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One of the Jays top pitching prospects took a big step forward, another took a step back and another is taking another step up the minor league rung as Brett Cecil will make his AA debut this evening.  Meantime, the three affiliates in action managed to bat 1.000 in the win column. 

Syracuse 1 Lehigh Valley 0

Allentown, PA - It was "Southpaw Night" at brand new Coca-Cola Park as David Purcey was on the hill for the Chiefs against J.A. Happ of the IronPigs, the Phillies Triple A club.  This game was almost a carbon copy of what happened last night in Beantown, except for two differences - the Jays affiliate actually won and they actually got a hit with a runner in scoring position.

J.A. Happ was able to work in and out of trouble all night long.  In the first inning, Wayne Lydon got aboard on an error at short, stole second and made it to third on a fielder's choice but would be stranded after a Hector Luna flyout.  Jorge Velandia drew a walk in the second, only to be forced out on a Sergio Santos fielder's choice.  However, Happ took care of Santos by picking him off at first.  Happ got away with a Pedro Lopez walk and a Wayne Lydon single with an inning-ending double play ball in the third.  The IronPigs lefty used another doubleplay ball to erase a lone single in the fourth but after a leadoff walk to Eric Nielsen in the fifth, Happ set down the next nine hitters in a row to finish his night with seven scoreless innings.

As good as Happ was, Purcey was even better.  He had his mojo working, punching out the first two batters of the game with called strikeouts.  He was perfect through three innings before giving up a leadoff single in the fourth but that was immediately erased by a groundball double play.  Purcey yielded another single in the fifth but induced another DP to end that threat.  Purcey actually faced the minimum 21 batters through seven innings before issuing his only walk with just one out in the eighth.  However, he finished up his night by striking out the side, all swinging, to put a punctuation mark on his outing.  Now the question was, could the Chiefs (unlike the parent club!) actually reward their starter by scoring a run?  The answer was yes.  

Matt Childers, who worked a one-hit eighth in relief of Happ, returned to the mound for the Iron Pigs in the ninth.  Wayne Lydon led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a Buck Coats groundout to second.  Robinzon Diaz was given an intentional pass but a flyball by Hector Luna was apparently not deep enough to score Lydon.  However, Jorge Velandia picked up Luna by delivering a single up the middle to cash in Lydon for a 1-0 Syracuse lead.   Tracy Thorpe came on in the ninth and the hard-throwing righty did not disappoint as he struck out the first two men he faced before inducing a popup to short to end the ball game.

Boxscore Notes - Not to put too fine a point on this but damn, David Purcey was better than friggin' good!  He faced just 25 batters over eight innings (just one over the minimum) and his K-BB mark was 9 to 1.  Also, 10 of his 15 outs were on the ground.  He's now 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA.........Tracy Thorpe was able to smell was Purcey was cooking by notching his third save of the year with a perfect ninth.  He has not allowed an earned run over his last 5 1/3 innings....Wayne Lydon led the "offence" by collecting half of the Chiefs four hits.  He stole two bases and scored the winning run......Jorge Velandia was the other Chiefs to get on base twice with a walk and his game winning RBI single in the ninth......Joe Inglett had the other Syracuse single in his return from the big club.

New Hampshire 8 Reading 5

Game Story - New Hampshire Union Leader

Manchester, NH - The Ricky Romero horror story continued in this one as the lefty went up against Phillies southpaw Fabio Castro in what turned out to be less than a pitchers duel.   

A walk, a lineout to centre, a wild pitch and another single led to runners at second and third in the top of the first before Lou Marson punched a single to center to score two runs for Reading.  Romero ended the inning with a punchout and groundout.  Romero danced with danger again in the second by loading up the bases with two walks and a single but he was bailed out by a groundball double play.  Romero got two groundouts to start off the third but a single, a wild pitch and a walk set the table for Neil Sellers and he doubled to center to score two more runs.  However, the F-Cats defence bailed out Romero again as F-Cats centerfielder Aaron Matthews hit the cutoff man in shortstop Ryan Klosterman and he threw the ball to Anthony Hatch to cut down Sellers trying to stretch his extra-base hit into a triple.  Romero's night got worse in the fourth when Gookie Dawkins poked one over the fence to make it 5-0 for Reading.  A walk and a strikeout later, Romero was relieved by fellow lefty Daryl Harang, who retired the next two hitters to end the frame. 

The New Hampshire offence stranded six runners over the first three innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the third.  However, they got the bats going in the fourth.  With one out, Ryan Klosterman drew a walk and Brian Jeroloman singled (what, no walk?).  When Reading first baseman Juan Tejeda failed to squeeze a foul ball in his mitt, Aaron Matthews made the Phils pay with an RBI single to score Klosterman.  After Chris Gutierrez walked to load the bases. Ryan Patterson chased Fabio Castro from the game with a two-run single to score Matthews and Jeroloman.  Ronald Hill came out of the bullpen and he gave up a double to Jacob Butler that scored Gutierrez.  Travis Snider then tied up the game at 5-5 with an RBI groundout to score Ryan Patterson.

The Fisher Cats opened up another can of wupass in the fifth as Ryan Klosterman belted a homer to left to give New Hampshire a 6-5 lead.  Brian Jeroloman followed with another single and he came home on Aaron Matthews' first homer of the season to make the score 8-5.

Daryl Harang used two doubleplay balls to erase singles in the fifth and sixth before setting down the side in order in the seventh.  Sean Stidfole kept Reading off the board in the eighth despite two walks and a single thanks in large part to another DP and Zach Dials worked a 1-2-3 ninth, punctuating the save by striking out his final batter to end the game. 

Boxscore Notes - Ricky Romero's pitching line is ugly, no matter how you slice it!  He yielded 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings on 7 hits and four walks and also fired two pitches to the backstop.  He struck out only two as his ERA now stands at 5.61.......Daryl Harang evened his record at 2-2 with 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief by only giving up two hits.........Zach Dials earned his second save of the year in his third appearance  with New Hampshire since his callup from Dunedin........New Hampshire's defence shone in this one as they managed to turn four double plays......Former Jays reliever Jason Kershner pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for Reading, striking out four.......Aaron Matthews paced the Fisher Cats attack with three of the team's 10 hits, including a homer and 3 RBI in a 3-for-5 day at the dish.  He's batting .315 on the season.........Ryan Patterson is swinging a hot stick.  Hitting .472 over the last 10 games has pushed his overall average to .324 and his slugging percentage, despite not having a homer yet on the year, is now at .493......At the other end of the spectrum, Travis Snider, despite a walk and an RBI groundout, is batting just a dollar and three cents with the F-Cats....To go along with their 10 hits, the Fisher Cats showed a keen batting eye by drawing 8 walks - including two apiece by Chris Gutierrez, Jacob Butler and Ryan Klosterman. Strangely, Brian Jeroloman did not draw one as the BJWM (Brian Jeroloman Walk Meter) remains at 10.  He did have a couple of singles so let's cut him a break!


Lansing 3 Quad Cities 1

Game Story -

Clinton, IA - The Lugnuts and River Bandits continued their barnstorming tour of Iowa thanks to the flooding of the Mississippi River in Davenport that has rendered Modern Woodmen Park inoperable.  Nixing the idea of grabbing scuba gear and playing underwater, The 'Nuts and Bandits travelled from the series opener at Cedar Rapids to play in Clinton, the home of the Texas affiliate LumberKings.

Righthander Randy Boone toed the rubber for the Lugnuts against the River Bandits Brian Broderick.  The visitors got to Broderick in the first when Kevin Ahrens doubled with one out and came home on a single from C.J. Ebarb.   Ebarb would also drive in the Lugnuts second run of the game when he produced a sacrifice fly to cash home a leadoff triple from Darin Mastroianni in the fourth.

Meantime, Randy Boone just motored right along in this one.  He punched out three batters in the first two frames and retired 10 of 11 batters to begin the game.  Boone gave up a single to Peter Kozma in the fourth but he erased the Cardinals first round pick in the 2007 draft on a steal attempt of second by firing a peg to shortstop Raul Barron for the out.  The only inning where Boone ran into any sort of trouble was in the sixth when he gave up a two-out walk and a single but he got his third groundball out of the inning to keep Quad Cities off the board.

The Lugnuts strung together three singles to produce a run in the top of the 7th when John Tolisano's infield single to short brought home Wesley Stone, who made it to third on a Moises Sierra base knock.  Edgar Estanga took over on the mound for Lansing in the 7th and he retired the side in order with two strikeouts and a ground out.  Estanga survived a walk and a single in the eighth with another punchout to end the threat but in the ninth, he was nicked for a single run after giving up a double and a single.  However, Estanga stranded the tying runs by getting a couple of groundouts to end the game and earn the three inning save.

 Boxscore Notes - The 2-through-7 spots in the lineup had two hits apiece to lead the Lugnuts 14-hit attack.  The two-hit men were Kevin Ahrens, Darin Mastroianni, C.J. Ebarb, Raul Barron, Adam Calderone and Wesley Stone.  Only Michael McDade went hitless on the afternoon......Doing their impersonation of the parent club, the Lugnuts hit into three double plays and left seven men on base..........Randy Boone faced just three batters over the minimum and 10 of his 13 outs in play were on the ground over his six innings of work.  He's now 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA and batters are hitting just .208 against him......Despite allowing one run on four hits and a walk over three innings, Edgar Estanga's ERA is only 49 cents, including the PST and GST.


*** 3 Stars!!! ***

3.  Randy Boone, Lansing - 6IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 4K = W

2.  Aaron Matthews, New Hampshire - 3/5, HR, 3 RBI, 2R

1.  David Purcey, Syracuse - 8IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 9K, 10 GO,  = W


Honourable Mentions...........


Syracuse - Wayne Lydon, Jorge Velandia, Tracy Thorpe.

New Hampshire - Daryl Harang, Zach Dials, Ryan Klosterman, Ryan Patterson, Brian Jeroloman, Jacob Butler.

Lansing - Edgar Estanga, Kevin Ahrens, Darin Mastroianni, C.J. Ebarb, Raul Barron, Adam Calderone, Wesley Stone.




Syracuse - 16-10,1.5 GB of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre - IL North, W2, 7-3 in Last 10.

New Hampshire, 8-15, 8.5 GB of Portland - EL North, W3, 5-5 in Last 10.

Dunedin, 14-11, 1.0 GA of Tampa - FSL West (Tied w/ Fort Myers & Sarasota), L1, 5-5 in Last 10.

Lansing, 14-10, 0.5 GA of Dayton - MWL East (Tied w/ West Michigan), W1, 6-4 in Last 10.


Today's Schedule/Probable Starters..............


Syracuse @ Lehigh Valley, 10:35 a.m. EDT - LHP Bill Murphy, SYR (2-1, 2.70) vs. RHP Ron Chiavacci, LV (1-2, 3.95).

Reading @ New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m. EDT - RHP Carlos Carrasco, REA (1-2, 3.91) vs. LHP Brett Cecil, NH (0-0, 0.00).

Dunedin @ Lakeland, 7:00 p.m. EDT - TBA, DUN vs. RHP Rick Porcello, LAK (1-4, 2.13).

Lansing vs. Quad Cities @ University of Iowa, 8:00 p.m. EDT - RHP Trystan Magnuson, LAN (0-2, 2.61) vs. RHP Mark Diapoules, QC (1-0, 0.00).

Purcey Showing No Mercy! Despair-o For Romero! Call Up For Cecil! | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Sneeps - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 03:03 AM EDT (#184026) #
i think ricky just needs to learn how to pitch in the cold.  his results in dunedin were good, and he was also above average in the hitter friendly AFL.
timpinder - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 03:13 AM EDT (#184027) #

Does Cecil still project as a starter?  Is his changeup good enough to compliment his fastball and slider to allow him to start?  I ask because the Jays have been really stingy on the pitch-count with him, and I would have assumed they'd be stretching him out more if they still planned on using him as a starter down the road.  Perhaps his injury was worse than originally reported.

Romero has been up and down, and to be honest he was the guy I thought would break out this year.  It's nice that Purcey and Cecil have stepped up though, because one of them is likely going to have to fill in for Burnett next year.  And speaking of Purcey, has anyone seen him pitch enough to give their opinion on whether he'll make it as a starter in the majors?  His control seems to be there, but it's still tough to start in the majors with just a two-pitch repertoire, even for a big lefty.  Has his changeup come along at all to be a usable third pitch?

Love the minor league reports. 

Lucky - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#184030) #
I have not yet seen Romero pitch well.  I just don't think he can do it.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#184033) #
I can't think of a bigger boon to the organization than Purcey's taking it to the next level. I hope he keeps it up. The K:BB ratio is extremely encouraging.

I've never seen Romero pitch, but everything about his track record in the minors says bust.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#184037) #
Purcey looks like he took the one start then back to AAA the right way, as inspiration rather than 'dang, I should be there already'.  If he keeps it up then Litsch should watch out as next time rather than getting cursed at he might get AAA'd at.  It also opens up the possibility of AJ being traded mid-season to open a slot in the rotation a few months early (odds are someone would trade for him and sign him to an extension).  Cecil moving into the #6 role for 2009?  Could be.
dogbus - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#184040) #

Baby steps with Travis Snider.  He only struck out once yesterday and got his first RBI.  Hopefully every day will be an improvement.  I'd like to see a 1 for 4 in his next game.  1 Strike out maximum.

Gerry - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#184045) #

Remember Purcey was pitching to Lehigh Valley who are 3-23 this season.  It was a very good performance but we need to see the same against a good team.  Syracuse are already up 8-0 today against Lehigh Valley in the fourth inning.

Snider twice was out yesterday hitting the ball to left field.  As I said earlier Snider's swing will be right when he is hitting regularly to left field.  Hopefully those two at-bats are a sign Snider's swing is starting to come around.

FisherCat - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#184048) #

I'm strongly considering taking the jaunt up to NH to get my 1st glimpse of both Cecil & Snider in AA.  If I go I'll try and put my 2 cents in regarding what I see.  Although I tend to see things from a "fans" perspective more than a "scout" or hardcore baseball analysis type prospective.

Question: how do I post pictures and/or small video clips into the replies here?  As I may have my digital camera available to take some shots.  Worst case is I can post them on YouTube and paste the link.

ramone - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#184052) #

I'm thinking that there has been a change of plans in Cecil starting tonight, either that or has it wrong. lists Wideman as the starter tonight for the Cats.

Impossibles - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#184057) #

Rick Litsch (Jesse's dad) posts on BJW and says Jesse and Ricky became pretty good friends while in New Hampshire together (pretty sure they roomed together).  The senior Litsch really believes Ricky Romero will be a solid pitcher, he keeps telling us that he has great stuff and a great arm, but he needs to get over some minor injuries and learn how to pitch better.  Rick Litsch also runs a baseball academy, so he should know what he is talking about.

Take that for what you want, but his praise of the kid gives me some faith that Ricky will make it as a big league starter.

FisherCat - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#184058) #

ramone, the link in the post to the Union Leader story has the beat writer mentioning Cecil's debut tonight.

With Manchester being a relatively large city, their writers are pretty reliable for information on even minor league teams.

Craig B - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#184061) #

Most of the scouts I have heard on the subject agree that Romero still has what it takes to be a good big league starter.  All the pitches, good enough fastball for a lefty, shows command, knows how to pitch, great makeup.

It's the stats analysts, and I count myself in that number, who have a lot more questions.  Romero looked great in college stats-wise, putting up not just great numbers against great competition, but a terrific set of peripherals and comes out of a program that is second to none in producing big-league players who play the game right, the old-fashioned way.  I honestly thought that while he might never be a true #1, he was a can't-miss mid-rotation starter.  And the scouts agreed.

But a look at the numbers in the minors, especially given his relative advancement coming into pro ball, are just underwhelming.  Not so bad that you'd give him no chance, certainly, but the good command that everyone says he has just isn't showing up in his stats.  He's been quite wild, hasn't thrown enough strikes, and his line screams "control-problems lefty", even in the instances when he's pitched quite well, like in the AFL.  This was not the droid we were looking for. 


Gerry - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#184063) #
I have seen Romero pitch and I agree with Craig, Romero has major league "stuff".  Romero's problem is the same as Purcey's, he needs to command his "stuff" better.  It looks like Purcey has made progress in that regard, hopefully Romero will do so too.  We should also remember that Romero has had a pattern this year of good start, bad start to it's not that he is pitching poorly every time.  He could be working on a new delivery that clicks some starts and doesn't others.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#184067) #
Wow, Lehigh Valley really, really sucks (3-24 now).  Is the Phillies farm system that bad, or did they just not sign any AAAA players for that team?

Btw, Bill Murphy is now 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA.  If AJ goes bye-bye could Murphy move into the #6 role while Purcey gets the #5?  And Russ Adams, pre-game, was at 243-378-419 while Inglett was at 367-441-600.  Please tell me why McDonald and Scutaro are signed for '08 and '09 for millions?  Syracuse also has 6 guys who have ERA's below 3, all into double digits for IP (not counting Camp or Carlson).  Nice.  Just two hitters over 800 for OPS though (not counting Lind) which makes one wonder if they are really growing the grass long in Syracuse :)
HollywoodHartman - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#184074) #
 I'm sorry I don't have the data in front of me but the Scoot deal was rather good. He recieved around $500 K more in total than could have been expected in arbitration. So while I understand the frustration, I don't agree when it comes to Marco.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#184077) #

Keep an eye on the people's favorite - Chip Cannon.

Sure, he had a bad and injured year last year for a dissappointing follow-up to his very solid debut AA season, and sure he's 26 years old in his first season in AAA.....but hey, I sitll like him.

And after a rough start, the kid seems to be picking it up a bit:

  • First 10 games: 31ab, 8tb, 5bb, 13k, .565ops
  • Last 10 games: 31ab, 16tb, 6bb, 9k, .921ops

Would be nice if last year's down year turned out to be a injury-spurred aberration.

Rob - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#184078) #
Another player to watch tonight is the R-Phillies' backup catcher. None other than John Suomi.
iains - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#184079) #
In a way I'm happy that Snider is encountering a bit of adversity at the AA level.  For him to develope into the player we all hope he will become he needs to learn to deal with failure sooner than later.  It's much better that he hits a bump in the road and learns to adjust at AA than to pull a Halliday and do it at the major league level (being bumped all the way down to A ball to sort things out after a horrific year).
ramone - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#184080) #
Well if you're happy about Snider encountering adverstiy at AA, then you should be pleased to know that Cecil  and the cats are down 4 - 0 after the first inning in his AA debut.  Hopefully just nerves, or the cold weather.
Lucky - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#184085) #
What is the BJW site he talks about?
FisherCat - Wednesday, April 30 2008 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#184092) #
Purcey Showing No Mercy! Despair-o For Romero! Call Up For Cecil! | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.