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Old 08-13-2018, 05:44 PM   #2581
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For the Coons, the week began with a reversal of the roster change from the end of the previous week, sending Lance Legleiter back to AAA for Greg Borg.

Raccoons (57-43) vs. Bayhawks (33-64) – July 29-31, 2025

The rightfully miserable Bayhawks were making a dash for 100+ losses, and we certainly wouldn't want to interrupt them. We had already swept them in our first encounter this season and I wouldn't mind another such occurrence. They sat second from the bottom in runs scored, at the very bottom in runs allowed, and overall there wasn't much hope for this team. Nevertheless, they had somehow managed to sweep the Crusaders on the weekend, so things could still go either way.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (11-5, 2.84 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (10-8, 4.57 ERA)
Jack Sander (8-6, 3.66 ERA) vs. Rodolfo Cervantes (3-9, 4.59 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-6, 3.53 ERA) vs. Jonathan Shook (6-6, 3.76 ERA)

Three right-handers, two of those sent their way from Portland a while back in the Gonzalez/Roberts trade.

Game 1
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B Booker – RF C. Martinez – 1B Lloyd – C J. Ramirez – LF R. Allen – SS Hawkins – 2B Pick – P Huf
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – SS Stalker – LF Carmona – P Roberts

Roberts whiffed five and retired the Bayhawks in order the first time through while the Raccoons played the same annoying game they had been engaging in for a while now and hit into double plays at every opportunity, doing so in the first inning (Mora after Spencer's leadoff walk) and second inning (Alfaro erasing Nunley) as well. The fourth inning saw the Baybirds with their first base knock, a 2-out single by Cesar Martinez to the right side, and the Coons with their first run, cobbled together from Tovias' leadoff double to left, a wild pitch, and Nunley's grounder to Pat Pick. The Coons had them on the corners then in the next inning thanks to a Cookie double and the Bayhawks infielders all falling over one another on Mark Roberts' shy grounder to concede an infield single to the pitcher. Jarod Spencer solidly singled to center to plate a 1-out run and extend the score to 2-0, then got doubled off when Abel Mora lined out to Bob Lloyd to end the inning… Well, at least there was variety to the misery!

Roberts maintained the 1-hit shutout through seven innings, but lost control in that inning, ran two full counts and issued a walk, jumping his pitch count to 105 in the process and with his spot coming up third in the bottom 7th he was getting a pat on the bum and we'd see how to proceed from here. The inning began with a walk to Stalker before Cookie singled to centerfield, putting two on with no outs for pinch-hitter Matt Otis, who never got any useful pitch from Huf and drew a bases-loading walk. Come on boys! Put this one away now! All the runners scored indeed – Spencer got a second RBI to his game with a fly to George Hawthorne that allowed Stalker to come home, 3-0, and with two outs and the runners in scoring position after Mora's groundout, Elias Tovias dumped a soft fly into shallow center to chase Cookie and Otis home, 5-0. Jimmy Lee was tossed into the eighth inning and promptly put runners on the corners with a leadoff walk to Roger Allen and a single by Tom Hawkins. Pick snipped a grounder at Tim Stalker, which gave them one but cost them two, which at this stage was fine by me. Austin Metzger's pinch-hit double to center made us begrudgingly remove Lee for Vince D just to keep the Bayhawks from stretching their wings. He also finished the game with a quick ninth, but not before Omar Alfaro hit into the Coons' fourth and his personal second double play of the game… 5-1 Raccoons. Spencer 1-2, BB, 2 RBI; Tovias 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Carmona 2-3, BB, 2B; Roberts 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, W (12-5) and 1-1;

Sometimes a win is a win is a win…

Game 2
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS Quantrille – RF C. Martinez – 1B Lloyd – LF R. Allen – C Ja. Jackson – 3B Hawkins – 2B Pick – P Cervantes
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Borg – SS Bullock – P Sander

There was not exactly a rich display of offense on offer in the middle game. Both teams got a run early on with a solo home run, Gonzalez going the long way for the Coons, while Cesar Martinez went yard to tie it in the fourth, but the Coons got the lead back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Daniel Bullock drew a 2-out walk then advanced to second base on a terrible pickoff attempt by Cervantes, who then served up an RBI single to Jack Sander, which was guaranteed to change the color of his manager's face. But that of Sander's manager followed soon as he silently and without much warning fell apart in the sixth inning. With two outs, Sander walked Jaiden Jackson, then served up a hanger to Tom Hawkins that was briefly seen before vanishing over the leftfield stands, presumably having surpassed the speed of light. That flipped the score, but Sander wasn't done, allowing a double into the corner to Pick and then a single up the middle to the opposing pitcher, with the notable divergence from the previous half-inning that Abel Mora threw the runner out at home to end the inning. Mora went on to hurt the Bayhawks with a leadoff jack in the bottom of the inning, tying the score at three. While Hess and Ohl kept the score level, and the offense did nothing at all in the seventh and eighth, Jonathan Snyder in the ninth allowed consecutive doubles to Austin Metzger and Zachary Ryder in the 9-1 slots to concede the go-ahead run to San Francisco. The Baybirds sent right-hander Manny Sosa and his 5.54 ERA into the bottom 9th to defend the 4-3 lead against the 3-4-5 batters in the Coons' order. Tovias flew out on a 3-1 pitch, which was the more aggravating when Jon Gonzalez doubled after him, but had nobody to drive in. Nunley flew out to advance the runner, but Jaden Booker contained Alfaro's drive in centerfield to end the game. 4-3 Bayhawks. Gonzalez 3-4, HR, 2B, RBI;

Game 3
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B Booker – RF C. Martinez – 1B Lloyd – C J. Ramirez – LF R. Allen – SS Hawkins – 2B Pick – P Huf
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – SS Stalker – LF Carmona – P Gutierrez

Rico got battered right out of the gate by an all-right-handed lineup, with Hawthorne's single, Booker's double, and Martinez' 2-run double putting the Bayhawks in front before they even made an out. Martinez got somehow stranded at third base, but the hole was there, and now we had to look for volunteers to get us out of it. Jon Gonzalez was the first double play mook of the day, hitting one sharply to short with Spencer and Tovias on the corners in the bottom 1st. The Raccoons amassed only three base hits off Shook in the first five innings, which was the more aggravating because Rico suddenly blossomed and struck out nine right-handers through five, made it an even ten on Martinez to begin the sixth and eventually settled down after six innings and 11 K, albeit still on the (very) short side of the score. We would just have to wait for Jonathan Shook to fall apart, which from my memory had to happen at SOME point. That point probably was the bottom of the seventh. Shook hadn't walked a Critter all game long, then lost Nunley and Alfaro back-to-back. Those were the tying runs aboard with one out for Tim Stalker, who ran a full count, then knocked one past Pat Pick for a single that loaded them up for Cookie, who also hit one in Pick's direction, except that Pick got that one and turned another double play.

New chance – better chance – in the eighth? The Bayhawks hung on to Shook at this point, who was only approaching 90 pitches so far, having whiffed two through seven innings. Bullock had entered in a double switch earlier and popped out in the #9 spot to begin the bottom 8th, but Spencer singled to right and was running when Abel Mora found the gap with a line drive. By the time Hawthorne brought in the ball from the depths of centerfield, Spencer had scored to break up the shutout, and Mora was at third base with a 1-out triple. There he remained, with Tovias grounding out to the undeserving pitcher and Gonzalez flying out to Roger Allen. On to the ninth, where Manny Sosa allowed a leadoff single to right to Nunley, then couldn't play Alfaro's grounder, putting the winning run on with an infield single – and with nobody out. Delgado batted for Devereaux in the #7 spot, whiffed, but Cookie singled to right for a change. That loaded them up for Daniel Bullock, which was not as thrilling as one might think. Okay, Cristiano Carmona was thrilled. His heart broke visibly when we sent Greg Borg to pinch-hit for him. Borg held perfectly still while Sosa showed no concept of the strike zone at all, drawing a walk to force home the tying run, and the Coons walked off on Spencer's grounder to the left side which Tom Hawkins intercepted, was not able to throw to home plate in time to nip Alfaro. 3-2 Blighters. Spencer 3-5, RBI; Alfaro 2-3, BB; Stalker 2-3; Borg (PH) 0-0, BB, RBI; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K; Devereaux 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (5-0);

There was a time when Cookie Carmona was un-double-play-turnable.

Those times are long gone.

Raccoons (59-44) vs. Falcons (39-64) – August 1-3, 2025

Here was the other half of the hopeless department in the South, second in runs conceded to their fellow cellar dwellers from the Bay, but at least a semi-decent eighth in runs scored, one position actually behind the forever-seventh-place Raccoons. The season series stood 4-2 in the Raccoons' favor.

Projected matchups:
Jesus Chavez (6-4, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jim Bryant (5-9, 3.48 ERA)
Graham Wasserman (3-9, 3.79 ERA) vs. J.J. Rodd (1-6, 4.40 ERA)
Mark Roberts (12-5, 2.69 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (8-9, 3.74 ERA)

Rodd was the only left-handed pitcher available to take a gander at this week.

Game 1
CHA: CF Cano – 3B Czachor – LF Kok – 1B Fowlkes – 2B Good – RF McClenon – C A. Gonzales – SS Read – P Bryant
POR: CF Mora – 2B Otis – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Borg – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Chavez

Ricky Cano's leadoff jack put the Falcons 1-0 ahead right out of the gate, while the Coons presented Tim Stalker with the bases stuffed with Nunley (single), Borg (single), and Cookie (walk), and one out. Stalker fell behind 0-2 before lining out to Ryan Czachor, and Chavez went down on fastballs to strand a full set. That was already all the offense in the first five innings. The Falcons had two more hits against Chavez, while the Coons had five against Bryant, but never got into a situation where they posed something resembling a threat at all. Chavez pitched seven innings on 107 pitches, whiffing six, but remained hanging on the tiniest hook, and the Coons didn't get their best shot until the bottom of the eighth inning, and then not even by their own batting prowess. Abel Mora drew a leadoff walk, after which Otis flew out to right. With one out, Tovias grounded to second, which led me to close my eyes, but Matt Good's feed to Howard Read was anything but, and the Coons had two on with one out on the error, with nominal slugger Jon Gonzalez stepping in. Fast grounder to third base, Czachor to Good, to Pat Fowlkes, and the inning was over. The Falcons thought so little of the Coons, they left Bryant in for the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead, and didn't even make a move when Nunley hit a leadoff single. And why would they? Greg Borg hit one to short, 6-4-3, another double play. I was going to murder them all, but there was another out to make, and Cookie didn't make it, singling to left. THAT got Bryant removed, somehow, with left-hander Danny Munos taking over. He faced Stalker. Stalker grounded to short. I took a hearty bite out of my Coons cap. 1-0 Falcons. Nunley 2-4; Borg 2-4; Carmona 2-3, BB; Chavez 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, L (6-5);

Completely inept bunch. Seeing a left-hander on Saturday at least gave me an excuse to bench some of the worst offenders. Or really just anybody. BENCH ANYBODY!!

Greg Borg was caught stealing in the fourth inning, his first time being nipped this year after going 9-for-9 previously.

Game 2
CHA: CF Cano – 3B Czachor – LF Kok – 1B Fowlkes – 2B Good – RF McClenon – C A. Gonzales – SS Read – P Rodd
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – CF Borg – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – 3B Bullock – C Delgado – SS Jurek – P Wasserman

Not only did nothing bad happen in the first inning right away, which was already progress, but Wasserman pulled a Roberts and retired the Falcons in order the first time through, whiffing three. The Coons also didn't make it onto the scoreboard, two measly singles aside, and one of those was hit by Wasserman… The fourth inning promptly saw Wasserman fold, starting with a four-pitch walk to Ricky Cano. A wild pitch advanced the runner, and he scored on Barend Kok's single. Fowlkes also singled, and when Matt Good grounded to short, the Coons failed to turn two, getting only Fowlkes at second, but at least Joseph McClenon struck out to strand them on the corners. While the 1-0 deficit was not fatal this time around, it took Wasserman's single in the bottom of the fifth to plate Tony Delgado from second base to tie the score; that made it two base hits for Wasserman, the same as the rest of the lineup had tallied up so far.

But it wouldn't be Wasserman if he wouldn't find a way to immediately get back onto that beloved hook of him. He walked Czachor to begin the sixth inning, but got a double play from Kok. Instead, Pat Fowlkes took him deep to left to give Charlotte a 2-1 lead. Wasserman at least lasted seven, and as was good custom for the rotation here, was still behind when he left the game, being hit for by Tim Stalker in the bottom 7th. Stalker had Delgado on first base and one out, and rammed a grounder through Pat Fowlkes and up the line for a double. Tony Delgado was old and had always been slow, and now was old and slow and there was hardly a double in the world that would score him from first base. However, the Coons had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position now for Spencer, who dropped an absolutely miserable blooper out of the reach of McClenon for an RBI single, 2-2, and the go-ahead run crossed home plate on a kind wild pitch by Rodd with Tovias already batting for Otis. Elias walked, but Borg and Gonzalez made the last two outs in the inning to keep the score at a tight 3-2. In a perfect world, the pen would have held onto that lead; they didn't. Ohl and Brotman got through the eighth, but Snyder blew the lead in the ninth allowing base hits to Matt Good with one out, and Alfonso Gonzales with two outs. Which was where it was Dustin Jurek's turn to shine; the Falcons had probably considered Rodd able to get through the ruckus at the bottom of the Coons' order to extend the game into a tenth inning, but he didn't quite – Jurek hit a 400-footer to left-center to sink the ball behind the outfield fence to walk off the Raccoons. 4-3 Coons. Gonzalez 2-4, 2 2B; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B; Wasserman 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K and 2-2, RBI;

Game 3
CHA: CF Cano – 3B Czachor – LF Kok – 1B Fowlkes – 2B Good – C A. Gonzales – RF McClenon – SS Read – P Moffatt
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Roberts

The Falcons right out of the gate hit the ball hard off Roberts, but early on got it neither in, nor out, with Mora and Alfaro making a few fine plays deep in the outfield in the opening innings. It was the Critters to score first, although the Falcons were the driving motor behind their offense. I should explain. The Coons placed runners in scoring position in the second inning after a Gonzalez singled and an Alfaro double. Gonzales allowed the first run to score with a passed ball to Cookie, who eventually walked. Stalker grounded to short, where Howard Read threw the feed past Matt Good for an error that plated Alfaro and kept the inning going with Roberts, who swung away and singled on the infield as Moffatt and Czachor got their wings entangled and couldn't make a play. That – somehow! – loaded the bases for Spencer, who grounded the first pitch he got hard to the left side and past the reach of Read for an RBI single, 3-0. Mora struck out, and Tovias flew out to left to end the inning. All runs were also somehow earned on poor Doug Moffatt, the unlucky bastard. He WAS however to blame for the pair of runs the Coons put up in the third inning, walking Nunley and getting bombed by Omar Alfaro right afterwards, extending the gap to 5-0. No, the first unearned run in the game was charged to Roberts in the fifth inning, and when the Falcons scored it was not on a homer, but rather singles by Good and McClenon, with a throwing error by Abel Mora on the latter, allowing Good to score. Portland pulled the run back right away on right-handed reliever Zach Engels, who issued leadoff walks to Nunley and Alfaro in the bottom 5th, threw a wild pitch, and somehow was only tagged for a sac fly by Cookie.

Engels was in for the long run or until it hurt too bad, as became apparent in the seventh inning, in which Jon Gonzalez took him deep with a solo piece inside the left foul pole, and a Nunley double and Cookie singled plated another run, giving Roberts a 7-run lead. Travis Garrett, with an ERA near seven, was sent in and restored order. At some point, also, Roberts had to surrender a bomb in this game. He did so in the eighth, a leadoff jack by Russ Greenwald, the unloved ex-Coon, and then another one, a 2-piece by Fowlkes. That was enough from Roberts then, who had hung around just long enough to soil his line. The Falcons continued to rally with a leadoff jack by Gonzales off Justin Hess in the ninth inning, but Hess stuck around to strike out the left-handed McClenon and Read, then also retired switch-hitter Chris Erskine on an easy fly to centerfield for the Coons to clinch his series after all. 8-5 Coons. Gonzalez 2-4, BB, HR, RBI; Nunley 1-2, 2 BB, 2B; Alfaro 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI;

In other news

July 29 – At 40 years old, ATL 1B/2B Jose Gutierrez (.350, 0 HR, 6 RBI) collects his 2,000th career base hit. Used sparingly and mostly as a pinch-hitter, the right-handed Mexican collects the marquee hit in the fifth inning off Vancouver's Fernando Estrada. Gutierrez, who debuted with the Raccoons in 2007 and never spent more than five seasons with any team, is a career .293/.353/.366 batter with 36 HR and 695 RBI.
July 29 – SAC C David Drews (.337, 13 HR, 66 RBI) has hit in 25 consecutive games with his 2-hit day in the Scorpions' extra-inning, 6-5 win over the Miners. Drews singles in the 12th, but had already hit a 3-run homer off Mel Lira in regulation.
July 29 – Nashville's SP Shane Baker (8-3, 3.28 ERA) delivers a 3-hit shutout of the Dallas Stars, claiming a 5-0 victory.
July 29 – The Indians send CL Ryan Corkum (2-4, 3.70 ERA, 19 SV) to the Thunder in exchange for two prospects.
July 29 – TIJ 3B/RF/LF Mike Matias (.247, 15 HR, 57 RBI) will miss up to six weeks with a torn meniscus.
July 31 – The Titans rout the Aces, 15-2, with #7 batter OF/1B Adam St. Germaine (.262, 3 HR, 53 RBI) contributing three hits and 5 RBI to the effort.
August 1 – BOS SP Morgan Shepherd (15-1, 2.34 ERA) not only keeps steaming, but whiffs ten Bayhawks in a 6-0, 3-hit shutout.
August 2 – The hitting streak of SAC C David Drews (.333, 13 HR, 68 RBI) ends at 27 games as the Rebels hold the 31-year-old rookie dry while going down to defeat against the Scorpions, 3-1.
August 2 – The Condors score ten runs in the fifth inning and still have to worry about a late Loggers rally in their 12-8 win in Milwaukee. TIJ SP George Griffin (12-5, 3.78 ERA) staggeringly leads the team in offense with three hits and three RBI, picking up the W for six innings of 5-run ball.
August 2 – Buffaloes and Stars play scoreless ball for 12 innings until TOP 1B/2B Chris Owen (.308, 5 HR, 43 RBI) claims the 1-0 victory for Topeka with his walkoff solo home run.

Complaints and stuff

Well, both the Coons and the Titans had their second-worst month of the season in July. Those Titans! They merely went 18-8 in July. Ptah! The suckers!

(moans)

There isn't much to say, except that their dynasty is likely to break up over the next two years as almost all of their current key pieces will become free agents either this year or next year. Then again, they are richer than most of the baseball gods, so …

Meanwhile the Coons faced the two most rancid teams in the Continental League this week, with the two worst pitching staffs, too, and couldn't even score four runs per game, and that we even went 4-2 over the Baybirds and Falcons was down to some late turnarounds and two walkoffs. Nothing to write home about, really.

We will not get another off day until the 14th, and will now embark on a 2-week road trip through Vegas, Boston, Vancouver, and Salem.

Alberto Ramos bit the dirt in AAA this week, spraining his ankle well enough to probably miss the rest of the minor league season. So much for that astral talent here… He batted .259/.356/.418 in St. Petersburg compared to .267/.313/.389 in the majors.

Fun Fact: Last year on August 2, the Raccoons dropped a home game to the Canadiens, 6-5. Alex Torres became the first Elk in 32 years to hit three homers in a game.

Of course, the following month John Calfee also homered three times against the Raccoons, then in Vancouver, making them the first team mates to hit three home runs in a game against the same team in the same season.

Oh we will chew on that one for a long time. Did I mention that Juichi Fujita's no-hitter will have its anniversary next week? Maud! Mena! More meds!
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:18 PM   #2582
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I see a trip to Boston upcoming. How many are left against them this season? I'm trying to hold out hope still...
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:14 AM   #2583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsimon99 View Post
I see a trip to Boston upcoming. How many are left against them this season? I'm trying to hold out hope still...
With this week in the books, there'll be seven more! Will reality catch up with you this week?

+++

Raccoons (61-45) @ Aces (54-48) – August 4-6, 2025

Last meeting with the Aces this year, with us so far holding a 4-2 edge in the season series and hoping to build on that. Gone was the terrible pitching; this week the Raccoons would have to contend with actually capable hurlers. The Aces brought up the fifth-best rotation with an overall staff conceding the fourth-fewest runs in the league. They sat sixth in runs scored, but were on a 4-game losing streak.

Projected matchups:
Jack Sander (8-6, 3.70 ERA) vs. Miguel Morales (10-5, 2.51 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-6, 3.51 ERA) vs. Joel Trotter (7-7, 4.71 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (6-5, 3.71 ERA) vs. Abramo Archibugi (12-5, 3.78 ERA)

Left-hander on Wednesday, with two more southpaws that we'd bypass on our trip through the desert, including a 9-9 Sam McMullen and his 4.16 ERA.

McMullen, the 2016 Pitcher of the Year in the Continental League, was clearly not getting any younger – he'd turn 37 on October 2, but still sat a few wins (199) and strikeouts (2,550) shy of having a plausible Hall of Fame case. His career ERA (3.40) was not conducive for induction. In fact, he had pitched to a sub-3 ERA only three times in his career, foremost that 2016 season with the Elks when he went 20-7 with a 2.10 ERA and whiffed 218. His own teammate at the time, Rod Taylor, whiffed 233 to deny him a triple crown.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Borg – C Tovias – 1B Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Sander
LVA: SS A. Medina – 2B Burrier – LF Serrano – 1B Retzer – C J. Vargas – CF Raynor – RF I. Alvarez – 3B J. Navarro – P M. Morales

There was plenty of traffic in the early innings, with the Coons stranding a pair in the third inning, and the Aces leaving pairs on twice. Portland specifically had Stalker and Spencer on the corners with a pair of singles, only to have Borg pop out foul and Tovias roll out to Andres Medina at short. Abel Mora would put the first run on the board with a leadoff jack in the fourth inning, only to have Ron Raynor match the feat in the bottom of the inning, and even almost into the same spot. For Mora, it was the 14th bomb of the season, while Raynor reached 18. Vegas took the lead the following inning when Medina raced for a leadoff triple into the leftfield corner and was brought home right away by Cy Burrier's single to centerfield. At this point and in a 2-1 deficit, the Raccoons resorted to proven recipe; Nunley saw Mora on base with a leadoff single in the sixth inning and smacked into a double play, and so did Stalker in the seventh after Cookie had reached with a leadoff walk against Morales, AND Borg after Spencer's leadoff single in the eighth. I had hardly a concept of a more demoralizing way to lose even after almost five decades with this dismal franchise. The Aces added a run on a Medina homer off Sander in the seventh, while the idea of adding runs was completely alien to the Raccoons. 3-1 Aces. Spencer 3-4; Mora 2-3, BB, HR, RBI;

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
LVA: 2B Burrier – 1B Retzer – LF Raynor – RF Curro – 3B I. Alvarez – CF Hollingsworth – C Schoeppen – SS A. Medina – P Trotter

Joel Trotter was not averse to walking people with just over 5 BB/9 this season, while the Raccoons liked anything but to walk, sitting bottoms in the league in free passes coaxed from incompetent pitchers. To nobody's great surprise, the Raccoons did their royal best to avoid being put on base, and largely disappeared inconsequentially in the early innings. Rico Gutierrez in turn had an interesting bottom of the second inning, in which Izzy Alvarez and Steve Hollingsworth both reached on scratch 1-out singles, after which Gutierrez brain-farted a 4-pitch walk to raging .171 batter Casimiro Schoeppen to fill the bags. Medina however popped out foul and Trotter went down on strikes, keeping this game scoreless in the early going. There wasn't a run until the fifth inning when Cookie Carmona singled, stole second, and scored … when Medina dropped Jarod Spencer's terrible 2-out pop to short. WHATEVER THE **** WORKS.

Medina also put Jon Gonzalez on second base with one out in the sixth inning, unleashing a terrible throw way past Allen Retzer on Gonzalez' grounder right into his preferred position. That Gonzalez grounder came on a 3-0 count, still preventing Trotter from walking anybody in the game. To nobody's great surprise, Nunley and Alfaro managed to keep the free runner at second base with a pair of sorry grounders. At this point it was really just waiting for Rico Gutierrez' collapse, which still didn't come about in the bottom 6th with Cy Burrier's leadoff single, with the Aces stranding their runner on second base, too. Hollingsworth came close to a homer in the seventh inning, but was caught and retired by Alfaro against the fence. Top 8th, Abel Mora hit a 1-out double for the first spot of bother the top of the order gave Trotter in this game, but was stranded just alike. Rico lasted 7.1 innings before Burrier singled sharply to right to knock him out. Vince D came on to retire Retzer and Raynor and protect the 1-0 lead, only for Jonathan Snyder to **** up completely in the ninth inning. Corey Curro tied the game on a first-pitch homer and Alvarez and Schoeppen (…) hit sharp singles to go to the corners. Jose Navarro lined into center, Mora nowhere near it, and the Aces walked off. 2-1 Aces. Carmona 2-4; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K;

Joel Trotter pitched a complete game for the win, striking out five and walking nobody.

Or so I think. Can't really tell. I'm pretty busted right no- (falls off the chair)

Game 3
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – CF Borg – C Delgado – 3B Bullock – SS Jurek – P Chavez
LVA: SS A. Medina – RF Curro – LF Serrano – 1B Retzer – C J. Vargas – CF Raynor – 2B Moroyoqui – 3B J. Navarro – P Archibugi

Portland plated a pair in the first inning on Jon Gonzalez' 2-run single to left, chasing home Otis (walk) and Alfaro (double). Unfortunately, Jesus Chavez was a pretty lousy pitcher facing a lineup that almost impossible to pitch to with no less than FIVE switch-hitters, and struggled from the outset, offering two singles and two walks in the first inning as well to give one run right back to the Aces before Jesus Moroyoqui flew out to Spencer with the bases loaded to end the parade. The bases were also loaded in the top of the second inning, beginning with Dustin Jurek's 1-out single to shallow right. Chavez struggled to get a bunt down, and when he finally did it was quite hard at Allen Retzer, who considered Jurek easy prey, but erred in his judgement. Everybody was safe on the play, and Spencer's single loaded them up for Otis, who struck out, and Alfaro, who grounded out to the pitcher. Instead, the Aces tied the score at two in the bottom of the inning thanks to a leadoff walk issued by Chavez to Navarro, whom Corey Curro drove in with a 2-out single to left-center.

As a further sign that the end times were near, the game was interrupted but not one, but TWO rain delays in the third and fourth innings, taking a total of 80 minutes and knocking out Chavez, who had nevertheless sucked his pitch count all the way to 92 pitches in just THREE innings. Yes, this was the desert, maybe we could tie him to a cactus somewhere? Long man Kevin Surginer was taken for a long ball by Medina right in the bottom 4th, this one being a 2-piece that put the Aces 4-2 in front. The Raccoons watched curiously as the Aces worked on a sweep of them, but didn't do anything directly going to affect the outcome of the game. Vegas added a run in the seventh on Justin Hess, who allowed singles to put Danny Serrano and Allen Retzer on the corners to begin the inning, before Jose Vargas hit into a run-scoring double play. The Coons did absolutely nothing through eight innings, "amassing" four hits against Archibugi before the Aces handed the ball to Franklin Alvarado, who right away allowed a pinch-hit leadoff double to Cookie Carmona. After that, Nunley and Jurek made poor outs, and Elias Tovias was hit by a pitch, which at least brought up the tying run in Spencer, who singled through the left side to plate Cookie. Then Otis lined out to Moroyoqui and everything was awful. 5-3 Aces. Spencer 2-5, RBI; Carmona (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Raccoons (61-48) @ Titans (73-35) – August 7-10, 2025

Anybody expecting anything else than a massacre at this point was probably highly delusional and should seek help. Yes, technically we had 11 games left against the Titans and that was always covering our 12 1/2 game deficit, but … eh, come on! Some sense of realism? The season series stood 4-3 in the Titans' favor, which was a much better effort from the Raccoons than in any of the previous three seasons, but I was fully expecting another sweep in this series. Boston ranked first in runs scored and second in runs allowed, a category still led by the Raccoons, the difference right now being 20 runs, which merely sounded like a challenge for the Titans…

Projected matchups:
Graham Wasserman (3-9, 3.73 ERA) vs. Hwa-pyung Choe (5-3, 3.79 ERA)
Mark Roberts (13-5, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (6-8, 3.42 ERA)
Jack Sander (8-7, 3.71 ERA) vs. Ian Rutter (9-8, 4.70 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-6, 3.30 ERA) vs. Julio San Pedro (6-0, 2.74 ERA)

Four right-handers. What else for good news? We'd miss the beast Morgan Shepherd (16-1, 2.23 ERA). There were also some injuries to the Titans right now, but it was mainly pitching, and their pitching wasn't my main concern even. In terms of position players, they were only missing Rhett West (.340, 3 HR, 35 RBI), otherwise fielding the full force.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Wasserman
BOS: CF Reichardt – C Leonard – 1B Herlihy – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – LF St. Germaine – 3B Corder – P Choe

Graham Wasserman was torn a new hole right in the first inning, which started with Adrian Reichardt's infield single, progressed with a walk issued to Trent Herlihy, Adam Braun's RBI single, another single by Jamie Wilson, and then a bases-loaded walk to Mike Kane. Adam St. Germaine brought in the third and final run of the inning with a sac fly. Another run scored in the second on a throwing error by Abel Mora, and Wasserman walked another two batters in the third inning, bringing him to five free passes in three horrendous innings. Portland actually had a chance to rally from the depths of hell in the fourth inning, though, starting the inning with a leadoff double by Elias Tovias, and then progressing through straight singles hit by Gonzalez, Nunley, and Alfaro, putting the tying runs aboard with nobody out for Cookie in a 4-1 deficit. The Coons ended up scoring two runs, sort of. Cookie struck out, but a run came home on Stalker's grondout, and Choe also brought Nunley across with a wild pitch to Wasserman, who eventually struck out with Stalker on second.

The Coons somehow dragged Wasserman's bum through five-and-a-third without conceding another 20 runs, then pieced things together with the pen, but still were trailing 4-3 and didn't make a serious move for a few innings. In the eighth, Abel Mora hit a leadoff single off replacement reliever Lorenzo Viamontes to get the tying run aboard, but Tovias struck out, Gonzalez lined out to short against new right-hander Javy Salomon, and Nunley only reached base on an infield single because his lame-ass roller near the third-base line was waited out by Adam Corder to cross the paint, but refused to do so. Omar Alfaro was up next, took a 1-1 pitch and lined it up the rightfield line, all the way to the wall! Mora in to score! Nunley in to score! The score was flipped! Delgado batted for Devereaux and grounded out to end the inning, and after Billy Brotman logged two outs from Mike Kane and Adam St. Germaine to start the eighth, we were down to Snyder, who was recently as reliable as a cat in a steel cage with its tail on fire. He struck out Adam Corder to end the eighth, but put the tying run aboard right away in the ninth with a leadoff single by Yasuhiro Kuramoto. Reichardt flew out to deep left, Keith Leonard also flew out, and Keith Leonard struck out as the Raccoons stole a game from the Titans. 5-4 Furballs! Tovias 2-4, 2B; Nunley 2-4; Alfaro 4-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Okay, only ten more to go.

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Bullock – P Roberts
BOS: CF Reichardt – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – C T. Robinson – 3B Corder – 1B St. Germaine – SS Spataro – 2B Kane – P Waite

Perpetually pale Jeremy Waite was about to face the minimum through three innings – including a Nunley single and Alfaro's double play – until Mark Roberts doubled up the rightfield line with two outs in the third inning. Spencer walked, and Mora drove a ball to deep center, but without beating Adrian Reichardt, who made the catch on the warning track not too far from an annoying 434' sign. Roberts had the opposition under control through three innings, striking out as many, but then had the bases loaded with nobody out after the 2-3-4 batters landed two hits and a walk to begin the bottom 4th. Roberts snorted, shrugged off the threat with strikeouts to Adams Corder and St. Germaine, then got Keith Spataro on a pop to Gonzalez. Even some Titans fans politely applauded.

No score through six, with desperation breaking out in the Raccoons camp. When Jon Gonzalez hit a leadoff single up the middle in the seventh, Nunley was ordered to bunt, which he executed perfectly to get the go-ahead run to second base. The Titans responded with an intentional walk to Alfaro to bring up the light-hitting 7-8-9 faction. Cookie however loaded them up with a single cracked into centerfield, with the only problem being Reichardt sitting on top of it right away, preventing Gonzalez from scoring from second base, and giving all the responsibility to Daniel Bullock, whom Waite struck out without much fuss. That forced the Coons' paw – Roberts had to go. Matt Otis batted for him, held still while Waite was missing, and drew a walk that pushed home Gonzalez with the first run of the game. Spencer then grounded out. Bottom 7th, Ricky Ohl retired the bottom of the Titans order without much further ado, with the Coons continuing their hard scrabble in the top of the eighth. Mora reached base to begin things and stole second while Tovias cashed his third strikeout in four attempts. Gonzalez was now walked intentionally and Nunley flew out for the second retirement, but Omar Alfaro didn't. Now facing right-hander Dustin Cory, Alfaro crashed the first pitch for a 410-footer out of rightfield that extended the gap to 4-0! There was another run in the inning, that one unearned; Cookie reached on Spataro's error, then was double in by Bullock, 5-0! That score held up well, with Jimmy Lee retiring the Titans in the last two innings for the second win in two games in Boston. 5-0 Furballs! Mora 2-5; Alfaro 2-3, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Roberts 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, W (14-5) and 1-2; Lee 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Borg – SS Stalker – P Sander
BOS: CF Reichardt – C Leonard – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – LF St. Germaine – 1B Cornejo – 3B Corder – P Rutter

The Coons' unlikely rally quickly hit a major impediment in Jack Sander, who walked Keith Leonard in the bottom 1st and surrendered two runs on hard doubles by Jamie Wilson and Mike Kane, giving the Titans a quick 2-0 edge. Jon Gonzalez opened the top 2nd with a single to left, Rutter lost Nunley in a full count, and after Alfaro whiffed, Borg singled into center. Gonzalez was waved around third base and arrived well ahead of Adrian Reichardt's throw to immediately cut the deficit in half, and the runners advanced on the throw to home plate, too. Unfortunately, with runners on second and third and one out, Tim Stalker struck out, and Sander's fly to centerfield was nothing that would make Reichardt break a sweat. The Coons briefly did get even in the third inning, with Spencer singling, stealing, and scoring on Tovias' base hit up the middle, but Sander was rightfully atrocious and conceded another run in the bottom 3rd on another 2-out sequence of doom. Jamie Wilson walked on four pitches, then scored on straight singles by Kane and St. Germaine. Gil Cornejo somehow managed to fly out to keep the score at 3-2. While the Critters then failed to plate Spencer after a 1-out triple in the top of the fifth, the Titans completed their dance with Sander, who allowed a walk to begin the inning, then surrendered line drive singles to four of the next five batters, with Cornejo's RBI single extended the score to 5-2 and keeping the bases loaded with one out in the inning. Ohl replaced the yanked Sander and struck out Corder and Rutter to keep the Titans within reach. Although the question begged – what did we keep them close for? The offense looked really dead once more against Rutter and did nothing at all in the fifth and sixth, and in the seventh Spencer reached base with his third base hit of the day, but was caught stealing by Leonard, while the Titans started to run circles around the Coons' relievers. A key stolen base by St. Germaine led to a run in the bottom 7th against Justin Hess, giving the runner the extra base to come home on Cornejo's 2-out single, 6-2. The next runner was Nunley in the ninth, walked to begin the inning by Javy Salomon, only for Alfaro to crack a ball right at Mike Kane at the keystone for a 4-6-3. Otis grounded out to end the game. 6-2 Titans. Spencer 3-4, 3B; Alfaro 2-4; Ohl 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

Interlude: Trade and roster moves

The Raccoons and Cyclones completed a waiver trade on Sunday, with the Raccoons divesting themselves of SP Graham Wasserman (3-9, 3.78 ERA). The 35-year-old would have been a free agent after the season anyway and was never more than a stopgap solution with Dan Delgadillo going to miss most of the season. Delgadillo was on the way back and rehabbing in AAA right now, and Wasserman wasn't getting the Raccoons anywhere but deeper into the ruckus now.

In return, the Raccoons received 31-year-old C/1B Brett O'Dell (.269, 7 HR, 23 RBI), who despite his advanced age was still not eligible for free agency after the season, lacking roughly a month of service time by season's end. O'Dell had an outside chance of inheriting the backup job from Delgado after the season and for now would be carried as third catcher and right-handed pinch-hitter.

To accommodate O'Dell on the roster, the Raccoons returned INF Dustin Jurek (.229, 3 HR, 9 RBI) to the Bayhawks; Jurek had been selected nine months earlier in the rule 5 draft, but had only collected 83 at-bats during the season.

Completing the roster move parade was Lance Legleiter (1-0, 0.79 ERA) being recalled from St. Petersburg to pick up Wasserman's next start on Tuesday.

Raccoons (61-48) @ Titans (73-35) – August 7-10, 2025

Game 4
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C Delgado – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
BOS: SS Spataro – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – C T. Robinson – 1B St. Germaine – CF F. Rodriguez – 3B Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – P San Pedro

The Coons burst out for a 3-spot in the first inning, getting base hits from their first three batters. Spencer and Mora went to the corners on a pair of singles, then both scored on Alfaro's gapper in right-center. Alfaro in turn was moved around by Gonzalez' deep fly and Nunley's groundout to short. That rush of adrenaline only made the clubbing that Gutierrez received in the bottom 2nd the more gruesome. The Titans got Tim Robinson on with a leadoff walk, then also St. Germaine and Wilson with infield singles, the latter already plating Robinson. Kane grounded out to advance the runners and with two down San Pedro hit a most regrettable drive to deep right-center that fell past Abel Mora's reach to tie the game at three. Yeah, he gave up a 2-out hit to the pitcher, but there should not have been so many runners on base to begin with …!

Infield singles could work both ways, though. After two innings of mostly vague threats, Jarod Spencer knocked a leadoff double over the head of Kuramoto in the fifth and advanced on Mora's groundout. Alfaro grounded past San Pedro to the back of the mound, with Mike Kane having to hustle in, but unable to make a play in time. Spencer scored to make it 4-3 on the play while Alfaro was safe at first. Then Alfaro was caught stealing… AND Keith Spataro took Gutierrez deep to re-knot the score in the bottom of the inning.

Rico at least held on to the tie, doing so through seven innings, then still had a chance for the win. Salomon walked two in the top 8th, half of those (Gonzalez) intentionally after a leadoff walk to Mora, who advanced on Alfaro's groundout to St. Germaine. Nunley singled to left, right into Kuramoto's maws, which kept Mora honest at the head of the line, and brought up Cookie with three on and one out. Salomon couldn't be bothered to find the strike zone now either, lost Cookie on four pitches, and thus pushed in the go-ahead run for the Critters. Tony Delgado made it 6-4 with a sac fly, Tovias legged out an infield single in Stalker's spot, but Otis flew out to Fernando Rodriguez to strand a full set. Vince D went on to retire the 2-3-4 batters, all right-handed, in the eighth, but the ninth promised to see only left-handed batters turn up and so Billy Brotman got ready alongside Snyder while Jose Fuentes turned away the Coons in order in the top 9th. It was in fact Brotman who appeared for the save, issuing a leadoff walk to St. Germaine before running a full count to left-handed pinch-hitter Keith Leonard, who cracked a shot into play that bounced just once in front of Spencer's nose, but somehow Jarod remained not only alive, but also on top of that ball AND turned it for a double play! Brotman finished the game after that to claim a series win for the Coons! 6-4 Furballs! Spencer 2-5, 2B; Alfaro 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI; Stalker 1-2, BB; Tovias (PH) 1-1;

Take that – we are now actually AHEAD of Boston in the season series, 6-5! (gasps)

In other news

August 4 – SFW SP Mike Fernandez (5-9, 3.75 ERA) spins a 2-hit shutout over the Miners, claiming a 5-0 victory.
August 4 – The Rebels walk off against the Pacifics on doubles by catcher Matt Dehne (.224, 8 HR, 36 RBI) and utility man Raimondo Odescalchi (.270, 11 HR, 45 RBI) for a 6-5 win in 18 innings, following ten innings without any sort of scoring.
August 5 – MIL CF/RF Ian Coleman (.274, 3 HR, 42 RBI) will miss the rest of the month with an oblique strain.

Complaints and stuff

Maud told me the Agitator didn't mention the waiver trade on Sunday at all on its online page thing. Maybe they're saving their vitriol for the Monday paper! Well, it wasn't a spectacular trade. The Coons gave up NOTHING in Wasserman and maybe got a new backup catcher for '26. Whoah, the rage…

Mark Roberts has won four consecutive starts now after initially taking a loss in Vancouver in his first start after the All Star Game. Since June 12, he is 9-1 in 11 outings, with a 2.54 ERA.

Fun Fact: Not only Ricky Ohl pitched without allowing an earned run in Saturday's loss in Boston, but also Billy Brotman, the latter delivering a scoreless eighth inning. With that game, both relievers had not been charged with an earned run in at least 20 games as well as at least two months.

This includes 20 appearances without an earned run for Ohl, and even 21 (now 22) outings for Brotman without an earned run. Both had conceded an unearned run in those spans, however; Brotman had allowed an unearned run on June 25 against the Loggers, and Ohl had allowed an unearned run against the Crusaders on July 12.

I am looking at Ricky Ohl and I see a closer candidate!
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:04 PM   #2584
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Raccoons (64-49) @ Canadiens (55-57) – August 11-13, 2025

One spot and 8 1/2 games behind the Raccoons, the Elks were having a silently decent season with the fifth-most runs scored in the Continental League. Their pitching was still an issue though, as they ranked third from the bottom in runs allowed, giving them a -37 run differential overall, with their rotation mired in 11th place by ERA and the main culprit of the misery. Regardless, the Raccoons, still with the best pitching in the league after escaping Boston with three wins in four games – somehow – had only won six of the dozen games against the Elks so far. Although that was already more than they had won in all of 2024 against them…

Projected matchups:
Jesus Chavez (6-5, 3.77 ERA) vs. Greg Becker (7-7, 3.64 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (1-0, 0.79 ERA) vs. Antonio Muniz (7-11, 4.24 ERA)
Mark Roberts (14-5, 2.63 ERA) vs. Luis Vasquez (2-6, 5.27 ERA)

We would get their two southpaws to begin the series, followed by the right-handed 23-year-old swingman Vasquez.

The Elks also had the league leader in home runs in Alex Torres (.300, 22 HR, 58 RBI), but he had left their 8-1 win over the Loggers on Sunday after suffering an undisclosed injury in an on-base collision with Ivan Flores.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – C O'Dell – LF Borg – SS Stalker – P Chavez
VAN: 2B Gura – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF Chaplin – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 3B Anton – C Tanzillo – P Becker

Elias Tovias was on as a pinch-runner in the second inning, replacing the starting catcher when Brett O'Dell in his Coons debut pulled up lame at second base after hitting a double to left against Greg Becker. Tovias shared the same fate of all runners in the early innings and was left on base when neither Borg nor Stalker could make convincing contact, with neither team scoring a run from three hits apiece through three innings. When a run was scored, it was once again with the aid of an error, in this case a throwing error by Chris Tanzillo in the fifth inning as Tim Stalker tried to steal second base with Chavez at the plate. The errant throw bounced into centerfield and allowed Stalker to go to third base with nobody out, from where he scored on Chavez' groundout to Ted Gura near second base. Gura tied the game in the bottom of the inning, singling home Tanzillo, who drew a 1-out walk and was bunted over by his battery mate Becker. Brian Wojnarowski then made the last out. Outs were then hard to come by in the bottom 6th, where the Elks loaded the bases on a Tony Coca single, John Calfee's infield single, and then a listless 1-out walk on four pitches to Adan Myles. Former Raccoons farmhand Matt Anton, who had ended up north of the border in the Cory Briscoe trade a few years ago, gave his new team the lead with a sac fly to Greg Borg in left, after which the inning fizzled out with Tanzillo. Both teams then had runners on the corners in the eighth inning. Alfaro grounded out to Anton to end the Coons' effort, while Jimmy Lee allowed Calfee to steal second, then threw a wild pitch, and allowed the other run to score on Myles' groundout. Like a 1-run deficit hadn't been deep enough! In fact, it would have been. Right-hander Sean Carlsen allowed a single to Matt Nunley in the ninth, but that was all. 4-1 Canadiens. Mora 2-4; O'Dell 1-1, 2B; Nunley (PH) 1-1; Stalker 2-3;

Brett O'Dell was diagnosed with some knee inflammation and would be unavailable for the rest of the week.

The trades I do!

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Otis – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – CF Borg – LF Carmona – C Delgado – P Legleiter
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF Chaplin – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Fitzsimmons – C Holliman – P A. Muniz

The Coons splattered Muniz for a 4-spot in the opening inning, three of which scored on an absolute monster blast of Jon Gonzalez that was estimated at 480 feet to dead center, vanishing behind the batter's eye. This one came with Otis (double) and Alfaro (walk) aboard, but the Coons scratched out another one, getting Greg Borg on base with a 2-out walk, following which he stole second, got third on a wild pitch, and scored on Cookie's single to right. Fortunately, we would be spared a boring game for Lance Legleiter being atrocious right from the start as well, allowing a long homer to Wojnarowski, a triple to Coca, the runner to score on Mike Chaplin's groundout, and then drilled and crippled John Calfee, too. Ted Gura replaced Calfee, which was certain to doom the Coons further down the road, but for the moment Legleiter escaped the first inning with a 4-2 lead…

After that raucous first inning, things settled down for a bit, although both teams had their chances. Otis and Alfaro hit doubles, albeit in different innings, and the Elks stranded runners on the corners in the second, and another runner in scoring position in the fourth when Muniz grounded out to Spencer. The Coons' infield broke down in the fifth then, with Otis blatantly missing Jonathan Morales' grounder for a leadoff single, Chaplin hit an RBI double with two outs, and then Ted Gura singled under Spencer's glove. I KNEW he would kill the Coons! Except he didn't. Chaplin was sent for home, where Alfaro threw him out, ending the inning with a 4-3 score. Legleiter held on, barely, through six before being hit for to no great effect by Tim Stalker in the seventh inning. Justin Hess was up in the bottom 7th, allowing a single to leadoff man Norman Day, after which Morales and Wojnarowski made runner-advancing outs. The Coons went on to walk Tony Coca (18 HR) intentionally, to get a left-handed bat up in Chaplin with just three home runs. Chaplin gave a 2-1 pitch a mighty good ride, but Alfaro made the catch on the warning track, stranding them on the corners. At some point, the dull Coons' luck had to run out, and that occurred in the eighth. Vince Devereaux retired nobody, allowing a single to Gura and a walk to Myles. Ricky Ohl replaced him, with Fitzsimmons grounding out, but advancing the runners, after which Ohl ran full counts to Ryan Holliman and Matt Anton, and lost them both, pushing the tying runs across. Morales hit a sac fly to give the Elks the lead, and the Raccoons remained tucked in and well asleep in the ninth, being retired in order by Carlsen. 5-4 Canadiens. Otis 2-4, 2 2B;

I hate this ****ing place… nothing good has ever happened in ****ing Vancouver. Okay, ONE good thing has ever happened in Vancouver…

Turns out, John Calfee will be fine despite being drilled right in the knee, but he will miss two weeks with what is labeled a contusion but let his knee swell to pumpkin size by the middle innings. By now, the Elks also found out that there was no structural damage to Alex Torres' wrist, but it was bruised pretty badly and he would miss the rest of the month.

I'm so crying.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – SS Bullock – P Roberts
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – RF Wojnarowski – SS Ra. Mendez – LF Chaplin – 1B Myles – 2B Fitzsimmons – CF Day – C Holliman – P Vasquez

Both teams stranded pairs in the third inning; the Coons opened their half with a single by Roberts, another single by Spencer, and then a contest of who could hit the ball the least far over the infield between their 2-3-4 batters, although Tovias struck out completely, too. Vasquez also was on base in the inning, albeit only after a bat bunt of his got Holliman forced out at second base. Wojnarowski doubled with two outs, but Gonzalez caught Raul Mendez' liner to end the inning. Portland scored in the fourth, although they were aided again by the opposing team. Nunley hit a 1-out double, gained an extra base on a wild pitch, then scored on Cookie's groundout for the first run of the game. Roberts struggled now, however, and loaded the bases in the bottom 4th with singles by Chaplin and Fitzsimmons, then brushed Holliman with two outs. The good thing was that this brought up the opposing pitcher, and Vasquez grounded out to Spencer to keep his team on the short side. A Spencer double and three groundouts to short were just barely good enough for a another Coons run in the fifth inning, and Alfaro hit a leadoff jack against Vasquez in the sixth to run the tally to 3-0. Roberts was not overly impressive in this game, but made it through seven innings with a K to Wojnarowski with two aboard to finish a decent day's work. Surginer and Snyder didn't blow the Elks away down the road either, but allowed nobody to score; Snyder in particular remained wobbly, hitting Holliman and walking Tanzillo with two outs to create a last-out scare that dissipated on Jonathan Morales' foul pop. 3-0 Coons. Spencer 2-5, 2B; Nunley 1-2, 2 BB, 2B; Roberts 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K, W (15-5) and 1-3;

Raccoons (65-51) @ Wolves (53-61) – August 15-17, 2025

Oregon Brawl! The last one occurred a year ago, when the Wolves won two of three from the Coons, but overall we are still .568 against them, excluding the postseason (cough!). Like the Coons, the Wolves were playing for absolutely nothing at this point, sitting fourth and 15 1/2 games out in the FL West. They had lost four in a row, were tenth in runs scored in the Federal League, and sixth in runs allowed. One notable feature was their strong rotation (2nd in ERA), and their bottomless bullpen with a 5.00 ERA, last even in the FL.

Projected matchups:
Jack Sander (8-8, 3.91 ERA) vs. Chris Rountree (9-6, 3.06 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-6, 3.40 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (7-6, 3.67 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. Jorge Beltran (9-12, 2.69 ERA)

Another southpaw to begin the series, then two right-handed hurlers.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Otis – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – CF Mora – LF Borg – 3B Nunley – P Sander
SAL: CF Adams – 3B A. Alvarez – 1B Harenberg – C Wittner – RF Benson – LF M. Owen – 2B Eason – SS McGee – P Rountree

Abel Mora was the key player in the game in the early innings, hitting a solo homer to give the Furballs a 1-0 lead in the second inning, then going waaaay back on a Travis Benson drive to make the catch in deepest centerfield to end the bottom 3rd and strand a full wolfpack on the bases, with Rountree (…) and Ben Adams having singled off Sander, who had also offered a walk to Keith Harenberg. There was no reason to smile for Portland, though, as they left the bases loaded themselves, with Gonzalez (single), Alfaro (double), and Mora (walk) only getting on with two outs in the top of the fourth, after which Greg Borg flew out softly to Benson in right. Sander kept putting runners aboard relentlessly, however, and Keith Harenberg tied the game with a sac fly, plating Ben Adams, in the bottom 5th.

Mora was The Man once more in the sixth inning, homering with Gonzalez and his 1-out walk on base to break the tie and give Sander a 3-1 lead again. The Wolves immediately had the tying runs on the corners in the bottom 6th, though, Benson and Owen landing base hits, with Bobby Eason hitting a sac fly to Alfaro to cut the lead to 3-2. Chris McGee got nailed, and Sander only got to receive the bunt by Rountree after that before being banished from the game. Vince D came on with runners on second and third and two down, blazed away Ben Adams, and maybe we could win this one after all …! Maybe Jarod Spencer could hit a homer for a change …! On top the top of the seventh, Nunley began the inning with a deep F8 before Bullock walked in the pitcher's spot. Spencer came up and ripped away at a 3-0 pitch right in the middle of the plate, drive to deep left and OUTTA HERE!! Second homer of the year for Spencer, and this one extended the lead to 5-2! The game continued with a 9-pitch walk drawn by Otis, who dashed for third base when Tovias singled to rightfield. Benson threw the ball away, allowing Otis to scamper home and Tovias to scurry into second base in the 6-2 game. Now Rountree was disgraced, being used to walk Gonzalez intentionally before being yanked for right-hander Carlos Barron, a former starter now sporting a 6.65 ERA. Alfaro hit into a fielder's choice, bringing up Mora on two long ones, but he grounded out to Harenberg. The Coons added a pair in the eighth, with Bullock and Otis driving in the runs, the latter cracking a 2-out triple. Jimmy Lee shut down the Wolves over two innings at the far end of the linescore, handing the opener to the Coons by half a dozen. 8-2 Raccoons. Spencer 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Stalker 1-1; Mora 2-4, BB, 2 HR, 3 RBI; Bullock (PH) 1-1, BB, RBI; Lee 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

This was Jack Sander's first W since June 25 against the Loggers. He had gone 0-6 in eight starts in between, and it had really been his fault.

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
SAL: CF Adams – 3B A. Alvarez – C Wittner – 1B Harenberg – LF M. Owen – 2B F. Medina – RF N. Colon – SS McGee – P A. Contreras

Cookie got picked off first base to end the second inning with Gutierrez at the plate, which was reason for dismay already, since it made the pitcher lead off in the top 3rd in a scoreless game. Gutierrez struck out indeed, and then Jarod Spencer reached on Adrian Alvarez' error, after which the Raccoons nevertheless spooled down a string of base hits to do some damage to Contreras. Mora singled, Tovias hit an RBI single, as did Gonzalez. Just when things appeared to be going well, however, Omar Alfaro was struck by a 2-2 pitch and had to leave the game in pain, replaced by Greg Borg. With the bases loaded, Nunley chopped a grounder to short for an inning-ending double play. Contreras also drilled Stalker in the fourth, causing the Coons' bench to grow slightly annoyed with his act. Coincidentally, Gutierrez drilled Matt Owen with two outs and nobody on in the bottom 4th, which was not something the Wolves ended up taking advantage off, although the air at field level was now certainly poisoned. The best answer to an annoying pitcher was always to saddle him with a few more runs, although the middle innings were not really sporting any material for the Coons' position players and their highlight reels for the season. At least Rico remained strong, holding the Wolves to two base hits through six innings. Contreras eloped after allowing a hit to Spencer in the seventh inning. Spencer stole second, but ex-Coon Cory Dew kept the Coons from driving him in and the score remained 2-0. Things had to unravel at some point, though. Gutierrez moved into the eighth, allowing a leadoff single to Chris McGee, but got two outs from Elijah Luckett and Ben Adams before Alvarez singled to center. Mora overran the ball, allowing McGee to score and Alvarez to reach scoring position in a 2-1 game. Ricky Ohl came to the rescue, erased Matt Wittner on strikes, and moved the game to the ninth, where there was a chance for comeback. Matt Otis' pinch-hit leadoff walk was swell, although Spencer lined out to Adams. But right-hander Cruz Sierra lost both Mora and Tovias on balls to load the bases, bringing up Jon Gonzalez' ostensibly big stick. And Jon came through! Gonzalez ripped a liner to the outfield on an 0-1 count, the ball found the gap in right-center, and two runs scored on the double! Borg chopped out poorly for the second out, after which Nunley walked. The Wolves still thought that Sierra had this, at least until Cookie singled to center to plate two more. That 4-spot was more than enough to put the game away; Justin Hess and Kevin Surginer shared duties in a scoreless bottom 9th to claim the series already. 6-1 Critters. Gonzalez 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI; Carmona 2-5, 2 RBI; Gutierrez 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (6-6);

How about a sweep?

On the other hand, with the Druid having run out of black candles on this road trip and all the shops in Salem closed by Saturday night, we had no diagnosis on Alfaro by Sunday, and thus had to play with a 3-man bench since O'Dell was also still out of order.

Game 3
POR: LF Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – 2B Otis – RF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Chavez
SAL: CF Adams – 3B A. Alvarez – 1B Harenberg – C Wittner – RF Benson – LF M. Owen – 2B Eason – SS McGee – P J. Beltran

The Coons got a single from Spencer, Mora reaching with a walk, a double steal, and then three strikeouts in the top of the first, which was such a daft start to a ballgame. Borderline frustrated, Spencer and Mora reached base the same way again, and embarked on a double steal AGAIN, and AGAIN Wittner had nothing against Spencer on third base, who swiped his 29th bag of the season. Then Tovias struck out. Oh I was going to kill them all… Gonzalez fell to two strikes before being hit in the leg by Beltran, loading them up for Nunley, who made a fastball disappear in the gap in right-center for a bases-clearing double. Hooray, the Coons! The bases were restocked with a walk to Otis and Cookie's single, but Stalker struck out and Chavez popped out to end the inning with a 3-0 score. At least Beltran was on 73 pitches through three… Beltran was also the 100th strikeout this season for Chavez, whiffing to begin the bottom 3rd, with Chavez managing to stay under 50 pitches, barely, through three innings…

Beltran struck out ten through six innings, and it was uncertain whether Chavez would make it through six after the bottom 6th saw Alvarez on with a leadoff walk, Harenberg joining him with a single looper over Stalker's head, and then a full-count walk to Wittner. That put three on with nobody out, and those were the tying runs. Benson and Owen both hit RBI singles, a soft one and a hard one, respectively, and Chavez was evicted after five-plus, the plus being five batters faced in the sixth. Vince D replaced him, faced five batters, struck out three, but also walked two and the morass was tremendous indeed as that scored the tying and go-ahead runs. The Coons were shellshocked at first, and when they finally got the tying run aboard in the ninth inning, it was obviously Spencer again with a 1-out single to left off right-hander Bob Kennedy. Mora singled up the middle, and would they do it again? Would they pull off three double steals in one game? Also, would Elias Tovias finally hit a ball? Struggling beyond belief, Tovias was 0-for-4 with 3 K in the game, and that was probably the main reason not to run them. If Spencer got thrown out, Tovias was the final out. This was also not a spot to bat Delgado or Bullock instead, Borg having been used at the start of the inning to no effect. Tovias flew to center, deep, quite deep indeed, Adams with a lunging catch and tumble, and it was an out. Spencer moved to third, not realizing that Adams had hurt himself, and the Wolves had to replace him with Fernando Medina. That made Gonzalez the final out, and he flew out to centerfield, now Medina, too. 4-3 Wolves. Spencer 3-5; Otis 2-3, BB, 2B;

In other news

August 11 – RIC RF/CF Dan Dalton (.291, 11 HR, 51 RBI) connects for a single in the Rebels' 5-1 win over the Miners to extend a hitting streak to 20 games.
August 12 – The streak is already over: Richmond's Dan Dalton (.288, 11 HR, 51 RBI) goes 0-for-4 in the Rebels' 7-2 loss against the Miners, ending his hitting streak at 20 games.
August 14 – SAC 3B Jason LaCombe (.276, 2 HR, 44 RBI) hits the DL with a shoulder train. He should not miss more than the rest of this month.
August 14 – OCT 2B Zhang-ze Ts'ai (.276, 4 HR, 53 RBI) is out for the year with ruptured finger tendons.
August 15 – The visiting Thunder crush the Rebels, 16-3, with six runs in the sixth, 5 RBI from C Mike Pizzo (.304, 15 HR, 66 RBI) and four RBI apiece from 1B Mike Rucker (.279, 9 HR, 39 RBI) and 3B Dave Flournoy (.283, 7 HR, 52 RBI).
August 17 – LVA INF Izzy Alvarez (.226, 9 HR, 47 RBI) connects for three home runs, all off Joao Joo (11-7, 4.94 ERA) in the aces' 8-2 win over the Miners. He joins Brent Burke as the only players to achieve the feat as Aces.
August 17 – CIN 3B/SS Ricardo Rangel (.258, 1 HR, 36 RBI) will miss a month with a sprained ankle.

Complaints and stuff

Greg Borg was a rather useful player in the first half of the season. The last few weeks he has completely hit the deck. Can't get anything to fall in anymore …! It is the opposite for Jack Sander, who was very good at the start of the season, and right now is utter dog ****. I have a solution for the Sander problem: Dan Delgadillo, who is on an expiring rehab stint with St. Pete.

We will now skip home for only three days to face the Capitals before leaving down again for an Upper Midwest trip to Indy and Milwaukee. Condors at home to end the month.

Heck, maybe we will even get an injury diagnosis on Alfaro by then!

Fun Fact: On September 9, 2016, Nick Brown no-hit the Canadiens in 1-0 game in Vancouver.

And that is the ONLY good thing that ever happened in ****ing Vancouver!
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:13 PM   #2585
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Raccoons (67-52) vs. Capitals (60-59) – August 18-20, 2025

The Raccoons had dropped two out of three to the Capitals two years ago in their most recent meeting. While we were certainly hoping for better results this time around, it didn't really matter for any of these teams. Both were almost ten games out in their division, and the Capitals were only in third place to boot. They were more of a run-producing team, ranking third in the FL in counters thrown on the board, with their pitching very much average. Their run differential of +36 still hinted at bad luck.

Projected matchups:
Lance Legleiter (1-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Killian Savoie (12-4, 4.12 ERA)
Mark Roberts (15-5, 2.52 ERA) vs. Tadasu Abe (8-8, 4.17 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (0-0) vs. Tristan Broun (6-11, 4.54 ERA)

The Caps were stuffed to the brim with left-handed starters. Former Raccoon Tadasu Abe was in fact their only right-hander, surrounded by two former Indians southpaws. There was another ex-Coon in their rotation, although he had been traded as a minor leaguer. Danny Arguello (6-9, 4.15 ERA) had been dealt to the Capitals in 2018 in the ultimately unspectacular and unhelpful Cole Pierson trade.

Delgadillo was not yet on the roster, but would be exchanged with Legleiter on Tuesday, with Legleiter going to come back by September. Meanwhile, there was already a roster move on Monday, as the Coons put Omar Alfaro on the disabled list. The future non-Hall of Famer had suffered a broken thumb a week before his 25th birthday and was likely to miss the rest of the season, just when he had faintly warmed up to major league pitching again… We called up Justin Gerace, that bad apple, once more. This 26-year-old had a .924 OPS in St. Pete, with 14 homers and a .306 clip.

Not that it meant anything in the major leagues… it never had.

Game 1
WAS: SS Obando – 1B Barber – C Lessman – 2B Menth – RF Tachibana – LF Hamilton – CF Leija – 3B E. Adams – P Savoie
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Borg – LF Carmona – C Delgado – 3B Bullock – P Legleiter

The Raccoons had Abel Mora thrown out at home to end the first inning, with Luis Leija's arm stronger than reported on Jon Gonzalez' double to center on which we sent Mora all the way from first base. By contrast, with two outs in the top of the third, and with Guillermo Obando on first base, Matt Barber sunk a ball in the depths of centerfield and had an RBI triple outright against Mora's arm for the first run in the game. Legleiter struck out David Lessman, the first of four consecutive dangerous left-handers in that lineup, giving him 5 K through three innings, but also, well, the short end of the stick for now. Or maybe forever. Probably forever. The Coons hit singles here and there, but nothing that would really provoke ecstasy, while the Capitals added to their lead in the fifth inning, which Killian Savoie, that old pest, opened with a blazing leadoff double to leftfield. Obando advanced him, Barber plated him with a sac fly, and for good measure Lessman extended the score to 3-0 with a homer to left-center, his ninth of the year. That was the last inning for Legleiter, who had a hit in the bottom 5th, but also hurt himself on the base paths and had to come out of the game, throwing our September plans into disarray. In deference to our short bench, reliever Justin Hess ran for him and scored on a Mora sac fly, cutting the gap to 3-1, before also having to pitch the sixth inning, which he did scorelessly. The Raccoons further lined up Jimmy Lee (who surrendered another run), Kevin Surginer, and Jonathan Snyder, but Snyder would not pitch in a save situation in the ninth inning – it was more a case of "got nobody else no more". Savoie held the Raccoons shorter than short through eight innings, and Marcus Owens retired Nunley, Bullock, and Tovias in order in the bottom 9th to hand the opener to the guys from DC. 4-1 Capitals. Spencer 2-4; Otis 2-4, 2B;

By Tuesday, Brett O'Dell was cleared to play again, which gave us a full bench as well as three catchers for the first time in a week, and of those three catchers, none was hitting anything much right now.

Game 2
WAS: SS Obando – LF Hamilton – RF Tachibana – C Lessman – 1B Barber – CF Menth – 2B G. Sauceda – 3B E. Adams – P Abe
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – LF Gerace – RF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Roberts

While Mark Roberts vied for six straight and sixteen in total, I was hoping that Tadasu Abe would rekindle that fire of his last Coons days and struggle badly in this ballpark, which didn't exactly happen. Neither team did much through three innings. The Capitals hit a ball or two pretty good, but right at outfielders, and the Coons didn't even manage that, at least until Jon Gonzalez lifted a ball out of here in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead. Tovias doubled afterwards, but was left on base by a confused bottom of the order. The game remained a pitchers' duel through six innings, with the Capitals getting two hits and eight strikeouts from Roberts, while Abe allowed four hits and whiffed only two, but definitely was in the thick of competition here, and there were some in the crowd that were still fond of the Toner-Abe-Santos days and applauded politely every time Abe rung someone up – not that it happened often. But the home crowd had more fun with their own starting pitcher; Roberts reached 100 pitches at the end of the seventh inning, but when Tim Stalker legged out a 1-out infield single in the bottom 7th, Roberts was retained to bunt, at least until Abe started to miss the zone badly. Stalker took off on the 1-2 and was well safe at second base, and Roberts knocked the 2-2 pitch up the middle and past Gabriel Sauceda into centerfield for an RBI single, doubling his lead to 2-0.

Roberts didn't get much further, though, yielding a leadoff double to Sauceda in the eighth. The runner advanced on Evan Adams' fly to center, and when Bill Adams was announced as pinch-hitter – a right-handed batter – Vince D was called in from the bullpen. Getting to 2-2 on that Adams, he still surrendered the run on a grounder to short, making this a 2-1 game, then conceded a single to Obando. The Coons went to Billy Brotman, who walked PH Luis Leija, but Tsuneyoshi Tachibana grounded out to Gonzalez to end the inning and for the moment kept Roberts' streak alive. Brotman remained in the game with two left-handers due in the ninth, but promptly surrendered a leadoff double to Lessman, a left-hander. Snyder was thus cast into this right mess, with the tying run in scoring position, but for once didn't brittle away. K to Matt Barber, K to Jake Williams, and almost a K to Sauceda, who grounded to Stalker and was thrown out by seven steps to end the game. 2-1 Coons. Roberts 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W (16-5) and 2-3, RBI;

How much was this Roberts' and only Roberts' win? The top of the order went 0-for-11, and the rest came close to that… With 16 W, Roberts is now one off the lead in the Continental League and is in the top 3 in all triple crown categories.

Meanwhile we placed Lance Legleiter on the DL with a sore ankle. The minimum 15 days should suffice in this case, and he will still rejoin the rotation, possibly in 6-man form, in September. Dan Delgadillo took the spot in the rotation for now, returning from UCL woes and almost a year on the sidelines. In five starts in AAA, he had gone 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA, but his stuff had been worryingly absent…

Game 3
WAS: SS Obando – 1B Barber – C Lessman – 2B Menth – LF Hamilton – CF Leija – RF J. Stone – 3B G. Sauceda – P Broun
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Otis – CF Borg – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – RF Carmona – P Delgadillo

Spencer singled, stole second, and scored on Gonzalez' single up the middle in the first inning. That was Spencer's 30th bag of the season, and probably an irrelevant one given how the Capitals abused Delgadillo as a launchpad, plating one run on a sharp 2-out RBI double by Dave Menth in the first inning, and then three more in the second inning. Jason Stone hit a 2-run homer, and another run was unearned on a 2-out Barber single that scored Sauceda, who had reached on an error by Greg Borg. Down 4-1, the Coons had the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom 2nd after Gerace's soft single, Cookie's sharp single, and Delgadillo reaching base when his bunt was collectively fudged by the Capitals' infielders. Not all of these runners scored; Spencer popped out awfully, and Otis grounded to Sauceda at third base, who tapped the bag to force out Cookie, but couldn't get Otis at first base in time, with Gerace scoring, 4-2. The Raccoons still tied the game, but only on 2-out RBI singles by Borg and Gonzalez after this, with Tovias ultimately grounding out to short.

Four each through two was not quite the definition of a pitchers' duel, although it was always interesting to see who would twitch and cull their guy first. That would ultimately be the Raccoons, with Delgadillo getting pierced for another 2-run homer by Stone, and crawling through five innings with the 6-4 deficit, while Broun managed to shut down the Critters' surge. The Coons wouldn't get another run off him and only got him out of the game after 6.2 innings when Gonzalez singled sharply to center, but was stranded when Tovias grounded out to Menth against another left-hander in Jose Diaz. At that point it was 7-4, with one run scoring in the top 7th against Jimmy Lee, who faced two and retired none, and Billy Brotman couldn't keep everybody on base, but struck out two to end the inning at least. Diaz surrendered a pinch-hit double to Tim Stalker in Nunley's spot in the bottom 8th and the Coons brought him around to get within two runs, but ran out of luck against Marcus Owens in the ninth, when their 1-2-3 batters went down just like that. 7-5 Capitals. Gonzalez 4-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B; O'Dell (PH) 1-1;

Raccoons (68-54) @ Indians (56-64) – August 22-24, 2025

The Raccoons were one game away from sealing the season series with the Indians, holding a 9-3 edge as they entered Indy for this weekend 3-game set. The Arrowheads ranked last in offense with a paltry 3.7 runs per game, but had a respectable rotation that ranked third in ERA in the Continental League. Of course, much of the good things they did was undone by their crummy, 4+ ERA bullpen, but there were at least beginnings of a decent team recognizable.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (6-6, 3.22 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (8-7, 4.21 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (6-7, 3.85 ERA) vs. John McInerney (0-2, 3.61 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-8, 3.88 ERA) vs. Ernesto Lozano (6-12, 3.69 ERA)

There were some injury woes for their staff, though, including SP's Jason Clements and Victor Arevalo, which had washed reliever McInerney into the rotation. He was the only southpaw we would get, again gently avoiding Tom Shumway (11-4, 2.40 ERA).

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – LF Gerace – RF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
IND: SS Pizano – RF Faulk – 2B Ri. Mendez – LF Folk – CF Linnell – C R. Vargas – 1B Staebell – 3B Claros – P Matthews

Rico had to bat in his own lead, so far nothing new, driving a 2-out single up the middle in the second inning to chase home Justin Gerace from second base. Gutierrez' control started out iffy, though, and he walked two Indians in the first inning already. But why complain? The Indians had no hits in the first three innings, and in the top of the fourth, with Elias Tovias on third base and two outs, they walked Tim Stalker intentionally (like in the second inning) and Gutierrez shrugged and chucked another one up the middle for another RBI and a 2-0 lead. The Indians broke into the H column in the bottom of that inning with a 1-out single by despicable ex-Elk Brody Folk, and Gutierrez walked Richard Linnell right after that, but Abel Mora remained master of Ricardo Vargas' soft fly to center and John Staebell grounded out right to Spencer to end the inning anyway.

All was well through five, and the sixth saw the bottom half of the order hard at work again. Tovias drew a leadoff walk, while Gerace singled softly to right. The runners advanced on a wild pitch by Matthews, then scored both on Cookie's single up the middle that probably wouldn't have scored anybody without the wild pitch. Cookie was caught stealing and Matthews retired Stalker and Gutierrez to get out of the inning, now down 4-0. Matthews' line would absorb another three runs in the seventh inning. He shuffled the bags full, then left the game after Tovias' sac fly. Tony Lino replaced him, walked Gerace, then allowed another 2-run single to Cookie. With the lead ample now and Rico not exactly getting pushed around, we let him deal with the late innings despite an elevated pitch count. Brody Folk hit a 2-out double in the eighth, but Gutierrez remained in and whiffed PH Jason Benedetto. He began the ninth on 110 pitches, but got Vargas on a bouncer on the first pitch, bringing up two left-handed batters. Staebell grounded out to Spencer on the first pitch, too, but Claros lived longer: three pitches, before grounding out to Jon Gonzalez. 7-0 Furballs! Gerace 2-3, BB; Carmona 2-4, 4 RBI; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, W (7-6) and 2-4, 2 RBI;

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – RF Borg – LF Gerace – P Chavez
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Ri. Mendez – RF T. Ruiz – C T. Perez – CF Linnell – 2B Folk – LF Faulk – 3B Claros – P McInerney

Offense was slow to develop in an unlikely pitchers' duel although Chavez had left his good stuff in the hotel and made **** up as he went, spilling two hits, two walks, and a run through five innings while whiffing a pair, which had him on the short end against the spot starter McInerney, who had a 4-hit shutout, whiffing four after a qualifying distance. He couldn't retire Matt Otis, though. The Coons' veteran backup infielder was 2-for-2 before drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, maybe the start of the counterattack? Mora singled just past Raul Claros to put the go-ahead run on base. Gonzalez flew out to deep center, and then O'Dell smacked a ball hard to the left side, into Claros' ready fangs, and around the horn for a double play to kill the inning. By contrast, Chavez fell apart in style in the bottom of the inning, with a neat sequence that saw a leadoff walk to Rich Mendez, then a booming homer by Tony Ruiz. Tony Perez singled to left, but strong defense kept him from scoring as well, with Mora making a particularly good play on Linnell's drive in the inning. The Coons looked somewhat defeated after that, although they got rid of Chavez via pinch-hitting in the top of the seventh *after* Justin Gerace had rocked McInerney's little world with a 2-run homer into the upper reaches of the leftfield stands. Nunley had been on base, and the gap was back to a single run. The Arrowheads kept McInerney in the game until with two outs in the eighth, with Nunely and Borg aboard and Gerace trotting up again. Right-hander Jim Cushing was put into the game with an 0.92 ERA in 29.1 innings. That didn't help him against the scruffy Gerace, who cracked a single to center that allowed Nunley to score, and this game was tied. Tovias batted for Ricky Ohl here, but his drive to left was caught on the track by A.J. Faulk, ending the inning. The joy over not losing for the moment didn't live long. Vince D and Brotman couldn't stack up against the middle of the order in the bottom of the eighth. Vince put Ruiz on with a double, Perez with a single, and Billy had little to work with as he came in with the go-ahead run on third base and one out eventually. Brody Folk gave Indy a new lead with a single, Faulk walked, but Claros struck out to strand three and leave the Critters with a fighting chance in the ninth against Nick Salinas (56 IP, 64 K). Spencer got on with a leadoff walk, but didn't get far before Otis smacked a ball at Mario Pizano for a double play. Mora went down on strikes afterwards. 4-3 Indians. Otis 2-4, BB; Nunley 3-4; Gerace 2-4, HR, 3 RBI;

Well, if all your production comes from the #8 spot all the time… maybe I should put Gonzalez there…

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – LF Carmona – SS Bullock – RF Borg – P Sander
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Ri. Mendez – LF Cooper – RF T. Ruiz – C T. Perez – CF Linnell – 2B Folk – 3B Claros – P Lozano

Jack Sander remained a non-contributor, falling behind 3-0 on a Tony Ruiz homer right in the first inning. One of the runs was unearned after another of Mora's clumsiness attacks on Andrew Cooper's liner to shallow center, but it was still a 390-footer that a blind guy could hear going out right off the bat. The rest of the team wasn't any better. Lozano whiffed five and was perfect through five innings, while the Indians scored an additional run on another error by Mora, this time on a wild, wild throw in the bottom of the fifth.

The perfect game went out the window in the sixth with a walk drawn by Daniel Bullock and Greg Borg getting drilled real good, but the Coons failed to get anybody across despite two on and no outs. Sander bunted, Spencer popped out, and Mora's fly to right was caught by Ruiz. Sander did not make it through six, shuffeling the bases full with one out in that inning. Lozano grounded back to the mound, with Sander knocking out Perez at home plate before yielding for Kevin Surginer, who K'ed Pizano to strand three. None of this dispelled the no-hit threat the Coons were under; in the seventh, Nunley grounded out to second, Gonzalez grounded out to short, and Tovias knocked one up the middle that fell in no man's land – gone the no-hitter! Tovias was left on by Cookie, but Lozano was then knocked out by a rain shower that sent the game into a delay for almost an hour. That put Dave Priest into the eighth inning, the former starter, and he promptly surrendered a 2-run homer to pinch-hitter Justin Gerace in the inning, leading to Nick Salinas facing the "meat" of the Coons' order in the ninth. Nunley singled to center, bringing up the tying run. Gonzalez struck out. Tovias struck out. Cookie fouled out. 4-2 Indians. Bullock 1-2, BB; Gerace (PH) 1-1, HR, 2 RBI;

In other news

August 19 – LVA SP Samuel McMullen (10-10, 4.27 ERA) joins the 200-wins club with a complete game effort, allowing six hits and whiffing as many in a 7-2 win over the Denver Gold Sox. The 36-year-old McMullen, who was Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and an All Star seven times, is 200-134 with a 3.41 ERA and 2,565 K for his career. He led either league in wins once, and led the CL in ERA in 2016.
August 21 – OCT SP Andy Palomares (15-8, 3.62 ERA) pitches a 3-hit shutout over the Stars, whiffing eight batters in a 2-0 victory.
August 22 – The Miners break a 7-7 tie with seven runs in the ninth inning for a 14-7 win over the Buffaloes. PIT SS/3B Brian Tyer (.303, 4 HR, 39 RBI) has three base hits and 5 RBI in the game.
August 24 – PIT SP Mario Alva (12-9, 3.88 ERA) spins a 3-hit gem in a 5-0 over the Stars.

Complaints and stuff

If not for Justin Friggin' Gerace, the Raccoons would have no runs in the last two games. Well, it's still an 0-2 tally from those two games either way, but they had five runs between Saturday and Sunday, and Gerace drove in all of them…

You wouldn't have thought about it in April or May or June, but Mark Roberts suddenly has a triple crown case with a 16-5 record, 2.46 ERA, and 170 K. None of this leads the league, but all of this is reasonably close to make a move in September.

Meanwhile Rico, who won 16 last year, has almost the same ERA as in '25 (up by .1 ER), but struggles to reach double digits. Although Friday's shutout was neat. Came out struggling, and gradually righted himself to go the distance AND drove in two runs himself, and the first two at that. Those are qualities of a demi-ace!

And with team achievements increasingly unlikely to attain (although the Titans could still drink the Kool-Aid, though … well… three-time defending champions don't just implode), we can focus on individual achievements instead, like Jarod Spencer chasing the stolen base title in the Continental League. He is only a couple o' bags behind NYC Lance Douglas now, and he was also relatively close to the batting title until a terrible Indians series (1-for-12).

Fun Fact: The most recent Raccoon to win a batting title was Cookie Carmona in 2017, clipping away at a .344 pace for the vaunted distinction.

The list is not too short when it comes to all-time batting champions in the brown shirt. David Brewer batted .359 to clinch the title in 1995. Tetsu Osanai won three batting titles in Portland, in 1986 (his triple crown season), 1988, and 1989. That is all, but that is five titles in total. Could be worse!
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Old 08-16-2018, 06:02 AM   #2586
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Raccoons (69-56) @ Loggers (57-65) – August 26-28, 2025

The Loggers were 21 games out, which was not an uncommon feeling for them. Eighth in both runs scored and runs allowed, their mix had been consistently crummy, and their rotation was even the second-worst in the Continental League. The Coons also held a 9-3 lead in the season series over them, although that had not helped them a lot in Indy the previous weekend.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (16-5, 2.46 ERA) vs. Vincent Alfaro (10-9, 2.93 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jonathan Toner (7-11, 5.59 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (7-6, 3.03 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (9-6, 3.31 ERA)

After an off day on Monday, three right-handers, including one particularly sad example of how nothing beautiful can exist in the world, ever.

There were also a few injuries on the Loggers that were worth talking about. They had just placed SP Ian Prevost (9-10, 3.93 ERA) on the DL with a torn labrum and expected him to miss a good chunk of the 2026 season. Also, Jon Berntson and most importantly Ian Coleman (.274, 3 HR, 42 RBI) were on the DL, in Coleman's case the second time this year.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – LF Gerace – RF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Roberts
MIL: SS Ferrer – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – C A. Baker – 3B A. Velez – RF Rueda – 2B I. Flores – P V. Alfaro

Both teams had only one base hit in the first three innings, and Roberts picked up the Coons', so we were yet waiting for somebody else than Justin Gerace to drive in a run… Abel Mora hit a leadoff single in the fourth, stole second base, and was generally ignored, while Matt Nunley not only struck out in the inning, but also began the bottom 4th with an error that put former Raccoon Josh Stevenson on base. To be fair, Nunley also started the double play on Willie Trevino to clean up afterwards, but he was making a dash for 20 errors at this point.

When Roberts hit a single over Manny Ferrer's glove to begin the sixth inning, it was his second hit on the day, one more than he had conceded to the Loggers, and also one more than the rest of the team had scratched out combined. And the rest of said team kept sucking the fun out of the game (and Roberts' winning streak), as Spencer flew out to Trevino, Mora struck out, and Nunley rolled one over to Ron Tadlock. The Loggers broke through in the bottom 6th, which saw Roberts shove a pitch into Manny Ferrer, who left the game with a badly bruised thigh, and was run for by Dan March. Stevenson sunk a drive in the gap for an RBI double, and that was the first run in the game, and probably the only one… Roberts lasted seven and was hit for in the top 8th after Stalker hit a leadoff single to left, an inning after Jon Gonzalez had hit a leadoff single to no great results. Same here; after Otis struck out, Spencer grounded into a fielder's choice, and Mora rolled over to Tadlock, Roberts' winning streak was officially over. There was one more chance to avoid blowing through a hole altogether in this game, coming against ex-Coon Joe Moore and his 3.88 ERA in the ninth, still down by one and with the middle of the order due up. Nunley and Gonzalez made pathetic outs before Elias Tovias doubled to rightfield. Alright, here comes "Danger" Gerace! And he struck out. 1-0 Loggers. Roberts 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, L (16-6) and 2-2, 2B;

This team smells…

Hey, maybe Jonny Toner can pitch a second no-hitter against them! Wouldn't that be awesome?

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – RF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Delgadillo
MIL: SS Ferrer – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – 3B A. Velez – C A. Baker – 2B I. Flores – RF Feldmann – P Toner

No no-no for Jonny the Man, who got taken deep by Abel Mora right in the first inning for a quick 1-0 Portland lead. No joy though, because Ron Tadlock pulled the run back with a homer of his own in the bottom of the inning and both pitchers looked like after a pitchers' duel on Tuesday, we could well be in for a double drubbing on Wednesday. Control seemed like Jonny Toner's biggest problem, but thankfully Jon Gonzalez was around in the third inning to hit into an inning-ending double play just after Toner had lost Mora and Tovias on balls without coming particularly close.

The fourth inning was a rather sad one. Nunley drew another walk leading off, with Gerace popping out to Ryan Feldmann in shallow right. Cookie hit a ball into the gap in right-center for a double, but also pulled up lame and had to leave the game, with Greg Borg taking over. Stalker was walked onto the open base with one out, as the Loggers counted on Toner getting Delgadillo on strikes. Well, he got to 1-2, but then threw a wild pitch that plated Nunley with the go-ahead run. Delgadillo struck out after all, but Jarod Spencer dropped a single into shallow right center for a 2-out, 2-run single, extending the lead to 4-1 before Mora flew out to left. Toner wound up with five runs allowed in five innings after the Coons tacked on a counter in the top of the fifth, where Gonzalez doubled and was singled home with two outs by Justin Gerace, who with the Cookie injury looked like having notched a starting spot for the rest of the year… Thad bad apple!

Both teams added a run in the sixth with some extra base prowess, Mora driving in the Coons' run against right-hander Philip Rogers, and Delgadillo kept feeling his way deeper into the game. He allowed singles to both Ivan Flores and Ryan Feldmann in the bottom 7th, but struck out pinch-hitter Alexis Rueda and got Manny Ferrer to ground out to Nunley to get out of that inning. He started the eighth as well, then with a 7-2 lead after Stalker singled, stole second, and scored on Spencer's sac fly in the top of the inning. This time, consecutive 1-out singles knocked Yusneldan from the game; Tadlock hit a soft one between Stalker and Nunley, but Trevino hit a hard liner into shallow center, signaling that perhaps the time for some good relief had come. Billy Brotman entered to turn switch-hitting Alberto Velez onto his weaker side, then still surrendered a raging 2-run double. Vince D replaced him and got outs from Adam Baker and Flores, narrowly keeping Velez aboard and Brotman's 0.00 ERA for going on 30 consecutive games alive. The Coons, who stranded runners on the corners in the top 9th when Stevenson made an amazing catch on Stalker in the depths of centerfield, went to Snyder by default for the ninth inning, where the Loggers produced three soft outs in just four pitches. 7-4 Coons. Spencer 2-4, 3 RBI; Mora 2-4, BB, HR, RBI; Gerace 2-4, BB, RBI; Carmona 2-2, 2B;

No diagnosis on Cookie was immediately available, leaving the Raccoons with three-and-a-half outfielders in Mora, Gerace, Borg, and Spencer.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – RF Borg – SS Bullock – P Gutierrez
MIL: SS Ferrer – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – C A. Baker – 3B A. Velez – RF Feldmann – 2B I. Flores – P Villalobos

The Coons' 2-3-4 batters hit straight singles to load the bases in the first inning, bringing up Nunley in an early money spot, which Matt solved cleverly by working out a full-count walk to push home a run. Gerace grounded out to plate a second run, after which Villalobos struck Greg Borg in the paw to reload the bases and also cast the Raccoons deeper into their shortpawedness. The Druid found out that Borg failed to claw into a piece of pie at first base and advocated his removal from the game for evaluation, causing an early shuffle – Gerace to right, Spencer to left, and Otis in at the keystone. That left a shortstop and two catchers on the bench, but I was sure everything would be fine… For now, Rico came to the plate before he ever stepped on the mound thanks to Bullock's 2-run single up the middle, with Rico going down on strikes before grapping a ball with a 4-0 lead. Rico faced a lineup where nobody would face him from the left side, but held up without allowing a run before the Coons knocked out Villalobos in the fourth inning. They had extended the lead to 5-0 in the third, Gerace scoring Gonzalez with a sac fly then, and got to 6-0 in the fourth when Spencer singled, stole second, and soon scored on Mora's single. Alberto Velez would get the Loggers on the board in the fifth inning, knocking a leadoff jack off Rico, who was otherwise mostly unmolested and went eight inning on 107 pitches and only four hits allowed, one of those an infield single by elderly Ryan Feldmann and another one a knock by Villalobos early on… But wouldn't you know, the Coons came close to ****ing up anyway. Entering the ninth inning with a 6-1 lead, the Coons put in Jimmy Lee, who retired absolutely nobody, walked Josh Stevenson, threw a wild pitch, allowed an RBI double to Ron Tadlock, and then walked Willie Trevino. Snyder to the rescue, please! He certainly appeared...; Adam Baker hit a booming 2-run double to left, bringing up the tying run with nobody out, with Alberto Velez flying out to right. Synder lost Feldmann to a walk, then got a bouncer back to the mound from Ivan Flores. Snyder zipped to second, Bullock to first, game over, narrowly… 6-4 Furballs. Spencer 2-5; Mora 3-5, RBI; Gonzalez 2-5; Nunley 3-4, BB, RBI; Gutierrez 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (8-6) and 1-4, 2B;

At the rate they are dropping at right now, what are the odds on us seeing Colombian Yeshiva Rambam alumnus Juan Magallanes on Monday?

Raccoons (71-57) vs. Condors (69-58) – August 29-31, 2025

Oh what a difference a division makes! The Condors' record was vaguely similar to the Coons', but they led their division while the Coons were out by almost double digits, trailing the Titans by 9 1/2 games at this point. Also, you know, they were out of outfielders. Tijuana sat fifth in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed, which didn't scream out PLAYOFFS exactly, but they were in first place alright… The season series was tied at three games each.

Projected matchups:
Jesus Chavez (6-7, 3.88 ERA) vs. Andrew Gudeman (12-6, 4.12 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-9, 3.92 ERA) vs. George Griffin (12-8, 3.76 ERA)
Mark Roberts (16-6, 2.41 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (7-7, 3.82 ERA)

Southpaw expected for Sunday.

Also, if there was one team with more injury problems to position players than the Coons (who were without Greg Borg at least for the weekend, and had Cookie in limbo still) right now, it was probably the Condors. They had six players on the DL, all of them position players, including regulars Mike Bednarski, Mike Matias, and Nick Hatley. Also, INF Bob Rojas had a sore shoulder, but was trying to play through it, being listed as day-to-day.

Game 1
TIJ: 3B B. Rojas – LF W. Ramos – SS Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF O. Larios – C Zarate – CF Betancourt – 2B E. Munoz – P Gudeman
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Gerace – SS Stalker – C Delgado – P Chavez

A four-pitch walk drawn by Shane Sanks represented the only base runner in the early innings, with Andrew Gudeman being perfect the first time through, whiffing five Critters in the process. Willie Ramos would draw a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, but pops over the infield by both Sanks and Kevin McGrath served to keep him on base even after Chavez threw a pitch over Delgado's head, with Omar Larios grounding out to Gonzalez to end the inning. Bottom 4th, the Raccoons got on base, actually. Spencer started with a K, but Otis then drew a walk from Gudeman, and Abel Mora hit a liner into the rightfield corner for a double, giving Jon Gonzalez a prime RBI opportunity. Gonzalez chased Larios to the wall with a long drive, but Larios made the catch. It was still enough to get Otis home with a sac fly, after which Nunley struck out, the seventh victim for Gudeman in this game. That left only one pitcher with an active no-hitter in the game, with Chavez retiring the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings. That brought up Sanks again, and he drew another walk in a full count to begin the seventh inning. Chavez' pitch count was up there at 86 with nine outs left to collect, and the lead was most flimsy thanks to the Coons doing their royal best to strike out against Gudeman. Omar Larios ended shenanigans with a 1-out single to left, after which Chavez rung up Danny Zarate. Weirdly, with two on and two out, the Coons had Billy Brotman ready to intervene against the left-handers coming up, but the Condors sent a right-hander to pinch-hit now in Pat Sanford. That left Chavez in the game. Sanford grounded out to short, and the 1-0 lead stood through seven. Brotman struck out the side in the eighth instead, bringing up the Coons in the bottom 8th against Gudeman on 8 K. Brett O'Dell pinch-hit for Brotman to begin the inning, singling up the middle. Spencer singled to left, and Otis singled to right, loading the bases with nobody out. The Condors wound up collapsing completely from there, allowing between Gudeman and right-hander Sam Lowery two straight RBI singles to Mora and Gonzalez, a bases-loaded walk to Nunley, and after Gerace struck out, a long, high, and pretty one to right-center to Tim Stalker. GRAAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAMMM!!!! 8-0 Raccoons. Spencer 2-4; Mora 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-4, HR, 4 RBI; O'Dell (PH) 1-2; Chavez 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, W (7-7);

By Saturday we finally found out that Cookie Carmona had a torn hip flexor tendon, which was likely to put him out of his misery for the season. He was placed on the DL the same day. The Coons hurried up OF Devin Mansfield, who had already had two incredibly small cups of coffee with Portland in the last two seasons. The 25-year-old had amounted to 23 total at-bats and a .174/.208/.174 slash with no homers or RBI.

Game 2
TIJ: 3B B. Rojas – LF W. Ramos – SS Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF O. Larios – C Zarate – CF Denzler – 2B E. Munoz – P Griffin
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – RF Mansfield – P Sander

Griffin retired the first seven Critters that dared to show up before allowing a single to Mansfield in the latter's season debut. Nothing came of that, while the Condors already held a 1-0 lead thanks to base hits by Kevin McGrath and Joel Denzler in the second inning. The Raccoons would get even with a pair of 2-out doubles by Gonzalez and Nunley in the fourth inning, with Gerace striking out afterwards. Both teams ultimately had one run and four hits through five innings, but more was to come. Sander was not exactly excelling and not fooling anybody. Shane Sanks hit a 2-out single to rightfield in the sixth inning, bringing up McGrath, who exploited a mistake down the middle for a 2-run blast to leftfield, putting the Condors up 3-1. Sander allowed Larios to reach on a walk after that, a base hit to Zarate, then was recycled for a fresh face. Justin Hess whiffed Denzler, ending the inning, but then was abused by more left-handed batters, including a walk drawn by Griffin, in the seventh inning. Vince D entered with the bags full and one out, and again a shortstop hit a grand slam, but this time it was Shane Sanks and that game was more or less in the books at that point, especially since the Raccoons put only one more batter on base in the last three innings, and that one got wiped out in a double play… 7-1 Condors. Nunley 2-4, 2B, RBI;

Game 3
TIJ: 3B B. Rojas – C Zarate – SS Sanks – 1B McGrath – LF O. Larios – CF Denzler – RF W. Ramos – 2B E. Munoz – P Little
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – RF Gerace – SS Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Roberts

In a southpaw shootout for season series honors, both starters struck out four in the first three innings. While Roberts was perfect, Little scattered two hits and a walk, one runner per inning, with Matt Otis' first-inning double and getting stranded on second base the furthest advanced the Critters managed. Roberts rung up Rojas and Zarate in the fourth before Sanks singled to right, but the inning ended on McGrath's grounder to Tim Stalker. Through five innings, Roberts would have eight strikeouts as well as absolutely no support whatsoever, with the Coons getting their leadoff batters on in the fourth (Gonzalez single) and fifth (Stalker walk) innings, but O'Dell and Bullock both hit one right at Sanks for a double play in their respective innings.

The Coons finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Mora reached with a 2-out single, and Gonzalez reached the scoreboard with his 2-run homer to left-center, his 15th of the year (…), and the first tally in a game where Roberts had nine whiffs and was desperately begging for his 17th win. Roberts continued to get through the Condors, whiffing Sanks to begin the seventh to reach double-digits, but hit a bump in the eighth with Willie Ramos' 1-out triple to right. However, next up was left-handed replacement (about of Devin Mansfield's stature on his team's depth chart) Eddie Munoz, who had been entirely overwhelmed for the entire weekend, having gone 0-for-9 with 5 K already. Roberts rounded him up for a sixth strikeout, then got Pat Sanford to fly out easily to Gerace. That put him at 107 pitches, and he also was due to lead off the bottom 8th, so Roberts' day was over in what was still only a 2-0 game. Nunley batted for him, grounded out, and Spencer flew out to Larios in left. Matt Otis grounded to Munoz, but reached base on a throwing error. However, Mora struck out against Zach Weaver, keeping this a 2-0 game. Snyder was up against the top of the order then, getting Bob Rojas to fly out to Spencer on the first pitch. Zarate struck out, but Sanks remained the polar opposite of Munoz, continuing to torture Coons pitching with a 2-out single to left. McGrath however had shot all his bullets already and went down on strikes, as the Coons claimed the season series and the 17th victory for Mark Roberts. 2-0 Critters. Otis 2-4, 2 2B; Gonzalez 2-3, HR, 2 RBI; Stalker 1-2, BB; Roberts 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K, W (17-6);

In other news

August 25 – More injury news for BOS 3B/2B Rhett West (.324, 3 HR, 37 RBI), who will miss another month with a strained hamstring.
August 26 – SFB RF/LF Cesar Martinez (.281, 21 HR, 68 RBI) could miss the rest of the season with a fractured finger.
August 28 – The Crusaders lost two players to injury; SS Tom McWhorter (.228, 4 HR, 23 RBI) projects to miss a month with wrist tendinitis, while SP Alejandro "Ant" Mendez (4-8, 4.97 ERA) is expected to miss two starts after hurting his back moving furniture at home.
August 29 – As the Pacifics drill the Blue Sox, 12-2, L.A.'s Matt Jamieson (.254, 10 HR, 59 RBI) collects five base hits, including three doubles, and drives in a pair.

Complaints and stuff

Mark Roberts wrapped of Pitcher of the Month honors with a 5-1 record and 1.05 ERA during this month. Opponents hit .161 against him and he whiffed 43 in as many innings! It is the first POTM award for the 30-year-old southpaw.

During the week we reached a point where Miguel Carrasco rated almost half of our position players with the dreaded ice crystal for being somewhere between cold and frozen. The offense was bad enough this month to drop us back in the bottom three in runs scored after a somewhat decent summer in terms of runs scored, but as of Sunday night we are back to under four runs per game…

August was also our first month this year we didn't put up a winning record. Snyder hanging on to Roberts' gem on Sunday merely got us even for the month at 14-14, which coincidentally was also the Titans' worst monthly tally this season, back in May. Never mind the three months of roughly .700 ball they had. They went 15-13 this month, but that is really all they need right now… they could use a bit more health, though…

Rosters will expand on Monday and we will remain at home for another week to play the Thunder and Titans, but we also have three separate trips to the East Coast left due to some weird scheduling. We will be in New York from the 8th to the 10th and again to finish the season, and we will hit Boston from the 16th to the 18th.

In terms of call-ups, I figure a few relievers and some outfielders who had never dreamed of coming up, and who have probably flown far under the radar so far. We will get a sixth starter off the DL next week when Lance Legleiter's stint runs out. Borg will come back, too, and Terry Kopp will probably start another rehab stint next week just before minor league seasons end.

All our minor league teams have losing records by the way.

Fun Fact: Jonathan Toner holds the most All Star nominations as a Raccoon, being honored nine times – all consecutive – from 2014 through 2022. Nick Brown earned eight nominations, and Tetsu Osanai and Angel Casas represented the team five times.

Comprehensive and Complete (I hope) Portland Raccoons All Stars Compendium

1977 (3) – Jose Flores, Pedro Sαnz, Ben Simon
1978 (1) – Ben Simon (2)
1979 (1) – Ben Simon (3)
1980 (2) – Stephano Bocci, Ben Simon (4)
1981 (1) – Ralph Nixon
1982 (1) – Daniel Hall
1983 (4) – Mark Dawson, Kinji Kan, Enrique Sanchez, Grant West
1984 (3) – Daniel Hall (2), Kisho Saito*, Grant West (2)
1985 (3) – Tetsu Osanai*, Vicente Ruiz, Grant West (3)
1986 (4) – Dimian Barrios, Carlos Gonzalez, Tetsu Osanai (2), Grant West (4)
1987 (2) – Tetsu Osanai (3), Armando Sanchez
1988 (3) – Mark Dawson (2), Tetsu Osanai (4), Armando Sanchez (2)
1989 (4) – Sam Dadswell, Tetsu Osanai (5), Kisho Saito (2), Scott Wade
1990 (none) –
1991 (3) – Neil Reece, Kisho Saito (3), Jason Turner
1992 (4) – Daniel Hall (3), Ben O’Morrissey, Kisho Saito (4), Scott Wade (2)
1993 (3) – Miguel Lopez, Ben O’Morrissey (2), Neil Reece (2)
1994 (none) –
1995 (6) – David Brewer, Ben O’Morrissey (3), Neil Reece (3), Kisho Saito (5), Jorge Salazar, Jason Turner (2)
1996 (4) – Tzu-jao Ban, David Brewer (2), Antonio Donis, Royce Green
1997 (1) – David Brewer (3)
1998 (1) – Manuel Movonda
1999 (1) – Conceicao Guerin
2000 (none) –
2001 (3) – Conceicao Guerin (2), Albert Martin, Jesus Palacios
2002 (3) – Ralph Ford, Albert Martin (2), Jesus Palacios (2)
2003 (1) – Albert Martin (3)
2004 (1) – Nick Brown
2005 (1) – Nick Brown (2)
2006 (none) –
2007 (4) – Angel Casas, Tomas Castro, Victor Flores, Kelvin Yates
2008 (6) – Luke Black, Craig Bowen, Nick Brown (3), Angel Casas (2), Tomas Castro (2), Adrian Quebell
2009 (4) – Ron Alston, Nick Brown (4), Angel Casas (3), Adrian Quebell (2)
2010 (3) – Ron Alston (2), Nick Brown (5), Adrian Quebell (3)
2011 (3) – Angel Casas (4), Jose Morales, Ieyoshi Nomura
2012 (1) – Nick Brown (6)
2013 (1) – Dylan Alexander
2014 (4) – Dylan Alexander (2), Nick Brown (7), Hector Santos, Jonathan Toner
2015 (3) – Angel Casas (5), Hector Santos (2), Jonathan Toner (2)
2016 (5) – Nick Brown (8), Ronnie McKnight, Matt Nunley, Hector Santos (3), Jonathan Toner (3)
2017 (2) – Jonathan Toner (4), Shane Walter
2018 (6) – Ricardo Carmona, Chris Mathis, Hugo Mendoza, Alex Ramirez, Ron Thrasher, Jonathan Toner (5)
2019 (6) – Tadasu Abe, Hugo Mendoza (2), Alex Ramirez (2), Hector Santos (4), Jonathan Toner (6), Shane Walter (2)
2020 (4) – Chris Mathis (2), Hugo Mendoza (3), Ieyoshi Nomura (2), Jonathan Toner (7)
2021 (4) – Danny Margolis, Hugo Mendoza (4), Ieyoshi Nomura (3), Jonathan Toner (8)
2022 (2) – Noah Bricker, Jonathan Toner (9)
2023 (1) – Brett Lillis
2024 (2) – Jon Gonzalez, Abel Mora
2025 (4) – Vince Devereaux, Jon Gonzalez (2), Ricky Ohl, Mark Roberts
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
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: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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pgjocki (08-16-2018)
Old 08-17-2018, 12:15 PM   #2587
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Would you have guessed that I had the entire week off? :-P Yeah, that brisk pace of updates will slow down again next week. Unless, you know, I win the lottery.

As rosters expanded, the Raccoons stretched their lines a bit with reinforcements from AAA. Three relief pitchers were added in Nick Derks (2.63 ERA), who had already had a brief cup of coffee in '24, left-hander Matt Wilson (3.48 ERA), a 2020 ninth-rounder that had risen through the ranks slowly and was already 25 like Derks, and perpetual call-up Will West, of the ripe old age of 32, who had made 12 appearances with the Pacifics earlier this year after having been claimed in the rule 5 draft, but who had been returned to the Raccoons some time ago, despite a decent 2.51 ERA for L.A.

Only one bat was brought up at this point … and, well… it was Dwayne Metts, because … ugh.

The 40-man roster had to accommodate West and Wilson, putting Hector Morales and Josh Whitaker, two appallingly mediocre left-handers, on waivers.

Raccoons (73-58) vs. Thunder (66-65) – September 1-3, 2025

Despite sitting in fourth place in the South, the Thunder still had something of a chance to win their division, being only 5 1/2 games out at the start of September. To get closer, they would have to climb over the Raccoons, but these Coons had slim chances to win the season series for the first time since 2021, having lost four of six games to the Thunder so far this year. Oklahoma City ranked second in offense to the Titans in the CL, but also ninth in runs allowed with a thoroughly brittle pitching staff and shaky defense.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (1-1, 6.57 ERA) vs. Andy Palomares (15-8, 3.74 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-6, 2.93 ERA) vs. Max Nelson (7-9, 4.17 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (7-7, 3.70 ERA) vs. Jose Vigil (7-3, 5.58 ERA)

Three right-handers, while we'd ignore their southpaws.

Game 1
OCT: LF de Santiago – SS Serrato – 1B Pizzo – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – 3B Flournoy – C L. Riley – 2B Castellanos – P Palomares
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – RF Mansfield – P Delgadillo

There was quite a stiff wind blowing out in this game, but you barely would have noticed. Alex Serrato hit a solo piece in the first, Tim Stalker hit a solo piece in the second, and Jon Gonzalez put a 2-piece on the board in the third inning. See, barely a homer per inning. Things got a bit better for the pitchers by different means. For a while, Delgadillo managed to get lots of groundballs, including inning-ending double play grounders in the fourth and fifth innings, while Palomares found his stuff and whiffed up eight Coons through six innings. The Thunder scratched out a run in that sixth inning, in which Palomares hit a 1-out single, Carlos de Santiago doubled to left center, and Serrato brought in a run with a sac fly to Devin Mansfield. Delgadillo then got stuck for good in the seventh, with Dave Flournoy and Liam Riley hitting 2-out singles. Flournoy, the tying run, was pinch-run for by Danny Camarillo, and left-handed hurt inflictor Mike Rucker pinch-hit in the #8 spot, so it was definitely time for a left-handed pitcher. Justin Hess came in, got Rucker to two strikes, then served up a 3-run blast anyway. The Coons looked lost against Palomares through eight innings, then didn't fare much better against their former team mate Ryan Corkum in the ninth. Stalker struck out. Otis grounded out. O'Dell grounded to third base, where Dave Garcia had been misplaed to and promptly fumbled the game-ender. The error brought up Spencer, who doubled up the leftfield line, promptly placing the tying runs in scoring position for Abel Mora, a strong 0-for-4 on the day. He got rung up to put this one in the books. 5-3 Thunder. Spencer 2-5, 2B; Tovias 2-4;

Matt Wilson made his major league debut in the ninth inning, whiffing two in a scoreless inning, but it didn't help the Coons reclaim their shot at the season series. This Thunder win put it away for them, 5-2 with two to play.

Game 2
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – C Burgess – CF D. Garcia – 1B J. Elliott – LF Camarillo – RF Dobbs – 2B Castellanos – P Nelson
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Gerace – C Delgado – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez

The Thunder scored again in the first inning, this time with the aid of a leadoff triple by Lorenzo Rivera, who was quickly brought home when Serrato grounded out to Gonzalez behind first base. Gutierrez didn't get to terms at all with the entirely right-handed lineup, allowed another run in the second inning on Camarillo's double, and even though Justin Gerace pulled the score even with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the second inning, plating Nunley from first base, Rico kept getting mobbed. The third inning saw a Lorenzo Rivera single, an RBI double by Serrato, a single by Mike Burgess, then an RBI double by Dave Garcia. Down 4-2, runners on second and third, and nobody out, the bullpen got stirring. John Elliott singled in the runners, after which Gutierrez, in a 6-2 hole, got two outs before Otis threw away Jesus Castellanos' grounder for a 2-base error. Nelson grounded out with another pair of runners in scoring position, finally ending the dismal inning. Gutierrez was removed after Rivera hit another leadoff single in the fourth. Somehow, and through no fault of his own, replacement Nick Derks managed to keep that run on base, despite walking Serrato, drilling Garcia, and surrendering two real rockets in the inning. One was turned for a double play, and one found its way into Otis' glove all by itself…

And that was pretty much the game. The Thunder would face a steady string of right-handed relievers from here on out, and didn't do a whole lot against them. Where Gutierrez had surrendered eight base hits, five relievers (Derks, West, Surginer, Ohl, Lee) pitched six innings of 2-hit ball against Oklahoma. The Coons weren't much better. From the third to the eighth innings, they amounted to more than one base runner exactly once – in the seventh, when Nelson drilled Tony Delgado and walked Tim Stalker – and scored exactly never. The ninth began with singles by Nunley and Gerace, enough to knock out Nelson in a 6-2 game. Against Corkum again, Tony Delgado knocked into a double play IMMEDIATELY, and Stalker's fly to left was no challenge for Camarillo. 6-2 Thunder. Gonzalez 2-4; Nunley 2-4; Gerace 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Derks 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K;

Quick count shows Brotman and Ohl with an ERA of zip in their last 28 games out, still including one unearned run per black pointy nose involved.

Justin Gerace meanwhile is homering once every 20 at-bats. That is a rate that would thrill me for Jon Gonzalez…

Game 3
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – 1B Pizzo – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – C Burgess – LF L. Davis – 2B Castellanos – P Vigil
POR: 2B Otis – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – RF Borg – SS Bullock – CF Metts – P Chavez

The Coons turned two to keep the Thunder at bay, with Sagredo's first-inning double play negating their singles by Serrato and Garcia, and the walk issued to Mike Pizzo by a generally not very convincing Jesus Chavez. Still, the Coons scored first; not in the second inning, which Jon Gonzalez began with a double, and which continued with three pops over the infield or shallow center, but in the third inning, which Dwayne Metts, the scrub of scrubs, led off with a single to center. Rivera misplayed Chavez' bunt as he tried to get the lead runner, grossly underestimating Metts' speed, and Otis then singled to center, allowing Metts to come home from second base. At some point, some idiot had to hit into a double play. That was Nunley, but at least Tovias got a single through between Serrato and Rivera for a 2-out RBI and a 2-0 lead for Chavez. Borg (double) and Bullock (single) grew the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning, but we were still dealing with Jesus Chavez here. Top 5th, Chavez served up a double to the opposing pitcher, balked Vigil to third base, then conceded the run on Rivera's single before letting the outfielders do the rest…

Somehow, nobody quite knew how, Chavez made it through seven innings with little clue and no stuff. The Thunder still couldn't touch him after roughing up Delgadillo and Gutierrez the previous two games. The Coons had a pair on base in the bottom 7th, indiscriminately left them on against a wavering Vigil, then saw Vince D allow a leadoff single to Rivera in the eighth. Serrato lined out to Otis, after which Brotman took over. He whiffed Pizzo, then also had to face the right-handed batter Garcia with a left-hander (Sagredo) behind him. Garcia had 21 homers, so was not to joke around with, but instead knocked a single up the middle. Rivera eagerly turned second base, only to find out that he had grossly misjudged the situation, with Metts' throw arriving at Nunley's when Rivera was halfway. The Coons got him in a rundown, slapped him out, then overwhelmed and ate him. The Coons then batted in the bottom of the eighth inning, getting Gonzalez on due to a Pizzo error, and Gerace as well with a single, by which time a double play was more than likely. Greg Borg fulfilled the ancient duty, but at least shook things up by hitting it so hard at Rivera's skeleton that the Thunder could turn a 5-3 double play. Gerace was stranded at second base on Bullock's groundout to short. At least Snyder saved the game against a plethora of left-handed bats in the ninth… 3-1 Critters. Otis 2-4, RBI; Metts 2-3; Chavez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (8-7);

Raccoons (74-60) vs. Titans (86-47) – September 4-7, 2025

The Coons' chances were mostly academical at 12 1/2 games out, even if they swept the Titans in this series, which was frankly unlikely. While we did hold a 6-5 lead in the season series, oddly enough, we were still no match against this juggernaut of a serial winner, with the Titans ranking first in runs scored and second (to us) in runs allowed in the CL with a baffling +219 run differential. Yes, you could sneak two or three wins from them at times, but good luck in an 18-game season series… The Titans would not be able to seal the division even with a sweep, as there were too many games yet remaining.

Projected matchups:
Jack Sander (9-10, 3.95 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (7-11, 3.34 ERA)
Mark Roberts (17-6, 2.31 ERA) vs. Ian Rutter (12-9, 4.85 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (1-1, 2.82 ERA) vs. Julio San Pedro (7-0, 2.93 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (1-2, 6.16 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (18-3, 2.54 ERA)

No left-handers anywhere near. Dustin Wingo had been on the DL for a while now, and they had nobody else around. Speaking of the DL – they had plenty of personnel on the disabled list. Besides Wingo, the Titans were without Alberto Molina, Hwa-pyung Choe, Adrian Reichardt, Rhett West, Trent Herlihy, and two or three others, and still were hardly missing a beat, even if their fifth starter currently was a Nicaraguan chap named Guillermo Regalado that nobody had ever heard of, but he had a 4-0 record and 1.51 ERA, so what the **** did we know?

Legleiter had come off the DL on Tuesday and would slot into the now-6-man rotation. This came with an asterisk, as we would shift or skip pitchers throughout the month to give Mark Roberts as many starts as possible so he had a fighting chance for any between the ERA, wins, or strikeouts title – or all three of those.

Game 1
BOS: 3B Corder – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – 1B Elder – CF St. Germaine – P Waite
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – SS Stalker – RF Mansfield – P Sander

The weather was shoddy from the start, and we had a 30-minute rain delay as early as the second inning, before any runs were scored. Jarod Spencer was frustrated in particular, singling in his first two at-bats, stealing second base both times, and never getting driven in. The Raccoons would still score first, but that didn't happen until the fourth inning. Jon Gonzalez hit a double down the rightfield line to begin the inning, was balked to third base by Waite, and then scored on Nunley's groundout, but Jack Sander got upended immediately. The fifth began with Jay Elder's single up the middle, a double by Adam St. Germaine coming right after that, and while Waite struck out with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Adam Corder drove a ball to centerfield for a 2-run hit, then scored on Yasuhiro Kuramoto's 2-out single to bring the score to 3-1 Titans. Sander was booted and hit for in the bottom 5th after using almost 100 pitches through five messy innings, but things got no better for Portland, with Matt Wilson's second major league outing being one to entirely forget. He walked two, allowed two hits, and drilled Corder, too, in surrendering three runs in the sixth, and then left with two outs and runners on the corners. Surginer came in to face Kuramoto, but allowed a howling 2-run double into the leftfield corner to close Wilson's line at five runs in two thirds of an inning. That was the worst individual performance on the day, although the offense deserved to be whipped collectively, amounting to all of four base hits against Waite, who despite an early rain delay would pitch a complete game for an easy win. There was only one more run in the game, that one coming on Kuramoto's homer off Nick Derks in the eighth inning. 9-1 Titans. Spencer 2-4;

Well, when the Titans say NO, they mean NO.

Next time only anger them in the ninth and let them sleep til then!

Game 2
BOS: 3B Corder – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Spataro – 1B Elder – C A. Arias – CF St. Germaine – 2B Lawson – P Rutter
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – C O'Dell – RF Borg – SS Stalker – P Roberts

Roberts struck out the side in the first inning, and also Adam Braun in the ribs on a 2-2 pitch. He hit another guy in the second inning, this time Keith Lawson to load the bases with one out after Alex Arias had walked and Adam St. Germaine had singled. Ian Rutter grounded to the mound for a force out at home, the second out in the inning, after which Corder collected another K for Roberts to wiggle out of the scary inning.

Portland again would score first, and again in the fourth inning, tolling an automatic bell of doom. Gonzalez and Gerace led off the inning with back-to-back doubles for a run. In Gonzalez' case this extended a 10-game hitting streak and was also his 40th double of the season. The abysmal bottom of the order left Gerace on base, with Gerace the following inning lining out to Keith Lawson to strand Spencer and Gonzalez on the corners. The 1-0 lead held up as long as Roberts was around, but Roberts expended 111 pitches in whiffing eight over six innings, spilling four base hits and three knocked-up batters. Roberts' spot came up with the bags full and nobody out as Ian Rutter was making another attempt at getting skinned and turned into a handbag in the bottom of the sixth. Tovias batted for the Coons' ace, but popped out in foul ground. Spencer floated a ball to left that dropped in just ahead of Kuramoto, but only one run scored because Greg Borg had to hold halfway between second and third until the ball dropped in and then Kuramoto had it on the first bounce. Nunley and Mora dismally BOTH popped out, stranding three runners and leaving the score at 2-0 in a game in which they had already knocked ten base hits and drawn two walks. The Coons sent in Ricky Ohl for the seventh, who spilled two 2-out hits, but wiggled out of it, because of course he did; he always did! Vince D and Brotman combined for a scoreless eighth, in the bottom of which Tim Stalker widened the score a bit, doubling home Greg Borg after the latter's leadoff walk. The Titans' Javy Salomon kept the Coons decent at this point and stalled Stalker, who had been in scoring position with nobody out (…!), giving Snyder a save chance in the ninth inning, facing Tim Robinson in the #9 hole, then the top of the order. Robinson grounded out, and Corder and Kuramoto went down on strikes. 3-0 Furballs! Spencer 2-5, RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB; Gonzalez 2-4, 2B; Stalker 1-2, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Roberts 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, W (18-6);

That really advanced Roberts' triple crown case, but there was more to do for the Critters, like tearing Morgan Shepherd in half in the Sunday game…

Game 3
BOS: 1B Elder – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – 3B J. Perkins – CF St. Germaine – P San Pedro
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – SS Stalker – RF Mansfield – P Legleiter

The Coons amounted to only one base hit in the first three innings, but the Titans were also befuddled by Legleiter's lack of control and didn't get a bat on him until the fourth. Jamie Wilson singled, Mike Kane doubled, and September call-up Justin Perkins plated the first run of the game with a sac fly to Mora. With two outs, the Coons walked St. Germaine intentionally, which had already worked to get out of the second inning when Legleiter had then whiffed San Pedro, but this time San Pedro connected on the 0-2 pitch and singled to center, plating Mike Kane for a 2-0 lead. Elder struck out instead. That was all the Titans could shake out of an erratic Legleiter, but it was enough through six innings. The completely overmatched Jimmy Lee surrendered a run on three hits in the seventh inning, but none of that mattered much given how silent the Coons were. They had gotten two men on in the bottom 4th with singles by Gonzalez and Gerace, but nothing had come of that, and after Stalker's leadoff single in the fifth, Mansfield had kicked the bucket for a double play. They would scratch out a run on singles by Gerace, Stalker, and Mansfield in the seventh inning, but Matt Otis grounded out to Jamie Wilson to keep the tying runs on base when he hit for Lee. The Coons went on to receive a gift run from the Titans in the bottom 8th, where Spencer reached on Wilson's error, stole second, and eventually scored on a wild pitch. The Titans pen collectively allowed hits to Gonzalez and Gerace after that, but Matt Nunley couldn't come through, grounding out to Lawson to keep the Coons down by a run. Vince D held the Titans close in the ninth, bringing the bottom of the order up against left-hander Brent Beene and his 3.62 ERA in the bottom of the ninth. Stalker grounded out, Greg Borg drew a 1-out walk in Mansfield's spot. Brett O'Dell and his power (that we hadn't witnessed yet) were sent to bat as the winning run, and like a winner he crashed a 1-2 pitch into the waiting arms of Jamie Wilson for a game-concluding double play. 3-2 Titans. Gonzalez 2-4; Gerace 3-4; Stalker 2-4, RBI;

Oh well. THIS game will count for the triple crown. You listening, Coons? Morgan must be mauled!

Game 4
BOS: 3B Corder – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – RF F. Rodriguez – 1B Cornejo – CF Baptiste – P Shepherd
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – RF Borg – SS Bullock – P Delgadillo

The Titans were ahead almost instantly thanks to Adam Corder's double to the base of the centerfield wall and Keith Leonard's RBI single, with Delgadillo routinely bleeding hits and runs out of every hole in his body ever since returning from rehab in St. Petersburg. Well, it was two hits and a run in the opening inning, but with the division universally agreed to be out of reach, it was Shepherd who was our main focus. Morgan Must Be Mauled!! Spencer led off the bottom 1st with a triple, which was dandy, after which Shepherd, who had a dazzling 110 walks to go with his 194 K as the game got underway, issued a free pass to Abel Mora. Tovias brought in the Spencer run with a groundout, and another groundout moved Mora to third base, from where Shepherd plated him with a wild pitch, giving the Coons a 2-1 lead. Gerace then walked, stole second, and the pressure remained on until released by Matt Nunley hitting an absolute shotgun blast to right-center, a 415-footer into the upper rows of the stands out there! That was four runs on two hits, all earned! Swell job!

Delgadillo continued to struggle, conceding a run in the third that was unearned on his own throwing error as well as a couple of hits sprinkled all over the place. The fourth saw him allow a leadoff walk to Mike Kane, then a single to Fernando Rodriguez that sent Kane to third base. Those were the tying runs, with Shepherd trying hard to patch up that ERA of his. Moving forwards, Delgadillo generated two groundballs to middle infielders, and the Coons couldn't turn the double play neither on Gil Cornejo nor on Tristen Baptiste, while Kane scored even the first time around, making this a 4-3 game. Shepherd grounded out to Spender to end the inning. The lead however went bust for good in the fifth, with Kuramoto singling, stealing (his first of the year…), and scoring on Wilson's single. Don't give him a win, boys! Don't let Shepherd back in the game! MORGAN MUST BE MAULED!!

Yeah, they let him back in the game. The miserable sucker bunch struck out only three times in five innings, which was manageable, but didn't plate another run after the 4-run burst in the opening inning against Shepherd, who was hit for with Rodriguez on third base and two outs. Keith Spataro batted, looked on bemusedly as Delgadillo threw a breaking ball over Tovias' head, and Rodriguez scored on the wild pitch. That gave Shepherd the win – unless the Coons could come back, starting with Lorenzo Viamontes in the bottom 6th. Gerace, Nunley, and Borg went down in order, and it was time for some pills and booze mixed with bleach now… Ricky Ohl's and Billy Brotman's zip-ERA streaks died right after my will to drag myself towards another day as he retired nobody between the top of the order in the seventh inning. Ohl started it, as Corder walked, Leonard singled, as did Kuramoto. Greg Borg logged a ****ing out, throwing out Leonard at third base on that play, but Kuramoto moved up and Corder scored anyway. Time for Billy, who also retired none of the first three batters he faced, surrendering an RBI single to Wilson, a walk to Tim Robinson, and a 3-run homer to the scrap nobody Rodriguez. This 5-spot probably put Shepherd's 19th win in the books and also caused an aneuryism or two to pop in my numb skull as the rest of the game was veiled in a thick fog for me. There was a Delgado sac fly against Dustin Cory in the eighth. There was a Mora sac fly against Dustin Cory in the ninth. But mostly there were tears of rage and despair. 10-6 Titans. Spencer 3-5, 3B, 2B; Nunley 2-3, HR, 2 RBI;

F-****ing-gg –g p-pprssssss.sss ssss—scum!!! (throws empty bottle of booze against the wall, where it shatters)

In other news

September 1 – The Blue Sox lose 4-0 to the Scorpions, being shut out on three base hits by SAC SP Jordan Caldwell (15-10, 4.02 ERA).
September 2 – NYC RF/LF/1B Jamie Richardson (.247, 1 HR, 9 RBI) amounts to five singles and one RBI in the Crusaders' 15-12 see-saw battle against the Bayhawks.
September 4 – LVA 3B/SS Jose Navarro (.256, 1 HR, 27 RBI) drives in six runs on three base hits in the Aces' 14-3 romp over the Falcons. The Aces score all their runs in the last three innings; 5-spots in the seventh and eighth innings, followed by a 4-spot in the ninth.
September 6 – The Stars and Pacifics go back and forth for 18 innings, with both teams scoring in both ends of the 12th and 14th innings, until the Stars secure a 5-4 walkoff win SS Phil Neubecker (.223, 3 HR, 23 RBI) hitting a sac fly in the bottom 18th.
September 7 – Aussie SFB 1B Bob Lloyd (.258, 12 HR, 49 RBI) gives the Bayhawks a 6-3 win over the Thunder with his pinch-hit walkoff grand slam off OCT CL Ryan Corkum (3-7, 4.37 ERA, 30 SV).

Complaints and stuff

Jon Gonzalez has a 13-game hitting streak. Jarod Spencer has 36 steals and has closed within one bag of NYC Lance Douglas. And that is ALL the good news.

After his start on Friday, Mark Roberts led the majors in ERA and the CL by .31 runs over Morgan Shepherd, tied with Shepherd for the lead in wins, and was two behind Shepherd in strikeouts. What an epic battle!

If only the ****ing Raccoons wouldn't have shoved a ****ing win up Shepherd's ****ing *** on Sunday…

Oh well, the story of this franchise. Never ready when it really counts. Never.

Never.

Fun Fact: Jon Gonzalez has 41 doubles on the season, which has him one two-bagger outside of the franchise top 10. The most doubles in a season ever were hit by a Raccoon came off the bat of Adrian Quebell, 49 doubles in the 2010 season.

That is Quebell's only entry in the top 10, which otherwise hold four Tetsu Osanai seasons, including a personal best of 45 doubles in 1989 for third place. Daniel Hall hit 47 in '82 for second place, and there is lots of 44's otherwise. Werner Turner, Mark Dawson, Ben O'Morrissey, and Luke Black all have a single entry in the top 10.

The ABL record for doubles in a season are *65* by Dallas' Hector Garcia in 2010. Quebell's mark doesn't even come up in the top 100.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:32 PM   #2588
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Raccoons (75-63) @ Crusaders (70-66) – September 8-10, 2025

The Crusaders were on fire, even though it was too late for them, and had won their last 10 games played. Well, here come the Coons! Even on a hot streak, they were still fairly unremarkable, seventh in both runs scored and runs allowed in the CL. During their streak, they had scored 64 runs while conceding 43. The Raccoons were trailing in the season series, having lost seven of the 12 games played so far this year.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (8-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (11-10, 5.16 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (8-7, 3.59 ERA) vs. Ben Jacobson (7-8, 4.20 ERA)
Mark Roberts (18-6, 2.23 ERA) vs. Chris Klein (13-8, 2.83 ERA)

Right, left, right for this series. They were still missing key pieces despite being on fire, with "Ant" Mendez, Mike Rutkowski, and Sergio Valdez on the DL in particular.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Gerace – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – SS Stalker – RF Mansfield – P Gutierrez
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – LF Loya – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – C F. Delgado – 2B Doering – CF R. Torruellas – P Hague

Rico sat down the first 11 Crusaders in this game until Andy Schmit bombed him with a blast to left in the bottom of the fourth inning. That was the first run in the game, with the Raccoons having not exactly cornered Hague and beaten him senseless. They had runners on the corners with nobody out in the third, courtesy of singles by Stalker and Mansfield, but Gutierrez and Spencer both grounded out to a corner infielder, keeping Tim Stalker at third base the whole time, and then Abel Mora popped out over the infield. Straight singles by Felipe Delgado, Blake Doering, and Rafael Torruellas plated a second run for New York in the fifth inning, with the Raccoons only starting to get into a groove slowly. Spencer had a leadoff single in the sixth, but got forced out by Mora. Gerace was hopeless, but Gonzalez hit a single up the middle to send Mora to third base with two down, followed by Nunley's blooper into shallow right. That one was in for an RBI single, Nate Ellis overran the ball, and the error allowed Gonzalez and Nunley to reach scoring position, where they remained when Tovias struck out.

Rico Gutierrez survived a bottom of the seventh inning in which him and Nunley shoveled themselves a stylish grave early on, putting Tom McWhorter aboard on Matt's error, then also Delgado when Gutierrez tried to get the lead runner on the catcher's bunt. None of this was particularly effective except in giving the Crusaders a chance with nobody out, but somehow they flunked out of it by making three poor outs and keeping the runners on base. The Coons carted up the top of the order in the eighth, with neither Spencer nor Mora reached. Gerace singled to center, which brought up Jon Gonzalez, who had already extended his hitting streak to 14 games and now reached out to tie Abel Mora for the team lead in home runs (with a sad-sack 17), crashing an Ed Hague fastball over the fence in left-center. This flipped the score, lined Rico up for a W, and brought major bullpen drama in the bottom 8th. Gutierrez struck out the left-handed Xavier Garcia to begin the inning, then yielded for Ricky Ohl, who retired Ricky Loya alright, but then walked Andy Schmit, for whom Robby Soto came out as pinch-runner, carrying the tying run. We moved on to Billy Brotman against Nate Ellis, who singled in a 1-2 count, putting runners on the corners while the bullpen door kept flinging open. Kevin Surginer was tasked with Tom McWhorter, and was probably lucky that Jon Gonzalez caught his foul pop by leaning into the Crusaders' dugout, who were none too pleased about his feat. The extended inning put Jonathan Snyder up against the bottom of the order in the ninth inning, which didn't mean that it was smooth sailing or anything like that. Jason Asay ripped a pinch-hit double, putting the tying run on second base with one out, and while Gerace remained master of Jamie Richardson's fly to left, the Crusaders still had a dangerous pinch-hitter in the dugout, the CL leader in stolen bases (one ahead of Spencer), Lance Douglas, a left-hander with 12 homers, who came out to bat in the #9 spot… and got rung up by Snyder. 3-2 Coons! Gonzalez 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Mansfield 2-4; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, W (9-7);

Hague, who struck out seven, pitched a complete game 8-hitter for the loss. I'm sorry, what winning streak are you talking about again?

Game 2
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Otis – RF Gerace – 1B Gonzalez – CF Borg – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – SS Stalker – P Chavez
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – 2B Walter – C Asay – LF Loya – P Jacobson

Spencer reached base on McWhorter's fumbling error to get the game underway, but didn't get off a stolen base attempt at all thanks to Matt Otis' homer to leftfield, which was a tough thing to be mad about, but with proper effort I could probably conjure up some genuine disgruntlement…! Portland left the bases loaded in the second without scoring, Otis popping out this time, but plated two more runs in the third, which Justin Gerace opened with a double through Andy Schmit and into the leftfield corner. He scored on Gonzalez' single to center and drew a throw that allowed Gonzalez to advance, and by extension provided opportunity for Nunley to plate him with his single to center, which ran the score to 4-0. Before long, the gloomy skies leaked some water, putting the game in a rain delay in the fourth inning, which certainly messed with the starting pitchers. Jacobson would not get through five innings, completely losing the zone in the fifth and being bailed out by the bullpen eventually, but not until after allowing a solo homer to Gonzalez. Chavez, who had only thrown 42 pitches before the rain delay, remained in better shape and completed five innings at least, allowing three base hits in total, two of those after the delay. He had a quick sixth, but allowed line drive singles to ex-Coon Shane Walter and to Jason Asay in the seventh and was brought in for the pen to pick eight outs from the Crusaders without blowing a 5-0 lead, which was a task not too tall to not be completely ****ed up. Will West surrendered one run on Loya's sac fly, but got the Coons out of the seventh still ahead by a slam. Abel Mora singled for West to begin the eighth inning, but was forced out on Spencer's grounder, which however gave Jarod a chance to be sneaky again. He took off with Otis at the plate (you never know if you get two chances, pal!) and Asay's throw was well late again, handing sole ownership of the CL stolen base lead to Spencer, who ended up being left on base by Otis and Gerace. Justin Hess surrendered a run in the bottom 8th on Garcia's leadoff double and Douglas' RBI single up the middle, but Schmit involved Douglas in a double play before he could think about getting back even with Spencer. Snyder put the Crusaders away in the ninth… AFTER allowing a double to Walter and walking the bases full. Xavier Garcia struck out to end the game. 5-2 Coons. Spencer 2-5; Gonzalez 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Mora (PH) 1-1; Chavez 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, W (9-7) and 1-2, BB;

The Raccoons activated Terry Kopp from his rehab assignment for the Wednesday game, hoping to liven up the outfield corners. Kopp, crippled by injuries, had so far missed 107 games this season and was batting .267 with 3 HR and 12 RBI in just over 100 at-bats.

Wednesday was also a must-win game because Mark Roberts was moved ahead of Jack Sander to keep his triple crown ambitions in the best shape possible in giving him plenty of starts as we were still mentally gnawing on Dan Delgadillo's idiotic wild pitch that had given Morgan Shepherd an unnecessary win on the weekend.

Game 3
POR: LF Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 2B Otis – SS Bullock – P Roberts
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – 2B R. Soto – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – C F. Delgado – LF Douglas – CF Shaffer – P Klein

Roberts didn't really come out sharp and conceded a run in the first inning on a walk and two singles, but the Coons had their own way of turning this thing around fairly soon. Daniel Bullock randomly ripped his first dinger of the season in the third inning, with Spencer and Nunley hitting singles to go to the corners after that. Nate Ellis contested Spencer's taking of third base with a wayward throw, the error allowing Spencer to come home with the go-ahead run instead before Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning.

The lead wasn't permanent. The following inning, Terry Kopp hit a leadoff double, but was thrown out at home plate by Nick Shaffer on Tovias' single to center, and the Coons didn't get aboard for a while after that. Shaffer in turn dropped down a bunt leading off the bottom 5th and legged it out for a single, got bunted over by Klein, and scored on Robby Soto's 2-out single over a leaping Otis to even the score at two. The inning ended with a K to Andy Schmit, Roberts' eighth in the game and 200th on the season. Roberts did his all, but the offense didn't. The game remained tied at two through eight innings, with Mark striking out a sound 11, but not getting a lead to convert into a win. Well, the Coons were still to bat in the ninth in his support, facing Steve Casey, the first guy out of the Crusaders' pen with Gonzalez leading off. Casey struck out both Gonzalez and Kopp before yielding a single to Tovias. Madly looking for a quick run, the Coons sent Gerace to bat for Otis, but he popped out to shallow center. The Coons in the bottom 9th were nerve-wrecking indeed. Vince D walked Douglas with one out, and the runner swiped second base when neither Bullock nor Stalker covered the base, giving me another one of those mild strokes. Devereaux shoveled the bases full, eventually handing the left-handed bat of Jamie Richardson to Brotman with two outs. Richardson drove a 3-2 well to center, but Mora caught the ball, sending the game to the most dispiriting extra innings in a while.

Extras saw New York's Travis Giordano whiff four between the 10th and 11th innings before Gilberto Castillo allowed a leadoff single to Tovias in the 12th. Kevin Surginer was up next and instead of a pinch-hitter we used him to bunt, then sent Dwayne Metts to pinch-run for Tovias from second base. He scored handily on Bullock's sharp single up the middle, breaking the tie, finally, but it was the Coons' only run despite Stalker singling right afterwards. Spencer popped out, Mora whiffed, and it was on Justin Hess now to the save the game against three left-handed bats. Chris Peters grounded out, J.D. Laughery struck out, and so did Nate Ellis, putting this series in the books as a Coons sweep. 3-2 Furballs. Gonzalez 2-5, 2B; Tovias 3-5; Bullock 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Roberts 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K; Surginer 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (6-4);

Raccoons (78-63) vs. Canadiens (68-71) – September 12-14, 2025

This was the last series with the damn Elks this season, with Portland holding a narrow 8-7 lead in the season series. Vancouver ranked third in runs scored, but third from the bottom in runs allowed, with a -22 run differential. Nevertheless, they still had a valid shot at a .500 season or better, which would be the first time since 2018 that they didn't wind up with more losses than victories.

Projected matchups:
Lance Legleiter (1-2, 2.86 ERA) vs. Luis Vasquez (3-7, 4.72 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (1-3, 6.12 ERA) vs. Ivan Morales (8-10, 3.99 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (9-7, 3.18 ERA) vs. Fernando Estrada (9-5, 4.38 ERA)

We would carefully paw our way around their left-handed pitchers and draw only right-handers in this weekend set.

Game 1
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – CF Day – RF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – SS Crosby – C Tanzillo – P Vasquez
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Legleiter

Elias Matias Tovias Diaz briefly blinked in the depths of his endless slump and hit a 2-run homer off Vasquez in the second inning for the first tally in the game. The Raccoons would up that to 3-0 on a 2-out RBI double by Gonzalez in the following inning. He not only drove in Nunley, but also extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Meanwhile, the Elks enjoyed themselves in making outs on the base paths. Jonathan Morales hit a single to begin the game, but was caught stealing by Tovias, and Norman Day was struck down by Terry Kopp at third base, trying to get an extra 90 feet on Tony Coca's single in the fourth. While Jarod Spencer was also caught stealing by Chris Tanzillo to end the fifth inning, the Coons were at least being silly with a lead…

Legleiter developed a shutout bid in the middle innings, sprinkling isolated singles, although it wasn't only keeping the opposing team off the board for him, since he probably had to do away with a team in 100 pitches or less due to his short stamina. While that was going on, there were additional runs in the sixth, with Nunley leading off with a double that Spencer wouldn't let him hit in the previous inning, and then Kopp was put on intentionally because he might have missed triple-digit games this year, but remember the slump that Tovias was in? Yeah, slump my ***, Tovias shouted, crushed a 3-piece to right, and that casually also rendered Vasquez' service for the Elks complete for the day, saddled with six runs in 5.1 innings. The Elks would bring the monster with a handful of RBI in the game up one more time in the eighth inning, then with right-hander Jasper Devitt already having his thoughts concerned with two runners again. Tovias wouldn't get another one to drive, and flew out softly to Day in center, but the inning continued with Justin Gerace coming up, and Devitt just served up a fastball right down the middle to him. Gerace also knew where the fence was, and deposited a 3-piece of his own next to the batter's eye, measured at 432 feet. With a 9-run lead, Legleiter began the ninth inning, got Morales to ground out, but Day singled to center. He claimed to have something left in the tank, got a bouncer from Tony Coca that he turned for an out at second, but not for a double play. Alex Torres and his 22 homers would be his last batter one way or another. The count ran full with Legleiter already over 105 pitches, and running visibly on fumes until Torres chopped a poor grounder into play. Tovias pounced, Tovias threw, and Tovias had him at first base. 9-0 Coons! Nunley 2-4, 2B; Tovias 2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Legleiter 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, W (2-2);

Unsurprisingly, this was Lance Legleiter's first career shutout, but it was also only the ninth career start in the majors for the 28-year-old.

Game 2
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – CF Day – RF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 2B Gura – 1B Hargraves – C Tanzillo – P I. Morales
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Delgadillo

The Coons' reclamation half of a Cuban square-off didn't fare badly at all, allowing two base hits in the first five innings, although that unfortunately included a 2-out RBI double by Norman Day, cashing the pitcher in the third inning. The Raccoons saw Jon Gonzalez extend his hitting streak in the first inning, Jarod Spencer steal two bases inside the first five innings, and still didn't score from their six base hits, trailing 1-0 after five. Hey, boys! Hit a double from time to time!! Terry Kopp obliged, doubling in the bottom 6th after Gonzalez had already singled to begin the inning. Tony Coca was on the ball quickly near the rightfield line, keeping Gonzalez honest at third base, but the Coons now had a prime chance with runners on second and third and nobody down. Elias Tovias hit a hard grounder, but the persistently despicable Ted Gura intercepted that on the right side of the infield. Still, he had to dig himself out of the dirt there, and while Tovias was well out at first base, there was no shot at Gonzalez, who scored to tie the game. Next, Justin Gerace aimed for the fence again, hitting a ball off the top of the wall in rightfield, with Tony Coca bouncing off the fence beneath and losing track of the ball for long enough to allow Gerace to slide in with an RBI triple, 2-1 Coons. Tim Stalker got hit and Delgadillo grounded out, after which the Elks went to right-hander Fernando Ortega for Spencer, whom he nevertheless walked to load them up for Mora, another struggling slugger. But you just had a to hang a breaking ball to him to get him going. Ortega threw a *69* mph breaking ball that had so much hang time that Abel Mora could point it out to his dugout and had time to explain how he would hit that one for a slam. Then he did. Dead center, 430 feet. GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMM!!!

Delgadillo lasted seven-plus, issuing a pair of walks in the eighth to get removed for Justin Hess, who retired the next three Elks in order to keep them at a safe distance. The Coons never scored more than they did in their 6-run sixth, but that turned out to be plenty. Will West retired the Elks in order in the ninth inning to put this game in the books. 6-1 Coons! Spencer 2-4, BB; Mora 1-4, HR, 4 RBI; Gonzalez 2-4; Gerace 2-4, 3B, RBI; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, W (2-3);

Jarod Spencer – first to 40 stolen bases in the CL! Douglas is still at 38.

Thanks Vince, for that pointless walk on Wednesday…

Game 3
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – 2B Gura – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – RF Day – C Holliman – P F. Estrada
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – LF Borg – SS Bullock – CF Metts – P Gutierrez

As the Raccoons vied for a 6-0 week, their offense first got going in the bottom of the second inning. Brett O'Dell threw out John Calfee in the top of the second inning, but made an out to begin the bottom of the second himself. After that, Greg Borg tripled into the gap in left-center, with more support coming behind him. Bullock hit an RBI double, even lowly Dwayne Metts singled, and Gutierrez chucked a ball high to center to allow Bullock to scamper home on the sac fly. Speaking of lowly Dwayne Metts, he had another single in the fourth, then again with Bullock on second base, chasing him home with two outs this time for a 3-0 lead.

Rico contended well with a mostly right-handed lineup, which often gave him fits, although the Elks helped out wherever they could. Adan Myles hit a leadoff single in the fifth inning, after which Gutierrez whiffed Day, the only left-hander in the Elks' order. Ryan Holliman worked a 3-0 count before getting hungry and cracking away at the fourth pitch of the at-bat, grounding it to Jarod Spencer for a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play. Gutierrez wasn't blowing them away; he had only three strikeouts through six innings, but walked nobody and in the process reached the mark of 100 more strikeouts than walks on the season. But these were still the damn Elks – anything could happen, at any point, more so than with any other team. They were less human, and more a force of nature. When Tony Coca reached base to begin the seventh, legging out a poor grounder in no man's land for an infield single, my alarm went off for sure. However, Torres smashed another grounder at Spencer for another double play to take care of that runner.

Reliever Ortega wasn't relieving very well again in the seventh inning, plating an additional run for the Coons on a wild pitch, bringing in Terry Kopp with two outs for a 4-0 advantage. There was no reason not to let Rico pitch in the ninth inning then, since the Elks hadn't amounted to much of a threat since about the last time they had been in Portland. Mike Chaplin struck out in a full count in the #9 hole to begin the inning. Morales grounded out to Bullock on the first pitch. And Ted Gura hit the first pitch to center, Metts going back, and he made the catch, ending this perfect week! 4-0 Coons! Bullock 2-2, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Metts 2-3, BB, RBI; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, W (10-7);

This was the fourth career shutout for Rico Gutierrez, the second this year.

In other news

September 8 – SFB SP Matt Huf (15-11, 4.33 ERA) twirls a 1-hitter against the Condors, claiming a 5-0 win with one walk and seven strikeouts. TIJ LF/RF Willie Ramos (.202, 1 HR, 13 RBI) singles right in the first inning for the Condors' only base knock.
September 8 – LAP C Dylan Allomes (.260, 9 HR, 52 RBI) is done for the season with a pretty badly strained hamstring.
September 9 – Cincinnati's CL Troy Charters (4-5, 2.35 ERA, 37 SV) is done for the season with a partial tear in his labrum, and as if that wasn't enough the Cyclones also lose CF Nando Maiello (.312, 2 HR, 49 RBI) to a herniated disc. Maiello is also unlikely to help them down the stretch again as they trail the Buffaloes by 2.5 games.
September 9 – Season over as well for SFW SP Mike Fernandez (6-11, 3.79 ERA). The 31-year-old right-hander is battling shoulder inflammation.
September 11 – The Crusaders acquire LF Juan Espinosa (.197, 3 HR, 27 RBI) from the Blue Sox for two prospects, including #51 SP Pablo Correa.
September 14 – The Scorpions win a double header from the Warriors, claiming the second game with an 8-run 11th inning when the Warriors' pitching staff runs out of talent completely. SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.354, 7 HR, 76 RBI) has two hits, three walks, and drives in one run in his team's 12-4 victory.

Complaints and stuff

(waves visitor over to the window that overlooks the field) Do you see this down there? (points at solitary figure applying the broom to the concourse) That is Slappy. He only does this whenever the Raccoons have a perfect week during which they play the Elks. I think that is the first time he's held a broom since '96 or so.

Marvelous!

The Raccoons and Matt Nunley would like to announce their agreement on a 2-year, $1.2M extension for Nunley, who doesn't want to go anywhere else, and the Coons don't have a real prospect at third base, so it was just best to keep together what belonged together. He also took another slight pay cut, because all his favorite food places were right near the ballpark and it was just too much asked to test free agency and then find food someplace else.

Nunley, the 132nd pick in the 2010 draft, will thus stick in the organization for a 17th and 18th year, in all likelihood being on the path to tie Daniel Hall for longest attachment to the organization for a position player. They are however not even close to Nick Brown, who was in the Raccoons organization for 24 years, and now is in the Hall of Fame!

I like to mention that from time to time.

Jarod Spencer became only the sixth player in franchise history to reach 40 stolen bases in a season. Actually, he's the fourth player to reach the mark; Cookie Carmona did it three times between 2013 and 2018 with a high of 52 bags in '14. Matt Higgins was the first to steal 40 or more, taking 42 bags in 1993, y'know, the weird year in which a career .259/.320/.346 batter was our starting first baseman.

Of course the most stolen bases ever by a Raccoon in a season is 54 by Yoshi Yamada in 2005. Yamada, 27, in his only full season, reached base at a .238 clip, and STILL stole 54 bases …

We won our 79th game on Friday, which already put us over our total from each of the last three seasons. The Coons also seem like they will beat their 2021 mark (85-77). They could still easily win 90 or more! Problem is, the Titans have already won 90.

Or more.

Fun Fact: The most recent pitcher to win a 90th game in a season for the Raccoons was Jonathan Toner, beating the Loggers, 4-1, on the final day of the 2020 season.

Not only is Toner a Logger now (and for a change lost a 1-0 game on Friday, dropping to 8-13 this season), which has its own sad reasons, but the save in that game went to Nick Lester, collecting four outs in a wild switcheroo of roles.

Two days later, the Loggers drove their bats up Lester's bum in the seventh inning of the second tie-breaker game. This included balking in the go-ahead – and eventually winning – run for the Loggers.

No, I have not heard of his whereabouts, and if I ever find out and get hold of him, I will pick ever single hair out of his pelt, one by one, including the whiskers.
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:51 AM   #2589
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Raccoons (81-63) @ Titans (91-52) – September 16-18, 2025

Well, the goodish news were that the Titans could not clinch the division right in our face, even if they swept this 3-game set from us. Their mean baseball machine of a +237 run differential, first in runs scored, second in runs allowed, was certainly capable of this, and would be rested after our common off day on Monday. The Raccoons would have to win two to tie the season series – so far at 7-8 – or sweep to win one for the first time in recorded history, which was frankly unlikely, although the Coons had won three of four the last time they had crashed in Boston.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (18-6, 2.23 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (8-11, 3.15 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-11, 3.99 ERA) vs. Ian Rutter (12-11, 4.90 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-2, 2.17 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (19-3, 2.87 ERA)

We'll skip Jesus Chavez to keep Roberts on regular duty, and maybe this time the Coons would refrain from handing a free win to Morgan Shepherd. We would face three right-handed pitchers here, while still not seeing key Titans personnel like Adrian Reichardt, Alberto Molina, or Rhett West, all still lingering on the DL.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Roberts
BOS: 3B Corder – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Spataro – 1B Elder – C A. Arias – CF W. Vega – 2B Jon Perez – P Waite

Command for Mark Roberts was unfortunately off right from the start, as illustrated by a four-pitch walk to Adam Corder to begin his night. The Titans drew a walk in each of the first three innings, Roberts fired two wild pitches, and somehow still didn't get toasted early on. The Titans went down in order in the fourth, and were retired on three pops in the fifth, but ultimately there were two problems for Mark Roberts' triple crown ambitions. First, he pitched in WAY too many full counts, running up a tally of 94 pitches through five innings, and second, the Raccoons' offense got nothing off Jeremy Waite. They had three base hits alright through five innings, but had also kicked it into two double plays and had yet to reach third base.

When Spencer and Nunley hit consecutive soft lines to centerfield for a pair of singles to begin the sixth inning, that was easily the Coons' best chance in the game yet. Maybe their only one to give Roberts a much-needed win! However, Abel Mora flew out to center, moving Spencer to third base, and when Jon Gonzalez – who had an 18-game hitting streak end on Sunday – drove a ball into the gap in left-center, he was robbed by Yasuhiro Kuramoto, cruelly. Spencer tagged and scored to achieve a 1-0 lead, but the Coons could have used some more. Terry Kopp grounded out poorly to end the inning. It would not be enough. Roberts ran out of talent right in the bottom of the inning, allowed base hits to Jay Elder and Alex Arias, and then crucially a 2-run double into the corner to … (gnashes teeth) … 18-year-old debutee Willie Vega. Roberts was removed from the game at once, but it was a good thing that a loss technically didn't matter for the triple crown, because the Raccoons were not going to bail him out. The best chance they got after Roberts' removal was in the ninth inning, thanks to Brent Beene drilling Justin Gerace and issuing a 2-out walk to Brett O'Dell, but we couldn't find anybody willing to drive in the tying run. Jarod Spencer flew out to Adam Braun, and that was the game. 2-1 Titans. Mora 2-3, 2B; Otis (PH) 1-1;

That game eliminated the Crusaders from the division, leaving us as the last competition the Titans had for the playoffs.

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Mansfield – SS Stalker – P Sander
BOS: 3B Corder – C Leonard – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – LF W. Vega – 1B Cornejo – CF St. Germaine – P Rutter

Both teams cobbled together a run from three singles per side in the third inning, Matt Nunley plating Tim Stalker with two outs in the Coons' half. Also, the fifth inning saw both pitchers with a base hit, however not of equal importance. Sander hit a 2-out single that was soon forgotten while Rutter led off the inning with a double to left, after which the bases gradually filled with a walk to Keith Leonard and then an infield single by Adam Braun. The Coons yanked Sander, who was approaching 90 pitches already, right there and then, and instead went to Billy Brotman with left-handed bats coming up. Brotman struck out Jamie Wilson for the second out, then walked in the go-ahead run against Mike Kane, which was still not as bad as Willie Vega's 2-run single to left-center leaving the Titans up 4-1.

…which was probably all the Titans needed, although the Raccoons almost convincingly faked a rally in the seventh inning, started by Elias Tovias' double into the rightfield corner. Rutter walked Mansfield, who got forced out by Tim Stalker. Greg Borg chipped an RBI single to center, and Spencer also singled to load the bases with himself as the go-ahead run in a 4-2 game. Matt Nunley came up, a prime double play candidate, so I closed my eyes and waited for impact. Impact was loud and the fans' gasp made me open the eyes again, just quick enough to see St. Germaine being beaten in deep centerfield by a Nunley drive that fell and made it to the fence for a bases-clearing, score flipping double, 5-4! Ian Rutter, now on the short end of the stick, was removed at once by the Titans, who sent Jose Fuentes, who in turn couldn't prevent that sixth run from scoring on Jon Gonzalez' spicy single to left with two outs. After this, the Raccoons got mighty cocky, putting in Matt Wilson to pitch to left-handers when Wilson had so far been nothing but shelled (19.29 ERA!) at the major league level. Wilson got three outs on three pitches in the seventh, and another out in the eighth, probably via dumb luck. The lead was still extant when Jonathan Snyder emerged in the ninth inning, allowing a leadoff single to Keith Leonard (who was run for by Fernando Rodriguez), then saw Adam Braun reach base when Devin Mansfield dropped his fly in rightfield. Jamie Wilson cracked a pitch to Spencer, though, and Jarod turned it for a double play, shifting the tying run back to the plate with two outs. Mike Kane flew out to Greg Borg, and the series was even at one. 6-4 Coons. Spencer 2-5; Nunley 2-5, 2B, 4 RBI; Borg 1-2, RBI;

Will West won the victory in this contest, which coincidentally also put the Raccoons over the hump for a winning season after three losing seasons in a row.

Now can we please do something about that Shepherd guy?

Morgan must be mauled!

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – LF Mansfield – C O'Dell – SS Bullock – P Legleiter
BOS: 3B Corder – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B Kane – 1B Herlihy – CF St. Germaine – P Shepherd

Spencer singled, stole, and scored in the first inning, Jon Gonzalez driving him in after Nunley and Mora both struck out against Shepherd. Don't strike out against him – that also counts for the triple crown! Goddamnit, do I have to tell you EVERYTHING!!?? The bottom 1st saw Adam Corder draw a leadoff walk, steal second base, then be thrown out at home on Adam Braun's 2-out single, cut down by Devin Mansfield's perfect throw. Mansfield went on to lead off the next inning with a single up the middle, then scored easily on Brett O'Dell's double over the head of Kuramoto. Lance Legleiter plated O'Dell with a sac fly to zoom out to a 3-0 lead before he gave it all back in the bottom of the inning. And who the **** hit that bases-clearing 1-out double to tie the score at three in the bottom 2nd in support of Morgan Shepherd? Why, Morgan Shepherd of course! He does it ALL!

The Raccoons mostly did pile up strikeouts, while Mike Kane pleased the home crowd with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the third, giving the Boston Shepherds a 5-3 lead. The horrors were unlikely to cease, with Jarod Spencer's throwing error putting on SHEPHERD in the bottom 4th, after which Ricky Ohl completely lost it, walked the bags full against Leonard and Kuramoto, then had Braun pop out to Stalker on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning, somehow. But the tying runs appeared on the corners with nobody out in the fifth inning; Jarod Spencer laced a leadoff triple and Shepherd lost Nunley in a full count, bringing up the nominal big guns. Then Keith Leonard threw a wrench in the gears, losing a harmless fastball by his triple crown-bound pitcher for a run-scoring passed ball, which also took the double play away from our guys, hooray! At least until Shepherd walked Mora on four pitches. Gonzalez flew out to left, harmlessly, Terry Kopp hit into a fielder's choice, and Shepherd lost Mansfield on a walk, bringing up O'Dell with three on and two outs, and sawed him up with breaking balls. Coons stranded three and remained 5-4 behind, which was more bitter than words could express, and that was before Justin Hess gave up a walk and two hits in the bottom 5th to hand the hard-fought run right back to the Titans.

However, Gil Cornejo had batted for Shepherd in the inning, which meant that if the Raccoons could make up that 6-4 deficit… If only they had made a quick move, before the bottom 7th saw a swarm of Raccoons relievers, and foremost Vince D, issue five walks, two of them with the bases loaded, to push in two more runs for the Titans, all but cementing Shepherd's 20th win of the season. For good measure, the Titans reached double digits in the eighth, with Surginer surrendering a 2-out single to Mike Kane, then a homer to Trent Herlihy. Yes, they were left-handed batters; no, we had no left-handed pitchers left over. 10-4 Titans. Spencer 3-5, 3B; Gonzalez 2-4, RBI; Mansfield 1-2, BB;

We used seven pitchers in this sinking skiff of futility and false hopes.

Raccoons (82-65) @ Bayhawks (56-90) – September 19-21, 2025

Here we came to visit a team with actual problems, like sucking the leather off the baseballs, yet I exited the plane still crying from last night's desperate loss… The Bayhawks had the worst pitching in the league and ranked dead-last in runs conceded, a category in which the Critters were still holding down first place. They were ninth in runs scored, which was no help, and didn't matter; the difference in runs allowed between these teams was *271*! Accordingly we had already claimed the season series, 5-1.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (10-7, 3.02 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (16-11, 4.29 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (9-7, 3.51 ERA) vs. Chris Munroe (2-5, 6.39 ERA)
Mark Roberts (18-7, 2.26 ERA) vs. Denzel Durr (5-13, 4.79 ERA)

Hey look, the Bayhawks dug out the mangled body of Chris Munroe to add to their failed-Coons-starters collection. They were all right-handed, those failed starters as well as Denzel Durr, who was never a Raccoon. One of their failed right-handed Raccoons starters was Jonathan Shook, but he was on the DL currently.

And yes, Matt Huf had 16 wins, but Rico Gutierrez had 16 wins last season (which then co-led the league), and where did that get him?

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B J. Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
SFB: RF Ryder – SS Hawkins – LF R. Allen – 1B B. Lloyd – C J. Ramirez – CF Hawthorne – 2B Quantrille – 3B Grooms – P Huf

Matt Huf rung up six Coons the first time through, probably out of spite for having been traded into this steaming pit of defeat. The other three Critters reached base, but none of them scored. Huf also entered the game with 103 walks on his seasonal ledger, but given that the Raccoons were the most impatient bunch around we weren't really seeing much of that in this game either. Instead we saw the most impatient bunch degrade into legendary stupidity on the base paths by the middle innings, dishing out a leadoff base hit in consecutive innings, only to get thrown out trying to get an extra base both times. Jon Gonzalez was slapped out at third base on a leadoff double in the fourth, and Justin Gerace's leadoff single was just that, a single, and not a double as Roger Allen assured him with a deadly throw to second base. Unsurprisingly, the Raccoons found it really hard to score in these innings…!

On to the sixth, still in a scoreless game despite Rico leaking base hits at an unhealthy rate, but the Baybirds were just as inept as the Furballs here. Spencer led off the sixth with a single to right, only to get forced out by Nunley right away. Abel Mora finally came through with a knock, though, lacing a liner into the rightfield corner for an RBI triple, the first counter in the game. Huf would go on to plate Mora with a wild pitch after Gonzalez had already conveniently made the second out to Huf. Terry Kopp doubled to left afterwards, but Tovias was rung up for Huf's 10th K in the game and 187th on the season. Huf carved up Gerace and Gutierrez in the seventh for a nice round dozen, and wasn't even batted for in the bottom 7th after Chris Grooms' leadoff double. Huf's bunt allowed Zachary Ryder to bring in the run with a sac fly to center, with Abel Mora injuring himself on the throw to home plate. Tom Hawkins' single knocked out Gutierrez with two outs and the tying run aboard. Ricky Ohl got out of the inning, but not until after a four-pitch walk to PH Tomas Caraballo in the #3 spot. While the Coons managed to hold on there and in the eighth, which also had the tying run on base, Jonathan Snyder didn't in the ninth. Again, the tying run was walked on base, in this case 29-year-old September call-up Pat Rynning. Then Snyder served up a homer to 34-year-old September call-up David Gonzalez to end the game… 3-2 Bayhawks. Mora 2-3, RBI;

Sometimes you just want to murder them all.

Sometimes the authorities would even let you get away with it.

Abel Mora (.272, 18 HR, 65 RBI), still holding a share in the team dingers lead (…), would not have to worry about any of this anymore. An oblique strain put him out of his misery for the season. He disappeared onto the DL and wouldn't be seen again until 2026.

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – 1B J. Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – CF Borg – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Chavez
SFB: 3B Hawkins – 2B Quantrille – 1B Caraballo – LF R. Allen – C Jai. Jackson – CF Hawthorne – RF V. Contreras – SS Rynning – P Durr

Greg Borg struck out to leave the bases loaded in the first inning when that frame had begun with Spencer singling and stealing, only to still be left on base somehow with Nunley and Gonzalez being generally not helpful, Kopp reaching on an infield single and Tovias coaxing a walk from an unsuspecting pitcher. They loaded the sacks again in the second inning and this time actually scored three 2-out runs, just before I could check out the neighborhood for a shop carrying landmines and poisoned arrows; Gonzalez singled in two, and Kopp – not usually keen to feature in the RBI column – got his 13th run driven in on this lost season with another single. This early cushion was not enough, because Jesus Chavez remained legendarily useless and coughed up a 3-spot of his own in the bottom of the fourth. The Bayhawks ripped out four base hits in the inning, including a hard-to-believe 2-out, 2-run triple by lead-footed Jaiden Jackson that made Kopp look bad again as he chased the ball in the corner like a particularly clumsy kitten would chase – or occasionally end up underneath of – a ball of string. George Hawthorne tied the score with another 2-out base hit after that.

Terry Kopp apparently sensed that he had **** to make up at this point and put the Raccoons in front again with a leadoff jack in the fifth inning, his first home run since ****ING JUNE. Right after that Elias Tovias grounded out to Rynning on a 3-0 pitch, so maybe failure was systemic to this bunch… Speaking of failure, Chavez in the sixth allowed a 1-out single up the middle to Caraballo, then a 2-out RBI double to Jackson to tie the game, and another 2-out RBI single to Hawthorne to get the Bayhawks in front, 5-4. Maybe a piece of wire to strangle one after the other would do…

Top 7th, Durr still going, but allowing leadoff singles to Gonzalez and Kopp, putting the tying and go-ahead runs aboard. Tovias worked another walk, loading the bags with nobody down for Greg Borg, who at least managed a game-tying sac fly to rightfield. Right-hander Pat Collins replaced Durr at that point, with Gerace grounding out to move the remaining runners into scoring position. Tim Stalker was up with two outs, cracked a 2-1 pitch at Tom Hawkins, but somehow it got past the third baseman and the ball made its way up the leftfield line for a 2-run double, and Portland was back in front! Devin Mansfield batted for Chavez and walked, bringing up Spencer, who cracked a single up the middle. Stalker was sent from second base and slid safe past Jackson at home plate to beat out Hawthorne's throw, but also tweaked his groin doing the splits there and had to come out of the game in favor of Daniel Bullock. It was also the last blip in the Coons' 4-spot in the inning, handing things off to the pen after that with an 8-5 lead on the board, although the Baybirds scratched Justin Hess for a run right in the bottom 7th. Pat Rynning singled, Chris Grooms doubled, and Tom Hawkins brought in a run with a groundout. Maybe Vince D could give us some – no. Bottom 8th, leadoff single by Caraballo, a walk to Roger Allen, then an infield single by Jackson (…!). Three on, no outs, and no clue how to get out of this one. Devereaux remained around for right-hander George Hawthorne, who grounded a spiked ball at Bullock, who turned a 6-4-3 while a run scored, leaving Roger Allen on third base with two outs as the tying run. Some crazy person signaled in Matt Wilson to face the left-handed batter Victor Contreras, whom the Baybirds swiftly batted for with Jose Ramirez, a right-handed contact hitter. We called the intentional walk, then sent Kevin Surginer after Rynning, except that switch-hitter Zachary Ryder would bat for him. Ryder fouled out, and the Coons still hung on to a thread.

Top 9th, Bullock grounded out against Ying-hua Ou to begin proceedings, but Matt Otis and Jarod Spencer hit singles after that. At this point, the Coons had a real chance to bring up Terry Kopp again, who was 5-for-5 on the day! Except that Nunley popped out and Gonzalez whiffed and Kopp didn't get a chance. But hey, maybe the Bayhawks can overturn another Raccoons right-hander here … Surginer remained in the game after Snyder's gross failure the previous night, struck out Grooms, gave up a single to Hawkins, then whiffed last night's hero, 34-year-old career fart David Gonzalez. Two outs! Caraballo doubled up the rightfield line, though, Hawkins scored easily, and here was another blown save against a team that had made a bid for 100 losses as recently as Friday morning. Roger Allen flew out to Greg Borg in center to send the game to extras, which suddenly put more focus on Terry Kopp, who cracked a liner off Manny Sosa into leftfield to begin the 10th inning, and it was in for a single! Six-hit day for Terry Kopp! Then Tovias washed him up in a double play. Then Jimmy Lee retired nobody in the bottom of the inning; Jaiden Jackson doubled, George Hawthorne singled, and Daniel Bullock wasn't man enough to manufacture any sort of throw home on Jose Ramirez' grounder to short. 9-8 Bayhawks. Spencer 3-6, RBI; Gonzalez 2-6, 2 RBI; Kopp 6-6, HR, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Otis 1-1;

The funny thing is, the only pitcher we used that didn't allow at least one run was Matt Wilson with his 11.25 ERA, and he also didn't collect a single out, being only used to issue an intentional walk.

Tim Stalker would be day-to-day for a wee bit with a sore groin, so while he iced his precious parts we called up Alberto Ramos to play shortstop. For Stalker, the writing was probably on the wall at this point.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – LF Gerace – 1B O'Dell – CF Borg – C Delgado – P Roberts
SFB: RF Ryder – SS Hawkins – LF R. Allen – 1B B. Lloyd – C J. Ramirez – CF Hawthorne – 2B Quantrille – 3B Grooms – P Munroe

Jarod Spencer led off the game with a jack to left, while Zachary Ryder knocked a leadoff double in the bottom 1st off still-triple-crown-hopeful Mark Roberts, who had a must-win outing here. Every outing from here on out for him was a must-win… Too bad the Coons left Gerace (single) and O'Dell (double) in scoring position, where they arrived with nobody out in the second inning as Borg and Delgado popped out against Munroe, who also got Roberts to fly out to left, and then Jose Ramirez tied the score with a leadoff jack of his own in the bottom 2nd. Too bad, indeed.

No, Mark Roberts would not win the triple crown. This became increasingly obvious in this game. The start in Boston had been bad; this one was worse. He was in full counts constantly, exploding his pitch count, and occasionally served up a long drive for another homer, quite reminiscent of Nick Brown on shallow days. Ramirez hit ANOTHER bomb in the bottom 4th, then cutting a 3-1 lead in half the Raccoons had painstakenly cobbled together on a 2-out RBI double by Kopp in the third and a 2-out RBI single by Spencer in the top 4th. When Nunley hit a leadoff jack in the fifth to get the score to 4-2 I wondered when exactly this place had started to play like a boom box, which had to have happened some time after we rescued Luke Black from this miserable pit 20 years ago. Maybe it was two miserable pitchers at work? Chris Munroe would have been torn to confetti by every other team by now, bleeding eight hits and two walks with no strikeouts through five innings, but Mark Roberts still managed to keep the Baybirds within pecking distance, surrendering a bomb to Roger Allen in the bottom 5th, 4-3. Roberts would whiff seven in six innings of 3-run ball, which certainly didn't scream out Pitcher of the Year… Neither did Munroe actually lasting longer than he did, completing seven and getting close to a win in the bottom 7th when Caraballo singled off Hess and O'Dell's error put David Gonzalez (ARGH) on base, but somehow Surginer pulled through the inning with the tying run in scoring position.

Brett O'Dell hit a leadoff single off Ou in the eighth, then was run for by Dwayne Metts, who in his perpetual quest for disappointment got himself caught stealing. Vince Devereaux retired the Baybirds in order in the bottom of the eighth inning, handing the skinny 4-3 lead, which didn't get fattened up by the Coons' limp offense, off to Snyder for the ninth. Snyder had already blown one, between them the Coons had blown several leads on the weekend, and now Jaiden Jackson was sent to pinch-hit, leading off in the #8 slot. He popped out to Spencer. Ruben Cervantes grounded up thte middle, but Spencer was on top of that one as well. Zachary Ryder went down on strikes. 4-3 Blighters. Spencer 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; O'Dell 3-4, 2 2B;

In other news

September 16 – The Bayhawks break a 5-5 tie with a ninth-inning 4-spot over the Thunder, only to have it all fall apart in the bottom of the inning. The Thunder plate five, ending the game with a game-tying 3-run homer by SS/2B Alex Serrato (.262, 16 HR, 54 RBI) and a walkoff homer by C/1B Mike Pizzo (.278, 19 HR, 74 RBI), both off SFB MR Manny Sosa (1-12, 5.28 ERA, 29 SV).
September 18 – MIL LF/CF Ian Coleman (.278, 4 HR, 49 RBI) goes to the DL one last time with a torn meniscus, which ends his season.
September 20 – The Falcons beat the Loggers 9-0, with Milwaukee amounting to only a fourth-inning single by INF/LF Danny Mancia (.300, 0 HR, 2 RBI) in their failed bid against CHA SP J.J. Rodd (6-9, 3.72 ERA) and MR Jang-jin Park (0-0, 18.00 ERA).
September 21 – It is also season over for IND INF Raul Claros (.219, 1 HR, 24 RBI), who will work most of the winter on rehabbing a torn back muscle.
September 21 – OCT 3B/SS Lorenzo Rivera (.354, 1 HR, 31 RBI) has his season end with a broken finger.
September 21 – The Blue Sox break a tie with the Stars in the eighth inning, sending seven runs across home plate for a 13-6 win. NAS RF/LF Jesus Jaramillo (.304, 1 HR, 11 RBI) has four base hits and 3 RBI in the game.

Complaints and stuff

Good news, I have a new player to fervently hate that isn't even on the damn Elks. Curse you, Willie Vega! 18-year-old scumbag! May your seed rot on your fields, and … and your … your livestock get worms … and … and.. (helplessly waves arms) … Mena! … MENA!! – I need your help with cursing somebody! – What do you mean you 'need a fistful of hair' of the person!? We're not getting back to Boston until next year!

Curses!

Also, more generally, yes we won a game this week, so we will not have a fourth straight losing season. Nor a tenth straight losing season in the foreseeable future.

However, on all other fronts we are soundly defeated. By the Titans in the win column (they clinched the division with a 4-2 win behind Jeremy Waite against the Aces on Sunday, leading by 13 1/2 when every other division is a 1-game thing), by Morgan Shepherd in the win column (because Roberts is pitching like arse and will probably not win many more), and somehow the baseball gods are chuckling at the sight of this team that can in theory somehow still pull out 90+ wins.

Worst 90-win team ever?

Oh well, maybe next year. Maybe next year. Maybe not. Maybe in my lifetime. But most probably not.

Fun Fact: No Raccoon has ever collected six base hits in a game in their own ballpark.

Also this: the only decade in which the Raccoons never had a player collect six hits in a game were the 2000s.

Freddy Lopez in '77, Daniel Hall in '89, Jorge Salazar in '94, and Cookie Carmona in '17. Kopp is the first Raccoon to chip six in a losing effort, though.
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:23 AM   #2590
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Raccoons (83-67) vs. Knights (69-80) – September 22-24, 2025

Playing out the string with the Knights, who had a much worse record than us, but were actually less far behind the leaders in their division. The season series was even at three apiece, while the Knights sat in the middle of the league in many categories. They actually had a +9 run differential despite molding 11 games under .500, and sat sixth in both runs scored and runs allowed in the Continental League.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (2-3, 5.06 ERA) vs. Brian Cope (8-11, 4.23 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-11, 4.10 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (5-11, 4.29 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-3, 3.12 ERA) vs. Leon Hernandez (17-6, 3.71 ERA)

Two right-handers were sandwiching the left-handed rookie swingman Rosas, who had made 36 appearances (16 starts) this season, pitching 147 innings in total. He had already made his major league debut last year, facing a single batter and conceding a base hit.

Game 1
ATL: RF M. Walker – 1B J. Gutierrez – SS Showalter – C Luna – LF J. Correa – 2B T. Jimenez – CF Cobb – 3B V. Ramirez – P Cope
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – CF Metts – P Delgadillo

The Raccoons jumped onto the board immediately, loading the bases with nobody out thanks to Spencer and Tovias singles on either end of Andrew Showalter's no-good throw on Alberto Ramos' grounder. Jon Gonzalez flew out to shallow center, keeping even Spencer pinned, but Terry Kopp brought in a run with a groundout, and Nunley drove in two with a double past Mark Walker in rightfield before Justin Gerace flew out to Nick Cobb. Delgadillo looked in the zone as he tallied strikeouts early in the game, but inexplicably started to throw batting practice as early as the third inning, in which the Knights tied the score on solo home runs by Vinny Ramirez, Jose Gutierrez, and Andrew Showalter. It would get worse indeed, with Showalter blasting another one, this one counting for two runs, in the fifth inning. Things getting worse would work for both sides, however, because Brian Cope retired absolutely nobody as his half of the fifth inning began. Sitting up 5-3, he allowed a leadoff single to Spencer, then an RBI double in the left-center gap to Ramos. Tovias singled up the middle to tie the score, Jon Gonzalez singled to send Tovias to third, and Terry Kopp sent him across home plate with a single to right, 6-5. The Knights would get out of the inning after consecutive deep flies to Jon Correa by Nunley and Gerace plated Gonzalez, and Javy Vasquez – on in relief – struck out Metts to keep the score at 7-5 after five innings. Delgadillo came out for the sixth, but amounted only to a leadoff walk to Correa before being replaced by Will West, who navigated his way out of the inning against the bottom of the order.

The game was far from over with the Knights scratching out an unearned run in the seventh inning to get back within one marker; it was the rookie Mark Walker who singled as the only batter left-hander Matt Wilson faced, then with Jimmy Lee on the watchtower took off for second base. He took it, and also third base on Tovias' errant throw, eventually scoring on a Jon Correa single. Portland wouldn't amount to much except a pinch-hit double by Brett O'Dell in these late innings, eventually sending in Jonathan Snyder for the ninth, who blew another save in style, walking Andrew Showalter before serving up Ruben Luna's 28th bomb of the season. The Coons got a paw back into the game with Jarrod Morrison's leadoff walk to Alberto Ramos in the bottom 9th, but Tovias expertly knocked the ball at Drew Greene at the keystone for a mood-killing double play and things ended quickly from there… 8-7 Knights. Spencer 3-5; Tovias 2-5, RBI; Nunley 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; O'Dell (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Game 2
ATL: RF M. Walker – 1B J. Gutierrez – SS Showalter – C Luna – CF Houghtaling – 2B T. Jimenez – CF Cobb – 3B V. Ramirez – P Rosas
POR: LF Spencer – 3B Bullock – 2B Otis – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – CF Borg – SS Stalker – C Delgado – P Sander

Without scoring, the Coons stranded a handful between the first two innings, as soon as one of them was in scoring position making sure their hibernation holes where thoroughly padded with mosses and leaves rather than stirring up some dirt, or the Knights. Before they even came to bat, Sander had surrendered three screaming line drive base hits for two runs in the opening inning. Yes, they tied the game by the fourth inning, but then it was Tony Delgado knocking into a run-scoring double play with the bases loaded, and Showalter's age betraying him on Sander's grounder that eluded for a single to score Greg Borg with two outs in the inning. Greg Borg also scored to tie the game in the sixth, after Sander had allowed an unearned run in the top half of the frame, that one having been induced by Bullock's error. The Raccoons had Borg and Stalker on the corners with one out after a pair of singles in the bottom 6th, with Stalker taking off for second base on the first pitch to Delgado. Ruben Luna fired the ball over the leaping Showalter into centerfield, allowing Borg to score and Stalker to reach third base before Tony Delgado mashed a go-ahead RBI double and Showalter fumbled a Sander grounder for an outright error, somehow bringing up the top of the order with the inning still hot. Spencer grounded up the middle, Tony Jimenez intercepting the ball only deep behind second base and with no play, giving Jarod an RBI infield single. The inning only ended when Bullock grounded to short for a double play, now in a 5-3 score. Unforeseeable after that wild ruckus innings, this was the final tally. Jack Sander went eight against suddenly uncourageous Knights, and Ricky Ohl saved the game without much drama or failure. 5-3 Coons. Spencer 2-4, RBI; Borg 2-4; Stalker 3-3, 2B; Sander 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (10-11) and 2-3, RBI;

This was Ricky Ohl's first save as a Raccoon, but he had saved a game with the Capitals last season already.

Omar Alfaro was activated from the DL before the rubber game and also the decider of the season series.

Game 3
ATL: RF M. Walker – 2B T. Jimenez – SS Showalter – C Luna – LF J. Correa – CF Houghtaling – 1B M. Mendoza – 3B V. Ramirez – P L. Hernandez
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – CF Borg – P Legleiter

In a flashback to the series opener, the Coons pooled out a few runs in the early innings, plating two in the bottom 1st which began with Spencer doubling, Ramos singling, and Alfaro returning with a sac fly. Ramos then stole second base and was plated by Gonzalez with a single for his 80th RBI of the year, but Terry Kopp hit into a double play at that point. However, in the bottom 2nd the Coons extended their lead to 3-0 when the Borg assimilated the centerfield fence. Legleiter retired the first 11 batters he faced before Showalter singled in the top 4th, but other than Delgadillo on Monday Legleiter didn't collapse in accelerated fashion and instead got Ruben Luna to fly out easily to Borg in center. Luna would actually be the Knights' next base runner, drawing a 2-out walk in the seventh inning as they were rapidly being retired by Legleiter, but there wouldn't be a shutout in the bag for him this time. The at-bats had been growing longer in the seventh inning, and the Knights finally got him over 100 pitches in the eighth inning when Vinny Ramirez also hit a 2-out single. That was enough for a guy who wasn't built physically to throw 120 pitches; Vince D entered in a double switch and retired pinch-hitter Jon Gilbert on a fly to center. The Coons entered the ninth with a 5-0 lead, having at various points gotten a solo homer from Gonzalez and a run-scoring wild pitch from reliever Efrain Isidoro. Then they blew that 5-0 lead in torrid fashion. Devereaux put on Jimenez with a single and walked Showalter with one out, before being replaced by Billy Brotman, who retired nobody with singles conceded to Ruben Luna and Jon Correa, both plating one run. Ricky Ohl was up next, but only threw three pitches before surrendering a 3-run blast to ****ing ex-Elk Jeremy Houghtaling. The Coons somehow managed to make the inning end before losing it in regulation, put Gonzalez (for whom Bullock would run) and Kopp aboard to begin the bottom 9th, and still choked violently before Kevin Surginer was pelted for three hits, a walk, and two runs in the top 10th. Morrison conceded a leadoff double to Borg in the bottom 10th, Spencer drove him in, but between Ramos and Alfaro the Raccoons got two groundouts to end the inning and lose the season series in ghastly fashion. 7-6 Knights. Spencer 2-5, 2B, RBI; Ramos 2-5; Gonzalez 2-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI; Borg 2-4, HR, RBI; Legleiter 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

I audibly yearn for a new print of Grant West at the height of his career.

Raccoons (84-69) vs. Loggers (72-80) – September 26-28, 2025

Final home series of the season! There would be Abel Mora bobbleheads on Saturday, although Mora was on the DL, and there were also the Loggers in town, who had already handed over the season series, which stood at 11-4 in the Critters' favor. Milwaukee sat tenth in runs scored in the CL (still one spot ahead of Portland…) and eighth in runs conceded, so they were actually a team you'd expect ten-ish games under .500.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (19-7, 2.33 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (11-8, 3.47 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (10-7, 2.96 ERA) vs. Vincent Alfaro (13-11, 2.99 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (9-7, 3.65 ERA) vs. Jonathan Toner (9-14, 5.08 ERA)

Three right-handed pitchers, and another sad encounter, probably, with Jonny Toner, although the Loggers had shared our off day on Thursday and could allow themselves to skip somebody.

Also skipping was Roberts, although he kept jumping the line in the Coons' modified 6-man rotation, moving ahead of both Rico and Chavez here. If we would squeeze things, he would start again on Wednesday, and could then make a short-rest start on the season finale if the triple crown was still a possibility at that point. As play began on Friday, Roberts held a comfy lead in ERA (0.38 over Tom Shumway), a narrow lead in K (5 over Morgan Shepherd), and trailed by one win compared to Shepherd, who had lost a stinging 1-0 game to the Condors on Tuesday and would only get two more starts.

Game 1
MIL: 2B Mancia – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – RF W. Trevino – C A. Baker – 3B A. Velez – SS Ferrer – LF S. Green – P Villalobos
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF O. Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – SS Stalker – LF Mansfield – P Roberts

Mark Roberts' triple crown candidacy appeared shaky from the start, with Danny Mancia and Ron Tadlock landing base hits for a first-inning run, and Roberts not whiffing anybody until he arrived at the pitcher in the third inning. Also, the Coons weren't exactly falling over each other to reach home plate, or base at all. Villalobos retired them in order the first time through, whiffing three, although Nunley and Alfaro hit back-to-back 1-out singles in the bottom 4th to put up a threat with Jon Gonzalez coming up. A homer between him or Kopp would have been swell; the Raccoons got a fly to center and a grounder to the pitcher to end the inning instead.

The Loggers squeezed a second run from Roberts in the sixth inning, mainly due to Mancia's leadoff double past Devin Mansfield. The lack of stuff on Roberts was appalling, however, as he struck out only three batters through six innings. The Critters did make it onto the board in the bottom 6th, although Villalobos helped them out with a wild pitch there, moving Alfaro to second base before Gonzalez' single into left center plated him from there. The game was on in the seventh, though. Villalobos lost Tovias on four pitches for a leadoff walk, placing the exceedingly slow tying run on base. Tovias wasn't run for, maybe a mistake, with Tim Stalker's drive to left center that fell between Sam Green and ex-Coon Josh Stevenson for a double only moving the tying run to third base with the bottom of the order still fully engaged. When Mansfield grounded out despicably to keep the runners pinned, in the name of offense the Coons had to help Roberts by removing him from the game, sending Alberto Ramos to pinch-hit against the right-handed Villalobos. His sac fly tied the score, but Spencer grounded out to Manny Ferrer, and Roberts was denied the win, which was likely to mortally wound his triple crown amibition.

The Raccoons continued to be appalling, failing to score in the eighth inning despite TWO errors by the Loggers, and the game dragged itself into extra innings. Nick Derks pitched two innings in relief before the Coons amounted to something of a threat in the bottom 11th. Terry Kopp was nailed by new pitcher Joey Hopkins to begin the inning, then bunted to second by Tovias as the winning run, from where Dwayne Metts would run for him. The Loggers walked Stalker intentionally to get to the completely hopeless Mansfield, for whom Brett O'Dell would hit, surrendering the platoon advantage to the right-hander Hopkins, but that is how much confidence we had in Mansfield… The move paid off, with O'Dell cracking the first pitch he got to the outfield for a single. Metts was waved around while Stevenson was too late in getting the ball back in, and the Raccoons ended the game as winners after all. 3-2 Blighters. Alfaro 3-5, 2B; O'Dell (PH) 1-1, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; Derks 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

Game 2
MIL: 2B Mancia – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – RF W. Trevino – C A. Baker – 3B A. Velez – SS Ferrer – LF Feldmann – P V. Alfaro
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF O. Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – SS Bullock – P Gutierrez

Matt Nunley left the game in the opening inning, hitting first base awkwardly after a base hit to deep center. He reached second base on the play, but then turned around with the trainer and a bum knee. Matt Otis replaced him batting second and playing short, while Bullock moved to third base. While Rico Gutierrez had to labor considerably with a lineup devoid of left-handed batters, but usually came out on top, the Raccoons scored the odd run here and there on Vincent Alfaro, beginning with a 2-run homer by Justin Gerace in the second inning. Tovias scored a run on a groundout in the third, and Terry Kopp drove in a fourth marker in the fifth inning. An at-bat that didn't matter initially despite the roar it sent through the park was Rico Gutierrez' 2-out triple in the bottom 2nd. You didn't see pitchers tripling very often, and Gutierrez was not of the Jonny Toner ilk in that he was any sort of quick, let alone quick enough to steal bases. Thus it was the more stunning when Rico found Daniel Bullock on second base in the bottom 5th, and unleashed ANOTHER triple, this one making Josh Stevenson look very bad indeed in centerfield. Also stunning – how the Coons almost left Gutierrez on third base with nobody out. Spencer and Otis both popped out, but Omar Alfaro came through with a single to right, extending the lead to 6-0 after all. Rico went on to retire the side in the seventh inning, which was his final frame in the game, just like everybody else's. Fall was upon us, and with that consistent cloud cover over Raccoons Ballpark. Those clouds unexpectedly broke in the bottom of the seventh and eventually sent the game to a rain delay from which it did not emerge. 6-0 Raccoons. Nunley 1-1, 2B; Alfaro 3-4, 2B, RBI; Kopp 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Bullock 1-2, BB, 2B; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, W (11-7) and 2-3, 2 3B, RBI;

Though rain-shortened, this was Rico's fifth career shutout, and the third this season, as well as his seventh complete game ever.

Matt Nunley was out of order with a knee sprain, but would probably only miss a few games. Nevertheless the Raccoons sent an urgent order for Mike Grigsby to interrupt his holidays and appear in Portland instantly to collect a few more at-bats. Grigsby had already made it into 12 games during Nunley's DL stint earlier this season, batting .233 with two homers then.

Game 3
MIL: LF Mancia – CF Stevenson – 1B Tadlock – RF W. Trevino – C A. Baker – 3B A. Velez – 2B S. Green – SS Ferrer – P Toner
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gerace – C Tovias – CF Borg – 3B Grigsby – P Chavez

With a single up the middle, only Jonny Toner reached base for the Loggers the first time through, while the Raccoons had a few more men on, but weren't running him out of the park right away. Toner did however issue a leadoff walk to Chavez in the bottom 3rd, which was just such a no-no… Spencer grounded to Manny Ferrer, who could have gotten two with a quick move, but got nobody with a bad move, throwing the ball past Sam Green for an error. The Raccoons would score their runners, but not until after Ramos flew out to right and Alfaro popped out. Jon Gonzalez knocked a grounder through Ron Tadlock and got it past Willie Trevino and all the way into the corner for a 2-out, 2-run triple, making the runs unearned on Toner. The Loggers' run in the fourth was earned though, Adam Baker singling to left and then scoring on Alberto Velez' double with two outs in the inning.

After some dull middle innings during which Greg Borg left the game with an injury suffered in the field and was replaced by Dwayne Metts, the Loggers flipped the score in the seventh inning. Sam Green hit a single, Ivan Flores pinch-hit for Ferrer and knocked a homer to right, getting Toner into a 3-2 lead. Jonny retired the Coons in order in the bottom 7th, then got an insurance run on base hits by Tadlock and Trevino in the top 8th off Chavez, who had to be helped out of the inning by Ricky Ohl. Toner made it through eight with four walks and five strikeouts, and no earned runs on his ledger, and he soon enough had his tenth win of the season when Joe Moore killed off the Coons in the bottom of the ninth for him. 4-2 Loggers. Gonzalez 2-3, BB, 3B, 2 RBI;

In other news

September 24 – After laboring all season on a torn flexor tendon in his elbow and retearing it during rehab, 24-year-old NAS SP Josh Bell (8-7, 3.72 ERA in his career) has to retire from baseball altogether. He had been the 41st pick in the 2021 draft and had ranked as high as #64 on the ABL prospect chart.
September 26 – Big blow for the Capitals as they lose their versatile offensive stalwart Dave Menth (.252, 21 HR, 80 RBI) to a torn labrum. Menth is expected to miss the first half of the 2026 season with the injury.
September 27 – SAC SP Michael Foreman (9-4, 3.92 ERA) has new offseason plans, as the 35-year-old will spend the winter rehabbing ulnar nerve irritation.

Complaints and stuff

What a week. Like I had needed more reminders why the team had been a dozen games out, plus change, already.

But we ended 13-5 against the Loggers this season, the first time we had won more than 12 against them since 2014, the year they won only twice against us.

Overall, a 90-win season is still possible for us if we can win four from the Indians and Crusaders next week. Despite a week's worth of games left, we have already secured second place in the division, at least in tie form, which the Crusaders can get into if they go 7-0 and we go 0-6 in the final week. We currently have the fifth-best record and while there are many teams within a win or two of us we will not get a great draft pick next season despite being so far out in our division. Damn Titans!

Morgan Shepherd lost a 3-0 game to the Crusaders on Sunday, sending him to 0-2 on the week despite allowing only three runs in 13.1 innings. Mark Roberts still remains only one game out in the win column (and nobody else has 19 and can reasonably reach 21), and maintains leads in the strikeout race (3 ahead of Shepherd) and ERA competition (.38 runs ahead of Shumway). Rico Gutierrez as an aside is now up to third place in the ERA table! Roberts will face the Indians on Wednesday, while Shepherd's final start will probably be on Friday in Vancouver. The possibility to start Roberts on short rest on Sunday in New York remains; but we will only do it if it is required and possible for him to grab the triple crown, f.e. if he is still one win behind Shepherd on Sunday morning.

Jarod Spencer stole two bases this week to get to 44 for the year, while New York's Lance Douglas remains stuck at 39, and nobody else is closer than 35. However, since the Coons still play the Crusaders…….

Although Alberto Ramos is the future, we have to use him sparingly for the rest of the year to keep his rookie status intact for next season. Tim Stalker probably knows his time is in fact up. In four years as the starting shortstop around here, Stalker amounted to a .756 OPS in '23, but that was his only season with an OPS+ over 100. Yes, there was good value to his defense, where he probably had the edge over Ramos, but we had every reason to believe that Ramos could form a torrent 1-2 sting with Jarod Spencer at the top of the order that could suffocate opposing teams with singles and steals right from the get-go. Stalker was a .248 batter, wasn't walking nearly enough to be a productive top-of-the-lineup batter, and was probably not more than a backup in the future.

This put free-agent-to-be Matt Otis out the front door, too, because between two middle infielders roughly around a .700 OPS I would always pick the 27-year-old rather than the 37-year-old.

Omar Alfaro came off the DL this week. As far as ostensible starting outfielders in a variety of scenarios went, Abel Mora was definitely not coming back this year, but we might get Cookie back for a cameo on the final weekend. With Mora on the DL and Greg Borg being hurt on Sunday, we were running out of centerfielders. Omar Alfaro was not a great solution out there, and Dwayne Metts was not great, period. We are running out of centerfielders, honestly.

Hmmmmmm. There is this Colombian kid in AAA …….

Fun Fact: Jonny Toner reached double-digit wins in a season for the first time since 2021 when he went 17-10 for the Raccoons.

At age 34, he is now 172-86 with a 2.83 ERA and 2,415 strikeouts. This year he has whiffed 140, but has also walked 117 batters, which used to be two seasons' worth for him, and then with more innings pitched.

Bonus Fun Fact: Rico Gutierrez became only the second Raccoon in a decade to hit two triples in a single game, the other having been Tim Stalker.

Two triples in a game is not quite a Raccoons specialty. The franchise has only done this 14 times overall in almost 49 seasons (and never in the playoffs). Jon Merritt is the only player to achieve the double triple three times, and the only one to do it twice in the same season (2010). Neil Reece and Conceicao Guerin both did it twice, and Rico Gutierrez joins Ben O'Morrissey, Jose Carlos Crespo, Luke Black, Logan Taylor, Cookie Carmona, and Tim Stalker as Raccoons to move 270 feet from home in one stroke repeatedly in one game.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:29 AM   #2591
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Raccoons (86-70) @ Indians (69-87) – September 29-October 1, 2025

The worst offense in the league had landed the Indians in last place in the North. They had scored hardly 3.6 runs per game this season and had batted a dismal .232 as a team. Solid pitching with the fourth-best rotation in the CL and the fifth-fewest runs allowed had been thrown to the dogs by a complete lack of punch. The Coons had already bagged the season series, which stood at 10-5 before this final 3-game set.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (2-3, 5.59 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (11-9, 4.40 ERA)
Jack Sander (10-11, 4.02 ERA) vs. Tom Shumway (12-8, 2.71 ERA)
Mark Roberts (19-7, 2.33 ERA) vs. Ernesto Lozano (9-16, 3.62 ERA)

Right-left-right, and a top 5 loser of games in the CL for Mark Roberts to face, well, well!

The Raccoons had also brought up the Yeshiva Rambam kid, promoting 22-year-old Colombian outfielder Juan Magallanes to the major league roster after the Greg Borg injury, because even if this was the final week and the games didn't exactly matter anymore, seeing Dwayne Metts for an entire week was just too much to swallow…

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – SS Stalker – CF Magallanes – 3B Grigsby – P Delgadillo
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Ri. Mendez – LF Cooper – RF T. Ruiz – C T. Perez – CF Linnell – 2B Folk – 3B Ju. Jackson – P Matthews

Juan Magallanes had his first major league hit in the fourth inning of this series opener, pushing a single through the right side to load the bases with nobody out for the Raccoons, who nevertheless wouldn't score – totally out of character here! – once Mike Grigsby struck out and Dan Delgadillo grounded into a double play. Delgadillo's last start of the year brought no noticeable improvement in his fortunes, or, really, much improvement at all, which his best performance being his legging out of a grounder for a 2-out RBI infield single in the top of the second inning. Rich Mendez homered off him in the first, then scored again in the third after doubling and being singled home by Andrew Cooper. The fourth saw Richard Linnell with a double to right and they wouldn't get to keep him on, either. Portland still managed to tie the score in the fifth inning on Jon Gonzalez's 2-run homer, which got him to 20 on the season – what a lofty height for a slugger in Raccoons Ballpark … While Delgadillo was spanked for ten hits in six innings, somehow he managed to keep the damage to the three runs – what a "quality" start! – and hung with a no-decision to end his season. The Raccoons failed to push through against Matthews, too, even when Gonzalez and Kopp reached base to start the eighth inning. Nick Derks drilling leadoff batter and pinch-hitter Ricardo Vargas in the bottom 8th, plus a walk to Linnell put enough ponies on the bases to cause trouble in the bottom 8th, with Justin Jackson driving in the go-ahead run with a 2-out single. Nick Salinas retired Ramos, Spencer, and Alfaro in order and without the least bit of hope coming up, or any ball coming out of the infield at all. 4-3 Indians. Alfaro 2-5; Kopp 2-4;

Gotta hook up with the Indians over the offseason. Maybe we can exchange Nicks. (grunts knowingly)

Greg Borg was sent to the DL with wrist tendinitis at this point, while Cookie Carmona was activated from said DL.

Game 2
POR: LF Spencer – SS Bullock – 2B Otis – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – C O'Dell – CF Magallanes – 3B Grigsby – P Sander
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Ri. Mendez – LF Cooper – RF T. Ruiz – C T. Perez – CF Linnell – 2B Folk – 3B Ju. Jackson – P Shumway

That very bad offense (…) went to work on Jack Sander more or less instantly, with two runs falling out of him by the second inning, one of those singled in by Tom Shumway himself. Shumway was hard to be touched by the Raccoons, holding them to very little and would have been pitching a shutout in the middle innings if not for Tony Perez' throwing error on Daniel Bullock's stolen base attempt that sent him to third base and ultimately allowed him to score on Matt Otis' groundout in the fourth inning. The bottom 4th saw Sander rocked for three more runs, two of those unearned, but you shouldn't always focus on the errors (Otis fielding, O'Dell throwing), but maybe also on the three base hits that Sander surrendered anyway. Tony Ruiz drove home Andrew Cooper in the bottom 5th, extending the gap to 6-1 in a game that was long out of hand.

Sander hung around just long enough to surrender a seventh run in the bottom 6th on a Mario Pizano homer to left, and Pizano really wasn't hitting many of those. The Raccoons got leadoff men on in the sixth (Otis) and seventh (O'Dell), but always found goons (Gonzalez, Grigsby) to hit into a double play, in the latter case of the 3-unassisted variety with O'Dell being caught napping far off the base when Grigsby lined out to Rich Mendez. The last two innings for Portland went six up, six down, leaving Tom Shumway with a well-deserved complete-game 4-hitter. 7-1 Indians. Grigsby 2-3;

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – LF Carmona – 3B Grigsby – CF Metts – P Roberts
IND: 2B Ri. Mendez – CF Folk – SS Pizano – 3B Ju. Jackson – C T. Perez – LF Cooper – 1B Linnell – RF Kim – P Lozano

Mark Roberts probably understood his situation, and at least one other Coon was quickly identified that the team had to score RUNS, RUNS, RUNS here and now and GET SCORING ALREADY. Ramos reached on a throwing error by Pizano, and after that Elias Matias Tovias Diaz cracked a 2-run homer to left for an early lead for Roberts, who was vying for his 20th win. While the Indians hit a few balls hard early on, they also struck out a bid, and Jarod Spencer's 2-out RBI single that plated Metts in the second inning already stretched the advantage to 3-0.

Then the offense stopped, completely. Mark Roberts was generally good, but used too many pitches and was reaching 100 in the sixth inning, in which Pizano walked, advanced on a groundout, then stole third base… and home, too. Quite the way to get on board for Indy, who amounted to five hits and eight strikeouts against Roberts, who didn't figure to come back for the seventh inning, so it was on the pen now. And I had a BAD feeling. Spencer singled, stole second, then was stranded in the top of the seventh, with Vince D retiring Man-su Kim, Rogelio Medina, and Rich Mendez in order and quickly in the bottom of the inning. Top 8th, leadoff single by Cookie! Then a double play grounder by Grigbsy before Cookie could think much about stealing… Ohl it was for the bottom 8th, with Brody Folk hitting a leadoff single to right. Oh, you ****ing Elk! ONCE AN ELK, ALWAYS AN ELK!! Pizano however remained true to Indians form, hitting a grounder at Spencer for a double play. Justin Jackson struck out, leaving only three outs to be collected after a depressing top of the ninth in which both Spencer and Ramos reached base and were both caught stealing. Jonathan Snyder it was in the bottom 9th, and his first pitch was driven a great distance by Tony Perez. Kopp back, back, further back, to the fence, up and he snared it! Good lord, Snyder, keep your **** in order!! He did, and the Indians made the poorest way out of the game possible when both John Staebell and Richard Linnell were retired on foul pops behind home plate. 3-1 Coons! Spencer 3-5, RBI; Ramos 2-5; Carmona 2-4; Roberts 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, W (20-7) and 1-3;

Damn ex-Elks, cursed shall they be forever!

Except of course if you're Kisho Saito or Tetsu Osanai. David Brewer is a tricky case since he's in the Hall of Fame as an Elk.

In terms of the here and now, Roberts held all the leads in the triple crown when play ended on Wednesday, tying Morgan Shepherd in wins, leading him by 11 K, and was up on Tom Shumway by .33 earned runs.

This lasted only one night; Morgan Shepherd started for the Titans on Thursday and beat the Loggers, 9-6, while pitching only 5.2 innings and conceding four runs. He struck out only four, handing the strikeout title to Roberts for sure. Regardless, a win was a win, it was his 21st of the year, and Roberts had to deliver on Sunday on short rest.

Raccoons (87-72) @ Crusaders (81-78) – October 3-5, 2025

Let's be honest, nobody in baseball cared much about this series with three division races still raging on the final weekend of the regular season. Crusaders seventh in offense, fourth in pitching, and the season series stood at 8-7 in our favor. If we could win the weekend series, we would beat four of our division rivals this season – all except the Titans (8-10).

Projected matchups:
Lance Legleiter (2-3, 2.63 ERA) vs. Alejandro Mendez (6-9, 4.50 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (11-7, 2.85 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (3-6, 4.50 ERA)
Mark Roberts (20-7, 2.31 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (12-12, 4.87 ERA)

Three right-handers in all likelihood, unless the Crusaders manage to find a southpaw spoiler on short notice.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – RF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – CF Magallanes – P Legleiter
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – LF Espinosa – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – C Asay – SS McWhorter – 2B Walter – CF Loya – P A. Mendez

Lance Legleiter loogied five the first time through the order and conceded no hits, at least until Xavier Garcia went yard with two outs in the bottom 3rd. This cut the Coons' lead in half, their two runs in the top 3rd having been courtesy of an Alberto Ramos single and Omar Alfaro's 2-piece to right. Alfaro then had a prime spot to marvel at Jason Asay's 2-run homer that flipped the score in the bottom 4th. Legleiter was ringing them up in droves, which as alright, but he also gave the Crusaders increasingly fat pitches to drive, also began to miss the zone. The Crusaders got another run in the bottom 5th, Shane Walter reaching base with a single, advancing on a bunt and wild pitch, then scoring on a groundout. Legleiter appeared in the bottom 6th, walked Andy Schmit and drilled Nate Ellis, and then was not seen again. The Raccoons continued to not retire anybody at all with Vince D replacing Legleiter, allowing a single to Asay, then walking in a run against Tom McWhorter. On to Justin Hess, who got drubbed for a 2-run double by Shane Walter, then after a K to Ricky Loya conceded an RBI single to "Ant" Mendez, another one to Xavier Garcia, then received the maximum penalty of being replaced by Matt Wilson, who without hesitation walked Juan Espinosa to reload the bases, then surrendered two more runs to Andy Schmit's full-count single. Nate Ellis accidentally made an out to Cookie, but that still didn't end the inning. There would be one more RBI single by Asay, then off Jimmy Lee, giving the Crusaders an 8-run inning and a 10-run lead. Well, now they got that out of their system and Roberts might have it easier on Sunday! Sometimes you have to talk things nice to make them bearable. 12-2 Crusaders. Gerace (PH) 1-1; Alfaro 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Tovias 2-4;

Two games left, still three division races live. In the FL West and CL South, the leaders were level, while the Cyclones held a 2-game lead over the Buffaloes now.

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – CF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – CF Espinosa – 3B Schmit – SS McWhorter – 2B Doering – RF Hodgers – C Leal – LF Loya – P Cannon

Rico declared before the game that he would pitch 200 innings this year, which meant he had to get somebody out in the eighth inning. The Crusaders surely had their own plans for this game, in which they also got on the board first with a 2-run homer by Ricky Loya in the bottom 3rd after both teams had sprayed a few inconsequential singles early on. It didn't get better; Blake Doering singled in the fourth, Gutierrez lost Victor Hodgers on four pitches, then served up a 2-run triple into the depths of centerfield to Armando Leal. Eddie Cannon singled in a run, the Coons couldn't turn a double play on Garcia's grounder, and after Gutierrez walked Espinosa on four pitches his season was over. Down 5-0 and with three on in the bottom 4th he was hauled in, after which he went on to demolish some of the dugout and most of the tunnel to the clubhouse in a fit of rage. And that was before he knew that Jimmy Lee conceded two more of his runs on a Schmit single.

Defeated again, soundly, the Raccoons had nothing much left but looking forward to Sunday, although at the pace things were going at the Crusaders would probably also rip Roberts a new one and he'd lose the ERA title, too. Another run would fall out of Matt Wilson in the seventh. No run ever fell out of Eddie Cannon, Sean Byrd, and Jason Stone. 8-0 Crusaders. Spencer 2-4; Stalker (PH) 1-1; Surginer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

And all the other division races WILL go into the final day of the season!

We remain chiefly concerned about getting Mark Roberts through five with a lead, though. All the goodish pieces of the pen are well rested at least.

I just wonder where we're gonna steal a run from. In any case, there was a pitching change, with Mike Rutkowski (8-7, 3.69 ERA) assigned to the season finale.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Ramos – LF Alfaro – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – P Roberts
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – 2B R. Soto – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – C F. Delgado – CF Espinosa – LF Hodgers – P Rutkowski

Jarod Spencer got a 46th stolen base after drawing a game-opening walk, and Jon Gonzalez got an 87th RBI when he singled him in from second base to give Roberts an instant lead in the game. In between, Alfaro had also walked, moved ahead of Gonzalez into third base when Terry Kopp grounded out, then scored along with Gonzalez on Tovias' single to left, putting the early tally at 3-0. Alfaro hit a solo homer the next time around, running the score to 4-0 in the third inning, and now it was really on Roberts to deliver a strong outing and first make it through five innings, and then if possible at all shorten the game far enough that we don't have to employ the soft underbelly of the pen and can mostly only utilize our big four. And Roberts lived up to hopes early on, retiring the Crusaders not only in order in his first run through their lineup, but also struck out five batters (although K were no longer relevant to the triple crown conversation). The clobbering of Rutkowski continued, as the Crusader, who had escaped the third inning with the bases loaded when Roberts grounded out, allowed another two runs in the fourth inning. Ramos singled, was doubled home by Alfaro, and Kopp would plate Omar with a single. New York first reached base in the bottom 4th after 11 straight retirements out of the box when Andy Schmit hit a double to left, but was stranded when Nate Ellis flew out to Terry Kopp. Felipe Delgado had a single in the fifth, but Roberts pressed on relentlessly and reached qualifying distance with two hits and seven strikeouts on his ledger, but also 75 pitches, and we wouldn't likely push him past the sixth inning.

The question became less and less "if". Mike Kress was pitching in relief in the sixth inning. Spencer lobbed a leadoff single, Ramos walked. Alfaro went down on strikes trying to hit another bomb. But that still left Jon Gonzalez, who with a 6-run lead could also afford to try and hit a long one. In full swing mode in a 2-2 count, Gonzalez murdered a helpless fastball for a 420-footer, a screeching 3-run homer into the leftfield stands that extended the Coons' lead to 9-0! The Crusaders had two strikeouts to begin the bottom 6th, after which Robby Soto singled, then stole second base, his 34th of the season. Roberts had Andy Schmit at 1-2 before surrendering a single to right, and a run. He got Nate Ellis on a groundout, his final batter of his triple crown season, to complete six innings of 1-run ball. Y'know, triple crown season UNLESS the Coons managed to give up eight runs before they got nine outs. To some teams, this could be a challenge…

Actually, eight runs wouldn't be enough; the Crusaders had Bryce Neal in to pitch in garbage innings in the seventh, and Stalker, Spencer, Ramos, Alfaro, and Gonzalez ripped him a new one with five straight singles for three additional runs. Tim Stalker hit an RBI triple off Keith Roofener in the eighth to further rob the Crusaders of any hopes to play spoilers. The Coons even optioned to not go to the big four in the pen as of now, instead sending out Nick Derks in a perfect seventh before progressing to Justin Hess. Andy Schmit would hit a home run off Hess in the ninth, but that was indeed all the rally the Crusaders had in them. 13-2 Furballs!! Spencer 2-5, BB; Ramos 2-4, BB, RBI; Otis 1-1; Alfaro 3-5, BB, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Gonzalez 4-6, HR, 5 RBI; Tovias 2-5, 2 RBI; Stalker (PH) 1-1, BB, 3B, RBI; Roberts 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, W (21-7) and 1-3;

ROBEEEEEEEEEERTS!!!!

The season as a whole was not over, however; while the Scorpions and Cyclones won their divisions on Sunday, both doing so in beating the direct competition, the CL South remained deadlocked between the Aces and Condors. The Aces creamed the Knights, 10-4, on Sunday, while the Condors only survived with a late rally against the Bayhawks. These teams played a tie-breaker on Monday in addition to one makeup game in the FL West for last-place honors between the Stars and Wolves.

In other news

September 29 – The Pacifics, in a dead heat with the Scorpions for the FL West crown, lose INF/LF John Hansen (.311, 12 HR, 87 RBI) for the season. The 27-year-old is suffering from a separated shoulder.
September 30 – The Aces celebrate a crucial, yet low-key walkoff in extra innings over the Bayhawks, winning 3-2 after San Fran's CL Manny Sosa (3-13, 4.96 ERA, 33 SV) drills a batter, walks two, and plates the winning run with a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th.
October 5 – TIJ C Danny Zarate (.208, 7 HR, 38 RBI) is expected to miss the start of next year with a broken kneecap.
October 5 – The Thunder plate ten runs in the fourth inning, which is all their offense in a 10-7 win over the Falcons.
October 7 – LVA CL Franklin Alvarado (8-5, 3.09 ERA, 37 SV) blows the Aces' 4-3 lead in the tie-breaker against the Condors by surrendering a double to Joel Denzler (.246, 1 HR, 21 RBI) and an RBI single to Chad Highsmith (.220, 2 HR, 23 RBI) in the ninth inning. The inning ends with Highsmith being caught stealing, leaving the Aces to bat in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game. TIJ CL John Waker (6-7, 2.60 ERA, 39 SV) walks leadoff man Casimiro Schoeppen (.184, 2 HR, 9 RBI), also walked Ron Raynor, eventually walks the bases full against Tim Dunlap, and finally sees his team's season end by the 2-out RBI single of September call-up INF Nick Thornley (.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI), sending the Aces off 5-4 winners and into the playoffs.

Complaints and stuff

Oh, wonderful, you came here just in time for my triple crown dance! (stands up and moves hip once) Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Cramp! Cramp! Mena! MENAAAAA!!

…

[one injection of Feelgood later]

…

Now that we have found out that Cristiano Carmona has better mobility than me, let's dissect final points from this season. Lance Douglas did not steal another base all week and Jarod Spencer easily won the stolen base title in the Continental League, although his 46 bags were easily dwarfed by WAS Guillermo Obando's 61 in the FL.

We got a good look at Alberto Ramos this season and I declare him The Future, just like I declared Omar Alfaro to have an entire age named after him about four years ago.

Given that he finished the season with an .813 OPS, maybe that age will actually ****ing dawn.

Fun Fact: Mark Roberts' triple crown is the fourth pitching triple crown in the last eight seasons, joining those by Jose Lerma in 2023 and Jonny Toner's pair in 2018 and 2020.

Jonny Toner …! (lower lip twitches)
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 08-28-2018, 02:30 PM   #2592
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2025 ABL PLAYOFFS

It had been done – the playoff field for the 49th ABL postseason had been set, although it took a day and a game longer than originally scheduled.

Here it was, the weirdest beast – an ABL playoff team that had won 90 games while scoring fewer runs than they had conceded. The 2025 Cincinnati Cyclones had achieved the seemingly impossible, winning their division while plating 683 runs, and getting scored on 698 times. Unsurprisingly, their numbers relative to the rest of the Federal League were … "spotty". The 9-time playoff participant and 2-time champions (most recently 2010) from Ohio had ended up merely ninth in runs scored, right at the bottom even in home runs, and tenth in on-base percentage, and merely sixth in runs conceded. Their rotation was one of the best in the Federal League with a 3.72 ERA; their bullpen was an abhorrence. They did know their way around the bags with stolen bases (2nd), and played a top-3 defense, but it wasn't like they could run out left-hander Adam Moran (17-8, 3.05 ERA) every day and expect to come away with wins. Crucial players were also on the DL, including Frank Kelly (15-7, 2.87 ERA), Troy Charters (4-5, 2.35 ERA, 37 SV), and Nando Maiello (.312, 2 HR, 49 RBI). Their team leaders in home runs, Eddie Moreno and Tim Rush, tied for 12 dingers apiece. They did not have a qualifying batter with a batting average better than Ricardo Rangel's .287 mark. They had a tough time ahead of them.

Opposing them were the routine winners of the FL West, which the 98-win Scorpions had taken for the 14th time, and the seventh time in a row. They had three championships to their name, most recently in 2020. Besides averaging 102 wins for the last seven seasons, they had also crushed the FL with the most runs scored (855), the highest OBP (.375!), and had two 100+ RBI guys in the middle of the order in 31-year-old "Japanese" "rookie" David Drews (.313, 24 HR, 119 RBI) and Luis Moreira (.258, 21 HR, 109 RBI) that were being fed runners all day long, every day. While they lacked a real ace pitcher and had only the seventh-best rotation in the Federal League, their bullpen was largely spotless, and ready to extinguish any sort of rally. They really just had to overcome their pronounced spotlight panic. Not only were they a 102-win team averaged over the last seven years, but they also had lost to mostly inferior opposition in the FLCS no less than five times in that timespan…

In the Continental League, the 102-60 Titans had won their division handily, the only team to make the playoffs before the final weekend of the season, and were trying to extend their golden streak to an unheard of fourth consecutive championship. Their overall record was bewildering; in their 11 playoff appearances prior to 2025, they had won the title seven times. And they sure carried a good deck in their hands, having led the Continental League with an impressive 878 runs while conceding only 609, second only to the Raccoons. On-base percentage was the name of the game, with the Titans reaching base as a team at a .369 rate, which was incredibly impressive. They were not really into the power game, but were stealing bases well and had a lineup that was almost consistently throwing .290 batters at the opposition. Their rotation was flawless even after the early loss of southpaw Dustin Wingo, and Morgan Shepherd had tied for the league lead with 21 wins, also achieving a 2.96 ERA. If there was anything about the roster that looked off, it was the lack of left-handed pitching. The Titans had gone from four or five left-handed relievers to just one, and that was their closer, Brent Beene, who had saved 45 games this season.

Opposing them were the 90-win Aces, who only made the postseason after winning a walkoff thriller in a tie-breaker game against the Condors. The Aces had tied for third place in offense in the CL, albeit almost 170 runs behind the Titans, and their pitching was average at best, with a sixth-best rotation by ERA, and also the sixth-fewest runs conceded in the 12-team league. Except maybe for home runs, the team seemed to lack everything; they couldn't offer a qualifying starter with a better ERA than Abramo Archibugi's 3.74 mark, and their bullpen was mostly comprised of 4-ERA pitchers. Yes, they played good defense, better than Boston, but the lack of aces in the rotation and also the lack of Justin Dally, who had missed almost the entire season, in the lineup meant that the Aces had to fight a tremendous uphill battle in their sixth postseason ever. They had won the title twice, back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

Was there any doubt about the rematch of the 2024 World Series, Scorpions trying to get back at the Titans?

I didn't think so, either.

+++

2025 LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

CIN @ SAC … 6-5 … (Cyclones lead 1-0) … CIN Tim Roush 2-3, BB, 2 2B, RBI; SAC Pablo Sanchez 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; SAC Justin McAllester 3-5, HR, 3 RBI;

CIN @ SAC … 2-14 … (series tied 1-1) … SAC Trey Rock 3-5, 2 RBI; SAC Luis Moreira 3-4, BB, 2 2B, 2 RBI; SAC Justin McAllester 3-4, BB, 2 HR, 5 RBI; SAC Jorge Castro 3-4, BB, 2B, RBI;
LVA @ BOS … 1-2 (11) … (Titans lead 1-0) … LVA Samuel McMullen 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; BOS Keith Leonard (PH) 1-1, RBI; BOS Jeremy Waite 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; BOS Brent Beene 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K;

LVA @ BOS … 9-2 … (series tied 1-1) … LVA Allen Retzer 3-5, HR, 2 RBI;

SAC @ CIN … 0-1 … (Cyclones lead 2-1) … SAC Jordan Caldwell 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, L (0-1); CIN Adam Moran 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, W (1-0);

Doug Stross dropped Ricardo Rangel's fly to left to begin the bottom of the first inning and the Cyclones maneuvered their leadoff man around for a free run that turned out to be the difference in Game 3. The Scorpions suffered an additional damper with a hamstring strain ending Jorge Castro's season.

SAC @ CIN … 2-5 … (Cyclones lead 3-1) … CIN Danny Munn (PH) 1-1, HR, 3 RBI;
BOS @ LVA … 0-1 (10) … (Aces lead 2-1) … BOS Julio San Pedro 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K; LVA Tom Dunlap 2-3, 2 2B; LVA Abramo Archibugi 8.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K;

While the Scorpions are back in a familiar spot – the edge of the volcano – thanks to Danny Munn blasting a game-winning 3-piece batting for their starter Trevor Dixon in the bottom 7th, the sole run in CLCS Game 3 scored on Allen Retzer's sac fly off Jose Fuentes, plating Jesus Moroyoqui.

I should let the picking of winners just be…

SAC @ CIN … 7-8 (12) … (Cyclones win 4-1) … SAC Pablo Sanchez 2-6, 2B, 3 RBI; SAC John Byrd 2-4, 2 BB, 2B; SAC Bob Nash 2-2, BB; CIN Manny Ramirez 3-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI; CIN Chris LeMoine (PH) 1-1, RBI;
BOS @ LVA … 7-6 … (series tied 2-2) … BOS Adam St. Germaine 3-4, 2 2B, RBI; LVA Casimiro Schoeppen (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI;

Manny Ramirez' third hit of the day, a 12th-inning single off Ben Marx, who funnily enough had soiled the Capitals' playoff ambitions in 2022 with absolutely atrocious (17.55 ERA) pitching, and remains an 8.86 ERA pitcher in the postseason, plates Ben Lowe from third base and casts the Scorpions and their 102-wins-a-year into the abyss for good.

Right in the face, Cincy's Danny Munn was named series MVP. The 38-year-old Munn started no games, always came off the bench, but that was enough to murder the Scorpions for two homers and 7 RBI.

BOS @ LVA … 1-6 … (Aces lead 3-2) … LVA Tom Dunlap 3-4, RBI; LVA Jose Navarro 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; LVA Corey Curro (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; LVA Joel Trotter 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, W (2-0);

LVA @ BOS … 1-3 … (series tied 3-3) … BOS Tim Robinson 4-4, 2B, RBI; BOS Gil Cornejo (PH) 1-1, RBI; BOS Morgan Shepherd 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, W (1-1);

Shepherd's season-saving outing was curtailed by an hour-long rain delay.

LVA @ BOS … 1-4 … (Titans win 4-3) … LVA Allen Retzer 2-4, RBI; BOS Tim Robinson 2-4, HR, RBI; BOS Adam Corder 2-3, BB;

+++

2025 WORLD SERIES

Seriously, how were the Cyclones dreaming to stack up against… maybe I should just let it be.

The Titans were far ahead of the Cyclones in pretty much every category one could dream up. They had scored 195 more runs. They had conceded 89 fewer runs. They had more home runs. They were on base more often. They had a better bullpen. They had… even fewer injuries …!

These teams had never faced another in the World Series before. The Cyclones had previously played in The Show against the Bayhawks (1-0), Raccoons (1-0), and Crusaders (0-2). The Titans had faced the Capitals (2-1), Blue Sox (2-0), Buffaloes (1-0), Wolves (1-0), Gold Sox (0-1), and Scorpions (1-0) before.

Titans in five!

+++

CIN @ BOS … 2-3 (10) … (Titans lead 1-0) … CIN Graham Wasserman 7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; BOS Jeremy Waite 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K; BOS Javy Salomon 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

Adam St. Germaine scores the winning run in the 10th on a throwing error by Cincy's backup catcher Ben Lowe.

CIN @ BOS … 2-6 … (Titans lead 2-0) … BOS Adam Braun 1-2, 2 BB, HR, RBI; BOS Adam St. Germaine 4-4, 2B; BOS Gil Cornejo (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI; BOS Brent Beene 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

BOS @ CIN … 4-0 … (Titans lead 3-0) … BOS Rhett West 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; BOS Morgan Shepherd 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (2-1);

The Cyclones are caught stealing three times by Keith Leonard and never reach third base in this potential neck breaker.

BOS @ CIN … 5-4 … (Titans win 4-0) … BOS Yasuhiro Kuramoto 2-4, BB, 2B, RBI; BOS Adam Corder 1-2, BB, RBI; CIN Raul Maldonado 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

St. Germaine, Keith Spataro, and Jamie Wilson hit straight 1-out RBI singles off new reliever Jesus Pamatz in the eighth inning to break up the 3-2 Cyclones lead and zoom 5-3 ahead. The Cyclones pull one run back in the bottom of the inning, but can't get a hit off Julio San Pedro in the ninth inning and go down in defeat.

2025 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
BOSTON TITANS

(8th title)
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:41 PM   #2593
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Cincinnati didn't even have a positive run differential in winning a series 4 to 1! God that's one of the most ridiculous seasons I've ever seen.

I know you're devoted to your playoff structure (and rightfully so), but seasons like this one make me wonder what damage the Raccoons could do if the playoffs were expanded (and how many times they would've made it as the 2nd-best team in the division).
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Westheim (08-28-2018)
Old 08-28-2018, 08:53 PM   #2594
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsimon99 View Post
Cincinnati didn't even have a positive run differential in winning a series 4 to 1! God that's one of the most ridiculous seasons I've ever seen.

I know you're devoted to your playoff structure (and rightfully so), but seasons like this one make me wonder what damage the Raccoons could do if the playoffs were expanded (and how many times they would've made it as the 2nd-best team in the division).
I personally LOVE the 4 team playoff structure, makes the regular season mean a ton.

Now on to my favorite time of year, the offseason! Looking forward to the moves that are on the way
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Westheim (08-29-2018)
Old 08-29-2018, 03:54 PM   #2595
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Some things keep changing, some stay the same. Catchers come and catchers go, and the Titans win the World Series every year. The offseason began by Tony Delgado officially retiring. The 38-year-old, who had spent the last three seasons as brave and reliable backup to Elias Tovias without moaning even once, batted just .164 this season and knew that time was up for him. Most prominently a Wolf in his career, but playing for four CL North teams as well (all but the successful ones), Delgado ended up a .257 batter with 89 HR and 527 RBI.

I saw this coming, which was one reason I was content with adding Brett O'Dell in the Wasserman deal late in the season because he could fit the same mold that Delgado filled for us the last few seasons.

But for now, let's not get too deep into individual players. Maud will send flowers and a nice card to Delgado, and then we can look at our budget.

The Raccoons ranked 15th in budget last season with a $28.6M allowance. It seemed the Mexican Prick smelled that there was a chance at actually contending and freed up a few more of his drug lo- … business earnings to laund- … invest them in his baseball franchise. For 2026, the Coons had a $30.5M budget, which tied them for 11th among all teams with the Knights.

As far as the big bucks were concerned, the two richest teams were division rivals for us, with the Titans ($42M) just outdoing the Crusaders ($41M) in terms of disposable riches. The top 5 were completed by the Scorpions ($39.5M), Gold Sox ($37.5M), and Aces ($35.5M). At the bottom of the league, the five poorest teams were the Wolves ($22.8M), Indians, Falcons ($22.6M each), Warriors, and Stars ($22.2M each). The only missing CL North teams ranked 14th (Elks, $27.4M) and 19th (Loggers, $24.4M).

The average budget was $30.2M, the median budget was $29.95M.

Before we would go deep into accounting, we had to bring up the arbitration and free agency table. (full table at the bottom of the post) – In fact it was hard to really get into accounting at the moment, because the Raccoons had an absolute smothering of arbitration eligible players, many of them first-timers, and a few of them actually important. The main arbitration cases included Rico Gutierrez, Jesus Chavez, Billy Brotman, Vince D, Jonathan Snyder, Elias Tovias, Jon Gonzalez, Omar Alfaro… I mean, I am leaving guys out here, and the list is STILL endless!

By contrast, we had only three free agents, and none of them figured to come back. Matt Otis had been surprisingly productive, but he was 36 and a middle infielder. There was also the sudden emergence of Alberto Ramos, who was pushing Tim Stalker out at shortstop. Stalker would make a decent backup, I reasoned, and coupled with Bullock (unless we could find an upgrade to him that was also capable of covering third base) we were pretty much set around the diamond.

Our outfield situation and much about the pitching staff would be in a state of flux. Regardless, neither Justin Hess nor Jimmy Lee had much of a hunch to return. Hess had a 4.27 ERA and that was no fluke. His WHIP had been over 1.50, and that is not a pleasant WHIP for any sort of pitcher. Similar things were true for Jimmy Lee, who at 33 could hardly break glass, let alone get a swinging strike three. He had pitched 60-odd innings in both of his Portland seasons. He had struck out 48 last year, but only 23 this year. We paid $965k to Lee for either season. I don't think we got our money's worth in '25.

For now, let us only get into the pitching staff; right now, the Raccoons know their Opening Day starter, which is a given when your guy takes home the triple crown. Mark Roberts had done so with a 21-7 season, 2.29 ERA, and 238 K. The latter marked his third strikeout crown, and also his highest career total, beating his 2022 mark by one. He also led the league in WHIP with a Toneresque 0.91 mark. Before Toner started to suck the stitches out of the baseballs – his WHIP this year had been 1.52. During his hey day, Jonny spun a sub-1 WHIP six consecutive times, with a best of *0.81*.

Behind Roberts? Well, we certainly had five applicants on staff right now, although besides Rico Gutierrez I had written grumpy things regularly about all of them, although Dan Delgadillo was probably due some discount for having been out an entire year. Chavez had already made $1M a year as part of his deal straight out of Cuba, and arbitration estimates usually only build on that. Jack Sander and Lance Legleiter were scratch pitchers that other teams had dealt to us for nothing or had waived outright. Both had enjoyed their moments. Sander had an awesome first two months before being nothing but crummy the rest of the way, while Legleiter had been extremely solid in the chances to start he had gotten. Who was going to be the odd man out? We probably had some trade bait on our paws here.

The bullpen might see a shake-up, with Ricky Ohl applying for the closer's job. He had whiffed 80 in 61.1 innings this year, while Snyder had only gotten 52 batters in 58.1 innings and had sputtered mightily down the stretch. Behind that we will still have Vince D, Surginer, and Brotman, with the rest of the pitchers on the 40-man roster falling more in the "not if you're trying to win" category.

There were but two interesting pitchers in AAA besides the perennial replacements of Damani Knight shape and size, and neither had arrived there before September. Josh Boles, a scrap heap signing two winters ago, had arrived in St. Pete after starting the season in Aumsville, where he had still made a few starts, but he had shifted to the closer role in Ham Lake in the middle of the season. He was a 21-year-old left-hander with a disgusting knuckle curve, and those sort of pitchers could make it into prominent roles, but control was a major issue for him still. He walked 6.5/9 in AA, although he also struck out 12.3/9 there.

The other interesting pitcher was George James, our 2024 first-rounder. He had pitched to a 3.19 ERA in 27 starts for Ham Lake before making two starts at the end of the season for St. Pete, where he didn't do too badly. James had just turned 22 in October, so was still young even for the AAA level (said the GM who was ready to throw a 19-year-old shortstop into the Opening Day lineup), and it was probably a year early for him.

At the end of the day, we're in the market for a few more used relievers.

With the catcher situation somewhat settled at this point with Tovias ahead of O'Dell, that left the outfield mess to sort out, and it was quite the mess indeed, and it began with the number 9, which was the number of outfielders the Raccoons carried on the expanded roster after the end of the playoffs (Mora and Borg having rejoined from the DL). No important prospect was in the wings in that area of the field, so, yay, lucky us?

The Raccoons' outfielders included Cookie Carmona, Abel Mora, Terry Kopp, Omar Alfaro, Justin Gerace, Greg Borg, Devin Mansfield, Juan Magallanes, and the irritating Dwayne Metts. Now, narrowing these down to six is probably not a big issue, because three of those four M's had been injury replacements or in Metts' case should never have been added to the roster again in the first place.

The issue here is – really – Cookie Carmona. He had not managed to reach even a .640 OPS in three straight years. He had been worth zero wins over the last three years combined. We don't have to talk about how to get him into the Hall of Fame anymore – we have to talk about how to get him off the roster while hurting the fewest feelings, and I have to talk about this very silently, because Cristiano Carmona has extremely pointy ears, which must be one of those cases where one part of the body was taking over for another part that didn't work, e.g. his legs. Or, you know, like a blind guy has a bigger nose.

Somebody has to bat eighth, true, but I think that's gonna be Nunley. Consider this: between Abel Mora, Omar Alfaro, and Terry Kopp, the starting outfield for this team if Cookie wasn't around, would bat .276/.346/.433, which was pretty decent a slash line; not overpowering, but pretty decent. Cookie's slash was .260/.314/.296 and due to injuries, which felled all four of those at any one point in the season, and up to three at one time, and held Terry Kopp to 54 games overall, got more at-bats than any of the others, excluding Mora. The team slash line had been .262/.320/.372 … more reason to try to get Mora, Alfaro, and Kopp into the lineup at the same time as often as possible.

However, there is Cookie's contract; we have five big earners with guaranteed contracts on the roster right now, and three of them are outfielders. Kopp, Mora, and Cookie are all in the $2M range for their 2026 salary. Kopp will be in a contract year; the other two contracts are up after '27. (The other two big earners are starting pitchers; Roberts ($2M) and (gnashes teeth) Delgadillo ($1.8M))

Given his (lack of) production, you still can't shift Cookie without retaining his salary. And I would rather have a player I am paying for than paying him to play on some other team where he would immediately bat .327 again and steal 40 bases, because that is how things work around here.

Oh, this will be a tough offseason…
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Old 08-31-2018, 11:30 AM   #2596
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While the Raccoons tried to figure out how to deal with Ricardo "Replacement Level" Carmona (can we shorten that to "Replacie"?), they also sorted through their utter pile of arbitration cases.

The first extensions were signed with Vince D ($450k), Elias Tovias ($410k), and Billy Brotman ($300k), all for just one year. I had recently seen Tovias' non-production with great concern and had thus abstained from a multi-year deal. Vince D had been offered three years, but would only sign for one, insisting to test the free agency waters next fall.

The fanbase was expecting big deals, though, but nothing was coming forward. It was already November when we extended Brett O'Dell for $466k (which would also make him a free agent after the 2026 season). Jonathan Snyder inked for $300k, also for one season, before the big news finally came on November 4, when we announced a 5-year-deal with Jon Gonzalez. It was surely a team-friendly contract, buying out two years of free agency in addition to his remaining arbitration years for a total of $7M, plus incentives, with the contract starting at $1M in '26 and escalating in linear fashion to $1.8M in '30.

The only other player that signed so far is Omar Alfaro ($500k). What is the holdup with the starting pitchers? After all, they are the key to success!

+++

October 28 – The Knights trade 32-yr old outfielder Jon Correa (.273, 118 HR, 617 RBI) to the Bayhawks for fringe 1B/LF/RF Jon Nieto (.175, 2 HR, 7 RBI) and a prospect.
October 31 – The Aces trade for the Rebels' 26-year-old SP Alex Quintero (13-20, 4.37 ERA), parting with a prospect.
November 5 – The Stars send CL Erik David (7-9, 3.79 ERA, 27 SV) to the Miners in exchange for two prospects.

+++

Among retirees at the beginning of the offseason was Tamio Kimura, a Japanese outfielder that came over in 2015 and spent almost all of his career in the Federal League, and then foremost for the Rebels. He led the league in home runs twice and in slugging once, but at age 35 his body had betrayed him already and he called it quits, returning to Japan after a futile season in which he appeared in only six games for Richmond and got no base hits. In his career he batted .293/.375/.473 with 212 HR and 778 RBI, but piled up only 1,448 base hits.

A much better Hall of Fame case retired at age 43, with 1B Alberto Rodriguez calling it quits after spending the entire season with Washington's AAA team. Rodriguez, who spent his entire 19-year career in the Federal League, six times led the FL in doubles. He had an OPS+ over 100 in 17 of his seasons, and ended up batting .291/.373/.432 for his career. 191 HR and 1,397 RBI are nothing to sneeze at, but his business card prominently points out his 3,172 career hits, too.

Rodriguez has another claim to fame; he is the player who appeared in 166 regular season games in 2014, a year in which he was traded from the Capitals to the Rebels mid-season. At that time, the Rebels had four fewer games played than the Capitals. Rodriguez never skipped a beat, and thus piled up 166 total games that year, 79 for Washington and 87 for Richmond.

+++

2025 ABL AWARDS

Players of the Year: SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.356, 7 HR, 88 RBI) and BOS OF Adam Braun (.289, 25 HR, 101 RBI)
Pitchers of the Year: SAL SP Jorge Beltran (13-15, 2.85 ERA) and POR SP Mark Roberts (21-7, 2.29 ERA)
Rookies of the Year: SAC C David Drews (.313, 24 HR, 119 RBI) and TIJ 1B Kevin McGrath (.303, 12 HR, 56 RBI)
Relievers of the Year: TOP CL Mike Baker (4-9, 2.63 ERA, 48 SV) and TIJ CL John Waker (6-7, 2.60 ERA, 39 SV)
Platinum Sticks (FL): P DEN Chris Sinkhorn, C SAC David Drews, 1B DAL Gus Gasso, 2B RIC Marco Hernandes, 3B LAP John Hansen, SS WAS Guillermo Obando, LF SAC Doug Stross, CF SAC Justin McAllester, RF SAC Pablo Sanchez
Platinum Sticks (CL): P POR Mark Roberts, C ATL Ruben Luna, 1B CHA Pat Fowlkes, 2B ATL Tony Jimenez, 3B NYC Andy Schmit, SS ATL Andrew Showalter, LF VAN Alex Torres, CF OCT Dave Garcia, RF BOS Adam Braun
Gold Gloves (FL): P PIT Mike Lake, C LAP Dylan Allomes, 1B SAL Kevin Harenberg, 2B SFW Trent Pierce, 3B CIN Ricardo Rangel, SS CIN Frank Eisenberg, LF SFW Jeff Wadley, CF PIT Carlos de la Riva, RF RIC Dan Dalton
Gold Gloves (CL): P MIL Jonathan Toner, C IND Tony Perez, 1B VAN Adan Myles, 2B SFB Pat Pick, 3B BOS Adam Corder, SS POR Tim Stalker, LF BOS Adam St. Germaine, CF BOS Adrian Reichardt, RF BOS Adam Braun

Yup, that is a losing pitcher taking home Pitcher of the Year honors!

Did you know that for all our defensive philosophy, Tim Stalker is only the fourth Raccoon to win three Gold Gloves in a row, and the first to do so in this millennium? Also on the list: Mark Dawson (3B, 1986-88), Jorge Salazar (SS, 1990-92), and Neil Reece (CF, 1997-99);

Vern Kinnear won three straight Gold Gloves in leftfield from 1996 through 1998, but he was Knight by '98, so is not included in this list. He won three total Gold Gloves with the Raccoons, but those were not consecutively.
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:46 AM   #2597
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As the salary arbitration date approached, some key personnel on the Critters that was arbitration eligible remained conspicuously absent from the regular team releases about this and that extension to their fifth infielder or seventh reliever. There was a 2-yr, $650k deal with Kevin Surginer put in place, a $320k extension to Daniel Bullock as well, and Jack Sander agreed to a $280k extension for 2026.*

At that point, five players remained on the arbitration list: Chavez, Gutierrez, West, Armetta, and Stalker.

Tim Stalker sought an 8-year deal, for which he had definitely picked the wrong time with Alberto Ramos' emergence on the scene. The Raccoons were not ready, nor willing to sign anybody to an 8-year deal right now, much less Stalker. West and Armetta would not receive an offer. That left what was ostensibly the 2-3 punch in the rotation, the Cuban Chavez and the Dominican Gutierrez. These two I actually tried to get to sign a long-term deal in the 5-year range to take out a few years of free agency, but none of them would have anything of that. Much the contrary, both were seeking a 1-year agreement well north of $1M.

This was a dangerous situation, since they would be eligible for arbitration twice more (both of them) and the more they got this year, the more they were likely to get the next two years. It also made it difficult to submit an offer to the arbitrator, because if we bid too low, they would still get their insanity put into a contract.

For two nervous nights I considered trading Chavez for ANYTHING even before arbitration, but the realized I could do that afterwards just as well. Chavez had not been *bad*. He had been perfectly decent for a #3 or #4 pitcher with a 3.70 ERA, although he definitely lacked the sparkle of some other members in the rotation. Gutierrez was a legit #2, which was worrisome. Steve from Accounting tried his best to give me an offer for arbitration that would take out Rico's greed. In the end we had to settle for a $700k offer, hoping dearly he wouldn't get the $1.2M he had sought in contract negotiations.

All of this was taking place with Dan Delgadillo on a guaranteed $1.75M contract, fifth-highest on the team. After missing most of the season following a certain little elbow procedure in September of 2024, he had made seven starts at the tail end of the season, getting drubbed for a 5.44 ERA. The BABIP had not been in his favor (.319), but he had managed to surrender NINE homers in just 43 innings after allowing "only" 17 dingers in 182.1 innings in his rookie season. His walks had been very low (1.9/9), which was assuring at least a bit that he wasn't the second top 5 earner on the team that would amount to zero value in the upcoming season. Make no mistake, at this point the rotation was really firmly set at Roberts, Gutierrez, Chavez, Legleiter, Delgadillo. Superficially, the main issue at this point was that Jack Sander had no options, not that Delgadillo was a little cranky coming back from Tommy John.

The actual arbitration hearings were full of surprises, some of them nasty.

First off, the Raccoons ridiculously offered more money to Tim Stalker than Stalker asked for, giving him the team offer of $622k by default. Well, that was an embarrassment! It got worse from here, though. We lost both arguments against Gutierrez and Chavez. It turned out though that Rico had bluffed during our contract negotiations and had only sought $812,500 in arbitration. That he got, so roughly a hundred grand more than offered.

The terrible news concerned Jesus Chavez, whom we had offered $1.2M to, but he was actually awarded the staggering sum of $1.5M. If we had any sort of connections to Cuba, we would definitely investigate whether the arbitrator had any distant siblings there remotely related to Chavez' great-great-aunt, thrice removed…!

With that hole ripped into our pouch of gold coins (all in all, the arbitration disaster cost us about half a million extra), the rest of mid-November was about picking up the pieces. With some minimum contracts off the books, Steve from Accounting ultimately reported back that we had about $1.8M of budget room available at the start of the hot free agency period.

Those $1.8M had to suffice to make up 14 games on the Titans. The Titans however had extended a few of their impending free agents, losing only a few players from the second row to free agency, including Tim Robinson, Trent Herlihy, Hwa-pyung Choe, and a few others that had made even less impact.

It occurred to me during this time that the Raccoons' lineup was pretty much locked. I mean, there was the ongoing conundrum of what to do with Cookie (first clue: he was ready and eager to invoke his 10/5 rights), but there were very few positions where an upgrade was easily achieved. Matt Nunley was of formidable defense, but hadn't torn out trees with his bat in a long time. The Raccoons needed more offense first and foremost, and the Titans had a young third baseman Adam Corder that had led the league with an insane 129 walks this season and had reasonable speed to bat leadoff for us, too. How about flicking third basemen and picking up some detritus to entice the Ti- oops, no, Matt Nunley was also invoking his 10/5 rights.

The Titans were ready to trade Adam Corder for the right price. That price to them was Alberto Ramos, straight up.

Hel-lo, more sleepless nights!

+++

November 10 – Seven months after being concussed during Opening Week, LVA RF/LF Justin Dally (.282, 303 HR, 1,176 RBI) announces his retirement. Dally, 37 years old and a 9-time All Star, who would have been a free agent, has cited post-concussion syndrome as main factor behind his decision to not seek another contract this winter. It was just one injury too many for a prime slugger that was hampered by a failing body his entire career, appearing in more than 110 games only nine times in a 16-year career.
November 19 – The Canadiens trade 25-yr-old INF Raul Mendez (.271, 10 HR, 47 RBI) to the Falcons for two decent but unranked prospects.

+++

*I suspect the old weirdness from previous versions is still alive here. I remember Scott Wade being an absolute beast despite having only two pitches and being used as a starting pitcher for over a decade and never asking for anything more than reliever's money. While Sander has four (so-so) pitches, sufficient stamina, and his projected role according to my scout is as a starter, the Cyclones definitely fancied to use him in relief. There is no real base for a second-time arbitration-eligible starting pitcher to sign for $280k though. Even if he was a waiver claim, and even though he was horse manure in the second half.
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Old 09-02-2018, 04:09 PM   #2598
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Catcher and third base were potential upgrade areas for the Raccoons via free agency. As indicated, Matt Nunley hadn't hit much in a long while, and for the last seven years had pretty much been around the .700 mark in terms of OPS with little spark (although he did reach double-digit dingers five years in a row before hitting only six this season). If you could find a younger third baseman with good D and a better bat, a move would be in order. Whether Adam Corder was that better bat was not entirely clear. He was a different bat for sure, one that seemed to compete for the 1-2 spots. The Raccoons were entirely confident that a 20-year-old Alberto Ramos would hit and walk enough to merit batting leadoff (I seem to like nasty surprises), so maybe Corder wasn't the best fit, although he would certainly liven up their crummy team OBP that had ranked second from the bottom in the CL – just the same as their runs scored.

I had my eye more on power, and a Corder trade was pretty much impossible anyway without selling our souls to the Titans. Or, you know, Ramos. I preferred to do these trades the other way round, like trading "Dingus" Morales for the young, juicy, exciting version of Cookie Carmona…

Power was of course the constant sore around here. The Raccoons had hit 105 home runs, eighth in the CL, and their highest mark in four years, but the team should be able to hit so many more! There was no question that offense had cost us any shot at the playoffs, not pitching or defense. Any deal had to bring in an absolute top-level bat. Well, and we needed one, better two, new relievers, but the offense was the more important topic. Once more we had found out that a .320 OBP and 105 homers were not enough to make the postseason. The Raccoons had reached the postseason several times with fewer than 105 homers, but never with anything even close to a .320 OBP. By the way, did you know that the 2025 Coons were the first-ever to steal 100 bases in a season. 113 to be precise. The Critters had come as close as 99 (2014), but had never topped 100!

Another fun factoid; the 1982 Raccoons stole *20* bases. Daniel Hall stole nine; Jayson Bowling (who!!??) stole five. Overall, they stole TWENTY.

They hit more triples than that!

Back to the here and now, Matt Nunley had not been an impact bat since prehistoric times, and Elias Tovias was coming off a terrible season. Tovias' OPS had been around .750 until the last week of July, then had dropped into nothing. After a pair of 3-hit games back-to-back on July 27 and 29, he had only put up SEVEN more multi-hit games through the end of the season, shedding 100 points of OPS and 35 points in average.

Both were candidates for an upgrade, if we could find one.

Izzy Alvarez had hit 25 homers two years ago, 16 last year, only 11 this season. The Denver ballpark he had called home until the middle of the 2024 season certainly had something to do with it. In any case, he had the highest career slugging percentage among qualified defensive third basemen (I said we can sacrifice some defense, I didn't say we're putting Ricardo Martinez back there) that were free agents and not ancient. Nobody really thought of Alvarez as a slugger, but the 31-year-old did have 124 career homers. However, he had batted .240/.301/.351 with the Aces in '25 and that was not something I was willing to buy into. That was something I was trying to pay our way out of. But Alvarez was already pretty much the best on offer.

There was Chris Grooms, a 30-year-old ex-Elk that had spent significant time in AAA for different teams each of the last three seasons. His career slugging percentage was .423, and his OPS .760; yet he could never stick on a team, and the most games he had played in a season in nine career major league campaigns was a round 100, and then had not even gotten 300 plate appearances. He was a career backup / reserve with a 113 OPS+. He would be cheap, he was a switch-hitter, but banking on his resume was like building an interstate bridge on quicksand.

It didn't look much better with catchers. Or rather, not better at all. There was 36-year-old ex-Titan Tim Robinson, who had a .429 career slugging percentage, but was *36*, asking for serious cash, and Carrasco told me that his swing was porous and that he had gotten lucky to bat .292 with the Titans last year. He thought .192 more likely for him going forward.

Adam Baker was a 27-year-old free agent because the Loggers had let him walk after the season. He had batted .212/.269/.348 with Milwaukee this year, homering 16 times but ending up with a 73 OPS+. That was *99* points of OPS+ lower than his 2024 output with the Thunder, when he batted .313/.384/.582 … as a backup.

At this rate, the Raccoons had better chances by trying to bake themselves a slugging third baseman or catcher; and then, knowing them, they'd probably eat him.

+++

November 21 – The Indians trade 25-year-old MR Joe Perry (3-1, 2.45 ERA, 1 SV) to the Falcons for two prospects, including #92 3B/SS Jonathan Macias.
November 28 – The Crusaders sign ex-TOP SP Carlos Marron (103-77, 3.69 ERA) to a 7-year deal worth $21.48M.
December 1 – Rule 5 Draft: 15 players are selected in two rounds. The Raccoons are not affected.

+++

Nope, there has not been much going on. I made a few vague trade offers, got vague instructions to back off, hissed in return, but didn't get anything done. I have an offer out there for a free agent reliever. That is all.

Maybe the winter meetings will make us make 'whee'?
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:30 PM   #2599
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Matt Otis signed a $278k deal with the Miners on December 2, which was noted on one of the yellow notes Maud wrote of everything than ran past her on her … on her thing on the screen… that… y'know, that… that live tweet tickery … where they… well, all the news, basically. It was a yellow note, so she considered it of low importance. The important notes were orange, or – critically – red. For me, this was a red note.

Otis had batted .268/.351/.352 in 284 AB for the Raccoons, which was certainly all you could ask for from a 36-year-old veteran on backup duty. But Otis had been much more – he had been the team leader.

In 2024, the clubhouse had been a mess. True, the team had played like a mess as well, but where were cause and effect here? Is the butterfly that flaps its wings in Massachusetts responsible for the super tornado that flattens most of Iowa? Who knows these things?

The Coons had not seen a hole to squeeze Otis onto the roster again in '26 with the emergence of Ramos and Tim Stalker probably not going anywhere. Otis was no more than an emergency solution at third base, Nunley was routinely brittle, and Daniel Bullock was a good defender on most infield spots, and he was not going to be 37 in but brief a time. But this team needed another leader! Badly!

I put Maud and Cristiano Carmona on that one. Find out about all the valid major leaguers – even if potential backups – that are routinely talked about as the glue of the team, maybe active in the community, with a heart for children as an added bonus. Well, somebody's gotta have a heart for the carpet crawlers and it's not gonna be me! And please no outfielders, we have sort of a squeeze. Compile a list from social media, from Twatbook, and from the Internets, and report back. They looked at each other bemusedly, but they compiled, they reported. Head scout Carrasco got a copy to check for quality, and the Druid for structural integrity, while Chad and Slappy were tasked with keeping me company while I stared out of the window over the wintery ballpark with my best concerned expression.

Each to his abilities!

+++

December 2 – The Indians add 27-year-old ex-NYC 1B Xavier Garcia (.270, 39 HR, 260 RBI) for cheap on a 2-yr, $464k deal.
December 7 – The Raccoons strike a deal with the Falcons that sends 28-yr old SP Jesus Chavez (32-46, 4.00 ERA), 29-yr-old SP Jack Sander (25-35, 4.75 ERA, 2 SV), and 20-yr old AA 1B Sean Gustafson to Charlotte in exchange for 27-yr old SP Kyle Anderson (51-62, 4.01 ERA) and 24-yr old SP/MR Jason Butler (2-2, 5.32 ERA).
December 8 – The Pacifics sign ex-NAS SP Shane Baker (41-58, 3.69 ERA) on a 3-yr, $6.2M deal.
December 9 – Vancouver sees the addition of 32-yr old SP Andrew Gudeman (94-90, 3.76 ERA) and cash in exchange for 25-yr old OF Mike Chaplin (.270, 16 HR, 93 RBI) and a prospect being sent to Tijuana.
December 9 – The Indians trade 32-yr old 2B/1B Rich Mendez (.267, 36 HR, 356 RBI) and cash to the Rebels for 27-yr old LF/RF Gary Kaczenski (.243, 4 HR, 30 RBI).
December 9 – The Crusaders add former Bayhawk C Jose Ramirez (.264, 59 HR, 316 RBI). The 32-year-old signs a 1-yr, $820k contract.
December 9 – The Aces pick up SP/MR Ed Hague (37-30, 3.99 ERA) from the Crusaders, along with cash, for two prospects, including #36 SP Isaiah Pooser.
December 9 – Las Vegas sends two more prospects to Milwaukee for 32-yr old 3B Alberto Velez (.259, 129 HR, 657 RBI). This prospect package includes #40 SP Joe West.
December 10 – 25-year-old SP Bryce Sudar (25-22, 4.27 ERA) is sent to Richmond by the Canadiens, who pick up a prospect from the Rebels.
December 10 – The Thunder trade for 31-yr old swingman Jose Diaz (60-58, 3.57 ERA, 20 SV) and cash from the Capitals, parting themselves with 3B David Flournoy (.276, 19 HR, 118 RBI) and a prospect.
December 13 – A $980k deal brings RF/LF Mike Bednarski (.286, 211 HR, 1,054 RBI) back to the Aces, his first major league team. The 39-year-old debuted for them in 2009.
December 13 – The Aces keep splashing for veterans, adding ex-BOS C Tim Robinson (.262, 203 HR, 715 RBI). The 36-year-old receives a 1-yr, $1.32M contract.

+++

The entire Kyle Anderson deal revolves around team leadership and nothing else. Anderson was a true team leader, while Chavez and Sander were more in the distraction category.

From the actual baseball side, Anderson and Chavez are probably pretty equal in what they can do. Anderson's muddy numbers have probably to do with defense, of which the Falcons had one in the bottom three in the CL this season again, while the Coons were top notch in that regard. You would expect Chavez' ERA to jump and Anderson's to go down with this trade. Jack Sander has some value as back-end starter for a team with little ambition, which the Raccoons are not going to be in 2026. He had no value to us; he was the #6 starter with no options before the trade, and would likely have been lost on waivers at the start of the season. Gustafson wasn't much of a prospect, but he appeared on their wishlist for prospects, and I parted with him more readily than with, say, Alberto Ramos or George James.

Truth be told, Anderson is probably also a #4 starter at best for us, with flyball tendency (although letting them soar didn't hurt Mark Roberts this year), but he is a declared fan of due process, labelled lunchboxes (a huge problem in the Raccoons clubhouse!), and on off days volunteers to reads to blind children – what is not to like about that package!?

Butler isn't all that much. Could be our long man and spot starter, but he also has an option. Bonus points if you recognize him – he was part of a bundle of players that we sent to the Falcons in 2024 for Ryan Corkum. We originally drafted him in the supplemental round in 2020.

We also tried to trade a few guys on the fringes of the expanded roster, but to our surprise between Dwayne Metts, Mike Grigsby, and Justin Gerace zero sad-looking puppies found a new forever home.

There is also a Hall of Fame ballot out, including a Raccoon with no chances.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:01 PM   #2600
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The Raccoons kept looking for improvements. The known weak links in the lineup were third base and catcher, and we've been over those, but there was also a specific weakness to the outfield. Despite nine outfielders on the expanded roster, we had only one right-handed batter among them, Greg Borg, and he had collected half a season's worth of at-bats with a .603 OPS. Alfaro was the only switch-hitter that going to make it onto the Opening Day roster, with Juan Magallanes and Justin Gerace more on the outside looking in. Gerace had the power, but also had giant holes in his swing, and despite hitting more homers than Jon Gonzalez if prorated, had only made it to a .699 value in terms of on-base plus slugging.

Time to find an improvement for any of those problems. We were looking for the sort of bat that had made Eddie Jackson a non-starting, but invaluable piece of the last remotely good Raccoons teams at the end of the 2010s. In 500 games (225 starts), Jackson had batted .267/.350/.384 for the Coons, always ready to drop in a fatal pinch-hit double. And we really needed a right-hander to have some good options for platooning against left-handed pitching, which the Raccoons had played .420 ball against last season.

+++

December 18 – The Buffaloes sign ex-SAL RF/LF Travis Benson (.278, 130 HR, 565 RBI). The 33-year-old left-handed batter receives a 4-yr, $7.12M contract.
December 19 – The Raccoons try to find improvement in a trade with the Rebels, trading for Richmond's 1B/OF Rafael Gomez (.265, 75 HR, 361 RBI) while parting with MR Vince Devereaux (24-15, 3.63 ERA, 9 SV), 3B Mike Grigsby (.244, 3 HR, 16 RBI), and AAA SP Felipe Delgado.
December 19 – The Cyclones pick up 35-year old former Pacific LF/RF/1B Ray Meade (.280, 239 HR, 1,134 RBI) on a 2-yr, $3.64M contract.
December 20 – A veteran closer is signed by the Wolves as they pick up 38-year-old ex-PIT CL Dusty Balzer (81-78, 3.26 ERA, 263 SV) on a 2-yr, $3.44M contract.
December 22 – 32-year-old SP Diego Mendoza jr. (125-111, 3.75 ERA) jumps FL East clubs, signing a 4-yr, $14.4M contract with the Cyclones after being with the Rebels for 2 1/2 years.
December 24 – The Miners splash big with the acquisition of ex-WAS SP Tadasu Abe (115-103, 3.71 ERA) for 2-yr, $7.68M.
December 24 – The Crusaders trade INF Shane Walter (.304, 56 HR, 675 RBI), 36 years old, and a prospect to the Bayhawks for 33-yr old LF Roger Allen (.236, 120 HR, 489 RBI).
December 27 – Portland picks up 30-year-old swingman Alvin Smith (19-27, 4.52 ERA; 1 SV) from the Indians for Smith's peer OF Dwayne Metts (.238, 6 HR, 57 RBI).
December 27 – Richmond acquires 25-yr old LF/CF Nick Cobb (.232, 0 HR, 29 RBI) from the Knights for 34-yr old MR Alex Silva (56-48, 4.07 ERA, 136 SV) and a second-rate prospect.
December 29 – In a trade no one saw coming, the Titans send OF/1B Adam St. Germaine (.268, 10 HR, 135 RBI) to the Stars in exchange for 1B Gus Gasso (.291, 32 HR, 118 RBI) and a second-rate prospect.
December 31 – The Raccoons close the year with the addition of veteran left-hander and former Cyclone MR Jeff Kearney (24-30, 4.85 ERA, 27 SV) for 2-yr, $1.4M.

+++

I really hate to see Vince D go – but ultimately right-handed relievers are replacable, and we goddamnit need the offense. Now, Gomez had that one terrible season and some injury hiccups last year and was demoted in a slump in May, but ultimately he projects to be very much like Eddie Jackson and a more than capable fourth outfielder. The terrible season in 2024 can be filed away under "Act of God" as he played a full season with the Bayhawks while hitting it into the maws of the defense at a .237 BABIP rate. .237!

It is safe to say that he will start against all the right-handers, and probably Alfaro will, too, and whoever slumps out of the starting three, you can flick Gomez into the lineup at any time.

Funny thing – that was not the only deal for Vince D, Grigsby, and a minor leaguer (Delgado was about #7 on our starting pitching depth chart, though) we could have done. The other player in question was ALSO involved with the Bayhawks, 3B/OF Jaden Booker. That would have given the option to put pressure on Matt Nunley (a left-handed batter) as well, while Jon Gonzalez was right-handed and unfazed by recent developments. He had hit .300 in a qualifying amount of playing time this year, but that was his first ever good season at age 27, and I was somewhat deterred by some fielding numbers that didn't really match the scouting report. Of course, with Vince D traded, the Booker deal was off.

While that deal made Matt Nunley more secure, we now had TEN outfielders standing around and gnawing on each other's ears.

The Alvin Smith trade was partially fueled by the outfield glut and also by our apparent lack of depth in terms of starting pitching. Problematic BABIP indicates that Smith is better than that 4.52 ERA, but overall his mix of pitches doesn't scream out for him to throw in Game 7. However, Smith is out of options, so he will have to be squeezed through waivers when the season starts. But at least Metts is gone, and this time for good, I swear!

Here is a fun one – all three trades we have done so far have been of negative WAR gain for us. And yet I feel that all three make the team better! Kearney was worth 0.8 WAR, but I also think that he will make the team better (or at least not worse than with Justin Hess in that roster spot).

The final addition in the dying year was Jeff Kearney, who had been with the Thunder for a few years, but had never been on a CL North team before. His numbers didn't look that great from a distance, but Chad and me had watched tape for about 16 hours … although Chad had worn the full costume with the head and I think he snored for the last 15 hours of the tapes … and they weren't actually tapes, it was a video library compiled by Cristiano Carmona… but in the end we watched 16 hours of tape of Jeff Kearney and ultimately were convinced that he was the archetypical Manobu Sugano type of left-hander. Lethal against same-sided batters, but don't ever let him face a righty. Maybe a blind one. Perhaps the pitcher, with the bags empty. But dear lord, never send him to see Stanton Martin with the bags teeming with runners. He was a groundballer, though, so you could actually bring him in with men on base, especially with a good defensive infield.

The only real downside to Kearney was that he was in the Matt Nunley category of team distractions. Nunley was a straight-working little bee, that much was true, but he was also well known and feared for raiding his team mates' lunchboxes, a constant point of contention in our clubhouse, sadly…

The only other former Raccoon that has not yet been talked about one way or another to find a new employer in the latter half of December is perpetual reclamation project Frank Kelly signing with the Elks for $312k;
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