Greetings from sun-splashed Coca-Cola Field, as the Bisons will wrap up the longest homestand in their history -- a 16-game, 17-day affair -- with today's 10:35 a.m. game against the Columbus Clippers. It's the annual School Kids Day game, with more than 10,000 children expected to be on hand.
The Bisons have won the first three games of the series, and are trying to make this the third straight four-game sweep between the teams in Buffalo. The Bisons took all four meetings against the Cleveland affiliate in 2010, while the Clippers won all four here last year. The Bisons are 31-22, and a win would push them a season-high 10 games over .500, their first time at that mark since Aug. 28, 2010.
The Bisons are 9-6 on the homestand thus far (although the four-game split with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre officially counts as road games). Outfielder/3B Matt Tuiasosopo (.309-2-12) and OFs Corey Wimberly (.304) and Fred Lewis (.300-2-7) have been stars on the stand. Valentino Pascucci has forged a 24-game on-base streak, although he's batting just .220 (11-50). Wimberly will DH today after feeling a tweak in his arm while throwing from the outfield last night (9:30 a.m. update -- Wimberly scratched and Michael Fisher will dH)
Starter Matt Harvey and reliever Justin Hampson are both 2-0, setup man Elvin Ramirez seems headed to New York at any moment because he's made 11 straight scoreless appearances overall, and closer Fernando Cabrera has three saves on the stand.
At 6-foot-10, starting pitcher Chris Young becomes the tallest Bison in history with today's start. He'll be throwing to catcher Josh Thole, who was cleared to enter last night's game as a DH once his concussion rehab paperwork was approved.
There is plenty of interest in Young's start in New York, and today's game will be shown live nationwide on MLB Network. Really good exposure for the Bisons and for broadcaster Ben Wagner. Locally, however, the MLB Network broadcast is blacked out because the feed is simply the one being used on Time Warner Cable Sportnet. So if you're a Time Warner customer, you can watch the game as normal on Channel 13. If you're on FIOS (like I am), DirecTV or Dish, you're outta luck.
That's just absurd. There are two Bisons game this season -- two. Time Warner should be allowing them into everyone's homes in Western New York. The Bisons should be demanding it. And if the words "Time Warner" come through to a viewer on FIOS or DirecTV 100 times in three hours, how exactly is that a bad thing?
But I digress. Television, especially cable, in this market continues to be utterly goofy. Here's today's lineup for the Bisons:
Corey Wimberly, dh Michael Fisher, dh
Josh Thole, c
Valentino Pascucci, rf
Fred Lewis, lf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Brad Emaus, 2b
Raul Reyes, cf
Sean Kazmar, ss
Chris Young, p