June 2011

Hey Now, You’re an All-Star

IVE SEA DOGS BOUND FOR THE
EASTERN LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME
Chih-Hsien Chiang, Stephen Fife, Alex Hassan,
Will Middlebrooks, & Alex Wilson
Portland, Maine-The Eastern League in conjunction with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats announced the rosters for the 2011 Eastern League All-Star Game. The Portland Sea Dogs will send five players to the midsummer classic; pitchers Stephen Fife and Alex Wilson, outfielders Chih-Hsien Chiang and Alex Hassan, and infielder Will Middlebrooks. The All Star Game will be played on Wednesday, July 13th at the home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire at 7:05 PM.

The All-Star Game will feature the Eastern Division All-Stars against the Western Division All-Stars. Each team will consist of 24 players. The All-Star teams were selected through fan voting along with selections from media personnel, club field personnel, and Eastern League administrators. Each Eastern League team has at least three players, including at least one pitcher and one position player. One position player and one pitcher from each team are selected through fan voting. Will Middlebrooks and Alex Wilson were fan selections from Portland.

Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang is hitting .301 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 60 games for the Sea Dogs this season. In his second season with Portland, he leads the Eastern League with a .616 slugging percentage and 38 extra base hits. He is tied for second in the league in RBI (50), ranks fifth in doubles (21) and boasts the leagues ninth best batting average at .301. He was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week for the Week of May 30th through June 5th, hitting .424 with three home runs during the stretch. The 23 year-old homered in four straight games (June 3-7) to tie a franchise record. Chiang also holds the Sea Dogs franchise record with three career grand slams. Chiang, who is a native of Taitung, Taiwan, was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2005. In addition to representing the Sea Dogs in the All-Star Game, he will participate in the Major League Baseball Futures Game in Phoenix, Arizona on July 10th.

Stephen Fife will make his second straight appearance at the Eastern League All-Star Game. In 13 games this season, the right-hander has notched an 8-3 record with a 3.28 ERA. He is tied for the Eastern League lead in wins with eight. He was selected the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the Week of June 6th through June 12th. The 24 year old Boise, Idaho native was drafted in the third round (85th overall) of the June 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

In 72 games with the Sea Dogs, outfielder Alex Hassan leads the team with a .323 average, ranking fourth in the Eastern League. The 24 year-old leads the Eastern League in both walks (51) and on base percentage (.447). The first year Sea Dog burst into the Eastern League batting .411 with six doubles and 14 RBI for the month of April. The Milton, Massachusetts native was selected by the Red Sox in the 20th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has appeared in 53 games for the Sea Dogs this season. He ranks among the team leaders in virtually every category including ranking third in hitting (.297) and home runs (8), while his 32 RBI’s is fifth best. He entered the season as the 11th ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America. Baseball America also rates Middlebrooks as having the “Best Infield Arm” in the Red Sox farm system. The 22 year-old was named to both the Carolina League’s mid-season and post-season All-Star teams in 2010 with the Salem Red Sox. The Texas native was selected by the Red Sox in the 5th round (174th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Middlebrooks will also participate in the Major League Baseball Futures Game in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Week festivities.

Alex Wilson boasts the league’s seventh best ERA (2.82) and owns a 6-4 record in 15 games with the Sea Dogs this season. The 24 year-old leads the team in starts (15), innings (79.2), strikeouts (72), and ERA (2.82). Wilson is rated by Baseball America has having the “Best Slider” among Red Sox farmhands. Entering the season, Baseball America rated him the 19th ranked prospect in the organization. He was selected by the Red Sox in the second round (77th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Texas A&M. He was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and resides in Hurricane, West Virginia.

For more information on the 2011 Eastern League All-Star Game, including ticket information, log on to http://www.nhfishercats.com.

First Half Review by Ben Altsher

Here’s a latest blog entry by my assistant Ben Altsher…we’d love to hear from you during the broadcast at seadogsradio@gmail.com

With the first half of the season in the books, I thought it would be fitting to go back and took a look at some of the more memorable moments of the season so far.  Obviously, 25-47 is not the ideal record through the first 72 games, but as always fans should remember that this particular team is a young one, with a lot of guys getting their first taste of Double-A ball.  Plus, that’s why the minor league system exists, so that players can progress and learn from struggles like these.  Without further ado, the highlights of 2011 (so far):

Don’t Call It a Comeback: Odds on favorite for game of the year, the Portland Sea Dogs rallied from a 9-1 deficit to beat the New Britain Rock Cats 18-9.  Stolmy Pimentel last just an inning and a third, allowing eight runs, as New Britain looked like it was headed for another romp of Portland.  The Sea Dogs offense turned the tables though, scoring 17 unanswered runs from the fifth inning on for the win.  The ‘Dogs capped off the win with a six-run ninth inning, featuring home runs from Ryan Lavarnway and Jorge Padron.

Thick As Pea Soup: More than any other sport, weather affects baseball.  There are often rain outs, sometimes snow outs, even the occasional bug out.  This year though the Sea Dogs experienced something different, a fog out.  Not just once, but twice, Portland games (both at Hadlock) were shortened due to a thick blanket of fog over the field.  Only once did it work out in the Sea Dogs’ favor though, a 9-4 win in seven innings against Binghamton.  On May 27, the game was suspended and eventually called with the Sea Dogs ready to send the go-ahead run to the plate in a 4-2 loss to the Trenton Thunder.

Hassan Chop: Not even considered a prospect prior to this year, Alex Hassan has been one of the standout hitters not just on the Sea Dogs, but in the Eastern League.  The outfielder started the year red hot with a 12 game hitting streak.  Since then he’s come back down to earth, but is still hitting .320 and has been among the top ten in the league all season.  Plus, he’s got a .433 on-base percentage and is on pace to have the second best single-season OBP in franchise history.

Wild, Wild West: After playing solely Eastern Division opponents through the first two months of the year, the Sea Dogs finally met up with teams from the Western Division.  Portland took on five of the six teams (not Harrisburg) over a fourteen game stretch from June 3-19.  The Sea Dogs finished 7-7 over that time, including the team’s first series win in Akron since 1999.  While .500 doesn’t seem overly impressive, consider that last year Portland finished 17-27 against the West, and the team hasn’t had a winning record against the other division since 2007.

Sea Dogs at New Hampshire

Ryan Khoury established a franchise record with his 137th career walk…Chih-Hsian Chiang became the first Sea Dog to have 3 career grand slams.

THIS WAS QUICK: The Sea Dogs conclude their three-game series in New Hampshire, battling the Fisher Cats in the series finale on Sunday afternoon from Northeast Delta Dental Stadium…New Hampshire has won the first two games of the series, and holds the best record in the Eastern League at 45-27 (.625)…Portland has the worst mark in the E.L. at 25-46 (.352), and trails the Binghamton Mets by a 1.5 games for 5th place.

ON MEDICAL LEAVE: Bobby Jenks became the 20th Major Leaguer to rehab with the Sea Dogs, the 14th as a Red Sox affiliate, after his one-inning stint on Saturday night…Jenks yielded a lead-off hit to Adeiny Hechavarria, who was quickly erased on a caught stealing…The righty fanned Anthony Gose, and retired Travis d’Arnaud on a line out to right field…Jenks threw 13 pitches (8 strikes) in his third minor league appearance this season.

BOOM, BOOM AND BOOM: New Hampshire clobbered three homers in their final three at-bats, and defeated the Sea Dogs 9-5 on Saturday night…Portland took a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning on Chih-Hsien Chiang’s grand slam off Robert Ray…Yan Gomes put New Hampshire back in the game with a 3-run shot in the sixth inning off Stephen Fife (ND)…Mike McDade provided the game-winning hit, launching a two-run shot off losing pitcher Eammon Portice (1-3) in the seventh inning…d’Arnaud gave the ‘Cats insurance, launching a 3-run homer to left-center field off Portice in the eighth.

GET OUT THE RECORD BOOKS: Chiang became the 5th player in franchise history to hit two grand slams in one season: John Roskos (1997), Nate Rolison (1999), Luke Wilcox (2001) and Lars Anderson…Additionally, Chiang is the first player in team history to hit three career grand slams (2011: June 5 at Altoona and June 25 at New Hampshire, 2010: July 26 at Binghamton)…The second-year Sea Dog is the active team-leader in homers with 12, and is pacing the club with 46 RBI.

KHOURY WALKS TO THE TOP: Ryan Khoury went 0-for-3 last night with a walk, and is now top of the all-time list for most walks in franchise history…Khoury passes Jeff Corsaletti, who had 136 over two seasons (2007-08) with Portland…The Utah native rejoined the Sea Dogs on Tuesday after the Red Sox purchased his contract from the Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier League), and has reached base safely in all five starts with the ‘Dogs.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Portland returns home tomorrow night for the start of an eight-game, seven-day homestand against the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins affiliate) and the Fisher Cats…The Sea Dogs and Rock Cats play a doubleheader Tuesday beginning at 6:00 PM, and a day game on Wednesday at 12:00 PM.

Sea Dogs (24-43) vs. Trenton Thunder (40-30)

 

 

 

Food for thought…Last night on the broadcast, Ben and I were talking about Adrian Gonzalez and his amazing start.  Did you know he’s had a hit in 78% of his games this season?  Pretty amazing.  Really nice having Ryan Khoury back.  Hopefully we’ll have Khoury’s Khourner back on the air.  Jason Place is now a Trenton Thunder, and started in right field last night.

Alan Horne is making a rehab start for Trenton tonight.  Alex Wilson is seeking his sixth win of the season for Portland…Below are some notes for today’s game.

GOING FOR THREE: Portland looks for a third straight win tonight in the second of a three-game series against the Trenton Thunder…The Sea Dogs have had a three-game win streak or longer just twice this season…A victory would also give Portland just its second home series win of the year, and the first since the Sea Dogs took three of four from Binghamton April 25-28.

THUNDER-STRUCK: Portland’s offense blasted Trenton starter Dellin Betances and the rest of the Thunder staff for 13 runs on 14 hits in last night’s 13-5 win…Reynaldo Rodriguez led the way offensively, going 3-for-5 with a three-run home run, part of a 5 RBI night for the former Yankee prospect…Eight of the nine Sea Dogs starters recorded at least a hit, seven of nine scored a run, and five players enjoyed a multi-hit performance.

EARLY SHOWER: Betances lasted just two and one-third innings last night, allowing the first seven Sea Dogs runs, six of them being earned…It was the shortest start of the year for the New York native and the only time in 12 starts where he’s given up more than three earned runs…Betances entered last night’s game as the league leader with a 1.76 ERA and left with a 2.61 ERA, now 5th in the Eastern League.

HOMER, TROT, REPEAT: Rodriguez and Oscar Tejeda added the exclamation point to last night’s win with a set of back-to-back home runs off Thunder reliever Fernando Hernandez…Rodriguez smacked a three-run shot, his second blast with the Sea Dogs…Tejeda followed with a solo bomb, just his second of the season and first since April 26th…It was the first time two Portland players have gone back-to-back since Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito turned the trick last August against Binghamton.

WELCOME BACK KHOURY: Ryan Khoury made his return to the Sea Dogs last night after having his contract with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League purchased by the Red Sox…The Utah native got the start at shortstop in his return and went 0-for-5 at the plate with a walk, his 132nd base on balls in franchise history…Khoury is four walks shy of tying Jeff Corsaletti for the all-time lead…Last night was also his 264th game played with Portland, tied for 8th in franchise history with Chris Sheff.

WHAT’S ON DECK: The Sea Dogs and Thunder wrap up their series tomorrow night with a 6:00 PM start, the last time the Red Sox and Yankees affiliates will clash this season…Then, Portland will have a quick three-game set in New Hampshire against the Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) before returning home for eight games in seven days against New Britain (Twins affiliate) and New Hampshire.

Sea Dogs begin second leg of the trip…No sighting of Lebron James

I posed this question many times during the Erie series, what will Akron, Ohio be like now that Lebron James has left the Cavaliers.  For those who don’t know, Lebron is from Akron, and I have not seen one jersey of his on my walk to the park.  Do I dear ask the people in the pressbox about him?  I’m not sure, but I was here during the finals when Lebron led Cleveland to the championship game, but they were swept.  I think it’s pretty amazing how much hate there is for this guy.   I guess that was the wrong “decision” he made.

Tough game for Portland last night, losing due to two errors in the eighth inning.  Chris Balcom-Miller is on the mound tonight, in search of his second Double-A win.  Below are some notes for today.

 

NEW SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Portland continues its six-game road trip tonight, visiting the Akron Aeros (Indians affiliate) for the first time this season…The Aeros are coming off a 2-1 series loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats…Portland and Akron split the six games between them last year with each side taking two of three on its home field. COSTLY

MISTAKES: Three of the Sea Dogs’ four errors last night led directly to unearned runs, helping the Erie SeaWolves to a 6-4 win…The deciding runs came in on a sacrifice bunt attempt with one on in the eighth inning for Erie…Two Portland errors on the play allowed both runs to score…It was the fourth time this season that the Sea Dogs have made at least four errors in one game.

CHIANG STAYS HOT: Chih-Hsien Chiang went 1-for-1 last night with a double and two walks…He was also hit by a pitch…Chiang now has at least one extra-base hit in nine of his last 11 games…He’s tied for the Eastern League lead with 33 extra-base hits, alongside Harrisburg’s Tyler Moore…Chiang leads all Eastern League hitters with a .651 slugging percentage, and is 85 percentage points in front of second-place Bill Rhinehart, also of Harrisburg…The second-year Sea Dog has reached base safely in 20 straight games.

HASSAN TAKES A WALK: Alex Hassan went 1-for-4 last night with his sixth home run of the season…He also drew his 43rd walk of the year, the most in the Eastern League…Hassan has a .447 on-base percentage, second best in the EL…He’s just 8 points behind Erie’s Justin Henry (.455) who is currently on the disabled list. NEW GUY

AT THIRD BASE: Tony Thomas made his Portland debut on Tuesday night, and has started in all three games…Thomas picked up his first RBI with the Sea Dogs last night, driving in Jeremy Hazelbaker with a first-inning single…He recorded his first hit and first run scored with Portland Wednesday…Thomas has stolen three bases in his first three games with the team…The Florida native hit .221 with 7 homers and 29 RBI in 54 games with the PawSox.

WHAT’S ON DECK: The Sea Dogs continue their three-game series against the Akron Aeros (Indians affiliate) tomorrow night…The two teams will finish the series Sunday afternoon before an off day on Monday…That will wrap a 14 game stretch against the Western Division…The ‘Dogs are currently 5-6 against the West…Portland gets back to in-division play on Tuesday when the Sea Dogs play host to the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate) for a three-game series…That will be the start of a run of 23 straight games without a break before the All-Star Game.

The Greatest Game No One Watched by Ben Altsher

The Greatest Game No One Watched

In case you missed it, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night, ending a 39-year drought and adding to what has already been a decade of spoils for New England sports fans. The Bruins accomplished this in fairly dominant fashion, a 4-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks. However, in a slightly more remote part of North America, there was a game that featured perhaps the most dominant performance we’ve seen by a Boston athlete this year.

Josh Beckett, the league leader in ERA, went out and completely embarrassed the Tampa Bay Rays, holding them to one measly infield single in a complete game shutout. That was the only man to reach against Beckett. There were no walks, no one was hit by a pitch, and the righty didn’t even crack 100 pitches in the nine innings he tossed.

It was the best pitching performance by a Red Sox since Jon Lester’s no-hitter, and the best this season in all of Major League Baseball with the exception of Justin Verlander’s no-no (sorry, Francisco Liriano). Of the 28 batters Beckett faced (one more than the minimum), 14 saw no more than three pitches. You don’t need me to be a math geek to tell you that that’s an insanely efficient pace in this day and age where on-base percentage is valued more highly than batting average.

Yet, just moments before Kevin Youkilis’ three-run home run cleared the wall in Tropicana Field, paving the way for Beckett’s win, Patrice Bergeron scored what would be the game-winning goal in the first period. In fact, outside of baseball-only circles, I’d bet that few people even bothered checking on the Red Sox game because of the drama of the winner-take-all attitude that comes with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. So for now, Beckett’s gem will remain hidden beneath the weight of Stanley Cup Fever. Just don’t be surprised if he pulls another one out for all to see at some point later this year.

Notes for Today

 

 

LET’S MAKE IT TWO: Portland and Erie continue their three-game series on Wednesday night from Jerry Uht Park in Erie, PA…With a win tonight, the Sea Dogs clinch their second straight series win on the road…The ‘Dogs have won five straight games in Erie dating back to June 11, 2009…Portland has won a season-high six straight road games, and have won 7 of 11 this month after dropping 25 of 31 in May.

NO POWER OUTAGE IN ERIE: Reynaldo Rodriguez tied the game at three with a 3-run homer in the fifth inning, and Jorge Padron delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run blast in the seventh inning, as the Sea Dogs held on to beat Erie 5-4 on Tuesday night…Stephen Fife (7-3) earned the win, yielding 10 hits on three runs in six innings pitched…Blake Maxwell recorded the final five outs to secure his fifth save of the season.

TURNING THINGS AROUND: Brock Huntzinger makes his 11th start of the season for Portland in game two of the series…Huntzinger has notched a quality start in back-to-back outings, and has allowed only three runs over his last three starts (1.69 ERA)…Jacob Turner takes the mound for the 12th time this season for Erie…The righty has worked at least five innings in all 11 starts.

IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Adam Calderone hit a two-run, inside-the-park homer in the second inning of the series opener…Calderone lined a base hit down the left-field line, that sliced into Erie’s bullpen…Darin Mastroianni hit an inside-the-park homer against the Sea Dogs in 2007…Ironically, Portland’s last inside-the-park homer happened in Erie back in 2004, courtesy of George Lombard.

NEW GUY AT THIRD BASE: Tony Thomas made his Portland debut on Tuesday night, starting at third base, and going 0-for-3 with a walk…Thomas was optioned to Double-A prior to yesterday’s game from Triple-A Pawtucket…The Florida native hit .221 with 7 homers and 29 RBI in 54 games with the PawSox.

LOT OF INK FROM THE ‘PEN: Portland’s relievers have yielded only one earned run in their last 18 IP (0.50 ERA)…Miguel Gonzalez allowed that run in last night’s game, but worked recorded four outs to earn his first hold in the Red Sox system…Maxwell is scoreless in 10 of 11 outings with Portland.

WHAT’S ON DECK: The Sea Dogs conclude their three-game series with the SeaWolves on Thursday night beginning at 7:05 PM…On Friday night, Portland travels to Akron, and opens up a three-game series against the Aeros (Indians affiliate).

Sea Dogs (20-37) vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (28-30)

DUELING ACES: Portland wraps up its three-game series against the Flying Squirrels tonight…The game features two of the top pitchers in the Eastern League with Richmond’s Eric Surkamp squaring off against Portland’s Alex Wilson…Surkamp leads the league with a 1.92 ERA with Wilson not far behind at 2.62 (7th)…Last time out, Wilson snapped a string of five straight starts allowing three runs or less, without recording a win.

STREAK SNAPPED: The Sea Dogs saw their six-game win streak come to an end with last night’s 9-3 loss…It was their longest winning streak since six straight wins in 2010 (July 17-22)…The run was highlighted by a pitching staff that yielded only eight runs (seven earned) over a span of 58.2 IP (1.07 ERA)…Portland continued one streak by hitting a home run for the seventh consecutive game.

LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN: Brock Huntzinger became the third straight Sea Dog starting pitcher to rack up seven strikeouts with his performance last night…Huntzinger established a Double-A high seven punchouts in his last start at New Britain, and repeated that number against Richmond…Huntzinger had not struck out seven in a game since pitching for Low-A Greenville in 2009…Stephen Fife and Chris Balcom-Miller were the other two pitchers to ring up seven.

BREAKING OUT: Chih-Hsien Chiang was honored as the Eastern League’s Player of the Week from May 30th to June 5th…The outfielder closed the week hitting .424 (14-for-33) through eight games with seven extra-base hits, including three home runs, 8 RBI, and 8 runs scored…Over his last ten games, Chiang is 17-for-43 (.395) with five home runs and 11 RBI…The second-year Sea Dog is now among the Eastern League’s top ten in hitting at .312 (8th)…He also leads the EL with a .630 slugging percentage and is tied for third with 27 extra-base hits on the year…Chiang’s home run Tuesday matched the franchise record for most consecutive games with a home run…Josh Reddick had a run of four games from April 10-14, 2009 (Reddick accomplished the feat over five days, but sat out a game in the middle)

JUNE IS FINALLY HERE: Since turning the calendar, Portland is 6-1 in the month of June…After last Tuesday’s losses, the Sea Dogs suffered their worst month in franchise history with their 25th loss…2003: 12-21 in August and 2002: 10-21 in June…Portland finished 6-25 in May.

WHAT’S ON DECK: Tomorrow, the Bowie Baysox (Orioles affiliate) visit Hadlock Field for the first and only time this season, starting a three-game series with Portland…The Sea Dogs will have an off day before heading to Erie (Tigers affiliate) and Akron (Indians affiliate).

‘Dogs eating their Wheaties in June…Thoughts on Anthony Rizzo

I think people love baseball due to the drama, and movie-like scripts that even Hollywood couldn’t write.   Portland started their last roadtrip on May 31st, dropping a pair of games in New Britain, and finishing the month at 6-25.  On June 1st, the Rock Cats scored eight times off Stolmy Pimentel in the second inning, but since that huge frame, Portland’s pitchers have allowed seven runs (six earned) over their last 52.2 IP (1.03 ERA). Now, I’m an eternal optimist, and didn’t see this coming.  Portland finished May with a .252 average, but a 4.97 ERA and 35 errors.  We always hope for some positive momentum when the calendar turns, so how’s 6-0, .351 batting average, 14 homers and 48 runs scored.

This offense has been very good since day one, and it’s gotten even better.  Chih-Hsien Chiang has homered in four straight games, tying a franchise record.  Josh Reddick homered in four straight in April of 2009.  Portland has three hitters in the top 10 in average: Alex Hassan (2nd, .340), Chiang (8th, .311) and Will Middlebrooks (10th, .304), but what I’m more impressed with is the pitching.  The ‘Dogs are out of the basement in team ERA (rank 11th at 4.48), and have six shutouts, the second best in the E.L.

This series is very interesting since Richmond is first in pitching, but their last ranked offense saw their average dip to .224 after last night’s game.

  Here’s a photo of Anthony Rizzo getting his hand in before the tag in a game against Bowie.  Last night, Rizzo was reportedly called up to the Major Leagues by the San Diego Padres, but a hand injury prevented him from his Major League debut.  A little birdie told me about Rizzo’s promotion, but I can’t reveal my source.  Rizzo was terrific for Portland last year, especially in his ability to make quick adjustments at the plate.  For someone so young, he could adjust with each at-bat.  I was very impressed with his work ethic, and not surprised how well he’s doing in Triple-A.

What a great time of year…Boston Globe’s top prospects

The Sea Dogs returned home early Monday morning, but I’m sure they slept well, returning home with a 5-2 roadtrip, and a three-game sweep of the Altoona Curve (first 3-game sweep at Blair County Ballpark in franchise history).

How about the Bruins?  Great way to spend an off day, watching the Stanley Cup Finals.  I was very impressed on how the Bruins just dominated the game.  Their energy level was off the charts.

Nice to see the Major League Baseball Draft on MLB Network. Very cool how they did it.  Also, nice to see a New England kid taken in the first round by Boston.  The last time the Red Sox had the #19 pick, they took Roger Clemens.  I think that worked out okay.

Great article in the Globe – their top Red Sox prospects.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/2011/redsox_top_prospects_2011/

This should be a very interesting series at Hadlock Field.  How many times have you seen last in pitching/first in hitting, face 1st in pitching/last in hitting.  A casual fan would probably pick the Flying Squirrels as the favorite to win the series, but Portland has pitched great, allowing only 15 runs during the winning streak (9 came in one game).  I’m not a fan of predicting games on paper, because you never know what can happen.  The Western Division has some great pitching, but many of those teams, due to the schedule, have not played great hitting clubs.  For some unknown reason, our league has the same teams playing each other the first two months, which I feel creates the untrue statistics.  If you look at some of the Altoona ERA’s, most of those came against bad hitting clubs. Most of their pitchers had never faced New Britain, Portland or Reading – probably the best hitting teams in the league.  I’m really looking forward to this series.

Notes for today…

SWEEP SUCCESS:Portland wrapped up its best road trip of the season, completing a three-game sweep of the defending champion Altoona Curve on Sunday…The Sea Dogs last road sweep came in Bowie from August 10-12 last season…It was the first time Portland has swept a team this season, and their first 3-game sweep in Altoona in franchise history…The Sea Dogs had previously been swept in four road series. 

WE’RE GOING STREAKING: The Sea Dogs have a five-game win streak for the first time this season, their longest winning streak since six straight wins in 2010 (July 17-22)…Portland’s pitchers have yielded only seven runs (six earned) over their last 43.2 IP (1.24 ERA)…The ‘Dogs have homered in five straight games, and have committed only two errors during the seven-game trip.

THAT WAS DOMINANT: The Sea Dogs piled up 12 runs on 17 hits in a 12-4 victory over the Curve on Sunday…Alex Hassan, Tim Federowicz and Chih-Hsien Chiang all homered for Portland…Six of the nine Sea Dogs starters recorded multi-hit efforts in support of Chris Balcom-Miller who earned his first Double-A win…Chiang had the big hit of the day with an 8th inning grand slam off Diego Moreno.

 

BREAKING OUT: Chiang was honored as the Eastern League’s Player of the Week from May 30th to June 5th…The outfielder closed the week hitting .424 (14-for-33) through eight games with seven extra-base hits, including three home runs, 8 RBI, and 8 runs scored…Chiang is the first weekly award winner for Portland since Stephen Fife won Pitcher of the Week, during the last week of 2010…Chiang finished 7-for-14 (.500) in the series with Altoona, blasting 3 homers, a triple and scoring five runs…The second-year Sea Dog is now among the Eastern League’s top ten in hitting at .313 (9th)…He also leads the EL with a .626 slugging percentage and is fourth with 26 extra-base hits on the year…On the roadtrip, Chiang was 13-for-29 (.448) with six extra-base hits, 8 RBI, and has homered in three straight games.

JUNE IS FINALLY HERE: Since turning the calendar, Portland is 5-0 in the month of June…After Tuesday’s losses, the Sea Dogs suffered their worst month in franchise history with their 25th loss…2003: 12-21 in August and 2002: 10-21 in June…Portland finished 6-25 in May.

 

WHAT’S ON DECK: Portland continues its three-game series against Richmond tomorrow night…The series wraps up Thursday before the Bowie Baysox (Orioles affiliate) travel to Hadlock for a three-game series…Portland is 3-0 during a 15-game stretch against the Western Division.

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