Sunday, August 2, 2015

Grape Jelly Series Recap

The Biscuits fell to the Smokies on Saturday and with it dropped the five game set to end the Grape Jelly Series. It was a well-fought contest that saw Montgomery's new rotation take shape and featured an historic performance from Tyler Goeddel.

Series Recap
Game One
Smokies 8 Biscuits 0

Soto dives back
Biscuits get shut out by Ivan Pineyro - the Smokies starter pitched himself into the scouts notes, he was a main cog in the Cubs-Marlins trade for Dan Haren.

Going along with Ivan will be Elliot Soto, the Smokies leadoff man.

Taylor Guerrieri
It was the double-A debut for new Biscuit Taylor Guerrieri. The Rays top pick in 2011 was dropped into the Montgomery starting rotation with mixed results.

Taylor G
Taylor was limited to 75 pitches and used them to give up four runs on six hits in just three innings, but showed flashes of brilliance with four strikeouts.

For a guy on the TommyJuan comeback trail, it was a positive outing even though it didn't result in a win.

Kyle McPherson

The Bullpen report was good/bad/good as we saw Mortensen/McPherson/Markel.

Its tough to blame a reliever when the hitters don't score a run, so the four runs surrendered isn't blame-worthy. If you are gonna give up four runs, doing it in a game the team is already out of is the time to do it!

Silver Lining on this one - the good relief outings by Jared Mortensen and Parker Markel. For Morty it was a soft landing after his long trip to Pan Am for the Games there. For Markel it was a nice confidence boost after giving up runs in each of his last three appearances.

Game Two
Smokies 5 Biscuits 2 
Military Wednesday
Kirsch-mas in July

Pierce Johnson
SP Chris Kirsch
Tenn posted five runs in the first three frames and the Biscuits were never able to close the gap.

Smokies pitching prospect Pierce Johnson (and his flowing locks) stymied the Skitz, allowing just one run in seven strong.

The Montgomery pitchers were challenged early and often, with the starter Chris Kirsh chased after just two innings.

Jeff Ames
The Bullpen report would sound no better, with Sappington/Ames/Lollis taking two innings of mop-up duty each, leaving Brad Schrieber to pitch the ninth. For Ames, it was his Riverwalk debut and he had yet to have his name inscribed on his uniform.

Biscuit hitters of note are Dayron Varona and Johnny Field. Field doubled in the fourth inning to drive in Cameron Seitzer and open the Biscuits scoring. Dayron Varona welcomed Smokies reliever Peralta with a homerun in the 8th inning but Montgomery would never really threaten.
Dayron Varona

Silver Lining here is seeing Johnny Field driving in runs. The Biscuits need Field to produce and break out of the slump he was in. 

Tommy LaStella
Other Silver Lining was seeing the Cubs infielder Tommy LaStella. Tommy was with the club on a rehab assignment and had a good game but would sit out the rest of the series.

LaStella is a good guy and a solid player, it was cool to get to see him again in Montgomery. He said he remembered me from being here when he was a Braves minor leaguer. Very cool!

Game Three
Thirsty Thursday
The Tyler Goeddel Game
Biscuits 4 Smokies 3

The Pregame was cool - a soldier returning from overseas duty dressed as the catcher for the first pitch tossed by his son. Mom and Dad seemed to get more out of it than the kid, who was pretty much chill with it all. 

Game on -
Joey Rickard stole two bags, Jacob Faria stuck out six, Ryan Garton vultured his fifth win. But the game was Tyler Goeddel. When Goeddel started off the second inning with a liner to short, nobody knew Tyler was on his way to an historic performance at the plate.

Tyler Goeddel
Yet as Goeddel batted in the 4th he drove a liner over the wall in left center, in the sixth he sent a ball off the jumbotron in centerfield and finally in the eighth inning he stroked an offering into the deepest part of the yard - they all had the same result.
Goeddel welcomed after #3

A three homer game is rare indeed, Tyler Goeddel etched his name into Biscuits records with the clouts and posted the team to its first victory of the series.

As mentioned, Faria was excellent. Again. He should have tallied the win and pitched well enough to have earned it. A fine pitcher who deserves more respect than he is currently getting, it won't take long before everyone knows his name.
Sp Jacob Faria

Ryan Garton
Bullpen Report - Ryan Garton surrendered two unearned run, but he had pitched himself into trouble with two outs before the error allowed men to cross the plate and tie the game.

Closer Brad Schrieber
Garton did settle down and toss two more clean innings before handing off to closer Brad Schrieber who nailed down the W.

Game Four
Friday Night No-Hitter Alert
Biscuits 7 Smokies 4

Sp Jamie Schultz
The Biscuits bats finally showed up in this one and the pitching backed it up. Jamie Schultz brought his good stuff, offering up nine strikeouts in six innings and not allowing anyone a hit. He walked three but was pulled after he tossed 90+ pitches.

Seitzer and O'Conner each had a pair of 2 RBI triples to lead the charge. Yes, I said Cameron Seitzer and Justin O'Conner both had a triple, with both driving in two runs on their three baggers. Often called "The most exciting play in baseball" these are two of the least likely suspects for three base hits and yet it occurred in the same game!

Other contributors were Bauers, Rickard and Goeddel, who each drove in a run. For Goeddel it was his 50th run batted in of the season.
Tommy Coyle eyes Jake Bauers show hair

Matt "Big Show" Lollis
Bullpen Report - McPherson's struggles continued, the fan favorite giving up three earned in his one inning of work.

Matt Lollis took the next turn and pitched well in the 8th but was knocked around in his second inning and had to be lifted with two outs.

Mark Sappington got the final out to earn his third save of the year.

It should be noted that Brady Williams has been going out to the mound and taking the ball from his pitchers mid-inning. Before this homestand the fans at Riverwalk often joked that it was a Biscuits rule that a pitcher had to finish the inning, no matter how many runs he gave up.
Brady on his way to the mound

Game Five
Saturday Fireworks Train-Delay
Smokies 5 Biscuits 4

The rubber game of the set was a hard fought affair, with both teams finding issue with the umpiring crew throughout the series and Brady Williams nearly getting thrown out on the final day. Twice.
Williams debates the chalk with an umpire
Indeed, the Biscuits were unable to overcome the bad calls and fell to the Smokies. After the game the fireworks were delayed for 15minutes due to a passing train, which kept the fire marshall on edge and left the fans watching Frozen and muppets shorts on the jumbotron.

Jared "Canadian Biscuit" Mortensen
Jared Mortensen started and gave up one run in each of the first three frames. The Canadian Biscuit looked to have the game in hand with a one run lead, but when Albert Almora doubled to lead off the fifth inning trouble loomed.

The Smokies tied the game, then took the lead when Morty bounced a ball that catcher O'Conner was unable to corral.

Cameron Seitzer hit his ninth home run, a no-doubt two run jack to right field. Joey Rickard drove in a pair of runs out of the leadoff spot, doubling in a pair of runs then scoring himself on the Seitzer homer. All the Skitz scoring was done in the 3rd inning.
Parker Markel

Bullpen Report - Jeff "#28" Ames gave the Skitz two scoreless innings, struck out a pair but gave up three hits.

Parker Markel pitched two frames to close out the game, allowing no runs despite pitching in pretty heavy traffic with two hits and two walks.

Silver Lining  - Markel pitching well, Seitzer getting his average over .300, Joey Rickard staying hot at the plate, Brady Williams not having a stroke.

Extracurricular - I had the chance to meet Ben Hill, the author of Bens Biz Blog and the bloggerking of the baseball interwebs.

Ben Hill, blogger hard at work
He was very cool to talk with and had a nice easy way of talking that led me to use the word "surreptitiously" in conversation.

If you haven't checked out his blog, please do so, he covers the best - and worst - of minor league baseball and its promotions.

He was full of info and I enjoyed getting the chance to meet the man after having read his blog. 

Very fun and cool stuff!
The second trip to the same ump

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