May 2011

Portland Sea Dogs with a connection in Rochester

The great thing about the two cities, Portland and Rochester, is their passion for both minor league baseball and hockey.  I love towns that have both a hockey and baseball team.  Back in 2001, I was very fortunate to work in Syracuse, so I got the prospective of both types of fans.  Plus, hockey is a favorite sport of mine, and I love going to games in the off-season.

Last week, I contacted Aaron Bates, and he told me that he was still searching for a place to play.  Yesterday, Bates joined the Rochester Red Wings, and has two former Sea Dogs as teammates: Jeff Bailey and Ray Chang.

Aaron Bates hit .284, 22 HR and 120 RBI in 203 games with Portland

All three guys are true professionals, and I couldn’t be any more happy for all three of them.  I’m sure when they play Pawtucket, many Sea Dogs’ fans will make the trip to McCoy Stadium to see them play.

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Tough game for the Sea Dogs on Monday night, losing 1-0 on Moises Sierra’s walk-off, run-scoring single in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Portland is 2-11 on the road, and have the worst record in the Eastern League at 10-18.  Let’s keep positive thoughts, I’m seeing some great players in the first 28 games.  Stolmy Pimentel, who took a no-decision last night, hurled six scoreless innings.  Pimentel’s stuff, especially his change-up, was the best it’s been all season.  It’s very nice to see guys new to Double-A develop and make strides.  That’s why statistics can be misleading in Double-A.  We see guys struggle early, and sometimes it’s so hard to get that average or ERA at a respectful number.  Back in 2007, Jed Lowrie hit .138 in April, but still finished at .297 with Portland – that was truly amazing.

Quick hits:  New Hampshire has new colors: red, white and blue…Former Sea Dogs’ Media Assistant Maggie McCoy hung out in the booth last night…Tomorrow is a morning game in New Hampshire, maybe the first we’ve ever played there…Portland’s last 1-0 loss on the road happened last August in Altoona.

Portland Sea Dogs (10-17) at New Hampshire Fisher Cats (17-11)(

HEADING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE…As I am putting together this blog, the Sea Dogs are heading to Manchester, New Hampshire.  This is always a fun trip, and seems to feel very relaxing.  The trip is only 90 minutes, but the atmosphere at the ballpark feels like a home game, with the exception of the ‘Dogs batting first.  The Fisher Cats are located in the heart of Red Sox nation, so we should see many Red Sox and Sea Dogs’ jerseys in the stands.  I know the team is off to a 10-17 start, be have to remember this is a developing league.  Many of the first year players are getting better everyday, and this team is very exciting to watch.  I think it’s easy to assume a team under .500 is terrible, and not fun to watch.  It’s the complete opposite from my point-of-view.  Portland is number one in offense and defense, but their pitching is last.  I don’t expect the pitching to stay at the bottom for very long, so we could see a nice stretch this month.

Mustache May…I’m continuing to grow my stache, but it’s a work in progress.  The players came up with the idea last month, and have put together a plan to grow mustaches for the month of May, and tie it in with the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.  Although I might not be a “mustache guy,” growing facial hair for the MCCP is a no-brainer.  I’m honored to be involved with this, and the players deserve a lot of credit for putting this together.  I was very impressed with their plan.

NOTES FOR TODAY…

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Portland Sea Dogs head back out on the road for another seven-game road trip…It starts with a three-game series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) and continues with a four-game set in New Britain versus the Rock Cats…Portland is in the middle of a stretch where 14 of 17 games are away from Hadlock Field…Stolmy Pimentel gets the start today, still in search of his first career Double-A victory.

 

SEA DOGS COME UP SHORT: Bobby Lanigan outdueled Alex Wilson and the New Britain Rock Cats beat the Portland Sea Dogs 4-1 yesterday, taking the three-game series two to one…Caleb Clay (0-1) allowed his lone inherited runner to score, and then gave up three of his own, getting saddled with his first loss of the season…Che-Hsuan Lin had the only RBI for Portland on a run-scoring groundout…Portland has won only one of eight series to start the season.

TWIN KILLINGS: Portland’s offensive opportunities were few and far between thanks to four double plays turned by the New Britain defense…Rock Cats’ reliever Tyler Robertson was the main beneficiary, as three of the four were turned while he was on the hill…New Britain got a double play in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to stifle any potential rally by the ‘Dogs.

STRETCHING IT OUT: Wilson left the game in the sixth inning after getting a pop out from New Britain’s Chris Herrmann…The righty has gone five or more innings in five of his six starts this year…Yesterday’s game was also the first time in six starts that Wilson was left with a no decision…Through five games both he and Brock Huntzinger were the only Portland pitchers to have recorded a win or loss in every start…Huntzinger left with a no decision in Saturday’s game against the Rock Cats.

QUITE A START: Alex Hassan has been ranked among the Eastern League’s top hitters the entire season and currently leads the league with a .385 average and a .487 on-base percentage…He has recorded hits in 22 of his 26 games played…He has 10 multi-hit games, and played the first 25 games of the year before getting a day off on Saturday…Hassan has the best average of any player in Double-AWill Middlebrooks is fifth in the league in batting at .337 (33-for-98).

 

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Sea Dogs and New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) meet in the second game of their three-game series…The Sea Dogs and Rock Cats start a five-game series in four days on Thursday night from New Britain Stadium…The two teams play a doubleheader on Saturday night beginning at 5:35 PM…Then, Portland will return home for stretch with 12 home games in 15 days, including a doubleheader on May 28th against the Trenton Thunder

League Player of the Month was not our choice

Chalk It Up to Homer-ism

By Ben Altsher

More than month is now officially gone in the 2011 baseball season.  Admittedly, the Sea Dogs have not gotten off to a great start, but I constantly have to remind myself that this level is about more than just results, it’s about growth and development.  Thus far, no one seems to have grown and developed more than Alex Hassan.  After recording 98 hits a year ago with Salem, the Milton, MA native is already about a third of the way there this season.  That’s why I was surprised when Cody Overbeck of the Reading Phillies, and not Hassan, was honored as the Eastern League’s Player of the Month.

Now, this is in no way meant to disparage Overbeck, who certainly was worthy of the award as well.  Those of us with Portland know far too well his abilities, having allowed half his home runs this year.  However, to say that his accomplishments over the first three and half weeks surpassed those of Hassan seems foolish.

Surely, there will be those who read this and say I’m looking at the numbers with Sea-Dog colored glasses on, but that’s not the case.  In the areas and statistical measures that truly demonstrate a player’s individual ability (for that’s what these awards are based on, not just the “best player on the best team” philosophy that some purport), Hassan surpasses Overbeck.  Consider all their offensive metrics from April:

Hassan: 19 games, .411 batting average, 73 at-bats, 10 runs scored, 30 hits, 6 doubles, 1 homer, 14 RBI, 12 walks, 9 K’s, 3 stolen bases (never caught), .494 on-base, .534 slugging, 1.028 OPS, no errors

Overbeck: 22 games, .321 batting average, 81 at-bats, 15 runs, 26 hits, 4 doubles, 6 homers, 20 RBI, 5 walks, 24 K’s, one steal, caught stealing twice, .352 on-base, .593 slugging, .945 OPS, no errors

Now here’s what those numbers will tell you about the comparison between the two players.  Hassan is a patient hitter, willing to work counts to get in a favorable position.  While he has gap power, he doesn’t always display it and is just as content to walk as he is to get a single.  Overbeck is your classic power hitter.  When he squares up a mistake, look out.  However, he can be fooled on offspeed offerings and will definitely rack up the K’s.

Part of this opinion comes down to stylistic choice, but for my money, Hassan’s month was better because he fulfilled his role just a little bit better than Overbeck did his.  The power hitter definitely had a good month with his six bombs (four against the Sea Dogs) and 20 runs driven in.  However, for an on-base, grind-it-out player like Hassan to hit better than .400 for the month, and get on-base in nearly half his plate appearances is well above what the norm is, even for a talented, patient, on-base guy.

Not to mention that Hassan also has done his work primarily in the 2-spot in the Portland lineup, not exactly ideal for driving in runs.  He also has done while playing at a more challenging position in the outfield, while Overbeck splits his time between first base and designated hitter.  To me, the decision was made in looking at the OPS statistic (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).  It accounts for the strength of both players games, power for Overbeck, patience for Hassan.  The reason Hassan’s is higher is that while Overbeck has more power, it’s only by a slight margin.  On the other hand, Hassan is a far more patient hitter and will get on-base far more often than Overbeck.  That above all should show why Hassan’s month was superior.

Portland Sea Dogs (9-14) at Trenton Thunder (12-14)

SEA DOGS AT-A-GLANCE

Current Streak: L1

First Half: 9-14

Season Record: 9-14

Standing: 5th, 6.0 GB                                      

Last 5 Games: 1-4

Last 10 Games: 4-6

Last 15 Games: 6-9

Last 20 Games: 8-12

May Record: 1-3

Series Record H/R: 1-0-3/0-3-0

Series Sweeps by Dogs H/R: 0/0

Series Sweeps by Opp. H/R: 0/0

Series Finales H/R: 3-0/1-2

Rubber Games H/R: 0-0/0-0

DH Record W-L-S: 0-0-0

2011 Best Mark: 1-0

2011 Worse Mark: 9-14 (2x, -2 .500)

All-Time Record: 1,230-1195

All-Time at Home: 637-572

All-Time on Road: 593-623

Red Sox Affiliate: 577-573

Transactions (DL): 4 (1)

Players Used: 26

Boles’ Career: 611-571

Boles with Boston Org.: 225-213
Boles with Portland:
9-14

SEA DOGS ON ROADTRIP:

Games: 6

Record: 1-5

Average: .218 (44-202)            

Runs-Per-Game: 2.2 (13 total)

Home Runs: 2

RISP: .186 (8-43)
Fielding Errors:
4

ERA: 3.67 (20 ER/49 IP)

SP W-L, ERA: 1-5, 5.13

(15 ER/26.1 IP)

RP W-L, ERA: 0-0-0, 1.99

(5 ER/22.2IP)

Save Opportunities: 1-for-1

Holds: 1

LOOKING TO FINISH ON A HIGH NOTE: The Sea Dogs have dropped 5 of 6 on their 7-day roadtrip, which ends tonight at Waterfront Park against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate)…Stephen Fife makes his fifth start of the season and his second on the trip…20-year old lefty Manny Banuelos gets the starting nod of the Thunder…Banuelos is ranked as the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Yankees system according to Baseball America…Trenton is 4-2 on their 7-game homestand.

 

ONE BAD INNING: Trenton scored five runs in the fifth inning, and defeated the Portland Sea Dogs 7-1 on Wednesday night…Dellin Betances (1-1) hurled five strong innings, allowing only 4 hits, 1 run, no walks and fanned five…Stolmy Pimentel (0-4) suffered the loss, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs over 4.1 IP…Tommy Hottovy had yielded only run over 13 IP, but gave up 3 runs in 2.2 IP…Portland’s lone run came on Mitch Dening’s solo-homer with one out in the fifth inning.

 

QUITE A START: Alex Hassan has been ranked among the Eastern League’s top hitters the entire season and currently leads the league with a .407 average and a .490 on-base percentage…He has recorded hits in 20 of the team’s 23 games, 10 multi-hit games, and is the only Sea Dog to have played in all 23 games this season…Hassan has the best average of any player in Double-AWill Middlebrooks is seventh in the league in batting at .333 (28-for-84).

FOUR FOR WILSON: With the win on Tuesday, Alex Wilson has now won four of his five starts this season…The four wins tied him with Reading’s J.C. Ramirez and Harrisburg’s Brad Peacock for the most in the Eastern League…That also matches his total with the Sea Dogs from last season…Wilson was 4-5, 6.66 ERA in 16 starts with Portland last year and 6-6 combined in 27 starts between Portland and High-A Salem.

SIGH OF RELIEF: Despite the 1-5 record on the road trip, the Sea Dogs bullpen has continued its excellent start to the season…In six games, Portland relievers have surrendered just five earned runs in 22.2 innings, a 1.99 ERA…For the season, the bullpen has given up 35 earned runs in 96.2 innings pitched, a 3.26 ERA…Seth Garrison is tied for Eastern League lead with four holds.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Sea Dogs return home, hosting the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins affiliate) in a short 3-game homestand, before returning to the road for eight games in seven days…Portland and New Hampshire meet for the first time on Monday in a three-game series from Northeast Delta Dental Stadium…The Sea Dogs and Rock Cats meet in a 5-game series starting next Thursday.

THAT’S THE WAY TO START: The Sea Dogs are first in the Eastern League with a .276 average (217-for-787), but hitting only .218 (44-for-202) on the roadtrip…Portland hit their 15th homer of the season in last night’s game…Trenton is 11th in the E.L. in average at .227 (192-for-296), but are second in the league with 26 stolen bases.

HIP, HIP JORGE: Jorge Padron went 2-for-3 with a walk last night, and is hitting .318 (7-for-22) on the roadtrip…Padron is third on the team in multi-hit games with seven…Hassan leads with 10 and Middlebrooks has nine.

ROSTER MOVES: LHP Kyle Fernandes was activated from the disabled list with a mild ankle sprain…RHP Blake Maxwell was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket…Fernandes is active for tonight’s game and is wearing #15.

TRYING TO AVOID SIX: Portland has not been six games under .500 this season, but have been five games below .500 twice…The last time the ‘Dogs were six games under .500 was September 1, 2010 when they were 65-71…Last year’s team finished with a 70-71 record.

THIS DATE IN SEA DOGS HISTORY: May 5, 1995Billy McMillon homered, doubled, scored twice, and added 2 RBI in a 7-3 Sea Dogs win over Binghamton.

Around the Red Sox Organization

*Boston Red Sox (14‐16, 4.0 GB AL East) – After a 2.5 hour rain-delay, the Red Sox lost 5-3 to the Angels in 13-innings at Fenway Park…Daisuke Matsuzaka suffered the loss in relief for Boston, and dropped to 2-3.

*Pawtucket Red Sox (14‐12, 2.5 GB IL North) – Pawtucket was off last night, and opens up a series tonight at Scranton (Yankees affiliate)..

*Salem Red Sox (17‐7, 1.0 GA CL Southern) – Salem and Kinston were postponed on Wednesday due to rain…The two team’s will make up the game as part of a doubleheader on June 13…Tonight, Salem will host Myrtle Beach.

*Greenville Drive (14‐12, 1.0 GB SAL Southern) – Greenville was off last night and travels to Kannapolis on Thursday…Bryce Brentz tied a franchise record by getting on base for the 25th straight game on Wednesday.

HADLOCK HAPPENINGS: May 6, Fireworks presented by U.S. Cellular, May 7, Most Improved Students…May 8, Slugger’s Mother’s Day 5K Road Race…May 17, Kraft Singles Tuesday night tickets…Click for full Promotional Schedule.

 

RADIO NETWORK: Catch every game on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network: Flagship Stations: WBAE 1490 AM (Portland) and 1400 WVAE (Biddeford)…Network Affiliates: WERZ 1240 AM Lewiston/Auburn, WTME 780 AM Rumford, WKTQ 1450 AM South Paris, WMYF 1380 AM Portsmouth, NH (online at seadogs.com & milb.com)



Portland Sea Dogs (9-13) at Trenton Thunder (11-14)

YOUTH IS SERVED: After snapping a season-long four game losing streak, the Portland Sea Dogs send Stolmy Pimentel to the mound tonight in search of his first Double-A win…The 21-year old will be opposed by 23-year old Dellin Betances of the Trenton Thunder…Both pitchers rank among the top ten prospects of their respective organizations according to Baseball America…Pimentel is slotted at #6 in the Red Sox system, while Betances is #2 in the Yankee organization.

STREAK SNAPPED: The Sea Dogs put an end to a season-worst four game losing streak yesterday, beating the Thunder 5-2…Alex Hassan drove in a pair of runs with a two-out double in the top of the ninth, turning a one-run game into a three-run gap in favor of Portland…Alex Wilson pitched five innings and gave up four hits and two runs to earn his fourth win in five starts…Steve Garrison was lifted after surrendering two unearned runs in the first inning and was hit with his fourth loss of the year.

HASSAN KEEPS HITTING: In addition to his clutch double, Hassan added to his already impressive season with a 3-for-4 performance yesterday…He scored a run and stole a base aside from his 2 RBI…Hassan has been ranked among the Eastern League’s top hitters the entire season and currently leads the league with a .427 average and a .510 on-base percentage…He has recorded hits in 20 of the team’s 22 games, 10 multi-hit games, and is the only Sea Dog to have played in all 22 games this season…Hassan has the best average of any player in Double-A.

FOUR FOR WILSON: With the win yesterday, Wilson has now won four of his five starts this season…The four wins tied him with Reading’s J.C. Ramirez for the most in the Eastern League…That also matches his total with the Sea Dogs from last season…Wilson was 4-5 in 16 starts with Portland last year and 6-6 combined in 27 starts between Portland and Advanced-A Salem

SIGH OF RELIEF: Despite the 1-4 record on the road trip, the Sea Dogs bullpen has continued its excellent start to the season…In five games, Portland relievers have surrendered just two earned runs in 19 innings, a 0.95 ERA…For the season, the bullpen has given up 32 earned runs in 93 innings pitched, a 3.10 ERA…Seth Garrison is tied for EL lead with four holds.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Sea Dogs and Thunder play game three of their series at 7:05 PM…The two teams conclude the 4-game set with another 7:05 PM contest Thursday…Portland returns home on Friday night, hosting the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins affiliate) in a short 3-game homestand, before returning to the road for eight games in seven days.

Portland Sea Dogs (8-13) at Trenton Thunder (11-13)

Good morning from Waterfront Park in Trenton, New Jersey.  Today, the Sea Dogs look to snap a 4-game losing streak on this trip.   Portland has dropped 6 straight games on the road, outscored only 26-15.

Notes for today…

BREAKFAST AT WATERFRONT PARK: The Sea Dogs and Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate) meet on Tuesday morning in game two of their 4-game set from Waterfront Park…Portland has lost a season-high, four straight games, and six straight on the road…The Sea Dogs last road win came on April 17 at New Britain…Portland has had the tying or go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth inning during all four games on the trip…Trenton improved to 3-1 on their 7-game homestand with last night’s win.

 

GUESS THEY EARNED IT: Portland’s pitchers allowed three unearned runs and Austin Krum ended the game with a great diving catch, as Trenton beat the Sea Dogs 5-3 in the series opener on Monday night…Trailing 4-1 in the fifth inning, Chih-Hsien Chiang clubbed a 2-run homer to right field, his first homer of the season…Alex Hassan knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly in the third…Trenton’s bullpen worked four scoreless innings on 1 hit, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts.

 

BEEN HOT (TOVY) AND COLD: Tommy Hottovy improved his team-high scoreless streak to 11 innings with his 2.1 inning-stint on Saturday night…Hottovy has given up only one run this season, which came in his first appearance of the year…The lefty is the only six-year player in franchise history…Santo Luis allowed two runs Saturday, including 3 wild pitches, and has given up two runs in back-to-back outings…Portland’s bullpen went 0-2, 3.54 ERA in April, allowing 32 runs in 81.1 IP.

APRIL REVIEW: Portland’s 8-11 record (7-5 at home, 1-6 on the road) was their worst opening month since the 2004 squad dropped 13 of 20 games in April…The Sea Dogs finished the month with a .288 average, 4.43 ERA and committed 11 errors in 19 games (best defense in the league)…Last year, the Sea Dogs went 11-9 in April, but won 8 of 13 on the road.

KEEPS GETTING ON BASE: Che-Hsuan Lin is hitting .296 over his last 14 games, going 16-for-54…Lin has reached base safely in 17 of 20 starts and 120 of 139 Double-A games since 2010…Hassan has a hit in 19 of 21 games in Double-A, and leads the Eastern League in average (.412), hits (31) and on-base percentage (.495)…Last night, the Massachusetts native went 1-for-2.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Sea Dogs and Thunder continue their 4-game series with a 7:05 PM contest from Waterfront Park – the two teams conclude the series on Thursday night…Portland returns home on Friday night, hosting the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins affiliate) in a short 3-game homestand, before returning to the road for eight games in seven days.

Portland Sea Dogs (8-12) at Trenton Thunder (10-13)

The Sea Dogs continue their 7-day roadtrip on Monday night, taking on the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate) in the opener of a four-game series from Waterfront Park.

What a weird 24 hours it has been in the world.  Last night at dinner, I was reminiscing about with Kevin Boles about our time in Utica, New York back in 2001.   Our season ended on the 8th or 9th, and then 9/11 happened a few days later.  I had been to New York City a few months earlier on a roadtrip with the Utica Blue Sox, and I skipped going to the Statue of Liberty, figuring I would go see it at some point.  I’ve not been to NYC since, but I hope to go there soon.

I’ve never really talked about 9/11 on the radio, and how powerful that day is engraved in my mind.  I think all of us remember where we were, and what we were doing.  After seeing the news about Usama Bin Laden last night, I could not help but think of the families.   I hope this day does bring some peace for the families who lost loved ones, and I know most of the country have all of them in our heart.

It was a little weird that news broke with a New York team playing on National TV last night.  I was amazed at how quickly the fans got the news, but Twitter is delivering media news quickly than any other service.

Here are a few notes for today.

YANKEE LAND: After losing three straight in Reading, the Sea Dogs open up a 4-game series at Waterfront Park against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate)…The two teams split a pair of games on April 11-12 at Hadlock Field, with the final game of the series postponed due to rain…Portland has lost five straight road games, and 7 of 8 away from Hadlock Field this season…Trenton took 2 of 3 from New Hampshire, and have won 7 of 10 games at home.

 

NO FUN IN READING: Cody Overbeck hit two solo-homers, and Reading’s bullpen closed the game with three scoreless innings, defeating the Sea Dogs 3-2 on Sunday afternoon…Reading completed the three-game sweep of Portland, and have won 10 straight against the ‘Dogs  at First Energy Stadium…Alex Hassan and Jon Hee each drove in runs for Portland, who out hit the R-Phils 20-12 in the final two games…Austin Hyatt (3-1) notched the win, hurling six strong innings on 5 hits and 2 runs.

 

BEEN HOT (TOVY) AND COLD: Tommy Hottovy improved his team-high scoreless streak to 11 innings with his 2.1 inning-stint on Saturday night…Hottovy has given up only one run this season, which came in his first appearance of the year…The lefty is the only six-year player in franchise history…Santo Luis allowed two runs Saturday, including 3 wild pitches, and has given up two runs in back-to-back outings…Portland’s bullpen went 0-2, 3.54 ERA in April, allowing 32 runs in 81.1 IP.

APRIL REVIEW: Portland’s 8-11 record (7-5 at home, 1-6 on the road) was their worse opening month since the 2004 squad dropped 13 of 20 games in April…The Sea Dogs finished the month with a .288 average, 4.43 ERA and committed 11 errors in 19 games (best defense in the league)…Last year, the Sea Dogs went 11-9 in April, but won 8 of 13 on the road.

KEEPS GETTING ON BASE: Che-Hsuan Lin went 1-for-3 with a triple on Sunday, and has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 starts, going 16-for-50 (.320)…Lin has reached base safely in 16 of 19 starts and 119 of 138 Double-A games since 2010…Hassan has a hit in 18 of 20 games in Double-A, and leads the Eastern League in average (.408), hits (31) and on-base percentage (.495).

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Sea Dogs and Thunder play game two of their series at 10:35 AM…The two teams conclude the 4-game set with back-to-back 7:05 PM starts…Portland returns home on Friday night, hosting the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins affiliate) in a short 3-game homestand, before returning to the road for eight games in seven days.

Portland (8-11) at Reading (15-7)

LOOKING FOR ONE: Portland dropped their ninth straight game at First Energy Stadium on Saturday night, and concludes their 3-game set with the Phillies on Sunday afternoon…Reading owns the best record in the Eastern League at 15-7, and leads the Sea Dogs by 5.5 games for the top spot in the Eastern Division…Michael Lee is coming off his first Double-A win, hurling six scoreless innings on just 2 hits, no walks and 6 strikeouts…Lee is making his first start of the season against Reading.

 

NUMBERS SOMETIMES LIE: Portland out hit Reading 12-6, but suffered a 5-2 loss to the Phillies in game two of the series…J.C. Ramirez improved to 4-0, yielding only 1 run on 6 hits over 6 innings pitched…Stephen Fife (2-3) lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing 3 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and took the loss for Portland…Che-Hsuan Lin went 2-for-5, and drove in Portland’s second run with an RBI single in the seventh inning…Justin De Fratus stranded two in the ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.

 

BEEN HOT (TOVY) AND COLD: Tommy Hottovy improved his team-high scoreless streak to 11 innings with his 2.1 inning-stint on Saturday night…Hottovy has given up only one run this season, which came in his first appearance of the year…The lefty is the only six-year player in franchise history…Santo Luis allowed two runs last night, including 3 wild pitches, and has given up two runs in back-to-back outings…Portland’s bullpen went 0-2, 3.54 ERA in April, allowing 32 runs in 81.1 IP.

APRIL REVIEW: Portland’s 8-11 record (7-5 at home, 1-6 on the road) was their worse opening month since the 2004 squad dropped 13 of 20 games in April…The Sea Dogs finished the month with a .288 average, 4.43 ERA and committed 11 errors in 19 games (best defense in the league)…Last year, the Sea Dogs went 11-9 in April, but won 8 of 13 on the road.

STEALING THE THUNDER: Portland has 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts over their first 19 games…Lin and Ryan Dent are tied for the team-lead in thefts with five…Dent, Hassan and Middlebrooks are a combined 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts…Portland’s catchers have combined to throw out 22% (6-for-27) of attempted base stealers…Reading stole four bases in last night’s game, the most by an opponent this season.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, Portland begins the second leg of the trip against the Trenton Thunder at Waterfront Park (Yankees affiliate)…The team then heads home for a quick three-game series with New Britain (Twins affiliate) before heading back out for another seven-day road trip against New Hampshire and New Britain, the Sea Dogs and Rock Cats play a doubleheader on May 14th in New Britain.

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