Friday, April 26, 2013

Biscuits Barons weekend

Montgomery was all over the Bham lefty starter in game one on Thursday and didnt pull any punches against the Barons bullpen - with the 11-3 victory the Skitz are 12 wins and 9 losses, tied in the win column with Jacksonville. We are knocking on the door of the top spot in the division!

Seitzer at first with one of his four hits

Cameron Seitzer had a four hit game and got noticed by for it. A great article on his good game efforts and his family in town obviously not being a distraction!

Kevin Kiermaier had three hits, pushing his average to .353. and threw a runner out trying to take an extra base.

Mayo Acosta played 1b and handled all his fielding chances well.

O'Malley hit his first homer of the year, a no doubter that almost rang the flagpole.
Four players had two RBI, Seitzer had three.

Jake Thompson again labored to get just four innings but struck out six men. Andrew Bellatti came on from the bullpen and got the win, pitching an inning and two thirds.
Jake Thompson prepares

Billy Gardner was denied a pitching change in the ninth - he sent setup man Marquis Fleming to the hill to warm up and then came out to change pitchers. A time honored tradition for getting your reliever a few extra tosses.

But he was rebuffed by the umpire crew, informed that if the pitcher comes out and warms up he must face a hitter unless he is injured. As a result, Neil Schenk pitched to two hitters in the ninth, striking out one.

Barons outfielder Jared Mitchell left the game with what appeared to be an oblique strain and was replaced by Tracye Thompson. After the game Thompson wasn't sure if he would play Friday, taking a wait and see approach.

Probable Pitchers:
Friday Matt Buschmann vs lefty Spencer Arroyo
Saturday  Merrill Kelly vs Erik Johnson
Sunday Enny Romero vs lefty Scott Snodgress
Monday Victor Mateo vs Stephen McCray

Looks to be a good series, tough Bham pitchers, especially prospect guys Johnson and Snodgress. Montgomery will need their bullpen to stay strong and keep adding runs late in games, as the Biscuits have been doing the first few weeks of the year.

World Series 1918 Ticket


Lucky's success has given him the cleanup spot in the batting order and today he helps the Red Sox in the field as well.
1918 World Series throwback uniforms

George Whiteman makes a diving catch in the top of the first and threw to second to catch Charlie Hollocher before he could get back - double play.
Charlie Hollocher Chi

Later in the game he would thow Hollocher out at the plate in the seventh inning.

At the plate Lucky would add to his hot series numbers with a seventh inning single, but the Red Sox would fall to the Cubs 3-0 and set the stage for Lucky Whitemans encounter with the Babe Ruth Curse!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Tied at three going into the ninth, scoring on a freaky play, a broken fielders choice and a throwing error on the same play gave Montgomery the lead by a pair. The Smokies pushed one run across in their half of the ninth but came up just short.

Another tasty series win for the Biscuits.

Not only did the Skitz take the game and the series, they were nice enough to follow the script as I had suggested it. Thanks fellas!

I said probably Matt Loosen for TN's starting pitcher. Check.
I said tight game. Check.
I said an error could lead to big inning. Check
I said big inning hard to overcome. Check
I said Skitz hit well late. Check.
I said TN lead was not safe from Biscuits. Check


For the home team we go back to the top of the rotation - Jake Thompson gets the ball at home looking to beat the Barons for the second time this year. Jake will look to right the ship after his last two starts saw him fail to make it to the fifth inning. Thompson, the California Kid, has compiled a brutal ERA and allowed alot of hits, but also has been striking out superb numbers, about one per inning.
B-ham Barons warming at Riverwalk in April

For the visiting Barons lefty Wes Whisler takes the hill. Whisler spent time in the bigleagues with the White Sox in 2009 and at 6'5 is a tall lefthander, always tough on Biscuits.

Okay, I wont go off too badly, but just consider the idiocy of hosting the Birmingham team again. We face this North Division team as much as we face any of the teams in our own Southern division, four times - yet we only face other teams in the North division three times total and only hosting most of them one single time, but we get these guys coming back already in just the first month.

Liberatore threw all strikes
In Adam Liberatore's one game as a Biscuit this season, a two inning save vs Bham the first week of the year, he faced seven men.

He threw 13 pitches.
All were strikes.

9 were swings and misses, 4 were hit into play.
None reached base.
His next appearance was in triple-A Durham.

Be on the lookout for a roster move sometime soon, there are guys in High-A Charlotte ready to try on the new Skitz uniforms!

Sir Not Appearing YET
Pitcher Ryan Carpenter is making a case for early promotion. In three starts he has mowed down opposing hitters at an alarming rate - 24 K's in just 19 innings and only two walks allowed.

Kyeong Kang is hitting his way out of High A and back to the Biscuits, while here last year he managed just a .243 average but is hitting at a .345 clip for Charlotte.  Through 16 games Kang was hitting .500 when he put the ball in play - an excellent BABIP. He also leads Charlotte in bases on balls, showing excellent discipline at the dish.

Also on the rise is young 1b Alejandro Segovia, but he will have to season a little longer while Cameron Seitzer holds onto the first sack job for the Biscuits.

Not this guy
With Luke Scott out on rehab with the minor league affiliate, he is filling the DH role until he gets back with the Rays. After playing Tuesday he planned to sit out Wed and play again Thursday. Scott anticipated a short rehab before rejoining the major league club this weekend.
Not this one either

However, with the Rays on a road trip, it is less likely that they would make a roster move on Sunday when Scott is due to be re-evaluated.

If they Rays are anxious for his return, or have someone to send down, Scott isn't likely to come here.

But if they would prefer to bring the oft-injured Scott back slowly or delay making a roster move to clear a spot for him in Tampa, then he could get a few games in as a Biscuit.
I'm just sayin.
THATS the one!


Lefty Ruth warms up before Game 4


Babe Ruth pitches again.

Lucky Whiteman hits fourth again, playing left field in front of the Green Monster.

The first time up at the plate in front of the hometown crowd of just over 22000 at Fenway, Lucky flies out to right field to end the inning.
1918 World Series crowd at Game 4

In his second plate appearance Whiteman takes a walk from Cubs starter Lefty Tyler and after a groundout erases the runner ahead of him, Lucky stands at second base as the worlds greatest power hitter steps to the plate.

At that moment, Cubs manager Fred Mitchell elects to have Lefty Tyler pitch to The Bambino instead of walking him, leaving first base is unoccupied and Lucky the runner at second. Instead of facing Everett Scott (.243 career BA) with two outs and runners on first and second, He instructs Tyler to pitch to the most prolific home run hitter in the game.

Cubs mgr. Fred Mitchell didn't issue free passes

Not quite the Hollywood result though not far from it - Babe drives the ball to deep right center field - banging it against the wall and dropping onto the outfield grass. Lucky scampers home with the first run of the game and McInnis behind him with a second run.

Ruth with Sox

Ruth ends up at third with a triple.

He would be stranded there, but would hold the Cubs down until the eighth inning when Chicago would tie the game. Even in 1918 leadoff walks came around to score, and so it was with game four. A pair of singles and a groundout would knot the score at two each going into the ninth inning.

 In the Boston half of the ninth, the RedSox would take back the lead on a Cubs error. (the curse? the fix?)

1918 Series action!

Whiteman, who tapped back to the mound in the sixth, would leave with the game still on the line, lifted for a relief pitcher.

World Series souvenir
Down just one run in the ninth, Babe allows a hit to Merkle and walks the Cub third baseman as well, forcing a pitching change by putting the potential tying and game winning runs on base.

Ruth was removed as pitcher and shifted to left field, replacing Lucky Whiteman.
Bullet Joe Bush - deadball era bullpen specialist

Bullet Joe Bush comes in to relieve Ruth, and when the Cubs fail  to put down a successful sacrifice Bush gets a ground ball double play to end the game. Boston only needs one more win!
Cubs failing at sacrifice bunt vs Red Sox, 1918 World Series


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grape Jelly Series 2013


Tuesday the Biscuits tasted sweet victory over the Smokies - Cameron Seitzer drove in a pair of runs and Torrez added one of his own as the Skitz won 4-3.

1b Cameron Seitzer
Montgomery was glad to see the Tn. bullpen after Smokies starter Kyle Hendricks tossed seven great innings, dispatching nine by strikeout before departing.

A pair of ninth inning walks by Tn reliever McNutt turned into a three run inning for the Biscuits. The win for Montg. evens the series at two games apiece, with the rubber match being held tomorrow.

Enny Romero pitched well, five innings, six punchouts and allowed four hits including a second inning solo homer by Jon Mota.

The Skitz bullpen was bulletproof again, Fleming-Sandoval-Riefenhauser becoming a fearsome sight for opposing hitters, who may soon start adjusting their approach to Biscuit starters knowing there arent many hits coming against the relievers.
Some Biscuits are tough, like our relievers

For the visiting Biscuits, the lumber is heating up as the weather warms. April is a time of odd stats from small sample sizes, but the team has been improving the totals quickly.

Cameron Seitzer had another two hit game, his .263 batting clip has picked up and he is looking like he has the cleanup spot in Billy Gardners lineup for the time being.

Lineup cards sometimes write themselves
Kevin Kiermaier has been swinging well, and his .317 average didnt suffer too badly from the oh-fer yesterday.

Riccio Torrez, though he only had one hit in Tuesdays game, has been quietly putting together a very nice start to the year, hitting .293 with a pair of homers and 8 runs batted in.


The Smokies will not start Matt Garza as they had planned to - the rehabbing big leaguer is said to be experiencing "dead arm". It will probably be Matt Loosen or Johnny Bullpen-Wholestaff getting the ball for the Cubs affiliate against Mateo for the Skitz.

I look for a tight game, both teams usually have solid defense and have started hitting the ball well - a mistake in the field could lead to a big inning which could be hard to overcome. Both teams can turn small opportunities into big innings. However I tend to favor Montgomery, the Smokies may not be in the best situation for their starting pitcher and the Biscuits have been hitting the ball well late in games, so no lead is safe.



Game Three ticket
Former Montgomery Climber George Whiteman is again batting cleanup for the Red Sox as Ruth rides pine in the World Series, watching Lucky as he gets a hit on a Hippo Vaughn pitch in the second inning and quickly stealing second base.

Cubs James Hippo Vaughn
In the fourth inning, Lucky is hit by a Vaughn pitch, sending him to first free of charge. Whiteman scores after a pair of Boston hits, and the RedSox have the early lead.

Carl Mays starts for Boston and is stingy on the hill, allowing just one run and tossing a complete game.

Whiteman also robs Paskert of an extra base hit in left field to preserve the lead.

Starting the game in right field and leading off for Boston is an interesting guy, Harry Hooper. Hes got the unique distinction of playing on a whopping FOUR RedSox championship teams. Starting in 1912, 1915, 1916 and now in 1918.

The Red Sox take a two games to one advantage home to Boston with the victory.

During the 1918 World Series, players on both teams met with each other on the train ride between cities to discuss the lacking compensation owners were giving as World Series shares. As the shares were pretty much equal to most players annual salary, it was a bone of contention among players when it was felt that they were getting shorted by ownership, due in part to low attendance.

Players demanded more guaranteed cash, and refused to play unless it was given.
How serious were they? In Boston the first game is delayed an hour until players were assured that they were getting the money they expected to get from owners. They had to get that in writing before they would take the field.

From the start of game four onward, there are those who point to certain actions by players in the series and statements by others about the possibility of the Cubs throwing games. 

Thats a copy of the deposition given by White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte when asked about his involvement in fixing world series games in the following season. Not exactly ironclad evidence, or even specific information. However there is sufficient evidence to warrant concern, as the Cubs were heavily favored to win before the start of the Series. Also several questionable plays and bad stats from Cubs stars make for more than raised eyebrows.

1918 Chicago Cubs - did they thow the World Series? 

Interesting to note that two consecutive seasons the World Series was held at Comiskey, and both came under scrutiny for gambling and fixes, sharing suspicion as well as location.

Also interesting is that the 1919 Series fix that eventually became baseballs biggest scandal was uncovered during an investigation into a 1920 midseason Cubs-Phillies match that was rigged. 

During questioning about that regular season matchup someone involved said "If you think this is a big deal, its nothing compared to what the WhiteSox made for throwing the World Series!"

 Players on the WhiteSox admited to throwing World Series games in 1919, however they were acquitted in court but not in public opinion. 

Newly appointed baseball commissioner Landis didn't care what the legal end of it was, just the admission of throwing games was enough to warrant a ban. 

Cicotte, center, claimed to hear the Cubs talking about throwing the 1918 World Series
The WhiteSox were forever known as the Black Sox afterwards, but lost in the action was awareness of a curse for the Chicago Cubs .

As it wasnt until 1945 that the Siannis mascot was refused entry, by then the Cubs had already been turned away repeatedly before the goat was involved. Its the likelyhood that the Chicago Cubs sold their last shot at an honest world championship and futility ensued. The Curse was on. They would make it to the Fall Classic in the 1929, '32, '35, '38 and 1945 but were obviously overmatched and quickly turned away each time.

And there to see it start was Lucky Whiteman, former daredevil and ex-Montgomery Climber. That wasnt the only Curse that Lucky would have to worry about, but first he had a World Series to win!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

matt nevarez is back!

Ted knew the strike zone
Congrats to CJ Rief, winner of the SL Pitcher of the Week for the week ending April 21st. Awesome work, just one walk in seven and one third innings over three games - it begs the question, who was the lucky recipient and how did he lay off a pitch that close! The umpire must have squeezed him, probably a check swing that wasn't called a strike.

I got the game preview right on Friday, predicting fireworks before the end of the game and indeed the Skitz responded with a record setting effort in the form of their 12 run inning vs Mobile.
Psychic Base Ball

There was a big difference the next day, as the GrapeJelly Series began.

Biscuits vs Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies and Montgomery Biscuits - both delicious with grape jelly and always a favorite matchup of mine. However the Smokies have battered the Biscuits, winning two out of three in the five game series so far.


On Saturday, the first game of the series saw the Cubs affiliate pound the Biscuits with 11 runs and sending Jake Thompson to his second loss of the season.

In the second game of the set the Skitz broke through in the 11th inning to take Sundays game and hand the victory to Riefenhauser in extras.

Monday night fell into the loss column, chasing Merrill Kelly in the sixth as they put up five runs in the inning - five would be the difference in the 8-3 contest. Andrew Bellatti walked one and allowed three runs on three hits. Only Matt Nevarez emerged unscathed, striking out two in his one inning of work, his first of the year.

Matt Nevarez (left) celebrates with Spokane
Nevarez, activated by the Biscuits, started the year on the DL but now comes in to add to the Biscuits bullpen.

Starter Enny Romero goes to the bump for the 'Skitz today, Victor Mateo tomorrow.

At the plate for this series, the Biscuits have gotten some production from the usual suspects - Mahtook, O'Malley, Glaesmann and Thomas have all had multi hit games or productive at bats, but the team batting average is hovering around .240.

The low Biscuits batting average MIGHT be cause for alarm if the league average wasn't .235.
If that sounds low, its because it IS drastically below the normal batting average posted by southern league hitters - since 2010 the the lowest batting average for all southern league hitters combined is .252, and even that was about ten points lower than the usual.

The Southern League has less than 25% chance of getting wet
If there isnt a rise in the numbers over the next forty five days or so, we could be looking at a serious pitchers year - maybe a reflection of the type of players currently being developed and how they are being brought along. Something to keep an eye on, for sure!


When we last left Lucky, he had played in his first World Series game with the RedSox, had a couple of hits and played left field as Babe Ruth shut out the Cubs.
George "Lucky" Whiteman, 1918 Red Sox

Game Two ticket
Again Lucky gets the start hitting fourth and playing left field. Ruth is on the bench, unavailable after pitching nine innings yesterday.

After walking in the first inning and moving to third on a single and a sacrifice, Lucky is thrown out at the plate when a grounder doesnt get through a drawn in Cubs infield.

In the fourth inning he pops the ball up to the second baseman. His luck fails him again in his next at bat, Lucky grounded into a double play to end the sixth inning.

1918 Series Cartoon

In the ninth inning, after Strunk leads off with a triple, Whiteman does the same to drive him in for the first Boston run of the game but as the runner on third base, he would be stranded.

Lefty Tyler defeats Bullet Joe Bush as the Sox lose 3-1 to the Cubs knotting the series at a game apiece.
Cubs pitcher Lefty Tyler


Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Biscuits vs BayBears Preview 4/19

Today the Skitz look to come back after their extra inning loss on Thursday. The Biscuits send Mateo to the hill against Hagens for Mobile in the rubber game of the series.

The Baybears and Biscuits have slugged at least five runs per game combined in each of the contests in this series - the fireworks on Friday may not be limited to after the game if they keep putting up runs in the same fashion.

This could be the best game of an excellent series!

Monty cant wait for the fireworks!

For both teams it became a battle of the bullpens, the Biscuits finally blinked in the 13th. Schenk was touched up for four runs in his one inning of work, the sixth Montgomery pitcher sent to the mound on the night, and took the loss.

Romero pitched well, striking out seven while giving up three runs in five and one thirds inning. He did allow another homer, to centerfield off the bat of Garrett Weber on an offspeed pitch with two strikes. Enny was lifted when he was starting to flirt with the 90 pitch mark - thanks to michelle who noticed that!

I got to join Aaron for the top of the fourth inning, and had a blast chatting away. Hopefully I did well enough to be asked back sometime, as I didnt get to do any play-by-play. More of a color man in the half inning I was there, I made sure I would be remembered by bringing a present to the booth - Fernando Rodney's magic plantain!
The Magic Plantain

I dont think Aaron knew what to expect after that.

Which is good, at least we were both on even footing, because I didnt know what to expect from the whole thing!

Maybe I can get a copy of the inning to post, I don't recall much of what we talked about. I do recall mentioning that I give Ozzie Timmons advice - Aaron asked what kind of advice and I went on about Timmons not making an effort for foul balls because hes a former big leaguer and doesnt have to prove anything to anybody but thats his prerogative.

I talked about Enny Romero needing to work on his secondary pitches just before giving up a homer, and inquired about the rate at which he was giving up the long ball. Personally I think its because he is learning where to throw offspeed pitches - he surrendered hits on two strike pitches that were obviously breaking balls that were left out over the plate begging to be struck. It just looked like he was trying to figure it out, and when he does make that step he will become a top notch pitcher.

I was totally more prepared than I needed to be, I was ready for BABIP on both pitchers and knew their deep scouting numbers up one side and down the other!

Instead I discussed my favorite part of going to the ballgame. "Other than the great quality baseball...." was the way I tried to let everyone know I was there to see the game! haha

I hope I didn't make a mistake with one question - I was asked about the uniform, what I thought of the new jerseys. I said I liked them all right, they were a change from the vest tops but that I really liked the patch on the cap. When Aaron described it as an "Anniversary" patch I corrected him, saying it actually should be a "commemorative" patch, since anniversary is at the completion of an event and a commemoration denotes the event itself.

 As far as I knew I didnt drop any F-bombs or swear at all, even when Enny served up the gopher ball. So already I had a better first broadcast than Ron Santo!

Rons first words on the air weren't fit to broadcast!


Things are about to change for George "Lucky" Whiteman, and for the rest of America. World War I has sapped many teams of players, but 35 year old Lucky Whiteman is too old for drafting into the service.
Whiteman's daredevil act, jumping into a barrel

At the start of the spring Toronto sells his contract to the RedSox for $750. There is speculation that Sox owner Harry Frazee and barreldiver-turned-outfielder Whiteman are friends, being both from Peoria and both about the same age.

For the first time, Lucky will spend the entire season on the big league roster. He plays 71 games, and takes in life as a major league player.

1918 Boston Red Sox - Whiteman center row, third from left
This time however, its not on a team playing out the string in seventh place. The 1918 Red Sox win twenty more games than they lose and take the American League pennant easily. It was a great team powered by hard hitting pitcher Babe Ruth.

Ruth pitched and played outfield, sharing left field patrols with Lucky Whiteman. Lucky swiped nine bases, hit .266 and drove in 28 runs.
view of Fenway left field

Mogridge served it up
Late in the summer, during the last game of the season - the second game of a labor day doubleheader during the final road trip to New York, Lucky hit his first and only big league home run. It came off of Yankees lefty George Mogridge at the Polo Grounds. It was a solo homer in the top of the second inning, and ties the game at one run each. Lucky was batting cleanup that afternoon, and rewarded skipper Ed Barrow for penciling him into the lineup.




“I’m lucky against these left-handed pitchers. No one is figuring that I’ll do much in the Series and you know it’s the unexpected fellow who usually does the heavy work.” 
George Whiteman - Sept 1918

 When the Cubs met the Red Sox in the 1918 Fall Classic, all fans eyes were on the big pitchers on both teams.

1918 Red Sox Rotation - Jones Mays Ruth Bush

Ruth was the #3 pitcher for a Sox team that featured Carl Mays, Sad Sam Jones and Bullet Joe Bush - opposing them was Hippo Vaughn's Cubs, a team running away with the National League, winning almost two games for every loss.

Cubs starter Vaughn has won the pitching triple crown - leading the league in Wins, strikeouts and Earned Run Average.

1918 Cubs Starting Rotation - 
Tyler, Vaughn, Douglas and Hendrix
 However there was more on the minds of America that October - the President had decreed that men "work or fight" as a part of the war effort. Many felt that baseball would not be played again for some time, or that it would be severely limited by wartime travel restrictions. Already many of the top players had been drafted or signed up for service overseas.

Also, closer to home, the day the series began at Comiskey, a bomb exploded at the Chicago Federal Building. It would turn out to be a group retaliating against Judge Floyd Landis. Also known as Kenesaw Mountain Landis, he will later be appointed as baseballs first commissioner when an investigation reveals gamblers influenced games in 1919.

Game One Ticket

Ruth was the surprise starting pitcher for the first game of the series on the mound for the RedSox, giving Lucky the start in the outfield.

The Bambino won 11 games and spent more time in the field as he is becoming a homerun hitter more than a pitcher, but Boston manager Barrow wanted to start the lefty Ruth vs the Cubs.

World Series 1918 - Cubs vs Red Sox

1918 World Series Game One
This is a game of firsts in many ways.
For the first time, four umpires work on the infield. Previously there had been one behind the plate, one on the infield and the other two in the outfield along the foul lines.

During the seventh inning, the band plays what will become the National Anthem, marking the first time the song is played at a baseball game.

Red Sox 3b Fred Thomas has gotten clearance to return from the military to play in the Series vs the Cubs, and when he hears the strains of the Anthem start he snaps to attention. Several of his teammates stand with their caps off beside him, and another tradition is begun.

During the game, Lucky rapped with two hits in four trips with his father in attendance, his Pops first time seeing George in a major league game. Dad traveled from Texas to see Lucky, who had a big moment with a hit over the shortstop to move a runner into scoring position - that runner would later score the games only run on a Stuffy McInnis. The Red Sox make the one run lead stand up as Ruth pitches a shutout.

Left handed pitcher George Ruth
"Everyone expects me to start with Carl," Barrow had told Ruth that morning. "Jim Vaughn is almost sure to start for the Cubs, and if he does, I want to cross them up and pitch you. Don't say anything. I want this to be a surprise."