Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hu Rocks & Skitz New Socks

Tyler Danish
Chi-Wei Hu
The Taichung Tiger took care of business in Wednesdays series opener, rocking along with eight strikeouts, facing off in a fierce pitchers duel with Barons prospect Tyler Danish.

Chi-Wei Hu's streak of consecutive innings without an earned run came to an end when the bullpen let a 7th inning runner score to tie the game and Hu was left with a no-decision. He deserved better, in all he went 30+ innings this year before allowing his first earned run! 


 Montgomery claimed the W with Casey Gillaspie's two RBI night, which was all of the Skitz offense. The BigCaseDawg was a triple shy of the cycle and his three hits push his season average to .312.


Reliever Brad Schrieber pitched the ninth, two hits and two strikeouts, for his fifth save.


BISCUITS SOCK IT TO EM!

Almost a bigger story than the great pitching duel was the debut of the new uniform piece, stirrup socks in team colors.
Parker Markel got the Win in the Biscuits new hoisery
The Biscuits haven't made a bigger change in their daily uniform appearance since the uni debuted in 2004. The new hose are worn over white sanitary socks, look to be a five-to-seven inch rise in dark blue with three bright yellow stripes across the calf.

Dan Dement was first to hit the field in 'rups
 "Pretty cool, right? Old school style, I love em!" was Dan Dement's first comment on the Biscuits new hoisery.

 Not every player wore the new gear, but all players with tall socks were in stirrups. Some players still preferred to wear their pants long, as the Rays now allow their minor league guys a choice.

Several of the players I talked who were in long pants still planned on wearing them, a couple who did wear them threatened never to wear em again the team lost or he didn't get hits in the new stirrups.

Pitcher Jacob Faria was among those who weren't wearing the new socks, "Saving them for when I pitch" he said.

"They were on the stools for us when we came in today" pitcher Jacob Faria told me when I asked about the new gear. He mentioned he was already surprised in spring training when the team told the players that they could wear their pants long. "The pants and shaving thing was decided by an organization vote, when they announced the decision there was a huge cheer among the minor league guys" Jacob said.

Schrieber earns the save in his extra tall sox

They are similar to the 1969 Seattle Pilots stirrups, though Biscuit 'rups only have three stripes where the Seattle team had four. Also the blue is maybe a little darker for Montgomery's hose, where the Pilots used a brighter tone.
Ichiro in '69 Pilots throwback uni
Even Manager Brady Williams was happy to wear the socks that complete the new look, having converted the Biscuits from clean cut kids in short pants to scruffy old-school ballplayers.
Mgr. Brady Williams wows the Barons with good sock game

BISCUITS SAY NO TO BEER APP
In a bummer of an item, the team tells me they may be listed but are not a partner with MiLB's "In the Park" app. That means no beer brought to my seat.

If the fans request it often enough, the team would probably have to consider it. Its something they have considered in the past but aren't into building a staff to run a service that may or may not get used.

At least not right now. There were a lot of other factors involved in the reason we don't get to use the app, but at the root of the conversation was the In-Seat service.

So my advice is, every time you have to wait too long at the concession stand - make sure to mention the In-Seat Service to a staffer as an option. Let them know its a service we would use often enough to make it effective.


POLISH RETURNS
On the good side, the Sausage Shack will go back to serving up tasty Polish sausage.

Apparently it was just an oversight that they didn't have it, and will be cooking up one of my faves again very soon.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Home for Ten, Hager Owns It, Baseball Cards, Farm Report


BISCUITS VS TENNESSEE
Once again the Skitz slugged it out in the Volunteer State, facing the Lookouts in a five game set. Dropping the series, the Biscuits had every opportunity to win it but saw it slip away in the last innings.

Taylor Guerrieri
In the series vs the Lookouts the Skitz were winning on even numbered days and losing on the odd dates. The big game came on Saturday, it was a highlight reel for the Montgomery nine.

The Biscuits scored a dozen and dealt the Noogas a one-hit shutout on Saturday night. Not just the game of the series, it was one of the biggest games of the year so far with Taylor Guerrieri and Buddy Borden combining on a near no hitter. In the end it was a one-hit shutout.

Hager, Bauers and JuneQ all went deep in the big contest, each driving in three runs apiece to lead the charge.

Outscoring the Lookouts 28-16 in the series, Montgomery slips to three games behind Jackson in the loss column.

No worries, the Biscuits host Jackson in six games starting May 25th, a chance to take care of their own business just three weeks ahead of the end of the first half.

  
MONTH OF APRIL
It was a huge month for the Montgomery team leading off the 2016 season. The Biscuits were 13 wins against 9 losses in the first month of the season. Montgomery only lost three games at home in April, winning seven.
How big was it, Goetzman?

The only significant roster move was a lone Chi-Wei Hu spot start in Durham before being sent back.

Chris Kirsch missed one start with a sore side, but returned to the rotation to make his next start.

Jared Mortensen made the short-notice starts for both Hu and Kirsch, providing a valuable lift to the team. In his two starts Morty struck out ten men in just 6.2 innings. Even better in relief, Jared allowed just two hits and struck out 14 in five games out of the pen, opponents batting just .057 off him.

Granden Goetzman leads the team with a .368 BABIP, when he gets the ball in play he has the most success in getting on base safely.

Querecuto hit two circuit clouts in April, which is double his previous career total. Last year he had one home run, an inside the park job.
Marjama knows how big it really was


HAGER OWNS IT 
yeah, he owns it

Jake Hager is back, settling into the second spot in the batting order and playing all over the infield.

His .311 average is good enough to lead the club, but he loves hitting at home where he bats at a whopping .433 clip.


The numbers for Hager are huge in the first month - .385BA when he is ahead in the count, .330BA with runners in scoring position, .462BA w/runner at first, .330BA with none out.

They all add up to "Dude rakes".

Oh, and its useless to bring in a reliever against him, he hits .320 vs lefties!
Two Jakes for the Biscuits, Bauers and Hager



BISCUITS VS BARONS
One of the oldest rivalries in the league kicks off at Riverwalk on Wednesday for five games, the first half of a ten game homestand.

Game One
Danish vs Hu
Craft Beer Fest

Game Two
Guerrero vs Faria
Cinco De Mayo/Thirsty Thursday

Game Three
Fullmer vs Guerrieri
Kids Eat Free

Game Four
Holmberg vs Stanek
Massive Fireworks & Military Appreciation Night

Game Five
TBA (Blair Walters?) vs Kirsch
Sunday Bark in the Park & Kids Day



WHAT TO LOOK FOR

 
It will be easy to look for Sox prospects, a large number of players on the Barons team will be given opportunities to win jobs in Chicago over the next season or two.

Look for Biscuits long balls, Montgomery leads the Southern League in circuit clouts.

Be sure to look for the White Sox top prospect, right handed pitcher Carson Fullmer. The pale hose have much hope for the young hurler, his fastball sits in the mid-90s and is offset by a power curve. He faces Rays prospect Taylor Guerrieri in a huge Friday night tilt.

Look for Chi-Wei Hu to try to extend his streak of 24 innings without giving up an earned run.

The Biscuits will look to continue their home success, the Barons are a league-worst 4-11 on the road.

Look for Biscuit baserunners, only Mobile allows more opposing men on the bags than the Slagtown team.

Barons always look to challenge catchers, Bham is second in stolen bases with 27 with only 7 caught stealing.

Biscuit pitchers will be trying to figure out the Barons big three - Delmonico/Peter/Pina, all three have .300+ batting averages and are among the league leaders in that category.

Barons infielder Nicky Delmonico leads the league in doubles with 9, its easy to guess he will be looking for another two-bagger in Montgomery.

Look for me to kick back and drink a few beers this series after working hard in the first month to get photos of every player!


BARONS PROSPECT RATING
The Barons are chock full of top guys, their roster has 10 of the top 30 prospects in the WhiteSox system.
The role call:
Carson Fuller at #1, outfielder Adam Engel is rated #4, 5th is 3B Trey Michaelczewski, LHP Jorhdan Guerrero ranks 6th, injured OF Courtney Hawkins ranks 9th, #11 is pitcher Tyler Danish, 12th is Lefty pitcher Brian Clark, SS/2B Jake Peter is ranked #19, Robinson Leyer RHP at 22 and #25 SS Eddy Alvarez.

Courtney Hawkins starts the year on the DL but last summer he hit a moving train with a homer at Riverwalk.

All told the Barons PRAT comes to 153, though it would jump up should Hawkins be activated.


DOWN ON THE FARM
The StoneCrabs are currently 12-12, which puts them in fourth place in their division, two games behind the leader in a close early race.

The Crabs are led by Justin Williams .313 batting average and three players have eight RBI's to top the team list - Alec Sole, Mac James and Grant Kay. Jace Conrad leads the Crabs with five stolen bases.

Pitchers Brent Honeywell, Kyle Bird and Yonny Chirinos all have two wins and excellent numbers yet trail Greg Harris in the wins category. Chirinos two victories have come in relief.

Port Charlotte leads the FSL in ERA, has allowed the fewest bases on balls and is second in WhIP ratio.

Brent Honeywell has a great line 2wins, 0.89ERA, 31K/4BB in 30.1 innings pitched.


UMPCAMP
Ever wondered what that ump was thinking? We have a chance to find out at the Umpire Camp at Riverwalk on May 14th. Hosted by MLB it is a full day of learning on the field and if you are like me and cant wait to spend five hours in the sun the day after the ten-game homestand, then be sure to sign up!

BEER APP?
I asked but haven't heard back yet on if/when this glorious idea is going to be in use at Biscuits games. However, we are on the list when I scroll down the page on the website, so I can only hope that we already can put this into action.

I will know for sure in the next day or two, if for some insane reason we aren't part of this promotion, I am pondering starting a petition!


BASEBALL CARDS
Last summer Jared Mortensen mentioned that he wasn't happy with his Biscuits baseball card. His card from 2014 shows him in the bullpen, even though he was a starting pitcher only at that time, and an All-Star at that. "It was the only day I even sat in the 'pen!" he told me, wishing he had a card with a better picture.

Even his 2015 card wasn't much better, using the classic Show-The-Ball pose.

While Morty's card may have held a premonition of his future in the bullpen as a knucklballer, someone else must have agreed that a different eye might jazz up the Biscuits baseball cards. So this year I was asked to submit some pics for the cards!

I am really excited about the opportunity, I have been looking at baseball cards since I was about four years old now I get to see them with my pics, absolutely cool.

I put in two or three shots of each player for consideration. If you have been to a game you probably saw me lurking behind the net with my camera instead of my usual 1b seat.

The challenges were fun ones, learning a new lens and shooting for someone else instead of just my own blog. I just hope everyone likes them and that I didn't make anyone look too goofy!


#BULLPEN LIFE

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Suns Series, Beer App, #BullpenLife, History

This week the Biscuits baked the Suns in a barnburner series - the finale was an old fashioned shootout. Both managers emptied their guns, tossing every reliever in the pen into the fray. It ended up 11-10 with Montgomery taking the game and the series.

Adames hits gamewinner
Willy Adames hit the gamewinning hr with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as catcher Jake DePew warmed up to pitch in possible extra innings. What did Willy hit? "A changeup" Willy told me, after he ran the bases and was doused by two coolers of icewater.

Bauers hero interview postgame 4/12
Of course, it wasn't just him this series. There were huge batting performances by guys like Johnny Field, Jake Bauers and Granden Goetzman. There was a different hero every night, the series victory was a complete team effort.

Johnny Field bashed a grand slam to put the 'Skitz ahead

Absolutely exciting baseball in each game, a hard fought series by two long time rival teams. Scoring a combined 67 runs, the Biscuits and Suns slugged it out all weekend long.

Jared Mortensen started twice vs Suns
TEAM NOTES
The series was bookended by Jared Mortensen starts, the knuckleballer pitched well twice on short notice as Chris Kirsch was a late scratch from the Sunday afternoon tilt. Hopefully its just one missed start.

A league-wide day off will help everyone on the team recover after that big series.

Starting pitcher Chi-wei Hu was sent back to Montgomery after one start at Durham to fill for Snell getting a start for Tampa when Erasmo had to be used in relief.

In other news, I got to drag the infield twice on Tuesday. The Biscuits made several comebacks to help me keep my streak - the team is undefeated when I make it onto the field during the game! Pics to come, you know I will have to brag on that, right?

NEW APP BRINGS BEER?
MiLB sent me an email pushing their new app. Not the one that updates scores, this one does other stuff - help buy tickets (don't need), share photos (doing it here) volunteer for on-field promotions (not doing it anywhere) and ORDER BEER DELIVERED TO YOUR SEAT (Whaaaa???)

I do not yet know if the Biscuits are part of this glorious new Minor League Baseball app, but by God you can bet I will find out!

This is one of the best ideas for big fans who don't want to miss a pitch, a total moneymaker.  I would expect it has a list of food and drink items that would be charged to a credit card and an easy no-brainer to skip the lines at the concession stand.

What do fans want?
Bring it on, Biscuits!


BACK ON THE BISCUIT BUS!
Next up is a five game set, where else but Tennessee, this time vs Chattanooga.

The Lookouts are the team that knocked Montgomery out of the playoffs last fall and went on to win the league flag. The Lookouts aren't quite as loaded this year, having graduated most of their prospects to Minnesota.

Currently the Mountainmen are 8w-12L which drops them to fourth in the division.

The Lookouts always play tough against the Biscuits and hope to improve on their .500 W-L% at home this year. Montgomery is trying to keep pace with the Generals, who are one game ahead of the Biscuits as the next series starts.



LOTS OF ACTION FROM SUNS SERIES
There was a lot going on during the homestand vs Jacksonville. Much of it involved the officials.

Several arguments resulted in ejections for the Suns skipper who was tossed in back-to-back games.
JT Riddle looks on as Mgr Dave "Ice" Berg is tossed for the second day in a row
 
Mgr Brady Williams was close to getting tossed for questioning the umpires.



One of the more contentious umpire decisions came on this pickoff attempt at second base.

 

 

While that runner was called safe and the call went against Montgomery, neither side was ever really happy with how the calls were affecting the games. Both managers were less than thrilled and made sure the umps knew it.


The two teams fought hard, the loss of the final game and the series was tough on the Suns who were so close to taking both with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning of the final game.

After a strikeout ended the Suns threat and Adames homer ended the game, Shoemaker was inconsolable about leaving the bases full.
So what did I do?
I took a picture!



#BULLPENLIFE



STICK OUT IN A CROWD
"You're conspicuous, even in a crowd" Biscuits announcer Jim Tocco once told me - shortly after calling me out on the radio for a foul ball I didn't make the easy play on. I'm not sure how folks recognize me, but I think its great.

I always enjoy having folks catch me at the game and talk a bit. Everyone has great ideas and often a nice tidbit of info on the team or their fave player.

A few people told me they have family that played in town in the past and shared their info. I absolutely love it. I hope to put together a well-researched post that tributes them, their stories are really fantastic and deserve to be told. Too many of these treasured memories have slipped away already.

I had someone mention they had issues posting comments, I will look into it and you can email me at DrMiraculous at Knology-dot-net.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Long games and umpire issues were big factors in this weeks Biscuits-Suns matchup, as well as in the history lesson!

APRIL 26 1906 
Ike Durrett
Montgomery manager Ike Durrett, in a game at Bham, physically assaults umpire Buckley.

This would be a factor two days later, when Durrett is refused permission to sit in the dugout during the game but refuses to leave.

APRIL 27 1956
The Rebels host the Augusta Tigers in Sally League play, losing 6-4 in a game that takes 4:24 to play, finishing at 12:09 am

APRIL 28 1906 
Montgomery forfeits to Birmingham after manager Ike Durrett is refused permission to sit in the dugout by the umpire he attacked two days before.

Ike Durrett will be fined $300 by President Kavanaugh and eventually released by Montgomery.


Durrett would be out of baseball after two more part-time seasons in lower level baseball. Baseball reference gives conflicting info, listing different numbers for his batting games and fielding games. Seeing as its tough to get 100+ games in by the end of April, Ike more likely was only able to tolerate just eight games at the helm in 1906.


Curtis may have been secured, but he hasn't got any stats listed for Montgomery in 1906. He is shown with ten games in Atlanta and 127 appearances for Grand Rapids that season, as an outfielder.


As for the umpire, W.J. Buckley, it was not the first time he had a player or manager jump him.
From September 8 1905