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Bisons conclude homestand

The Buffalo Bisons conclude their homestand with a 12:05 game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field. The Herd is 3-4 on the homestand and need a win today to earn the split with the IronPigs.

Late yesterday, the New York Mets optioned righty D.J. Carrasco to the Bisons. The 34-year old pitched in seven games with the Mets including one start, going 0-1 with a 5.23 earned run average and six strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work. When he joins the Bisons, Carrasco is expected to work into the Bisons rotation.

Dylan Owen starts for the Herd today. Owen is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA with the Herd. He was promoted to the Bisons on April 11 after making two relief appearances with Double-A Binghamton. 

Today's Bison lineup:

Ruben Tejada -- SS
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Lucas Duda -- LF
Ronny Paulino -- C
Fernando Martinez -- RF
Russ Adams -- 3B
Nick Evans -- 1B
Luis Hernandez -- 2B
Dylan Own -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Bisons look to rebound

It's a gloomy Sunday at the ballpark, but the Buffalo Bisons hope to create a bit of their own sunshine when they take on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs today at Coca-Cola Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

The Bisons are looking to rebound from a 7-5 loss yesterday to the IronPigs with righty Jenrry Mejia on the mound. The 21-year old is making his fourth start of the season. He has a 1-1 record with 0.98 earned run average -- the fourth lowest mark in the International League.

Today's Bison lineup:

Ruben Tejada -- SS
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Nick Evans -- LF
Fernando Martinez -- RF
Valentino Pascucci -- 1B
Russ Adams -- 3B
Luis Hernandez -- 2B
Raul Chavez -- C
Jenrry Mejia -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Herd continues homestand

The Buffalo Bisons ride a three-game win streak into this afternoon's game with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

In pre-game roster moves, infielder Zach Lutz was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain while outfielder Fernando Martinez was activated off the DL.

Pat Misch gets the start for the Herd. The lefty was promoted to New York on April 16 for one game, was designated for assignment and activated for today. In four career starts against the IronPigs, Misch is 3-0 with a 1.44 earned run average.

Today's Bison lineup:

Ruben Tejada -- SS
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Nick Evans -- LF
Lucas Duda -- RF
Valentino Pascucci --1B
Russ Adams -- 3B
Luis Hernandez -- 2B
Raul Chavez -- C
Pat Misch -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Let's play two: Bisons vs. Rochester

It's cold and windy at Coca-Cola Field, but about an hour before the first pitch the Buffalo Bisons and Rochester Red Wings are scheduled to play two seven-inning games.

On his 30th birthday, New York Mets catcher Ronnie Paulino will start in the first game for the Herd after joining the team on a major league baseball rehab assignment. Paulino was placed on the Mets disabled list April 10 with anemia. He spent last season with Florida, hitting .259 with 19 doubles and 37 runs batted in during 91 games.

But Paulino has played in Coca-Cola Field before, while with the Indianapolis Indians in 2005. In the International League Governors' Cup semifinals that season, Paulino hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Game 5 to give Indy a 6-4 win in the game and a 3-2 victory in the series.

The Game 1 starter for Buffalo Casey Fossum (0-1, 9.00 ERA) against Rochester righty Kyle Gibson (0-0, 5.63). Game 2 will feature Buffalo righty Chris Schwinden (0-0, 1.80 ) against lefty Scott Diamond (0-0, 2.89).

Today's Bison starting lineup for Game 1:

Jason Pridie -- LF
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Lucas Duda -- RF
Ronnie Paulino -- C 
Russ Adams -- DH
Nick Evans -- 1B
Luis Hernandez -- 2B
Ruben Tejada -- SS

Update: The Bisons ended their six-game losing streak with a 4-2 win in 10 innings in the first game of today's doubleheader. Rochester starter Kyle Gibson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the first opponent to take a no-hitter into the final scheduled inning, before giving up a home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis to tie the game, 1-1.

Rochester took a 2-1 lead in the eighth, but Nick Evans homered to again tie the game. Evans drove the first pitch he saw in the 10th to center field, scoring two runs for the Bison win.

Game 2 is scheduled to begin around 4:20 p.m.

4:13 p.m. The Bison's lineup for Game 2:

Luis Hernandez -- 2B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Ronny Paulino -- DH
LUcas Duda -- RF
Nick Evans -- LF
Valentino Pascucci -- 1B
Russ Adams -- 3B
Ruben Tejada -- SS
Raul Chavez -- C 

--- Amy Moritz 

 

 

Bisons-Rochester game postponed

Wednesday's game between the Buffalo Bisons and the Rochester Red Wings at Coca-Cola Field has been postponed with rain and high wind conditions.

The teams will make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Thursday, beginning at 1:05 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field. They will play two seven-inning games.

Fans holding tickets to Wednesday's game can exchange them for a comparable ticket to any future 2011 Bisons game, excluding special events. All ticket exchanges must be made at the box office. 

--- Amy Moritz

 

Bisons, Mejia back in action

The diamond is green again. And, for now, it looks like the forecast is clear as the Bisons host the Rochester Red Wings in a doubleheader today. Monday's scheduled game, axed due to snow and freezing temps, will be tacked onto today's slate.

Game One starts up in about five minutes and will be aired on the MLB Network.

Not a bad chance for Buffalo to try to get back on track. The Bisons (4-7) are reeling with four straight losses, suffering from some key injuries and problems at the plate. The good news is that Jenrry Mejia is on the mound. Mejia, one of the Mets' prized prospects, has thrown more scoreless innings than any other pitcher in the International League this season (12.2). With the Mets struggling, plenty of eyes will surely be on the righty today.

Here's your lineup:

Jason Pridie -- LF

Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF

Zach Lutz -- 3B

Lucas Duda -- RF

Nick Evans -- 1B

Russ Adams -- DH

Luis Hernandez -- 2B

Ruben Tejada -- SS

Raul Chavez -- C

Jenrry Mejia -- P

 

---Tyler Dunne

 

Bisons close out opening homestand

The Buffalo Bisons will look for a bit of redemption tonight as they close out their first homestand of 2011 against the Pawtucket RedSox (6:05 p.m., Coca-Cola Field). Monday night, the Herd suffered a 15-1 loss to the PawSox -- the worst loss in the history of the downtown ballpark.

Righty Dillon Gee (0-1, 9.64) gets the start for the Herd. Gee lost on Opening Day,giving up five earned runs in 4.2 innings against Syracuse. In four career starts against the PawSox, Gee is 2-1 with a 3.97 earned run average and 24 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

Tonight's Bison lineup:

Jason Pridie -- CF
Nick Evans -- 1B
Lucas Duda -- DH
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- RF
Russ Adams -- 2B
Ruben Tejada -- SS
Jesus Feliciano -- LF
Raul Chavez -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

Ten games into the MLB schedule

We're 10 games into the season for plenty of teams, or others will hit game 10 tonight. It's a small sample for sure but here are some early impressions:

Good as expected: The Rangers, Phillies and Reds look poised to play deep into October just as lots of people predicted they would.

Terrible as expected: The Rays and Astros are 2-8. Until exploding for 16 runs Monday in Boston, the Rays were looking like one of the worst offensive teams in history.

Yankees: The pitching is a little uneven and Derek Jeter is again struggling. A-Rod and Mark Teixeira look good. They'll be fine.

Mets: Old friend Terry Collins will have to really work to keep his spirits up with this bunch. Some days there will be no hitting, some days there will be no pitching and some days, like Monday's 7-6 loss to the Rockies, the bullpen won't get the job done. Long year ahead.

Red Sox: They sure miss ex-pitching coach John Farrell, now the manager in Toronto. Their staff sure misses Jason Varitek behind the plate every night too. What a mess. Dice-K got lit up by the Rays  Monday and the Fenway natives are very restless. Dice-K has a 12.86 ERA and the Boston starters are at 7.26.

Indians: They were down 14-0 in the fifth inning of the season opener against the White Sox and it looked like a 100-loss disaster was certainly in the making. But they've won eight straight, are 8-2 and are getting fabulous starting pitching, with eight shutout innings from Mitch Talbot last night in Anaheim being the latest entry. Can it last?

Blue Jays: They had looked solid at the plate and on the mound and had a 7-0 lead over the Mariners Monday night after knocking Felix Hernandez from the mound. Then the bullpen collapsed and Seattle rallied for a shocking 8-7 victory. Let's see how they react to that one.

Other surprises: The Orioles have the pitching to take over from the Rays as the AL East team to challenge the Yankees and Red Sox. The Pirates are clearly better under Clint Hurdle, with young players like Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutcheon really starting to make an impact. The Royals are better too even without Zack Greinke but I still don't believe.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Bisons, Pawtucket face off again

We're less than an hour away from the first pitch here at Coca-Cola Field where the Bisons (2-2) are hoping to find their bats as their homestand continues tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox (2-2). It's windy here. Some 40-45 people are currently taking the tarp off the field. Quite the process --- and entertaining. One crew member's hat just flew off, traveled across the tarp and was caught in mid air by the team's PR man Brad Bisbing. Web gem.

On the mound for the Bisons tonight is Casey Fossum. The team has had solid pitching thus far. Good thing since they've struggled at the plate. Through four games, Buffalo is hitting just .200. That could change with last year's team MVP Lucas Duda back in the lineup. Duda struggled with the Mets (2-for-17) through eight games but hit 17 homers with 53 RBI a year ago for the Bisons.

Here's today's lineup:

Jason Pridie -- LF

Justin Turner -- 2B

Lucas Duda -- RF

Nick Evans -- 1B

Fernando Martinez -- DH

Zach Lutz -- 3B

Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF

Ruben Tejada -- SS

Raul Chavez -- C

Casey Fossum -- P

Bisons continue homestand

Righty Boof Bonser gets the start for the Buffalo Bisons as they host Pawtucket at 1:05 p.m. in Coca-Cola Field. Bonser started twice in Coca-Cola field with Rochester, going 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA.

The Herd is 1-2 to start the season, dropping an 8-3 decision to the PawSox on Saturday.

Today's starting lineup for Buffalo:

Jason Pridie -- LF
Justin Turner -- 2B
Nick Evans -- 1B
Valentino Pascucci -- 3B
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Ruben Tejada -- SS
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Raul Chavez -- C
Jesus Feliciano -- RF

--- Amy Moritz 

Misch takes the hill against PawSox

Greetings from Coca-Cola Field. If you're not here, you might want to hustle on over.

It's an absolutely perfect spring afternoon in downtown Buffalo, with a temperature of 63 degrees. The Bisons will continue their six-game homestand to start the season in about a half hour, when they open a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox.

I'm getting my first look at the Herd's new HD video screen, and as promised, it's awesome. Sadly, I won't be able to visit the new craft beer stand here at the ballpark today, so a return trip will be in order when I'm not on the clock.

As for today's game, Pat Misch takes the hill for Buffalo. Misch led all lefties in the International League last season with 11 wins, and finished third with a 3.23 earned-run average.

Here are the Bison starters:

Jason Pridie, LF

Justin Turner, 2B

Fernando Martinez, DH

Valentino Pascucci, 1B

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF

Ruben Tejada, SS

Russ Adams, 3B

Salomon Manriquez, C

Jesus Feliciano, RF

Pat Misch, P

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Mejia makes first start of the season

The top prospect of in the New York Mets organization takes the mound tonight for the Buffalo Bisons as they host Syracuse in a 5:05 game at Coca-Cola Field. Righty Jenrry Mejia, who made the Mets Opening Day roster last season, gets the start for the Herd. Mejia made one start for the Bisons last year on Aug. 30. In that game, he struck out nine and allowed one run in eight innings but did not earn an decision in a 4-1 Bisons' loss.

Today's Bison's lineup:

Jason Pridie -- LF
Justin Turner -- 2B
Fernando Martinez -- RF
Valentino Pascucci -- 1B
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- CF
Ruben Tejada -- SS
Raul Chavez -- C
Jenrry Mejia -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Live from the Ballpark: It's Bisons Opening Day

Greetings from Coca-Cola Field as the Bisons get set to open the 2011 season against the Syracuse Chiefs on a beautiful sun-splashed afternoon. After the cold winter -- and after the snow we dealt with during Tuesday's workout -- you couldn't ask for a better day.

This is the 24th home opener downtown, incredible as that may seem. The ballpark opened on April 14, 1988 with that memorable 1-0 Bisons win over Denver and the Herd is 14-9 in home openers. I have missed only one (the 2003 win over Pawtucket played on a 29-degree day while I was covering Syracuse in the Final Four at New Orleans), and am proud and fortunate to say this will be my 19th home opener in the captain's chair of Buffalo News coverage.

The pregame ceremonies today will be fun. I've already had a sneak peek that I'm sworn to secrecy about. Fans will be incredibly impressed by the new video board. If you've missed it either here on the blog or earlier today on our home page, go to this link for our video presentation on what's new at the ballpark.

Keep it here all day for some thoughts from the game. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 but might come a few minutes after. Here are the starting lineups:

Syracusw (Washington): Boomer Whiting, lf; Brian Bixler, 3b; Jeff Frazier, rf; Chris Marrero, 1b; Jesus Flores, c; Seth Bynum, 2b; Corey Brown, cf; Chris McConnell, ss; Yunesky Maya, p

Buffalo (NY Mets): Jason Pridie, lf; Justin Turner, 2b; Fernando Martinez, rf; Nick Evans, 1b; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf; Zach Lutz, 3b; Ruben Tejada, ss; Raul Chavez, c; Dillon Gee, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Pregame: The BisonsTV HD Board is unveiled with a neat twist. An electronic mockup of the old board appeared and was "blown up" to reveal the new look. And it is fabulous. Then the team showed a terrific timelapse video of the contstruction involving the board, field and light standards. Neat.

The Bisons are wearing their new Mets-style pinstripe alternate tops -- which I think should be their permanent tops. Workers involved with the offseason renovations threw ceremonial first pitches.

3:07 p.m.: Dillon Gee's first pitch of the season to Boomer Whiting is a called strike. The temperature is 50 degrees. We are under way. 

Mid-1st: Gee retires the Chiefs in order, striking out Frazier for the final out. His first of the season -- 164 to go to equal last year.

End-1st: The Bisons' first hit of the season is an infield single by Martinez. He goes to second on a single to left-center by Evans but the runners are left on as Nieuwenhuis flies to left.

Mid-2nd: It's six up-six down for Gee. But he got huge help as Pridie made a diving catch in left-center on Flores' liner. Pridie played a great center field last year before hamstring trouble ended his season after just 40 games. Hammy looked fine there.

End-2nd: It's zip-zip through two. The Bisons got Tejada to third with two out after a one-out single, a grounder and a balk. But Gee was retired on a looper to right to end the threat.

End-3rd: More of the same. Gee is perfect through three. FMart is 2 for 2 after pulling a double to right but Evans left him on by striking out. Herd is 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

Mid-4th: Gee blows up in a four-run fourth that gives the Chiefs the lead. Whiting walked on a 3-2 pitch for Syracuse's first baserunner. Frazier singled with one out but Marrero popped out for the second out. Gee was a pitch away from geting out of the inning but Flores lined a low fastball on a 2-2 count for an RBI single. Bynum fell behind, 1-2, and cracked another fastball deep to left for a three-run bomb. Chiefs lead, 4-0.

End-4th: The Bisons' first run of the season was a screaming solo HR to right by Nieuwenhuis leading off the inning. Chiefs lead, 4-1.

Mid-5th: This is ugly. Four more Syracuse runs, three unearned after a Tejada error on a grounder to short. Bynum with a two-run double down the 3B line to give him five RBIs on the day. Gee out with a final line of 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K...ERA: 9.64. Yikes. Chiefs lead, 8-1.

End-5th: It's a day for two-out hits. The Bisons just got two of them to produce four runs. Zach Lutz lined an RBI single and Tejada made up for his error with a three-run triple to the gap in right-center. Chiefs lead, 8-5, and 11 of the runs are with two out. After the inning, we debut the Chicken Wing Race. The wing bested Bleu Cheese and Celery. But Buster Bison chased the wing off the field with a fryer basket. Eat your heart out pierogis and sausages.

End-6th: Chiefs hold their 8-5 lead.

End-8th: Time's a-wasting as the Herd is down to the final three outs and still down, 8-5.

It's over: The Chiefs hold on for an 8-5 win. The Bisons got one-out singles in the ninth from Turner and Martinez -- who was 4 for 5 in the game -- but Evans struck out and Syracuse's Josh Wikie came on to face Nieuwenhuis. Wilkie uncorked a 2-2 wild pitch to move the runners up but got Nieuwenhuis on a slow roller to short for the final out.

Final linescore

Syracuse 8 6 1
Buffalo   5 10 1 

What's new at the ballpark? Check out stories and video of our Bisons preview package

We ran our full package of Bisons preview stories in today's Buffalo News and the rundown goes like this:

---There's changes aplenty downtown for Coca-Cola Field's 24th season, highlighted by the largest HD scoreboard in the minor leagues.

---The Bisons have a roster full of familiar faces that should contend for a playoff berth in their first year under new manager Tim Teufel.

---Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is in the International League this year, managing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Here's a couple videos to watch, one about the changes in the ballpark and the other about what fans will see on the field in 2011.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Bisons name Gee Opening Day starter

Right-hander Dillon Gee, who set the Buffalo Bisons' modern-era record for strikeouts last season, has been named the team's Opening Day starter for Thursday's game against Syracuse in Coca-Cola Field by new manager Tim Teufel.

Gee, 24, went 13-8 with a 4.96 ERA for the Bisons last season and struck out 165 batters -- 23 more than any other pitcher in Triple-A and 28 more than the previous franchise record of 137 that had stood since 1991.

The Bisons were 19-9 in the 28 games Gee started last season as he led the team in starts, wins, innings pitched (161.1) and quality starts (14). For his efforts, Gee was named the Bisons 2010 Comeback Player of the Year after missing the final 98 games of 2009 with a right shoulder strain.

Gee got five starts for the Mets last season, posting a 2-2 record with a 2.18 ERA, striking out 17 in 33 innings. The Bisons are expected to have a strong rotation, featuring Gee, 21-year-old phenom Jenrry Mejia, returning lefty Pat Misch and free agent signee Boof Bonser.

The Bisons and Chiefs, affiliated with the Washington Nationals, open the season Thursday at 3:05 and meet again Friday at 5:05. The Pawtucket Red Sox then hit town for a four-game set that starts Saturday at 4:05.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Collins pens open letter to Mets fans; Wedge moving on from 2007

A few hours before tonight's season opener at Florida, the Mets have released this letter from new manager Terry Collins.  This was Collins' first spring training as a big-league manager since 1999 and all reports from Florida have been how impressive his energy has been in the face of what could be a long year for the Mets.

Collins' opening paragraph: "With our 2011 opener tonight in Florida, I want to make this pledge to Mets fans -- our team will play the game the right way." Hmmm, whether he meant it or not, that's a little bit of a veiled shot at how things looked under Jerry Manuel, isn't it?

I've known Collins for many years obviously. He believes what he says. He writes, "From Day 1 my message has been look ahead, not backward, and not to worry about what the people outside the clubhouse are saying. If we pitch and play defense like I know we can, we will surprise a lot of people, a lot of people."

The Mets certainly need to stay injury-free to have any hope and Jason Bay's early troubles don't help. But it's hard not to root for Collins this time, especially given how bad things ended for him in Anaheim.

Things ended badly for Eric Wedge in Cleveland, of course, when he was fired in 2009. But it seemed as though the Tribe never got over blowing its 3-1 lead to the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS. Wedge starts a new run tonight in Seattle with the Mariners and this terrific Seattle Times column by Jerry Brewer fails to dent the impenetrable Wedge shell when trying to broach that topic.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

It's Opening Day II

The season openers continue Friday with a 3:05 first pitch in sold-out Progressive Field for the Indians and White Sox and a 7:05 first pitch in the sold-out Rogers Centre for the Blue Jays and Twins and the managerial debut of ex-Bison John Farrell.

Check out the Cleveland Plain Dealer's preview section here. The Toronto Star has several stories looking ahead to the Blue Jays' season at this link

Cleveland.com will be hosting a live chat during the Indians' game. They also have a live Webcam into the Winking Lizard, a great pub on Huron Street by the ballpark that this corner has often frequented over the years. An odd little Opening Day addition (place opened at 9 a.m.!)


Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

The Mets, meanwhile, open the Terry Collins era tonight at Florida (7 p.m. on SNY). The Daily News' Mets section has all kinds of stories on the Amazins' season, both Madoff and non-Madoff variety. I like Andy Martino's look at how Collins and GM Sandy Alderson have quite a mess to fix. In terms of early impact on the Bisons is the fact that Jason Bay's trip to the DL means Lucas Duda has made the big club and won't take his big bat to Buffalo to start the year.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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