, Vicksburg, Jackson Ms, Baton Rouge and Greenville.

JULY 31 1920
Montgomery Grey Sox
Knoxville, TN
"Montgomery Grey Sox 1, Knoxville Giants 3."

Montgomery, AL
"Montgomery's Grey Sox Leading League - Negro Ball Team Has Average of 746 Per Cent; Knoxville Giants Trailing With 694 Per Cent -

The Montgomery Grey Sox are leading the Negro Southern League by a safe margin and with the considerable strengthening of the team in the past week they should have little or no trouble in holding the lead until the end of the season.

JULY 31 1941
Montgomery beats first place Mobile in the ninth inning on a homer by pitcher John Gaddy followed by a three run homer by Quimby, scoring five to win 8-3.

JULY 31 1965 
Longest Game In Rebels History

The Columbus Confederate Yankees and Montgomery Rebels tie with 6 runs apiece in 19 innings. When the game is called at 1:23am, after five hours and twenty three minutes it is listed among the leagues longest games and is the latest ending game in Rebels history.