Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28th Starting Series vs Braves

The Skitz were spanked by the JaxGenerals 9-3 on Monday afternoon. A close game until a six run eighth inning put the Jacksons out of reach, there was only so long before the great bullpwn had to cough up a few runs. Marquis Fleming was the unfortunate victim of the prolonged rally by the Generals.

The loss meant the Biscuits dropped their second straight series.

May 25th Biscuit action

11-14 in the month of may, the Biscuits hot start has long since faded and the GumpSkitz must now face the top team in the division - the Ms. Braves.

This is pretty much the same Braves roster that beat Montgomery four games out of five at Riverwalk just about three weeks ago, and the Southern league schedulemaker must be having a good laugh over us going there in the same month that they came here.

someone say schedule maker?

Starting May 28th, series vs Mississippi Braves.
To say this is a tough five game series is an understatement.

The Braves lead the league in ERA (2.96). Montgomery is last (4.44).
The Braves allow the fewest homers (19). Montgomery allows the most (44)

In Runs Batted In the Braves are second with 204. Biscuits are sixth with 180.
Braves have almost 25 more stolen bases than Biscuits.
The Braves .257 batting average leads the league. Montgomery is ninth out of ten, batting .226, just ahead of Pensacola hitting .225 in last place.
total bases? Braves lead it
Hits? Braves lead.

Need we go on? Simply put, this team overmatches us in the stats at just about every level. But we still have to play the games on the field and there is a good chance that our pitching holds the games closer than the numbers would suggest.

Not that there wont be at least one blowout game. This braves team posted 19 runs against us on May 7th. In just the past 30 days the Biscuits have lost 11 games in which the opposition scored at least five runs. When we lose, we lose big!

On the Bright Side - 
The Biscuits and Braves do match up well in home runs hit, Mgm with 25, Miss with 27 so we leave the yard at about the same rate.

Also the Braves and Skitz have similar strikeout numbers among their hitters - the Biscuits with the fewest K's in the league at 317 and the Braves right behind with 322.


Hide the women and children. Tell your kids this is the series that the Biscuits play the Braves against Atlanta, but its very violent and they cant watch. Run! Hide! Wait till you are given the all clear signal!

The league leader in batting average, Jose Martinez, will get hits and be on base often. He and Ed Salcedo will plague Montgomery pitchers and drive in runs as they try to re-create the 19 run game for the home fans.

Jose Martinez will also be trying to avoid hitting into a double play, as he already has 8 GIDP already.

Mycal Jones will test Biscuit catchers Mayo Acosta, Mark Thomas and new backstop Keith Castillo every chance he gets.

Christian Marrero will draw a walk. He tops the SL in that stat and is proving he knows the strikezone better than some umpires.

STARTING PITCHERS - maybe in this order!
Cody Martin vs Matt Buschmann
Last time vs Mgm - 5ip 6 hits 2BB, 1 K got him the victory

Mike Lee vs Jake Thompson
Did not start vs Mgm
LHP Alex Wood

Alex Wood vs Merrill Kelly
Last time vs Mgm - 7 IP, 2hits, 2 bb, 5 k's earned him the win

Gus Schlosser vs Enny Romero
Last time vs Mgm - 6.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs 2 walks 5 K for the win.

Aaron Northcraft vs Victor Mateo
Last time vs Mgm 4.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 bb, 4 K in a no decision

Psychic Base Ball

At some point during the next 30 games, the Biscuits WILL get hot. Even bad teams have hot streaks, sometimes they are the most streaky. Now that the weather is warming up we should start to see the Skitz bats start to come to life.

The hitters could add the perfect ingredient, the bullpen is great, the defense very good and the starting pitching has shown flashes of brilliance. We have not yet seen the best baseball this team will play this year.

There is hope on the horizon, and its better to be hot Biscuits late than to burn out too early!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday night videos - May 24th recap

Big Friday Night footage, the stuff you missed if you werent there or the stuff you didnt see if you were and looked away!

Neon Leon led the game off with a homer to right field, not sure how the vid turned out but it was a no doubter.

Mikie Mahtook grounded out, but if you look at it again you see the first base ump missed the call.

The game zipped along, with the sun being a factor for the first time this season.
Todd Glaesmann found out what Mikie already knew - that the first base ump was having a bad day!

LSU fans had much to cheer about for this game, including what I found to be a cool situation when both former Louisiana players were involved in a play.

Former LSU outfielder Leon Landry hit a fly ball caught by former LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook. I found it a neat aspect of an otherwise very routine fly out!

The Biscuits put up a couple runs in the third inning, thanks in large part to a sacrifice bunt by Riccio Torrez. Kiermaier and O'Malley got the RBI's but the game was won on the willingness and ability of Riccio Torrez to do what was called for to give the team a badly needed victory.

And then....
Best moment of the night, a classic minor league moment - as a Mark Thomas fly out to left field was being completed the sprinkler system decided to soak the field and players. The on field delay took a few minutes and provided a moist memory for all!

Final score, Generals 1, Biscuits 2
Sprinkler wins!

Ruffin vs Kelly

Thursday, May 23, 2013

may 23th - thursty thirsday series vs jaxGens

thursty thirsday 
May 23rd Series vs jaxGens

A disappointing road trip to Huntsville saw the Skitz losing four out of five games to the Stars who happily climbed out of the North Divison basement on the strength of of the series victory.

Road trip wasn't quite as bad as that, but almost....
The Biscuits now limp home, take a day of rest to lick their wounds before facing the Jackson Generals, who have nearly an identical record to the Stars. It will be interesting to see how two former LSU outfielders match up against each other in this series.

There may be more talent on the field for the next five games than we have seen in any previous series. Great players pepper the Generals roster, the Biscuits are hoping to get back on track after a rough couple weeks and are hungry to improve their numbers.

The home team Biscuits fans know a few things about whats in the batter....

-they can usually trust the bullpen
-the defense is good
-starting pitching is jekyl and hyde
-light hitting but timely/clutch late
-no power
-victims of the long ball, nobody in SL allows more than we do!

Todd Glaesmann is just three homers behind the league leader

Mikie Mahtook IS the league leader in triples, with seven.

SP Matt Buschmann is third in the Southern League in Strikeouts with 51 in nine starts, as well as a share of the league lead in Wins with 5.

RP CJ Riefenhouser is tied for fourth in the league Holds category.

RP Juan Sandoval is tied for the league lead in Saves with 9.


We can look for Mahtook and Landry to test each others arms in the outfield, hopefully multiple times.

The Generals may out-hit the Biscuits but the team with stronger defense could be better off.

Look for the Skitz to try to make their opportunities, moving runners and playing small ball could help win ball games.

If the Biscuit starters can limit baserunners they will be able to limit the damage, but it will be a tough order to work through the second and third time through. That said, the bullpens of both teams will be put to the test this weekend and the better of them could come out with a series win.

Last series I predicted at least three victories and was handed four losses. This week I think we are going to do well to win two or three, depending on how the pitching handles the warmer weather.

The Generals hit .251 which is good for third in the Southern league, contrasted with the Montgomery .231 which is next to last. This team hits well and has more talent than it has shown so far this year.

Prospect time - Jackson has top pitchers and hitters from the parent Mariners talent pool.
Taijuan Walker, Chance Ruffin, Anthony Fernandez are among the touted hurlers wearing Genearls green.

Swinging the stick are highly regarded players like 2nd round pick Brad Miller, Dominican born outfielder Julio Moran, 3b/OF Vince Catricala, Venezuelan infielder Francisco Martinez and Leon Landry.

Leon Landry is a former LSU player, it will certainly be of interest to Louisiana baseball fans when the Biscuits outfielder Mahtook should fly out to another LSU standout, or vice versa.

NeonLeon6 is Landrys twitter handle, and its a good one! He has eight stolen bases, though he is still looking to heat up the average which sits around .220 or so. The Louisiana native was a third round pick by the dodgers after posting an impressive collegiate career. He was included in the trade that sent Brandon League from the M's to the Dodgers. He is ranked as a top 20 Mariners prospect.

Neon Leon has been turning it up of late, hitting .259 in the month of May.

not this guy
Taijuan Walker is not to be outdone on good twitter handles, and the Generals have the social media covered.

THIS Skywalker is Taijuan Walker
Walker, also from Louisiana (just the state not the university), is also among the top ten in ERA among Southern league pitchers, so tweeting hasnt slowed the strikeouts -  he leads the league in punchouts!

Walker is ranked #1 among the Seattle organizations minor leaguers according to mlb.

Chance Ruffin
Teammate Chance Ruffin has big league service time, but is reinventing himself the other way from most pitchers. He is becoming a starter after being a closer for several years.

He has made eight starts for the Generals this season, allowing just a .222 average to opposing hitters.

His twitter name is less creative and only used once since the holidays.

Roenis Elias
Cuban starting pitcher Roenis Elias is a great story - sneaking into a late night boat to get out of Cuba to being told he had no chance at a tryout for a mexican league team, this guy has refused to let anything stand in his way.

I always admire Cubans for their pride and determination, they overcome the bad aspects surrounding their country and maintain an honor about their nationality that is truly inspiring.
Also he has a great ERA every year and is quite the ballplayer. In eight starts this season all but one have been quality - though it was the Biscuits that hit him for five earned runs in five innings on April 12th.

Anthony Fernandez
Anthony Fernandez is among ten pitchers tied for most homers allowed, with six. Also on the list with six bombs allowed are Biscuits Enny Romero, Jake Thompson and Victor Mateo. Bellatti, Buschmann and Generals pitcher Ruffin all have allowed five.

The lefty Fernandez has made four starts for Jackson and has yet to make it past five innings. Opponents are hitting .293 against him this season, even higher in road games.


James Jones
James Jones is a thief.
Suspect is six foot four, 193 lbs.

He has swiped double digit bags each of the least three seasons, twice stealing two dozen bases. This year the lefty centefielder is tied for tenth in the league with ten stolen bases, he has been caught five times.

Four triples and nine doubles in forty games, 61 total bases, all numbers that add up to JJ having good wheels.

Both his homers have come off of left handed pitchers, though he hits righties considerable better for average.

Julio Morban is listed as a 40 man roster Mariner, an undrafted free agent signee out of the Dominican. An interesting left handed left fielder, Morban hit 17 homers last year and already this season has his average over .350, suggesting a promotion may be forthcoming.

Morban is ranked #11 among Mariners prospects.

Vince Catricala
Vinnie Catricala is the third baseman from California, and you can kinda tell it by looking at his picture. You can't tell from the surfer smile that hes the twelfth ranked mariners minor leaguer, The tenth round draft pick has worked his way into the top twenty with plenty of hits, including a stop in Jackson in 2011 when he hit .347 in just under half a season.

However a bad summer in the hitter friendly PCL last year and Vinnie is back in the Southern League, learning to play first base as well as honing his defense at third and in the outfield. 

He is hitting .262 and has a couple homers, but he is probably a sleeping giant and you just have to hope its not your team that wakes him.

While its true Mike Zunino is probably the catcher of the future in Seattle, hes not the only catching prospect on the list, but its enough to make a guy learn a new position.

Jack Marder
Heres Jack Marder, the Mariners #14 prospect.
His twitter handle? Its @JackMarder3

So if that sounds sneaky, its because thats how Jack operates.
I mean, what else would explain his top twenty prospect status and his sneaky .180 average? Its obviously stealth, a coiled spring waiting to unload at any moment.

Why do I say that? Last year his numbers were .360ba, 10hr in just 65 games.

The Venezuelan third base prospect who, along with Chance Ruffin, came from Detroit in the Doug Fister trade had a strong second half of 2011, then fell off to the point that he is now learning the outfield. After hitting .289 the year of the trade he is now struggling to get his average to .200.

He has switched to being a speedy outfielder and last season stole 28 bases.

Brad Miller
Shortstop Brad Miller has a .289 average, good for tenth in the league. Taken in the second round in 2011 from Clemson university, Brad is a dangerous hitter with runners on base. Last year Miller hit .320 for Jackson in 40 games, through 41 games this year he has almost identical numbers.

Miller is ranked sixth among Mariners minor leaguers according to mlb.


MAY 22 1972
million dollar arm and 25 cent head
SP Denny McLain pitches five innings and allows three homers in rehab start against the Rebels. Mclain had been sent down by the A's to Bham.

McLain gave up nine hits, six walks and one wild pitch while rehabbing with the double-A affiliate, who lost 9-3 to Montgomery.

McLain would be scheduled to make a second start but would be dealt to the Atlanta Braves before it could happen. He later would claim that he was offered $25,000 to throw that second game he was supposed to pitch for Birmingham, but was unable to do so.

Denny won 30 games in the majors, feuded with managers, was banned from baseball and convicted of assorted felonies and frauds that have kept him in and out of prison since his year with Atlanta.

MAY 23 1960
The Montgomery Rebels fall to Dothan, 10-7 with the Dothan Cardinals scoring four in the bottom of the ninth to win it. Montgomery is in the cellar and has yet to win a game after winning the league the previous season!
Goes to show ya that this years team isnt so bad!

Photo of Hal Toenes
Hal won without throwing a pitch
MAY 24 1941,
Mobile-born Hal Toenes is brought in as a relief pitcher in the ninth inning of a Selma Cloverleafs game against the Jackson Mississipians (sic) 

With a runner on first base and two away in the inning, Toenes takes the ball and toes the rubber, then promptly picks the runner off of first base to end the inning without throwing a pitch.

The Cloverleafs are down four runs, but plate six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win in walkoff style. Hal Toenes, the pitcher of record, got the win without throwing a pitch!
(noted by historian Bill Hickman, from baseballlibrary/chronology/1941/may)

Hey there! You know who you are!
I was hopin to get you down here with the fun crew on Thursty Thirsday! If not this week than maybe on the next one.... Havent had a chance to ring you, but you know where to find the action & good times!

A Motley Lot of Biscuit Enthusiasts

Friday, May 17, 2013

ode to odd stats

Here are odd stats for Skitz fans, totals through May 15th

Riccio Torrez leads the team in hit by pitch, already ten on the year!

Robbie Price made contact on almost 90% of the first 200 swings he took this year.

Matt Buschmann gets more ground balls than anyone else on the pitching staff.

Merrill Kelly gets the most fly balls, but has allowed only one home run thru mid-may.

Mikie Mahtook leads the Biscuits in line drives.

Kevin Kiermaier tops the team in BABIP at .336.
Mark Thomas is last with just .167 BaBIP.

Riefenhauser allows less than one baserunner per inning, tops on the team with his 0.93 WhIP.

How Earl dealt with being released
3b Greg Sexton and reliever Zach Quate were given their release by the Biscuits/Rays. Both sort of underachieved with the team this season and will probably catch on elsewhere. Both are good guys, and have better days ahead with different organizations.

With the leaving of those two, it opens roster spots for a couple promotions.
Its easy to see there are several deserving players ready to move up from Charlotte, Curtis Casali and Taylor Motter are both hitting the ball well right now. Either could be in line to be fitted for a new BigMo lid.

Could Montgomery get Montgomery?
Perhaps the other spot could be for a pitcher, starter Mike Montgomery is on rehab in Charlotte and is working his way back to Durham. He would need a roster spot, but perhaps would only be keeping it warm for Shay Crawford, Jesse Hahn or Len Linsky. Mike Montgomery started on the 13th for High-A Charlotte, striking out six and giving up two hits and a walk in four innings.

Or of course, there could be a trade in the works that would bring in prospects - a deal that would require some wiggle room at the Double-A level?

Only time will tell on that, but of this we can be sure... two empty lockers in the clubhouse need to be filled for a team that still holds onto hope of punching its playoff ticket in the first half.

update: its steven tinoco who was added to the roster, I think I mentioned him as a callup candidate a couple weeks ago when it was Kang getting the promotion



The Brewers have sent some serious prospects through the Southern league for seasoning, but this years Stars have yet to set the league on fire in spite of top talent.

Three 40 man roster pitchers inhabit the Stars pitching staff.
Dominican born SP Ariel Pena is ranked among the top 20 in the Milwaukee farm system.

The series opens with the Skitz facing the number eight Brewers prospect, Jimmy Nelson.

Game three starter Taylor Jungmann is the number two prospect in the Brewers system, a first round pick in 2011.

Outfielder Kentrail Davis is the lone ranked prospect taking at bats, number 19 at mlb, though he is trying to shed the image that he wont develop as hoped. Davis has nine steals, and has only been caught twice this year.


The Stars are nine games under five hundred, 15 wins against 24 losses, and sit last in the North Division. They are the oldest team in terms of hitters age, but rank next to last in homers, RBI and stolen bases.

Two of the Stars starting pitchers have ERA's under 3.5 while three are over 5.00.

The Biscuits can handle the Stars if their starting pitching keeps the opposition from piling up big leads early.

Skitz hitters have been good at scoring late in games, I look for high scoring games and more good work from the Biscuit bullpen. 

Hunstville hitters create 3.6 runs per game, their pitchers allow 4.95 runs per game on average, which tells us that they have struggled to put runs on the board without giving them up as well.

By comparison the Biscuits produce around 4.5 runs a game at the plate, and allow a league worst 5.36 runs a game to the opposition. Nobody allows more runs than the Biscuits, and until they do the tighten up with the pitching numbers the Skitz will be swimming against the current to move up in the standings.

I think the Biscuits can take three games of this series and maybe more if the starters perform and reinforcements arrive to fill the empty roster spots.

Thompson vs Jimmy Nelson
Buschmann vs Ariel Pena
Romero vs Taylor Jungmann
Kelly vs Andy Moye
Mateo vs Arcenio Leon

Stars sample lineup
Shaw 2b
Chavez ss
Davis rf
Rogers 1b
Kjeldgaard lf
Diaz c
Tosoni cf
Vucinich 3b
Walker DH


Congrats to Billy Gardner Jr, who won his 1200th career game as a manager on April 25th in a victory at home over Birmingham. In his seventh season as Montgomery manager he is at the top of the list in terms of victories, pennants, games and of course - ejections.

Doing what managers do

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, Monday series vs bham


wearing out the bases
We are going to need to get new bases, the ones we have will be worn to the stuffing by midsummer at the rate opposing hitters have been trampling them.

Last week the Braves beat the Biscuits like a dirty rug. Only able to salvage one game of the five game set makes one wonder if the Skitz are contenders or pretenders. The nice work from the previous road trip was undone on the homestand.

As long as the starting pitching is allowed to under achieve and keep doling out a couple baserunners an inning, it won't matter how many runs Montgomery puts on the board.

Flat last in the league in ERA, runs allowed, hits allowed, home runs allowed and all manner of pitching numbers that equal one simple phrase -  our pitching stinks.

one of the best parts of the week was seeing JR Graham, not only is he a prospect but he has good uniform sense - wearing the stirrups and showing plenty of sock in a classic baseball way. Good to see a guy who dresses like a baseball player.
JR Graham pitching with a Biscuit on base

Day games and a tough Barons team. Seemingly unbeatable at the new park, the Biscuits have their work cut out for them to turn around after a bad week. Focusing on a new opponent may help right the ship, and build the Skitz back up for a rematch vs the Braves at the end of the month.

Game one fell into the loss column, though not around to see the end of it was Billy Gardner Jr - he was tossed midgame for arguing. However since I didnt listen to the radio broadcast, its a mystery to me as to why.

Its a pet peeve of mine that ejections arent given mention in the game writeup. In spite of the fact that it is often the most exciting part of the game, mainstream media refuses to include any reference of what is probably the biggest play of the day - perhaps the series.

The Skitz got a few runs off of starter Spencer Arroyo, but the win went to the Barons after a five run seventh inning, courtesy of starter Jake Thompson and middle reliever Braulio Lara. Quate added a run in his one inning, but the damage was done and only served to inflate his era to 18.90.

Biscuit Buschmann will face Erik Johnson. In seven games Johnson has punched out an average of one hitter every inning, winning two and losing one. His era of 2.52 says he is a tough day at the plate for most hitters, .216 BABIP is excellent for a starter and tells us even when a guy gets wood on the ball it's not usually well struck.

 RHP McRay, lefty Snodgress and either Whisler or McCully are the starters for the rest of the series. Those last two each can start or relieve, and would be welcome sights to Biscuit hitters after facing the first two Barons starters. Whisler the former big leaguer.

McRay and Snodgress both have fine ERAs, 3.16 and 3.98 respectively - however they arent piling up strikeout numbers. Both pitchers, especially McRay have had games where they gave up high hit totals, including a game Snodgress tossed against Montgomery back on April 28. That day the Skitz tallied six runs against him as he allowed 11 baserunners in just five innings but still managed to come out with the victory.


Seeing as we just lost four out of five at home to a team with fewer wins than the Barons, the Skitz will be working just to improve. Taking two games of the series would be on the plus side, but I try to be a realist about such things and expect we may have trouble posting even that many.

All the starters for Birmingham have ERA's under four - only two Biscuit starters can boast ERA's under five. The Barons team ERA is almost a run and a half better than Montgomery.

Montgomery hitters put up a team Batting Average of .238 - Birmingham is hitting .273 on the year.

Birmingham has scored 39 more runs than the Biscuits have this year. The Barons pitchers will allow baserunners and Montgomery has to push them across, because Birmingham scores often.

Switch hitting 1b Dan Black has been great in the first forty five days, hitting .331 with 34 runs batted in.

The prognosis for this series is not good... Skitz fans should cover their eyes, instead of watching these games they should be looking forward to getting out of Bham and moving on to face last place Huntsville and last place Pensacola in the next two series, making up for facing two of the toughest teams in the league in back to back series.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9th, Mid Series update


Game One -
The Braves unleashed a torrent of hits against the Skitz on route to a 19-2 laugh-er.

As is often the case when strong starting pitching faces strong starting pitching, instead of the expected low scoring duel it becomes a slugfest.

I have pictures and video of the game, but I dont post graphic content. And indeed just the box score is enough to frighten children, old ladies and the infirm.

There is however, this one tidbit, I felt it was the highlight of the game.

Game Two -
Rhp Matt Buschmann
The shoe is on the other foot for the second match of the five game set. JR Graham fared no better than the Biscuit pitchers had the day before, as the Skitz put a pile of baserunners on and kept racking up the runs, the 8-4 final score sounds closer than it was during the game.

The Braves scored once in every other frame but couldnt match the Montgomery output, two three run innings and a pair of runs in between put the game out of reach by the sixth inning.

Matt Buschmann pitched very well, seven innings, eight strikeouts, three runs allowed.

The Braves activated Christian Bethancourt from the disabled list before the game, and he played about seven innings behind the plate, showing no ill effects of the sore elbow that put him on the shelf for a week.


Braves prospect pitcher Wood faces Merrill Kelly and the Biscuits on Thirsty Thursday
LHP Alex Wood

After watching both teams slug their way to 32 combined runs in the past two games, its hard to say that there is a pitchers duel on the horizon. That being said, there are great pitching prospects lined up to take the hill over the next three games, beginning with lefty Alex Wood on Thursday.

Wood has been very good in his road starts this season, striking out at least six in each of his starts away from Pearl Ms. Last time out he went just four innings at home against the Smokies, with 7 punchouts. The only run he allowed in that game was un-earned, the only earned runs he has allowed all season came at Birmingham - Wood struck out seven Barons in that game too, but was handed the loss on April 12.

FRIDAY - Romero mgm vs Schlosser ms
SATURDAY - Mateo mgm vs Northcraft ms

Congrats to Derek Dietrich who was called up by the Marlins yesterday. He almost made the team out of spring training and we knew it wouldnt be long before he was getting time in the show!

Former Biscuit catcher John Jaso has made good in another way, he is on the 2013 MLB AllStar ballot! Everyone vote for Jaso, he's for sure worth a vote!