Archive for July 25th, 2009

An Osprey Never Quits

The Missoula Osprey staged what might be minor league baseball’s comeback of the year last night, rallying from a late 7-0 deficit to beat the Billings Mustangs, 8-7.

Billings scored twice in each of the first three innings and held a seven run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.  With two out, Missoula scored on a bases loaded walk (one of three free passes in the inning) to finally get on the scoreboard.

Bryan Gardner came on in the eighth for Billings and put two men on (via walk and hit by pitch) before escaping from the inning unscathed. He was sent back out to start the ninth, charged with securing the six run lead, when everything went to hell in ten easy steps.

1.  Alex Herrnberger walked.
2.  Henry Zaballa walked; Herrnberger advanced to 2nd.
3.  David Nick walked; Herrnberger advanced to 3rd; Zaballa advanced to 2nd.
4.  David Narodowski walked; Herrnberger scored; Zaballa advanced to 3rd; Nick to 2nd. 7-2, Billings

At this point, manager Julio Garcia had seen enough, replacing Gardner (final line: IP, 0 H, 5 BB, 4 R) with Daniel Corcino.

5.  With Bobby Stone batting, Zaballa scored on a balk; Nick advanced to 3rd; Narodowski advanced to 2nd. 7-3, Billings
6.  Bobby Stone singled on a ground ball to shortstop; Nick scored; Narodowski to 3rd. 7-4, Billings
7.  Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Adonys Canelo replaced Stone.
8.  Ramon Castillo singled on a line drive to left; Narodowski scores; Canelo to 2nd. 7-5 Billings
9.  Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Ender Inciarte replaced Castillo.
10. Paul Goldschmidt homered on a fly ball to center; Canelo scored; Inciarte scored. 8-7, Missoula wins

To recap, those seven ninth-inning runs were driven in by: a walk, a balk, an infield single, a single to left, and a walkoff homerun.  Three runs scored before the Osprey even got a ball out of the infield.  Missoula: where amazing happens.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (As Interpreted By A 21-Year-Old Minor League Pitcher)

Via today’s Roundup at The Big Lead comes this video of Palm Beach Cardinals Casey Mulligan doing his best to entertain the crowd during a recent rain delay:

I like that as you’re listening to all the adults laugh at Mulligan’s “Thriller” dance, one little kid who doesn’t get the joke pipes up with the one question everyone always wants to know about the tarp: can you use that thing as a slip and slide? (To answer your question, dear child: yes.)

Mulligan’s dance moves clearly leave something to be desired. Good thing he’s a decent reliever (1.16 ERA, 69 strikeouts in 46.2 innings at the A and A+ levels this season) and shouldn’t have to quit his day job anytime soon.

Two Games, Two Minor Leaguers, Six Homeruns

Going into last night’s game against the Binghamton Mets, Erie catcher Alex Avila was mired in a deep slump: 1-for 19 with two walks over his previous five games.

Avila took a liking to Binghamton starter Eric Brown, however, hitting three-run homers in the first and second innings as the SeaWolves jumped out to a 9-0 lead after two.  He later added a solo shot in the eighth to bring his totals for the day to three homeruns and seven RBI.

A fifth-round draft pick by the Tigers in 2008, Avila hit for some power in college, slugging 14 and 17 homeruns in his last two seasons at Alabama.  He struggled to put the ball out of the park last year in the Midwest League, homering just once in 213 at-bats (although he did hit .305), but is back on track this season with eleven round trippers in about 300 at-bats for Erie.

Avila is the second Tigers minor leaguer in as many days to hit three homeruns.  On Thursday, Toledo’s Brent Clevlen went deep three times in an 18-1 win over Syracuse.  Clevlen may not have had the best offensive performance in that game, however; teammate Jeff Frazier was 4-5 with a homerun and six RBI.

So…which Tiger is gonna hit three homeruns today?