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Old 05-07-2019, 06:13 PM   #2841
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:44 PM   #2842
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Raccoons (26-24) @ Falcons (23-27) – May 27-29, 2030

Next up were the Falcons, who sat in the bottom three in both runs scored and runs allowed in the Continental League and probably considered themselves lucky (or just ignored the stats and kept whistling merrily) to sit almost at .500 for the season. And with these crummy Coons rolling through… who knows what could happen? They were already 2-1 against us this season.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (2-4, 2.66 ERA) vs. Jesus Chavez (2-2, 3.39 ERA)
Dave Martinez (6-2, 3.07 ERA) vs. Aaron Lewis (1-6, 3.46 ERA)
Mark Roberts (4-2, 4.63 ERA) vs. Chris Rountree (4-5, 5.29 ERA)

Left-hander in the final game on Wednesday; the Falcons were missing a few pitchers on the DL, but nobody that would actually be able to help them except SP Juan Muniz, who had pitched only 4.2 innings this year before having bone spurs removed from his elbow. He had won 18, 19 games a few times with the Warriors, but his 1-year deal with the Falcons would probably leave nobody happy in the end…

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – LF Hereford – C Pizzo – RF Allan – P Shumway
CHA: SS Wagner – CF Adkins – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – C T. Perez – 2B Folk – P Chavez

Former Furball Jesus Chavez struck out Raccoons in bushels, while Tom Shumway kept failing to deliver on any promise we had made to ourselves before the season with the three aces and so on. His control was a mess, the Falcons found holes, too, and Graciano Salto put them 2-0 ahead with a dinger to left in the third inning. Curt Wagner also scored on the bomb, having drawn a 1-out walk from Shumway, and when he wasn’t awful with his pitching, Shumway was awful with the stick, bunting into a force on Ryan Allan in the fifth inning to short-circuit whatever the Raccoons might have achieved there. Given Allan’s nimble hindpaws and the single that Alberto Ramos hit right afterwards, probably a run. In the actual event, they didn’t get squid and remained shut out on six hits, but seven strikeouts through five innings. Mora hit a 1-out double in the sixth and was stranded; Allan hit another leadoff single in the seventh and was forced out on a bad bunt for the second time in the game. In turn, the bottom 7th saw a leadoff double by repulsive ex-Elk Brody Folk, a GOOD bunt by Chavez, then an RBI single clipped past Harenberg by Wagner. And if not for a perfect throw by Abel Mora on Salto’s 2-out double in the inning, Wagner would have scored, too, but as things were was thrown out at home plate. All that did was to keep the Coons shut out and down by three rather than four, though.

Yet, somehow, despite an absolutely revolting performance by everybody through eight innings, somehow the Coons brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth inning. After closer Cruz Sierra and his flat-3 ERA had rung up Rich Hereford, who just looked lost, plainly and simply, Juan Magallanes worked a walk in Mike Pizzo’s stead, Alan singled once more to right, and then Tovias batted for Ricky Ohl and singled to left. That loaded them up for Alberto Ramos, who hit a fly in the right-center gap that crushingly was caught by Barend Kok, holding Ramos to a not helpful sac fly. Sierra managed to also lose Stalker on balls, bringing up an 0-for-4 Matt Nunley with the bases re-stacked. Nunley chucked a 1-1 pitch over Brody Folk’s desperately extended glove, into shallow right-center, and Tovias was urgently waved around to score behind Allan from second base – and the game was tied. And with Harenberg appearing in a crucial at-bat against new pitcher Adam Howell, nobody at all was surprised that he popped out to forfeit the chance to zoom ahead. The Coons’ pen was strapped for options at this point with Ohl already used and Surginer (31 pitches on Sunday, and 39 in two days) and Fleischer (oblique tweak) unavailable. We’d try to make it work with Garavito batting fourth and Mora moving to first base for the first time since ’27. Garavito worked around a Nate Nelson walk to send the game to extras, where it was not beneath the Coons to put Hereford and Alan on with singles, only to strand them. Garavito leaked leadoff singles to Salto and Kok in the bottom 10th, the runners pulled off a double steal, and with one out PH Matt Cooper ran a 3-2 count and lined softly to left. Ramos lunged, but sailed clean underneath the ball, and the Falcons walked off on the third single of the inning. 4-3 Falcons. Mora 2-5, 2B; Hereford 2-5, 2B; Allen 4-5; Tovias (PH) 1-2;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – P Martinez
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – SS Wagner – 2B Cano – P A. Lewis

Allan kept singling and getting forced out, with Mora’s grounder to short doing the honors in the opening inning. By contrast, the Falcons hit two singles through the infield in the bottom 1st, then got a 3-run blast by Greg Ortiz. The Coons got Nunley and Hereford into scoring position with one out in the second, but Tovias grounded out to first and Martinez was rung up, then got Ramos and Allan (singles, singles, singles!) on the corners with nobody out in the third. Abel Mora popped out to short (…!), but Harenberg hit a single to left that got the Critters on the board. Oh well, at least it was not the tying or go-ahead run. If he ever drove in one of those, I would be seriously worried that he’d lose his touch…! Nunley grounded out, Hereford lined out to Salto, and another pair was stranded in scoring position…

The Coons managed to waste a leadoff double by Ramos in the fifth, and Martinez in particular managed to create a jam by allowing a leadoff single to Lewis in the bottom of the inning, then nailed Matt Cooper, too. Salto flew out to Jamieson on the warning track, which did not bring advancement from a pitcher at second base, but the Falcons sent Lewis when Barend Kok singled to center. Mora picked that one up, and threw out another guy at home plate, ending the fifth inning, but still down 3-1. Matt Jamieson hit a 420-footer to left-center to make it 3-2 in the sixth.

Dave Martinez nary allowed the Falcons a runner after the first-inning disaster, but still was lifted for a pinch-hitter after barely 80 pitches with his spot up to begin the seventh inning. Magallanes walked, which he did rather well while batting .196 overall, then moved up on Ramos’ groundout. Allan’s fly to left was caught, but Abel Mora tied the game with a double down the rightfield line, 3-3. Harenberg with the go-ahead run in scoring position could not possibly get a base hit, but was clumsily walked by Lewis, and then Matt Nunley hit a gapper in left-center that made it all the way to the fence. Mora scored, Harenberg even scored from first base thanks to being able to being jogging on contact, and it was 5-3 thanks to back-to-back 2-out, 2-run heroics by Nunley in both games in the set. After the inning ended, the Critters – still short in the pen – gave the ball to Sean Rigg and his near-10 ERA against the bottom of the order, which to anybody’s surprise did not directly lead to a 7-spot for the home team. In fact, he retired the side in order. Ohl got around a Salto single in the eighth, and all seemed destined to go well for once until Josh Boles emerged. Within four pitches, the Falcons hit three scary rockets off him. John Elliott and Curt Wagner both somehow flew out to Jamieson in left, but Ricky Cano doubled off the fence. Boles kept shaking his arm, prompting a look from the Druid, who hauled him in after exchanging only a few words. Billy Brotman would get ready to face left-handed pinch-hitter Dave Trahan as the tying run with two down, walked him, nailed Nate Nelson, and the suddenly the Coons were clinging to the edge of the cliff with but a single claw. I didn’t trust an unrested Surginer with the bags full, Fleischer was still hampered, and Garavito had been out long the night before, and would not give us an edge against Cooper either. Cooper fell to 0-2 before hitting a fly to right, pretty high, pretty deep, Ryan Allan scampering back, turning on the track, jumping – and he picked it right at the fence …! 5-3 Coons. Ramos 2-5, 2B; Allan 2-5; Mora 2-5, 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Baldwin (PH) 1-1;

The diagnosis on Josh Boles was a “tired arm”, which was sometimes transient, and sometimes would derail careers. The Druid ordered him to sit out the rest of the week and to shove his little snout only with his right paw.

The official scorer kindly assessed Billy Brotman a save, the 18th of his career and the first since ’27. Apparently there is no provision in his rulebook either that if you come in for a fallen comrade and give it every effort to blow the game with two outs, that you are credited with a doozy instead.

Make mental note to call Maud that we have to put together a letter to the league office to propose a rule change.

Doozy? Whammy? I have not yet made up my mind. Maybe we should call it a donkey, because the guy’s such a ****ing ass.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – RF Mora – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Roberts
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – LF Salto – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – SS Wagner – RF Trahan – 2B Folk – P Rountree

Cooper single, Salto blast,
Sometimes the present’s like the past.
Say, tell me what the future brings!
An Ortiz homer, and sure no rings.

Mark Roberts got outright waffled in the first, and John Elliott had a good bit to make it back-to-back-to-back homers off the beleaguered ex-ace, but flew out to Magallanes in very, very deep center. Because there can’t be no happiness in our lives, Roberts became the next pitcher to bunt into a force after a leadoff single by the #8 hitter, too, and that also might have cost the Coons a run in the third inning. The Falcons in turn ran themselves out of the bottom 3rd, in which Roberts issued two walks to Cooper and Ortiz. When John Elliott hit a soft looper to shallow right with one out, Cooper started early from second base, but Mora actually dashed in and made the catch, then easily doubled Cooper off second base to end the inning.

The Critters only got an unearned run in the fifth on a Ramos sac fly that followed a 1-out single by Magallanes, then Rountree blatantly throwing Roberts’ bunt into the dugout. Stalker popped out to short to strand Roberts at second base. The sixth began with a soft out by Jamieson before Nunley and Gomez chipped in light singles. Abel Mora got hold of a fastball and drilled it into the gap and all the way to the fence in left-center, deep enough to get both runners across and tie the game at three, so that was now three games in the set in which the Coons had trailed three-zip and had gotten back even after many innings of futility. The Falcons went on to make the ballsy call to walk the .208 menace Tovias intentionally to get to Magallanes, who singled, loading them up for … Roberts. Oh dear. A royal dilemma. Three on, one out, pitcher at the plate, but it was only the top of the sixth and the Coons had neither Boles (ailing) nor Ohl (two days in a row) readily available. Hitting for Roberts now would probably cause the bottom of the pen to fall out. And wasn’t Roberts swingin’ it for a .417 clip? Roberts lunged for the first pitch by Rountree, poked it past a diving Folk for an RBI single, and the Coons somehow had failed their way all the way back into a 4-3 lead… Ramos and Stalker made poor outs, stranding the full set then.

Bottom 6th, leadoff single up the middle by Greg Ortiz, then a walk to Elliott. Oh boy! Curt Wagner was told to bunt, did so badly enough that Tovias could kill off Ortiz at third base, and then Trahan bounced into a 4-6-3 double play. Whatever the **** works. The offense for the Coons still didn’t properly… Rafael Gomez doubled home an insurance run (Jamieson) in the seventh, but after an intentional walk to Mora we got Tovias hitting into an inning-ending double play, and Tim Stalker achieved the same 6-4-3 feat in the eighth with Baldwin and Ramos on the corners. Bottom 8th, Jonathan Fleischer nearly got lit up like a Christmas tree on four deep flies in the inning. Only John Elliott’s fell in for a double, however, and the Falcons didn’t score, remaining 5-3 behind. The Falcons’ Alex Morin and Cruz Sierra fell apart with two outs in the ninth; Gomez hit an infield single, Hereford walked in Mora’s spot, Harenberg hit an RBI single in place of Tovias, and Magallanes walked, but Mike Pizzo struck out to strand them all, then went behind the dish to catch Kevin Surginer in the ninth. Kevin retired Trahan, Folk, and Tony Perez in order. 6-3 Coons. Nunley 2-5; Gomez 3-5, 2B, RBI; Mora 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Harenberg (PH) 1-1, RBI; Magallanes 3-4, BB; Baldwin (PH) 1-1;

Raccoons (28-25) @ Indians (25-27) – May 31-June 2, 2030

The Indians were trying, so far unsuccessfully, to rekindle last year’s winning mix, but sat in fifth place in the North with the eighth-most runs scored and fourth-fewest runs allowed. That made for a +10 run differential, so not all hope was lost yet in the Indy camp. They were also 4-2 against Portland this season, so maybe we were coming in just at the right time for them.

Projected matchups:
Jose Menendez (5-2, 2.95 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (7-3, 3.10 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-3, 4.78 ERA) vs. Sal Bedoya (4-2, 2.27 ERA)
Tom Shumway (2-4, 2.76 ERA) vs. Mark Morrison (3-3, 3.98 ERA)

Those are three righties, but they also had Thursday off and could bring southpaw John McInerney (1-7, 6.00 ERA) into the series… although I fail to come up with a compelling reason for why they’d do that. Something was bitterly wrong with McInerney, who had pitched to low-3 ERA’s for several years now, but this year he was just plainly off.

Indy had a few (semi-)regulars on the DL, missing Andres Medina (.292, 2 HR, 6 RBI) as well as outfielders Alex Zanches and Leo Otero.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – C Pizzo – P Menendez
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – 2B Schneller – C J. Herrera – 3B E. Sosa – CF Cowan – P Bressner

The Raccoons finally managed to score first in a game, executing a Ramos Special in the top of the first. Ramos singles, stole second, and finally scored on a 2-out Harenberg single. The lead didn’t last – Juan Herrera hit a solo homer in the bottom 2nd, and when another Ramos Special put the Coons up 2-1 in the third, the Coons would give that one back, too. Jon Gonzalez singled in the bottom 4th, moved up on a wild pitch, then scored on Mike Plunkett’s double up the leftfield line, and the game was tied at two through four innings. Unfortunately the Coons not only missed their turn to score in the fifth, but failed to get on base in a relevant fashion at all with Alberto Ramos making outs in his next two appearances. Menendez’ soft tosser style at least yielded mostly soft outs in the following innings, and both pitchers lasted through seven in relatively good shape, and with only seven strikeouts between them. Then, Andy Bressner pitched a clean eighth, and Menendez didn’t. In fact, Jose Menendez retired nobody in the bottom 8th, walking PH Trent Herlihy in a full count before also yielding a single to Mario Pizano. At that point, the Coons sent Surginer for damage control, but only poured gasoline into the fire with a wild pitch on his very first offering to Jon Gonzalez, who ended up hitting a go-ahead sac fly for the only run in the inning. The Indians sent Ben Darr to close the game in the ninth. Darr had three walks and 20 strikeouts on the season, but still allowed a leadoff single to Abel Mora, a soft line over the shortstop Pizano. Tim Stalker narrowly got a grounder past third baseman John Calfee for another single. And then Darr struck out Hereford, Pizzo, and Jamieson in order. 3-2 Indians. Ramos 2-4;

Juan Herrera was promptly named Rookie of the Month…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Hereford – LF Allan – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – 2B Schneller – C J. Herrera – CF Cowan – 3B E. Sosa – P Bedoya

Rico Gutierrez fell apart early, allowing a hit in the first, then three hits and a walk in the second, with Elias Sosa putting Indy up 2-0 with a 1-out, 2-run single. Sal Bedoya was perfect through four innings, then came up with Mike Cowan and Sosa on base and two outs in the bottom 4th. He hit a fly to deep center that eluded Abel Mora and became a 2-run double, very obviously sucking the last bit of air out of a completely overwhelmed, inept roster. Kevin Harenberg led off the next inning with a jack to right. Wow, nice, Kevin. Why don’t you shove it up your furry ass? When Matt Nunley was parked at second base after hitting a 1-out double in the seventh – and becoming the very next Raccoon to reach base against Bedoya – Harenberg of course grounded out to Dan Schneller, because that was all he could do with runners in scoring position. Mora flew out easily to strand Nunley, keeping it a 4-1 game. The perversely inept Coons would amount to one more base runner – Ben Darr walking Ramos in the ninth – in a complete neck-breaker of a defeat. 4-1 Indians.

I called St. Pete the same night – any and all batters with the slightest whiff of hitting the baseball had to report to Indy on Sunday morning. I would figure out the rest.

Nobody arrived.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – 2B Baldwin – P Shumway
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – 2B Schneller – C J. Herrera – CF Cowan – 3B E. Sosa – P M. Morrison

While the Raccoons spent their early innings chipping out four singles and stranding all and any of the runners, Shumway allowed two walks, but no base hits the first time through the Indians order. A no-hitter was not quite in the making though, thanks to Pizano’s 1-out double. Jon Gonzalez singled him home in an efficient manner that was markedly different from anything the brown-clad team had shown in weeks and months. Suhay struck out, offering an opening to get out of the inning with only one run allowed. Shumway didn’t take it, instead getting blasted for another four base hits and as many runs by the Arrowheads before the curtain came down with a groundout by Sosa to Ramos. Mike Plunkett homered to left, which made it 3-0 in a hurry. Dan Schneller doubled, scored on a Herrera double, and Cowan singled home the catcher to get to 5-0. The Raccoons of 2030. No pitching, no hitting, no defense, no stupid luck – just a pile of nothing.

Shumway did not retire another batter in the game. He walked Morrison on four pitches to begin the bottom 4th (!!), threw away Pizano’s grounder for an error, then allowed a single to Gonzalez, which loaded the bases. The Raccoons went to Surginer at this early hour, and he got a grounder to second from the .198 hitter Suhay. Baldwin to Ramos- who dropped the ball and all feathers were safe. Surginer went on to walk both Plunkett and Schneller with the bases loaded before being yanked for a particularly vicious flogging, and because nothing battered anymore, Sean Rigg came into the game. So kindly invited, the Indians wasted no time in running up a cricket score. Herrera struck out, but Cowan singled home a pair, Rigg lost Sosa on balls, and Morrison hit a sac fly before Pizano grounded out to second to end the inning with an 11-0 tally. Four of the six runs in the inning were unearned.

Of course, no double-digit lead was too big to incite some bad blood down the road. The score didn’t move in a meaningful way. Ramos got on and scored in the fifth, cutting the gap to ten, which was such a grave concern for the Arrowheads. Jon Gonzalez hit a jack off Rigg in the bottom of the inning, but at least Rigg gave length and was still around in the seventh, allowing a leadoff double to Pizano, who then scored on a Ben Suhay double to right, making it 13-1. Suhay then tried to steal third base – and was thrown out by Pizzo. Not only that, but Nunley – the elder statesman on the field on most any given day – gave him an earful for openly showing off in a blowout. Suhay didn’t enjoy that, and the two were nose to nose for a few seconds there (both were 6’ flat), barking at another. For a brief moment, I was sure a brawl was about to start, but it *was* a 12-run game after all. Nobody was in the mood of tearing out their shoulder while getting dragged to the bottom of a pile. Suhay backed off eventually, and the Indians didn’t score anymore in the inning… or the rest of the game. 13-1 Indians. Ramos 2-5; Allan 2-4, BB; Rigg 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K;

In other news

May 27 – In a real team effort, the Knights score in every inning but the first in a 17-6 rout of the Loggers. Six Knights position players have multiple hits, and six Knights position players have multiple RBI in the game. ATL OF Jeremy Houghtaling (.263, 6 HR, 24 RBI) is the only player to have three of each.
May 28 – SAC CF Mark Vermillion (.279, 2 HR, 23 RBI) has a 20-game hitting streak after going 2-for-4 in an 8-7 Sacramento win over Washington. Vermillion, who debuted last year and batted .196 in 26 games, is still a rookie (and ranked the #36 prospect) and a valid contender for the FL’s rookie crown at age 21.
May 28 – TIJ OF Chris Murphy (.257, 3 HR, 26 RBI) drives in five runs from the leadoff spot in the Condors’ 12-1 shellacking of the Crusaders.
May 29 – MIL OF Josh Stephenson (.277, 3 HR, 30 RBI) is out for the season with a broken kneecap.
May 29 – The hot streak of SAC CF Mark Vermillion (.275, 2 HR, 23 RBI) ends at 20 games with a hitless appearance in a 6-3 loss to the Capitals.
May 31 – The Titans will be without CF/LF Adrian Reichardt (.293, 6 HR, 27 RBI) for the next three to four weeks. The 32-year-old is out with a knee sprain.
May 31 – The Rebels knock off the Blue Sox, 15-1, with special mentions going out to the #8 and #9 hitters in the order, who both collected two hits, a walk, and three RBI apiece, RIC 3B/2B Bob Rojas (.364, 0 HR, 7 RBI) and SP Joaquin Serrano (2-7, 4.70 ERA).
May 31 – TOP SS/2B Alex Majano (.309, 1 HR, 19 RBI) will miss the entire month of June with an oblique strain.
June 2 – OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.322, 10 HR, 38 RBI) has connected often enough to have chained together a 20-game hitting streak, getting two hits in a 7-2 loss to the Condors to reach the mark.

Complaints and stuff

I do not quite comprehend how Tom Scumway can be third in the All Star voting for starting pitchers. I mean, I have long held the theory, and stand by it, that people are generally stupid and do stupid things all the ****ing time… but this is just ridiculous.

Too bad about not getting into a brawl on Sunday. Maybe that would have somehow lit fire under the team’s sorry bums. Because they are sure numb to all the motivation I can offer them. (yells at Rich Hereford) GET YOUR **** MOVING!! WE GOT A PLANE TO CATCH, YOU LAZY BUM!!

There is no turning this broken and unhinged mess around anymore. The Elks will sweep us for three in the middle of next week, no doubt about that. I just hope the Loggers (!?) or Titans or even the goddamn Indians can catch them. This team is not only fifth, but also in the gutter.

Time to start the reconstruction effort. Of course, before we can reconstruct anything, we have to properly burn the old **** to the ground. That will be the most pleasant thing. Another wannabe dynasty that never was, to be cast into the dustbin of baseball history.

Fun Fact: Tim Stalker and Billy Brotman became Raccoons in the same deal with the Blue Sox in July of 2021.

That one came as the late-‘10s dynasty fell apart for good. Is it a dynasty if they never win a ring? Anyway, three straight playoff appearances and a stupid extra-inning loss in a second tie-breaker to the Loggers oughta count for something.

In the deal the Blue Sox received Tadasu Abe, Danny Margolis, Adam Zuhlke, and Ruben Santiago. Abe went only 2-5 with a 4.77 ERA for them the rest of the way, then ended up with three other FL East teams from there; Margolis was immediately relegated to water carrier duties and his career fizzled out pretty fast; Zuhlke was only a bit player at the time anyway;

But the Blue Sox still have Ruben Santiago, then a first base prospect in the high minors. He debuted the next year, batting .278 with no homers in 36 AB and became their everyday first baseman in 2025, but he’s never really ripped anything or anybody. He had one year in ’27 where hebatted .335 with 19 homers, but other than that has been often near league average. This year, at 31, he has fallen into a .225 hole, a bit like Jamieson and Hereford.

Sic transit gloria mundis.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:35 PM   #2843
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Raccoons (28-28) vs. Canadiens (31-23) – June 4-6, 2030

These teams had split a 4-game set right down the middle earlier in the season, back then when both looked like they might be able to compete. Right now, one of the teams led the division, and the other was erring through the night and had run out of matches. The damn Elks were scoring the most runs in the CL, but were also giving up plenty, with the fifth-leakiest pitching. The rotation was especially troubled, struggling in the bottom three by ERA. Not that any of this could help the direly doomed Coons…

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (7-2, 3.20 ERA) vs. Victor Govea (4-4, 4.54 ERA)
Mark Roberts (5-2, 4.56 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (5-3, 3.94 ERA)
Jose Menendez (5-3, 3.04 ERA) vs. Chris Sinkhorn (3-2, 4.28 ERA)

The Elks had not played on either Thursday (off day), Friday (climate got in the way), or Monday (common off day), but had been involved in a double header on Saturday. Their rotation was messed up thusly. Neither Govea nor Martin had pitched in (almost) a week. Sinkhorn, the only southpaw, and Rodolfo Cervantes (4-4, 5.08 ERA) had both gone on Saturday.

Game 1
VAN: CF Tessmann – 1B N. Day – SS Bennett – RF Wojnarowski – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – C F. Garcia – 2B L. Hernandez – P Govea
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Martinez

While Nick Valdes and me were discussing why there were little Odilon idols distributed all over the premises – of which I had honestly known nothing before Tuesday morning – the Elks already jumped right into Martinez’ face in the opening inning. Danny Tessmann opened with a double off the fence, and it was off to the races from there. T.J. Bennett singled, Brian Wojnarowski hit a sac fly, and with two outs Martinez surrendered another hit to Alex Torres, then walked Matt Anton and Fernando Garcia to force in a run, before Lazaro Hernandez stranded three with a grounder to short in what had quickly become a 2-0 game. The Raccoons sure as heck stranded Ramos on the bases after Alberto’s leadoff double in the bottom 1st, and likewise left Rich Hereford on third base in the bottom 2nd after the struggling straggler and former slugger had dropped a single into right, stolen second, and advanced on a wild pitch. Even with the Elks’ so-so pitching trying to help out, the Coons didn’t bite, and Mike Pizzo (good investment of a million bucks and change!) grounded out pathetically to first base. Bottom 4th, Portland had Mora and Harenberg on the corners with nobody out thanks to a pair of singles. Nunley popped out, Hereford got rung up, and Stalker gingerly rolled out to Hernandez.

Neither pitcher made it through the top of the sixth. Mike Pizzo had somehow hit a closed-eyes solo homer in the bottom 5th to cut the insurmountable gap to 2-1, but Martinez got only one out in the following half-inning before putting Anton on base with a single and Garcia with a 4-pitch walk once more. Billy Brotman replaced him, whiffed Hernandez, then overcame PH Nelson Millan as the Elks tried to break the game wide open with the righty raker. Only one run continued to separate the teams, with the Raccoons bringing the tying run to third base once more in the seventh after singles by the pinch-hitting Matt Jamieson and Ramos, both with two outs. Allan got run up by Fernando Nora, a right-handed reliever, though, and the inning ended. On to the eighth, where Jonathan Fleischer retired exactly nobody between a leadoff walk issued to Alex Torres, a sharp Anton single that sent Torres to third, with Anton taking second via the steal, and then another clueless walk to Garcia. PH Matt Good would get a sac fly off Mauricio Garavito for the only tack-on run, but how were the Coons supposed to rally from a 2-run deficit? Nick Valdes helpfully pointed out that we only needed a bloop and a blast to tie the game, to which I gruntlingly replied that he’d better go and find me some players that could do such things. Instead, right-hander Eric Davidson with an ERA over six retired the heart of the order with no issues in the bottom of the eighth. Raul de la Rosa likewise retired the Portland detachment in order in the ninth inning. 3-1 Canadiens. Ramos 2-4, 2B; Jamieson (PH) 1-1; Brotman 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

Doom.

Mr. Valdes, I don’t think you should rub the belly of these idols…

Game 2
VAN: CF Tessmann – 1B Good – SS Bennett – RF Wojnarowski – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – C F. Garcia – 2B N. Millan – P J. Martin
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Pizzo – 2B Baldwin – P Roberts

“Launchpad” Roberts got through the opening frame on four pitches, which could mean anything, but there were two spiked grounders right at infielders included on those four pitches. If they gained a liiittle heigh- and they did in the second. Alex Torres tripled, Matt Anton doubled, and we were desperate enough to stop them that we walked Nelson Millan intentionally so that Roberts could ring up the opposing hurler with two outs, which he did. The Coons’ offensive attempts were wholly abortive in the early innings. Ramos drew a 2-out walk in the third and stole second for #20 on the year, but was stranded when Allan flew out to Tessmann. Wojnarowski opened the fourth with a jack to center, which was the thing that only saddened you, but had long lost its stun with Mark Roberts pitching. Mind that dead center has been 418’ for about as long as the park has been standing… Roberts walked Torres in the inning, then almost gave up a 2-out bomb to Millan, but Allan made the catch right against the fence in rightfield.

The bottom of the fourth would offer the flimsiest situation with the tying runs on base and nobody out. Mora had reached on a Millan error, and Nunley coaxed a walk on a generously called 3-2 offer. Two years ago, Rich Hereford would have flipped the game, now he rolled a grounder back to the mound. At least Millan fell in the other direction and the damn Elks would only get the out at first base, offering the tying runs in scoring position to Kevin Harenberg, the Unking of Unclutch. Nick Valdes whispered into my ear whether he'd hit a homer. I told him no. He never had, and he never would, hit a homer that would flip a crucial game. He flew out to Torres in shallow left, runners having to hold, and Pizzo flew out to Wojnarowski, stranding them. Roberts leaked another run in the fifth, Bennett singling home Matt Good with a 2-out single after Good had doubled. This came after Tessmann had doubled to right… and had been caught stealing third base, so it could have come well worse for Roberts, and deservedly so. Bottom 5th, Ramos and Allan both reached on 2-out errors… and Mora struck out. There was just no hope with this team.

Roberts lasted six and two thirds, allowing seven hits (five of those for extra bases) and three runs, good enough to trail 3-0 with Joe Martin tossing a 1-hitter until Pizzo’s leadoff single over the head of Millan in the bottom 7th. Baldwin singled to left, and Rafael Gomez, who had entered in a double switch along with Kevin Surginer, spanked hard into a 6-4-3 double play, after which Tessmann robbed Ramos in the gap in left-center. Valdes moaned whether he’d ever get to see his team win a game. I told him no. I still hadn’t received any player that could do anything here. The Raccoons would get the leadoff man on base in the bottom 8th with an Allan single… then had him doubled off by Mora. And that was their last bid for a comeback. 3-0 Canadiens.

In positive developments, Nick Valdes left town on Thursday morning to buy land next to an orphanage in Billings, Montana, to use it as a toxic waste dump. At least I had that guy off my back now…

Game 3
VAN: CF Tessmann – 1B N. Day – SS Bennett – RF Wojnarowski – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – C F. Garcia – 2B N. Millan – P Sinkhorn
POR: SS Ramos – CF Baldwin – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – P Menendez

The stars aligned for a first-inning run for the Coons on 2-out extra-base knocks by Stalker (double) and Jamieson (triple), before Gomez flew out easily to Torres. With that, they had already attained their average run total of the last five games: 1.0 runs per game. That was NOT ALL! The bottom of the second saw Harenberg get nailed, Tovias with a flimsy single, and after Menendez bunted the runners over, Alberto Ramos flicked a 2-out single into left-center that chased home both slow-footed teammates to extend the lead to the loftiest heights of 3-0! On the other side of the box score, Menendez was nearly untouchable, too. He allowed a sole base hit in the first five innings, and while he offered two leadoff walks in the first and fifth innings, he both times got a double play to clear traffic.

Then came the sixth and a 4-pitch walk to the leadoff man once more… and this time it was Chris Sinkhorn. That sure rang an alarm or two, including in the pen, but Tessman went down looking, and then Sinkhorn was the odd pitcher with great speed that could swipe bags. He had three stolen bases on the season, and a healthy 54 stolen bases for his 13-year career. He attempted another one here – and was thrown out. That was ahead of back-to-back singles by Norman Day and T.J. Bennett, then another single to center by Wojnarowski. Day was waved around third and thrown out at home, concluding a 3-hit, 1-walk inning with no runs for the damn Elks, and six shutout innings for Menendez. The Coons’ starter got more support in the bottom 6th, when Hereford singled and Harenberg went yard against Sinkhorn (see – never a homer in a critical spot!) to extend the lead to 5-0. Menendez made it through the seventh, but retired nobody in the eighth. Nelson Millan led off with a sharp single, Matt Good pinch-hit and rolled a single through between the pair of recent Gold Glovers on the right side, and both runners reached scoring position on a throw by another recent Gold Glover, Rafael Gomez, into nowhere. Brotman replaced Menendez, and while he retired the next three batters, the runners scored on Tessmann’s groundout and Day’s sac fly, bringing the damn Elks to within three. The Coons would load them up in the bottom 8th against Jesus Chinchilla, with a Tovias walk, Magallanes single, and Baldwin single, all around Ramos flying out to Wojnarowski in right. Stalker batted with one out against the southpaw Chinchilla, whiffed, and Jamieson rolled out to Lazaro Hernandez at short, an injury replacement for Bennett. Boles put the game away with a minor hiccup, a 2-out walk to Matt Anton in the ninth. 5-2 Coons. Jamieson 2-5, 3B, RBI; Tovias 1-2, 2 BB; Magallanes (PH) 1-1; Menendez 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, W (6-3) and 1-2;

Man, just when I wanted to replace our closer with a sandbag…

Raccoons (29-30) vs. Capitals (28-33) – June 7-9, 2030

To close out the week, another team that had bitten off more than they could chew. The Capitals had won the FL East four times in the last decade, but had finished fourth with winning records the last two seasons and were now ready to sink into the abyss. They were pretty old, they had horrendous defense, they could not run, they could not hit (fifth-fewest runs in the FL), they could not pitch (second-most runs allowed) and they had a bunch of injuries, adding just this week SP Tom Grant (4-3, 3.80 ERA) with a torn rotator cuff that would see him miss a full year. It was also ten years since the Coons had last won a series from the Capitals; we had dropped two out of three four times in the meantime.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (2-4, 4.97 ERA) vs. Colt Willes (1-1, 6.00 ERA)
Tom Shumway (2-5, 3.50 ERA) vs. Chris Munroe (3-0, 5.18 ERA)
Dave Martinez (7-3, 3.21 ERA) vs. Johnny Nelson (5-6, 4.75 ERA)

All of their currently non-disabled starting pitchers were right-handers, including the long-ago Coon Chris Munroe.

Game 1
WAS: CF Whitner – C J. Wood – 2B E. Trevino – RF Tachibana – 3B S. Williams – 1B D. Lane – SS Pick – LF D. Brown – P Willes
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez

There were three singles and four pop outs to Rico Gutierrez’ first run through the Capitals’ order, and more than anything else (but a W) the Raccoons could probably use getting him on track with his ERA scratching five at this point. The third inning turned into a mess, however, with Dan Whitner’s leadoff double quickly leading to a run as Rico shed another two singles to Enrique Trevino and Tsuneyoshi Tachibana, and with two outs walks Danny Lane to fill the sacks. Pat Pick grounded out to Nunley, who had to hustle and bare-hand the ball to have a play at first, and managed to strand all the runners. At that point it was 1-0 with the Coons having done nothing, including Harenberg flying out to center harmlessly to strand a pair in the bottom 1st. Dan Brown opened the fourth with a double to right and scored on two groundouts, putting Portland in a 2-0 hole, which didn’t change even after Harenberg and Hereford dropped 1-out singles in the bottom of the inning. Stalker and Pizzo both struck out, one feebly, the other in a wild hack. Next time around, Harenberg found Nunley on first with no outs, hit into a double play, and then Hereford hit a jack to left… that made it 2-1, and I was just about ready to cry. Stalker doubled to left, the Capitals walked Pizzo with intent, and that sent Matt Jamieson to the plate in place of Rico, and Jamieson delivered a stellar choke job, ramming a ball into the ground right in front of home plate. The ball didn’t even get out of the quarter circle of dirt that was in fair territory before Jimmy Wood pounced on it and threw out Jamieson by about 69 feet.

Garavito did a good job in the top 7th, getting through the top of the order, and then the Caps showed some of that bad defense that kept derailing them. Ramos drew a walk off Willes to begin the bottom 7th, but everybody knew that he’d run and Willes watched him more than the batter. Ramos never made an attempt, but reached second on Allan’s grounder to Trevino, who was indecisive and lost the play on the lead runner, only getting Allan at first, but they could not have gotten two anyway. Mora then popped out, bringing up Nunley, who shot a ball through Stephen Williams (not a Gold Glover, although he’d deserve one) for a 2-out RBI double, tying the score. And Harenberg? Singled to right, but Nunley wouldn’t be able to – OH, TACHIBANA OVERRUNS IT!! The ball emerged behind the slugging rightfielder, and now Nunley was windmilled past third base and scored the go-ahead run! Harenberg got a generously assessed RBI, his 38th of the year. Tachibana semi-redeemed himself with a catch on Hereford’s fly in the gap, then hit a double off the fence off Garavito to begin the eighth. The Coons went to a righty on schedule, sending Ricky Ohl, who would encounter two left-handed pinch-hitters in David Lessman and Dave Menth, also proven veterans past their primes, and rung up both of them. Pat Pick popped out easily to shallow center, stranding Tachibana. The Coons had nothing in the bottom 8th, sending up Boles, who struck out Alfredo Quintana, D.J. Fullerton, and got a grounder from Dan Whitner to second that Stalker played to first for the… second out. See, Fullerton got on base on an uncaught third strike, which was the sort of thing that had gotten catchers outright murdered with a blunderbuss blast to the face before, and – NO, MAUD! LET GO!! I HAVE TO - … (struggles) … so Fullerton was the tying run on second with two outs and .217 hitting righty Jimmy Wood up. Boles got to 2-2 on him, then surrendered a sharply spanked grounder to the left side. Nunley lunged! Nunley contained! Nunley spun around! Nunley to first! Ballgame!! 3-2 Raccoons. Allan 2-4, 2B; Nunley 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Harenberg 2-4, RBI; Hereford 2-4, HR, RBI;

Ryan Allan got his 18th and 19th base hits of the season, including the first one that was not a single.

The Coons even moved out of fifth place now, passing the Titans.

Game 2
WAS: SS Menth – C J. Wood – 2B E. Trevino – RF Tachibana – 3B S. Williams – 1B D. Lane – CF Pick – LF D. Brown – P Munroe
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – P Shumway

While Tim Stalker briefly interrupted a monthlong nap to put the Coons on the map, 1-0, with a solo homer to left in the second inning, Shumway retired the first six before offering a leadoff walk to Pat Pick in the third inning, and while it sounded like the worst pun, the Shumster actually PICKED him off first base after Dan Brown had made the first out… and then he walked the opposing pitcher Munroe, who had last been a Coon 13 years ago, so I would not feel too mellow about him getting ravaged for six or nine runs. You hear me, boys? They scratched out a run in the third on three singles, including Harenberg’s RBI single with two outs, but I waited in vain for a big knell early. Instead, Shumway allowed a leadoff double to Wood in the fourth and would eventually score him with a 2-out balk, cutting the lead back to 2-1, and then put two on base with singles in the fifth, Danny Lane with nobody out, and Chris Munroe with two outs… Menth flew out to Allan to strand those runners.

At this point, it was all a mess – Munroe, who had come in with 20 walks against 18 strikeouts, but had reversed the balance in the game already, walked Shumway to begin the bottom 5th, which was such a great way to help your team rally. And Ramos hit into a double play, so what do I know about baseball? Probably still more than Shumway. The ****ing ass blew the game single-pawedly in the sixth inning, putting the speedy Trevino on base with his own dumb error simply failing to pick up a slowly rolling baseball, then conceded the tying run on a Stephen Williams single with one out. He then threw eight balls to Lane and Pick, and finally fell to a Dan Brown grand slam to dead center, which – still – was up to 418’ away. That buried the Coons down by four, got Shumway shown the door after the inning (though all the runs were unearned on his precious ERA), while now the team would doubtlessly trundle towards another depressing loss.

Bottom 6th, Nunley led off with a soft single and Munroe got bombed by Harenberg, cutting the gap in half to 6-4. Hereford whiffed, but Gomez, Tovias, and Mora all reached base, presenting Ramos with the tying runs and more with two outs. A liner in the gap or something would really help us out here. He flew out to Tachibana. Oh well, there was still time for some trundling from here… Allan and Nunley made quick first outs (after Fleischer narrowly avoided getting bopped in the top of the inning) in the bottom 7th before Harenberg reached with a liner for a double in leftfield. The Caps hung with Monroe against Hereford, who had looked particularly bad in his last at-bat, and quickly fell to two strikes again before striking – a shot to right, easily 410 feet, and outta here to tie the game! Rafael Urbano replaced Munroe one batter too late, got out of the inning, but then got pierced with straight 2-out singles by Pizzo, Ramos, and Allan in the bottom 8th. Pizzo scored to give the Coons their first lead since Shumway had imploded, but they would also cart up Boles for the third straight day in the ninth inning. He struck out the side anyway. 7-6 Critters! Ramos 2-5; Nunley 2-4, BB; Harenberg 3-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Pizzo (PH) 1-1;

First series win against the Capitals since 2020 – achieved.

Alright – no Josh Boles on Sunday, though. We don’t do four in a row here in June, and certainly not after throwing 58 pitches across three outings with one walk, six strikeouts, and neither hits nor runs.

Game 3
WAS: LF Quintana – 3B S. Williams – C Lessman – 1B D. Lane – SS Menth – 2B Pick – RF D. Brown – CF Whitner – P J. Nelson
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – LF Jamieson – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Martinez

Neither pitcher looked particularly sharp, with Martinez being taken deep by Stephen Williams in the first and then allowing another run in the fourth on three sharp base hits, including a leadoff double by Danny Lane, who quickly scored on Dave Menth’s single. That erased a 2-1 Coons lead; Harenberg and Pizzo had both hit doubles to tie the game in the bottom 2nd, and a leadoff triple by Ramos had allowed the Raccoons to take the tiny lead, since blown, when Allan grounded out behind second base. They took the lead back though, in the bottom 4th even: Jamieson hit a 1-out single to left, and then was running when Tim Stalker belted a ball to deep left and just barely over the fence for a go-ahead homer, 4-2.

Not that it helped Martinez, who continued to struggle and needed 83 pitches through five. Ramos then led off the bottom 5th with a single to left, was caught stealing, and that annoyingly came ahead of an Allan single and Nunley drawing a walk on four pitches. Could have been three on, no outs, but MAYBE this was better, because the Coons stunk with three on and no outs. Nope, Harenberg grounded sharply to short on the very next pitch, and only a slight fumble by Menth prevented the double play. Hereford came up with men on the corners, poked at the first pitch as well, a ****ty bloop into shallow center, just ahead of Dan Whitner’s glove – it was an RBI single though, no matter how ugly it was, and this was a 5-2 game. Jamieson became the third batter in a row to reach for the first pitch, chucked a ball into the left-center gap, and this one became a 2-out, 2-run triple! Oh, FINE. Do whatever you want! Who needs to work pitch counts? Stalker would ground out to short against reliever J.R. Hreha, who despite the Caps’ best efforts could not have come in earlier during the 3-run barrage. Those were not the final runs in the game; Pizzo would drive in a run in the eighth with an RBI triple (!), while the Raccoons sent Sean Rigg to pitch in relief of Martinez, who lasted only six innings. Rigg was scheduled to pitch until encountering serious trouble with a 5-run (later 6-run) lead, but those troubles never materialized, and Rigg completed the sweep with a 3-inning save instead. 8-2 Coons! Ramos 3-5, 3B; Jamieson 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Pizzo 2-4, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI; Rigg 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, SV (1);

In other news

June 3 – The hitting streak of OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.321, 10 HR, 38 RBI) ends at 20 games after the 30-year-old right-handed hitter goes hitless in a 4-2 loss to the Aces.
June 3 – All but one of the Warriors’ starting position players collect multiple hits in a 17-6 strafing of the Wolves that sees the Warriors plate 10 men in the fifth inning alone.
June 4 – OCT 3B Dave Garcia (.299, 10 HR, 27 RBI) socks his 300th home run off MR J.J. Ringland (2-1, 2.93 ERA) in the Thunder’s 6-1 win over the Aces. The 35-year-old two-time Player of the Year is batting .291 and has plated 846 runners not himself in his career.
June 6 – The Warriors out-hit the Wolves 11-4, but still lose the game, 3-2, with the Wolves getting two of their hits in the bottom 8th after walks had loaded the bases.
June 7 – The Aces trade 32-yr old OF/1B Joe Vanatti (.240, 2 HR, 8 RBI) to the Gold Sox for 25-yr old SS Ted Schlegelmilch (.326, 4 HR, 22 RBI).
June 8 – 34 hits, 12 walks, four errors, seven homers, and a 17-13 final are the result of the Warriors’ wacko win over the Indians, who despite piling up more than a dozen never lead the game and trail by as many as 11 runs. Two players land four base hits: IND 1B Jon Gonzalez (.319, 8 HR, 44 RBI) and SFW SP Pat Okrasinski (5-3, 2.55 ERA).
June 8 – PIT INF/CF Carlos de la Riva (.270, 5 HR, 19 RBI) hits a second-inning homer for the only scoring in the Miners’ 1-0 win over the Bayhawks.
June 9 – ATL 2B/SS John Johnson (.292, 5 HR, 23 RBI) has hit safely in 20 straight games with a 3-hit effort in an 11-2 rout of the Rebels.

Complaints and stuff

It may feel like it, but this was actually not the first sweep for us this season. We swept the Knights April 22-24, and depending on your stance on rain-shortened sets, we also swept both games from the Loggers on May 10-11.

Boles, Ramos, and Harenberg are the lead All Star vote recipients at their respective positions at this juncture. I get Boles. I surely get Ramos. I don’t get Harenberg. He batted .272 with ten homers, which was surely not otherworldly. Jon Gonzalez was second with a .319 clip and eight homers, but more RBI (44).

Schlegelmilch is a third-year player that is not much of a defensive shortstop and who added 268 points to his 2029 OPS at the time of the trade. That one will be interesting to follow.

Okrasinski allowed six runs, three earned, in seven innings in the Warriors-Indians tilt on Saturday. A former #5 pick, the righty is still more valuable on the mound, having won 20 games last year. It took him a while to get established with a 3-pitch mix and sometimes lacking control, but this is the second straight year where he bids for the ERA title in the Federal League.

Next: quick hop down the coast to play three in L.A., then another home series against the Crusaders on the weekend. We will then be hitting up the Midwest with a 2-city trip to Milwaukee (including a double header with the makeup game of the postponement mentioned earlier) and Oklahoma City the week after that. The draft will also take place on the coming Saturday.

Fun Fact: Sean Rigg earned his second career save on Sunday. His other save came last season, but in more conventional circumstances.

…as conventional as you can call him saving a 7-5 lead in the 10th against the Rebels, nailing a guy with two outs and thus pulling up the opposing reliever Seth Odum with the Rebels’ bench completely used up. Weird quirk: Odum is on the Capitals now, but did not feature prominently in Sunday’s game.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:49 AM   #2844
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Raccoons (32-30) @ Pacifics (39-23) – June 10-12, 2030

Eek, the Pacifics were rather hot. They were third in runs scored in the FL with 4.6 markers per game, and they were conceding the fewest runs at 3.8 runs for each time they put on pants. Their rotation was the best in the league, and the Raccoons were probably going to be seriously challenged here… Last time these teams met, the Pacifics took two of the three games. That was in ’28.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (5-3, 4.52 ERA) vs. Jorge Beltran (8-3, 1.93 ERA)
Jose Menendez (6-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Eric Williams (5-3, 3.56 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-4, 4.70 ERA) vs. Gavin Lee (3-3, 3.10 ERA)

Williams was actually the worst of the bunch by ERA; also the only southpaw we’d encounter, although they had two more in legit starts Dave Christiansen (9-2, 2.75 ERA) and Luis Flores (7-3, 3.45 ERA).

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Roberts
LAP: RF O. Mendoza – 2B Ryder – CF Fowler – 1B Kopp – 3B Schmit – LF McEwen – SS Cook – C T. Williams – P Beltran

At first, a pitchers’ duel broke out; Beltran retired the Coons in order the first time through and whiffed four, while Roberts only gave up a single single over three innings. Then Alberto opened the fourth with a single to left, Mora doubled to right-center, and Nunley chucked an RBI single over Zachary Ryder to put Portland on the board, 1-0. Harenberg made it 2-0 in style, via the double play, as Mora dashed home from third base on the 6-4-3. Roberts returned to the mound and immediately farted. Terry Kopp, batting .321 with 14 homers coming into the game, because ex-Coon, singled to center with one out, and with two down Roberts cluelessly walked both Chris McEwen and Ben Cook to load the bags. Travis Williams flew to center, no challenge for Mora, but can we ever have nice things? Besides stranding three runners, I mean. Not putting them on in the first place!

Tearing up the best pitcher in baseball right now would work fine, too, thanks. Beltran retired Stalker and Jamieson to begin the fifth before Pizzo singled up the middle innocently enough. That brought up the pitcher, but Roberts kept raking and singled, too, upping his batting average to .414 for the season. Hell for Beltran was only just beginning – Ramos and Mora hit screaming doubles up either line, plating three runs total, and Nunley dropped a single into right, giving Harenberg the corners. Kevin flew out on the first pitch, but it was still 5-0 in the middle of the fifth. Now, where’s that confidence that Roberts could make it a 5-game winning streak? That had probably been left in about 2028. Roberts allowed a leadoff single to Bobby Marshall, once with the Thunder, in the bottom 5th as Marshall batted for the fallen Beltran, and it didn’t take long for a big bang. Hereford narrowly robbed Ryder of extra bases on the warning track, but Justin Fowler hit one outta here with two outs, cutting the edge to 5-2. Kopp singled, but Andy Schmit popped out to end the slide. Roberts made it into the seventh, but it was probably a mistake to send him back out for a fourth tour. Oscar Mendoza singled, Ryder hit an RBI double, and suddenly the middle of the order was up as the tying runs. Surginer took over and somehow made it through the inning without allowing Ryder across; Fowler flew out to deep center, Kopp flew out to shallow left, and Schmit got whiffed. The ordeal took only six pitches, so Surginer was back for the eighth, got two outs, then walked Williams and PH Dan Tugwell… at least Mauricio Garavito managed to ring up Mendoza to end the inning…! But the Raccoons failed fully and completely to tack on an insurance run, so Josh Boles was in the game in the ninth after only one day of rest following three straight saves. He was NOT sharp. Ryder hit a leadoff double to center, for example, and here came the tying run again. Fowler hit a spiced grounder at Ramos for the first out, which held the runner, and Kopp unleashed a slow roller that had Nunley dash in, which did not hold the runner. L.A. was down to former Crusader Andy Schmit’s wisdom, which was not enough to hit any offering by Boles, who thus extended our winning streak to five. 5-3 Coons. Ramos 4-5, 2B, RBI; Mora 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-4, RBI; Pizzo 1-2, BB; Surginer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Baldwin – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – P Menendez
LAP: RF O. Mendoza – 2B Kane – CF Fowler – LF Kopp – 3B Schmit – C Allomes – SS Cook – 1B Hollar – P E. Williams

The streak ended for sure in the Tuesday game, in which the Pacifics’ first hit put them up 3-0. It was a 2-run single by Ben Cook with the bases loaded, courtesy of Menendez walking three and nailing Terry Kopp at some point in between. He walked another guy in Chris Hollar, plated a fourth run with a wild pitch, and only the rung up the pitcher Williams, who seemed in pretty good mood staked to an early 4-0 edge. 4-0 on one base hit, just as a reminder. Well, technically there was lots of game left to make up a 4-run deficit, but that would have required a modicum of offense. The Coons amounted to two base hits against Williams through six, which was also – somewhat miraculously – the exact distance that Menendez went after a 43-pitch first inning. He was probably pitching scared that he’d live out his final days as an Alley Cat… Somehow the Raccoons would score two runs in the top 7th, which began with Harenberg walking. Rafael Gomez hit a gapper for a triple, then came home on a Jamieson sac fly to get to 4-2. Bottom 7th, Brotman got two outs before putting on Mike Kane and Fowler. With Chris McEwen pinch-hitting for Kopp to counter Brotman, the Coons brought Ricky Ohl in a double switch, and Ricky secured the K. The other half of the double switch was Ryan Allan, who then led off the eighth with a single to center. Ramos and Baldwin made outs, but Stalker singled off Williams, bringing up Harenberg with two down and the tying runs aboard… which was a recipe for disappointment. He struck out. The Coons went down harmlessly in the ninth. 4-2 Pacifics. Mora (PH) 1-1; Allan 1-1;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez
LAP: SS Cook – 2B Ryder – CF Fowler – 1B Kopp – 3B Schmit – LF McEwen – RF Tugwell – C T. Williams – P G. Lee

Ramos led off with a single, stole second, and… was left on base. On the other side of the middle of the first, Rico gave up singles to Cook and Ryder and plated the former with a wild pitch, so things continued to go pear-shaped for him. Oh well, only 5 1/2 more years on that contract! In happier news, Gavin Lee put the first four Critters on base in the second inning. Hereford got on and scored on a Stalker double, and then a Jamieson single and a walk drawn by Pizzo loaded them up with no outs for … Rico, batting all of .118. He grounded back to the mound, easily getting Stalker forced out at home, but Lee’s feed still upset Williams enough to cost the double play at first base, and that was not the last double play they missed in the inning. Ramos grounded to short, and gave it his all with the hindpaws to break up a double play that allowed Jamieson to score with the go-ahead run, 2-1. Mora struck out, and Rico got all of four outs before blowing the lead on Cook’s solo shot in the bottom 3rd. After Ryder flew out, Rico really and honestly issued three 2-out walks before somehow McEwen whiffed. Two wounded starters then dragged themselves through five and beyond. Lee made it six without allowing anything worthwhile to the Coons. Rico managed five and two thirds before Dan Tugwell hit a huge shot to left to put L.A. 3-2 ahead…

While Brotman and Fleischer kept the Pacifics at bay in the seventh and eighth, Portland poked in vain and arrived in the ninth still down by a run. They faced Vincent Alfaro in the ninth. The longtime starter had lost all but two of his pitches a while ago and had been shifted to the pen this season. He had no career save yet. Allan batted for Stalker to begin the inning, trying to combat the right-hander Alfaro with a platoon advantage, but grounded out. Jamieson singled to right, putting the tying run on. Pizzo struck out. Magallanes struck out. 3-2 Pacifics. Jamieson 2-4;

Let’s just say I tried to walk into traffic in front of the ballpark, but the Druid held me back, warning me that his mottled dragon tincture to survive traffic accidents was back home in Portland. How kind of him…

Raccoons (33-32) vs. Crusaders (30-36) – June 14-16, 2030

Here came the Crusaders. We were 2-2 against them this season, which was not good enough against a last-place team, but they also seemed to rally quite a bit, posting a 9-3 June at this point. They were second from the bottom in runs scored, but were also giving up the third-fewest runs in the Continental League, so our endless scoring struggles were likely bound to continue.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (2-5, 3.35 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (6-5, 4.37 ERA)
Dave Martinez (8-3, 3.20 ERA) vs. Robby Gonzalez (2-4, 4.19 ERA)
Mark Roberts (6-3, 4.52 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (2-2, 1.80 ERA)

Looks like a set of righties. The Crusaders had played a double header (and won it) against the Rebels on Thursday, while we had been off. So we had at least a bullpen advantage? Maybe? Please.

Please, someone say something comforting!

Or that… (takes bottle o’ booze silently extended by Slappy)

Game 1
NYC: 2B Hurtado – 1B Serrano – RF Reardon – CF Coca – C Dear – LF Olszewski – 3B Czachor – SS Cameron – P E. Cannon
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Shumway

The Coons’ first chance came credit of Joe Cameron at short, bungling a potential 6-4-3 by Tim Stalker with Hereford on first and no outs in the bottom 2nd. The error put two on for Jamieson, who blooped a 1-2 pitch to shallow left and *just* out of the reach of Drew Olszewski (who entered the game with a 19-game hitting streak) to load the bases. With nobody out. Tovias flew out to Chris Reardon in right, Hereford was sent and thrown out, and Shumway ended the inning. As usual – no runs.

Olszewski made it 20 games with a fourth-inning single. It came with one out and also moved Matt Dear, who had drawn a 4-pitch walk, to second base, but Ryan Czachor snapped a ball at our own third baseman, and Nunley turned the double play, 5-4-3, to get out of the inning. Yeah, now we were all grinning and high-fiving. Czachor would turn an inning-ending 5-4-3 in the same inning when Jamieson grounded to him with Harenberg and Stalker on the corners and one out… The completely hopeless Raccoons left runners on the corners in the following inning when Mora flew out easily to Olszewski, and then the top 6th began with Reardon’s infield single. Shumway threw a wild pitch, the Crusaders landed two productive groundouts, and that put Reardon on the board with the game’s first run. In other words – ballgame. The Coons had absolutely nothing until Matt Nunley drew a 2-out walk in the eighth inning, which also got Cannon removed. Hey, finally we were into the bullpen that had to do double duty on Thursday! And Casey Moore got Harenberg to pop out to second base to end the inning… Olszewski reached with an infield single against Fleischer in the ninth, but was caught stealing, leaving Crusaders closer Travis Giordano and his 4.68 ERA no cushion in the bottom of the inning. He’d face 5-6-7. Hereford led off chipping a single to left on a 1-2 pitch, which was a nice tease by the baseball mods, I must admit. Stalker hit a comebacker that got Hereford forced at second, but then stole second base to move the tying run into scoring position. It was only his fourth bag of the year. Jamieson struck out. Pizzo grounded up the middle, into the teeth of the defense, and that ended the game. 1-0 Crusaders. Hereford 2-3, BB; Shumway 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, L (2-6);

Alright. Normal booze isn’t working no more. I will try to spice it with tabasco, but I am not positive that will do anything. Next step… (pulls a thin flask out of the bottom drawer) … will be turpentine.

Game 2
NYC: 2B Hurtado – 1B Olszewski – RF Reardon – CF Coca – LF Serrano – C Dear – 3B Czachor – SS Laughery – P R. Gonzalez
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Allan – C Tovias – P Martinez

The good news first: Portland actually scored in this game. Hereford worked a leadoff walk in the bottom 2nd, then came around on singles by Stalker and Allan before Tovias (pop) and Martinez (double play) delivered a splendid choke job. Martinez retired the first eight Crusaders before Robby Gonzalez doubled (…) and Mario Hurtado walked, but he bailed out on Olszewski’s inning-ending grounder. There was no bailing out in the fourth, though, in which Tony Coca hit a single, and Matt Dear hit a 2-out, 2-run homer. And because people love to see bombs, and there can’t be enough of them, Ryan Czachor went back-to-back with him, putting New York 3-1 ahead. It was but little consolation that Matt Dear was ejected after striking out in the sixth inning. That would not revert the next irreversible, irresistible loss.

All the Coons had going was Alberto Ramos, who could not amount to more than a run at any one time. In the bottom 6th, he reached on a single, stole second, then came around on Mora’s grounder and Nunley’s sac fly, but that left the team 3-2 behind. Bottom 7th, Hereford grounded out, but Stalker hit a gapper in left-center that Danny Serrano let roll around for a while before he got to it. Stalker ended up at third base with a triple, and now the tying run was just 90 feet away! Gonzalez stayed in there, Ryan Allan ripped a rocketing double to left, and the Coons were back even! …and then Tovias rolled out and Jamieson flew out to left to strand the go-ahead run at third base…

Brotman came on for the eighth for the sole purpose of retiring the leadoff man Olszewski, which he notably didn’t do when the streaking Crusader hit a single. On to Surginer, with Olszewski swiping second base against no throw whatsoever by Tovias, and Surginer lost lefty pinch-hitter Jamie Richardson on balls, too. Tony Coca was likely to end this one, probably, surely. He had murdered the Coons a thousand times as an Elk, time to do it as a Crusader. Bouncer back to the mound, Surginer to Ramos, to Harenberg, double play! Danny Serrano popped a 2-1 pitch to second base, Stalker circling under it and - … and then the ball made *thud* in front of Stalker. Olszewski had crossed home plate, the run counted because, well, out precious, luxuriously paid, 4-time Gold Glover … simply… let it drop… let it drop in front of him. 4-3. Are you CRAZY?? What the heck is WRONG WITH YOU!?? AAHH!! … AAHHH!!! … [more incoherent screaming]

The Agony. The Agony.

Josh Wool singled up the middle, but PH Luis Moreira struck out to end the top 8th. Nunley hit a 2-out single against Jamie O’Leary in the bottom of the inning, but all that did was bring up Harenberg, and I’d rather see Grandma Betty bat with two outs and the tying run on base… he rolled out to first. Josh Boles, bored at this point, got through the Crusaders in the ninth, and they brought on Keith Roofener for the bottom 9th. At least he was walking five per nine innings, so maybe a walk and a blast, boys? How ‘bout that? How ‘bout a walk and a blast? Hereford led off with a double to right, which was a good start for sure. That brought up Stalker, the ROYAL ASS!! He got nailed with an 0-1 pitch, which was certainly the best use for his stupid body. The winning run was thus on base for Allan, who countered the righty on the mound and had two hits in the game. He struck out, and up came Tovias, who didn’t wait around for long and poked a 1-0 pitch into play. To short. To second. To first. Fade to black. 4-3 Crusaders. Nunley 2-3, RBI; Allan 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Good one, Baseball Gods. That was… that was… that was a good one.

That was a good one.

(keeps banging his head against the door frame very slowly while Maud shrugs and flicks out the lights and goes home)

Game 3
NYC: 2B Hurtado – 1B Serrano – RF Reardon – CF Coca – C Dear – LF Olszewski – 3B Czachor – SS Cameron – P Marron
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Roberts faced the minimum the first time through, which didn’t mean some of them didn’t make fat contact, f.e. Hurtado lined out hard right at Jamieson to begin the game, or that he didn’t issue a leadoff walk to Ryan Czachor in the third, but Joe Cameron hit into a double play right away. Jamieson also hit into a double play in the bottom 2nd after Marron had doled out two walks to begin the inning, but Mike Pizzo raked a fastball over the leftfield fence for his seventh homer of the season, but only his 15th and 16th RBI’s. Hurtado would open the fourth with a double off the fence, but would not make it to third base thanks to a Serrano pop out, Reardon rolling over to Ramos, and Tony Coca taking aim and strike three, but missing. “Rakin’” Roberts then had the third of three doubles the Coons hit in the bottom 4th; Hereford and Stalker had knocked doubles to rightfield to begin the inning, and they upped the score to 4-0 briefly before Joe Cameron drove in Olszewski with two outs in the fifth. Olszewski had also reached on a long, long double.

But it was not a tight game, which meant Kevin Harenberg was actually dangerous. Marron lost Abel Mora to a leadoff single in the bottom 5th, then walked Nunley, and finally got bludgeoned for a line-closing 3-piece by Harenberg that went into the rightfield stands, 7-1. That brought on the pen, while Roberts lasted seven innings, shedding a second run in the last of the seven when the Crusaders dropped in three straight base hits. That was a run the Raccoons got back in the bottom of the inning, which Nunley opened with a double to left. He ended up scoring on a groundout by Rich Hereford, keeping Portland ahead by six. Fleischer did the eighth, and Garavito handled the ninth even though there wasn’t a necessity to go to a lefty, but the Raccoons eyed their upcoming double header on Monday and would try to have as many relievers available as possible, which required them to not use Kevin Surginer f.e.; 8-2 Coons. Nunley 1-1, 3 BB, 2B; Harenberg 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Hereford 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (7-3) and 1-3, 2B, RBI;

In other news

June 12 – DEN CF/LF Abel Madsen (.280, 10 HR, 39 RBI) might be out until the All Star Game with a strained achilles tendon.
June 12 – TOP LF Pablo Sanchez (.367, 2 HR, 26 RBI) chips in a hit for the 20th straight game, doing so in a 2-1 Buffaloes win over the Titans.
June 12 – The hitting streak of ATL 2B/SS John Johnson (.291, 5 HR, 27 RBI) ends at 21 games after a hitless appearance in a 6-1 loss to the Scorpions.
June 12 – OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.314, 11 HR, 49 RBI) strafes the Cyclones for four hits and five RBI in a 13-4 Thunder win.
June 13 – DAL OF/1B Aaron Botzet (.232, 10 HR, 44 RBI) is expected to be out until the end of July with a torn abdominal muscle.

Complaints and stuff

.500 once more. I don’t even know… the Loggers and Elks are tied for first, which … which is weird, isn’t it? – Chad, put down the toy elk or I will shove it up your –

We will have a seven-game week coming up; actually three straight seven-game weeks, but there’s another day off on Thursday next week. We will play two with the Loggers on Monday. I am playing with the thought of having Sean Rigg start the first game and replace him with a new long man right after the game. Probably not Stonecipher, though; after walking 23 in 23 innings in the majors, the 25-year-old righty has now walked 11 in 6.1 innings in St. Petersburg…

Things are wholly mixed on the farm (and the draft will be in the following report). We have two middling farm teams at AA and A, and one at AAA that gets their bums kicked to a .360 tune. Fringe prospect and outfielder Steve Florence broke his leg this week. It might even grow back together if they can ever clean the wound of infield dirt and little stones.

Fun Fact: Tom Shumway pitched seven innings of 1-run ball in a 3-1 win over the Loggers on April 18.

That remains – in 14 attempts – his only win this year in which he allowed at least one base hit.

This team drives you bat**** crazy.
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Questdog (05-12-2019)
Old 05-12-2019, 09:49 AM   #2845
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2030 AMATEUR DRAFT

Maybe this draft had more significance for us than those in more recent years because the lean years were not only on the horizon for the Coons… given the barren farm that allowed little hope (except for a few starting pitchers that were emerging – more on that later) drafting a goodie was imperative, but we would have to do it with the #16 pick.

And for those among the fanbase that erased not only the memory of recent results with an unhealthy dose of booze, here is the hotlist again (*indicates high school player):

SP Chris Turner (15/14/12) *
SP Joe Murphy (13/15/8) * - BNN #8
SP Adam Swint (13/12/12) * - BNN #2
SP Jim Batson (14/13/10)

CL Tim Thewatt (19/14/9)

C/1B Sean Ebner (12/14/10) *

3B/2B Ben Freeman (14/16/13) – BNN #9
3B Dan Hutson (11/15/11) – BNN #6

RF/LF Troy Greenway (12/14/13) *
OF Ed Hooge (9/12/9)
OF Andrew Barker (13/12/11) * - BNN #1

As pointed out before, we were especially interested in Chris “Tuba” Turner and Ben “Nine Fingers” Freeman. Our chances to get hold of either one were more or less squid. Of course we were still likely to get a hotlist selection – rarely ever was it picked clean before a second-half selection in the first round – but … well, I just wanted to politely voice a wish to the baseball gods. Not that they ever listened. That’s because gods of all kinds listen to little kids’ prayers first, y’know, and somewhere in Canada there’s got to be an ugly little boy that keeps praying for the damn Elks to get all the good picks and the Coons to get nothing but gunk. Ugh, kids!

“Nine Fingers” Freeman went first overall to the Rebels, so there went half my hopes and dreams. Didn’t take long for the other half – the Falcons took “Tuba” Turner at #2. At that point, I simply longed to be able to go to bed… The third overall pick would be Troy Greenway, taken by Sacramento. The top 5 were completed with hotlist picks – Andrew Barker at #4 to the Loggers, and Dan Hutson at #5 to the Blue Sox. After that, outfielder Nick Baker went #6 to the Gold Sox, the first selection not off the hotlist. What relief.

Further hotlist selections were poor Joe Murphy being taken at #8 and drafted into the Stars fold and their Texan bandbox; fellow starting pitcher Adam Swint going #10 to the Crusaders; the only catcher on the hotlist, Sean Ebner, who was probably also better served with a move to first base, went #13 to the Knights; and that was it – SP Jim Batson, CL Tim Thweatt, and OF Ed Hooge were all who remained.

We ended up going with the outfielder – the power promise was too tempting to resist. Hooge profiled for capable play at all three positions, but lacked the arm to be a threat in right in our opinion. He had some speed, but not a defining amount. Thweatt didn’t figure to be an elite closer – he looked a lot like a young Ron Thrasher, which was not inherently a bad thing, but Ron Thrasher had not reached that elite echelon either. Batson was still working hard on that third pitch, a changeup. Some analysts saw him as a career reliever. We didn’t, but then again the slight doubts made us go for the power outfielder.

Thweatt would fall to the Indians at #18. Jim Batson on the other hand fell all the way through the first round, through the supplemental round, and then still further to the Crusaders’ pick in the second round, which only came at #51. That cleaned up the hotlist.

The next two picks would go to righty starters with all the second-tier hitting prospects off our shortlist also gone by the time we got to pick again. Overall, after the best boys were taken, I found that this draft pool became pretty thin pretty fast…

2030 PORTLAND RACCOONS DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 (#16) – OF Ed Hooge, 20, from New York, NY – good range in the outfield, some speed, decent contact, but there is significant power potential in this left-handed batting youngster, and who doesn’t like power?
Round 2 (#57) – SP Jason Lucas, 20, from Winston-Salem, NC – right-hander with a 89mph heater; more of a corner nibbler for sure with a nice 4-pitch mix and very impressive control.
Round 3 (#81) – SP Philip Parkinson, 21, from Casper, WY – right-hander throwing 92 but still working out the finer tunes of control; throws a mix of five pitches, but has yet to find the one that he can use to wipe out the batters.
Round 4 (#105) – C Chris Manning, 17, from Newark, NJ – bit of a wildcard pick here… not very adept from the crouch, but there is some decent contact and power potential in his at-bat, and you can always move them to first base, right?
Round 5 (#129) – SP Lazaro Salazar, 19, from Manhattan, NY – right-hander with a swooping curve, but no third pitch to speak of; probably destined to a career in relief, if any.
Round 6 (#153) – INF/RF Chris Rockwell, 21, from Cleveland, OH – certainly an elite defender, but anything but a great hitting prospect; bat profiles as meh across the board, but has some speed.
Round 7 (#177) – 2B Dave Bartelt, 21, from Burnsville, MN – another strong glove, but with experience only at second base, and he also did not have a good throwing arm at all, so it was not likely that he’d move anywhere. Decent contact potential and some speed, but no power.
Round 8 (#201) – CL Gabriel Nunez, 21, from Houston, TX – right-hander with a 91mph heater and an “interesting” slider.
Round 9 (#225) – LF/RF Jesus Morales, 23, from Barquisimeto, Venezuela – would like to occupy a power position, but has no power, or range, or a throwing arm. Doesn’t even cook a good chili or anything else to make himself likeable around here.
Round 10 (#249) – 1B Justin Cooper, 19, from Fortuna Foothills, AZ – fancies swinging for the fences, and sometimes he even reaches them… when he hits off a tee.
Round 11 (#273) – MF Jon Hass, 20, from St. Gabriel, LA – this year’s Nick Brown Memorial pick throws 88 with a curve and what he considers a changeup, but what usually gets hit all the way to the next parish…
Round 12 (#297) – INF/LF Brady Hagstrom, 18, from Ponca City, OK – versatile defender with a keen eye at the plate, but not much fortune once he actually decides to poke; not much speed either.
Round 13 (#321) – SP Dan Menz, 18, from Chula Vista, CA – soft tosser with a slider and a nice pirouette that allows him to catch a final glimpse of another baseball beaten to death and disappearing in the shrubbery behind the fence.

All draft picks were assigned to Aumsville.

We also released a bunch of players, including some of the older guys that formed the pathetic AAA reserve on the .350 pushing Alley Cats. None of those had actually played in the major for the Critters.

Also canned were a few seventh-rounders including SS Justin Fowler (2027), 2029 13th-rounder Greg Brinson, 2027 Nick Brown Memorial pick Dusty Kuhlman, and a few odd folks that had rolled in as scouting discoveries and had never justified their meal money.
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:31 PM   #2846
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Raccoons (34-34) @ Loggers (37-30) – June 17-19, 2030

Four games in three days with the division-leading (!?) Loggers, who had the highest batting average in the league, but only the fourth-most runs. They were tied for third (with us) in runs allowed. We even had won four of five games against them this year… and we were still four spots below them in the division…

Projected matchups:
Sean Rigg (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Joe West (4-6, 2.76 ERA)
Jose Menendez (6-4, 3.21 ERA) vs. Josh Long (1-7, 4.87 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-5, 4.68 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (9-3, 2.08 ERA)
Tom Shumway (2-6, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mike Hodge (1-3, 4.83 ERA)

It was not my usual nature to let the weaker guy go first in a double header, but there was intent to replace Rigg with another pitcher after the spot start, and it only made sense when he started the opener.

Colmenarez was the only southpaw we were expecting.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Rigg
MIL: CF Creech – 3B V. Diaz – C J. Young – LF Cambra – 1B Arroyo – RF Wheeler – SS Lockert – 2B Holder – P J. West

Rigg threw 27 pitches in the opening frame, including full-count walks issued to Vinny Diaz, Jim Young, and Esteban Arroyo, before Mike Wheeler grounded out to Ramos on the first pitch he saw, stranding all the precious runners. Top 2nd, Harenberg grounded out to begin the inning, but then Rich Hereford doubled to right and Joe West walked the bags full after that, bringing up Pizzo with three on and one out. The beleaguered backstop struck out, while the spot starter Rigg dropped a bloop into shallow right, near the line, to plate the first two runs of the game. Whatever works! Ramos also struck an RBI single to right-center, but Mora grounded out, leaving the score at 3-0. The Loggers made up a run immediately. Rigg walked Kaleb Holder in the bottom 2nd (way to go…), then allowed 2-out singles to Gabe Creech and Diaz to maneuver the second baseman around.

Then some light rain got involved, which intensified enough to give us a 25-minute rain delay in the fourth inning, which was so gonna help Sean Rigg cover at least some more distance… It was five innings in the end for the spot starter, and he also left trailing in the game thanks to a ****ty fifth inning. Jim Young led off with a single and the doors were blown off the barn right away. Firmino Cambra coaxed the fifth walk that Rigg gave up, Esteban Arroyo singled to load the bases, and Mike Wheeler hit a game-tying 2-run single. The go-ahead run scored on a Holder groundout, putting Milwaukee up 4-3. Portland actually loaded the bases in the sixth inning with a Stalker single, a Matt Lockert error that put Jamieson on, and after Pizzo whiffed Ryan Allan walked in Rigg’s place. That would bring up Ramos with two down, but he grounded out to Arroyo…

Top 7th, how about another attempt? Mora led off with a single, knocking out West, but went to third base anyway on Nunley’s single off righty Jonathan Hose. In a stunning upset, Harenberg ripped the first pitch he got from Hose to deep left, off the fence, and that one tied the game as an RBI double, and it also left runners in scoring position with nobody out. The Loggers wanted to piece of Hereford, walking him intentionally, which was such a nasty move to set up the Critters with three on and nobody out. With the greatest pains, the Coons got one run on a Jamieson groundout. Stalker popped out, Pizzo pathetically whiffed, stranding a pair in a 5-4 game. The Raccoons got through the sixth and seventh with Fleischer, then longed to use Ohl for two outs in the eighth and Boles for four after that, starting with the #1 batter Creech. A grounder to short and two strikeouts did away with the Loggers in the eighth, so that part worked; in the intermission, Harenberg hit a leadoff single in the ninth, was run for with Baldwin, but the utility guy never got off first base until three outs were made, and so Boles remained left to his own devices in the bottom of the ninth. Cambra grounded out in 1-3 fashion. PH Wayne Morris whiffed. Wheeler rolled out to short. 5-4 Coons. Mora 2-5; Nunley 2-5; Harenberg 2-5, 2B, RBI; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, W (2-1);

With only three relievers available for the nightcap, the Raccoons made the roster move they had intended. Sean Rigg (0-1, 5.85 ERA) was sent back to the Alley Cats, and we activated career pain in the bum Nick Derks. The 29-year-old righty had pitched to a 12.38 ERA with the Coons in 2029, and a 4.26 with the Alley Cats this year, but it was not to be a permanent arrangement anyway…

Game 2
POR: LF Allan – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 3B Hereford – SS Stalker – 2B Baldwin – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Menendez
MIL: CF Creech – 3B V. Diaz – SS W. Morris – LF Cambra – 1B Arroyo – RF Wheeler – C Canody – 2B Holder – P Long

Menendez was crisp… at least until there were two outs. Morris and Cambra hit 2-out singles in the bottom 1st, and an interspersed wild pitch allowed the Loggers to take a 1-0 lead, and the Loggers also hit 2-out knocks in the second and third innings, but without getting anybody across then. The Coons however were entirely frigid, amounting to one hit the first time through, and it took until the fifth for an actual chance to develop when Gomez and Tovias drew 1-out walks. Menendez bunted badly, though, getting Rafael forced out at third base, and Allan struck out on an 0-2 curve that was aimed at his hindpaws. While Menendez pitched well enough to win, the offense was not up to snuff at all. It took them until the *seventh* inning to get a second base hit, then a 1-out single by Baldwin into right-center. Rafael Gomez looped a ball over Morris for another single, and maybe we’d actually reach third base for the first time, if Elias Tovias, batting a flat .200 in more ways than one, could stop being full of **** and deliver something, anything. He flew out to left, I had trouble breathing, and yet our paws were forced; while Menendez might have had another inning or even two in him, we had to send a batter with two on and two outs. Alberto Ramos picked a stick, took a rip at the first offering he got from Josh Long, and vomited a 95mph heater over the fence in right-center, and plenty deep, too – score-flipping, pinch-hit, 2-out, 3-run homer by Alberto Ramos!!

After Allan and Mora landed 2-out hits, Harenberg grounded out, which was in his nature, and the Critters had to make do with what they could cobble together with their pen, which now consisted of Derks (cough!), Garavito, Surginer, and Brotman. The latter came out first and got through the bottom of the order with only one man put on base, and then Gabe Creech grounded out to short to leave Holder on base – and all this as rain came back. Surginer got the two right-handers Diaz and Morris in the eighth, and then the Coons made the same move as they had in the first game and went to the lefty for matchups, Garavito having to get four outs for the save here. He entered in a double switch that removed Stalker, with Hereford sliding over to short and Nunley entering at third base. One pitch ended the eighth when Cambra grounded out to Baldwin. That was his only pitch for more than an hour – rain delay! There was no risk of him being exhausted, having barely actually pitched, so he came back for the bottom of the ninth. Arroyo flew out to right, but Wheeler walked (he was a right-handed batter). Young pinch-hit and flew out, but another pinch-hitter, Aaron Sessoms, singled to left. Jason Rauser pinch-hit for the pitcher, which was at least another lefty to oppose Garavito, and again – only Nick Derks was left in the pen, and why go through that motion when you can lose it with Garavito, too? Rauser spiked a bouncer to short, where the Coons had – for reasons mysterious – removed the three-time Gold Glover for an occasional shortstop, but Hereford handled the ball for the final out, ending the game. 3-1 Raccoons. Allan 2-5; Ramos (PH) 1-1, HR, 3 RBI; Menendez 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, W (7-4);

Albertoooooooooo!!! I love this boy!!

Nick Derks would hang around for another day or two, although I wouldn’t be mad if Rico would toss a shutout on Tuesday to keep him out of the game…

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Baldwin – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Gomez – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – RF Cambra – SS W. Morris – C J. Young – CF Creech – 1B Arroyo – LF Holder – 2B Sessoms – P Colmenarez

Hereford and Nunley singles and a walk to Jamieson loaded them up for Elias Tovias and his .197 bat in the second inning. This time he struck out, as did Rico, and another offensive chance was wasted away. The same amount of offense – two singles and a walk – helped the Loggers to score a run in the bottom of the third, Vinny Diaz getting the RBI single off Rico. On to the fourth, where the middle of the order was stirring again. Hereford led off with a single, Gomez coaxed a free pass in a full count, and then came Nunley and pushd a single through the right side. Hereford was waved around and scored, barely, and the trailing runners advanced on Cambra’s throw, giving the Coons a 1-1 tie with runners in scoring position and nobody out. The Loggers decided it was a wee bit too early to go all bonkers and walk Jamieson intentionally to get to Tovias and instead got burned with an RBI single by the sloooowly defrosting outfielder. With Coons on the corners, Tovias popped out (…!), while Rico flew out to center. Nunley was sent and scored on the sac fly, and Gabe Creech hurt himself on a terrible throw and was replaced with Chris Koch by necessity. Koch couldn’t reach Ramos’ liner then, with the ball finding the right-center gap for a 2-out RBI triple. Baldwin grounded out to Morris, keeping it at 4-1.

A few years back, you would have reclined and enjoyed Rico finishing this one, but he had been through one injury too many at this point, and it just didn’t gel for him. Bottom 5th, he allowed a leadoff single to Holder, walked Sessoms – and that was exactly how the third had begun… - and after Colmenarez bunted them over again, Diaz hit a fly to center that Baldwin held to a sacrifice rather than extra bases. Cambra bounced out to Gomez, and Rico emerged with a 4-2 lead, but that bottom of the order was wearing him out. The middle of the order chimed in come the sixth; Morris got a leadoff double through Nunley, then scored on two productive outs as the Coons’ lead was melting away while they could not re-engage the offense. Baldwin hit a 1-out double in the seventh but was stranded; in either inning before and after, Nunley hit a single and was twice doubled off by Jamieson. Plus, the advanced state of decomposition our bullpen was in tricked us into sending Rico back out for the eighth in a 4-3 game, then facing the top of the order for the fourth time. It could hardly go well… and didn’t. Wayne Morris tied the game with a 2-out jack, and now we were *really* in the ****. The ninth saw Ramos reach on an error and get caught stealing, while Billy Brotman put Taylor Canody on with a leadoff single, but stranded him at third base, bringing us the joy of extra innings, where Stalker hit a leadoff single in the 10th… and was caught stealing.

Top 11th, an unretired Matt Nunley singled to right to begin the inning against Hose. Harenberg batted for Jamieson, who was one double play away from being left to his own smarts in Wisconsin once the team departed 24 hours later, dropped a ****ty roller near the third base line, but it had just the perfect length to deny the Loggers any play at all. Tovias got a bunt down to advance the runners, but Pizzo struck out when he batted for Brotman. Ramos rolled out to first to strand the runners. The agony… Surginer allowed two hits and whiffed three in the bottom 11th to further extend the game, but the Coons got ready to bring on Nick Derks for the 12th rather than further bleach the good parts of their pen in a game in which their offense was … “special” again (outhitting Milwaukee 13-8 at this point). Stalker hit a double in the 12th that led nowhere, and on came Derks. Better a horrible end than horror without end – but he even extended the game with only a 2-out single by Diaz against him in the bottom 12th, but he was also aided by the fact that the Loggers had also spent their entire bench and Hose batted and whiffed for himself in the #9 hole. Derks had entered in the #5 hole, with Mora batting ninth AND we still had Magallanes left over. Magallanes never saw action in the game, for it ended in the 13th on a 2-out homer by Taylor Canody off the miserable Nick Derks. 5-4 Loggers. Stalker 2-5, BB, 2B; Hereford 2-6; Nunley 4-5, BB, RBI; Brotman 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – C Pizzo – P Shumway
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – RF Cambra – SS W. Morris – C J. Young – CF Creech – 1B Arroyo – LF Wheeler – 2B Sessoms – P Hodge

Portland scored an early run when Mora tripled home Hereford in the second, but then they immediately succumbed to another choke job. Pizzo walked with one out, but Shumway and Ramos both struck out. And I am usually not that mad at pitchers, but Shumway was now 0-for-24 on the season, managed to strike out three times in the first five innings to get all the way to 0-26, and MAYBE HE SHOULD THINK ABOUT WHY HE DOES NOT HAVE ANY WINS!!

However – the Shumster batting three times meant that at least the Coons were stirring, and they indeed stashed six runs on Hodge in the first five innings. Harenberg made it first 3-0 with a 2-run jack in the third, then 4-0 in the fifth when he drove in Ryan Allan for the second time, then with a single. That last one was with nobody out and with a Nunley double in between. Nunley scored on a Hereford groundout, and the Raccoons would get more base hits from Mora and finally Pizzo to get their sixth run across. At that point they had ten hits and the Loggers had none, and this somehow felt familiar? Nope, Creech actually hit a single in the fifth, and so did Wheeler with one out. Sessoms hit into a fielder’s choice, but Lockert singled home their first run with a liner into shallow left, plating Creech, who played with a sore shoulder. Cambra would fly out to Mora in centerfield to end the inning, and the Loggers never got so close again versus Shumway, who was squeezed for eight innings on 113 pitches and would not allow another run and only two more base hits, one of which, Creech again, was immediately caught in a rundown after doubling to left. Portland tacked on a run in the ninth, which began with a Ramos double to light up an 0-for-4 so far, and a 2-out single by Harenberg to score him. Feeling cocky, the Critters turned to Nick Derks to finish the game on his way back to where he had come from, and somehow he survived two real rockets to retire the 3-4-5 batters in order. 7-1 Coons! Allan 2-4, BB, 2B; Harenberg 3-5, HR, 4 RBI; Mora 3-4, 3B, RBI; Shumway 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W (3-6);

At this point, the Loggers were probably sick of us. We were also in a 3-way tie for third place (or fifth place, depending on your stance on half glasses of water) in the North on Wednesday night, yet only two games out of the first-place Elks. Even the Crusaders had crawled back in, five games out in last place.

Raccoons (37-35) @ Thunder (36-36) – June 21-23, 2030

Contrast with the Thunder, who were trailing by double digits in June despite sitting second in the South. They were fourth in runs scored, but also allowed the fourth-most runs and had only a +2 run differential (Coons: +43). Their pen was especially turpid, but they also couldn’t play D. There was NO speed on that team (only 8 steals all season), but they did lead the league in homers. Good thing we were playing in a more generous park than our own given that Roberts would make an appearance in this set…

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (8-3, 3.25 ERA) vs. Leon Hernandez (9-3, 3.27 ERA)
Mark Roberts (7-3, 4.37 ERA) vs. Peter Gill (4-4, 4.61 ERA)
Jose Menendez (7-4, 3.10 ERA) vs. Jeff Dykstra (6-7, 3.78 ERA)

Those are possibles, not necessarily probables for the Thunder, who contested two double headers recently and had been forced to jumble things. “Graveyard” Gill would be a lefty.

The Raccoons put Nick Derks on waivers on Thursday and brought up another Nick to replace him, 2026 fifth-rounder and right-hander Nick Bates. The 24-year-old had struck out 16 per nine innings in Ham Lake to start the season, and while he had a 5.79 ERA in AAA since then, that came entangled with a BABIP north of .370, and I heard that his slider was gold and wanted to see it in person. He was not a long guy, though, so Fleischer would slide back into the abuse slot in the pen.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – C Pizzo – P Martinez
OCT: SS Myers – RF Sagredo – 3B D. Garcia – 1B D. Cruz – C Burgess – LF Rosa – 2B Serrato – CF Colston – P L. Hernandez

The Critters scored a run in the first, which began with a Ramos single, but did not continue as scripted. Allan grounded to short to force Alberto, but singles by Nunley and Hereford still manage to drive in SOMEBODY. Stalker struck out to strand a pair. Contrast with the Thunder, who got clean singles from Dave Myers and Luis Sagredo to begin their day, and then Dave Garcia smashed a 3-piece out of centerfield for his 14th homer of the season. Top 2nd, Abel Mora opened with a double, but left the game with an oblique tweak. Magallanes replaced him and was stranded thanks to a Pizzo strikeout, a Ramos strikeout, and an Allan pop, DESPITE a Dave Martinez single… Martinez was probably not going to be around much longer. The Thunder had his number, Myers hit a double in the bottom 2nd, was balked to third, then plated by Garcia with a single, and Martinez wasn’t fooling anybody. It was of course all Nick Valdes’ fault for rubbing the Odilon idols the wrong way round!

The Coons had the bases loaded in the third when they brought up Magallanes with one out, which didn’t look like good fortunes were ahead. Magallanes struck out, Pizzo struck out. That was 6 K for Hernandez, and although it was only the third inning, I was already considering the game a write-off. Magallanes was back at the plate as the tying run in the fifth finding Hereford (walk) and Stalker (single) on the corners with two down, and harmlessly flew out to Carlos Rosa. Neither pitcher saw daylight in the sixth; Hernandez was pinch-hit for with Tom Schorsch in the bottom 5th, singled to set up runners on the corners with two outs, and that also knocked out Martinez after an 11-hit, 2-walk shelling. Kevin Surginer replaced him, threw one pitch in the game on which Dave Myers lined out to left, and that left Martinez with a mild four runs allowed in a ****ty outing. After an inning from Brotman, Nick Bates was assigned the 4-1 deficit for his major league debut in the bottom 7th, facing the Thunder beginning with Mike Burgess. The catcher whiffed, which was as far as this one would go in terms of a good start. Bates shoveled the bags full with a hit and two walks, rung up PH Russ Greenwald in the #9 hole, but then Myers found the gap and emptied the sacks with a 2-out double. What a debut! A star was born! Would his career ever end? Who knew! This game, however, definitely ended, although it took way longer than welcome… 7-1 Thunder. Hereford 1-2, 2 BB, RBI; Stalker 2-4;

Abel Mora was thought to be hampered by the bad oblique until early next week and was listed as day-to-day. He was available, but was not in the starting lineup against the lefty Gill anyway.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Baldwin – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Roberts
OCT: CF Colston – C Burgess – 1B D. Cruz – 3B D. Garcia – SS Serrato – RF Sagredo – 2B Myers – LF Rosa – P Gill

Gill struggled with control, having walked 38 in just over 70 innings this season, but the Coons came out rather impatient and made quick outs. They were retired in order the first time through, and on only 25 pitches. Roberts on the other hand was unscored upon against two hits in the first two innings, but then allowed a single to Gill to begin the bottom 3rd, and **** hit the fan from there. He balked the runner over, walked Eric Colston anyway, and just when Burgess hit into a double play, Ramos completely ****ed up the pickup on a Danny Cruz grounder and allowed Gill to score from third. Better yet, Roberts next fell onto a Garcia roller, presumably to try and breed it, and allowed another run on an Alex Serrato liner for an RBI single before Luis Sagredo struck out to keep it 2-0 on two hits and two errors. The Thunder would eventually make it 3-0 on a Serrato homer in the sixth, but the real question was where the offense had gone yet again.

Gill retired the first 11 Coons in a row before Stalker reached on a throwing error by Serrato in the fourth. They did not get a base hit until Rafael Gomez singled in the fifth, and they did not reach SECOND BASE until the seventh inning when Hereford and Harenberg hit back-to-back 1-out singles to center, and at that point they still had not waited Gill out long enough to draw a walk, but Matt Jamieson was now the tying run at the plate. He finally waited out Gill, immediately walked on five pitches, and now it was Gomez with the bases full. The Thunder stuck to Gill, the Coons stuck to sucking, and Gomez lined out softly to Myers. The Coons had to bat for .194 Elias Tovias and sent Nunley, who struck out, stranding a full set. Dave Garcia would hit a jack off Bates in the bottom 8th, extending the lead to 4-0, and the Coons looked entirely beaten, but at least got to the Thunder’s closer in the ninth when Hereford hit a homer off Dusty Kulp after Gill was removed after eight frames of 3-hit ball. Franklin Alvarado allowed a walk to Harenberg, who got forced by Jamieson, and Gomez popped out. Ryan Allan hit for the pitcher in the #8 hole and doubled down the rightfield line, which put two in scoring position for Pizzo with two outs. And Pizzo grounded out to Myers to get it over with… 4-1 Thunder. Hereford 2-4, HR, RBI; Allan (PH) 1-1, 2B; Roberts 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, L (7-4);

Oh boy.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – 2B Baldwin – P Menendez
OCT: SS Myers – RF Sagredo – 3B D. Garcia – 1B D. Cruz – C Burgess – LF Rosa – 2B Serrato – CF Colston – P Dykstra

Hereford whiffed to strand Allan and Harenberg on the corners in the first inning, but at least the Thunder also could not come through with two men on base early on. Danny Cruz found two on and hit into an inning-ending double play in the first, and while Dykstra hit a bloop to shallow center with Serrato and Colston in scoring position in the bottom 2nd, Allan raced in and made the sliding catch to keep the Thunder from getting two early runs. Cruz came up again with runners on the corners and one out in the third, and AGAIN hit into a double play. The first one was 6-4-3, this one 4-6-3 to spice it up. The real question was why the **** Menendez was putting them on base in the first place so frequently… On the other side, Hereofrd and Pizzo walked in the fourth, but Baldwin grounded out harmlessly to end the inning. 74 at-bats and only two RBI …

Bottom 4th, Menendez plunked Carlos Rosa, but got another double play grounder from Serrato. Garcia, the darndest fine player that spent half his career on the DL and was still active, popped out to Ramos to strand a pair in the fifth. But at some point one of these two meh teams had to score a run… and it was actually the Coons. Harenberg missed a homer, or a hit, when he flew out to the warning track to begin the top of the sixth, but Hereford then took Dykstra deep to the other side to make it 1-0 Coons, and that already matched their tally in the first two games of the set… They would score ANOTHER run in THE SAME INNING; Jamieson reached, then came around on Baldwin’s 2-out triple, and now Baldwin – the exact reason for who’s presence on the roster was a fun riddle to pose to anyone – had a third RBI, hooray!

In a perfect world, Menendez, who struck out to end the top 6th, would have pitched a clean shutdown inning, but what the **** was perfect here after all? Cruz led off with a double, was run for by Alfredo Rojas once Burgess walked, and a walk to Serrato filled the bases. Colston hit a sac fly to get the Thunder halfway back, and when Tom Schorsch pinch-hit for Dykstra, the Coons sent Garavito, who got a grounder to first to end the inning. On to the seventh, Ramos landed his second single of the game, a sign of life in an otherwise dry week (but for that game-winning homer on Monday). He stole second in a bid for an insurance run, his first sack of the week, and then Dusty Kulp was taken deep again, this time by Nunley and to straightaway centerfield. That massive 2-run shot made it 4-1 Critters, but they blew the lead in the same inning. Garavito walked Sagredo, Fleischer allowed a single to Rojas and nailed Burgess, and then Billy Brotman surrendered a 2-out slam to Carlos Rosa, which flipped the score. The devastation was … devastating. We went on to pitch Boles with a 5-4 deficit in the bottom 8th because he REALLY needed work and the rest of the scums had blown a lead that he could have been used to protect. Jason Stone hit a leadoff single in the #9 hole, but was doubled up by Myers, and Boles completed the inning. Alvarado retired the Coons’ 1-2-3 in 1-2-3 fashion in the ninth. 5-4 Thunder. Ramos 2-5; Jamieson 2-4;

In other news

June 17 – Regrettably, the Indians place SS/2B Mario Pizano (.246, 3 HR, 28 RBI) on the DL. The 25-year-old has torn several ankle ligaments and won’t come back before September.
June 18 – WAS SP Colt Willes (3-2, 3.14 ERA) not only spins a 6-hit shutout against the Blue Sox, but also drives in three runs on two base hits in the Capitals’ 11-0 rout.
June 18 – The hitting streak of TOP RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.370, 2 HR, 30 RBI) ends in a 4-1 loss to the Cyclones. Sanchez goes 0-for-4, with the streak thus ended at 23 games.
June 19 – NYC OF/1B Drew Olszewski (.281, 1 HR, 19 RBI) has a 25-game hitting streak thanks to a sixth-inning single in a 5-3 Crusaders win over the Canadiens.
June 20 – CIN CL Vince Devereaux (0-4, 2.53 ERA, 15 SV) will be out for a full year with a torn labrum.
June 21 – Hitting streak no more for New York’s Drew Olszewski (.276, 1 HR, 19 RBI), who was held very dry in five at-bats by the Bayhawks, who also beat the Crusaders, 2-1.
June 22 – SAC INF Tim Stackhouse (.257, 9 HR, 43 RBI) is out for a month with shoulder tendinitis.
June 23 – Young Blue Sox 3B Chance Bossert (.353, 1 HR, 9 RBI) will miss six weeks with a broken hand.

Complaints and stuff

Josh Boles was in great discomfort after making that entirely useless appearance on Sunday, and will have to be evaluated by the Druid. Nothing good can potentially come of this.

With that and Alberto Ramos in a dire slump now, the Raccoons are clearly forsaken. We will also play the two first-place teams in the CL next week. Time to silently break tent in the middle of the night and move to the woods, where nobody can see our shame…

Alberto hit that game-winning 3-run dinger on Monday, and then immediately vanished in the gutter. Given that our entire offense relies on him getting on base and somehow finding his way around, that is … well, that is terrible. And Boles? Well, how do you replace a 0.68 ERA?

Everything is terrible, in fact. EVERYTHING. Everything is terrible!

No, Maud, I don’t want a warm cocoa! – No, I also don’t want a cookie. That cookie has raisins in it. I hate raisins! – I want a winning team! – Well, maybe you are doing the grocery shopping wrong then!

If Rafael Gomez had any on-base presence at all, he probably also would have a few stolen bases by now, which would give us nine position players with sacks claimed. Given that most catchers are immobile, that is a huge share on any roster. Nine is also the most this configuration of Coons can get, since neither Harenberg nor Nunley have any sort of speed. Harenberg has three stolen bases in his career (none with Portland), and Nunley has eight, but all but one of those were more than a decade ago, and to be honest, I demand video proof that any of these actually ever happened.

But Matt Nunley has something else – 2,291 career hits. Given his going rate right now and that we have another seven-game week coming up, he could claim the franchise record as early as next weekend. So far it is held by Cookie Carmona with 2,299 hits. Nunley already has more extra-base hits than Cookie; both have roughly the same amount of doubles and triples combined (but Cookie had 110 triples and Nunley has 14), but Matt has 162 homers to Cookie’s 21.

Nunley, who will turn 40 in January, has taken over the franchise mark in total bases with 3,185 TB from Daniel Hall (3,142), but Dan The Man had over 700 extra-base hits compared to Matt’s 556.

For no reason at all I tell you that Shane Ivey is batting .260 in St. Pete and that the other two clowns down there, Daniel Rocha and Israel Galarza, are both gobbling around at the .215 mark. We do have an interesting catching prospect in Aumsville, where 2028 sixth-rounder Elliott Thompson is batting .254 with two homers this year after producing OPS values in the low .500s for the last two years. Scouts say his bat has very much improved and he is a candidate for promotion by September, and maybe even before that.

Also note that Kevin Harenberg is going to be a free agent, so how is our top first base prospect doing in St. Pete? Let’s see, Craig Hollenbeck is batting .280, with a .373 OBP … and in 67 games he has… ZERO home runs.

But I wanted to talk about starting pitchers! There are quite a few interesting young starters in the system and not all of them are lingering in Aumsville. Well, Darren Brown is there. He was the #20 pick in 2028, struggled in his age 19 season, but since then put up a 2.97 ERA in 29 starts last year and is at 2.92 this year in seven starts. Unfortunately, he has a strained rotator cuff right now. I am sure that will disentangle itself soon…

A bit closer to the music would be 20-year-old Ignacio del Rio in Ham Lake. He had a 1.38 ERA in seven starts in Aumsville before being promoted, and now sits at 2.47 in as many outings in Ham Lake, where he also whiffed 11.2 batters per nine. Now, small sample sizes, right? But his mix of 3 1/2 pitches, 93mph heater, changeup, splitter, and a crippled curve, really seems to be getting together. And what did he cost us? A stunningly cheap $18k in the 2026 IFA period.

Signed a year earlier and for nine times as much, we also had 21-year-old Raffaello Sabre in St. Pete again. He had pitched to a 3.41 ERA in Ham Lake last year, had made one ugly start with the Alley Cats right at the end of the season, then two more bad ones to begin this. After a demotion to Ham Lake, where he went 4-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 12 games (11 starts), Sabre has now returned to the Alley Cats and on Wednesday won his first AAA game with eight innings of 3-run ball over Lubbock. He is a groundballer with a 93mph sinker, a curve, and a changeup. Could use a bit more control.

But there are definitely some young starters on the horizon. Now the question is which river the Coons can dump their old ones in because Roberts, Shumway, and Gutierrez are under contract for another two, three, and five seasons, respectively.

Fun Fact: The Raccoons’ last losing season to date came in 2024, when they ended up 78-84, third in the North, and 13 games out.

That was the year we were convinced Omar Alfaro was a future star (he was not), Zach Graves would help us out of the gutter (he did not), and that Jarod Spencer might one day tally enough hits to challenge for the Hall of Fame (he would not).

But Spencer did bat .326 that season (though not in qualifying fashion). These days, he is unemployed. He is a career .297 batter, with a .318 OBP (for every time he was hit by pitch in his career, he drew less than THREE non-intentional walks), who at age 32 has no place in the game anymore.

It was also Dan Delgadillo’s rookie season. He went 9-9 with a 3.80 ERA. He is now allegedly 27 years old and stuck in the Indians pen with a 5.47 ERA over 26.1 innings this year…
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Questdog (05-12-2019)
Old 05-12-2019, 02:49 PM   #2847
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Our catcher's stink, but they most always have stunk throughout the ages....but we have had better outfields than this....

And why do you keep printing the standings upside down?
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Westheim (05-12-2019)
Old 05-12-2019, 04:37 PM   #2848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
Our catcher's stink, but they most always have stunk throughout the ages....but we have had better outfields than this....
A few years ago, that outfield was - … sigh.

The catcher thing is true. Outside of that one season by David Vinson (.279, 21 HR in 1990) that led to most of a decade of waiting on him to replicate it, and Craig Bowen (2006-2008) and Dylan Alexander (2012-2014) having good three-year stints, we have never gotten anything from behind the dish. Oh, there was also one-and-a-half strong years from Danny Margolis. But that is really it.

Vinson's .912 OPS in '90 looks like the only season of a Coons catcher over .900 in the category.

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And why do you keep printing the standings upside down?
(opens mouth)

(closes mouth)

(shrugs)

(is sad)
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Portland Raccoons, 54 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
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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Questdog (05-12-2019)
Old 05-15-2019, 04:33 PM   #2849
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Raccoons (37-38) vs. Condors (51-25) – June 24-26, 2030

Odds were that the Raccoons were in for a long and sad homestand, and I wasn’t only saying that because Nick Valdes was just walking in with a new coffee machine he insisted on installing on the small table next to the brown couch that’s seen a lot of drinking and even more crying over the years and years. The Coons were up against both the Condors and Elks this week, and they didn’t look like they’d turn their season around now either. Meanwhile, the Condors had a 10-game winning streak, were third in runs scored, and first in runs allowed, and seemed a lot like a heck of a real deal. They were also 2-1 on the Coons this season.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (2-5, 4.66 ERA) vs. George Griffin (3-3, 2.61 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-6, 3.01 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (8-3, 3.94 ERA)
Dave Martinez (8-4, 3.49 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (5-2, 2.78 ERA)

Right, right, left. Griffin was the ONE guy they weren’t scoring for at all. (points in the vague direction of the visitors’ clubhouse) GET HIM, BOYS!

Game 1
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – C Zarate – RF Braun – LF Palbes – 2B D. Williams – P Griffin
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

After a scary first in which Rico Gutierrez was bailed out by Ryan Allan, who shagged two deep flies to keep the Condors off the board early, the Raccoons had a productive bottom of the first. Ramos reached on a Chris Miller error, stole second, then trotted home on a Nunley single to center after Allan’s groundout had moved him to third base. Harenberg flew out, but Rich Hereford walked, and both runners scored on a deep double in right-center by Tim Stalker, running the score to 3-0 before Rafael Gomez whiffed, which meant Rico Gutierrez had to pitch again, and he came merely “very” close to blowing the lead right away, not “maddeningly” close. Adam Braun drew a walk, Juan Palbes hit a single, but both were stranded. Never mind the rockets shagged by outfielders off the bats of Danny Zarate to lead off, and GRIFFIN to end the inning. In essence, Rico again sucked, badly, and we were just waiting for the scaffolding to collapse in a thundering rumble to reveal the tee-shaped scarecrow with a weird knobly stump for what had once been a beautiful left arm.

Yet despite the brash contact off Rico being so loud that we got complaints from the neighbors by the middle innings, somehow the Condors were still on that lone Palbes single through six. Everything the Condors hit (and they struck out only twice), they hit dang hard, but they kept finding the defenders. Old Man Hereford in particular made running catches in the gap, leaping catches on the warning track, sliding catches near the line. Top 7th, Kevin McGrath rammed the first pitch of the inning, the 78th for Gutierrez, right into Tim Stalker’s mitten for the first out. The next pitch was drilled to deep right, but Gomez got paws on it. Then Braun ran a full count, but popped out to short. It was the weirdest of games, and not just because Nick Valdes had actually gotten the coffee machine to run AND had gotten Slappy to drink COFFEE.

The fairytale ended in the eighth when Palbes chipped a leadoff single. The Coons could not allow any leeway to Rico, because the very next pitch could be smashed 500 feet, and they had been grossly negligent in not tacking on any runs, or doing much at all ever since the first inning. At the same time, Josh Boles was unavailable, so the Coons had to reserve Ricky Ohl for the ninth and get by with the supporting case in the eighth inning. Jonathan Fleischer came on, threw two pitches to Dan Williams, enough for a 6-4-3 double play, and Dave Bross popped out to Nunley. No insurance came about in the bottom 8th either, and so it was Ohl to face the top of the order (although Chris Miller was gone after a double switch). Chris Murphy struck out. Matt Dehne struck out. Shane Sanks, the disgusting skunk weasel, homered to left. Oh boy, had I waited for that one! Ohl then disintegrated, walked McGrath and allowed a single to Zarate that put the tying runs on the corners. Adam Braun would be his last batter while Garavito warmed up to face Palbes if need me. It need not be. Braun hacked out, and the Coons eloped with an unlikely victory. 3-1 Coons. Nunley 2-4, 2B, RBI; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (3-5) and 1-3;

Looks like a line like from his good old days, doesn’t it? Yet it’s so fake.

Ah, only five and a half years left on that contract…

Game 2
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – RF Camps – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – LF Palbes – SS C. Miller – C Dehne – 2B D. Williams – P Potter
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Shumway

Juan Camps would make an easy catch on Pizzo to end the second inning with Harenberg and Jamieson in scoring position and no actual score. Camps would go on to hit into a double play to end the top 3rd after a sharp leadoff single by Potter against Shumway, who struck out only one batter the first time through and continued to be weirdly unimpressive. His lack of vigor came up costing in the fourth. Dang Sanks singled, McGrath doubled with two strikes, and while Palbes popped out, Chris Miller singled in the runners to give Tijuana a 2-0 lead. The Coons remained despicably harmless, with Harenberg’s leadoff single in the bottom 4th immediately erased on a double play that Rich Hereford hit into, and on the other side of the box score Shumway kept rotting away. Potter hit another leadoff single in the fifth (…!), Chris Murphy also singled, and then ****ing Shane Sanks dropped a single into rightfield to chase home the pitcher to make it 3-0. McGrath grounded out and Palbes whiffed in a full count, but that was already plenty of damage for a team that didn’t score against a team that didn’t allow teams to score. Shumway would last seven completely uninspiring innings, and the same was true for the offense until Stalker and Jamieson opened the bottom 7th with back-to-back doubles past either flank of Juan Palbes. That actually brought up the tying run with nobody out, Pizzo flew out, Mora struck out, and Ramos grounded out, and everything was horrible. Bottom 8th, Allan singled, Nunley walked, and the tying runs were on for… Harenberg. He flew out harmlessly, because that was what he did in key spots, and only after that did the Condors go to a fresh arm, bringing George Barnett in relief for Potter. Hereford flew out harmlessly to center, and Gomez batted for Stalker, but was rung up and stranded the final runners of the game. 3-1 Condors. Ramos 2-4, 2B; Harenberg 2-4; Stalker 2-3; Jamieson 2-4, 2 2B, RBI;

Still no news on Josh Boles, and why is the Druid hiding from me?

Game 3
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – C Zarate – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – SS C. Miller – RF Camps – LF Braun – 2B Bross – P Little
POR: CF Magallanes – SS Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – 2B Baldwin – P Martinez

All the Raccoons hitters remained deflated, but the scuffed refuse guys at the far end of the bench teamed up to erase Juan Camps’ solo homer from the second inning once the bottom 3rd rolled around. Baldwin singled, was bunted over, then scored on a Magallanes single to left to tie the ballgame. Magallanes had also drawn a leadoff walk in the first, which had led nowhere thanks to Tim Stalker spanking a ball into a 5-4-3. Stalker was brushed by Little here, but then Hereford hit into a double play to end the third…

Everything – EVERYTHING – came apart in the fourth. ****ing Shane Sanks hit a leadoff jack to give the Condors a 2-1 lead, and then they loaded the bases on a McGrath double, Miller single, and Camps drawing a walk. Martinez offered no resistance, but at least Adam Braun grounded to short no a 3-1 pitch... and Stalker booted the play. Instead of a run and two outs, the Condors got a run and kept the bags full thanks to the error. Dave Bross hit a sac fly, while Little bunted successfully and Chris Murphy popped out, but there was the 3-run deficit again, and the Coons seemed ill inclined to tackle that mountain. But remember how I said that EVERYTHING came apart? Not only did Nick Valdes’ coffee machine start to leak water all over the floor of my dear office, but so did Jeff Little with brownshirted baserunners. Harenberg led off with a single, scored on a Gomez triple, 4-2, and the Coons went on with Jamieson walking. Tovias grounded out, moving the runners to scoring position, and Baldwin was put on intentionally to pull up the pitcher with three on and one out. Nobody expected it, but Dave Martinez ripped a single into right-center for a 2-run single that tied the game again, and upon reaching first pointed skywards and formed an O with his claws. Little got out of the fourth against the top of the order, but Hereford and Harenberg hit singles to go to the corners right away in the bottom of the fifth. Gomez chucked an RBI single over Chris Miller to put Portland ahead, 5-4, but Jamieson struck out. Little went on to hit Tovias in the knee, which loaded the bases, but with Pizzo on first base owing to Tovias limping off the field with a knee contusion. The next casualty was the inning; Baldwin flew out to right, Harenberg was sent for home plate, and thrown out by Camps to end the inning.

Martinez was dragged through six, and Garavito held on to the lead in the seventh, but the eighth saw the Condors hit three singles for one run off Kevin Surginer. All of the three singles hit by Zarate, McGrath, and Miller went through a different seam on the infield. Almost beautiful. Still made me vomit. The game was thus tied again, now at five, but Billy Brotman held the Condors tight in the ninth, so at least there was a chance to walk off against Barnett in the bottom of the ninth. He would face the meat of the order starting with Hereford. Rich ran a full count, coaxed the walk, then made it to third when Harenberg singled on a 0-0 hit-and-run call. Dan Williams at second base missed that grounder by mere inches. Now there was a spot for Mora to maybe hit for Gomez to counter the righty Barnett (Ramos had already been used and Nunley was already in the #9 hole), but Gomez had three knocks in the game. Mora would rather bat for Jamieson if Gomez wouldn’t get it done. Gomez didn’t get it done, grounding out to Sanks. This moved Harenberg to second; his run was meaningless, but at least the double play was off for Mora. The Condors weren’t having it, walked him with intent, and that brought up Pizzo, a real double play threat that we could not bat for. He struck out, and now Ryan Allan pinch-hit for Brotman against new reliever Ethan Jordan… a southpaw. Allan flew out to Braun, and the game went to extras. Ricky Ohl held up in the 10th, Nunley drew a leadoff walk and was stranded in the bottom 10th, and Ohl collapsed for three hits, a walk, and somehow only one run in the 11th. Palbes singled in the go-ahead ribbie. Bottom 11th, Gomez led off with a single against Jose Fuentes, with Ohl in the #6 hole retained to bunt as we were out of bench pieces. He bunted sharply towards ****ing Shane Sanks, who spun to get Gomez at second, so now we were not only losing, but also had a reliever on the base paths. GOOD JOB. Pizzo, the miserable sucker, struck out, and Allan rolled out to Dan Williams to end the game. 6-5 Condors. Magallanes 2-5, RBI; Harenberg 3-6; Gomez 4-6, 3B, 2 RBI;

No, Nick, I don’t want no coffee. I want to be smothered with a pillow, thank you.

Injury news added to that – Josh Boles had to get stitches … inside his body … for a partially torn labrum. He was out for the season.

Raccoons (38-40) vs. Canadiens (40-36) – June 27-30, 2030

Here was the Raccoons’ chance to take over first place – just had to sweep the damn Elks in this 4-game set! The damn Elks were second in runs scored, eighth in runs allowed in the CL, and what did it even matter, we weren’t gonna win a game from them anyway… the season series was at 4-3 in favor of the damn Elks.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (7-4, 4.20 ERA) vs. Chris Sinkhorn (4-5, 4.44 ERA)
Jose Menendez (7-4, 3.01 ERA) vs. Jeremy Truett (5-6, 4.18 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-5, 4.15 ERA) vs. Fernando Nora (6-3, 4.83 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-7, 3.07 ERA) vs. Victor Govea (5-8, 5.07 ERA)

This series would start with another southpaw, then three right-handers.

The Elks had their injuries, too, with Alex Torres the biggest MIA case at this point, although for two years he had been far off his torrid production, f.e. a .281 clip with 23 dingers in ’28. Norman Day, Rodolfo Cervantes, and Jesus Chinchilla were also out of action.

…which brought us seamlessly back to the Coons, who DL’ed Josh Boles as this series began. Ricky Ohl would slide into the closer’s role (as if we needed a closer). The Coons were in a pinch, because they also had to bring out a catcher, as Elias Tovias was unavailable for the weekend. The only backstop on the 40-man down in St. Pete was Shane Ivey, so he was added. In addition, we also needed a reliever; Chris Baldwin was demoted to St. Pete to make room on the roster (he still had all his options), and we added Chris Wise again. Nevertheless, it was a VERY short bench for the opener at least with Abel Mora still not quite back at 100%. Magallanes would make another start in center, and we only had three healthy reserves for the Thursday game.

Game 1
VAN: LF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – CF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – RF Good – C F. Garcia – P Sinkhorn
POR: SS Ramos – CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Gomez – RF Allan – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Roberts put Danny Tessmann (single) and Eric Morrow (double) in scoring position right away, but struck out two and got T.J. Bennett to ground out to keep the damn Elks off the board in the first. The first four Raccoons in the bottom 1st all reached against Sinkhorn; Ramos singled, Magallanes was hit, Stalker singled, and Hereford walked. Yet, no run scored – Ramos had been picked off first before even one pitch to Magallanes. So the bags were loaded with one down for Gomez, who plated two on a single near the rightfield line, but those were also the only runs of the inning. The damn Elks made up the deficit by the third, in which Roberts walked Morrow and surrendered the lead on 2-out rocket RBI base hits by David Fisher and T.J. Bennett. While Pizzo would make it 3-2 with a single that scored Gomez in the bottom of the same inning, Roberts’ grasp on the game was tenuous at best. The damn Elks kept making hard contact, including the final out that Roberts would log; with the tying run at second base, a deep fly out to center to end the sixth inning, and the guy that hit the 400-footer to the edge of the warning track was by the way the opposing pitcher…

Garavito would retire the Elks in the seventh, the bottom of which saw Ramos hit a leadoff single, get forced by Magallanes before he could even decide whether to steal, but then Sinkhorn walked the bags full, bringing up Gomez with one out and all aboard. Sinkhorn, out of whack, never threw a strike, and walked in an insurance run. The damn Elks’ pen had gotten to stirring late, so Sinkhorn allowed another RBI single to Allan, but then Jamison hit into a double play to end the inning. The Coons got one more out from Garavito, then stole two with Nick Bates, then sent Fleischer into the ninth against the 9-1-2 batters starting with switch-hitter Jose Navarro. Surginer had thrown two days in a row, Ohl had pitched two futile innings for the loss on Wednesday, and only Fleischer was ready. He got three grounders to the right side for three outs. 5-2 Coons. Ramos 3-5; Gomez 2-3, BB, 3 RBI;

Game 2
VAN: LF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – CF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – 3B Anton – RF Good – SS Bennett – C F. Garcia – P Truett
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Menendez

Menendez walked Tessmann and Fisher, allowed a 2-run double to Matt Anton, still managed to walk Matt Good, threw a wild pitch, and then was crushed for 390 feet to left for a 2-out, 3-run blast by T.J. Bennett, who was normally not a good bet to hit them like that. Alright, guys, was fun seeing you today, check back in tomorrow when we’ll take another futile stab. (waves kindly while reaching for a good piece of rope)

Not so fast. Ramos struck out to begin the bottom 1st, but then Mora walked, and the next three batters hit straight singles to get to 5-2 with two on. Stalker hit into a force, but got in another run, Jamieson got on, Pizzo hit an RBI single, and Menendez hit a 2-run double to left-center! Portland was now 6-5 ahead… IN THE FIRST. Also, Ramos made another out in the inning, flying out to Good, so that slump was still doing quite well for itself. Truett would hit a leadoff single off Menendez in the top 2nd, but got doubled up, and then did not make it out of the bottom of the 2nd. With two outs, Harenberg and Gomez ripped back-to-back doubles, Stalker walked, and Jamieson hit a 2-run double to extend the lead to 9-5. Ramos would then get involved against righty Chris Vazquez. Following a leadoff single by Menendez in the bottom 3rd, Alberto ripped a homer to right, 11-5, but maybe I was just dreaming or seeing double… who knew these things…? In any case, the Coons flogged Vazquez for another four hits and two runs, the latter two driven in by Jamieson with two outs. Menendez scuffled again in the fourth, allowed a run on three hits, but at this time the Coons were so far ahead, 13-6, that it was more about having him run out his 100 pitches (wouldn’t be much longer…) rather than blow useless innings to the pen. Menendez managed to wiggle through six, and was even retained to bunt after Jamieson and Pizzo reached against Estevan Delgado to begin the bottom 6th. Ramos hit an RBI single, 14-6, and Mora hit an RBI groundout, 15-6. For Menendez, the line would close at 6.1 innings and seven runs. He allowed a single to Lazaro Hernandez, a double to Morrow, and Brotman gave up a sac fly to Brian Wojnarowski in the seventh. Nick Bates struck out three in the top 8th and allowed as many runs thanks to two leadoff walks to Anton and Good, then sharp base hits by Fernando Garcia, a 2-run double, and Tessmann, an RBI single. The plan would have been to have Bates throw the last two, but then we rather didn’t. Chris Wise finished the ninth with no further damage. 15-10 Furballs. Ramos 2-5, HR, 3 RBI; Harenberg 2-5, 2B, RBI; Gomez 3-5, 2B, RBI; Jamieson 3-4, BB, 2B, 5 RBI;

That was wild.

Before the Saturday game, the Coons demoted Nick Bates (18.90 ERA) and brought up Sean Rigg once more.

Game 3
VAN: LF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – CF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – RF Good – C F. Garcia – P Nora
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Ivey – P Gutierrez

While Rico retired the Elks in order the first time through and even got his ERA under four for the moment, the Coons got leadoff doubles from Ramos in the first and Gomez in the second, and scored neither one of them. And the Coons kept doing that, stranding somebody in scoring position every inning. Mora reached scoring position on a 2-out throwing error by Garcia, and was stranded. Harenberg singled and Hereford walked in the fourth… and were stranded. Rico in turn retired the first 14 batters before Matt Anton reached with a 2-out infield single. Good singled cleanly to right, and Garcia hit one over the wall to give the ****ing Elks a 3-0 lead. Turns out, I hate both of these teams…

Nunley led off the bottom 6th with a double to right, then had to wait until there were two outs for Hereford to double to left to plate him, 3-1. Matt Jamieson hit a ball to deep left, to the fence, and … and Tessmann jumped up and picked it off the top of the fence. BLATANT ROBBERY!! … The Critters saw Rico through eight with NO base runners but those that had scored in the fifth inning, while the Coons kept failing. Nora lasted seven innings before yielding for Estevan Delgado, who nevertheless put on the tying runs in Mora and Harenberg before yielding for right-hander Rich Guerrero against the suddenly hot Gomez. He flew out to Wojnarowski in deep center, and Hereford popped out. Gutierrez went into the ninth, THEN was shackled for another three hits and a run driven in by David Fisher. Bottom 9th, the tying run came to the plate against Raul de la Rosa. Allan hit a 1-out single in Ivey’s spot, was forced by Magallanes, but Ramos legged out an infield single, bringing up Mora in a 4-1 hole. Full count – and a strikeout. 4-1 Canadiens. Ramos 3-5, 2B; Mora 2-5; Harenberg 2-4; Allan (PH) 1-1;

We out-hit them 11-6.

NO, I STILL DON’T WANT ANY COFFEE!! – (plants left foot and violently tries to kick Nick Valdes’ coffee machine off the table)

That… that coffee thing is a whole lot heavier than it looks. I think… (gingerly plants foot) … I think I need to see the Druid… (hobbles out of the room)

(Valdes and Slappy keep sipping coffee)

Game 4
VAN: LF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – CF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – RF Good – C F. Garcia – P Govea
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Shumway

Could the Shumster stop all the losing (3-7!!) and give us a series win against the DAMN Elks? At least Morrow hit into a double play to erase a first-pitch single by Tessmann, and Matt Nunley hit a jack in the bottom 1st to give the Shumster a 1-0 lead. Could have been 2-0, but Ramos had been caught stealing after a leadoff single. Could have been even more than that, but after 2-out walks to Harenberg and Gomez, Rich Hereford struck out. The wheels came off almost immediately. Fisher tied the game with a leadoff jack, Bennett singled, Anton hit into a force, but Good singled, Garcia singled, to give the ****ing Elks the lead, Govea reached on an error when Shumway threw away his bunt, and then Tessmann legged out an infield roller with the bases loaded to get to 3-1. Morrow hit a bases-clearing double over Gomez’ head, Wojnarowski singled, Fisher singled to plate another run, and then Shumway was yanked, the ****ing ***hole. 1.1 innings, nine hits, seven runs. Fleischer struck out Bennett and Anton to strand the two remaining runners in what was another lost game in a lost season for a lost franchise that should have been contracted many decades ago. And this game was over. The Raccoons had NOTHING. Fleischer pitched a few wasted innings, and then the Coons turned to Sean Rigg, who pitched three innings on 57 pitches, and allowed as many – three – runs. The Raccoons never threatened again and mostly laid down and took it. The Elks cruised to a series split and could have had a lot more with less sloppy play. 10-1 Canadiens. Nunley 2-4, HR, RBI; Allan (PH) 1-1; Pizzo 1-2, BB; Fleischer 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K;

In other news

June 24 – A damaged elbow ligament will put RIC SP Joaquin Serrano (4-7, 4.37 ERA) on the sidelines for the next 12 months.
June 26 – CIN 1B Pat Fowlkes (.205, 1 HR, 6 RBI) will miss four to five weeks with a strained oblique.
June 29 – Capitals SP Colt Willes (5-2, 2.70 ERA) 3-hits the Rebels in a 5-0 shutout, his second shutout of the month after a 6-hitter against the Blue Sox two outings ago.
June 29 – WAS RF/LF Tsuneyoshi Tachibana (.338, 9 HR, 52 RBI) will miss all of July with a broken foot.
June 30 – Twice-defending CL Player of the Year TIJ 3B/SS Shane Sanks (.305, 11 HR, 56 RBI) will miss a month or more with a broken finger.

Complaints and stuff

(angrily glares at Cristiano Carmona as they are parked up next to another in matching wheelchairs in the office) – So, the Druid says I broke my foot when I kicked Valdes’ coffee machine and I need to have this pink cast for a month. He insisted there were no other colors in stock. – Cristiano, if you don’t stop smirking, I will personally unscrew every single wheel on your chair! – What do you mean, they aren’t screwed? EVERYTHING AROUND HERE IS SCREWED!! – You just consider yourself lucky, young man. When I was your age, there were no wheelchairs, and if your family didn’t throw you onto some rocks in the forest to feed the bears, they could only carry you ‘round in a litter!

Ah…

By the way, Slappy, I can see that you pour booze into your coffee whenever Valdes isn’t looking!

The team is a mess. The only real question is whether we can get any sort of prospect in July for one piece or the other. It would be nice to have prospects.

But I did talk about Elliott Thompson a while back, and there were now two teams that tried to dump a “proven veteran” (snorts) on the Coons to get Thompson. So there’s something going on there…

The number on Matt Nunley is 2,297 or in other words two to go to match Cookie Carmona for the franchise hits lead, and three to zoom ahead. And as we’re on it – the number is also 974; that’s RBI, and he is now only six behind Daniel Hall for THAT franchise record.

This has nothing to do with my personal… impasse here… but I have this theory that our players are only getting hurt when they are doing well. Just a thought that is probably wrong, but … but I’ll keep it.

Oh well, only another 30 years to the next ring, I guess.

Fun Fact: On June 29, 1997 – 33 years ago this Saturday – the Gold Sox’ Pat Parker hit for the cycle in a 13-3 win over the Capitals.

Parker was one of several Raccoons that were sent to Denver in the 90s, in his case a July 1995 trade for reliever Mike Dye, who pitched to a 5.74 ERA in 18 games with Portland and was soon discarded. Parker had gotten cups of coffee as a 22- and 23-year-old with the ’93 and ’94 Coons, but had batted precious little. He had a few hot years in Denver, probably aided by the thin air, including a .321 season with 13 dingers in ’97. Nevertheless, he suddenly stopped hitting, and was out of baseball by the age of 32, and he never appeared in a major league game in his 30s.
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1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Questdog (05-15-2019)
Old 05-15-2019, 05:21 PM   #2850
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You should convert Mark Roberts to catcher....
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:52 AM   #2851
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The Druid and Maud had a fight on Sunday night. I could hear them through the door. The Druid told Maud that he could not allow me to get on the plane for the road trip with my broken leg for (weird pause) medical reasons, and that I had to say here with the non-travel crew. Maud hissed that he was going to pay for that. I wonder what that was all about.

Anyway, this week would be about watching the games on TV with Maud, Slappy, Cristiano, Steve from Accounting, … and Chad, if he could get the head out of the jar with superglue.

Raccoons (40-42) @ Titans (40-42) – July 1-4, 2030

These two teams had both hoped for a bit more than being a notch below .500 going into July. They would have eight games against another in the next two weeks to try and ruin the other to get back onto the horse, as the Titans were our traditional four-and-four opponents for the All Star Game weeks. They had the highest batting average, but didn’t hit for much power and sat only fifth in runs scored, while their pitching, and the rotation especially, was quite leaky. They were ninth in runs allowed, and their run differential was actually negative at -9. The Coons’? +28. Despite all the shellacking… The season series was knotted at two.

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (8-4, 3.46 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (6-6, 3.99 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-4, 4.13 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (8-6, 3.13 ERA)
Jose Menendez (8-4, 3.44 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (8-8, 4.33 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-6, 4.15 ERA) vs. Dave Dyer (3-5, 6.46 ERA)

Only one left-hander in that group, which would be Wingo, and also only one meaningful Titan on the DL right now, which would be outfielder Willie Vega, who had crumpled his ankle in April and would not return until August.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Allan – 2B Stalker – C Ivey – P Martinez
BOS: RF M. Avila – 1B Judkins – LF Acor – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C A. Gonzales – SS Knudson – 3B M. Matias – P Viamontes

Boston packed the bases right in the first on a leadoff double by Moises Avila, a Ramos error that put Dustin Acor on base, and then finally with two outs Martinez nicking eternal coonskinner Adrian Reichardt to load them up, but perhaps with Reichardt, who had about a thousand RBI against Portland in his career, this was the best strategy… Alfonso Gonzales grounded out to short, stranding all the runners. The Coons’ first runner would be Harenberg with a leadoff single in the second. Gomez also singled as his defrosting process seemed to continue. Tim Stalker walked to fill them up with one out for Shane Ivey, who was not only unlucky to hit a hard liner right into Avila’s mitten… the play also ended the inning thanks to Kevin Harenberg’s brains shortcircuiting. Kevin went on contact, “scored” and then was doubled off halfway to the dugout. If I hadn’t been confined to the wheelchair with the broken leg I would have kicked the TV through the window and down onto the field below. Martinez would pitch around Dan Knudson’s leadoff double in the bottom 2nd, but not around an infield single that Brett Judkins hit to begin the bottom 3rd. Judkins stole second off a sleeping Shane Ivey, advanced on Acor’s single, and then Rhett West brought in the run on a 5-4-3 double play. While Dave Martinez continued to maddeningly put each and every leadoff man on base, at least Viamontes was kind enough to throw the Coons a bone and plate Tim Stalker with a wild pitch in the fifth inning. Stalker had reached on a single, had reached second on a double steal attempt on which Allan (leadoff walk) was thrown out at third by Gonzales, had moved up to third base on Ivey’s groundout, and then the Titans battery couldn’t function in a way to retire Martinez with two outs before somehow lampooning the run across. Bottom 5th, Judkins hit a leadoff single to make Boston 5-for-5 as far as their first batters of an inning were concerned, but West would hit into another double play. Bottom 6th, for a change, Reichardt drew a leadoff walk, remaining characteristically unretired in the game. Reichardt stole second, advanced on Gonzales’ groundout, scored on a Knudson single, and another single by Mike Matias sent Knudson to third, from where Martinez balked him in to give Boston a 3-1 lead.

Amazingly, the condition was not fatal. Viamontes leaked a leadoff walk to Harenberg in the seventh, Allan doubled down the line, and then Tim Stalker hit a ball to center that Reichardt did NOT spoil! Had to be the first hit to center for the Coons in Boston since about ****ing 2009! Both runs scored, tying the score at three, and Stalker advanced to second on the throw home. Abel Mora batted for the useless Ivey and grounded out, moving Stalker to third… and anybody remember the wild pitch in the fifth inning? That happened AGAIN. This time Stalker scored with the go-ahead run, 4-3! We had however already removed Martinez for PH Mike Pizzo, who ended up popping out to end the inning, and now had to scramble to protect a 4-3 lead with what little remained of the bullpen. The proceedings were scary; Surginer put Acor and West on the corners in the seventh before Reichardt(!) and Gonzales popped out over the infield to waste away the opportunity. Chris Wise and Mauricio Garavito pieced together the eighth around a leadoff walk to Knudson (and on four pitches no less…). The Raccoons found enough time for a comedy bit in the ninth; first they pushed Jonathan Snyder (0.90 ERA) to the ropes with leadoff knocks by Harenberg and Gomez, who went to the corners with nobody out, then they had Harenberg doubled off from third base for the second time in the game when Matt Jamieson pinch-hit, flew out to Dave O’Rourke in rightfield, and Harenberg was minced meat at the plate on a perfect throw. Nobody scored, leaving Ricky Ohl with no cushion, but the Titans did not progress past Rhett West’s 2-out single, and Reichardt grounded out to Ramos to end the game. 4-3 Critters. Harenberg 2-3, BB, 2B; Gomez 2-4; Allan 1-2, BB, 2B; Stalker 2-3, BB, 2 RBI;

You know, all the screaming early on aside, this was a cozy game. Maud served drinks to me, Cristiano, Slappy, and Steve from Accounting all huddled up on the couch, and that cocktail *really* relaxed me. I mean … *really* … I’m so calm …! (rests head on Slappy’s shoulder and falls asleep)

The Coons sent Shane Ivey (0-for-6) back to St. Pete between games, with Elias Tovias having overcome his near-fatal injuries from the plunking last week. Chris Baldwin was brought back.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Roberts
BOS: RF M. Avila – C Henley – 3B M. Matias – LF Acor – SS Spataro – CF Reichardt – 2B Knudson – 1B Judkins – P Gannon

Nunley knocked a double in the first and was stranded, but that was his final base hit that would *not* have him as the franchise hits leader. One more to tie Cookie, two to dump him. His spot came up again in the second inning; Ramos had just driven in Stalker and Pizzo with a 2-out single to left, and would proceed to give Matt a runner in scoring position by swiping second, and “Hopalong” Henley’s throwing error even allowed him to third base. Nunley knocked a liner over the head of Keith Spataro, the ball fell in, and this was the Cookie matcher – a 2-out RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. The Titans didn’t know what was going on, but the Coons’ dugout feverishly waved with white towels and banged enthusiastically on the dugout railing while Nunley stood parked up on first base and doffed his helmet in appreciation. Back home in Portland, I shed a little tear.

Knudson put Boston on the board with a solo shot in the bottom 2nd, but the Coons pulled the run back in the third, Gomez scoring on a Jamieson groundout. The next time Ramos was on first and Nunley batted, in the fourth, they blindly dashed into a strike-em-out-throw-em-out, but eh, minor setbacks! Same for the 2-out run Knudson drove in come the bottom 4th. The Raccoons were up 4-2, but at least Roberts was dealing and struck out eight through six innings against an entirely right-handed lineup, and maybe he had some gas left. Nunley struck out against Pat Selby in the seventh, delaying sole ownership of the Portland hits crown, and the balls hit off Roberts grew longer in the bottom 7th. West hit a 1-out single from the #9 hole after which Avila flew out to the warning track on Roberts’ 106th pitch, indicating a pitching change would not be an unwise thing to orchestrate. Fleischer replaced Roberts and got Henley to ground out on a single pitch. And then everything came crashing down in the eighth. With force!

Kevin Surginer was in again to look after the Titans in the bottom 8th, but allowed an infield single to Mike Matias to begin the inning. Acor grounded out, but Spataro walked, making Reichardt the go-ahead run. Surginer couldn’t play his comebacker which resulted in another infield single, and with three on and one out Surginer was yanked when left-handed batter Justin Quinn was announced as pinch-hitter. Brotman came on, walked Quinn on four pitches to push home a run, then nailed Brett Judkins to tie the game at four. While Rhett West struck out, Brotman gave the Titans the lead on a wild pitch that moved Reichardt across home plate while pitching to PH Dave O’Rourke, who ended up striking out. So that was three runs on two infield singles, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch. That was how the really ****ty teams lost games! Top 9th, Jonathan Snyder retired Ramos, Nunley, and Mora not only in order, but also on three pitches. 5-4 Titans. Ramos 2-5, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-5, 2B, RBI; Mora 3-5; Jamieson 2-4, RBI; Roberts 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K;

I love Maud’s cocktail. When Surginer and Brotman farted the game away in the eighth, I calmly kept patting Honeypaws while giggling away at the bad jokes Steve from Accounting told.

Tee-heeh! Fun times!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – P Menendez
BOS: 1B Judkins – C Henley – SS Spataro – CF Reichardt – RF Quinn – LF O’Rourke – 2B Knudson – 3B M. Matias – P Wingo

Three singles, including an RBI knock to plate Judkins off Reichardt’s bat, put Boston up 1-0 in the first, but the Coons would tie the score in the third in an unlikely way. Tovias hit a leadoff double (!) to right, Menendez singled, and while Ramos popped out and broke his bat when he slammed it into the ground in frustration, Juan Magallanes zinged a soft single to center to allow Tovias across home plate. Stalker popped out, Harenberg grounded out to short, because where’d we be going if he suddenly started to plate go-ahead runs now…? Yes, Maud, I will have a cocktail again today.

The Coons stopped putting runners on base more or less immediately, while the Titans tickled Menendez to death with two runs on four soft singles in the fifth inning. Henley and Spataro had the RBIs in that inning as Boston zoomed out to a 3-1 lead. Harenberg (who was soon forced by Gomez) and Hereford reached base in the sixth, but Jamieson knocked into an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 pitch. The tying runs would be on again in the eighth then, but under unearned conditions and with two outs. Jeremy Waite would have ended the top 8th with a Harenberg fly to left (and on a 3-0 pitch…), but O’Rourke dropped the ball to put Harenberg on base after all. Waite walked Gomez, and that pulled up Hereford, which would have been exciting even one year ago. Then we would have been dismayed by a simple RBI single. Now the same result was exhilarating as it cut the gap to 3-2 and brought up Matt Nunley hitting for Jamieson to counter the righty Waite. He walked to load the bases, bringing about another pinch-hitter fro the .192 menace Tovias, Ryan Allan. The count ran full, Allan didn’t bite when Waite tired to lure him outside, and the walk tied the game at three. Pizzo batted for Menendez and of course grounded out to Judkins on the first pitch, stranding three. Recent misery meant Surginer was unavailable now, and the Coons had to go to Sean Rigg, who wasted no time putting the go-ahead run on base, walking Reichardt to begin the bottom 8th. Justin Quinn jammed a double-play grounder at Stalker, and O’Rourke grounded out to Ramos, so that was a bullet dodged…

Top 9th, Pat Selby in for Boston. Ramos lined out to Reichardt, which was something we were just used to. Magallanes dropped in a single though, and he also started early when Stalker hit a liner to left, over Mike Matias, past O’Rourke, and all the way to the corner. Magallanes flew around the bases and scored, giving the Coons the lead, and Harenberg and Gomez also piled onto the bases, bringing up Hereford with three on and one out. That became two on and one out following a wild pitch, and then nothing when the Titans turned the 2-1 count into an intentional walk, pulling up Nunley with three on and one out in a 5-3 game. C’mon Matt, blow it wide open! Nunley, facing new pitcher Ken Gautney, poked at the first pitch, rolled a grounder past Matias, and that was it – Matt Nunley was now in sole possession of the franchise mark in base hits with this RBI single! Gautney rung up Mora, batting for Rigg, but allowed an RBI single to Pizzo, 7-3, then a 2-run single to Ramos, 9-3! Magallanes was rung up to end the inning with a 6-spot. Chris Wise did away with the Titans in the bottom 9th. 9-3 Furballs! Magallanes 3-6, RBI; Hereford 2-4, BB, RBI; Nunley (PH) 1-1, BB, RBI; Allan (PH) 0-0, BB, RBI;

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez
BOS: RF M. Avila – C Henley – LF Acor – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 3B Knudson – 1B Judkins – P Dyer

Portland started the game with straight hits by Ramos (single to center), Nunley (ditto), and Mora (RBI double), then even managed productive run-scoring outs from Harenberg and Gomez to jump out to an early 3-0 lead. Moises Avila, the #2 prospect in the game, opened with a first-pitch single against Rico Gutierrez, but was caught stealing and the Titans did not immediately retaliate. Ramos walking, stealing, going to third on another Nunley single, and then a double play grounder by Abel Mora led to a fourth run in the third inning. Meanwhile Rico mirrored one of the great achievements we had already seen in this series – he put EVERY SINGLE ****ING LEADOFF BATTER ON BASE… and none of them scored. After Avila’s single in the first, West walked in the second, Dyer (…) doubled in the third, Spataro walked in the fourth, and Judkins singled in the fifth – none of them came around. The streak ended only in the sixth inning when Dustin Acor struck out to begin the frame, Spataro hit a single with one down, but was stranded nonetheless. Rico “cruised” into the eighth, then was taken apart with three quick hits, the last one being a 1-out RBI single by Rhett West chasing home Henley. Kevin Surginer inherited runners on the corners and one out as well as Reichardt at the plate, held the constant menace to a sac fly, and then bailed out on a Dan Knudson single where West was slapped out by Nunley at third base after a perfect throw by Rafael Gomez. Ricky Ohl axed the Titans 1-2-3 with two ring-ups in the ninth to put the series in the books as a Critters win. 4-2 Critters. Ramos 1-2, 2 BB; Nunley 2-4; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (4-6);

Whee, back at .500 …! – Wait, wait, Cristiano, what are you doing? – Aw, I want to do a wheelie with my wheelchair, too! – What do you mean it takes skill? I pulled silly stunts before your parents were even born, young man! And I didn’t have any skill back then, either! – (starts to balance on his rear wheels and immediately topples over in a fantastic crash)

I think I hit my head…

Interlude: Trade

The Raccoons trade for the Buffaloes’ 23-year-old AAA RF/LF Jimmy Wallace, parting with 36-year-old SP Jose Menendez (8-4, 3.47 ERA) and two failed prospects, SP Izzy Chavez and INF Joe McFarlin.

Chavez cost us a royal $640k in the IFA period six years ago and it’s pretty clear (to us) that he will not amount to a star on any level. McFarlin was our 2027 third-rounder and was pushing .200 in AAA for the second straight year, which was not a good status for an almost 25-year-old middle infielder with none-too-great defense.

So we REALLY get a legit corner outfield prospect batting for an .855 OPS in AAA at this point while parting with a 1-year rental veteran starting pitcher that showed signs of breaking up recently.

I think this is a good trade… but then again I just hit my head…

Cristiano, stop doing wheelies, or I will chew off your arms.

Raccoons (43-43) @ Indians (44-42) – July 5-7, 2030

Indy sat second, three games behind the damn Elks. They were sixth in runs scored, third in runs allowed, had a top three rotation, and a horrendously porous bullpen. They were also 7-2 against the Coons this season…

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (3-8, 3.55 ERA) vs. Mark Morrison (4-6, 4.17 ERA)
Dave Martinez (9-4, 3.52 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (11-5, 3.00 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-4, 4.05 ERA) vs. Sal Bedoya (7-5, 2.83 ERA)

Among the Indians‘ three right-handers we’d get in this series, only Bedoya had not left his last start early. Morrison had been blown up, and Bressner had come out with a tender hammy and was still listed day-to-day, but the Arrowheads claimed he was good to go for Saturday. Injuries were a problem for Indy; another starter unvailable was David Saccoccio (shoulder), and they were also without Mario Pizano (ankle), Leo Otero (shoulder), and Andres Medina (ankle), ripping holes into their lineup left and right.

Since we didn’t need another starting pitcher until after the All Star Game, no starter was called up to take the spot of Menendez; and if we play our cards right and give a spot start to Sean Rigg, maybe we won’t need a fifth starter until almost the end of the month. Instead we brought up Edwin Alvarez, a 28-year-old corner outfielder / middle infielder that had been a waiver claim of these Indians last year, but had yet to suit up for the Raccoons. He was batting .216 in AAA.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – LF Allan – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Shumway
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – C J. Herrera – SS T. Johnson – 3B E. Sosa – CF Zanches – P Morrison

Ryan Allan took ball four on as many pitches by Morrison to draw the Coons’ third walk in the opening frame in addition to a Mora single, and Nunley was pushed around to score the first run in the game. Stalker then grounded out to short to strand three. Pizzo hit a leadoff jack in the second to run the tally to 2-0, but that was nothing that Tom Shumway couldn’t **** away in the bottom of the same inning. Leadoff walk to Juan Herrera, Todd Johnson tripled to the fence, then scored on Elias Sosa’s single. That was only a 2-2 tie, though, so Shumway also gave up back-to-back, 2-out RBI doubles to Dan Schneller and Jon Gonzalez in the same inning, falling behind 4-2. He also struck out with Allan, Stalker (walks) and Pizzo (single) on base and two down in the top 3rd, and normally I wouldn’t blame pitchers, but Shumway made it so easy to blame him… The Indians moved out to 5-2 in the third thanks to Mike Plunkett’s leadoff double and a Ramos error, and while Morrison would walk seven Raccoons over 5.2 innings, the Northwestern Village Idiots failed to topple him. He left the game with Pizzo and Nunley on the corners in the sixth, but Mora struck out against reliever Antonio Quintana to strand them. Shumway in turn lasted only five-plus, being yanked after Herrera’s leadoff jack in the bottom 6th. Mora also struck out to end the eighth with Jamieson on third base in a 6-3 game. A Pizzo single and Jamieson double had set up runners in scoring position with no outs in the inning against Dan Delgadillo, but the Raccoons were content with a Nunley RBI groundout against lefty replacement Juan Melendrez, and even that run fell right back out of Sean Rigg in the bottom 8th… 7-3 Indians. Nunley 2-4, BB, RBI; Allan 1-2, 3 BB, 2B, RBI; Pizzo 4-4, HR, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – 2B Stalker – P Martinez
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – C J. Herrera – CF Zanches – 3B E. Sosa – SS T. Johnson – P Bressner

Ramos doubled, moved up on Allan’s single, and then scored on Hereford’s fielder’s choice to short to put the Coons up in the first inning again – like that was any help at all for them. This lead would not stand either; the Coons did mostly nothing in the next few innings, while Martinez somehow sorted through the lineup once, but didn’t strike out anybody. He only whiffed Gonzalez to begin the fourth, but then immediately surrendered a game-tying homer to Ben Suhay, that incredible annoyance, batting .216 with 18 homers… Herrera and Alex Zanches reached base in the same inning, but were stranded when Elias Sosa grounded out to Ramos.

Top 5th, and a stunner – after Allan’s 1-out single and a walk drawn by Hereford, Kevin Harenberg ACTUALLY and REALLY had a productive at-bat with the go-ahead run in scoring position! Harenberg doubled to deep left, and that did not only allow Allan across, but also Hereford from first for a 3-1 lead. Mike Plunkett had a bit of a defensive black hole game in leftfield; he had earlier overrun a Jamieson single for an extra base … not that the misplay had caused any permanent or even temporary damage… After Gomez popped out here, Jamieson hit another single in the inning, but Pizzo grounded out to first to strand runners on the corners. Next time Jamieson was up it was the seventh inning, and the Coons had loaded them up on an Allan infield single, an intentional walk to Harenberg following Hereford’s grounder, and a walk drawn by Rafael Gomez. The Coons wanted the matchup, however, and sent Abel Mora to pinch-hit. Bressner killed Allan at home on the comebacker that Mora hit, and one day after a 4-for-4, Pizzo dropped to 0-for-4 with a ****ty soft fly to Zanches. Bottom 7th, before the Coons could get anybody up Martinez blew the lead on a Zanches double, a wild pitch, a walk to Sosa, and then Todd Johnson’s 2-run double into the leftfield corner. Martinez accepted Bressner’s bunt, then got the hook. Surginer had to strand the go-ahead run on third base, struck out Dan Schneller for the second out, and then served up back-to-back bombs over the leftfield fence to put the Raccoons into a 6-3 hole. When Hereford came to bat with runners on the corners and two down in the eighth, Bressner whiffed him, but the Indians added another 3-pack on hopeless Chris Wise and Billy Brotman in the bottom of the inning. 9-3 Indians. Allan 4-5; Jamieson 2-3;

Remarkable how much I don’t care. – Yes, Maud, I’ll take another cocktail tomorrow. – Make it two.

(merrily drives in circles in the offices, squeaking)

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Hereford – C Tovias – 2B Alvarez – P Roberts
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – SS T. Johnson – 3B E. Sosa – C Paiz – CF Calfee – P Bedoya

Ramos walked and was caught stealing in the top 1st, and then the Critters had to bother the bullpen in the bottom of the inning. Mark Roberts struck out Schneller and Gonzalez to begin the game, then complained about a sore thumb and went to bed. Maud? Maud! – You may want to hurry with the cocktail! – Yeah, that, and Cristiano is teasing me by balancing on his rear wheels for ten minutes already! Say something!

While the finally provided cocktail began to sooth my drumming forehead, the Coons threw Sean Rigg into the fray of a scoreless game. Rigg logged four outs without blowing up before he was spotted a 3-0 lead in the third. Tovias hit a leadoff double, then scored on 2-out singles by Ramos and Allan. Nunley would drive in those two clowns with a liner up the rightfield line, and maybe we could finally not throw up the paws and die a gruesome death against the Arrowheads? Rigg held up long enough for Nunley to plate Ramos once more with a fifth-inning sac fly, and would end up throwing 59 pitches in getting the Critters through five. Next we squeezed the routinely abused Jonathan Fleischer for two perfect innings, and got the eighth from Garavito. Ricky Ohl would get the ninth inning in a non-save situation, facing the top of the order. Two grounders and a K to the resentworthy Suhay ended the game. 4-0 Coons. Ramos 2-4, BB, 3B; Nunley 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, BB, 2B; Gomez (PH) 1-1; Rigg 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, W (2-1); Fleischer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Sore thumb, huh? Since when do Raccoons have thum- ah, you know what, Maud, I’ll take another one of these. – I know that Slappy is less maintenance than me, but he just keeps refilling his glass with cheap booze when you’re not looking!

In other news

July 2 – PIT 3B Omar Lastrade (.312, 6 HR, 37 RBI) hits for the cycle in a 13-0 thumping of the Capitals. Lastrade drives in six of the Miners’ runs with a 4-for-5 performance. This is the 79th cycle in ABL history and the second for the Miners (Jesus Ramirez, 2020). It is also the most lopsided score for a cycle game since the Bayhawks ripped the Crusaders, 14-0, as Dave Garcia cycled in 2018.
July 3 – The Condors swap INF/LF Dave Bross (.289, 0 HR, 13 RBI) to the Rebels for 3B/SS Jorge Zamora (.276, 6 HR, 22 RBI).
July 3 – SAL SP Brandon Nickerson (9-4, 3.04 ERA) spins a 3-hit shutout over the Scorpions in a 4-0 Wolves win.
July 4 – The Knights trade RF/LF/1B Matt Hamilton (.240, 4 HR, 21 RBI) to the Rebels for 3B/2B Bob Rojas (.347, 0 HR, 10 RBI) and a prospect; in a second trade, the Knights send 1B Bob Lloyd (.268, 6 HR, 20 RBI) to the Gold Sox for 3B/SS Andy Walker (.288, 2 HR, 17 RBI) and a prospect.
July 4 – In a game for the ages, Atlanta’s Roy Pincus (.272, 12 HR, 54 RBI) goes 5-for-11 in a 3-2 loss to the Falcons that takes merely seven hours and 24 innings to complete. CHA 3B Greg Ortiz (.260, 8 HR, 38 RBI) hits a leadoff, walkoff jack off ATL MR Armando Zaragoza (2-1, 8.56 ERA) to end the game and a string of 15 scoreless innings.
July 5 – The Condors trade OF Joel Denzler (.290, 0 HR, 5 RBI) to the Knights for SS/2B Andy Hughes (.267, 0 HR, 20 RBI) and a prospect.
July 7 – The Wolves trade SS/2B Guillermo Obando (.240, 0 HR, 28 RBI) to the Crusaders for 37-year-old LF Josh Stevenson (.178, 0 HR, 2 RBI) and #68 prospect INF/RF Jose Castro.
July 7 – The Titans pick up SP Jeff Dykstra (7-7, 3.77 ERA) from the Thunder, parting with #69 prospect SP Joe Robinson.

Complaints and stuff

The Raccoons have three All Stars (for whatever reason…) this season. Alberto Ramos and Kevin Harenberg might actually play, while Josh Boles is out for the season with the damn labrum. It is the fourth All Star nomination for Harenberg, but only the second for the always-injured Ramos. Boles got the nod for the third time.

Losing the weekend set to the Arrowheads means we will not extend our 7-year streak of taking the season series. We are now at 3-9 and unlikely to even get a tie.

Our offense is neat and regular ninth place in so many categories… they are between eighth and tenth in every category except walks (7th), strikeouts (6th), and steals (5th).

The International Free Agent signing period has begun and the Critters already signed a few players this week. For example, we shelled out $95k for 16-year-old Dominican (aren’t they all 16-year-old Dominicans?) catcher Tony Morales, who might have a power bat – and maybe we can teach him to actually crouch and stop balls from going to the backstop, too. We also spent a whopping $7k on a 16-year-old Venezuelan (a-HA!) outfielder, Jose Pena. Well, what can you get for $7k?

Currently we are offering a total of $469k, which is a tad over the soft cap, but not in the area where we’d run into penalties down the road. The cap is at $461k this season, so right now we’d only pay up $8k in tax.

We also cut a few late-round picks from recent years this week, including 2028 Nick Brown Memorial pick Danny Sanders.

After the break we’ll be at home against the Titans and Loggers, then finish the month against CL South teams, starting with a trip to Atlanta and San Fran.

Fun Fact: On July 7, 2001, Sacramento’s Aaron Jenkins chipped six hits in a 17-4 rout of the Wolves.

It was an undeniable career highlight for Jenkins, who played in the majors for 20 seasons, most of them with the Scorpions. He won a Gold Glove in leftfield the same year at age 32, and he was an All Star four times in the 1990s. In 1998, he led the FL in hits with 220, but didn’t win the batting title. He finished his career a .296 batter with 184 HR and 1,318 RBI and stole 209 bases. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:54 PM   #2852
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All Star Game

A wild All Star Game in Atlanta sees three leads blown in the final two innings before the Continental League eeks out a 7-6 win in walkoff fashion against SFW Gilberto Castillo, who begins the ninth inning with walks to NYC Tony Coca and VAN Brian Wojnarowski, allows an RBI single to OCT Dave Garcia to tie the score, and then a walkoff sac fly to IND Ben Suhay.

PIT Carlos de la Riva goes a whipping 5-for-5 in the All Star Game with 2 RBI to be named MVP despite the Federal League coming up with the short end of the stick.

The Raccoons’ Alberto Ramos bats leadoff and plays the entire game, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Kevin Harenberg starts the game at first base, batting second, but goes 0-for-3 with an RBI groundout before being replaced by CHA Graciano Salto.

Raccoons (44-45) vs. Titans (43-46) – July 11-14, 2030

The Titans came in for the back half of the four-and-four bonanza as the Critters opened a 7-game homestand. They now ranked fifth in runs scored and tenth in runs allowed, and for once the Critters had the upper paw in the season series, which they now led 5-3 after taking three of four games the previous week in Boston.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (3-9, 3.80 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (8-8, 4.13 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-4, 4.03 ERA) vs. Jeff Dykstra (7-7, 3.77 ERA)
Dave Martinez (9-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. Dave Dyer (3-6, 6.49 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-6, 4.00 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (8-7, 3.45 ERA)

Southpaw to get going, and after that it’s only gonna be right-handers.

Game 1
BOS: RF M. Avila – C Henley – 3B M. Matias – LF Acor – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 1B Judkins – P Wingo
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – CF Baldwin – P Shumway

In one of those weird games, Tom Shumway allowed three singles (to “Hopalong” Henley, Keith Spataro, and Rhett West) the first time through the Titans’ order and struck out the other six batters that didn’t reach for one base. Needless to say, his pitch count was near 50 after two innings thanks to three full counts. He struck out two more in the third inning… and also allowed four runs, casually. Henley doubled, Mike Matias singled him in, there was a walk to Dustin Acor, a balk, a 2-run single by Rhett West, who moved up on the throw home by Baldwin, and that facilitated an RBI to Adrian Reichardt on the latter’s single. Also, 82 pitches through three, and finally 107 through five, which was all for him, and it was another ****ty performance, ten strikeouts be damned.

So (****ty) was the rest of the team; while Shumway was allowed to fudge around, they had two singles, one by Ramos in the first and an infield single by Hereford in the fourth. Neither runner got off first base. They didn’t reach second base until the bottom of the sixth, Ramos hitting a 1-out single, swiping his 33rd sack of the season, and then… being left on by Stalker rolling over to short and by Hereford flying out leisurely to Moises Avila… and on a 3-0 pitch. Slappy! I must go down to the dugout and murder a few of them. Push my wheelchair down the stairs – but gently! … This would go so well. – As did letting the Raccoons near baseballs at all. Chris Wise pitched two innings, allowing another run on a Matias double in the seventh. Like it mattered at this point… Another run fell out of Billy Brotman in the ninth, who actually plated his with a wild pitch, so there was that extra wee bit of suck. Third base remained elusive for the Critters until the ninth inning when Hereford hit a leadoff double to chase Wingo, and Harenberg singled him to third against righty Jermaine Campbell, who came in with a 54.00 ERA after one career appearance. Mora struck out, Pizzo hit a sac fly, and Tovias rolled out to Spataro. 6-1 Titans. Ramos 2-3, BB; Hereford 2-4, 2B; Nunley (PH) 1-1;

Now, now, boys. Don’t move all your paws at once. You don’t want to waste all the good rest you got over the break in one game, do ya?

GET YOUR ****ING ASSES MOVING!!

Game 2
BOS: RF M. Avila – C Henley – 3B M. Matias – LF Acor – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 1B Judkins – P Dykstra
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Mark Roberts would start this game on regular rest (the only Coon to do so in the series), while Dykstra made his first start after being acquired from the Thunder.

Boston made two outs on the base paths in the first inning. Avila was caught stealing after a leadoff walk on four pitches, while Matias hit a 2-out double that he thought was a triple until Abel Mora’s throw showed him how wrong he was. Portland scored in the bottom 1st on a Nunley double play after Ramos and Allan singled to occupy the corners, but why even get mad now? Pizzo also threw out Matias as he tried to steal in the fourth inning to help Roberts around, as the former Pitcher of the Year – it’s been a while – put quite a few runners on base. In the second, they put a pair in scoring position on a single, a walk, and a wild pitch, but Brett Judkins struck out to strand them. Roberts also got around a leadoff walk to Rhett West in the fifth on a sparkling play by Nunley on Reichardt, then K’s to the 8-9 batters. But all the while it remained a 1-0 game, with the putrid Coons offense not tacking on, and finally Roberts came apart for a run in the sixth, when Moises Avila hit a leadoff double and scored on two well-placed grounders, e.g. not right back to the pitcher… Roberts lasted seven and whiffed nine, but looked he’d end up with a no-decision until Nunley drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 7th, and after a length of time where nothing happened, Rich Hereford ran into a good pitch and belted it over the fence for a 2-out, 2-run tie-breaker, his first shot since June 23… Surginer did the eighth, and Ohl was lined up for the ninth. We stuck with him even after a 2-out rally saw Ramos and Allan hit singles off Dykstra, who then succumbed to a gapper for a 2-run double off Matt Nunley’s bat. Rather not collect any rust with the replacement closer… Ricky got rid of the middle of the order swiftly and cleanly to even the series. 5-1 Critters. Allan 2-4; Roberts 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, W (9-4);

Game 3
BOS: 1B Judkins – SS Spataro – C Henley – LF Acor – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – RF Quinn – 3B M. Matias – P Dyer
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 2B Hereford – LF Jamison – C Pizzo – P Martinez

Two bloop singles by Harenberg and Hereford led nowhere nice in the second inning, but at least it was still scoreless despite three deep fly outs to Mora in three innings by the time Martinez chopped a leadoff single in the bottom 3rd. Ramos and Allan both walked on five pitches each, setting up Matt Nunley with three on and no outs – an evil trap, but I was sure that Matt would find his way around it! Dyer offered a 75mph slider that didn’t slide, Nunley zeroed in on it and belched it over the right-center fence for 420 feet – GRAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!!

Martinez stepped around a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the fifth inning which included the 7-8-9 batters including PH Kurt Evans reaching base against him, but then Judkins bounced out to Hereford to end the inning. The bottom of the fifth began with Nunley and a jack off Javy Salomon to make it 5-0. What was on with Nunley!? He played like the goulash was bad and he had to prevent extra innings at any cost so he could dazzle off to the toilet! The rest of the Coons stood by and admired, while Martinez pitched into the seventh, but got really, really stuck there. He walked Reichardt with one out, conceded the run on a Justin Quinn double, and then also put Matias on with a single. Surginer would come on to face PH Dan Knudson, who struck out, but then Surginer lost Judkins on balls, and Spataro hit a gapper to clean the bases. Suddenly it was a 5-4 game, and when was Nunley’s next turn at-bat, say? J.J. Henley flew out to Jamieson, but this was scary now… The Coons got back one run in the bottom of the inning, with Jermaine Campbell plating Ramos, who tripled, with a wild pitch. Nunley and Mora reached on a walk and a single, respectively, but Hereford flew out to Dustin Acor near the leftfield line to strand them. It was still 6-4 into the ninth when the Coons tried to be smarter than they deserved credit for and first sent in Mauricio Garavito to face the left-handed Quinn, who doubled on a 3-1 pitch, bringing up the tying run for Ricky Ohl. Increased pressure – apparently not only for Ohl, but also for Nunley, who at this point was dancing up and down at third base. His services were not needed in the inning – Ohl struck out Matias, Dave O’Rourke, and Judkins in order. 6-4 Furballs! Ramos 2-3, BB, 3B; Nunley 2-3, BB, 2 HR, 5 RBI;

Turns out, according to Matt, the goulash was indeed bad. Either that or the ribs, or the apple pie, or the other cake, or any of the six bananas he ate before the game, and he could not get into it any deeper because he *really* had to go now. Stall #2 would be occupied for the next few hours.

And the boys are back at .500 – once more. Would be nice to escape upwards now. Rico, can you make that happen? Rico? – Rico? – Nunley shouts from the stall that Rico is in #1. He also had goulash. He is just not as tough.

Game 4
BOS: RF M. Avila – C Henley – 3B M. Matias – LF Acor – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 1B Judkins – P Gannon
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Like Shumway on Thursday, Gutierrez was picked apart early (and even earlier), and with even less surgical precision. The Titans put Henley on with a 1-out double in the first, he scored right away on Matias’ single to center, and it went only further down the slope from there. With two on the board, two on base, and two outs, Adrian Reichardt hit a 3-run bomb that robbed me of any hope to achieve a winning set, putting the Coons in a 5-0 hole. Bottom 1st, a Ramos Special made up two runs as Ramos singled, stole second, and then scored on a 2-out homer by Harenberg, but that one didn’t surprise given that the tying run was waiting in line somewhere in the tunnel to the clubhouse, but Rico – weakened by goulash! – remained no bueno. The Coons were willing to let him soak another run if they could gain any length from him, but he shoveled the bags full again in the third inning and succumbed to a 2-out, 3-run double by Brett Judkins that ran the tally to 8-2. Gutierrez collected the final out from Gannon, then was kicked down the stairs to the clubhouse.

But the pitching situation was complicated – the plan had been to use Sean Rigg as spot starter on Monday, but we did not have an extra reliever up, instead carrying fundamentally useless Erik Alvarez as extra infielder. Erik? Pretty sure it’s Erik. – Maud says it’s actually Edwin. – Maud, who cares? … Anyway, Chris Wise was the first guy out of a 6-man pen (not counting Rigg), pitched a scoreless fourth, but his spot came up with Mora (infield single), Gomez (single), and Tovias (walk) aboard and only one out in the bottom 4th. We had to bat for him and sent Rich Hereford, who hit a fly to deep center, but was held to sac fly by the annoying Adrian Reichardt, 8-3. Ramos popped out to Rhett West to end the inning. There were still five innings to cover, and the Coons now blew off Rigg’s assignment to pitch the opener against the Loggers and told him to get ready for a long outing here once Billy Brotman was thrown to the wolves (not: Wolves) in the fifth. The Titans had so few left-handed bats around that it was hard to find a reasonable spot for either lefty reliever to pitch. Billy whiffed three over two useless innings that were guaranteed to get me another not so loving letter from his dear mother, Mrs. Sheila Rosenzweig nee Brotman, in the mail by next week, but him holding Boston back actually made Rafael Gomez’ 2-run homer off Gannon in the bottom 6th the more relevant. Suddenly it was an 8-5 game, Gannon was gone, and we were in their pen.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Critters would get; the seventh began not only with Rigg on the mound, but also an Alberto Ramos throwing error that placed “Hopalong” Henley on second base. He scored on an Acor single, with the batter advancing on Allan’s throw home, then scored himself on a Spataro single to put Boston up 10-5. Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 7th, but was caught stealing, and that was about that. That was not enough misery, though. Abel Mora opened the eighth with an infield single, but grabbed his thigh just as he crossed first base and limped off the field holding onto the Druid for support. Magallanes replaced him, while the Coons also put Stalker and Gomez on base to present Tovias with three on and one out against Campbell. Tovias hit a 2-run double over Reichardt’s head, and suddenly the tying run was back at the plate. The Titans went to puff the dust off Jeremy Waite, former starter with a 9.00 ERA, and Pizzo would bat against the right-hander in place of Sean Rigg. Waite balked home Gomez, then conceded Tovias on a clean single to right, and Alberto Ramos appeared as the go-ahead run with nobody out. Waite decomposed before our very eyes with a wild 1-2 offering that moved up the tying run, with Baldwin replacing Pizzo as pinch-runner once he reached second base. Ramos walked, but then the Coons ran into a caught stealing at third base, Allan grounded out to Matias, and Nunley’s grounder up the middle was masterfully intercepted by Keith Spataro and turned into the third out at first base with Portland still a marker short of tying the game…. at least until Jonathan Fleischer came apart for two walks and a 2-out, 2-run double up the line by West in the ninth inning, and former Raccoon Jonathan Snyder did away with them in short order in the ninth. 12-9 Titans. Mora 3-4; Gomez 2-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI; Tovias 1-2, 2 BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Pizzo (PH) 1-1, RBI; Brotman 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

In other news

July 9 – The Cyclones trade 26-year-old lefty SP Logan Bessey (5-6, 3.65 ERA) to the Canadiens for two prospects.
July 11 – After a first-inning single by PIT 3B Omar Lastrade (.319, 9 HR, 49 RBI), the Miners never get another hit in a 3-0 defeat to the Capitals, who get eight shutout innings from SP Johnny Nelson (7-10, 4.78 ERA) and one more from CL Seth Odum (1-3, 3.62 ERA, 25 SV).
July 13 – PIT CL Mike Greene (0-4, 3.86 ERA, 26 SV) puts away the Capitals in a 3-1 win for his 300th career save. Taken in the second round in 2017 by the Rebels, Greene has spent 11 years in the majors for those Rebels as well as the Blue Sox, Gold Sox, and now Miners and has compiled a 48-45 record and 2.81 ERA. He has struck out 643 batters in as many appearances and has made the All Star team a whopping eight times.
July 13 – In the middle of their ongoing series, the Capitals send LF/RF Dan Brown (.274, 6 HR, 22 RBI) to the Miners for two prospects.

Complaints and stuff

Matt Nunley’s 2-run double on Friday broke Daniel Hall’s franchise mark for RBI – it is now Nunley’s! Next goal: reach a cool thousand ribbies! Sure that grand slam on Saturday helped on the path there.

Matt Nunley, the 39-year-old veteran who right now – along with Ramos – is peeking in and out of the top 5 in the CL batting race (!), also has the highest OPS and OPS+ among qualifying players on the roster, which reads like one of those season recaps that in the second-to-last paragraph casually mentions how they lost their 100th game of the season on September 10, and that was only the prelude to what was yet to come.

While Nunley drove in seven runs in the Titans series, he “only” collected five base hits for a .438 batting clip. He thus lost out on Player of the Week honors (which he won three times in his career, most recently in ’26) to … Alberto Ramos! The Excitement went an even .500 (6-for-12) with no RBI, but added five walks and scored five times. Ramos now also has three Player of the Week awards. His first two both came in September of 2028.

Maybe Tom Shumway’s life goal was to pitch a no-hitter and now he just doesn’t care anymore. That is my current explanation. He is insufferable. He also is 3-10. And he is unmovable.

We have a few of those, the withering, unmovable sort.

Abel Mora was diagnosed with a torn hammy and will miss a month, so that is unfortunate. Safe to say there’ll be a few roster moves on Monday morning because of that and because Rico Gutierrez – who, I’d like to remind you because he is pitching like liquid ass and that makes it easy to forget, won the CL ERA crown merely TWO YEARS AGO – laid an egg on Sunday and we have no starter after burning Sean Rigg for no greater good.

Oh well, only 5 1/2 years remaining on that contract… and for Monday, any old clown from AAA will have to do.

Fun Fact: Back in the 2010 draft, Matt Nunley was characterized as “a somewhat rare breed of a left-handed hitting third baseman, Nunley has the arm of a murderer, but isn’t too agile in the field, costing him in the double play department and disqualifying him from a shortstop assignment. We think that a slight adjustment to his swing could really bring out the power in him.”

That power never *really* developed… yes, for almost all of his career he hit his dozen dingers every season, but it wasn’t really making him a power threat, and he only has 165 bombs for his career. But we sure short-changed him on his defense. While he only won a Gold Glove once, we have had nothing but rave reviews for his D for pretty much all of his career. He had that one bad defensive season in 2025, his only year with negative zone rating (and six full points worse than his second-worst season) and efficiency (28 points from his second-worst season). After 18,537 defensive innings at third base (and zero anywhere else), we have had nothing to complain about.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:20 PM   #2853
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Raccoons (46-47) vs. Loggers (43-49) – July 15-17, 2030

The Loggers had been in contention until rather recently, but had collapsed at the end of June and were now bidding for last place. Despite sitting only 6 1/2 games out of the first-place, damn Elks, the Loggers looked dead once more. They were second from the bottom in runs scored, but were also still allowing the second-fewest runs. The Coons were 7-2 on them this season, but started the week three away from another 100th all-time loss, entering with a total record of 4,484-4,197.

Projected matchups:
Trevor Draper (0-2, 8.10 ERA) vs. Mike Hodge (1-6, 5.23 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-10, 3.95 ERA) vs. Alfredo Casique (6-3, 4.33 ERA)
Mark Roberts (9-4, 3.87 ERA) vs. Joe West (4-10, 3.30 ERA)

Three right-handers on offer here. The Raccoons scrambled to bring up Trevor Draper for a necessary spot start on Monday, although we didn’t really want any piece of him… Abel Mora was placed on the 15-day DL to make room on the 25-man roster.

Nick Valdes stopped by quickly for the Monday game on his way to Canada where he’d go polar bear hunting with a group of multimillionaire buddies. It was the humane thing to do, he said, because they were slowly having their habitat destroyed by the relentless march of global warming. Better shoot them right between the lights to make it quick.

Game 1
MIL: RF Wheeler – LF Cambra – SS W. Morris – CF Creech – 1B W. Aquino – 3B V. Diaz – C F. Chavez – 2B Rauser – P Hodge
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Pizzo – P Draper

Mike Wheeler opened the game by reaching third base with nobody out with a clean single to right, a stolen base, and Pizzo’s miserable throwing error in an attempt to nip him. Regardless, the runner was stranded with a comebacker hit by Firmino Cambra, a shallow pop by Wayne Morris, and finally a pretty deep fly to Allan off Gabe Creech’s bat. The Loggers only had to wait another inning, though, to completely dismember Draper, the little ****. Wilson Aquino opened with a triple and it was off to the races. The run scored on Vinny Diaz’ grounder, but the Loggers hit another four extra-base hits in the inning, with two walks mixed in, too, as Francis Chavez and Wheeler hit doubles, and Morris hit a 3-run homer that ran the score to 6-0. Draper hung around to allow a single to Creech, then got blasted by Aquino – 8-0. Chris Wise replaced him after that. The Coons proceeded to get back-to-back singles from Gomez and Pizzo in the bottom 2nd, with Gomez ending the inning by getting caught in a rundown, and the game just wouldn’t get back on any good track from there. The Raccoons scored one run in the bottom 4th, and otherwise were dismal. The Loggers hung back for most of the game while the Raccoons went through their pen for the second game in a row – and eventually ran out. Jonathan Fleischer was in his second inning of work in the top of the eighth, and just kept putting them on. Single for Chavez, single for Jason Rauser, a walk to Wheeler, and then finally a grand slam to dead center by Cambra. He didn’t get out of the inning, put on two more batters, and those scored on Vinny Diaz’ 2-out, 2-run double off Sean Rigg. The ninth started with an error on Tim Stalker with Garavito on the mound, who also lost all cohesion right away. Matt Lockert came up with a pinch-hit single, Wayne Morris came up with a 2-out, 2-run double… and Creech homered to left to provide some insurance to the so far flimsy 16-1 lead. All runs were unearned, leaving at least Garavito’s ERA untouched. As a team, the Raccoons did nothing and let themselves be shot right between those lights. 18-1 Loggers. Gomez 2-3; Jamieson (PH) 1-1, RBI; Wise 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K and 1-1; Brotman 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Yes, Trevor Draper (0-3, 13.11 ERA) is still alive. I couldn’t get out of the wheelchair, someone blocked the elevator, and they ushered him quickly out of the stadium.

All I could do was placing him on waivers and bring in new pitchers. Edwin Alvarez was demoted to AAA to make room for TWO relievers to help out a completely burnt-out bullpen. Those two arms would turn out to be Steve Costilow and Jeremy Moesker, two guys we really didn’t want to see any more of, but it was only for a few days, I told myself.

Game 2
MIL: RF Wheeler – LF Cambra – SS W. Morris – CF Creech – 1B W. Aquino – C Canody – 3B V. Diaz – 2B Sessoms – P Casique
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Pizzo – P Shumway

Thankfully excess runs would not carry over to the next game, and thus the Coons took a 1-0 lead in the bottom 1st on doubles by Ramos and Harenberg(!), a Pizzo jack made it 2-0 in the second, and it was 3-0 after a Ramos Special in the third; Alberto singled, stole second (#35), advanced on an Allan grounder, and then came across when Nunley hit a sac fly to right. However – the Loggers had five runners against Shumway, and things were wonky. Scoring stopped at that point; nobody reached in the fourth for either side, and Shumway managed to string up a few more goose eggs without looking overly dominant. Portland added offense then, Harenberg cracking a 2-run homer to center in the bottom 6th, collecting Nunley from first base. Two infield singles by Hereford and Stalker, both to deep short and beyond the power of Morris’ arm, put more runners on base, while Gomez and Pizzo made poor outs. No reason to hit for Shumway in a 5-0 game and two outs and runners in scoring position. Alfredo Casique rung him up. Sure it wouldn’t matter!

It actually didn’t. Shumway lasted seven and two third innings of shutout ball, then was lifted when Morris hit a clean single to right on his 108th pitch. The tricky thing was finding a reliever to come in here. It ended up being Costilow on the merits of a rested righty reliever required to face Creech, who wasn’t much of a cleanup hitter at .244 and five dingers. Creech flew out to right, and that ended the inning. The Raccoons actually got to finish the inning between their two scrap relievers that they had shipped in overnight: Costilow got an out from Aquino to begin the ninth, and after that Moesker put runners on the corners, but got Aaron Sessoms to pop out and rung up Francis Chavez to end the game. 5-0 Critters. Ramos 2-3, BB, 2B; Harenberg 2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Shumway 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, W (4-10);

Note to self – match up Shumway with the Loggers as much as possible down the road.

The scrap relievers hung around for the rubber game; we might make more changes down the road as far as the roster was concerned. For now another change was in order – Cristiano Carmona had ordered us matching cup holders that could be mounted on wheelchairs, making it more comfortable to watch the ballgames at the big window overlooking the field.

Now I just needed something for that itch…

Game 3
MIL: RF Wheeler – LF Cambra – SS W. Morris – CF Creech – 1B W. Aquino – C Canody – 3B V. Diaz – 2B Sessoms – P J. West
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Stalker – CF Magallanes – C Tovias – P Roberts

Elias Tovias Matias Diaz remained under .200 for the season, but added two RBI for 16 on the year (…!) when he bat Creech for a 2-out double to deep center in the second inning. Harenberg and Stalker scored, the first runs in the game, and Roberts grounded out to third base to end the inning. Mark Roberts allowed no hits and whiffed four the first time through the order. The Loggers would hit a pair of 1-out singles in the fourth, but with Morris and Creech on base, Aquino hit into a double play. The Loggers shrugged, got leadoff singles from Taylor Canody and Vinny Diaz to begin the fifth, and then Roberts nailed Aaron Sessoms with a 1-2 pitch. That loaded them up with nobody retired. Roberts rung up Joe West, which was surely a good first step to protect an actively endangered 2-0 lead. Wheeler grounded up the middle, Ramos managed to intercept the ball and lobbed it to Stalker at second to get the force, but they couldn’t turn two here and one run scored. Cambra then grounded out to Stalker. Roberts went on to complete seven without allowing another runner to the Loggers, but at the same time the Coons’ offense was … technically they were taking turns at bat, but they sure weren’t hitting. They had but one base hit between the Tovias double and the departure of Roberts. Kevin Surginer came in for the eighth, got two outs, but Cambra would be saved for Garavito, but Cambra singled anyway. Ricky Ohl was now called out for a 4-out save, got out of the inning, and then Ramos doubled to begin the eighth. Nunley couldn’t get him in, and Hereford couldn’t get him in, but Kevin Harenberg continued to vex the Loggers with a 2-out jack to right to provide some cushion, 4-1. They nevertheless brought up the tying run in the ninth thanks to singles by Creech and Diaz surrounding a pair of strikeouts. Ohl shrugged it off, rung up Sessoms, and the Critters took the series. 4-1 Raccoons. Harenberg 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Tovias 1-1, 2 BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, W (10-4);

After this game, the Raccoons hung around another night, then went to see the Knights. I was left behind again, but the Druid made sure to give me a prescription for something against the itch and I was advised to take a pill every six hours.

Oh well at least there was still company to be had back home in Portland…

Raccoons (48-48) @ Knights (46-49) – July 19-21, 2030

Third in offense, but at the very bottom in pitching – that was the Knights, and it was a bit of a pattern for a few decades now, just like the Indians were stereotypically a well-pitching team that couldn’t score two feathers’ worth (but not this year). Their run differential was -33, and they had the worst rotation and a crummy pen to blame it on. The Coons had swept them in the first series of the season.

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (10-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. Andy Jimenes (7-9, 4.97 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-7, 4.71 ERA) vs. Justin Osterloh (3-9, 6.01 ERA)
Tom Shumway (4-10, 3.70 ERA) vs. Enrique Guzman (5-7, 4.30 ERA)

Three right-handers (lefty Mario Rosas had gone on Thursday and beaten the Thunder), including a complete scratch that was probably well served with that sort of ERA (Osterloh) and a 39-year-old has-been (Guzman). Also, their offense AND defense was missing 39-year-old shortstop (!) Andrew Showalter, who had batted .379 before breaking his leg in early June.

The Raccoons could go without another starter for another week thanks to an off day before AND after this series. The Knights had been off on Monday.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – CF Baldwin – C Pizzo – P Martinez
ATL: CF Denzler – 2B J. Johnson – C S. Garcia – RF Pincus – LF Houghtaling – 1B Keen – 3B A. Walker – SS Greene – P Jimenes

The Knights got Jeremy Houghtaling to walk in the first run of the game after Martinez had shuffled the bags full with nobody out in the first inning. Joel Denzler and John Johnson singled, Steve Garcia walked, and then the Raccoons got round Roy Pincus, who popped out, but Houghtaling got ball four and that was that. Josh Keen hit into a force at home and Andy Walker struck out to miss out on a bigger inning. Maybe Kevin Harenberg could do something about the misery – suddenly he was clutch, for whatever reason. Maybe a change in diet. Nunley hit a 2-out single in the third to set him up, and then Harenberg crashed a 98mph heater for a 2-run homer over the rightfield fence, flipping the score the Coons’ way.

Martinez had none of the lead; he kept shuffling Knights aboard. Garcia singled, Pincus singled, Keen walked in the bottom 3rd, and with one down and 3-1 count, Andy Walker grounded between Ramos and Nunley. Ramos got an out at second, but that was all, Stalker had to hold on to the ball, and the tying run scored. Drew Greene flew out to Baldwin in center, leaving them on the corners in a 2-2 game. They were right back on the corners in the fourth, with 2-out singles flicked by Johnson and Garcia. Pincus grounded to Harenberg at 3-1… but do you remember that the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh it away, too? Harenberg fumbled the ball and chased it halfway down the first base line again without ever regaining control, all Knights were safe, and Johnson scored the go-ahead run on the error, 3-2. Houghtaling flew out to right. The Coons got walks from Ramos with one out and Nunley with two in the fifth, but Harenberg fouled out on 2-0, and those runners were stranded, too.

Martinez lasted only five ****ty innings, conceding ten hits and a fourth run in the bottom 5th. That one, Jimenes doubled in with two outs. Jimenes would keep batting for himself with two outs in the seventh, stranding a runner when he grounded out against Sean Rigg. But while it was only a 4-2 game, the Knights had been out-hitting the Coons 11-3, and that 3 was probably the key. Just keep it away from Harenberg, who would come up in the top of the eighth, found nobody on base, and sadly popped out to Andy Walker. Top 9th, Levi Snoeij retired the first two, Hereford and Allan, before Jamieson hit a pinch-hit single and Pizzo got nailed. Elias Tovias was the last bat off the bench, hitting for Fleischer in the #9 hole, hit a single to center, Jamieson raced around to score, and for reasons entirely unknown, Mike Pizzo tried to reach third base on the soft single in front of the formidably-armed Joel Denzler. He didn’t make it. 4-3 Knights. Nunley 1-2, 2 BB; Jamieson (PH) 1-1; Tovias (PH) 1-1, RBI;

The good thing about these pills the Druid gave me is that I feel nothing… except that itch in my cast.

Maud, you got a knitting needle? – Why are you upset about me assuming you’re knitting? You have worn knitted stuff since you joined this sinking ship! – But I need something to shove up my… (points) – Don’t be silly, that bottle will never fit in there. – No, my *cast*.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – CF Allan – RF Hereford – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
ATL: CF Denzler – LF Houghtaling – C S. Garcia – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – 1B Keen – 3B A. Walker – SS Greene – P Osterloh

Osterloh faced the minimum the first time through, with only Tim Stalker reaching on a single and being caught stealing. Gutierrez, broken, allowed two hits, three walks, and somehow only one run on Walker’s RBI double the first time through, and this was another game that could break from bad to hold-this-rope-for-me any moment. The Knights were in scoring position in the third and fourth innings, didn’t tack on, then blew the lead in the fifth. Matt Jamieson hit a 1-out ground-rule double that bounced from the track over the fence in left-center, and then Allan singled up the line, well placed enough to allow Jamieson to circle around to knot the score at one. The tie would not last; Hereford flew out gingerly and Tovias popped one over the infield, and in the bottom of the fifth Denzler led off with a double against the absolutely useless Gutierrez. Roy Pincus singled him in with two down, Johnson also knocked a sharp single, and then Josh Keen flew out to Jamison in the gap, but Jamison also came up lame and had to leave the ballgame. Baldwin replaced him in the #5 hole (yay, win!) and would play center, with Allan shoving over to left. Magallanes meanwhile pinch-hit for Gutierrez to begin the sixth inning and legged out a roller near the third-base line the Knights hoped would roll foul, but wouldn’t on the uncooperative turf. Ramos, Stalker, Nunley ALL popped out over the infield to throw that chance away. Man – those Raccoons could not hit a ****ing lick! (throws another pill into the hole between his jaws) Mmm, those are yummy. Slappy, you want some to your booze? – Nah, Slappy’s fine.

On to the seventh, where the pushover Osterloh still held a 2-1 lead and defended it despite a leadoff walk to Harenberg, a bloop single by Baldwin, and then… a K to Allan and two more pops on the infield. Top 8th, Gomez struck out after having entered in a double switch in the previous half-inning. Ramos singled to center to put the tying run aboard again. The Knights were wise to his act, though, and called a pitchout right away. Alberto scurried back to first and had to wait. The Knights couldn’t prevent Stalker from singling at 1-1 though, and then things went quick with a Nunley double to center that tied the score and put runners in scoring position with one down for Harenberg. Nope – not the Knights’ favorite deal. The intentional walk was called and then righty Ernesto Lozano replaced Osterloh with three on and one down against Baldwin … and the Critters only had Pizzo left on the bench due to the Jamieson injury and the short bench to begin with. Baldwin had to bat with the pitcher’s spot a mere two slots away (Wise having entered in Hereford’s deep, deep, deep hole). He grounded to third base, but slowly enough that Andy Walker’s only play was at first, and he had NO chance on Ramos running for his life to score with the go-ahead run. Allan flew out to Houghtaling, stranding two in the 3-2 game. Wise remained in the game, got a grounder to Nunley from Pincus to begin the bottom 8th, Johnson grounded to Ramos, and Keen flew out to Baldw- and ****ing Chris Baldwin dropped the ball for a 2-base error. Immediately the Knights sent left-handed Chris Mendoza to hit for Walker; Portland countered with Garavito, who prevailed for a grounder to Harenberg that was for once not botched and fudged, and the inning was over.

Top 9th, the Coons loaded them up against Lozano. Pizzo led off for Garavito and was nailed at 0-2, and Tovias snipped a single at 2-2. Gomez flew out to Pincus, but Ramos reached on balls, to bring up Stalker with a full plate in front of him and Matt Nunley salivating in the on-deck circle, because… full plate. Stalker flicked an RBI single to Houghtaling’s feet, so there was still a full plate available for Nunley, who was 11 away from 1,000 career RBI, and added a pair with a single into left-center that chased home another catcher as well as Ramos from second base. Harenberg hit into a double play against new reliever Chris Inderrieden, ending the inning, and with the save off the table, Sean Rigg got the ball and retired Atlanta in order in the bottom of the ninth. 6-2 Coons. Stalker 3-5, RBI; Nunley 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI; Jamieson 1-2, 2B; Magallanes (PH) 1-1;

Chris Wise got the first win of his major league career.

Matt Jamieson tweaked his back on the play in the gap and would be out for a few days, possibly until next weekend. The Raccoons thus had to make a roster move before the series finale. Steve Costilow and Jeremy Moesker had combined for three appearances, five outs, and no runs, and now Moesker was waived and designated for assignment so we could send him back to the Alley Cats to get a bench piece: Wilson Rodriguez, batting .281 with six homers in AAA.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Allan – RF Gomez – C Pizzo – CF Magallanes – P Shumway
ATL: CF Denzler – LF Houghtaling – C S. Garcia – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – 1B Keen – 3B A. Walker – SS Greene – P E. Guzman

Ramos singled, stole two, and scored on a Harenberg groundout in the first inning. Matt Nunley had drawn a walk to allow for even that much breathing room for the limp offense. That wasn’t quite enough though to weather the storm on Tom Shumway’s ****ed-up appearance in the bottom of the first. Everybody’s favorite money sink (although Rico Gutierrez and Tim Stalker along with Rich Hereford and Rafael Gomez were surely giving him a run for his money, and don’t forget Pizzo, or … uh, time for a pill!) … he retired Denzler to start the game, then allowed a single to Houghtaling. Two walks later, Johnson hit an RBI single to tie the game, and while Keen popped out, Andy Walker hit an RBI single to center to put the Knights ahead. And then Drew Greene hit a grand slam to left to make it 6-1.

Portland would score a run with another Ramos Special in the third inning, but after Tim Stalker’s RBI double and Nunley’s walk, all with one out, Harenberg chopped the first pitch into a double play to end the inning, which was also the last with Shumway as an active participant. Roy Pincus ran a hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff single in the bottom 3rd, and then Johnson hit a booming jack to extend the Knights lead to 8-2. Shumway was yanked and I wondered whether he felt bad and needed consolation over there in Atlanta. Maud – bring me the phone! – I have to express my understanding to his difficult situation. … Costilow entered the game for long relief before a demotion to St. Pete that was as sure as darkness in the dead of night, and immediately kept tuning that 6.59 career ERA as he allowed one walk, and then four sharp base hits for another three runs in the same inning. If you were counting, that made it an 11-2 game. Magallanes hit a sac fly off Guzman in the top 4th, but the Knights had their sac fly with three hits and another run in the bottom 4th, still off Costilow, 13-3. The top 5th was another Ramos Special. Single, stolen base (he was clearly past giving a ****), throwing error by Garcia, and then Stalker hitting a sac fly. Bottom 5th, Costilow allowed back-to-back doubles to Garcia and Pincus, then walked Johnson and allowed a single to Keen, loading them up with one out, and was finally yanked. Fleischer inherited the 14-4 score and somehow got a double play grounder from Andy Walker. The Knights sat on his face, too, in the very next inning. He pitched like arse, loaded the bases on a hit and two walks, then conceded another two runs to Pincus on a 2-out single, 16-4. As a new low, come the eighth inning, Elias Tovias made his pitching debut. He faced only one batter, Steve Garcia, who flew out to Allan on the warning track. 16-4 Knights. Ramos 2-3, BB; Nunley 1-2, 2 BB;


In other news

July 15 – The Knights trade CL Adrian McQuinn (3-2, 1.77 ERA, 19 SV) to the Buffaloes for two catching prospects.
July 16 – IND SP Andy Bressner (13-5, 2.82 ERA) 2-hits the Titans in a 9-0 Indians shutout.
July 17 – The Scorpions divest themselves of outfielder Justin McAllester (.273, 4 HR, 10 RBI). The 33-year-old former All Star had been relegated to the bench, and now to Denver for a pair of prospects.
July 19 – NYC SP Jamie O’Leary (0-3, 6.97 ERA) is out for a full year with a torn labrum.
July 21 – It is a no-hitter for TIJ SP Jorge Villalobos (11-6, 2.44 ERA)! The 33-year-old right-hander keeps the Indians knockless in a 4-0 Condors win, despite striking out only three batters. Villalobos becomes the third Condor to no-hit the opposition (Andrew Gudeman, 2018; George Griffin, 2027), and the fourth pitcher to spin multiple no-hitters.
July 21 – PIT SP Matt Brost (10-5, 3.04 ERA) will only return in September with a strained ACL.

Complaints and stuff

In the two games played on Monday, the involved teams tallied 34 total runs. Of course that was 18 for the Loggers, one for us, one for the Falcons, and 14 for the Condors. Two whack jobs! – A tally the Coons would match by the end of the week. Six games, 23 runs scored, and 41 runs allowed, and that included three games with two runs conceded or fewer…

What is it, Cristiano? – Yeah, I’m chill. Whatever that means. – Man, Cris, your wheelies are so colorful today…! – What is it, Maud? – No, the Druid said every six hours, and I just took one an hour ago.

Alberto Ramos had his second 4 SB game on Sunday, and in a raging defeat. He might have had a chance for a fifth bag, but that would have required the offense to not go down while kicking up the minimum amount of dust in the eighth and ninth. Cookie Carmona and Sandy Sambrano are the only other Coons to take four bags by force in one game, and no CL player has ever nipped five in a game.

It is now also Alberto’s fifth consecutive 40 SB season, or in other words: every season he started on the Opening Day roster. He stole six bags in his late callup in 2025 where we carefully counted at-bats to preserve his rookie status. He has 235 SB in his career – which is good enough for t-48th all time! Yes, The Excitement is 24 years old and already in the career top 50 in something! And the top 20 would only be a solid year’s worth away right now. Roberto Rodriguez, a serial Gold Glover on the infield in the 80s, holds 20th place with 317 bags. He never had more than 32 in a season.

Poor Jamie O’Leary. Discarded by his team, dumped on the Crusaders, not a good team, and now this. Remember that we packaged him with Dan Delgadillo for Chris Wise last winter.

It merits stating – with the series win this week, the Coons are 9-3 on the Loggers for the year, and that means we have extended our streak of not losing the season series to them to a 17th season. They took 11 from us in ’13, and since then have gotten a split three times, and not much more than that…

Fun Fact: Jorge Villalobos is not only the fourth pitcher to toss multiple no-hitters, but the third to do it for different teams, and the only one to no-hit the same opposing team twice!

Brian Furst and Bryan Hanson are the only pitcher to toss two no-hitters for the same team, in both cases the Thunder. Villalobos previously no-hit the Indians when he was with the Loggers in ’24. The only other multi-no-no pitcher was Henry Selph, who split his between the Titans and Bayhawks.
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Portland Raccoons, 54 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
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: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 05-20-2019, 01:07 AM   #2854
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Seven years ago, some crazed loon had a rather boring Sunday and whipped up a fictional league in this evil game that just wouldn't love him no matter how hard he begged for it, OOTP 12. And thus, the Raccoons were born and turn seven years old today, which means they can legally juggle up to five vodka bottles in Russia, lead a donkey in Myanmar, or smoke a pipe in France!

And you better hurry to join the celebrations, because Matt Nunley has already found the cake…

Raccoooooooons …!
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Last edited by Westheim; 05-20-2019 at 01:19 AM.
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4 thanks for this post:
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:10 AM   #2855
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Congrats!

You do not know how jealous I am of you being able to stick with one universe for so long.....
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:19 AM   #2856
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Congrats!

You do not know how jealous I am of you being able to stick with one universe for so long.....
Thanks!

Well, I can be rather stubborn. And you know how much I like to hold on to corpses, so that got me through some lean years. Although there were some breaks, especially during that first year when I thought I deserved to win and the game just wouldn't let me get anywhere near.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:28 PM   #2857
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Here comes the Raccoons Birthday edition. Will it be a reason to celebrate, or will this singspiel continue to make everybody's fur fall out?

Raccoons (49-50) @ Bayhawks (46-51) – July 23-25, 2030

The Baybirds were another crummy team in the South, which seemed to consist of almost only crummy teams, and the Condors that flattened all of them. They sat fifth in runs scored, seventh in runs allowed, which was all not really bad, but also not really good, and it really all looked a lot like the Coons, who came fresh off a double drubbing the previous week and were now not only a meh eighth in runs scored, but also only fifth in runs allowed anymore. The Coons led the season series 2-1.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (10-4, 3.73 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (6-9, 4.29 ERA)
Dave Martinez (10-6, 3.76 ERA) vs. Gilberto Rendon (5-6, 3.20 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-7, 4.65 ERA) vs. Ben Lipsky (10-7, 4.36 ERA)

No southpaws in the Bayhawks’ rotation, so we only expected right-handers to crop up here.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Allan – RF Gomez – C Pizzo – CF Magallanes – P Roberts
SFB: LF Balado – SS Pulido – CF Hawthorne – C J. Wood – 1B Caraballo – 3B Myers – 2B J. Cruz – RF Pacheco – P Huf

San Fran’s Dave Myers gave a limb when he knocked up his elbow on Tim Stalker and second base to break up a double play in the second inning, which allowed the first run of the series opener across after Roberts had issued a leadoff walk to Jimmy Wood, a single to Myers, and those two were on the corners now with Jose Cruz grounding to Ramos. Stalker stood firm, but the Coons only got the second out of the inning, and Wood scored. Mike Martin replaced Myers and contributed a single in the fourth inning when Tomas Caraballo (single), Martin, and Cruz (walk) loaded the bases with nobody out. For once, the other team choked; Roberts, who had no whiffs at that point, rung up Vincent Pacheco and Matt Huf – and remember the two had been traded for another and three other players – and Jose Balado lined out softly to Stalker to strand all the runners in what was still a 1-0 game and in which the Critters had zero base hits. Through five innings, Matt Huf had issued three walks, and two of them had been erased on double plays, and when Magallanes opened the sixth with a four-pitch walk squeezed out of Huf, Roberts bunted into the team’s third double play of the contest. …

The Raccoons would not get no-hit; Alberto Ramos lobbed a single over Caraballo after the Roberts double play, stole second, and was stranded when Jose Pulido handled Stalker’s easy-as-pie grounder. Stalker also withered another impact, this time Jose Cruz’ on another broken-up double play. Cruz was carted off in favor of Jonathan Morales, which was one way to empty a team’s bench. To anybody’s surprise, Portland tied the score at one in the seventh inning, courtesy of a Harenberg double and Ryan Allan’s RBI single. Roberts received no decision, walking Wood and Caraballo with two outs in the seventh before getting yanked for Fleischer, who got Martin to roll over to Stalker. The inevitable loss would hang on Surginer, who allowed a single to Morales, a pinch-hit double to Victor Ayala that was enough to get Morales around to score, and that was way too much offense to concede to the opposing team. The Raccoons ended up with three measly hits. 2-1 Bayhawks.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – 2B Hereford – C Tovias – RF Rodriguez – CF Magallanes – P Martinez
SFB: LF Balado – CF Hawthorne – 1B Caraballo – C J. Wood – SS Pulido – RF Pacheco – 3B M. Martin – 2B Quantrille – P G. Rendon

The Coons had a double play by the second inning, that one being on Tovias erasing Hereford to end the inning, and the Bayhawks had a man on second base with two outs in the bottom 2nd after a leadoff walk to Jose Pulido, who had been forced out by Pacheco, then got a single from Jeremy Quantrille, and RBI single by Rendon, another RBI single by Balado, and a 2-run single by Hawthorne to bury the dismal Coons four runs deep. Portland took their sweet time to rally. Their rally got started when Rich Hereford got… nailed? … in the fifth? … and it ended when Tovias chopped into his second double play, keeping Rendon to the minimum batters faced through five.

Tomas Caraballo hit a solo jack off Martinez to saddle him with a final tally of five runs in the sixth inning, which Martinez completed. Stalker drew a 2-out walk in his place in the top 7th, didn’t get picked off, so the Coons broke out of the vicious cycle of bringing up merely the minimum. Ramos grounded out to keep them to a snuff +1. He got the rest of the day off and Stalker remained at short, which meant that Stalker was back up in the top of the seventh after the Coons had suddenly found the sticks. Nunley walked, Hereford singled, and Tovias(!) doubled both of them in with a fly over George Hawthorne. Rodriguez and Pizzo also reached base to load them up with two down for Stalker… but he flew out to Hawthorne. Steve Costilow allowed a run in his second inning in the bottom 7th, making it a 6-2 game, and the Raccoons looked really lost until Harenberg hit a leadoff jack off ex-Coon Dan McLin to begin the ninth inning. Now it was a save opportunity, so the Baybirds went to righty Marcus Owens, who walked nearly five per nine innings. Hereford grounded out, Tovias walked, and then Owens axed both Wilson Rodriguez and Rafael Gomez to end the game. 6-3 Bayhawks. Hereford 2-3;

(flicks off the TV and turns his wheelchair over to face Cristiano Carmona) Say, Cristiano… don’t you sometimes just want… just want to … fly away? To somewhere nice?

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – RF Rodriguez – P Gutierrez
SFB: LF Balado – SS Pulido – CF Hawthorne – C J. Wood – 1B Caraballo – 3B Jon. Morales – 2B Sears – RF Pacheco – P Lipsky

Harenberg’s double that scored Ramos in the first inning gave the Coons their first lead of the week, and it was merely Thursday. Rico Gutierrez, who had been pummeled brashly in his recent outings, retired the first six, then shed singles to Micah Sears and Pacheco to begin the bottom 3rd, but pounced on Lipsky’s hard bunt to turn a 1-5-3 double play, and that helped him to escape the inning. Maybe it was the Coons’ turn to win one! Maybe padding that 1-0 lead would be smart, too. When Rico and Ramos hit leadoff singles in the fifth I was so giddy I for once forgot the itching leg cast that had me laid up in the wheelchair. Allan lined out to short, but Rico stayed put on the bag and the Bayhawks couldn’t double anybody off. Nunley walked, bringing up Harenberg with three on and one out. Kevin ran a full count and then was almost taken out by the sixth pitch for an obvious bases-loaded walk, pushing home the Critters’ second run. Rich Hereford added two with a fly to left that Balado gruesomely overran into a 2-run double, but we were at a point of putrid where that couldn’t make me like it less. Stalker lined out, but Pizzo shoved a 2-out, 2-run double through Caraballo, completing a Coons 5-spot to extend the lead to 6-0! A FIVE-spot! In ONE game!! Cristiano, did you see it?? – Stop playing on your phone and watch the game with me, goddamnit!

The scoring for Portland ceased, but the scoring for the Baybirds never got started. For once the stars aligned for Rico Gutierrez to pitch a strong game, and the Bayhawks never got to him through eight innings of shutout ball. They had two singles in the seventh, but that was really it; that was as close as they got. Gutierrez was finished after eight though on account of 109 pitches; Chris Wise took over and completed a combined 5-hit shutout. 6-0 Coons. Ramos 3-5; Pizzo 2-4, 2 RBI; Gutierrez 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K;

By the way, it may not look like it’s likely, but Kevin Harenberg now actually leads the CL in RBI with 66.

Raccoons (50-52) vs. Falcons (47-53) – July 26-28, 2030

No offense was also the credo of the Falcons, who sat second from the bottom in runs in the CL, and were also in the bottom three in runs allowed. The entire package was thoroughly bottomish and they were arguably winning more games than they should. Despite their shortcomings, they had so far still managed a 3-3 split in the season series.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (4-11, 4.22 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (6-6, 4.31 ERA)
Juan Barzaga (0-0) Vs. Chris Rountree (8-10, 5.39 ERA)
Mark Roberts (10-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Jesus Chavez (6-5, 3.38 ERA)

Southpaw on Saturday to oppose call-up unperishable 33-year-old righty Juan Barzaga, who had a 1.13 ERA out of the pen in St. Pete this year, his 14th as a professional in this organization, and the sixth in which he would get a sniff of major league air. So far, Barzaga had appeared in 48 games (5 starts) in the majors for a 4-4 record and 5.13 ERA. He replaced Steve Costilow (12.60 ERA) on the roster, who had allowed a run in two innings against San Francisco.

Game 1
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – SS Wagner – 2B Ra. Mendez – P Hague
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – RF Gomez – P Shumway

Greg Ortiz put Charlotte on top with a 2-out, 2-run double in the first, with Shumway looking like random litter on the street right from the start. Single here, walk there, and – bam!! – it was already 2-0 for the other team. But in a stunning move, the Critters took the lead in the same inning; Ramos got on with a walk, as did Nunley with a double, but it wasn’t enough to plate Alberto. Harenberg scored Ramos with a single to center, but Hereford struck out. However, Tim Stalker hit a gapper, and with two outs and some tardiness in the outfield, the Raccoons were able to send Harenberg all the way around to score on a score-flipping 2-out, 2-run double! Pizzo struck out, leaving the 3-2 lead to Shumway, who did not explode on contact. Gomez got a leadoff walk in the bottom 2nd, was bunted over and scored on Ramos’ single, 4-2, and the Coons threw out Barend Kok at home plate on a 2-out Ortiz double to keep the Falcons down. Stalker actually added a second RBI double in that inning, plating Hereford to extend the tally to 5-2 in the bottom 3rd. Nothing good happened in the fourth, but the bottom 5th saw Nunley (double), Harenberg (single), and Hereford (walk) all reach base to begin the inning. That was three on, no outs, so probably nothing good would happen again. Stalker hit a sac fly, and that was indeed it. Pizzo grounded out, the runners moved up, that took the bat away from Rafael Gomez, and Shumway struck out to strand three in a 6-2 game.

Shumway lasted seven on six hits and no further runs, but the Falcons had a few doubles to at least make it interesting in between. Matt Jamieson batted for him with two outs and Stalker and Pizzo in scoring position and grounded out to Greg Orti, but at least Jamieson was back in action after having to sit out all of this week so far with back woes. The Coons went on to get two outs from Brotman and one from Fleischer in the eighth, Harenberg tacked on a run with an RBI double that drove home Allan against Josh Pillsbury in the bottom 8th, and Fleischer continued in the 7-2 game… and then it came to a screeching halt. Base hits by John Elliott and Curt Wagner, a 4-pitch walk to Raul Mendez, and suddenly there were three on and nobody out. Ricky Ohl came on and conceded a run on PH Dave Trahan’s groundout, got Nate Nelson to pop out, but then allowed an RBI single to Matt Cooper that got the Falcons even closer… but Graciano Salto struck out. 7-4 Raccoons. Ramos 2-4, BB, RBI; Nunley 2-5, 2 2B; Harenberg 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-2, BB, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Shumway 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (5-11);

Jonathan Fleischer’s ERA is now over five. We do not like this development.

Game 2
CHA: CF N. Nelson – SS Wagner – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – C T. Perez – 2B Cano – P Rountree
POR: 2B Baldwin – 3B Nunley – SS Stalker – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – CF Rodriguez – P Barzaga

Scratch starter Juan Barzaga lined up to zeroes on the board before it all went to hell again. Chris Rountree fittingly opened the top 3rd with a sharp single, and soon enough Nate Nelson walked and Graciano Salto fired a 3-run homer to left. John Elliott would also single home Barend Kok in the same inning, putting the Raccoons in yet another 4-0 hole. The Coons had yet to awaken, but got Rodriguez aboard to begin the bottom 3rd and with two outs Matt Nunley socked a homer to left-center to cut the gap to 4-2. The following inning nobody was able to help Harenberg around the bases after a leadoff walk, and in turn Barend Kok extended the score to 5-2 with a homer off Barzaga in the fifth. That was the last inning for nobody’s fifth-through-eleventh choice for a starting pitcher, and the Coons progressed through two innings from Chris Wise and no offense before Billy Brotman got into the eighth inning. He got a leadoff grounder from Barend Kok to first, but dropped Harenberg’s throw for an error. Ortiz singled, and then Elliott grounded to Baldwin, who fed to Stalker… and Stalker dropped the sure-as-heck double play grounder. That error loaded them up with nobody out. Tony Perez hit a 2-run double off the fence, leading to Brotman being yanked without logging any out when he could have gotten three, and we raised the white flag with Sean Rigg inhering nobody out and runners in scoring position in a 7-2 game. Ironically, he stranded the runners on a Ricky Cano pop, a soft fly to shallow right that Gomez caught off Travis Adkins’ bat, and then a Nelson grounder to Nunley. But even that performance inspired nobody and the Raccoons went down without coming even close to another run. 7-2 Falcons. Allan (PH) 1-1; Wise 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; Rigg 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Maud, if we lose another series to a ****ty team, I want you to push me down the stairs. – Wait, why do you agree to that so fast!?

Game 3
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortiz – 1B J. Elliott – SS Wagner – 2B Cano – P J. Chavez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

Singles hit past either wing of Ricky Cano by the 7-8 hitters with two down in the bottom 2nd allowed Rich Hereford to come around to score after drawing a 1-out walk off the former Critter Chavez, the first run in the game. Roberts struck out to strand the pair on base. Bottom 3rd, Ramos drew a leadoff walk and was caught stealing, and in the top of the fourth Cano got his revenge against a confused Roberts missing left and right and throwing tons of pitches for no greater good and drove home John Elliott with a 2-out double to right. Better for Charlotte yet, Chavez chucked a single to center to move Cano around, putting the Falcons up 2-1. That also made Chavez 2-for-2 in the game…

Roberts needed 91 pitches through five innings, doling out six hits and three walks, and running many long counts overall. The rest of the Coons were absolutely no help at all. Hereford hit a rather lonely double in the fourth, Magallanes got on to begin the fifth, and neither batter was brought around to score. Roberts was done after six, while Harenberg dropped a leadoff single in the bottom 6th. Hereford popped out, Jamieson singled, Pizzo grounded out. With the tying and go-ahead run in scoring position, the Critters sent Ryan Allan to bat for Magallanes, even though neither of them were actually hitting anything right now. The Falcons put Allan on intentionally to bring up the pitcher’s spot, where Rafael Gomez hit for Roberts, coming off a dire bench. Chavez fell to 2-0, threw a wild pitch, and that one tied the score at two. FINE. Whatever works…! Gomez two pitches later knocked a liner up the leftfield line, it got past Salto, and the Coons took the lead on the 2-out, 2-run double, 4-2, before Ramos flew out to Nelson in center. Surginer pitched a clean seventh, Hereford doubled home Nunley for a fifth run in the bottom of that inning, and maybe we’d escape the week at least even? Garavito got around an Elliott single in the eighth, and the Coons got another run in the bottom of that inning. Baldwin pinch-hit for Pizzo to begin the inning and doubled off lefty Doug Clifford, moved up on Allan’s grounder, then scored on an uncaught third strike to Elias Tovias, who reached first base. WHATEVER WORKS. With a 6-2 lead, Fleischer rather than Ohl got the ninth inning, which already had not worked out so well once in this series, but Ricky Cano started the ninth with a grounder to short for the first out, which – fun fact – were already more outs than Fleischer had grabbed on Friday… Trahan grounded out, too, and Nelson got rung up to end the game. 6-2 Coons. Hereford 2-3, BB, 2 2B, RBI; Baldwin (PH) 1-1, 2B; Magallanes 2-2, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI;

In other news

July 22 – TOP SP David Elliott (9-6, 3.09 ERA) pitches a 2-hit shutout in a 7-0 win over the Stars.
July 23 – VAN OF Brian Wojnarowski (.295, 17 HR, 63 RBI) is going to miss a month with an intercostal strain.
July 25 – The Capitals get routed, 11-0, by the Gold Sox, with DEN SP Robbie Blair (8-6, 4.53 ERA) going the distance with a 3-hit shutout.
July 26 – RIC SP Gabriel Lara (4-7, 4.31 ERA, 1 SV) 2-hits the Stars in a 6-0 Rebels victory.
July 26 – BOS SP Greg Gannon (11-7, 3.42 ERA) strikes out ten against only three base hits in a 9-0 shutout of the Bayhawks.
July 28 – Legend TOP RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.346, 3 HR, 45 RBI) reaches the 3,500 hits plateau with a third-inning single off Denver’s Joel Trotter (8-3, 4.02 ERA) in the Buffaloes’ 10-9 loss to the Gold Sox. Sanchez, age 36, who was in his first season with Topeka after 17 years with Sacramento, is a 4-time batting champion, 3-time Player of the Year, 13-time All Star, and career .345 batter with 125 HR and 1,323 RBI and is indisputably a lock for a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
July 28 – The Stars trade LF/RF/1B Mike Chaplin (.277, 8 HR, 54 RBI) to the Bayhawks for three prospects.
July 28 – Salem picks up SP Brian Frain (6-9, 3.98 ERA) from the Blue Sox in exchange for two prospects.

Complaints and stuff

What shall I say? Not for the first time this year we played two crummy teams – the CL is full of ‘em – and came out 3-3, barely. What does that say about us?

There is not likely to be a trade at the deadline. There is no point in us shelling out our good pitching prospects now for more 3-month rentals and everybody will then leave after the season. There is too much wrong with the “proven veteran” on the roster to keep patching holes.

Although, truth be told, with the way the Elks and Indians can’t get going, there is still an outside chance that we make the playoffs purely by accident. But I would not bet on it. And even if we make it, the Condors will send us straight to the glover's shop.

Matt Nunley is still seven short of the 1,000 RBI mark thanks to a terrible offensive week from the team. It was not necessarily Nunley – he batted only 4-for-19, but also drew six walks with mostly nobody on base. Three of the four hits were for extra bases, including the 2-piece on Saturday. And THAT came in a loss. What do I want to say? His OPS went up three points this week, so I don’t blame him.

Oh, Mena! – Mena! – How much longer do I have to wear this cast? I am itching, and my leg doesn’t feel all that bad! – What do you mean, an injured man *my age* needs lots of rest??

Fun Fact: Pablo Sanchez is only the fifth player to reach the 3,500 hits mark, and the first such player who’s career started in the 21st century.

He is not the first Sanchez, though. Victorino Sanchez still leads the all-time hits chart with 4,083 knocks. Dale Wales reached 3,673. Cristo Ramirez had 3,625. And Jeffery Brown reached as far as 3,582. Brown (1981-2000) opposed us in all those Capitals World Series in the 1990s, but Ramirez is the only one of the bunch that spent the majority of his career in our division, with the Loggers.

The career top 10 are completed by Sonny Reece (3,294), Antonio Esquivel (3,263), Martin Ortíz (3,220), Alberto Rodriguez (3,172), and Dennis Berman (3,098) – all of these are in the Hall of Fame, except for (obviously) Pablo Sanchez and also Rodriguez, who somehow got only 32.7% of the vote in his first year on the ballot last winter.

By the way, in 11th place with 3,050 career hits? Yoshi Nomura! He lasted 23 seasons, 12 of those with the Coons (across two stints), and we also claim 1,581 hits, more than half his total.
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Last edited by Westheim; 05-20-2019 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:14 PM   #2858
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Any thoughts to maybe selling off some soon-to-be free agents? While 4 games is perhaps close enough to buy, this team doesn't seem like it's going to be a threat come postseason time ... if they can even get there at all ...
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:30 AM   #2859
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Originally Posted by alexsimon99 View Post
Any thoughts to maybe selling off some soon-to-be free agents? While 4 games is perhaps close enough to buy, this team doesn't seem like it's going to be a threat come postseason time ... if they can even get there at all ...
I floated some bodies earlier in the month, and the interest was … well, the other GM's didn't outright laugh in my face, but we have nothing of value. Hard to believe that of all the pieces, Jose Menendez was the only one to actually get traded.

Specifically, Tom Shumway and Rico Gutierrez are currently not movable due to their long-term commitments.

Among impending free agents, Rafael Gomez falls into the "vastly overpaid veteran" category that teams will only trade for if they can get rid of their own VOV. Pizzo, Brotman, Surginer - nobody had any interest in. Abel Mora invoked 10/5 rights, then scurried off to the DL.

And we didn't stick with Matt Nunley's feeding habits (seriously, it's gross) for so long to trade him now. Nunley's gonna be a Coons lifer. And he'd probably invoke 10/5 rights, too, if courteously asked. But I'm not gonna. He's wielding a fork.

The only piece that could still reasonably be moved is Kevin Harenberg, who drew *some* interest, but I didn't get the right deal earlier when we dealt Menendez. Probably too ambitious to aim for a top 50 prospect…

Of course, if I'd deal Ramos, I'd have 23 offers on the table. Some teams would offer major leaguers, some would offer all their prospects, and I guess the Falcons would offer the kidneys of their players to make up the difference.

Below is the salary table as far as it concerns non-minimum players. It's … I think the scientific term is "unpretty".

The defining thing going forward will probably be Alberto Ramos. If The Excitement actually holds up and puts a season together, while he's not exactly batting .375, we would be looking to sign him to a long-term extension this winter - he would not sign one last winter, knowing that the routine injuries were depressing his value. If we can get Ramos signed for $3M a year, then we'll probably keep him and build the new team around him. If we can't get him, then we'll probably look for a big trade. *Everybody* wants Ramos, and most teams have the prospects to make the deal attractive.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:26 AM   #2860
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Raccoons (52-53) @ Thunder (54-51) – July 29-31, 2030

Despite sitting in second place in the South, the Thunder’s season was already over. They trailed the South-stomping Condors by a whopping 16 1/2 games, a margin that was not likely to shrink any time soon despite the Thunder’s ongoing 6-game winning streak. They were third in runs scored, but gave up even more than they put on the board themselves and had a -4 run differential thanks to the third-most runs conceded. They had a decent rotation, but the worst defense and bullpen in the Continental League. Nevertheless, they had beaten the Raccoons four out of six attempts this season.

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (10-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Zach Warner (10-4, 3.50 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-7, 4.27 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (4-6, 4.90 ERA)
Tom Shumway (5-11, 4.13 ERA) vs. Peter Gill (7-7, 4.56 ERA)

Southpaw in the series finale, with “Graveyard” Gill trying to bury the Critters once more.

I was left at home again for this single-city road trip, but at least surrounded by friends, and everything was lovely. (swallows another one of the Druid’s pills)

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Martinez
OCT: SS Felicame – RF Sagredo – 3B D. Garcia – 1B D. Cruz – C Burgess – LF J. Lopez – 2B A. Rojas – CF Tegan – P Warner

Despite a successful Ramos Special in the first inning in which Alberto walked, stole second, and finally scored on a Harenberg single, he found himself outdone by Thunder rookie Antonio Felicame, who singled, stole TWO bases off a sleepy Martinez/Tovias battery, and scored on Dave Garcia’s sac fly. Oklahoma took the lead the following inning, when Alfredo Rojas tripled into the left-center gap and came around on Kirk Tegan’s grounder to short. Martinez held them there for the moment, but the Coons’ offense was slow to get going despite Zach Warner suffering from ill control and unable to command any breaking pitches that could have wiped out some Critters. Portland tied the score in the fifth on a 1-out, seeing-eye single by Ramos past the aging Dave Garcia, a Stalker groundout, and then Matt Nunley’s RBI single to center. Harenberg popped out, but Warner walked Hereford to begin the sixth, his fourth walk against one strikeout. Jamieson and Tovias made outs, but Magallanes drew another walk, and that brought up… the pitcher. Oh well, maybe we’ll win tomorrow. Martinez though hit a liner into the gap for 2-out RBI double, giving himself the lead at 3-2. Warner lost Ramos to another walk to load the bases, and fell to 3-1 on Tim Stalker, who then poked like an idiot and grounded out to Rojas, stranding the full set. In turn, Martinez allowed a leadoff single to Danny Cruz in the bottom 6th, Mike Burgess hit a ground-rule double off the warning track in rightfield, and while Jorge Lopez whiffed, Alfredo Rojas tied the score with a single to left. Burgess was sent from second base and thrown out by Jamieson, with Rojas moving to second on the throw. Martinez walked Tegan in a full count before getting yanked, despite a right-handed .167 batter, Danny Briseno, coming out to bat for Warner. The Coons sent Garavito, sure that he could get Briseno, and would then be able to face the lefties atop the order in the seventh. Briseno hit a hard grounder to deep short that Ramos intercepted, but could not turn into an out – bases loaded for Felicame, who flew out to Jamieson, and another full set of sad runners were left on base. It was not that long for the next three-on plate appearance to crop up, and it was Stalker again to approach the plate for it after Dusty Kulp leaked three 2-out walks to Magallanes, Allan, and Ramos in the top 8th. This time, Stalker struck out.

Now, critically, the Raccoons had used Billy Brotman to help get Kevin Surginer unstuck in the seventh inning. Thus, when Jonathan Fleischer was assaulted with multiple left-handed pinch-hitters and was not up to the task, no lefty relief was available again. Carlos Rosa hit a single in the #7 spot, Alberto Velez hit a homer in the #9 hole, and the Thunder loaded the bases on another hit and two walks issued by Fleischer, who got shanked from the game in favor of the rookie Chris Wise, who rung up Burgess to strand three, but this time the Thunder had actually scored. Portland went down silently against Franklin Alvarado in the ninth. 5-3 Thunder. Ramos 1-2, 3 BB;

Fleischer’s ERA keeps exploding – 5.32 now.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez
OCT: CF Tegan – C Burgess – 1B D. Cruz – 3B D. Garcia – SS Serrato – 2B A. Rojas – RF Sagredo – LF J. Lopez – P Contreras

Rico Gutierrez retired the first six batters he faced, who all faced him right-handed, then of course put the left-handed Luis Sagredo (single) and Jorge Lopez (double) on base to begin the third inning. Contreras put the first run on the board with a productive grounder. It was 2-0 after Tegan’s RBI double, then 4-0 when Burgess hit a monster jack, and with two outs the Thunder kibbled another run together against Gutierrez, who was once more and as usual beaten into a formless pulp in a single inning, down 5-0. He got only one more out, Contreras’ bunt in the bottom 4th after Sagredo and Lopez were already on the corners with a leadoff walk and a clean single. The Coons’ pitching coach spared himself the hassle of trudging out to the mound to tall him in; they just pulled him off the mound from the dugout with the 70-foot hook around his neck, a tool specifically manufactured for this sad purpose. That was what the Critters need – more inning from Sean Rigg! The Thunder stranded the runners on Tegan’s grounder to Nunley and a Burgess pop to Ramos, but what difference did it make?

Well. After Pizzo hit into a double play in the fifth to erase Jamieson’s leadoff single, Rigg batted for himself and singled, but was left on first when Ramos flew out easily to Sagredo. Rigg held his ground on the hill, though, and Stalker opened the sixth with a single off Contreras. He stole second, then came around on a Nunley single, the Coons’ first marker in the game. Harenberg singled. Hereford singled – bases loaded, no outs. Alright! (excitedly claps hands) More cruel jokes by the baseball gods inbound! Ryan Allan dropped in a soft RBI single, 5-2, and then Jamieson made the first out, rolling over to Garcia, who could only get he batter at first base, 5-3. That brought up the dismal Pizzo again, .221 with nine homers, and every day I realized more that $1.3M would have made for a pretty great bonfire if stacked up in $1 bills – the Coons hadn’t even gotten that by signing Pizzo. He grounded out (of course he did), which did bring Hereford across, but now the Coons had to vacate Sean Rigg for an actual batter. Rafael Gomez came out with the tying run at third and two down….. and struck out. Down 5-4, Portland got scoreless frames from Brotman in the sixth and Wise in the seventh; the latter allowed leadoff singles to Tegan and Burgess, but then rung up Cruz and Garcia before Serrato rolled out to Stalker.

The Coons went on to tie the score in the eighth against Danny Arguello and Ying-ha Ou. Hereford singles off the former, then scored when Jamieson singled with two outs against the latter. But we were also about out of bullpen, forcing replacement closer Ricky Ohl into the bottom 8th of a tied game where he’d face all left-handed bats after Carlos Rosa hit for Rojas to get going. He got Rosa and Sagredo, then walked Lopez in a full count, but rung up PH Liam Riley in another full count to keep the Thunder from scoring. Ohl remained in the game for the ninth – then with the lead. Chris Baldwin had singled in the #9 hole (Ohl was batting sixth) to begin the ninth against Alvarado, then had been parked while Ramos whiffed and Stalker popped out. Matt Nunley – old man Nunley! – came through however, hitting a double over Kirk Tegan that plated the go-ahead run with two outs! And yet, it was no good. Mike Burgess homered off Ohl with one out in the ninth, and the game went to extras, tied at six. There, the Coons left Hereford on third base in the 10th, then had to pick from Garavito, Surginer (both would pitch in their third game in a row), Barzaga (merely two days removed from 83 pitches), and Shumway (tomorrow’s starter). Surginer lost to Garavito in Rock, Paper, Pine Tar and had to come in to face the #5 batter Serrato. That was all Oklahoma needed to win the game – Serrato hit his 17th jack off Surginer’s 1-0 pitch. 7-6 Thunder. Nunley 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Hereford 3-4, 2B, RBI; Jamieson 3-5, 2 RBI; Rigg 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K and 1-1;

You know what’s funny? Yeah, we’re still just fur games out of first place, but … (giggles) … but Cristiano tried to draw a raccoon with pen on my leg cast, and it looks like a wombat’s ***hole. (giggles) Yes, Maud, I am taking my pills on schedule.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Baldwin – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – RF Rodriguez – P Shumway
OCT: CF Tegan – C Burgess – 1B D. Cruz – 3B D. Garcia – SS Serrato – 2B A. Rojas – RF Sagredo – LF J. Lopez – P Gill

There was speculation as to why the Raccoons were playing without Kevin Harenberg on the day of the trade deadline while the game was in progress, too. Nobody was concerned about Nunley, who had 10/5 rights and was widely expected to invoke them or to already have invoked them in some form, but Harenberg looked like he was going to be gone any minute now.

The Thunder took an early lead on another Serrato homer in the second inning, although Jamieson would level the score with a solo homer of his own in the fourth inning. Wilson Rodriguez came up with a 2-out triple in the fifth, but the Coons could not afford to hit for Shumway; a move their pen would not be able to withstand under any circumstances. Apart from those one or two blips, “Graveyard” Gill was ON and the Coons were dead as soon as they dared to let the Thunder get aw- … and just like that they shook Shumway for three singles and a run in the bottom 6th. Serrato did the honors of putting his team ahead for the third time in a row, chipping a 2-out RBI single to score Burgess for the 2-1 advantage. Shumway expended 101 pitches through seven innings, whiffing only three to Gill’s 9 K through eight frames. Shumway was hit for with two outs and nobody on in the eighth inning, but then it was Nunley to send Sagredo to the warning track for the catch and third out. Harenberg still was unengaged in the dugout. Top 9th, the Coons faced long-ago Furball farmhand Danny Arguello as Alvarado had pitched two innings on Tuesday (for the win) and one on Monday (for the save. Arguello was a lefty, got Ramos on a pop, Baldwin on strikes, and Stalker singled up the middle to create needless suspense. Jamieson singled to right, moving the tying run to second base for Rich Hereford, who put the first pitch into play – a soft grounder to third, but no challenged for Alberto Velez. The former Logger retired Hereford with a perfect throw to first base, and the Coons were swept out of Oklahoma. 2-1 Thunder. Jamieson 2-4, HR, RBI; Shumway 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, L (5-12);

Maud? The team’s coming home now, aren’t they? – Yeah, yeah… say… can they rather… just stay gone? – No, the pills are empty. – Maud, why do you have Mena on speed dial?

Raccoons (52-56) vs. Crusaders (50-59) – August 1-4, 2030

New York was bottoms in the CL in many offensive categories, well including runs scored with only 402 markers total (3.7 R/G). Their pitching was very much decent. They were allowing only a hair more than four runs per game, good enough for fifth place in the CL. They were 4-3 against the Coons this season.

Projected matchups:
Juan Barzaga (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (11-7, 3.94 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-4, 3.58 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (3-6, 3.44 ERA)
Dave Martinez (10-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (9-9, 3.82 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-7, 4.57 ERA) vs. Ian Prevost (5-6, 3.64 ERA)

All righties coming up.

No trade of any Raccoon ever happened late on Wednesday, and everybody was still here. Only a scheduled off day, huh? What a lame bunch. That’s not me talking, that’s actually the Agitator’s headline on Thursday morning. “WHAT A LAME BUNCH”.

There was a roster move, however, with Wilson Rodriguez (.212, 0 HR, 6 RBI) axed to make room for right-hander Bryan Rabbitt, 24. The 2027 second-rounder was an extra arm expected to piggy-back with Barzaga in the opener. Rabbitt had a 7.27 ERA in AAA this year, but that was the result of a rough April, and with “rough” I mean that he got run through the woodchipper once, and then the finely grained bits were run through the same woodchipper twice more. He had recovered in a stint in Ham Lake, and was unscored upon in his last six outings in St. Pete since returning there in early July.

Game 1
NYC: LF Olszewski – C Dear – SS Obando – CF Coca – 1B Jam. Richardson – RF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – 3B Czachor – P E. Cannon
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Barzaga

Eddie Cannon became the first Crusaders on base with a 2-out single in the third after Barzaga had somehow retired eight in a row, but was stranded. The Coons were already 1-0 ahead at that point, courtesy of a Jamieson homer in the bottom of the second. The Crusaders would pose an actual threat soon enough, however; Matt Dear drew a 4-pitch walk to begin the fourth, Guillermo Obando singled, and Barzaga lost Tony Coca, too, on another four balls. Next up was .176 batter Jamie Richardson, who struck out in a full count, and the Crusaders would have to settle for a 1-1 tie after Chris Reardon’s sac fly to center, with Ramos shagging a Tony Fuentes liner to end the inning. The Crusaders did take the lead on another sac fly the following inning, though, this one off Matt Dear’s bat. Ryan Czachor drew a leadoff walk, Cannon swung away (!) and singled (…!), and Drew Olszewski grounded out to advance them. Obando stranded Cannon on third when he flew out to center, but now it 2-1 New York.

Pizzo led off with a single in the bottom 5th and was bunted over. Ramos ripped a double down the rightfield line, which tied the score, but even after New York intentionally walked Tim Stalker and the runners pulled off a double steal, Nunley hit a comebacker and Harenberg grounded out to Richardson to keep the go-ahead runs in scoring position. Bottom 6th, Hereford led off with a double rammed off the fence in leftfield, then had to hold at third when Olszewski was all over Ryan Allan’s clean single to leftfield. Still, runners on the corners with no outs! Jamieson struck out (visibly deflates), and what on earth was Pizzo, the raw personification of utter disappointment, gonna do? Well, he dropped a single in front of Chris Reardon to put Portland ahead, 3-2. There was actually still vigor in the home crowd, despite them paying to watch a team in utter shambles here. Then apparently somebody mixed up a sign* because at 2-2 to Barzaga the runners took off. Dear, shocked yet ready, threw out Pizzo at second base, while Allan made it to third. The count was now full on Barzaga, so the bunt was off, too, and with two down the career AAA reliever flicked a single to center to bring in the insurance run, 4-2. Ramos also singled, but Stalker struck out to end the inning.

Barzaga was not around much longer; the Crusaders had two hits to put PH Joe Cameron and Olszewski on the corners with one down in the seventh, and Portland moved on to Kevin Surginer, who got Dear to smack into a 6-4-3 double play. Surginer and Garavito handled the eighth, and Ohl allowed a leadoff walk to Reardon in the ninth, but then struck out Fuentes. Czachor grounded the 2-2 up the middle, Stalker cut it off, made a step to tap second base and threw to first in time to double up the opposing third baseman. 4-2 Coons. Ramos 2-4, 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-4; Hereford 2-4, 2B; Allan 2-3, BB; Pizzo 2-4, RBI; Barzaga 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, W (1-1) and 1-2, RBI;

Second career RBI for Juan Barzaga, and the fifth major league win at age 33… and only 11 days short of turning 34. He doesn’t even have 100 major league innings.

Game 2
NYC: LF Olszewski – C Dear – SS Obando – CF Coca – RF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – 3B Czachor – 1B Jam. Richardson – P Marron
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Matt Dear’s jack off “Launchpad” Roberts put the Crusaders ahead in the first inning, and while Marron walked two in the bottom of the inning, neither Harenberg nor Hereford could find a base hit to get Stalker and Nunley around. Neither team had a base hit other than the Dear homer the first time through the order, and before the Coons could rally the second time through, a tiny cloud over the ballpark turned violent and doused the field for an hour in the bottom of the third. The rain delay was sure to further mess up the Coons’ beleaguered pen… Roberts came back a mess, allowed a single to Dear, a double to Reardon, and then a 2-out single to Fuentes in the fourth to dig the hole all the way to 3-0, and the Crusaders flogged him for another three base hits and two more runs in the fifth, an inning the former Pitcher of the Year (long, long ago!) did not complete. Chris Wise got the third out from Tony Coca to keep the deficit at five runs. The Critters’ first hit of the game would be a Jamieson jack to begin the bottom 5th. Now that all was said and done on the season, Jamieson was suddenly swattin’ it? Fine by me. I have resorted to put all their offenses on paper and as soon as my leg’s healed up I will dole out the outstanding bum kicks.

Pizzo actually went back-to-back with Jamieson, becoming only the third Coon to hit double digit dingers on the season. Then came the top 6th and the major league debut of Bryan Rabbitt, who effortlessly achieved an infinite ERA with a leadoff walk to Reardon, a wild pitch, then Fuentes’ RBI single. Czachor and Richardson both made DEEP outs to right, and then Rabbitt threw a wild 1-2 pitch to Marron. Oh boy! Marron eventually struck out. Bottom of the inning, Jamieson was up with three on after a Nunley single and walked to Harenberg and Allan, and he was the tying run in the 6-2 game, which of course meant that he choked and hit into a double play to Czachor. Top 7th, Olszewski hit a leadoff jack off Rabbitt, 7-2, and Dear and Obando both singled to knock out the debutee. Sean Rigg took over, defused the inning with a 4-6-3 double play, and actually finished the game. The Coons never scored again. Tovias and Gomez had base hits off Travis Giordano in the bottom 9th, but Ramos flew out to Olszewski to end the contest. 7-2 Crusaders. Tovias (PH) 1-1; Rigg 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K;

Something weird was going on. Since I ran out of pills, my leg is not hurting at all (nor has it before the Druid gave me those pills), but I feel very angry about the on-field performance. Where’s that been all the time?

Only one explanation for all this – … but what is it, Slappy?

Game 3
NYC: LF Olszewski – 2B T. Fuentes – SS Obando – CF Coca – 1B Jam. Richardson – RF Reardon – C Wool – 3B Czachor – P Rutkowski
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – P Martinez

One base hit was enough for two runs for New York in the opening frame; Chris Reardon’s 2-out single plated two after Martinez – apparently in disgrace with Odilon the Great – nailed Fuentes and walked Coca and Richardson to set Reardon up with the bases loaded. They added two more on Czachor’s bloop single to lead off, an Olszewski RBI single that saw the #1 hitter reach second on a hopeless throw to home plate, a Fuentes groundout, and finally a passed ball charged to Tovias in the second. Hooray, 4-0 after only two innings! While nothing happened for the Coons, only *to* them, Martinez lasted five innings while getting crapped on for six runs, the last two scoring in the fifth on a 2-run single by Tony Coca. At that point, Portland had a sole base hit, a Ramos single to begin the bottom 1st. Alberto stole his 45th base, was stranded, and nothing good happened ever after until Baldwin hit a double into the corner to begin the bottom 5th and came around on two groundouts. The RBI was Rafael Gomez, who was still alive, and still getting paid about $10k for putting on pants day in, day out, even though that was every sign of him still being around this forsaken place.

There was some mild commotion in the sixth inning when Billy Brotman nailed Mike Rutkowski in a game that was already well out of hand. The Crusaders wouldn’t turn the free runner into a tack-on run, though, nor did they rip out all of Brotman’s limbs which at least would have allowed us to collect insurance on some of our broken dreams. Bottom 6th, base hits by Nunley and Jamieson put them into scoring position for Hereford to strike out and Baldwin to roll over to Obando. It was the final rage in the game, because when the Crusaders routed Mauricio Garavito for four additional runs in the ninth inning, it ultimately didn’t matter as far as the universe as a whole was concerned. Nothing moves or stops moving from beating a dead body with a stick, you know? Josh Wool hit a 3-run homer with two down to turn a game, that was over in the second inning, into a full rout. 10-1 Crusaders. Ramos 2-4;

With this drubbing, we’ve made it – finally – to a negative run differential for the season. 460 plated, 462 surrendered, finally.

Game 4
NYC: 3B Czachor – C Dear – SS Obando – CF Coca – 2B T. Fuentes – LF Henneberry – RF N. Ayala – 1B Jam. Richardson – P Prevost
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – CF Baldwin – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez

Ian Prevost retired the first nine Coons and by the time the Coons got on base at all, they were already in the ropes again, courtesy of plenty of runs off Rico Gutierrez. Dear and Obando plated one run with back-to-back doubles in the first inning, and in the fourth Rico put Tony Fuentes on with a leadoff walk, and then conceded a single to Rob Henneberry. The runners were in scoring position with two outs and the pitcher at the plate, a situation that Gutierrez masterfully dissolved with a wild pitch even before he allowed an RBI single to Prevost. Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 4th but was doubled off by Stalker before he could even get his hindpaws pointing in the direction of second base. Nunley walked, Harenberg hit a 2-run jack, but oh, what could have been… What was was Fuentes doubling home a run in the fifth and Gutierrez getting thrown into the pit in the sixth after a leadoff single by Prevost (……) and a walk issued to Czachor. Surginer somehow made it out of the inning, although it was Gomez to spear a Fuentes drive on the warning track with three on and two outs. Yet, despite their DISMAL performance, the Coons somehow remained vaguely near contention. Ramos singled, stole second, and scored on Stalker’s 1-out triple in the bottom 6th, but Stalker – the tying run – was stranded by both Nunley and Harenberg… GODDAMNIT!!!

Bottom 8th, after two scoreless innings by Chris Wise (could have been yours, Crusaders!) the Coons had another chance. Alan pinch-hit and singled off reliever Casey Moore, and Ramos hit an infield single against new reliever Chris Farinas, which in rapid order brought on the third pitcher of the inning, Keith Roofener, to pitch to Stalker. Tim popped out, Nunley hit into a double play, and everything was always coming up tails again… It was still 4-3 in the ninth against Giordano. Harenberg popped out to short. Hereford batted for Jamieson and grounded out to first. And Rafael Gomez singled to left to give another sliver of hope. A K to Chris Baldwin dealt with that sufficiently. 4-3 Crusaders. Ramos 2-3, BB; Baldwin 2-4; Allan (PH) 1-1; Wise 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K;

In other news

July 30 – In the morning, the Titans deal SP Lorenzo Viamontes (7-10, 4.40 ERA) to the Warriors for 1B Justin Uliasz (.333, 1 HR, 5 RBI), who had spent most of the season in AAA after batting .230 with 20 homers for Sioux Falls in ’29. Late at night, Uliasz (.375, 2 HR, 6 RBI) becomes a winner already, beating the Knights, 1-0, with a solo homer in the 14th inning.
July 30 – The Loggers send backup middle infielder Jason Rauser (.308, 1 HR, 14 RBI) to the Cyclones for 28-year-old LF/RF Ricardo Ferrales, who had yet to play in the majors this year.
July 31 – DAL SP Nate Ward (4-4, 2.69 ERA) 2-hits the Capitals and whiffs eight in a 4-0 shutout.
July 31 – SFB 1B Tomas Caraballo (.282, 18 HR, 60 RBI) has his team’s only base hit, a single, in a 6-0 loss to the Crusaders’ SP Keith Roofener (6-3, 3.15 ERA) and Casey Moore (2-3, 4.00 ERA, 2 SV).
August 1 – Charlotte SP Chris Rountree (10-10, 4.93 ERA) 3-hits the Thunder in a 4-0 shutout.
August 1 – TOP SP Ernesto Lujan (9-10, 3.66 ERA) will miss up to ten months with a stretched elbow ligament.
August 2 – A throwing error by TOP LF/RF Pablo Sanchez (.353, 3 HR, 48 RBI), who will not allow Washington’s Dave Menth (.242, 16 HR, 58 RBI) to tag and reach third base in the bottom of the 10th inning, allows Menth to come around and scored the only run in a 1-0 Capitals walkoff win.

Complaints and stuff

“All is well.” – Who stitched that onto the cushions on my good old brown couch?? I demand answers! Who!?!?

Not much to say after your run-of-the-mill 1-6 week. But look at where the Elks are and where we could be relative to them.

Turned out even Kevin Harenberg had but negligible value at the trade deadline. The entire roster has negligible value for any purpose. That’s gonna be a FUN rebuild.

The IFA period is still going on; there is one 16-year-old Panamanian shortstop, Jose Agosto, left over, and we’re also bidding. The price is currently quickly escalating through the $150k range. In total we have so far signed three players – all position players – for $178k, so the soft cap is not anywhere near us. We will not have taken a pitcher this time around.

Fun Fact: The Elks have not made the postseason in 18 years.

Ray Gilbert of course. ****ing Ray Gilbert. That was a final weekend for the ages. If you’re an Elks fan. Which means you’re also dumb and ugly. (manically and with eager claws peels the rubber off the wheelchair’s tires)

*Nah. I actually did try run-and-hit there. No clever strategy. All despair.
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