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Herd rolls over Rochester, finishes April 17-7

By Mike Harrington

ROCHESTER -- Catcher Josh Thole went 4 for 4 and Dave Bush tossed six more strong innings as the Bisons completed a scintillating April with a 5-2 win over the Rochester Red Wings in a nationally televised game today before 3,755 in Frontier Field.

Thole slapped a wind-blown, two-run homer the opposite way to left to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead in the fourth and the Herd never looked back. The Bisons scored three runs in the ninth, one on a slap single by Ryan Goins and another on Anthony Gose's queeze bunt. Buffalo ended April 17-7, the most wins in a month in its modern era.

Thole's four-hit day was his second of the season and sixth for the Bisons this month. Behind the plate, he caught six strong innings from Bush -- who is 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA thus far. Veteran Ramon Ortiz tossed 2 2/3 innings and came within one out of his first professional save since 1996. Neil Wagner got the final out with the bases loaded for his seventh save.

The Bisons are off Wednesday and open an eight-game homestand Thursday night at 7 against the Louisville Bats. Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate features outfielder Billy Hamilton, who set a minor-league record last season with 155 stolen bases at two levels. Thursday's starter for the Bats will be Armando Galarraga, the former Detroit pitcher who lost a perfect game against Cleveland in 2010 due to botched call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce.

 

Bisons' April finale is a matinee on MLB Network

By Mike Harrington

ROCHESTER -- The Bisons have their second nationally televised morning game of the season today in Frontier Field, an 11:30 start against the Rochester Red Wings that you can watch on MLB Network. The broadcast will be handled by the Rochester crew with the play-by-play done by veteran Josh Whetzel, who also does the radio calls for University at Buffalo basketball during the winter.

The Bisons have dropped two of the first three games in this series, including last night's 4-3 defeat that saw them blow a 3-1 lead. The Bisons are 16-7 overall but just 4-3 against Rochester. Oddly enough, this is the last time they'll play the Red Wings until July 3 -- and the last time they'll be in this always-relaxing downtown park until Aug. 30-31.

Boo to the IL schedule for that. NO GAMES in Rochester all summer? That's just plain terrible.

Veteran Dave Bush (2-1, 1.65 starts today for Buffalo against Red Wings left Andrew Albers (0-0, 4.58). It's the final game of April and the Bisons have already clinched their best record in the season's first month of their modern era.

Here's today's Bisons lineup:

Mike McCoy, lf
Anthony Gose, cf
Moises Sierra, rf
Luis Jimenz, dh
Mauro Gomez, 1b
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Josh Thole, c
Lance Zawadski, 2b
Ryan Goins, ss
----
Dave Bush, p 

Mariners coach Datz, ex-Bisons manager, reveals cancer diagnosis

By Mike Harrington

Seattle Mariners third-base coach Jeff Datz, who managed the Bisons to the 1998 International League championship and a berth in the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series, announced today he has been diagnosed with cancer and might be away from the team for periods of time.  The kind of cancer was not disclosed, although Datz has a history of skin cancer; the Seattle Times, however, is saying this is not related.

"The good news is that it was caught very early, and I have great support from my wife, my family, Eric (Wedge), the coaches and staff, all the players and the Mariners organization," Datz said in a written statement released to the media.

Datz, 53, worked under Wedge for eight years in Cleveland, including the 2007 Indians team that fell one win shy of the World Series. They first started working closely in 1998, when Datz was managing the Bisons and Wedge was at Double-A Akron.

Datz's '98 Buffalo team wiped out a huge deficit in the IL North to finish 81-62 and win the division by a half game. The Bisons then swept Syracuse and won the IL title with a Game Five win at Durham before losing the World Series to New Orleans in four games. The Herd was 72-72 under Datz in 1999.

Brown moves in on record

By Rodney McKissic

With a win tonight, Bisons manager Marty Brown will tie Brian Graham for the most wins in the Bisons modern era with 253. Brown won 238 games and two division titles with the Herd from 2003-05.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Mike McCoy, ss
Anthony Gose, cf
Moises Sierra, rf
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Josh Thole, c
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Jim Negych, 2b
Eugenio Velez, lf
Claudio Vargas, p

Ortiz starts Game 2 for Bisons

By Rodney McKissic

Ramon Ortiz, the 39-year-old veteran pitcher, starts the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against Pawtucket.

Here is the lineup for this afternoon's game:

Mike McCoy, ss
Anthony Gose, cf
Moises Sierra, rf
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Josh Thole, c
Jim Negrych, 2b
Eugenio Velez, lf
Lance Zawadzki, 3b
Ramon Ortiz, p

Bisons win streak ends at 9

By Rodney McKissic

Pawtucket rallied to score eight runs in the sixth inning and went on to defeat the Buffalo Bisons, 8-3, in the first game of a doubleheader.

The Bisons nine consecutive wins was one shy of the club's modern era record. They had won 10 straight twice, first in April (18-28) of 2002 and in August (12-21) of 2004.

Bisons starter Dave Bush retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced until the PawSox Dan Butler started the sixth with a single on a swinging bunt. Pawtucket batted around in the inning as Butler capped the scoring with a two-run homer to center and an 8-3 advantage.

First pitch for Game 2 is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.

Bisons take on PawSox in DH

By Rodney McKissic

The Bisons try for their 10th consecutive win in Game 1 of a doubleheader this afternoon against Pawtucket. Bisons manager Marty Brown is two wins shy of Brian Graham's record for most win the club's modern era with 253. Here is the starting lineup for Game 1:

Jim Negrych, 2b
Anthony Gose, cf
Moises Sierra, rf
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Ryan Langerhans, lf
Mike Nickeas, c
Ryan Goins, ss
Dave Bush, p

No record for Bisons tonight: Game postponed

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons' bid to tie the franchise record of 10 straight wins is on hold. Tonight's game against Pawtucket in Coca-Cola Field has been postponed by rain.

The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader Thursday beginning at 12:30. The gates will open at noon. Should the Bisons sweep, they could break the mark set in 2002 and 2004 and push their streak to 11 wins in a row.

Tickets for tonight's game can be exchanged at any time this season at the ballpark box office for a comparable ticket to a future game, excluding special events.

Offense stampeding as Bisons go for 10 in a row tonight


Jim Negrych with a web gem Tuesday night (MILB.com/Bisons.com)

By Mike Harrington

In April, 2009 -- their first month in Buffalo -- the New York Mets put a putrid team here that posted a 2-16 record. Yes, 2-16.

In April, 2013 -- their first month -- the Toronto Blue Jays are making good on a lot of winter promises to put a good team here.

The Bisons are 13-4, have the top offense in minor-league baseball and can tie the franchise record for consecutive victories by earning their 10th straight tonight at 6 against the Pawtucket Red Sox in Coca-Cola Field. (Weather permitting, of course)

The Herd made it nine in a row with Tuesday's 5-3 win in the opener of a four-game series. The Bisons have won 10 straight twice previously, in April, 2002 and in August, 2004 under current manager Marty Brown.

Their numbers are off-the-charts crazy:

Continue reading "Offense stampeding as Bisons go for 10 in a row tonight" »

Bisons open series with PawSox

By Rodney McKissic

The Buffalo Bisons, winners of eight in a row, host the Pawtucket Red Sox tonight for the first game of a four-game set at Coca-Cola Field. The Herd, coming off an 8-0 road trip with sweeps in rival Syracuse and Lehigh Valley, plays 12 of their next 16 games at home.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Mike McCoy, rf
Jim Negrych, 2b
Anthony Gose, cf
Mauro Gomez, 1b
Luis Jimenez, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Josh Thole, c
Eugenio Velez, lf
Lance Zawadzki, ss
Edgar Gonzalez, p

Bisons finish perfect 8-0 road trip with matinee poking of Pigs

By Mike Harrington

Absurdly-hot leadoff man Jim Negrych went 3 for 5 and drove in two runs today as the Buffalo Bisons completed what's believed to be the longest perfect road trip in their modern era with an 8-2 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The 10:35 a.m. start in Allentown, Pa., was nationally televised on MLB Network and the TV audience saw the Bisons wrap up their second straight four-game sweep and an 8-0 trip to Syracuse and Lehigh Valley. The eight straight road wins are one shy of the franchise record of nine set over three series in April and May of 1985, the year Buffalo returned to Triple-A baseball.

The franchise record for consecutive wins overall is 10, last set in August, 2004. The Bisons are 12-4 and can move a step closer to that mark when they go for No. 9 Tuesday night at 6 in Coca-Cola Field as they open a four-game series against the defending International League champion Pawtucket Red Sox.

Continue reading "Bisons finish perfect 8-0 road trip with matinee poking of Pigs" »

Herd's Jimenez named IL Player of the Week

By Mike Harrington

Bisons first baseman/DH Luis Jimenez was named International League Player of the Week today after collecting 11 RBIs for the period ending Sunday -- including eight in Thursday's 27-9 romp past Syracuse.

The eight RBIs were one off the Bisons' franchise record of nine set by Dusty Wathan during his three-homer game in 2005. Only two other IL players had eight RBIs for the entire week.

Jimenez hit .455 for the week to push his season average to .356 heading into Monday's game at Lehigh Valley. He entered the game third in the league in RBIs (16)

The IL Pitcher of the Week was Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lefty Vidal Nuno, a Triple-A rookie who won both of his starts and allowed just one run in 11 2/3 innings. Nuno, 25, is in his fifth year of pro ball and first above Double-A.

Herd goes for perfect roadie in MLB Network morning special

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons are 7-0 on their current road trip and the nation can see their bid to close it in perfect fashion today as their 10:35 a.m. game at Lehigh Valley will be televised live on MLB Network.

Buffalo is 11-4 after Sunday's 4-1 win over the IronPigs, and its starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs in 18 innings during the first three games of the series. 

Opening Day starter Justin Germano (2-1) goes the Bisons today against top Philadelphia prospect Tyler Cloyd, who is 0-2, 7.07 in his first three starts for Lehigh Valley. The 25-year-old was 12-1, 2.35 for the IronPigs last year and started for the National League in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field.

The Bisons have the best record in Triple-A and lead all teams with a .320 batting average, .500 slugging percentage and .404 on-base percentage. St. Francis product Jim Negrych is batting .472, tops in the IL and second in Triple-A to the .518 by Sacramento's Stephen Vogt.

The Herd returns home to open a four-game series with Pawtucket Tuesday at 6.

Go to the video: The Bisons' 27 runs in Syracuse

By Mike Harrington

If you've got a spare 11 minutes, MILB.com has posted the following video showing all 27 of the Bisons' runs in their record-setting, 27-9 win Thursday in Syracuse. You can click the square at the bottom right of the video box to blow it up full-screen for better viewing.

If you're looking for a game to watch tonight, I've got the easy recommendation: 7 p.m. on SNY with ex-Bison Matt Harvey pitching for the Mets against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg! Here'a a great ESPN.com preview

Herd stampedes through record books with 27-9 win in Syracuse

LineupBy Mike Harrington

While you have spent your day working, the Buffalo Bisons have been doing likewise and working over their record books during an incredible romp past the Syracuse Chiefs.

The Herd set modern-era records in both runs and hits with a 27-9 demolition of Syracuse at NBT Bank Stadium. The win completed a four-game sweep on the road, Buffalo's first since 2004, and improved its record to 8-4.

For posterity, there's the lineup card at left as posted on Bisons.com (manager Marty Brown has some high-quality printing!)

Here's the rundown of the team's accomplishments today, as it smashed, equaled or approached several records in its modern era dating to 1985:

---Most runs, breaking the mark of 25 set in a 25-13 win at Rochester in 2004).

---Most hits (29), breaking the mark of 26 set in a 15-9, 10-inning win in Indianapolis in 1985.

---Most runs in an inning (10 in the 7th), tying the mark set in the third inning of a 14-0 win over Richmond on May 6, 2001.

---Most hits by a player: 6, by OF Moises Sierra, tying the mark set by Justin Turner at Rochester in the season finale on Sept. 4, 2010. Prior to that game, no Buffalo batter had collected six hits since 1936!

---Margin of victory: The 18-run win breaks the record of 16, set in a 17-1 win over Toledo on July 17, 2012

---St. Francis product Jim Negrych went 4 for 7 and hit for the cycle, the first Bison player to do that since Turner. Negrych leads all of affiliated baseball with an XBox-like .515 batting average. Oddly enough, no Bison has ever hit for the cycle at home in a regular season game (Alex Ramirez did it during the 1998 playoffs), but there have been five on the road.

Most runs by a player (5), by Ryan Langerhans and Sierra, equaling the mark set by Brent Abernathy in 2004. Langerhans had two homers and six RBIs.

---Luis Jimenez had 8 RBIs, falling one shy of the mark set by Dusty Wathan during his three-homer game vs. Toledo in 2005 at Coca-Cola Field. Jimenez's eight are the most ever by a Buffalo player in a road game. 

---This from the Bisons: "The International League reports that the 27 runs on 29 hits are both records in the circuit over the last 40 years. The Bisons' greatest win in 128 years of the team was a 33-6 win over Providence on July 26, 1902."

---The 36 combined runs are two shy of the modern-era mark, set in the 25-13 game.

---The Bisons hit a ridiculous 14 of 24 with runners in scoring position and are batting .333 as a team for the season. They have scored 85 runs in 12 games, an average of 7.1 per contest.

The linescore looked like this:

BUF 500 503 (10)-0-4  27-29-0
SYR 031 122   0  -0-0   9-14 -2

The Bisons hit the bus right after the game for Lehigh Valley and start a four-gamer with the IronPigs on Friday night. The next home game is Tuesday at 6 against Pawtucket.

Video: Dickey a riveting subject on '60 Minutes'

By Mike Harrington

I was at the Sabres game Sunday night and I've already heard from a few people with sloshed DVRs from the Masters playoff, so I'm helping you all out here as a public service (heh). Blue Jays and ex-Bisons knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was the subject of a long feature on last night's edition of "60 Minutes" and, as usual, with baseball's biggest renaissance man, the piece was pretty interesting.

It didn't break a lot of new ground if you've followed Dickey's story closely over the last three years but it's all here. The breakthrough as a knuckleballer, his sexual abuse, his struggles in his marriage, the trade from the Mets. All of it.

Click the files below to see the piece (it's 13 1/2 minutes) and to see the online-only "60 Minutes Overtime", which talks about Dickey's lowest moments and suicidal thoughts. Pretty riveting stuff.

Herd wins Game One

by Amy Moritz

All the scoring was in the first inning in the first half of today's doubleheader as the Buffalo Bisons won 6-1, over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Ryan Goins had a two-out, bases-loaded double which drove in three runs to cap the scoring in the first inning. He went 1 for 3.

Andy LaRoche went 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored while Anthony Gose went 3 for 4 with a run scored and one strike out.

Moises Sierra saw his six-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-3 outing. But in the sixth inning, he gunned in a throw from right field as Scranton's David Adams tried to tag from third. It was the second time this season he's thrown a runner out from right field this season. He threw a runner out at third base on Opening Day.

The lineup for Game Two:

Scranton:
Corban Joseph -- 2B
Melky Mesa -- CF
Zoilo Almonte -- LF
Dan Johnson --DH
Luke Murton -- 1B
Thoms Neal -- RF
Addison Maruszak -- 3B
Bobby Wilson -- C
GIl Velazquez -- SS

Bisons:
Mike McCoy -- SS
Anthony Gose -- CF
Moises Sierra -- RF
Ryan Langerhans -- DH
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
JIm Negrych -- 2B
Eugenio Velez -- LF
Mike Nickeas -- C

Play Ball! (Finally)

by Amy Moritz

It's 11:40 a.m. and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are on the field taking batting practice. Yes, after four days of rainouts, there will be baseball at Coca-Cola Field.

The Buffalo Bisons and Scranton will play a doubleheader this afternoon. Both are scheduled seven-inning games.

2013-04-14_11-42-56_557

Righty Dave Bush will make his Bisons' debut in the first game. He was on the Herd's Opning Day Roster but had a one-game stint with the Toronto Blue Jays before his scheduled start in Buffalo. 

Miguel Batista will start Game Two. He was signed by Toronto to a minor league deal on Wednesday. He went 3-0 with the Herd in 2011as part of the Mets organization.

Starting for Scranton are righty Dellin Betances and righty Brett Marshall.

Meanwhile, infielder Lance Zawadzki was activated off the Bisons disabled list and right handed pitcher Edgar Gonzalez was outrighted to the club after he was designated for assignment.

The starting lineups for today's first game:

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre:

Corban Joseph -- 2B
David Adams -- 3B
Zoilo Almonte -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Austin Romine -- C
Cody Johnson -- DH
Melky Mesa -- CF
Thoms Neal -- RF
Gil Velazquez -- SS

Bisons:

Jim Negrych -- 2B
Anthony Gose -- CF
Moises Sierra -- RF
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Josh Thole -- C
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- LF
Eugenio Velez -- DH
Ryan Goins -- SS

 

 

Kawasaki to Toronto after Reyes injury

With Friday night's injury to starting shortstop Jose Reyes, the Toronto Blue Jays needed another infield option and this afternoon purchased the contract of Buffalo Bisons infielder Munenori Kawasaki.

Kawasaki has played in two of the Bisons six games this season. He has a pair of hits in five at-bats (.400), with one RBI and two runs scored. Both games he started at shortstop for the Herd.

While Reyes injury -- an ankle suffered when his left foot caught behind him as he attempted to slid into second in a game at Kansas City Friday night -- leaves all kinds of holes for the Blue Jays, Bisons manager Marty Brown sees Kawasaki as someone who can give Toronto some solid defense.

"I don’t know long that will be, if it’s a short-term fix or if it’s something that they’ll give him a chance to play," Brown said this morning, as he team worked out in the cages during a fourth straight day of Coca-Cola Field rainouts. "But he’s been at the Major League level all last year in Seattle. He played several years in Japan at the highest level. He’s a very sound player. He should be able to help them defensively."

Kawasaki played last year for Seattle.

Video of Reyes' injury from the Blue Jays' website:

 

Bisons Rainout: Day Four

by Amy Moritz

Wet grounds have again postponed the Buffalo Bisons. The doubleheader scheduled for today at Coca-Cola field has been called off. The games will be made up later in the season. This marks the fourth straight day of rainouts at Coca-Cola Field.

The forecast for Sunday looks promising and with a day to work on the field, hopes are high for the 1:05 first pitch doubleheader tomorrow with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

 

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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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