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A disappointing 1-3 night for Toronto’s minor leaguers, and an update on the Three-Star standings.

Syracuse - Off Day

New Hampshire 1 @ Norwich 6

Cameron Reimers had difficulty navigating the bottom of the first inning as he allowed 5 Norwich runs. Reimers allowed just 1 run thereafter and relievers Bubbie Buzachero (2-1/3, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Jordan De Jong (2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K) shut things down, but the Fisher Cat bats had another quiet night. Their 6 hits included doubles from DH Kevin Barker and 3B Brad Hassey.

Boxscore - Recap - Union-Leader

Dunedin 5 @ Tampa 0 (Game 1)
Dunedin 2 @ Tampa 8 (Game 2)

The D-Jays split a pair of 7-inning games with the T-Yanks in Tampa. Kurt Isenberg (5-2/3, 5 hits, 3 BB, 5 K) teamed up with a very sharp Brian Reed (4 batters faced, 3 whiffs) for the shutout in the opener. DH Clint Johnston had 3 hits including a double, 2B Ryan Roberts had a single and a homer, and RF David Smith slapped 2 singles. 1B Joey Reiman and SS Scott Dragicevich also doubled.

The nightcap was less fun the Dunedins as Justin James, Brad Mumma, and Jeremy Harper couldn’t hold Tampa down. The hitting wasn’t much better, not scoring until the 6th inning, by which time they were already down 6-0. DH Adam Lind hit a triple and walked, while Roberts stayed warm with a single and a walk.

Boxscores: Game 1, Game 2 -

Quad Cities 5 @ Lansing 2

Unlike the clubs higher in the system, the Lugnut offence deserved better. LF Luke Hetherington had a 4-hit night, including a triple, RF Eric Nielsen hit a single and a double, C Curtis Thigpen had two base hits, The Chip Cannon fired a double, and leadoff man Yuber Rodriguez did his job twice by drawing walks… but it all added up to just 2 in the run column.

On the other side of the ball, lefty Chi-hung Cheng similarly deserved a better fate than the L beside his name. The youngest Nut hurled 6 innings, striking out 7 Swingers while allowing just 4 hits and walking 2, but Quad City bunched much of that, including a dinger, in the 3rd inning to score 3 runs. Jordy Templet tossed the final 3 frames, allowing 2 more runs on 3 hits and a walk, striking out 2.

Boxscore - Recap - Lansing State Journal

Three-Star Selection!

The Third Star: Ryan Roberts, Dunedin. Homer, 2 singles, and a walk in a double header.

The Second Star: Chi-hung Cheng, Lansing. 7 Ks and just 6 baserunners in 6 innings.

The First Star: Luke Hetherington, Lansing. 6 bases on a 4-hit night.

Three-Star Standings

Congratulations to Lansing starter Casey Janssen, our Three-Star champion for April. The 2004 4th-round pick went 2-0 with a miniscule 1.69 ERA in 32 innings pitched and collected Three-Star recognition in all 5 of his starts. Here’s a recap of his outstanding month for the Lugnuts:

April 7: 7 innings of no-hitter, 7 Ks and just 1 walk.

April 12: 1 unearned marker on 5 hits in 6 innings, 3 strikeouts and no walks.

April 17: 1 run on 4 hits in a 6-inning start, 5-1 K-BB.

April 22: 9 strikeouts in 7 innings, 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk

April 28: 3 earned runs come on just 4 hits in 6 innings, 5 punchouts.

These performances earned the 6’3” righty a total of 40 points per our new and improved scoring system. To wit, the number of games played on a given day is multiplied by 3 to determine the number of points awarded the First Star, by 2 for the Second Star, and by 1 for the Third Star. So, on your average April night which sees 4 Jays affiliates in action the First Star earns 12 points, the Second Star 8 points, and the Third Star 4 points.

A total of 50 different Blue Jay farmhands were named at least once as a star in the month of April. Here's the top ten:

Player        	 Points  Stars
Casey Janssen	   40	   5
Josh Banks  	   28	   3
Adam Lind   	   24	   3
Aaron Hill  	   24	   2
J-F Griffin 	   21	   3
Shaun Marcum	   20	   3
Ryan Klosterman	   17	   2
Chad Gaudin 	   16	   2
Brian Patrick	   15	   2
Scott Downs 	   15	   2
Jamie Vermilyea	   15	   1
Bull In The Hetherington; Janssen Brightest Star In April | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#115235) #
Nice wrap up Johnny. Janssen is a hell of a smart pitcher as I have continually stressed here. He is pitching tonight and I'm going to be in Lansing for the game. I think kpataky did something neat with the pictures, so I will try to get a few pictures of Casey and a few other guys.
Jordan - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#115237) #
Cheng continues to impress: his early-season line now reads 26 IP, 24 H, 9 BB, 34 K, 3 HR, 30.6% KBF. And he's doesn't even turn 20 till next month. A little better location of his pitches and he could get really interesting. The Jays rarely go overseas to recruit players, but when they do, they sure can pick 'em.
Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#115238) #
I noticed in the past couple of years in the MWL that more and more teams are starting to draft or sign kids as free agents from the middle east. One thing that I will say is that the oriental kids don't throw the ball as hard, but they have very good breaking pitches. I find alot of similarities between Chen and Jae Kuk Ryu who pitched for the Lugnuts a few years back and is currently pitching for West Tennessee. Very similar builds, pitching style, delivery and success. It will definitly be interesting to follow this kid. He's left handed which makes him all the more attractive.
Jonny German - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#115240) #
Thanks, LF. We'll look forward to your photos.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#115247) #
The marquee pitching matchup goes in the Eastern League tonight at 6:35 p.m. Shaun Marcum takes the mound for New Hampshire against David Aardsma and the Norwich Navigators.

Brandon League starts for Syracuse tonight in Ottawa, while Davis Romero gets the start for Dunedin and Casey Janssen hurls for the Lugnuts.
butteredcat - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#115254) #

"Nielsen Rates Four Hits; Janssen Brightest Star In April"

"LF Luke Hetherington had a 4-hit night, including a triple, RF Eric Nielsen hit a single and a double"

"The First Star: Eric Nielsen, Lansing. 6 bases on a 4-hit night."

Looks like a little bit of a mixup here. The box score (and your text) shows that Hetherington collected the 4 hits. Sorry Nielsen, but you'll have to earn the First Star on your own merit!

The occasional brain fart is natural and you guys certainly make errors much less often than expected. Thanks for putting together the report Jonny!

Jonny German - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#115263) #
What are you even talking about? Gosh!
Jonny German - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#115265) #
In seriousness, thanks for the catch B-Cat. As you can see, Hetherington has now been given his due.
MatO - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#115282) #
Noting how awful Tampa Bay's starters have been, I decided to check out what they have at AAA. Here are the stats:

Is that Joe Magrane pitching for Durham? Are his numbers a typo? If not, are those not the worst numbers you have ever seen? Chad Gaudin may never amount to anything but how does TB trade any pitcher whose arm is still attached to his socket for a catcher whose upside is Mike Matheny
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#115289) #
No, MatO, those are not the worse numbers I have ever seen. It gets worse than Magrane; their fifth starter is Jack Webb, aka Sgt. Joe Friday. Just the facts, ma'am!

Seriously, Tampa needs pitching at all levels. They have outfielders/first basemen/DH (Baldelli, Crawford, Delmon Young, Gathright, Huff, Gomes, Lee, Phelps). They need to decide who is likely to be at the core of the team offensively in 2007, and work from there.
MatO - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#115302) #
I was thinking that Magrane's season so far looked like the inverse of Tom Henke's 1985 season in Syracuse. But Henke was even better: 51.1IP and 13H allowed!
MatO - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#115303) #
Prior to the season JP mentioned that Eric Nielsen had impressed him among minor league hitters. He got off to a horrible start at Lansing but has been very impressive recently showing good power, with good BB and K rates. While Cannon gets a lot of attention I think Nielsen may be the one to watch.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#115356) #
Brandon League had a difficult outing today and the Chiefs lost to Ottawa 5-1. Shaun Marcum outpitched Aardsma, and leads after 6 innings. Davis Romero continues his streak of odd lines, 7 strikeouts and no walks through 4.1 innings but 8 hits and 1 earned run; he trails 1-0. Casey Janssen has a 1 hitter and Chip Cannon and Ryan Klosterman have homered as the Lugnuts lead in the middle innings.
Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#115459) #
I have just returned from the Lansing game and the final line on Janssen was 7 IP; 0 runs; 3 hits; 5 K's; 1 walk and 1 hit batter. I'm going to say it again, he needs to be advanced to another level. I know there is a log jam right now, but he needs to go somewhere where he will be challenged.

The game started off on the right foot. Yuber led off the game with a single up the middle, followed by Thigpen hitting a single in just about the same spot. Nielsen then cracked a double to right center which scored Yuber. Thigpen was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the double. Cannon then came up and hit a two run blast to left field. It was 3-0 at the end of the first and tone for the game was set from there. Again, Janssen was solid and his command and dominance, it is safe to say he is a very confident young man right now.

I took some pictures tonight and I will try to post them tomorrow night.
StephenT - Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#115462) #
Braved the rush hour traffic to get to the 6pm SkyChiefs/Lynx game in Ottawa tonight. Weather seemed to be a nice 8C.

Top 1st: Aaron Hill (age 23) skies the first pitch he sees off the left-centrefield wall for an RBI double. JFGriffin (25) strikes out swinging on a 3-2 pitch from lefty Horacio Estrada (29) to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: The first batter Brandon League (22) faces lines a 1-1 pitch off the bottom of the left-field foul pole (325 ft.) for a home run (switch-hitting 2nd-baseman Bernie Castro (25)). Raines Jr. (24) grounds a 1-0 pitch to Aaron Hill's right but it's a smooth 6-3 out. 298-lb Walter Young (25) grounds a 1-0 pitch back to League (out 1-3). Freire (30) bloops an 0-2 pitch to 2B Matos (30). 11 pitches, 8 strikes for League through 1.

It also starts to rain, then hail (?), in the bottom of the 1st. This wasn't in the forecast. Fortunately (?), no one's view is blocked when I put up my umbrella. Play continues.

Top 2nd: Eric Crozier (26) grounds out 1-3 vs. the lefty Estrada.

Bottom 2nd: 2 groundouts to 3rd and fly out to left for League. 11 more pitches, 7 strikes. The hail stops.

Top 3rd: After a 4-pitch walk to the previous batter (DH Bryant Nelson, 31) with 2 out, AHill takes the first pitch and then bloops one to right-field which Keith Reed (26) makes a nice play on for the 3rd out.

Bottom 3rd: League gets the #8 batter to ground out 1-3, but goes 3-0 on the #9 batter (Reed) before giving up a line single to left on a 3-2 pitch. Castro grounds a single to right; 3B Alfaro (27) boots a nice throw from RF Mottola (30) and a run scores. League's next pitch is wild and Castro advances to 3rd. On 3-2 count League gets Raines to ground out to Crozier without the runner scoring. But 298-lb Walter Young grounds a 1-0 pitch through League's legs for an RBI single. Freire grounds out to 3rd on a 1-0 pitch. 22 pitches for League this inning, 13 strikes.

Top 4th: JFGriffin fouls off a couple to work a 6-pitch walk off the lefty, but Matos grounds into a 6-4-3 GIDP to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: League gets the 1st batter to pop out to 2nd on the first pitch. He goes 2-0 on Calzado (28) before an infield bloop evades League for an infield hit, and Matos throws the ball away to advance the runner to 2nd. League walks Enrique Wilson (31) on 6-pitches. The #8 batter lines a 2-1 pitch toward JF Griffin in left for a single to load the bases. (Somewhere around this time, Spike Lundberg (28 tomorrow) starts to warm up in the pen; this, among other observations, came from the gentleman sitting to my right.) League gets the #9 batter to ground a 1-1 pitch into a 5-4-3 GIDP to end the inning. 17 pitches, 8 strikes for League in the 4th.

It also starts to rain again in the 4th. The umbrella once again saves the scorebook.

Top 5th: Crozier pops out to 3rd on a 3-1 pitch from the lefty. The rain stops again.

Bottom 5th: League starts the inning at 61 pitches. Castro has a 10-pitch at bat (including 4 consecutive fouls on 3-2 pitches) and grounds out to 2nd. League is taken out of the game
(SkyChiefs manager is Marty Pevey, pitching coach is Chuck Kniffin).

League: 71 pitches, 43 strikes, 4.1 innings, 3 runs, 1 HR, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 9 groundouts, 1 wild pitch, 2 assists.

Lundberg enters. Overall he went 2.2 innings, 2 runs, 31 pitches, 21 strikes, 1 K, 1 walk, 5 groundouts (including four 6-3s by AHill), 1 flyout, 1 infield hit, 1 groundhit up middle, 1 double lined to right.

Nannini (24) pitched the bottom of the 8th for the SkyChiefs. 25 pitches, 14 strikes.

Justin Miller (27) was spotted warming up in the pen late in the game.

AHill popped up a 1-0 pitch off a right-hander Rakers (28) in the 6th. In the 8th he grounded the first pitch from Rakers to shortstop but reached on Wilson's error.

JFGriffin struck out with runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out in the 6th vs. Rakers (2 called strikes, a ball, then a swing and a miss). In the 9th, he grounded a 1-2 pitch from the lefty Byrdak (31), but was too slow to reach first before Wilson got the ball there.

Crozier struck out in the 7th vs. Rakers and in the 9th vs. the lefty to end the game at 8:22pm. (Lynx won 5-1 for those keeping score.)

The stat sheet says "Hattig, Quiroz and McGowan not traveling with team".

Gabe Gross (25) did not play this night (a day off against the lefty starter?).

It wasn't a big crowd. If you wanted a foul ball, you could pick an empty section and your odds of getting one were good. Late in the game, a fan who got a foul ball yelled out a genuine thanks to the batter, Enrique Wilson. Enrique probably heard him. Despite the drizzle at times, it was a nice night to be at the ballpark.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 04 2005 @ 08:59 AM EDT (#115491) #
Thanks very much for the game reports, Stephen T and Lugnut Fan.
Bull In The Hetherington; Janssen Brightest Star In April | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.