Results tagged ‘ Arnie Beyeler ’
Friday night was a complete heartbreaker. With the PawSox one out away from a trip to the Governors’ Cup finals, Yankees’ center fielder Melky Mesa belted a 2-0 Pedro Beato pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer, and a 4-3 walkoff win.
With Pawtucket’s second chance tonight to take the series, here is a post-season edition of the PawSox Notebook:
- Manager Arnie Beyeler said earlier today that closer Josh Fields (groin) will not be available Saturday night — or the rest of this series. The injury came on his final warmup pitch in the bullpen before pitching in the regular season finale at McCoy on Monday.
- In the first three games of the playoffs, outfielder Bryce Brentz is batting .364 (4-for-11) with an extra-base hit in each game (two homers, one double). He leads the club with five post-season runs batted in.
- Entering Friday night’s loss, the PawSox bullpen had worked eight scoreless innings over the first two games of the playoffs and was 2-for-2 in save situations. Saturday it allowed all four Yankees’ runs over 2 1/3 innings and blew the save.
- Saturday’s PawSox starter, 38-year-old Nelson Figueroa, will be facing his former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre teammates for the fourth time this year. The last time he faced the Yankees was in his last start of the regular season when he tossed eight scoreless innings for the win.
- Figueroa will be opposed by 25-year-old lefty Vidal Nuno making his Triple-A debut. With a name like Vidal Nuno, I’m sure you’re not at all surprised to learn that he was born in Baldwin City, Kansas. Of course he was. Described to me as the Yankees’ version of Chris Hernandez, Nuno went 9-5, 2.45 ERA in 20 starts with Double-A Trenton. His walk-to-strikeout ratio of 27/100 is as impressive as his ERA. In three starts against Double-A Portland, Nuno went 1-0, 2.60 ERA (5 ER/17.1 IP) and allowed two homers.
A win tonight, and the PawSox would return to the finals for the first time since 2003 when they were swept by the Durham Bulls. Hope you can join us tonight along the PawSox Radio network, or by listening live online.
Up two games to none in Round 1 of the Governors’ Cup playoffs, the Pawtucket Red Sox have a chance to sweep the North Division champion Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Friday night in Rochester.
PawSox Playoff Facts:
- A win would mark the first post-season series sweep by the PawSox in franchise history.
- It would also send Pawtucket to the league finals for the first time since 2003 when they were swept by Durham.
- Of the club’s 14 managers since 1973, Arnie Beyeler has become just the third to lead the PawSox to the playoffs in consecutive years (Joe Morgan, 1977-78; Ed Nottle, 1986-87).
- The PawSox have gone 27 years since winning their last Governors’ Cup Championship in 1984 when they took down the Maine Guides.
- Since ’84, Pawtucket has won just one playoff series when they beat the Ottawa Lynx in the 2003 semi-finals. It was their first playoff series win in 19 years.
Billy Buckner, one of the league’s best pitchers over the last two months, starts for the PawSox and will be opposed by left-hander Mike O’Connor. Over his last eight starts, Buckner is an outstanding 7-1 with a 1.63 ERA. In fact, the righty has given up less earned runs over his last eight starts (8) than he did over his first two starts with Pawtucket in June (11).
“He’s gotten the ball down and has worked ahead of hitters,” Beyler said from the visiting dugout inside Frontier Field. “When you do that, your stuff becomes more effective. Just the consistency of being more efficient and allowing yourself to get deeper into games.”
My full conversation with Arnie can be heard on the pre-game show tonight starting at 6:50. He also talks about Bryce Brentz, J.C. Linares, and Chris Hernandez. Hope you can join us tonight along the PawSox Radio Network.
Instead of making his second start of the year for the PawSox Thursday night, knuckleballer Steven Wright found himself on the disabled list with shoulder tightness.
Wright, acquired by the Red Sox at the deadline from Cleveland for former PawSox first baseman Lars Anderson, looked solid in his first start for Pawtucket. The 27-year-old allowed two runs on five hits over five innings on August 11 at Rochester.
“He did a nice job,” said PawSox manager, Arnie Beyeler. “His knuckleball was a little firmer than most that you’re used to seeing. He pounded the zone, had some good stuff, and I was real excited with what we saw.”
Wright, who was college teammates at Hawaii with current PawSox utility-man Jon Hee, made one start with Double-A Portland before being assigned to Pawtucket. With the Sea Dogs, the right-hander allowed just one run on five hits over six innings.
With Wright on the disabled list, Tony Pena Jr. (ankle) was activated Thursday night and tossed three and two-thirds innings in the start for a no-decision.
There was a delay Wednesday night before the bottom of the the third inning began as Ryan Kalish walked from his position in centerfield to the PawSox dugout and was taken out of the game.
Kalish, a former Red Sox Rookie of the Year and Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, has tremendous talent but missed much of 2011 due to injuries (left shoulder and neck).
Fortunately, manager Arnie Beyeler told Brendan McGair (@BWMcGair03) of the Pawtucket Times that Kalish simply twisted his ankle when sliding into second base and is day-to-day.
A short time before yesterday’s doubleheader against Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, the PawSox had the following roster moves:
- Outfielder Alex Hassan has been placed on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to August 14). Although we haven’t been told the exact injury for Hassan, he did recently spend some time on the DL as a result of fouling a pitch off his left shin. The injury required five stitches and forced him to miss from July 31 – August 4.
- Infielder Tony Thomas has been activated from the disabled list with a calf strain. Thomas spent time on the shelf this season from June 27 – July 31 with finger and wrist injuries, but days later was DL’d again with calf injury. In his first at-bat since being activated yesterday, Thomas connected on a hard-hit single and finished 1-for-2 in a rain-shortened 5-2 win.
He is still making ridiculous defensive plays every night at shortstop, but, lately, Jose Iglesias is also contributing at the plate on a regular basis.
Since the start of August, Iglesias is batting .320 — so is PawSox masher, Mauro Gomez. In 13 games this month, the Cuban leads the club with five doubles, and, with five walks, is on pace to set a monthly-high in that category as well (he had eight in April).
“I told myself to relax at the plate and stop focusing so much on the results,” Iglesias said. “I’ve had months where I’ve hit the ball really hard, but have just hit it to the wrong spots and haven’t gotten hits.”
After finishing 2-for-4 Tuesday night against Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, Iglesias extended his hitting streak to nine games (15-for-39) and is also riding a 13-game on-base streak.
“By hitting more doubles, he’s opening the field up,” said PawSox manager, Arnie Beyeler. Opposing infields aren’t able to tighten up as much when they know there’s a chance he’ll hit a double.”
Iglesias was on pace for one of the best offensive months of his career this May when he hit .341 with a home run and nine RBI over 20 games. Unfortunately, a lower back injury ended his month early and put him on the disabled list from May 26 – June 25.
When talking about Iglesias’ batting average, runs batted in, etc., it’s important to remember how many runs he saves and how many hits he takes away from the opposing team because of his remarkable defense. As PawSox starter Chris Hernandez said, “I know that every night I’m on the mound, Jose is going to give me 100% effort on every ball put in play.”
You can’t help but be impressed with what right-handed reliever Josh Fields has been able to do in his first two outings with the PawSox.
Saturday night in Rochester, Fields tossed two perfect innings while striking out three batters by using his 94-96 mph fastball and a nasty 12-6 curveball. Furthermore, Fields pounded the strike zone, something that has been an issue at times for him in the past, firing 21 pitches, 17 for strikes.
“The big thing you like from him is he’s got ‘stuff,'” PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said of Fields. “You like ‘stuff’ as a manager, that beats hitters.”
Fields was called-up to Pawtucket on August 3 after starting the season with Double-A Portland. In his final 14 outings with the Sea Dogs dating back to June 13, Fields went 2-0, 0.37 ERA (1 ER/24.1 IP) while allowing just six hits, five walks, and 30 strikeouts.
“Looks like he’s throwing with a lot of confidence right now and is really pounding the zone,” said Beyeler. “You bring that kind of stuff to the table and he’s going to have success.”
As strange as it may sound, when I first watched Fields pitch, I was reminded of two drastically different pitchers: Tim Lincecum and Garrett Mock. With Lincecum, it’s more because of his delivery, physical build, and, yes, the hair. Josh explained to me that when he was in college, his delivery was even more exaggerated than it is now. Not only was his back facing the hitter on his windup, but he really buckled his back leg and brought his arm so high over his head it almost resembled dunking a basketball.
In college, the coaching staff at the University of Georgia cleaned up his mechanics, enabling him to throw his spike curve for a strike. That’s where his resemblance to Mock comes in. Both feature the same mix of pitches: fastball, curve, and changeup. Fields, who throws exclusively a four-seam fastball, throws a little harder than Mock, but his curveball, as Arnie told me, isn’t as loopy and slow has Mock’s (slightly more of a slurve at times).
Both Mock and Fields have a changeup that’s a work in progress. While Fields won’t stop working on it, if his changeup ever fully develops, it would be, as he describes, “icing on the cake.”
With 25 games left to play in the regular season, now is a perfect time to take a look at the PawSox odds of making the playoffs. At 65-54, Pawtucket is a mere 0.5 game outside of first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Keep in mind, the three division winners clinch a playoff berth, with a fourth team – with the best remaining overall record – getting in with the wild card.
The three teams, in order of importance, to keep an eye are the Scranton/WB Yankees, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and Columbus Clippers. If the regular season ended today, the PawSox would make the playoffs via the wild card. However, Lehigh Valley is just -1.5 games back, Columbus -2.5 back.
In the spirit of college football being around the corner, here is the “strength of schedule” for the four mentioned teams the rest of the regular season:
Pawtucket Red Sox
Nearly half (12) of the PawSox remaining games are against first place teams. Pawtucket will play eight games against the Yankees, and four games (on the road) against the Charlotte Knights. At 68-52, the Knights trail only Indianapolis for most wins in the league and took three-out-of-four against the PawSox in June.
Pawtucket plays four games versus fourth-place Rochester, and four against fifth-place Buffalo. The weakest team remaining on the schedule is last-place Gwinnett at 53-67 (four-game series).
While the PawSox play 12 of their remaining 25 games against first-place teams, the Yankees play 12 of their remaining games against teams in fourth-place or below. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has three games remaining against last-place Syracuse, and seven against Buffalo (including five in a row).
The toughest task for the Yankees will be eight games remaining against the PawSox, and five games in six days versus Lehigh Valley.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The only first-place team left on the ‘Pigs schedule is the Yankees (five games). They’ll play 19 of their remaining games against teams in fourth-place or below, including seven games against last-place teams (Toledo and Syracuse).
While the Clippers have six games remaining against top-winning Indianapolis, all of their other games are against teams with, as of now, less than 60 wins (Durham Bulls, Louisville Bats, Toledo Mud Hens). In fact, the Clippers’ last seven games of the season are against teams with less than 50 wins (Louisville and Toledo).
Especially with such an easy schedule over the final weak of the season, the Clippers could easily make a strong push for the wild card if they’re still in the mix.