July 2011

Career Highs and a New Guy!

What a start to the Bees road trip in Wisconsin last night! The offense “put it together” with eight runs on 14 hits and the Burlington Bees got a steady pitching performance from RHP Jose Macias (5 IP, 2R, 6H) to earn an 8-2 win. 1B A.J. Kirby-Jones drove in a career-high five runs and C Beau Taylor recorded a career high four hits in the victory.

The Bees made a roster move before the game today, placing CF Jose Crisotomo on the Disabled List and adding RHP T.J. Walz to the roster from SS-A Vermont. He went 4-0 with a 0.41 ERA in 11 outings. He allowed one earned run in 22 innings pitched.

Rain….

Its 4:30 p.m. here in Grand Chute, WI and the tarp is on the field as the Bees get set to hopefully open up a three-game series with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Rain is a fickle thing. When you come to the ballpark every day as a broadcaster, player, coach or front office member, you get into a rhythm.  Players do their stretches and work on their fundamentals. Coaches hit fly balls at a certain time. Broadcasters and newspaper writers copy down lineups into their scorecards and prepare stats. Front office staff members busily hurry around the stadium to ensure everything is in place when the team opens up the gates.

When the tarp is on the field and batting practice is cancelled, most look like a lost puppy dog. Coaches dwell in their office while players kill time by making up games in the club house. Front office staff members look at the radar and try to predict when the rain will move out of the area.

When the tarp is taken off the field-uniforms are put back on, lineups cards are hastily filled out and pregame shows are started late. Most look forward to getting the game complete because no one wants to play a doubleheader!

 

Fireworks!!! And Some Baseball!

Tonight the Bees wrap up a three-game series and a three-game home stand against the Beloit Snappers at 6:30 p.m. It’s a big night at the ballpark with our final fireworks show of the season after the game sponsored by the Greater Burlington Partnership. Some random thoughts follow before tonight’s game.

RHP Nate Long pitched seven innings on Thursday in his longest outing of the season. It surpassed his previous high of six innings set on three previous starts. LF Royce Consigli recorded two hits Thursday and drove in the only run of the game for Burlington in the eighth inning. Josh Whitaker went 0-4 against the Snappers on Thursday, dropping his batting average from .316 to .312. With that four point drop, Whitaker goes from first place in batting in the Midwest League all the way down to sixth place. T.J. Mittelstaedt of Wisconsin leads the Midwest League with a .318 average.

Nuke LaLoosh

“I love winning man….I love winning it’s like…..better than losing.” There is easily no better move about baseball and life in the minor leagues than “Bull Durham.” It’s also one of the most widely quoted movies second only to “Major League.”

If you know anything about the movie, you did I little editing on that quote. (This is, of course, a family blog). Nuke LaLoosh’s classic line perfectly describes the life of a minor league player. As Nuke says, players love winning. When things don’t work well, baseball players tend to revert back to superstition. For example take the current eight- game losing streak. When I asked one of the players who always looks forward to making fun of me why he hasn’t picked on me lately, it produced the following exchange.

Me: “What gives, are you afraid to bust my ‘chops’?”
Player X: “No man, we just haven’t been winning. I’m feeling like we’re gonna win today. I got nothing for you.”
Me: “Ok then.”

I’m ready for the insults. I just want a win.

 

Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts in advance of tonight’s series opener against the Beloit Snappers at Community Field

The current seven-game losing streak is the longest of the season for the Bees. Ryan Pineda’s four hits at Dayton on July 23 set a new single-game career high. He also hit two home runs on the road trip. Jose Macias allowed 10 hits in Dayton on July 24, the most hits allowed by a Burlington pitcher this season. DH A.J. Kirby-Jones’ sixth-inning home run Monday was the ninth home run of the season and his first home run on the road in 2011.

Road Trippin’

After a rain delay of just over three hours, the Burlington Bees played game of their two-game series last night in Dayton. It was a long night at the ballpark with the Bees getting on the bus shortly after 1:00 Sunday at the team hotel in advance of a 4:00 local start. Around 4:00 yesterday with both pitchers warming up in the bullpen, home plate umpire Alex Ransom called for the grounds crew to put the tarp on the field. After waiting patiently for three hours, the Bees and Dragons started their game at 7:01 Eastern Daylight Time last night. Two hours and 45 minutes later the Bees lost 7-1 to the Dragons.

The rain delay was longer than the actual game! After tonight the Bees have an overnight bus trip back to Burlington. When you’re waking up, the Bees will be rolling back into town. Here’s hoping for a win to make the time fly by.

 

To Quote Steve Perry…

There is no doubt the Burlington Bees are struggling right now. The club is on a five game losing streak and has lost 7 of the last 10 games. There is no panic on this club. The mood is light on the bus rides to the ball park. The players intensely go through their pregame routines and get methodically get ready for the games. I can honestly say that nothing has changed with their pre-game routine from the first half to the second half. As Steve Perry once sang “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeelinng.”

Don’t stop believing in the Bees because the Bees haven’t stopped believing in themselves.

 

So This Is Kind of a Big Deal…

The Burlington Bees take a four-game losing streak into Dayton against the red-hot Dayton Dragons tonight and the Bees may be surprised about what is waiting for them tonight here in Ohio. The Dayton Dragons hosted a crowd of better than 8000 in last night’s win over Peoria, their 819th consecutive sellout, the longest active streak in all of professional sports. The Dragons have sold out every game since 2000 and tonight the team will be celebrating the streak. The game will be delayed until 6:25 p.m. (7:25 locally) to give the Dragons time for the special ceremonies. Sky Divers are going to deliver the game baseball. There will be a dove release prior to the start of the game. A local group that appeared on NBC’s “The Sing Off” will perform the national anthem. Ervin “Magic” Johnson and former Ohio State Running Back Archie Griffin, prominent members of the ownership group Mandalay Sports Entertainment, will speak to the crowd after the fourth inning.

With so many other things going on beside the game, it could be easy to forget the Bees have a losing streak to try and snap. The Dragons, meanwhile, have won five straight.

You Never Know…

On Thursday night the Burlington Bees found themselves engaged in a battle of the “long ball” and the home runs came from two unlikely sources. John Nester hit a towering home run in the fifth inning on a ball that sailed over the left field and left the ballpark entirely. It was Nester’s third home run of the year and first since July 16 against Lake County at Community Field. Nester has now homered in two of the last four games.

In the eighth inning 2B Ryan Pineda hit his second home run of the season and first in precisely two months since back on May 21 in Wisconsin. Pineda’s two-run home run got the Bees within one run at 6-5. The Bees offense came up just short and Burlington fell to 20-19 in one run games.

 

Time for a Change

The Burlington Bees have made a change in their starting rotation heading into tonight’s game in Bowling Green. RHP Sean Murphy has been removed from the starting rotation and placed in the bullpen and RHP Jonathan Joseph will be taking his place. Joseph, who struggled through the first five starts of the season, was placed in the bullpen in mid-June and will get the start tonight. Let’s take a look at the numbers inside the move.

Jonathan Joseph as a starter: 1-2 with a 7.01 ERA (20 ER, 30 H, 14 BB, 24K, 25.2 IP)

Jonathan Joseph as a reliever: 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA (7 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 12K, 15.2 IP)

Sean Murphy as a starter: 0-3 with a 7.76 ERA (23 ER, 38H, 5BB, 17K, 26.2 IP)

Sean Murphy as a reliever: 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA (1 ER, 2H, 0BB, 4K, 2 IP)

As the Bees continue to try and find the right combination of starting pitchers for the second half, hopefully this move will solidify the Bees for the stretch run in August leading into the playoffs in September.