Skid To End?
The Burlington Bees (6-13) and Fort Wayne TinCaps (8-11) play game two of their three-game series tonight at Community Field. This series is Fort Wayne’s first return to Burlington since clinching the Midwest League title in 2009. It’s “Thirsty Thursday” with 2 for $4.50 beer specials and 2 for $3.00 deals on pop. It’s also “34 Raceway Night” with several drivers on hand to show off their cars and sign autographs.
RHP Adys Portillo (1-8, 7.20) gets the start for the Fort Wayne TinCaps this evening. Portillo last pitched against the Dayton Dragons on July 6 and allowed one earned run on two hits in 3.2 innings. He has received just 3.6 runs per game in support in his starts this year (51R/14GS). The TinCaps have scored more than one run while he is the active pitcher just three times. The Bees have a record of 0-1 in games played against the TinCaps this season and are 37-29 against right-handed starting pitchers.
RHP Blake Hassebrock (4-5, 2.18) makes his 17th start of the year for the Bees tonight. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits over five innings pitched in his last start, which was against the Quad Cities River Bandits on July 7. Hassebrock has an overall record of 2-4 to go along with a 2.21 ERA in games played at Community Field. Opposing batters are hitting .253 against Hassebrock when runners are in scoring position and .327 against him when runners are in scoring position and there are two outs. Since the All-Star break, Hassebrock is 0-3 with a 4.24 ERA in three games started.
The Bees have an overall record of 28-17 this season in home games. Both the TinCaps and the Bees left seven runners on base last night. The Bees went 0-for-3 at the dish, while Fort Wayne went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in last night’s game. Burlington has a record of 19-16 in one-run games. The Bees are 2-27 overall this season when trailing after eight innings. The Bees have a record of 2-8 in their last 10 games.
The TinCaps hit two home runs in the sixth inning to earn a 3-2 win over the Bees before 610 fans at Community Field on Wednesday night. The TinCaps scored a run in the first inning against Burlington RHP Jose Macias (2-2). 2B Cory Spangenberg (0-2) walked and was retired when RF Rymer Liriano (2-4) grounded into a fielder’s choice. Liriano stole second base and went to third base on a throwing error by Bees C Beau Taylor. LF Luis Domoromo (1-4) laced an RBI single to right field to score Liriano for a 1-0 Fort Wayne lead. LF Royce Consigli (2-3) homered to right field against Fort Wayne LHP Mark Hardy (6-7) to lead off the fifth inning for Burlington and tie the game at 1-1. Liriano and 1B Connor Powers (1-4) added solo home runs for the TinCaps in the sixth inning to increase the lead to 3-1. In the sixth inning, Burlington added a single run. DH Josh Whitaker (1-4) singled and scored on a double hit down the RF line by RF Douglas Landaeta (1-4) to make it 3-2.
BEES BY THE NUMBERS
So far, 33,675 fans have made it out to Community Field this season to watch the Bees. The Bees had six hits last night, while Fort Wayne had five. The Bees have a record of 29-13 when they out-hit their opponent and have a six game losing streak, which is their longest losing skid this season.
LF Royce Consigli hit his fifth home run of the season last night in the bottom of the fifth inning off of Fort Wayne LHP Mike Hardy. Consigli’s last homer prior to that was on June 15 versus the Kane County Cougars.
IF Josh Whitaker is batting .318, has eight home runs and 27 RBIs in home games this season. Whitaker leads the Midwest League in slugging percentage (.548) and is tied with Matt Szczur, formerly of the Peoria Chiefs, for fifth place in batting average (.318). Whitaker also has 10 home runs, 75 hits and 39 RBIs in 68 games played this season.
A football and baseball star at Villanova University, Szczur was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cubs. He batted a combined .347 across three levels for Chicago in 2010, but nullified his contract when he returned to school to play football in the fall. Szczur agreed to a new deal with the Cubs for $1.4 million in January, foregoing the chance to pursue a career in the NFL. He made his debut with the Daytona Cubs last night and took part in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday.
Bees RHP Josh Bowman (6-3, 3.43) leads the Midwest League in innings pitched (107.2) and is tied for first place in games started (18). He has walked 31 batters and fanned 62.
The Burlington Bees interns will compete against each other after the seventh inning of tonight’s game to see who can eat three hot dogs the fastest. I may not be competing in the event this evening due to an irritated nerve in my mouth. I’m betting that Gavin Halpin, who will be a senior at Monmouth College this fall, will be the winner.
INF Cory Spangenberg joined the TinCaps’ roster on Wednesday before their game against the Bees. He walked and was hit-by-a-pitch in his Midwest League debut. Spangenberg, 20, was selected as the San Diego Padres’ 1st round pick (10th overall) in last month’s draft. He was the first draftee to sign a pro contract and quickly joined short-season “A” Eugene where he reached base in all 25 games with the Emeralds and led the club to a league-record 14-game win streak. At the time of his promotion he was leading the Northwest League in on-base percentage, doubles and runs scored.
Bees Director of Group Outings Whitney Henderson broke out a needle and some thread this morning and made a few minor repairs to Buzz’s head. Henderson’s father, Mike, was a teammate of Hall of Famer Paul Molitor on the 1977 Midwest League Champion Bees.