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Las Vegas GM on Blue Jays' potential Triple-A move: 'Buffalo is the hot girlfriend'

LogoThe Bisons' potential move from the Mets to the Blue Jays -- which, remember, can't happen until after the current deal with the Mets runs out Sept. 15 -- will draw the most attention in Las Vegas, where the Blue Jays have been since 2008.

It's no secret the Jays and Vegas were the last kids picked in gym class four years ago and that's how they got paired. And it's likely Vegas will once again earn that fate. The Mets are hardly a lock to end up there, as they're known to like Oklahoma City and have interest in checking things out in places like Memphis, Nashville and even New Orleans (where they were in 2007 and 2008). It remains to be seen how many of those alternatives will be available.

As for Sin City, Las Vegas 51s General Manager Chuck Johnson would love to keep the Blue Jays but admits in this Las Vegas Review-Journal story that he knows Buffalo is lurking. (*see below for the explanation on 51s)

"We have such a great relationship with the Blue Jays, but we kind of understand (Buffalo is) the hot girlfriend and we may not be so attractive,"  Johnson said. "We understand if they're going to go, they may have their eyes opened to move back East."

Blue Jays farm director Charlie Wilson says in the same story that the team would love to stay in Vegas, but only because he has to. He faces fines if he discusses other locales. That said, most folks you talk to say management in Vegas is more than good enough. It's simply a poor ballpark (29-year-old Cashman Field) and the PCL travel and altitude makes it tough to judge prospects.

The story also talks about the Bisons' unhappiness with the Mets because of the team's record and gets a comment from someone who knows the town well. Current Vegas manager Marty Brown directed the Herd to the 2004 IL championship and was here in July for the Triple-A All-Star Game.

"Buffalo's a very competitive town. They like to win," Brown said. "They don't handle losing easily in Buffalo."

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

(The Vegas team is called the 51s because that was the name of the semi-secret government base known as Area 51, which is about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Reports of UFO sightings and alien activities spawned the team's nickname, alien head logo and its mascot, Cosmo.)

Bisons' Rockpile finale was 25 years ago today

The Buffalo Bisons just wrapped up their 25th anniversary season in Coca-Cola Field but today is another milestone in the franchise's history. On Aug. 30, 1987 -- 25 years ago today -- the Bisons played their final game in War Memorial Stadium.

DSCN2075It was a memorable, sunny Sunday afternoon against the Nashville Sounds, a game the Bisons gave up two unearned runs in the ninth to suffer a 7-5 loss. The last Buffalo home run was by third baseman Eddie Williams. The last out was a grounder to second by Don Lovell. The final winning pitcher was Tonawanda native and Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Famer Bill Scherrer, now a special assistant to the GM for the Chicago White Sox living in Arizona. The attendance was 25,412.

I was there that day in the third-base stands. That's my ticket to the right from my archives. It had been a great summer after college of hanging out at the old ballpark with the lobby behind home plate, the pizza stand in foul territory down the right-field line past the box seats and the short-porch general admission seats behind the right-field screen.

I remember Sinatra's "New York, New York" after the final out and "There Used to be a Ballpark" as we walked out for the final time, full of memories but looking forward to the move downtown.

Courtesy of the archives of Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Weber, click below for some sounds from that game.


Weber and John Murphy with legendary scout Cy Williams of South Buffalo


Weber calls the final out


Weber's final signoff from the Dodge Street side for WBEN

Weber also tweeted a link to an incredible YouTube video a fan sent him of that final day. Great shots of the Earl of Bud, Mayor Griffin, Bob Rich. Jr., the Butcher, the terrible Buster Bison costume of the day, Williams coming around second on his home run, the "Home Plate Dancers" (1987 Fans of the Year), the stands and the press box (the broadcaster is actually Nashville's Bob Jamison).

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

Thoughts on the Mets and Bisons' disastrous finale

Been percolating a lot of thoughts about the Bisons' season and last night's Fan Appreciation Night debacle against Rochester. Been quite an interesting day on Twitter as well, as I woke up to see Bisons starter Collin McHugh tweaking me on the Twitterverse last night and numerous Mets fans from New York piling on.

(Classy McHugh note was this thank-you to the fans. McHugh had another strong outing and is a thoughtful guy with a great blog you should all take a look at. But if he wants a long career in New York, I would hope he would not try to argue points with the likes of John Harper of the Daily News or Mike Vaccaro of the Post. Especially when 15,000 people are hooting and booing the team the night before, like we saw here last night).

Mets manager Terry Collins made this point last night after the game in Philadelphia and it applies to the Bisons too: "When you don't hit, it looks like you don't care. That's just the nature of the game. When you don't hit, there's no action going on. It looks like you've folded it up."

Collins' team hasn't. I still wonder about Wally Backman's group. They're 20 games under .500 since May 31. They're 10-18 in August. They don't hit at all with runners in scoring position, hence the malaise Collins referred to.

But this is a lot more than a tough performance as McHugh tried to say. It doesn't take much to run out groundballs hard. It doesn't take much to think about hitting situationally at the plate. Doesn't even take much to do little things like line up for the national anthem and look like a team like Rochester did (and so many MLB teams do), or even have a coach at first base when an inning is starting. Umpires have been waving guys out there for a while now.

Even Backman seemed worn by the end of this trainwreck. On an inning-ending play last night where Jordany Valdespin was clearly safe, both to the naked eye and on replay, the manager simply jogged into the dugout when 15,000 people might have expected some fire and brimstone.

(An aside: None of my comments are rooted in any media issues. Fans too often assume a critical writer has been blown off during interviews, so let's make this clear for the record: Mets-era players, coaches and managers have been nothing but professional with the media in all four years they've been in town. Backman has been terrific. We now return to our programming).

C.J. Nitkowski, the 39-year-old trying to revive his career as a situational lefty, also tweeted to me in response to Backman's assertion he's not ready for the bigs (LOOGY is his term for lefty-on-lefty reliever). Nitkowski pitched scoreless ball in his first seven outings here and allowed only two runs in his first nine before back-to-back blowups that pushed his ERA from 2.79 to 9.53. In New York, he'll never pitch to that many right-handed batters. Backman said he needed him last night because McHugh was on an innings/pitch count. It made for some ugliness in that ninth inning. He shouldn't have been put in that spot. It's not what he'd see in MLB.

I've been pretty clear for 14 months that this Mets-Bisons marriage was not going to last. Fans in New York keep crushing me with "it doesn't matter if you win in the minors" comments and that's bunk. The Cleveland Indians were here from 1995-2008, going to the Triple-A playoffs nine times and the MLB version seven times (and were last-weekend eliminated in the bigs two others years).

The Tribe got here two years after winning a Triple-A title in Charlotte with Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez on the roster. Two years later they were in the World Series. They put 21 postseason all-stars in Buffalo in those 14 years. The Mets put exactly none. Their players don't win in the minors and they certainly won't win in New York.

Brian Giles flew 3,000 miles from San Diego earlier this month to get inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. How many current Bisons were in the dugout watching? Almost none. How many Mets-era Bisons stand out as Buffalo Hall candidates? Maybe Jesus Feliciano and Val Pascucci. Maybe not even them. 

Memo to the Bisons: The front of the jersey said "BUFFALO" last night. Too many guys worried about what it said on the back. Just not a good scene the last four years. And a really bad way to go out in front of the home folks. 

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

Bisons hand out hardware before finale

As part of Fan Appreciation Night festivities, the Bisons handed out their end-of-season awards in their annual pregame ceremony Tuesday night in Coca-Cola Field.

Outfielder Fred Lewis, rescued April 26 out of nowhere land after getting released at the end of spring training by the Cleveland Indians, was named winner of the Stan Barron Most Valuable Player. He entered play Tuesday batting .290 with 11 homers, 39 RBIs and team-high totals of 75 runs and 24 stolen bases.

The Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher Award went to Matt Harvey, who was 7-4 here and earned a Star of Stars Award at the Triple-A All-Star Game. The Joe De Sa Most Inspirational Player went to pitcher Jeff Stevens (1-1, 3.15 in 32 games here despite bouncing back and forth to Double-A)  a and the Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player Award went to reliever Elvin Ramirez, who did not pitch last year due to injuries.

The Fremo Vallone Community Service Award was split between Matt Tuiasosopo and Garrett Olson and the Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero award for performance downtown went to reliever Justin Hampson. The Joe Byron Fan of the Year Award went to Pam Asarese, a Section 111 season ticket-holder since the ballpark opened and a founding member of the Bisons Booster Club since 1985.

As for tonight's game against Rochester, Collin McHugh will make the start on the rebound from his stellar major-league debut against the Mets last Thursday (seven shutout innings, 9 Ks vs. Colorado). He will throw five innings or 75 pitches before returning to pitch for New York Monday in St. Louis. Jordany Valdespin is back with the Bisons and will play second base.

Tonight's lineup:

Fred Lewis, lf
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Zach Lutz, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Josh Satin, 1b
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Josh Rodriguez, ss
Matt den Dekker, cf
Lucas May, c

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

No Bisons on IL All-Star Team

In their 14 seasons as the Bisons' parent, the Cleveland Indians had 21 players named to postseason all-star teams in either the American Association or International League. Count 'em. Twenty-one.

The 2012 IL All-Stars were announced today and for the fourth time in four years with the New York Mets, the Herd was shut out. There's a huge reason tonight's home finale is almost certain to be the Unamazins' last game in Buffalo as the parent. Just not enough talent. Period.

The only Bison with a shot this year was closer Fernando Cabrera, who has 22 saves and a 4.09 ERA but he was beaten by Indianapolis' Tim Wood (2.09 ERA, 20 saves for a first-place team).

Pawtucket's Mauro Gomez (.310-24-74) was named MVP while Lehigh Valley's Tyler Cloyd (12-1, 2.35) was named the pitcher of the year and Gwinnett first baseman Ernesto Mejia (.303-24-91) was named rookie of the year. The manager of the year is Dave Miley of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, who is going to win a division in a year without playing at home. I would say Baseball America should name him manager of the year for the entire minor leagues.

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

Worry and wonder

WORRY

Yankees: Mark Teixeira left last night's game with a groin strain and Rafael Soriano then gave up a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth to Colby Rasmus to give the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead. Then Derek Jeter homered in the ninth to tie it but the Jays won in the 11th after a Derek Lowe error, 8-7. The Yanks are wheezing to the finish. 

Pirates: That 19-inning win a week ago Sunday in St. Louis should have been a boost. But like the 19-inning loss last year in Atlanta, it might have been a season killer. They've dropped six of seven, including last night's 4-3 showdown to the Cardinals.

Angels: They start a homestand tonight against Boston 10 games out of the AL West lead and 4 1/2 out of the wild-card. Wonder if this is Mike Scioscia's last stand.

Dodgers: They're 1-2 since the big trade and got drilled, 10-0, last night at Colorado in Josh Beckett's debut. Beckett was charged with just three of the runs, including Tyler Colvin's leadoff homer.

WONDER

Orioles: They're only 3 1/2 out in the AL East and are tied with the Athletics in the wild-card race, a half-game ahead of the Rays. And last night's 4-3 win over the White Sox was their 13th straight one-run win -- and put them at an MLB-best 24-6 in such games for the season.

Cardinals: Here they come again with another late-season rush and they're far ahead of last year's pace, when they didn't kick it into gear until September. They've got a 2 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers and now a three-game edge on the Pirates.

Padres: They've won eight straight and are saving Bud Black's job.

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

Bisons to play Wings tonight at 7:30

The Bisons were scheduled to play Rochester tonight at 7 and they're hopeful of getting the game in so they can avoid a doubleheader tomorrow on Fan Appreciation Night. We'll post an update here if there's any change in tonight's status. 

(Here's your update -- the tarp is off the field and tonight's game will start at 7:30)

Jenrry Mejia (3-2) pitches tonight for Buffalo against Rochester's Nick Blackburn (2-1), who has 43 big-league wins and a crazy career pitching line pointed out to my by Bisons PR maven Brad Bisbing. 

2008: 33 GS, 11-11, 4.05 ERA, 193.1 IP, 224H, 96 SO, 39 BB
2009: 33 GS, 11-11, 4.03 ERA, 205.2 IP, 240H, 98 SO, 41 BB

(In 2010, Blackburn blew the pattern by going 10-12, 5.42) 

Here's Buffalo's scheduled lineup for tonight:

Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 2b
Zach Lutz, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Adam Loewen, 1b
Josh Rodriguez, ss
Matt den Dekker, cf
Mike Nickeas, c

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

Video: Bisons go deep with fabulous 25th anniversary retrospective

The Bisons have always been first-rate when putting together their Opening Day videos and end-of-season retrospectives. But they outdid themselves Saturday night with their postgame presentation that was a highlight of their 25th anniversary celebration.

Right from construction to the ballpark's opening on April 14, 1988 through all the great players and personalities of the last 25 years we discussed in our four-part series that ran last week, the video set to Springsteen's "Glory Days" was a grand slam.

Here are the links to our series:

1. The Top 25 games
2. The Top 25 bizarre moments
3. The Top 25 personalities
4. The Top 25 players 

And check out the video here. Click the window to get it to play full-screen. 

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

Herd clips Wings, 1-0, in opener behind Wheeler's three-hit shutout; loses nightcap,11-9

Zach Wheeler tossed a three-hit shutout for his first Triple-A win today as the Buffalo Bisons blanked the Rochester Red Wings, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader in Coca-Cola Field. Rochester overcame a 4-0 deficit in the nightcap to earn an 11-9 win and gain a split.

Wheeler, the New York Mets' top prospect, had been 0-2 with a 4.71 earned-run average in his first four starts with the Herd since being promoted from Double-A Binghamton. But he was still throwing 95 mph in the final inning of this one. Wheeler struck out seven and walked two, and needed 98 pitches to complete the shutout in the seven-inning game. He threw 65 strikes.

It was Buffalo's first complete-game shutout of the season and Wheeler's second as a pro. He threw a six-hitter for Binghamton July 14 in a 1-0 win over Erie.

Wheeler retired the first eight men he faced before Rene Rivera singled with two out in the third. He also gave up doubles to Matt Carson in the fourth and sixth. The Red Wings never got a runner to third base in the game in losing their 11th straight in Buffalo.

Rochester's Emerling Vasquez (9-6) also went the route, allowing six hits. The Bisons got their only run in the fourth as Adam Loewen walked with one out, went to third on Josh Rodriguez's single and scored on Matt den Dekker's sacrifice fly.

Brian Dozier went 3 for 3 and scored four runs for Rochester in the nightcap. The Bisons lost despite four home runs. The teams meet again here Monday night at 7.

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

Wheeler on mound in opener of Bisons-Wings DH

The Bisons and Rochester Red Wings are getting set to hold a makeup doubleheader in Coca-Cola Field and it's Zack Wheeler's fifth chance at his first Triple-A win.

The Mets' No. 1 prospect is 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA this far; he's dropped his last two outings with a 6.97 ERA in them, giving up 13 hits and eight runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Lucas Duda left yesterday and is in the Mets' lineup today against Houston. Jordany Valdespin was sent back to Buffalo but is not yet at the ballpark and hasn't been added to the roster. (1:30 update: Collin McHugh has been officially added to the roster and will start Tuesday night. Valdespin will not be added today).

Buffalo has won 10 straight over Rochester in Coca-Cola Field dating to the second game of a twinbill on April 19, 2011. Esmerling Vasquez (9-5) pitches the opener for Rochester trying to become the Wings' first 10-game winner since current White Sox pitchers Philip Humber and Francisco Liriano both won 10 in 2008.

The Buffalo lineup for Game One:

Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 2b
Zach Lutz, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Adam Loewen, 1b
Josh Rodriguez, ss
Matt den Dekker, cf
Mike Nickeas, c

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

 

Thumbs-up to Herd's anniversary bash

Great job by the Bisons at Saturday night's 25th anniversary celebration in Coca-Cola Field. Pleasantly surprised to see a crowd of more than 13,000 on hand -- with more than 70,000 just a few miles away at the Bills-Steelers game.

That's nearly 26,000 in the house downtown the last two nights for a last-place team. People clearly rushing to use vouchers and go to the ballpark before the season ends. Repeating my annual question: Where the heck are all of you in June and July, when the weather is good too? Why has the ballpark become a once-a-year festival like the Taste of Buffalo for too many of you?

Anyway, lots of great touches by the team. Bringing back old favorites like Dorn Taylor, Jason Cooper, the Earl of Bud and Loudmouth. A great postgame salute to 25-year employees and a fabulous video retrospective to Springsteen's "Glory Days" that I'll post here whenever I can get a link to it.

MooneyGreat moment prior to the game as well when IL president Randy Mobley gave 90-year-old associate Frank Mooney the "Spirit of the IL Award." Well-deserved.

(Mobley at left with Mooney, his wife Bonnie, and Bisons GM Mike Buczkowski).

Bisons employees call Mooney "The Mayor of Coca-Cola Field." Super job by the team to nominate him for the IL award and good for the league to make Mooney their annual selection for service to fans. The award was created in 2010 and previously given to Toledo broadcaster Frank Gilhooley and Rochester organist Fred Costello.

(An aside: Mooney stands as a glaring omission to our list of Top 25 "personalities" at the ballpark. Lots of votes as well for longtime ticket manager Mike Poreda, who has done yeoman's work. Both are very familiar to season ticket-holders).

As for the "All-25 Seasons Team," didn't like that Torey Lovullo was left off but Brandon Phillips was a worthy choice. Bartolo Colon over Joe Roa or Jason Jacome? No way. Colon only pitched 20 games here, but people don't realize that. That no-hitter in 1997 carried plenty of cachet.

Enjoyed seeing Cooper again. One of the class acts of the era from 2004-2009. Loved his thoughts on the '04 champions.

"We had guys who had just been sent down who were hungry to win and weren't worried about trying to get back up or somebody did them wrong or poor them," Cooper said. "They wanted to play for a team and play as a team. When you're a young guy coming up, you see people like that you want to be there and be in the trenches with you, your energy level goes through the roof.

"We had such a tight-knit team of guys who were so interested in winning at this level. ... It was so special. I was a guy who came in and wasn't expected to play. I was a young kid, obviously a little scared and I've got guys 35 years old on the team who are men. They welcomed me with open arms and said we're all in this together and you'll be a part of this. I never experienced that before or after since then. It's something I'll take with me forever. Very special."

The '04 team was certainly one that will live forever. Good to see the Bisons celebrate all the stars of the past -- as well as their employees and fans.

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

Photo: Charles Lewis/Buffalo News

It's 25th anniversary night for the Herd

Plenty of surprised planned tonight for the Bisons' 25th anniversary night at Coca-Cola Field. Former players Dorn Taylor, Tom Romano and Jason Cooper were on hand to throw ceremonial first pitches, as was "Larry the Peanut Man" representing the vendors.

IL President Randy Mobley is also in the house and made a special presentation to 90-year-old Bisons associate Frank Mooney, honoring him with the 2012 Spirit of the International League Award for service to fans in his city.

The annual award was created in 2010 and the first two recipients were longtime Toledo broadcaster Frank Gilhooley and Rochester organist Fred Costello.

The Bisons have yet to announce their all-time downtown team but that is expected shortly. As for the game against Rochester, Lucas Duda was pulled from the lineup in advance of a callup to the Mets tomorrow. Chris Schwinden will be on the mound. The lineup for Buffalo:

Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 2b
Zach Lutz, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Adam Loewen, 1b
Josh Rodriguez, ss
Matt den Dekker, cf
Mike Nickeas, c

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

Jeter on beaning: 'You just hear a bang, man'

CLEVELAND -- As I wrote in Saturday's editions, Topic 1A in the Yankees' clubhouse after Friday's 3-1 win over the Indians was CC Sabathia's stellar performance straight off the disabled list. 

JeterTopic 1B was the frightening pitch to the helmet Derek Jeter took from Cleveland rookie Corey Kluber in the second inning. The pitch nailed Jeter, partially cracking the bill of his helmet as it knocked the helmet off. Jeter was clearly angry by the drilling (left) but waved off trainer Steve Donahue and manager Joe Girardi as he went to first base and stayed in the game.

Take a look at the video here.

"It's scary when it's coming," Jeter said. "They said how are you, I said I'm fine. That was pretty much the extent of our conversation."

"I'm looking in his eyes," Girardi said. "Steve has a bunch of questions he has to ask. I'm just looking at him."

The Yankees, of course, were also looking at Kluber's motives. Didn't appear to be any even though Jeter doubled off him in the first and Kluber simply said it was an inside fastball that got away. The kid was all over the place the first three innings.

"Of course you're angry," Jeter said. "No one wants to get hit in the head. You do that, it can be something serious. I was upset.  I don't think anyone throws at someone's head. I don't know the guy. I don't think he did that. He was throwing up and in so you've got to be careful. That's a dangerous area to be throwing."

"I thought he took it like a champ" said outfielder Nick Swisher. "Super scary. I heard it, kind of closed my eyes real quick because I thought he was going down. And then he's just kind of standing there and I was, 'Damn, what a champ. That didn't faze him at all.' But anytime you get up in that region towards the face, that's kind of off limits. I would like to think he just lost that pitch but that's nothing to joke around with. that could be super serious."

Asked if it him on the side of the helmet or the front bill, Jeter simply said, "You just hear a bang, man. Certainly didn't feel good. Of course it hurt. It was a 90-some mph fastball. It's gonna hurt. But there's no problem, so I'm fine."

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

AP Photo: Manager Joe Girardi and umpire Fieldin Culbreth escort Derek Jeter to first base.

CC makes return for Yankees

Click here for Amy Moritz's pregame update from Friday's Bisons-Scranton game.

CLEVELAND -- I'm spending my Friday at Progressive Field, checking out CC Sabathia's return from the disabled list against the woebegone Indians, who have lost eight straight and are 1-17 on their last two road trips.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have seen a 10-game lead in the AL East dwindle to just 2 1/2 over Tampa Bay after getting swept earlier this week in Chicago.

"The concern is how YOU play," Yanks manager Joe Girardi said before the game when asked about the Rays. "If you play well, those things take care of themselves."

The biggest thing the Yankees need is health in their rotation. Sabathia comes back today just as Ivan Nova goes on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.

"Starters are hard to replace and your depth is really tested," Girardi said. " It seems like we get one starter back and we lose another. We have three starters on the DL right now (Nova, Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda) and that's not what you want."

Girardi also addressed the postgame incident Wednesday in Chicago when he shouted down a heckler during his press conference. The incident has gone viral and you can see it below.

Said Giradi: "You can say whatever you want to me but when my wife and kids are there, that's a different story. I wanted to put a stop to it. Sometimes if you ignore it, who knows what's coming after. It's not right. I've said things to security when people are yelling obscenities at players in my dugout when there's kids around."

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

Familia makes his 27th start

Jeurys Familia makes his 27th start of the season tonight as the Buffalo Bisons end their seasons series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Coca-Cola Field. The 27th start is the most by a pitcher in the International League this season. Familia is 8-8 with a 4.65 ERA. His 112 strikeouts are tied for seventh most by a Bison pitcher in the Modern Era along with Matt Harvey (2012) and Dorn Taylor (1990).

John Maine gets the start for Scranton. He has a 1-2 career record against the Bisons with a 6.10 ERA, including the 2004 season when he pitched with Ottawa. 

The Bisons are looking to end a five-game losing skid while Scranton is on a season-best eight-game win streak and on top of the IL North Division standings.

In roster moves today, righty Drew Carpenter was promoted to the Herd from Double-A Binghamton while righty Armando Rodriguez was transferred back to the B-Mets.

Carpenter was signed as a minor league free agent by the New York Mets on Aug. 10. In five gaves with Binghamton he recorded three saves giving up just four hits with 10 strikeouts in five innings of work.  

Rodriguez made his Triple-A debut with the Herd on Thursday, throwing 4 1/3 innings giving up one run in a no-decision.

Tonight's lineups:

Scranton:
Chris Dickerson -- LF
Corban Joseph -- 2B
Eduardo Nunez -- SS
Ronnier Mustelier -- DH
Brandon Laird -- 3B
Francisco Cervelli -- C
Melky Mesa -- CF
Kosuke Fukudome -- 1B
Darnell McDonald -- RF

Buffalo:
Fred Lewis -- RF
Josh Satin -- 2B
Lucas Duda -- LF
Valentino Pascucci -- DH
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Adam Loewen -- 1B
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Mike Nickeas -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

Rodriguez makes Triple A debut

With Collin McHugh making his Major League debut with the New York Mets today, righty Armando Rodriguez was promoted from Double-A Binghamton to start for the Buffalo Bisons tonight.

McHugh pitched seven shutout innings giving up two hits with nine strikeouts in his MLB debut. He took a no-decision in a 1-0 loss.

In Buffalo, it will be Rodriguez who will get the start for the Herd. While the 24-year old was an Eastern League All Star for Binghamton, he made just three spot starts for the B-Mets this year with the rest of his 31 appearances from the bullpen. He was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA as a starter while he was 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA overall.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with counter with lefty MIke O'Connor (3-6, 3.73). The Yankess have clinched the season series with the Herd.

Tonight's lineup:

Scranton:
Chris Dickerson -- RF
Corban Joseph -- 2B
Eduardo Nunez -- SS
Brandon Laird -- DH
Kosuke Fukudome -- 1B
Austin Romine -- C
Melky Mesa -- CF
Kevin Russo -- LF
Ramiro Pena -- 3B

Buffalo:
Fred Lewis -- LF
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Lucas Duda -- DH
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Josh Satin -- 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Lucas May -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

Bisons Top 25 Part II: Heat turned up in the booth?

Part two of our Bisons Top 25 lists is in today's sports section, listing 25 bizarre moments at Coca-Cola Field. One of them is the night in 1991 when legendary Indianapolis radio voice Howard Kellman, who has been coming to Buffalo since 1985, was startled on the air by the work of Buster Bison and Herd voice Pete Weber and thought he had a bit of a fire in his booth.

Weber, who has voluminious audio archives, passed this one along this morning to me with the commentary from Kellman on that night.

Howard Kellman

Elsewhere in Bisonland:

Reigning IL Pitcher of the Week Collin McHugh, who threw seven shutout innings Saturday in Fenway Park, makes his major-league debut this afternoon at 1:10 for the Mets against Colorado in Citi FIeld.

What happened this year to Triple-A Home Run Derby hero Valentino Pascucci? Amy Moritz has the answer in today's Bisons report, which includes last night's 2-1, 12-inning loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that ended late enough to not make some of today's print editions.

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

McHugh on Taxi Squad

Bisons righthanded pitcher Collin McHugh was added to the New York Mets' 24-hour taxi squad. He will make his Major League debut as Johan Santana was shut down for the season with a lower back inflammation. McHugh will start Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.

In 12 starts with Buffalo, he went 2-4 with a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 67 over 69 innings. On Saturday, he threw seven shutout innings for the Herd against Pawtucket at Fenway Park.

Today Jenrry Mejia starts for the Herd. He is 2-0 in August with a 0.59 earned run average. As a starter, Mejia is 2-1 with a 1.05 ERA.

Scranton, who returns to being the vistor for the rest of the homestand, counters with Adam Warren (7-8, 3.77 ERA) who is making his 25th start of the season and fifth career start agianst Buffalo.

Tonight's lineups:

Scranton:
Chris Dickerson -- RF
Corban Joseph -- DH
Eduardo Nunez -- SS
Brandon Laird -- 3B
Kosuke Fukudome -- 1B
Francisco Cervelli -- C
Melky Mesa -- CF
Kevin Russo -- LF
Ramiro Pena -- 2B

Buffalo:
Fred Lewis -- RF
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Lucas Duda -- LF
Zach Lutz -- DH
Adam Loewen -- 1B
Josh Satin -- 3B
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Lucas May -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

Bisons/Blue Jays chatter on the air (Doan too), and a look at Herd's 25th anniversary downtown

Things have been abuzz in the media and the baseball blogs in both New York and Toronto since my postgame interview with Wally Backman Sunday in Pawtucket where he basically gave up the Mets' ghost for their run in Buffalo. Plainly obvious the Bisons will sign with the Toronto Blue Jays next month, barring something incredibly unforseen.

Sportsnet 590 The FAN in Toronto had me on the air today to discuss the Bisons' recent past and some of the plusses a union with Toronto could create. Of course, being Toronto, they had to get in some hockey talk too so we chatted near the end of the interview about Shane Doan as well.

Click below to hear the interview with the FAN's Jeff Sammut:

 

Something else to note: In today's paper, we opened a four-part series of Top 25s related to the anniversary of Coca-Cola Field with a look at the great games. In the next three days, we'll look at the great personalities of the ballpark, some of its most bizarre moments and the top players. That list comes out Saturday, the day the Bisons will announce their all-time team downtown.

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


Wheeler makes fourth start

Zach Wheeler gets his fourth start at Triple A this afternoon as the Herd faces Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Coca-Cola Field. The Yankees will again be the home team today.

Wheeler is comign off his first decision for the Herd -- a loss against Lehigh Valley on Aug. 16. Overall he is 0-1 with a 4.60 earned run average and 16 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings with Buffalo.

Lefty Justin Thomas (1-1, 3.75) starts for Scranton. It's his fifth start for the Yankees. He started 2012 with the Boston Red Sox, appearing in seven games. He then went to Pawtucket and was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on May 12.

Today's lineups:

Buffalo:
Fred Lewis -- RF
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Lucas Duda -- LF
Zach Lutz -- 1B
Josh Satin -- DH
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Oswaldo Navarro -- SS
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Lucas May -- C

Scranton:
Chris Dickerson -- CF
Corban Josph -- 2B
Eduardo Nunez -- SS
Brandon Laird -- 1B
Kosuke Fukudome -- RF
Francisco Cervelli -- C
Autin Romine -- DH
Kevin Russo -- 3B
Darnell McDonald -- LF

--- Amy Moritz 

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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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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