Posted in Baseball, Baseball Game Reports, Uncategorized

Do you ever pull a pitcher working on a no-hitter?

RCBB DSCN4552Angel Yepez DSCN4549Hudson Valley Renegades pitcher Angel Yepez didn’t allow a hit over six innings last night as the Tampa Bay Rays farm team held on to beat the Staten Island Yankees 7-5.

“He was in an unbelievable rhythm,” said Renegades pitching coach Brian Reith told “He walked the leadoff man in the second, and then he just caught fire and retired the next 15 in a row. It was great to see.”

Yet just when those of us in the stands were starting to think about the possibility of watching a no-hitter, Hudson Valley manager Tim Parenton already knew we weren’t going to watch Yepez try to complete one. He had reliever Diego Castillo warm up in the top of the seventh while his team was hitting.

And Castillo came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh, yielding a hit to Griffin Gordon to spoil the bid and three runs to the Staten Island Yankees to get them back into the game.

Yepez, who did earn his first victory of the season for his efforts, threw just 63 pitches – 42 for strikes. But the 20-year-old prospect had not pitched more than five innings this season and pitched just 72 2/3 innings over 19 appearances with the Venezuelan Summer League Rays and Gulf Coast League Rays last year. A complete game performance just wasn’t in the cards.

My friend Greg couldn’t understand why Yepez wasn’t allowed to stay in until he gave up a hit or finished the game. I’d assumed a pitch count much closer to 100 (unlike major league stadiums, there’s no pitch tracking info on the scoreboard at Richmond County Bank Ballpark), or I would have been wondering the same thing.

But as the Tom Verducci column I linked last week pointed out, baseball has changed. The idea of starting pitchers throwing complete games is antiquated. Shutouts are more of a novelty than a measure of a pitcher’s dominance in 2015. No-hitters are probably on their way to becoming even more of a rarity than they already are.

And that’s a shame. You can show me all the numbers you want to prove that it’s better to send out a reliever for that third or fourth trip through the batting order — I know you’re right. But I miss watching starting pitchers facing that challenge.

Barring an organizational mandate to pull him at a certain pitch count, I would have sent Yepez out to start the seventh inning last night. And I would have let Johan Santana pitch just as long as Terry Collins did on June 1, 2012.

But let’s hand you the lineup card and put you in the dugout: when would you take the ball away from a pitcher working on a no-hitter?

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Staten Island ‘Direwolves’ to play Hudson Valley ‘Lannisters’ on Aug. 8

You have no idea how much I want to go see the Staten Island Yankees Direwolves play the Hudson Valley Renegades Lannisters on August 8.

In one of the best minor league promotions of the year, the Staten Island Yankees will hold “Meet George R.R. Martin Night,” giving fans a chance to meet the A Game of Thrones author who will be signing autographs for about an hour. The S.I. Yankees will be playing as the “Direwolves” that night, wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off for charity. Their opponent, the Hudson Valley Renegades, will be playing as the Lannisters and will also be wearing special jerseys.

The first 2,500 fans will receive a Staten Island Direwolves cap, and fans will be able to see a real wolf from Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. There will undoubtedly be a bunch of other fun activities going on throughout the night too.

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Osborn to manage Staten Island Yankees

Patrick Osborn (file photo from the 2008 Atlantic League All-Star Game)
Patrick Osborn, seen here representing the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at the 2008 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Commerce Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ, will manage the Staten Island Yankees in 2015. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Former Southern Maryland Blue Crabs star Patrick Osborn will manage the Staten Island Yankees this season, Robert Pimpsner of Pinstriped Prospects reported yesterday.

Osborn, 33, who holds several franchise records for the Atlantic League team as a player, managed the Blue Crabs to two consecutive playoff appearances before leaving to manage the New York Yankees’ Gulf Coast League affiliate last season.

Former major league pitcher Butch Henry, 46,  will serve as Staten Island’s pitching coach in 2015. He had a 33-33 record with a 3.83 ERA, playing for the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners from 1992-1999. He is an original Colorado Rockie and was the last pitcher in major league baseball to hit an inside-the-park home run.

Ty Hawkins, 47, will return for his tenth season as the Staten Island Yankees’ hitting coach, while former New York Yankees top prospect Eric Duncan, 30, will round out the team’s coaching staff.

I enjoy the ferry ride to Staten Island’s Richmond County Bank Ballpark, so I try to make the trip at least once each summer. If I get out there this year, I will have to remember to wear my Blue Crabs cap.

Yankee fans, what do you think of Staten Island’s 2015 coaching staff?

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Uncategorized

Ugly baseball in Staten Island

facepalm-captain-picardI watched the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees play one of the worst games of professional baseball that I have ever seen last night.

The two teams combined for 10 errors, and the Cyclones gave up 14 runs (though only three were counted as earned runs.)

As unlikely as it seemed last night, the two teams are battling for a playoff spot in the New York-Penn League. Here’s hoping the ugly game was an aberration for Brooklyn.

On the bright side, I got five players to sign their cards in my Brooklyn Cyclones team set including prospects Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena.

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Brooklyn Cyclones autographs #Mets

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The Cyclones will be giving out a sheet of retro baseball cards featuring the team’s All-Stars on Sunday, sponsored by the Daily News. I’m thinking about going to get them and try to get more of my team set signed.

For a full rundown of what’s going on at MCU Park this weekend, check out Brooklyn Baseball Banter.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

A pair of New York – Penn League games

Parachute Jump 100_5176

Last week, I got to check out the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees. (I like to go to at least one Cyclones game every year, and I’ve added the Staten Island Yankees to the list because I really enjoy their ballpark.)

For Thursday’s hockey night jersey giveaway in Brooklyn, I arrived almost two hours before the gates opened, and there were already a dozen or so folks lined up. By the time my friend joined me, the line stretched back to the ticket windows and it looped around into a giant snake by the time the ballpark opened for all fans at 5:30 p.m.

I was impressed with the organization of the crowd, but most appeared to be Cyclones’ regulars who come to all of the team’s weekly jersey giveaways. Fans had the option of paying $3 to trade the size XL jersey they were handed at the gate for a size XXL one at a table inside if they chose. (I’m not sure if folks who would have preferred a smaller jersey were also accommodated.)

Unfortunately, I timed my trip badly in another respect – I missed seeing 2014 New York Mets first round draft pick Michael Conforto make his professional debut by two days. ( He was still in California for an awards show when I went.)

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