Category Archives: Game Recaps

27 July 2014 – Brooklyn Cyclones at Lowell Spinners

Bark in the Park is bad news for Katz

The Cyclones made their annual trip to Lowell on Sunday and three of MLB.com’s newly-announced midseason top 20 Mets prospects were in play for the opener.  Michael Conforto (#4) would drive in Amed Rosario (#7) for the game’s first run, but Marcos Molina (#16) didn’t have his best stuff on the mound and didn’t get any favors from the Brooklyn defense (including his own).  Down 3-1 after three innings, Molina settled in and the Brooklyn offense stepped up to take game 1 9-3.  The comeback was sparked by Michael Bernal, who entered the game in the bottom of the third when Michael Katz had to be driven off the field after an injury.

Box Score

Michael Conforto entered the game with an 8-game hitting streak, which dates back to his professional debut just over a week ago.  More than a month after the Mets drafted him 10th overall, fans were eager to see what he could do.  They didn’t have to wait very long on Sunday as he extended his hitting streak in the top of the 1st with a double off the left field wall that drove in Amed Rosario.  The offense went silent the next time through the order, with the only baserunner erased on a double play.  After Conforto grounded out for the second out in the 4th, it would be up to a different Michael to get the Cyclones going again.

Marcos Molina came out of nowhere to start landing on top prospect lists last year.  Well, only if you consider rookie ball to be “nowhere.”  Still, he started in Brooklyn this year with a lot of buzz and has generally impressed.  After a quick 1-2-3 first inning where he looked like he was throwing batting practice and still getting outs, Molina’s luck ran out in the second.  With his fastball only hitting the high 80s and his pitches not hitting the strike zone when they needed to, the Spinners took advantage and did some hitting of their own with three singles and a walk scoring two runs.  The final hit of the inning was a bunt single that Molina fielded poorly and then tried to make a throw to first from a seated position.  Molina’s throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to score, making this the second time I’ve seen a throwing error by a highly-touted Cyclones pitcher lead to a run.

Marcos Molina gets out of a 2nd inning jam

The Cyclones added injury to insult in the bottom of the third when a ground ball to second went horribly wrong.  Michael Katz, the lone player to not have a dog photo used on the scoreboard (for obvious reasons), stretched too far attempting to catch the throw, missed, and fell to the ground clutching his knee.

Katz was down for a full two minutes before he was able to stand on his own, after which he was whisked away on the back of a Gator (and not one of the three gator mascots at the park).  With Katz out of the game, Will Fullmer shifted to first base and Michael Bernal entered the game in right field.  A passed ball and a single put Lowell up 3-1 with nobody out, but that would be the extent of their offense for the night.  The Cyclones however were just getting started.

And that brings us to the top of the 4th with Michael Bernal at the plate for the first time with two outs.  The inning looked to be over when Bernal popped one up just foul in shallow right, but the Spinners couldn’t make the play.  That proved to be the turning point of the game; Bernal would later send the ball and half of his bat into left field and then, after a walk to Tyler Moore, would score on a Will Fulmer single to pull the Cyclones to within one run.  They would strand the bases loaded, but their bats were now wide awake.

How the Spinners’ baserunning ended

And that’s really where the game ended and the beating began.  Molina allowed two baserunners in the bottom half on a fielding error by Amed Rosario and a HBP, but the Cyclones would face the minimum from there.  Molina sat down on another bunt in the 6th, but the runner would be caught stealing after being sent back to first on his first attempt due to hitter’s interference.  Brad Wieck, wearing Corey Oswalt’s jersey, pitched two perfect innings and Paul Paez finished the game with a perfect 9th.

As for the Cyclones’ offense, well, they were just getting started.  After scoring in the 4th, Bernal went on to get three more hits, finishing the night 4-for-4 with 4 RBI.  The rest of the lineup pitched in as well, with all nine spots in the lineup recording hits and six with at least one RBI.

Final score: Brooklyn 9, Lowell 3

The 2014 Binghamton Mets in GIFs

The Manchester experience in 16 moving pictures

Less than two months into the 2014 season, the B-Mets already have played their last regular season game of the year in Manchester, NH.  They leave New Hampshire with a 7-3 record at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium after shutouts, blown leads, big hits, occasional downpours, and a 14-inning finale.  Through all of it, the Binghamton roster has remained almost completely unchanged.  Only backup catchers changed places, with Blake Forsythe (on the DL for his entire 2014 B-Mets stint) dealt to Oakland and Nelfi Zapata (who did not appear in a game in Manchester) replacing Xorge Carrillo after the latter’s call-up to Las Vegas.  That’s effectively a stable 25-man roster to work with.

While I try to cover minor league games with as much useful information as possible, I have my limits.  When it comes to giving an illustrated first-hand account that goes beyond what the box score will tell you, I can at least fake competence.  But when people start asking about mechanics, I’ve got nothing.  I don’t like watching games from behind home plate and I can’t tell a curve from a slider.  I can juggle multiple electronic devices and capture photos and video while live-tweeting a game though.  So I added a video camera to my usual game pack and quickly realized that getting sharp video at night games just wasn’t happening.  Oh well.  What does it all add up to?  Damned if I know.

Let’s kick things off with Wilfredo Tovar enthusiastically grounding into a double play.  Is this something he learned during his stint in the big leagues last year?  Wherever he got it from, that’s a heck of a follow-through.

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18 May 2014 – Binghamton Mets at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

20 innings or bust!  Fine, bust it is…

Brian Burgamy breaks a bat grounding out

Three hit batters, two broken bats, two blown leads…  So much was busted for the B-Mets on Sunday that everyone was going to need a day off after this 14-inning marathon.  What’s that, they had a doubleheader on Monday?  No rest for the winners, I guess.  The B-Mets salvaged a win after blowing a 7-run lead and making the kids wait until after 6pm to run the bases, sweeping the Fisher Cats in their final trip to New Hampshire in 2014.

Box Score

Tyler Pill was coming off two losses in Manchester and the B-Mets were coming off two narrow victories in which they held comfortable leads, so I had low expectations for Sunday’s game.  In a surprise twist, Pill pitched effectively, going five scoreless innings before giving up two runs in the 6th and getting pulled after recording two outs.  His stuff wasn’t overpowering, topping off at about 89mph, but it was the slow stuff in the high-70s that was keeping the Fisher Cats at bay.  When Pill went with mostly high-80s fastballs in the 6th, the Fisher Cats pounced on him and got on the board.  T.J. Chism came in and got the B-Mets out of the inning without further damage.

Kevin Plawecki drives in a run in the 3rd inning

The B-Mets offense did enough damage of their own early in the game to make those two runs largely insignificant.  Cory Vaughn followed up his double on Saturday with another double his first time up on Sunday.  He would come around to score on a Wilfredo Tovar single.  The next run came an inning later on a Matt Reynolds triple and a Kevin Plawecki single.  Jayce Boyd singled to put runners at the corners for Cory Vaughn.

Cory Vaughn hits a sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning

This time, Vaughn flying out was productive, driving in a run as a sac fly.  That would be it for Vaughn’s offense for the foreseeable future; he would finish the night 1-for-5 with a sac fly and a HBP before going 0-for-7 with a walk over his next two games.  That streak of two doubles over the weekend was it for Vaughn’s hot streak and his trouble at the plate in 2014 continues.

Darrell Ceciliani begins a home run swing

Darrell Ceciliani followed Vaughn’s sac fly with the game’s only home run.  The Mets scored two more runs over the next three innings, putting them up 7-0 before Pill started having trouble.  Trouble was also getting started with Wilfredo Tovar.

Wilfredo Tovar fouls one off himself and doubles over in pain

We’ve seen a lot of Mets taking a beating over the course of this series.  Kevin Plawecki took two pitches and a foul ball on Friday, then Matt Clark left Saturday’s game after being hit by a pitch.  Sunday was Tovar’s day, which started when he fouled one off himself in the top of the 7th.  Tovar has been getting a bit frustrated at the plate lately and this certainly didn’t help.  But this was just the beginning.

T.J. Chism runs into trouble in the 7th inning

The rest of the team felt the pain in the bottom half when T.J. Chism started things off with three consecutive hits to left field.  With the pressure on, Chism walked the next batter to bring up Ryan Schimpf, who was so feared on Saturday that he was given an intentional walk.  That wasn’t an option with the bases loaded, so he had to settle for a hit by pitch.  After allowing the first five batters of the inning to reach base without recording an out, that was it for Chism.  He would go on the disabled list the next day, so something was clearly wrong.

Jon Velasquez was handed the unenviable task of getting three outs with three runners already on base.  Those runners wouldn’t be a problem for long.  Velasquez gave up a double that cleared the bases to the first batter he saw but settled in and got through the inning, wrapping things up on a 95mph fastball with runners on second and third.

The B-Mets would get their lead back in the top of the 8th, but it was short-lived.  Jack Leathersich gave the run back in the bottom half but kept the game tied until the end of the 9th.

Chase Bradford and Adam Kolarek would each pitch two scoreless innings to give the B-Mets another four chances to score a run.

Oh, for the love of god, enough with the bunting!

Which they tried to do by bunting.  For three straight innings, the Mets bunted when they got a runner on base (twice that was by HBP).  In the 10th and the 11th, we got the scene above: out at second, just barely safe at first.  We’re in extra innings and the Mets are giving away outs.  Things went differently in the 12th, for better and worse.

Wilfredo Tovar leaves the game in the 12th inning after being hit by a pitch

Wilfredo Tovar started things off by getting hit by a pitch that had him on the ground in pain.  He would leave the game after being helped off the field but would be back in the lineup on Monday.  With Dustin Lawley running for Tovar, Kyle Johnson got a sacrifice bunt down successfully and moved Lawley to second.  Lawley took third on a ground out, but he would be stranded 90 feet from home.  The Fisher Cats answered back in the bottom half with speedy pinch hitter Kenny Wilson walking, stealing second, and stealing third with one out.  Wilson wouldn’t make it any closer to scoring than Lawley had.  Both teams would then strand runners on second in the 13th as this game looked like it would never end.

Matt Reynolds singles to drive in Kyle Johnson for the winning run

Kyle Johnson wouldn’t be bunting when he came up with the bases empty in the top of the 14th.  Instead, he hit a double.  A single from Brian Burgamy moved him to third and another single from Matt Reynolds brought him home for the first run in six innings.  That would be it, leaving it up to a depleted bullpen with only Saturday’s relievers left unused.

John Church would get a one-run Binghamton lead in the bottom of the 14th, leaving only Cody Satterwhite in the bullpen.  Church got things started with a pair of strikeouts and then got an easy ground ball to end the game and finally let the kids, if there were any left in the stadium, run the bases.

The 42nd out…

Final Score: Bingamton 9, New Hampshire 8

That’s it for the B-Mets at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in 2014.  See you next year…

17 May 2014 – Binghamton Mets at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Rainy Lara’s weaknesses: 7th inning, Ryan Schimpf

Rainy Lara’s previous outing at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium consisted of 7 scoreless innings with just 3 strikeouts.  Despite the results, Lara was clearly gassed by the 7th inning and got lucky on a couple of fly balls to center.  This time around, the strikeouts were up but so was Lara’s 7th inning luck.  Ryan Schimpf had accounted for all of New Hampshire’s offense with a pair of solo home runs before Lara went an inning too far and nearly threw away a 4-run lead.  John Church did his best to limit the damage and Cody Satterwhite pitched a perfect 9th to close out a narrow 6-5 victory.

Box Score

They’ll let anyone to second base around here…

Rainy Lara kept things quick and clean for the first three innings, giving up only two hits while striking out three over that span.  The Mets struck first in the top of the third with three runs on hits from Travis Taijeron, Wilfredo Tovar, Brian Burgamy, and Kevin Plawecki plus a Matt Clark HBP.  Clark was in serious pain after being hit but stayed in the game to run the bases.  Cory Vaughn took his place as DH the next time through the batting order.

Lara got three more strikeouts in the 4th, but only after giving up a solo home run to Ryan Schimpf.  Schimpf hit a second solo home run in the 6th, but that was the extent of New Hampshire’s scoring over the first six innings.

The Mets added a run of their own in the top of the 6th on a Travis Taijeron double that missed being a home run by mere inches.  It was still enough to score Jayce Boyd, who walked earlier in the inning.

Darrell Ceciliani scores from first on a pair of throwing errors

The 7th inning got started with a Darrell Ceciliani single that apparently bugged New Hampshire pitcher John Anderson.  Repeated pickoff attempts have a way of going bad, though Rainy Lara got away with a whole bunch at once earlier in the game.  For Anderson, three was his limit.  Ceciliani made it to third base when the pickoff went awry and then scored when the throw to third had the same result.  I guess that’s one way to get rid of a runner…

In a surprising twist, Cory Vaughn, batting well under .200 this season, hit a double with two outs.  Kevin Plawecki, batting well over .300 this season, then doubled Vaughn home on what appeared to be a routine fly ball.  That would do it for the Mets’ offense, but when’s the last time they blew a 4-run lead?  Oh, right, last night…

It’s never a good sign when runners are rolling around the bases…

Three hits and one out later, Lara was pulled from the game with the lead cut to 6-3.  John Church would go on to allow both inherited runners to score, but neither team managed anything other than a strikeout or groundout over the rest of the game.

Cody Satterwhite strikes out Jon Berti to end the game

Final Score: Bingamton 6, New Hampshire 5

16 May 2014 – Binghamton Mets at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Rain for Matthew Bowman, pain for Kevin Plawecki

The Binghamton Mets started their final series of 2014 in Manchester on a rainy Friday night with Matthew Bowman making his first start at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The weather produced the bulk of the offense for New Hampshire, helping the Fisher Cats score 6 runs in the 3rd inning. It took a team effort, but the Mets were able to overcome a two-run deficit to take the first game of the series 8-6.

Box Score

Baseballs 3, Plawecki 3

The last time we saw Kevin Plawecki here, he was not a happy camper after a called third strike ended the series with a loss. Maybe it was karma or maybe it was lingering bad feelings, but Plawecki took a beating in his return to Manchester. He took the first pitch he saw for a called strike, which drew comments from the dugout where they could see that the pitch was just a few inches off the ground. The umpire shrugged off the criticism of a call that was ultimately inconsequential as Plawecki took first base after being hit by a pitch. The message to Plawecki was clear: you’d better swing at anything that doesn’t hit you.

Plawecki’s next time up came with one out in the top of the 3rd. Matt Clark had just driven in his second run of the game to put the B-Mets up 2-0. With the Matts in scoring position (Clark on 2B and Reynolds on 3B), Plawecki sent them home on a single to center. 4-0 seemed like a comfortable lead at the time, but then the weather started getting rough.

Special bonus commentary for lip readers

That was Kenny Wilson tripling to center and driving in Jon Berti to put the Fisher Cats on the board. The rain continued to pick up, clearly giving Bowman trouble with his grip. With the wetness came wildness as Bowman hit the next batter, somehow struck out the next one, and then threw one past Plawecki to allow Wilson to score from third.

Seems like it’s hard to hold on to a baseball in the rain…

It got even worse from there. With the rain coming down in buckets, Bowman walked the next two batters to load the bases. That brought up Andy Fermin, who tripled… His RBI total for the season with a grand slam. Bowman got out of the inning with a strikeout as the monsoon let up, but the Mets’ 4-run lead had evaporated in a deluge of Fisher Cats runs.

Things started getting weird in the 5th when Matt Reynolds reached on a throwing error for the second time and Plawecki, after fouling a pitch off himself and hobbling around in pain for a while, got his second HBP of the night. Cory Vaughn and Dustin Lawley would strike out to strand them, but Lawley’s strikeout was delayed because the catcher was slow to catch on when the umpire never called “Out!” at the end of the at-bat. After some confusion, the catcher tagged Lawley and we were on to the bottom half.

Moving on to the top of the 8th, Lawley singled to lead things off, but was out stretching for two. A Jayce Boyd walk and singles by Wilfredo Tovar and Kyle Johnson loaded the bases for Brian Burgamy, who sent a pitch to the left field warning track for an out his first time up. This time he got a better cut and sent the ball into the left field corner, glancing off Jon Berti’s glove to fall in for a 3-RBI double and give the B-Mets the lead. Kevin Plawecki would drive Burgamy in with his third hit of the night before Cory Vaughn ended his second inning in a row to conclude his 0-4 night.

As for New Hampshire, they didn’t have much fight in them after they dried off. They went down in order in the 5th, 6th, and 7th and had one runner in the 8th when Wilfredo Tovar misplayed a pop fly to the right of the pitcher’s mound. Adam Kolarek was brought in with two outs and somehow managed to induce a double play. Everyone was a bit confused on that one… A single in the 9th was the last of the Fisher Cats offense and Chase Bradford struck out Kenny Wilson to end the game.

Final Score: Bingamton 8, New Hampshire 6

6 May 2014 – Binghamton Mets at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

This one’s gonna sting

Coming off a shutout loss here the night before, the Binghamton Mets were looking to even the series behind Hansel Robles, who pitched five shutout innings here last month.  The Binghamton offense would need to produce more than ground balls to make that happen though.  Robles had everything working for the first couple of innings and the offense came back to life for a few more, but it didn’t add up to a win as the Fisher Cats took this one 6-4 with Kevin Plawecki getting the final word (which is best not said in polite company).

Box Score

Hansel Robles was leaning on his fastball early and was holding steady at 92mph for the first two innings, touching 93.  Robles started getting into trouble when he lost velocity on his fastball.  At only 90mph, it just wasn’t enough to keep the Fisher Cats offense in check, resulting in a flurry of ground balls.

Round and round they go…

Wilfredo Tovar was able to get to three of them, but four ground balls plus a line drive and a fly ball made it into the outfield for hits before Robles was pulled in the 6th.  The final straw was a grounder that shot into the Binghamton bullpen where Cory Vaughn, playing in left field for a change, had trouble getting to it.  Cody Satterwhite was warming up at the time and entered the game to face the next batter.  His first order of business though was to pick off the runner Robles left behind.

Robles only gave up one run in the 6th, but it was enough to earn him the loss after Jayce Boyd had just tied the game in the top half for the final Binghamton run (Boyd’s HR was followed by six ground outs as the bats went cold).  The B-Mets offense got off to a shaky start, stranding four runners in the first two innings, but they scored four runs for Robles on home runs by Matt Clark and Jayce Boyd and a Wilfredo Tovar line drive.  Boyd went 4-for-4 on the night with a home run and two doubles (one aided by the setting sun) while Tovar went 2-for-3 with a walk.  Boyd had the stat line night (just a triple shy of the cycle with two runs scored), while Tovar impressed at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field.

For his effort though, Tovar would not make it past third base, getting stranded there twice and watching the end of the game at second base after walking on a full count to lead off the 9th and advancing on a ground out that might have been a double play if he hadn’t been running on the pitch.  Kevin Plawecki came up with two outs representing the tying run.  We’ve seen this one before.  Plawecki drew a full count before taking a pitch and preparing to take his base.  The umpire had other ideas though and Plawecki had words with him before walking back to the losing dugout in an exact repeat of the game two years ago.  This time though, the dugout was silent except for a single exclamation as Plawecki packed up his gear.

Those who do not learn from history…

Final score: New Hampshire 6, Binghamton 4