Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’
Although it now feels like the baseball season has been in full-swing for weeks, it’s Opening Day at Fenway Park this afternoon at 2:05 as the Red Sox host Tampa Bay. Josh Beckett takes on David Price in what should be a great matchup and, hopefully, the Sox second win of the season.
As the first pitch of the Red Sox vs. Rays game is being thrown, the PawSox will be loading the bus and heading over to Frontier Field in Rochester where they’ll wrap up a three game series to end the first leg of the current nine-game road trip. As the PawSox set numerous season-highs last night en route to a 10-1 win to even the series 1-1, here are some interesting facts and figures through eight games this season.
- PawSox pitchers have allowed just four runs over the last 36 innings (1.00 ERA)
Pawtucket’s bullpen has not allowed a single run since Game 4 of the season on April 7 (15 1/3 innings).
- The ‘pen has allowed just two earned runs over 22 1/3 innings so far (0.81 ERA).
- With the best team ERA in the International League of 1.34, the PawSox are more than 1.5 runs better than second-place Lehigh Valley (2.86 ERA).
- The club’s 1.34 ERA is the third-best in all of minor league baseball. (Triple-A New Orleans, 0.91 ERA; High-A Myrtle Beach, 1.17 ERA.)
- Thanks to a season-high 13 hits last night, the PawSox raised their team average from .245 (7th) to .260 (3rd).
- Pawtucket scored 13 runs last night with only thee extra base hits.
- Two of those XBH came from outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin who connected on his first home run of the year and also doubled.
- Per Alex Speier of WEEI.com, it was just the second time in 90 Triple-A games that Lin has had multiple extra-base hits in the same game.
- Lin had only two Triple-A home runs last year. The first came on June 22 vs. Louisville when he homered off Bats’ starter Daryl Thompson in a game that Brandon Duckworth started for the PawSox. Last night it was once again Thompson (now with Rochester) who surrendered Lin’s longball in a game were, you guessed it, Brandon Duckworth started for Pawtucket.
- Shortstop Jose Iglesias had two hits over his first five games this year. Last night he went 3-for-5 with a sacrifice bunt. His batting average went from .111 to .217.
- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has a hit in six of the first eight games, including three multi-hit efforts.
A victory tonight for the PawSox would win the three-game series versus the Red Wings and would make the PawSox an impressive 12-2-5 in their last 18 series dating back to July 4th of last year. Righty Aaron Cook makes his second start for Pawtucket and is opposed by right-hander Cole DeVries.
First pitch from Frontier Field is at 7:05, pre-game coverage begins at 6:50.
Talk with you then,
One down, 143 to go.
I had a terrific time calling last night’s PawSox win with Steve Hyder, but it feels great to get the first broadcast out of the way. As I prepare for game No. 2, I’ll be taking a break from my pre-game prep for something you very well may want to join.
From noon-1:00 I’ll be talking Red Sox prospects with Grodon Edes on ESPNBoston.com. In what is being called “Red Sox Chat: Minor League Voices,” this event will take the form of an online chat where fans can give their two cents and ask questions. The rest of the “voices” include my great friend and “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs,” Mike Antonellis, the play-by-play broadcaster for the High-A Salem Red Sox, Even Lepler, and Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com
You can CLICK HERE to enter/read the chat. Who knows, if you ask a question and mention the blog, there might be some kind of prize.
- The PawSox 4-2 win over Buffalo last night marks the club’s 7th consecutive Opening Day win – the longest in franchise history.
Second baseman Pedro Ciriaco had a strong PawSox debut going 4-of-5 with two RBIs. Who cares that only one of his hits left the infield. With his speed, he doesn’t have to hit ’em quite as deep to reach safely. By the way, he was one of only two International League batters with four hits last night (Matt Carson of Rochester also had four).
- When Steve interviewed Pedro on the field following the game, I loved it when Ciriaco said “thank you” to the fans. It might not seem like much to the players, but that kind of gesture goes a long way these days.
- One game into the season and we’ve already seen outstanding defensive plays by the two guys who get hyped the most for their defense: Jose Iglesias and Che-Hsuan Lin. Jose made an outstanding line drive catch on a ball that, off the bat, I would have told you had a 100% chance of landing in left field. Lin, meanwhile, made a catch sliding forward and on his side on a ball that seem destined to be a bloop single in shallow center. These guys will be fun to watch.
- New Pawtucket right fielder Jason Repko showed nice speed and great hustle when he reached on an RBI infield single in the 5th. I had a chance to interview him at Media Day and really enjoyed our conversation.
Around the International League
- The new “Empire State Yankees” were almost no-hit last night by Lehigh Valley. If not for a Ray Krumi double in the 7th, it would have been all zeros for the club without a home this season.
- In his Triple-A debut, arguably baseball’s top-prospect Bryce Harper went 2-of-4 with a double against Rochester.
- Speaking of the Red Wings, former PawSox first baseman Aaron Bates had a nice Opening Day for the Twins’ Triple-A club, going 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
- One day into the season and we already have our first rain out (Charlotte and Norfolk), and our first extra inning game (Durham topped Gwinnett 4-3 in a 12-inning, 4:04 contest).
We hit the air tonight at 6:00 with the pre-game show. First pitch in the series finale with Buffalo is set for 6:15.
Talk with you then.
Earlier this afternoon I had a chance to sit down with PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler for our pre-game interview. Our conversation will play prior tonight’s 7:05 first pitch, but because it’s Opening Day, I thought I’d give you an early listen.
Arnie talks with me about tonight’s starter, Justin Germano, what he learned last year as a Triple-A manager, and how great it is to play a game that means something.
Thanks for listening.
The PawSox initial rotation was announced this morning:
1. RHP Justin Germano – Tonight
2. RHP Brandon Duckworth – Friday
3. RHP Alex Wilson – Saturday, Game 1
4. RHP Aaron Cook – Saturday, Game 2
5. RHP Doug Mathis – Monday
6. RHP Ross Ohlendorf – Tuesday
The PawSox will start the season with two players on the disabled list:
- INF Tony Thomas – hamstring
- LHP Jesse Carlson – shoulder
Some things that stand out on the PawSox Opening Day roster:
- All 12 of the club’s pitchers are right-handers (seriously).
- Eight of the 12 pitchers are new to the Red Sox system (Wilson, Tazawa, Duckworth, and Pena, Jr. return).
- Overall, 12 of the 25 players on the PawSox roster are new to Boston’s farm system.
- Of the 13 players who are NOT new to the system, OF Alex Hassan is the only one new to Pawtucket.
The PawSox enter tonight having won six straight season-openers for the first time in club-history. The current streak began with a 3-2 win vs. Indianapolis on April 6, 2006 at McCoy. Also of note, this evening’s game marks the 40th Opening Day for the Pawtucket Red Sox as the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Off to the booth to continue getting everything in order. Steve Hyder and I hit the air at 6:50 p.m. ET for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch. Talk with you then!
It has finally hit me that Opening Day is now just 72 hours away. Everyone has been working overtime at McCoy Stadium getting ready for Thursday’s 7:05 first pitch against Buffalo, even our manager, Arnie Beyeler.
Arnie, who just arrived from Ft. Myers, was inside our offices today participating in a live Q&A on Boston.com where fans asked him every question under the sun about the PawSox. You can replay the chat and read all of Arnie’s answers by clicking here. If one of your questions was regarding what the back of Arnie’s head looks like, I’m glad I could provide the answer.
At this time we don’t have any definitive word on what our roster will will be. As soon as the Red Sox release our roster I’ll be sure to post it here ASAP. In the meantime, Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com reported via Twitter (@MikeAndrewsSP) that outfield prospect Alex Hassan has been assigned to Pawtucket. He also reported the following moves:
- Matt Barnes, 2011 first round pick, assigned to Single-A Greenville
- Blake Swihart, 2011 first round pick, assigned to Single-A Greenville
- Xander Bogaerts, Baseball America’s No. 2 Red Sox prospect, assigned to High-A Salem.
- Heiker Meneses, infielder, assigned to Double-A Portland
- Aaor Kurcz, Jayson Hernandez, Will Latimer, and Caleb Clay assigned to Double-A Portland
- Mitch Dening, Jorge Padron, Drew Dominguez, and Josue Peley released by Boston.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe has reported that through five innings today, Aaron Cook has the following line: 2-H/1-R/1-ER/1-BB/2-K and 11 groundball outs. You can follow Pete’s live updates throughout the Red Sox vs. Nationals game on the Extra Bases Blog.
There’s a strong chance that Cook opens the season in Pawtucket before seeing time in the Big Leagues with the Red Sox. It’s important to remember that Cook has an “opt out” in his minor league contract on May 1. This could pressure Boston to call him up to Fenway before then since he has proven in Spring Training that he can get batters out.
Between getting ready for Opening Day, finalizing my taxes, and getting my couch ready for tonight’s NCAA Championship Game, there’s lots to do! I’ll leave you with a 2007 head shot of a former International League standout who is on the verge of signing a $200 million contract extension.
Now that we’re under a month away from Opening Day here at McCoy Stadium, it’s amazing how much things are really beginning to ramp up around the ballpark. Our sales team is staying later each night and are constantly making phone calls throughout the day. Our maintenance crew is giving a face-lift to some of the field level suites, and our graphics team of Kevin and Bonnie are clicking, highlighting, dragging and dropping like a couple of crazed computer programmers.
Despite the recent frenzy, PawSox President Mike Tamburro took some time this past weekend to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday by reading some classic storybooks to some young PawSox fans.
Although it appears as though Mike is reading a storybook, I’m willing to go out on a limb that Mike is actually telling these kids, “McCoy Stadium is the most affordable, family-friendly entertainment experience in New England. Do any of you like soda and popcorn?”
All joking aside, Mike, who was recently elected to the International League Hall of Fame, is one of the hardest-working, most well-respected executives in all of minor league baseball. It says a lot about your organization when the team president makes appearances like this.
Report from the Fort
- Early indications are that PawSox third baseman Will Middlebrooks has really impressed new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine:
“His offensive acumen is well beyond his years,” said Valentine. “He’ll see a pitcher that he’s seen before and be able to pull down that menu of pitches he throws, understand the speed, the angles, the programs that a pitcher uses to try to get a hitter out.”
Read the rest of what Valentine had to say in this article written by Alex Speier.
- Speaking of Speier, he conducted a terrific interview with future PawSox outfielder, Alex Hassan. Here’s my favorite quote from Hassan during their conversation:
In case you missed it, Episodes 2 and 3 of PawSox Insider is now available for your listening pleasure on iTunes. We’ve already received over 500 downloads from our first two shows of the year and hope that you continue to listen “on demand” via iTunes as the season approaches. You can listen on your computer or download the shows to your phone, iPod, or other portable .mp3 player and take us wherever you go.
- Joe Castiglione – “Voice of the Red Sox”
- Ryan Kalish – Red Sox outfielder
- Ben Crockett – Red Sox Director of Player Development
- Arnie Beyeler – PawSox manager
- Brian MacPherson – Red Sox Beat Writer, Providence Journal
- Alex Speier – Red Sox Reporter, WEEI.com
- Thanks to my most recent subscribers: clemson28, jws02673, and kenfish1. We’re up to 48 subscribers now and I just might have to conduct a brief email interview with my 50th subscriber. Just think, world-wide fame could be yours if you happen to be lucky No. 50. Subscribing is easy: just enter your email address in the empty box in the top-right corner of this screen and click “Subscribe.”
- Along those lines, thanks to all my loyal readers who have helped to get this blog off the ground. In two months you’ve given me over 11,000 hits and made this the top-read minor league blog during the month of February. I’m so grateful for your continued support.
It’s hard to believe, but Opening Day is exactly one month away. I get asked often when I speak to groups such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, “what does a minor league broadcaster do during the off-season”? Well, as is typically the case, I’m working on various random projects to get ready for the season and, since a number of people have expressed interest, I thought I’d begin by telling you what’s going on in my world one month before Opening Day.
- This afternoon I’m jumping on a conference call with Michael Gwynn, our VP of Sales and Marketing, along with the general manager of a Massachusetts radio station. We’re in the final stages of adding them to our radio network for 2012 and are hoping to close the deal today. We currently have a nine-station network and look to build that number to 11 or 12 by Opening Day.
- Bill Wanless, our VP of Public Relations, has given me a copy of our 20-page game program to proofread. The son a long-time middle school English teacher, I’m one of our resident proof readers (for better or worse). The best part is, if I have have any questions, mom is just a phone call away.
- One of the biggest things on my to-do list is to finalize my 2012 broadcaster’s scorebook. Every year I order a custom scorebook from a friend in St. Louis and I’m reaching the deadline to get my order submitted. I’m working with PawSox graphic designed Kevin Galligan (who is currently swamped) to create a cover. Here’s a picture of what my book looked like last year.
- Everyday I need to spend at least an hour reading various blogs, websites, and written publications about the Red Sox and what’s going on in Ft. Myers. Especially since I haven’t worked in the Sox farm system since 2009, I have some catching up to do in order to really feel like I know all the notable names and recent story lines. On my reading list today is the March edition of New England Baseball Journal. It’s a little funny to think that I get paid to read what most Red Sox fans read for pleasure everyday, but it’s my job to know these things and consequently I have to dedicate enough time each day so I know the latest news.
- On my to-do list everyday: writing this blog, and helping PawSox Account Executive Pete Sachs update Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.
- I’m especially excited because starting at 1:05 this afternoon, I can listen to five different Spring Training radio broadcasts online while I work. The MLB Gameday Audio package is the best $19.99 I spend every year.
Switching gears, some of you may know that I spent the 2008 season calling games for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League. That season, which seems like forever ago, was without question the most difficult season of my career. I was 1,200 miles away from my home in St. Louis, took a broadcasting job that paid me $0.00, was grateful to find a landscaping job through craigslist to pay me some money, and half of our 25 games I broadcasted solo, off-air, because we could only afford to air half of our games online (via Skype).
If it wasn’t for my (now) wife’s charitable grandmother in Yarmouth, and her spare bedroom, I could have never afforded to take the Braves’ job, and who knows what that would have meant for my broadcasting career. Although it was a tough summer, I learned tremendous lessons and gained great perspective on the profession.
Last night my wife, Heather, and I drove to the Cape to have dinner with grandma Claire and Heather’s parents. On our way we happened to drive by Upper Cape Technical School where the Braves’ games are played.
Once we sped past the school, I quickly pulled u-turn so I could drive by the ballpark where I paid my dues during the summer of 2008. It was great to get back there because I can still remember the first time I drove into the empty parking lot over-looking the field prior the ’08 season. As the team’s soon-to-be broadcaster, I got excited thinking that would soon be “my field.”
Thank you to Tom Fink for hiring me in Bourne and keeping my dream of broadcasting alive.
Thank you to Claire for giving up your guest bedroom and never asking for anything in return.
Thank you to Heather for always being ready to move and for putting up with me always being away.
Thank you to my parents who somehow supported me driving half-way across the country for an unpaid, Internet-only broadcasting job.
As evidenced above, it’s impossible to make it in this business without the support of those around you. Soon enough, another young Cape League broadcaster will learn that just like I did.