We're live from Coca-Cola Field for today's big one between the Syracuse Chiefs and Buffalo Bisons. Oh yeah, Stephen Strasburg will be pitching too. Skies are cloudy but clear and the rain is expected to hold out for the afternoon. Strasburg will throw six innings or 95 pitches, whichever comes first.
An aside here: There is plenty of tension between the teams that most folks here won't know about. In the seventh inning last night -- after 11 p.m. with maybe 100 folks still in the seats -- Bisons second baseman Daniel Murphy got taken out on a brutal rollblock slide at second base by Syracuse's Leonard Davis. Murphy is headed back to New York for an MRI and Davis isn't in the lineup today. Hmmm.
Anyway, here's the Buffalo lineup:
Jesus Feliciano, cf (the IL's leading hitter at .386, but 0 for 7 the last two days)
Justin Turner, 2b
Mike Jacobs, 1b
Mike Hessman, 3b (IL HR/RBI leader at 18-55. Has 329 career HRs, tops among active minor leaguers)
Russ Adams, rf
Mike Cervenak, lf
J.R. House, c
Ruben Tejeda, ss
Dillon Gee, p
Stay tuned for updates on Strasburg's day and for plenty of snippets from Jerry Sullivan.
GAME REPORT WILL OPEN HERE
Top 1st: Dillon Gee takes the mound for Buffalo and throws the first pitch to Boomer Whiting (seriously) for a strike at 1:07 p.m. The temperature is 71 degrees. The office reports the game is on SNY on DirecTV but Versus is blacked out.
1:16 p.m: Sully on the scene in the bullpen
Bisons security were on the scene, where the front row of seats in Section 119 were blocked off in front of the 60 foot, 6 inch slice of dirt where Strasburg did his warmups. Joe Petronella, the Bisons' veteran chief of security, stood in the vacant aisle, coordinating security and talking occasionally into a walkie-talkie. One young man walked the length of the left-field wall while Strasburg was warming up. Petronella instructed one of his yellow-clad security men to escort the kid out of the park.
Bot-1st: Strasburg's first pitch to Jesus Feliciano is a 97-mph fastball for a ball at 1:17 p.m. Strasburg throws 14 pitches, seven strikes in a 1-2-3 frame. Groundouts by Felliciano and Turner and a called third strike on Mike Jacobs on an 82-mph curveball. Nasty, nasty. Two pitches at 99.
Snippet from Sully: Strasburg has not been clocked above 99 mph in any of his 10 minor-league starts. He has hit 99 on numerous occasions and one of his pitches hit 99 in the first inning today. Come on. The guy has to hit 100 at least once before moving up to Washington. I'm predicting it will happen before he gets through the Bisons' order.
Bot-2nd: Another 1-2-3 inning as Mike Hessman fans on a full-count 91-mph changeup, Russ Adams pops foul on a 99-mph heater and Mike Cervenak grounds to third an an 84-mph change. Totals: 17 pitches, 10 strikes (31/17 overall). It's zip-zip through 2. Dillon Gee -- the other pitcher today -- has given up one hit.
Top-3rd: Syracuse takes a 2-0 lead on Pete Orr's long two-run homer to right. Both runs unearned as first baseman Mike Jacobs drops a pickoff throw that had Whiting nailed at first and the runner gets to second on the error. Four pitches later, Orr goes deep.
Bot-3rd: Strasburg fans J.R. House and gets Ruben Tejada on a grounder. But Gee works a full-count walk and Feliciano gets the first hit, an opposite-field single to left. Manager Trent Jewett visited Strasburg between the at-bats; body language said the big guy felt he w as getting squeezed. Justin Turner flies to left to end the inning. Totals: 20/12...51/29 through three.
Bot-4th: A 12-pitch inning was Strasburg's best. A grounder by Jacobs, a long fly to left by Hessman, who was out in front of an 82-mph change and a called third strike taken by Adams on another 82-mph change. Asburd. Current line: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks. Pitches: 12-9 that inning, 63-38 total
Top-5th: Strasburg pulls a one-out single to left-center on an 0-2 pitch. He's 4-10 at the plate in the minors this year. He eventually scores on Chase Lambin's grounder back to Gee to give Syracuse a 3-0 lead. Here's Sully's latest snippet:
Seriously, Strasburg is as good as his hype. He's thrown five shutout innings and has struggled with his command. But it helps when you can throw filthy curveballs on 3-2 to get out of trouble. That's what he did in the fifth. The Bisons had runners at the corners with two outs and the IL's leading hitter, Jesus Feliciano, at the plate. On a 3-2 count, Strasburg snapped off an 80 mph curve and Feliciano rolled it to second base for the last out of the inning.
The kid is at 89 pitches through five. He's on a 95-pitch limit, so Strasburg will probably pitch to one hitter, maybe two, and give way to the bullpen. Syracuse has a reliever warming in the pen.
11:58 a.m. Snippet from Sully:
Of course, what I'm really looking forward to is seeing how Strasburg does when he gets promoted by the Nationals. Based on his performance at his minor-league starts, he's the real deal. You can't fake the numbers this guy has put up. There aren't many pitchers who can throw 100 mph, throw a curveball that buckles the knees, and mix in a big-time changeup.
Noon: The press box is packed today. Reporters are here from Pittsburgh, Toronto, Hamilton, the Associated Press, MLB.com and MILB.com as well as Buffalo area outlets. Also here is Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, who has covered nine of Strasburg's previous 10 minor-league outings.
12:30 p.m: Strasburg is stretching in left field. Crowd 8-10 thick behind the pen stretching down toward the dugout.
12:41 p.m.: Strasburg begins tossing in short left field. I have NEVER seen a crowd around the bullpen like this. Hundreds of folks with cameras and cell phone cams. Sheinin of the Washington Post just pointed out the paper's weather blog has launched a "StrasCast" for June 8 in DC. Wow. Gotta get a link to that.
12:49 p.m.: Strasburg throws his first warmup pitch from the mound.
12:58 p.m.: Strasburg takes time out for the national anthem. Not overly impressed with the crowd overall thus far. Biggest we've seen this year but half-empty upper deck and lots of empties down the lines. Doubt they make 14,000. Too bad it's a day game. I have no doubt they sell it out if it was at night.
1:02 p.m: The show ends in the bullpen. Strasburg makes his way to the 3B dugout shadowed by photographers. The fans stream away from the wall and are ushered to their seats. We're going to keep our game blog in this post but scroll up to see.
taggedBisons/Mets | International League