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Bisons beat Indians, 6-5

By Rodney McKissic

The Buffalo Bisons scored four runs in the first inning, powered by back-to-back home runs by Mauro Gomez and Josh Thole, then held off a late Indianapolis rally in the ninth to defeat the Indians, 6-5, today at Coca-Cola Field.

The Bisons split the four-game set with the Tribe (34-17) and begin an eight-game road trip to Durham and Norfolk on Monday.

With two outs and one on, Gomez launched a shot over the fence in left center, followed by Thole who parked a Brooks Brown offering in the same spot. The Herd (28-20) loaded the bases and Brown walked in the fourth run.

The Indians rallied late by scoring three runs in the ninth inning but reliever Neil Wagner, who picked up his 13th save on the year, got Felix Pie to fly out to left field to end the game.

Dave Bush (5-4) went five complete innings to pick up the win, while Ryan Langerhans finished 3-for-4 and scored two runs for the Herd.

Left-hander Ricky Romero (0-0, 8.76 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Bisons at 5:05 p.m. tomorrow against Durham southpaw Alex Torres (2-2, 2.81).

Herd close out homestand

By Rodney McKissic

A win today would give the Bisons (27-20) a split against the IL West leading Indianapolis Indians (34-16) in this four-game set. Herd begins an eight-game road trip tomorrow in Durham.

Here is the starting lineup for today's game:

Jim Negrych, 2b
Moises Sierra, cf
Luis Jimenez, dh
Mauro Gomez, 1b
Josh Thole, c
Ryan Langerhans, rf
Ricardo Nanita, lf
Ryan Goins, ss
Mike McCoy, 3b
Dave Bush, p

Bisons hold on for 2-1 win over Indianapolis

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The Buffalo Bisons scored in the first inning and had a fantastic performance from its pitching staff in a 2-1 win over the Indianapolis Indians at Coca-Cola Field Saturday afternoon.

Three straight base started the first inning for the Bisons with an RBI single up the middle from Luis Jimenez giving the Herd a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch from Indianapolis starter Gerrit Cole allowed another run to score for a 2-0 lead.

Josh Johnson, making a Major League injury rehab start, threw four scoreless innings giving up one hit with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 68 pitches, 38 of them for strikes.

Neil Wagner picked up his 12th save, striking out three of the four batters he faced to seal out the win.

The Bisons close out the homestand on Sunday with a 1:05 game.

 

Johnson makes rehab start

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Josh Johnson will make his Buffalo Bisons debut on the second game of his Major League injury rehab assignment. The righty was placed on the disabled list on May 2 with right triceps inflammation. In his first rehab start with Single-A Dunedin on Monday, he allowed one run with five strikeouts in three innings.

Johnson was a two-time National League All-Star with the Marlins and was part of a seven-player deal between Miami and the Blue Jays in November. He started the season in Toronto, pitching four games with a 6.86 ERA in 19 2/3 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts.

Not in first: This is the first time since April 18 that the Bisons have not had at least a share of first place in the International League North. Yesterday's loss by the Herd combined with a 4-3 win for Pawtucket over Louisville put the PawSox alone in first by a game.

Thole's hot bat: Josh Thole has found his swing at the plate as the catcher has hit in eight of his last 10 outings. Since May 11, the catcher is hitting .382 (13 of 34) raising his batting average to .347 -- the fourth best in the IL.

Today's Bison Lineup:
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Eugenio Velez -- DH
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Josh Thole -- C
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- RF
Ricardo Nanita -- LF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Mike McCoy -- CF 

Bisons look to break Indianapolis hold

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The Buffalo Bisons struggles against the Indianapolis Indians continue. After dropping three of four against the Indians on the road last week, the Herd dropped the series opener at Coca-Cola Field on Thursday, 7-3. That puts them at 1-4 against Indy this season. The Bisons have not won a series against the Indians in Buffalo since 2004.

Vargas on the Mound: Claudio Vargas makes his ninth start for the Herd. He leads the team in ERA (4.70) and quality starts with four. In his last outing on May 18 against Charlotte, Vargas took the loss, giving up six earned runs on seven hits in three innings.

Who's in first? The Bisons have now been tied or alone in first place of the International League North for 33 straight games, the club's longest streak since 2007. The Herd spent 65 straight games in first place and spent 76 games total in first, but failed to make the playoffs. Going into tonight's action, the Bisons are tied for first with Pawtucket.

Tonight's Bison lineup:
Mike McCoy -- CF
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Moises Sierra -- RF
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Eugenio Velez --LF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Mike Nickeas -- C

Herd opens series vs. Tribe

By Rodney McKissic

Wind and rain - elements that hindered baseball in WNY during early April - have delayed tonight's game against the Indianapolis Indians. Tonight opens a four-game set against the IL West Division leading Tribe (32-15), who are in first place by 31/2 games. The Bisons, tied for first in the IL North with a 26-18 record, split a four-game set with Charlotte which ended on Tuesday.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Jim Negrych, 2b
Moises Sierra, cf
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Josh Thole, c
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Ryan Langerhans, rf
Ricardo Nanita, lf
Ryan Goins, ss
Justin Germano, p

Wacky video: Miggy doesn't need the help

By Mike Harrington

You probably didn't see Miguel Cabrera's 13th home run of the season, since it came around midnight during the Tigers' rain-delayed, 11-7 win at Cleveland. But it's worth multiple looks. Quite an assist from Tribe center fielder Michael Bourne.

(Remember to click the square at the bottom right of the video box for a full-screen look)

Jays' Johnson to make rehab start for Herd Saturday

Johnson
Josh Johnson is 0-1, 6.86 in four starts for the Blue Jays (AP Photo)


By Mike Harrington

 

Following Wednesday's 4-3, 10-inning win over Tampa Bay, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that right-hander Josh Johnson's injury rehabilitation assignment has been transferred from Class A Dunedn to Buffalo and that Johnson will start Saturday at 1:05 against the Indianapolis Indians in Coca-Cola Field.

The Blue Jays placed Johnson on the disabled list on May 2 retroactive to April 29 with right triceps inflammation. He made his first MLB rehab start with Dunedin on Monday and allowed one run on three hits in three innings of work. He struck out five with no walks.

In four starts with the Blue Jays this season, Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 19 innings. The two-time National League All-Star was acquired by Toronto during its epic, 12-player trade last winter with the Miami Marlins. The righty collected double-digit win totals with Florida in 2009 (15-5) and 2010 (11-6).

The Bisons and IL-leading Indians open a four-game series Thursday night at 7 with Justin Germano scheduled to start for Buffalo. In either Friday night's game or Saturday against Johnson, Indianapolis is  slated to start 22-year-old right-hander Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick by Pittsburgh in the 2011 draft out of UCLA.

Both teams were off Wednesday. Indy has the best record in the IL at 32-15 and leads Columbus by 3 1/2 games in the IL West. The Bisons (26-18) and Pawtucket (27-19) are in a virtual tie atop the North.

Matinee Idol: Harvey meets Reds today in New York

By Mike Harrington

It's Matt Harvey (5-0) against Mat Latos (4-0) today at Citi Field as the Mets try to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds. The game is at 1:10 on SNY. 

Harvey, the former Bisons ace, is off to an incredible start with a 1.55 ERA in nine starts and 68 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Not to mention a Sports Illustrated cover. 

Plenty of Mets fans got chafed last week -- not that it's tough for them to get that way as I learned the last four years -- when I talked about the SI cover after Harvey gave up two runs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. He ended up retiring 20 of the next 21 batters and getting his fifth win.

There's huge New York City hype, no shock given there's basically nothing else to talk about with the Mets. Anyone talking about 23-year-old Arizona lefty Patrick Corbin (7-0, 1.44)? Nope. But as great as Harvey's start has been, the fact remains he needs to start proving himself against better teams and today will be an interesting barometer.

Continue reading "Matinee Idol: Harvey meets Reds today in New York" »

Morning-after musings on Romero, Bisons' win

By Mike Harrington

Here's what's in my head after a long night at the ballpark, which ended with an 8-7 Bisons win over Charlotte in 10 innings:

Ricky Romero: There were a lot of three-ball counts but there were also a lot of groundouts in the first five innings. He was at 76 pitches and had a 7-1 lead through five. I would have taken him out to allow him to feel really good about the outing. Manager Marty Brown didn't agree.

"He was fine. He had a low pitch count," Brown said. "If you have a crystal ball and say, 'This can possibly happen to Rick in the 6th' you wouldn't want him out there. But that's what he needs. He needs to see the adversity and find a way to battle through it. And today I thought was a step forward. I don't look at it as a negative."

Continue reading "Morning-after musings on Romero, Bisons' win" »

Herd looks for split with Romero on mound

By Mike Harrington

We had plenty of Ricky Romero talk on the blog earlier today leading up to tonight's home debut of the bedraggled Blue Jays left-hander. The Bisons will be playing their series finale against the Charlotte Knights and it will be most interesting to see how Romero fares against rehabbing White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham (batting second tonight) and left fielder Jordan Danks (who is batting .310 and homered twice last night).

The Bisons, meanwhile, are simply trying to get a split of a four-game series and find some semblance of peace in their rotation, which has been impossible this month (7.96 ERA). One big change made today was the release of MLB veteran Miguel Batista (1-2, 8.36), who is likely to be replaced in the rotation by Thad Weber. He was picked up on waivers from San Diego yesterday.

With Anthony Gose up in Toronto, the Blue Jays have promoted Ricardo Nanita from Double-A New Hampshire, where he was batting .255 with four home runs. The 31-year-old Nanita, who played for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, has been with Herd manager Marty Brown in Las Vegas the last two years. Moises Sierra has moved to center field for tonight, which is where likely to stay with Gose in the big leagues and with Nanita en route.

Reliever Chad Beck (1-0, 9.45) has been placed on the disabled list.

The Bisons' lineup tonight:

Mike McCoy, ss
Jim Negrych, 2b
Moises Sierra,  cf
Josh Thole, dh
Mauro Gomez, 1b
Ryan Langerhans, rf
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Eugenio Velez, lf
Mike Nickeas, c
---
Ricky Romero, p 

Romero's home debut set for tonight as struggling Herd rotation seeks a bright spot

RickyBy Mike Harrington

The Bisons' rotation has been in a world of hurt all month and there's nowhere to hide when the starter isn't giving you innings. The Bisons know that feeling as their 8-11 May record is largely rooted in the ghastly 7.96 ERA for the month from the rotation.

The spotlight will be particularly bright tonight in Coca-Cola Field as downtrodden former Toronto all-star Ricky Romero (right) makes his home debut. Romero is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA in two starts for the Herd so far -- allowing 14 hits and 11 walks in 7 1/3 innings while striking out just one.

"His stuff has been really good coming out of his hand," Bisons pitching coach Bob Stanley said. "It's just sometimes he fights himself. If he can avoid doing that, he definitely has the stuff. It's not like he's been really hurt out there. He's in a big rut. Everyone has been there. I've been there."

Stanley, remember, threw the historic wild pitch to Mookie Wilson and got the groundball that Bill Buckner booted to end Game Six of the 1986 World Series for the Red Sox at Shea Stadium. The next year, the Red Sox turned him into a starter and he had a nightmarish 4-15 season.

Continue reading "Romero's home debut set for tonight as struggling Herd rotation seeks a bright spot" »

Jays' farm director loves Herd's offense, says 'no concern' about struggling hurlers

By Mike Harrington

(For Amy Moritz's blog post on the Anthony Gose-less lineup for tonight's Bisons-Charlotte game, go to this link)

I had a quick chat late this afternoon after batting practice with Charlie Wilson, the Blue Jays' director of minor-league operations, to get some updated thoughts on the Bisons. Naturally, he was naturally thrilled with the way the club has thrived offensively.

"From an offensive standpoint, it's been really, really fun to watch," Wilson said. "The highlight, the most exciting game was following the game online in Syracuse where we put up 27 runs. Jimmy Negrych has had a great first six weeks but so has everybody else. You go around the whole diamond and everybody is contibuting in so many ways."

While the Bisons continue to lead the league in batting (.287) and home runs (51) and are second in runs (233), their pitching has been crumbling. The team ERA of 4.91 is second-last in the IL and would be the second-worst in franchise history if the season ended today. The starters have an ERA of 8.09 in May.

Continue reading "Jays' farm director loves Herd's offense, says 'no concern' about struggling hurlers" »

Bisons prepare lineup without Anthony Gose

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The buzz around Coca-Cola Field this afternoon was about Anthony Gose and his callup this morning to the Toronto Blue Jays. The 22-year old outfielder even got in game in Toronto this afternoon, a defensive replacement in the eighth inning for Melky Cabrera. He got an at-bat, too, though he flew out to left field. With Gose gone, the Herd had to juggle its lineup slightly. Here's the breakdown:

Outfield shift: Moises Sierra take Gose's spot in centerfield. Sierra, the regular rightfielder, has two previous starts for the Herd this season at center. Ryan Langerhans is making his fourth start in right field while Eugenio Velz is getting his 18th start in left field.

Top of the order: Gose hit primarily in the first and second spots in the order. For tonight's game, Velez takes the leadoff spot, his third time at the top of the order. Jim Negrych will bat second, a familiar position for him. It's his 13th time batting second.

Quality from Bush: Dave Bush gets the start for the Herd. The righty leads the team in quality starts with three and is 4-3 overall. His last outing he took the loss at Indianpolis, giving up nine runs on 10 hits in four innings. He has walked just four batters in 36 innings of work this season, including just one walk in his lat four starts combined against 13 strikeouts.

Tonight's Bisons lineup:
Eugenio Velez -- LF
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Moises Sierra -- CF
Luis Jiminez -- DH
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Josh Thole -- C
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- RF
Ryan Goins -- SS 

Bisons' Gose gets call from Jays

By Mike Harrington

Anthony Gose is batting .200 in May with 23 strikeouts in 70 at-bats and only four extra-base hits. He's batting .227 for the season with 41 strikeouts in 154 at-bats -- well on his way to more than 100 Ks for the fifth straight year. In a column for today's paper, he told Bucky Gleason, "Right now, I’m probably at the lowest point I’ve ever been in my career. It’s been frustrating. It has felt like the longest month of my life." 

May just got better for Gose. The Blue Jays gave him a surprise callup to the big leagues today, returning reliever Mickey Storey to the Bisons.

Gose somehow leads the IL in runs (36) but has been largely quiet since putting up a .309 average in the first 14 games. Full Gose stat breakdowns here.

Continue reading "Bisons' Gose gets call from Jays" »

Bisons offense grabs win

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

With good situational hitting and a solid outing from the bullpen, the Buffalo Bisons earned an 11-6 win over the Charlotte Knights at Coca-Cola Field Sunday afternoon.

It was a three-hit day for Jim Negrych and Moises Sierra while Luis Jimenez drove in three runs.

The Herd trailed, 3-0, early in the game, but got four runs in the third inning. A two-out, three-run home run by Blake Tekotte put Charlotte back on top, 6-4, in the fourth but the Herd tied the game in the bottom of the inning then took the lead for good on a solo home run from Ryan Langerhans in the seventh.

The Bisons went 7 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

Chad Beck (1-0) picked up the win for the Herd, giving up one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Zach Stewart (2-5) took the loss for Charlotte, giving up seven runs on 11 hits in five innings.

The teams meet again Monday at 7:05 in Coca-Cola Field.

Redmond off the DL for the Bisons

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The Buffalo Bisons continue their series with the Charlotte Knights this afternoon at Coca-Cola Field. After last night's 11-6 loss, the Herd has now lost six straight home games to the Knights dating back to May of 2011.

Redmond Debut: Righty Todd Redmond will make his Bisons debut this afternoon, coming off the disable list. He missed the first 41 games with a right shoulder impingement. He has ranked in the Top 5 of the International League in strikeouts each of the last three seasons, including coming in at No. 3 in 2012 with 136 Ks combined for Gwinnett and Louisville. The Blue Jays claimed Redmond off waivers from Baltimore on March 22.

Negrych dips: Jim Negrych is now hitless in his last two games on an 0-7 skid. That dropped his batting average to .390 -- the first time he's been below .400 all season. He still ranks tops in the International League and is now fourth in all of minor league baseball. Last night he hit seventh in the lineup. Today, he is back to second.

Today's Bisons' Lineup:

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

Bisons Open Homestand

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The Buffalo Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field to open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights. The Herd is coming off a 4-4 road trip splitting series at Louisville and Indianapolis.

Rehab assignment: Righty Dustin McGowan joined the Bisons on an MLB injury rehab assignment and is expected to throw in relief tonight. A former No. 1 pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, he missed all of 2012 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and missed 2009 and 2010 with shoulder injuries. He pitched twice for Single-A Dunedin, striking out four in two innings of work.

Rehab assignment Part II: Charlotte's starter tonight is John Danks, who is working his way back to the Chicago White Sox after season-ending surgery on his left shoulder last August. He has 57 wins for the White Sox over six seasons with a career 4.12 ERA.

A .400 slump? Jim Negrych still leads all of minor league baseball in batting average, but the Bisons' infielder has slipped to batting .400 after batting just 7 of 24 (.292) on the Herd's road trip. Negrych, however, is hitting well in Buffalo, batting .475 (29 of 61) at Coca-Cola Field. 

Slumping starters: Speaking of slumping, the starting pitching has been problematic for the Herd. In May, the starters ERA is 7.51 coming off a road trip where the starters ERA was 8.61 (37 earned runs in 38 2/3 innings pitched). Tonight, Claudio Vargas (3-2) makes his eighth start. In his last outing, a no-decision at Louisville on May 13, he gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings.

Transactions: This afternoon, the Herd added righthanded pitcher John Stilson from Double-A New Hampshire and released righty Clint Everts. Stilson, 22, was a third-round draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2011. In two relief appearances for New Hampshire, he has one save and six strikeouts with a 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:

Mike McCoy -- SS
Anthony Gose -- CF
Moises Sierra -- RF
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Eugenio Velez -- LF
Mike NIckeas -- C 

 

Bisons hold on for matinee victory at Indy; Romero struggles again

By Mike Harrington

Closer Neil Wagner stayed perfect in 11 save opportunities this season by getting the final two outs with runners at second and third as the Buffalo Bisons held off the Indianapolis Indians, 6-4, today in an 11 a.m. start at Victory Field.

In the Indy ninth, Wagner gave up singles to Alex Presley and Josh Harrison before striking out Matt Hague. The runners then executed a double steal, putting both in scoring position. But Wagner induced a fly ball to right by Jared Goedert and got Brett Carroll on a liner to Ryan Langerhans in left to end the game.

Wagner combined with Buddy Carlyle (3-0) and Jeremy Jeffress on 5 1/3 innings of strong relief work after another struggling start from Ricky Romero. The relievers allowed one run on four hits, struck out six and walked one.

Romero, meanwhile, allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. But he walked six, struck out just one and threw only 44 of his 86 pitches for strikes. He has a 9.82 ERA in two starts with Buffalo thus far since returning from Toronto to continue to work on his erratic mechanics.

Continue reading "Bisons hold on for matinee victory at Indy; Romero struggles again" »

Blue Jays GM on Negrych: 'It's been a great surprise'

Negrych batting
Jim Negrych enters Tuesday batting an IL-best .417 (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was holding a routine meeting with reporters in the dugout prior to tonight's game against the Giants when veteran Toronto Star columnist Richard Griffin brought up the subject I was just about to ask: What's up with Bisons second baseman Jim Negrych?

The St. Francis product enters tonight's game at Indianapolis leading all of affiliated baseball with a .417 batting average. He leads the International League in on-base percentage (.475) and OPS (1.114) and is second in slugging (.639, behind only the .647 of teammate Luis Jimenez). Negrych is tied for second in the league in doubles (13) and has actually walked more than he's struck out (13 BBs, 12 Ks in 108 official at-bats).

What more does a guy have to do to get his first callup to the big leagues?

Continue reading "Blue Jays GM on Negrych: 'It's been a great surprise'" »

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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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