Thursday, April 19, 2007
Devils Win,Baseball all day and Battling Bob shakes Keys!!
Sorry I missed yesterday.
Attended two games and was just too tired when I got home.
First the top story-
The New Jersey Devils tied their series with Tampa at two apiece by winning a 4-3 overtime decision in the Citrus Bowl.
Scott Gomez scored on a 2 on 1 breakaway into OT over Johan Holmquist to give New Jersey the win.This game was a desperately needed one for the Devils,as a 2-2 series tie not only is preferable to a 3-1 deficit,but it also gives home ice back to the Devils.
Tampa had a power play early in overtime,due to a penalty on Paul Martin.
The particular penalty(putting the puck in the stands from your own zone) is one I would change in the rules,but by the letter of the law,it was one.
Tampa battled back from a 3-1 N.J. lead to force the overtime.
Devils goals went to Brian Gionta,Gomez and 2 goals from (Who Else?) Zach Parise.
Colin White missed his 2nd straight game with a bad back.
IMO-this is the main reason Vincent LeCavalier has gone so wild in the series.
Game 5 returns to the Meadowlands on Friday at 7;00.
The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Milwaukee Brewers last night 7-2 in Milwaukee.
Claudio Vargas struck out 11 Pirates in a winning effort for Bernie's gang.
I liked Vargas for years and always wondered why his numbers did not match his stuff,perhaps he has found the answer in Milwaukee.
Paul Malholm picked up the loss (0-2) and seems to be the weakest link of the Bucco "Big 4".
Not surprisingly-his stuff is least of the 4.
Paul gave up 5 runs and 10 hits in his 6 innings and gave up a bomb to Bill Hall.
I would like to see Malholm nibble less and be more aggressive early in the count,but this is the 2nd year that I have been hoping to see that.
Pirates runs came on a 2nd inning Jason bay Homer (His 3rd) and Chris Duffy scored on a Bill Hall fielding error in the 5th.
I hope Hall repeats his offensive numbers of 2006,because he seems to be just brutal in CF.
The Pirates finish their mini stop in Milwaukee today at 1;05 with Zach Duke vs the overpriced Jeff Suppan.
On a long day that included two games,the 1st involved a road trip to Frederick MD to see the Pirates High A Affiliate Lynchburg Hillcats take on the Keys.
Lynchburg won 5-2 as the Hillcats scored 4 runs in the 5th inning on back to back homers by Brad Corley (3 run shot) and former Baltimore prospect Tripper Johnson's solo version.
Corley has very little plate discipline,but I like his power a lot.
If he would just be a bit more patient at the plate,his prospect status would go even higher.
On an off the field note on Corley-If this guy makes it to Pittsburgh,Pirate fans will love him.
A great,personable,yet not arrogant guy.I have seen Brad twice now and both times took time to talk,sign stuff and seemed to genuinely enjoy fan interaction.
Here is hoping for Corley to make it eventually to Pittsburgh.
Derek Hankins grabbed the win in pitching 5 innings, allowing 1 run,but I was not totally sold.
I liked his change up,but his curve seemed a bit flat to me and he did not seem to be throwing that hard as well.
I did not have the access to the gun,as I usually do in Hagerstown,but I was in the 2nd row behind the plate,so good visual access for me.
Did like the late stint by 6'7 Matt Swanson.He seems to be progressing since last year and I thought (without verification) that he seemed to throw harder yesterday than last year at Hickory.
With his size,worth keeping tabs on.
Einar Diaz ,on the other hand, seems shot.
Diaz swung a slow bat,struggled to get around on High A fastballs and worst of all- Not good defensively.
Diaz being assigned to Lynchburg to begin with tossed up a red flag,but the last thing a veteran backup catcher usually loses is his defensive abilities.
To me,this looks like a audition for Diaz to finish up as a player-coach type.give some wisdom to some young pitchers and see if he wants to coach.
In other words,look for Diaz at State College or as a roving instructor in 2008.
In the nightcap,the Lake County Captains shot to lead early and held on to the win 7-6 over the Hagerstown Suns.
The Captains prospects that I was anxious to see most were heralded young SS Carlos Rivero and Nick Weglarz,along with catching prospect Matt McBride.
I like McBride a lot and I think he may be the Tribe long term catcher.
Matt's defensive ablilities are superior to Max Ramirez and the bat is close,although I give the edge to Ramirez for now.
With the way,McBride is hitting,I would say a Kinston promotion could be in his future later in the season,especially if the rumored position change for Ramirez takes place.
Weglarz played Left after being drafted as a catcher.This is the 1st time I saw Nick,but I like his lefty swing and think he will hit for power at the higher levels,need to see more though to form a solid opinion.
Rivero had two hits,but what stood out to me was his body type. For a 18 year old player (turns 19 in May),he looks huge for a SS.
When he fills out,might not be able to have the range for SS and might be moved to 3B.
The pitcher I really wanted to see pitched in the 9th-Neil Wagner pitched the 9th to earn the save.
Wagner hit 96 on the gun,as he struck one Hagerstown Sun and the other two weakly tapped back to Wagner.
The Second time that I have seen Wagner and both times,he has been super impressive.
Lake County plays the 2nd game here against the Hagerstown Suns tonight at 6;35.
At the Frederick game-Battling Bob stood up and shook his Keys as directed by the Keys PR guy.
Guess you had to be there-But I laughed for 5 minutes!
I asked a couple of players on the Hillcats,their opinions looking back at their Hagerstown visit last year.
Derek Antelo did not remember Hagerstown,until I mentioned the shower problems,then he rolled his eyes and said "Oh yeah,NOW I remember that place".....................
Dustin Craig chatted for a few minutes and when I asked the question,he smiled and broke in with "But it's HISTORIC"!
After Ryan,Battling Bob and I's laughter died down,Dustin then added "Historic basically means crappy and old,doesn't it".
I sat behind Dustin all 4 Hickory-Hagerstown games last year,Great guy and as you can see-Funny as well.
Funny thing was that Antelo said Hagerstown was only the Second worst facility he had been to.
I asked what was worse?
The answer? Oneonta NY in the New York-Penn League and "It is not close".
I thought what a dump that place must be,but then later in the evening-Michael Eisenberg of Lake County was asked a similar question and his answer again was Oneonta.
I have got to find some pics of this place!!!
Update on Oneonta-Here is a link to the place rated as worse than Hagerstown and the Suns!
Did well on the signing game-
I got every Hillcat that I needed (Although Diaz was not unfriendly,but a long wait) except for utility infielder Greg Picart.
Picart should be still there on Lynchburg's 2nd visit in May.
Lake County-I did not have as much for,but got what I needed,just some Bowmans from Matt McBride,Michael Eisenberg ,Nick Weglarz and Adam Davis.
Still need to add McBride's sig to Eric Krebs on last years foul ball from Williamsport.
Cory Van Allen,Nationals prospect,made his Hagerstown Suns Home debut last night.
Van Allen pitched 3 and 2/3rds allowing 3 runs (2 earned),4 hits,struck out 2 and did not walk a Captain.
Nice control,but far from a hard thrower.Hard to say from one viewing,but not sure if his stuff is enough to project as a MLB starter.
Cory threw a lot of pitches and must have reached his limit,as Tommy Herr removed him with 1 runner on and two out.
I would have liked to have seen him pitch to one more batter,but the Nationals are apparently enforcing the pitch count strongly.
Chris Marrero smashed a long home run to Left field that hit the pavilion beyond the fence.
It was the first of Chris' pro career,as he did not hit any last year in GCL play.
Congrats to Chris,who seems to be a super guy.
Another great guy that had a bad night is Justin Maxwell.
Justin fanned all 4 at bats last night and I hope he turns it around soon.
Maxwell is another nice guy that is really easy to root for and hope he does well.
SS Stephen King was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the 6th inning.
I hope this is just a frustrated,struggling young player,not a sign of temper problems.
Supposed to have 2 old Memphis State basketball games coming in.
I am not the hoops fan that I used to be,but I can never resist getting Maryland games,N.C.State games from the Jim Valvano era or Memphis State/Keith Lee games.
Never understood how Keith never became an NBA star.
The penalty given for knocking the puck out of play in your own zone might be the dumbest one in Hockey and needs to be changed.
If a referee cannot tell the difference between intentionally putting the biscuit in the seats and having it happen naturally during play-Maybe Bettman needs to get some new arbiters.
Also have some Japanese baseball coming in from our guy in Japan-Brandon Siefken.
With various young pitchers to scout.I love this stuff,as it allows me to check players out before others even know who they are.
I was watching Matsuzaka 3 years before anyone knew his name here.
Devils-AP Photo-Chris O'Meara
Pirates-AP Photo-Morry Gash