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Bisons are takers of the road

By Mike Harrington

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Sunday's 4-1 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders continued the Bisons' odd trend of dominance on the road as compared to scuffling at home.

The win gave the Bisons a 20-12 record on the road, tied with Pawutcket for the best mark in the International League (click here for the full IL standings). Buffalo is just 14-16 in Coca-Cola Field, one of four North Division teams better out of their home park.

"No idea why," said infielder Jim Negrych. "I wish I did know. It seems like offensively we swing the bats good at home. It will come there. If we get the pitching like we have the last couple weeks, we're a tough team to face anywhere."

The Bisons are simply scoring more on the road and batting with more power, with 46 of their 72 home runs. That's especially true for IL home run leader Mauro Gomez, who is batting just .217 in Coca-Cola Field with three homers and nine RBIs -- but is at .295-13-28 on the road.

Continue reading "Bisons are takers of the road" »

Bisons make it 2 for 2 in Scranton with 4-1 win

By Mike Harrington

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Dave Bush pitched six shutout innings on short rest and Mauro Gomez belted a two-run homer as the Buffalo Bisons scored all of their runs in the first inning today to post a 4-1 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC FIeld.

The Bisons have won the first two games of this series and three of four overall. They are 20-12 on the road, the best road record in the International League.

Continue reading "Bisons make it 2 for 2 in Scranton with 4-1 win" »

Jays' marathon causes switch in Bisons' starter

Pic
The view of PNC Field from atop Montage Mountain on a Sunday morning.

 

By Mike Harrington

MOOSIC, Pa. -- The Blue Jays' 18-inning win Saturday over the Texas Rangers cost the Bisons today's scheduled starter as Thad Weber was recalled to give Toronto another arm in the bullpen. So the Herd will go with veteran Dave Bush (6-4) today in the second game of the series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who will counter with Chris Bootcheck (5-1).

The Bisons are 19-10 on the road this year and just 14-16 in Coca-Cola Field. The RailRiders are just 11-18 here at new PNC Field at the base of Montage Mountain. and 16-15 on the road. In fact, four of the six teams in the IL North are better away from home. Bizarre. Let's see if that continues.

It's sunny and in the mid-70s here today but that's going to change. The four-game series is slated to continue Monday night although the weather forecast is dismal. It's only marginally better for Tuesday night, when there's a good chance these teams will be trying to play a doubleheader.

Here's today's lineups:

Buffalo
Anthony Gose, cf
Ryan Goins, ss
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Jim Negrych, 3b
Eugenio Velez, lf
Ryan Langerhans, rf
Sean Ochinko, c
Mike McCoy, 2b
----
Dave Bush, p 

Scranton-WB
Thomas Neal, dh
Zolio Almonte, cf
Ronnier Mustelier, lf
Dan Johnson, 1b
Josh Bell, 3b
Melky Mesa, rf
Addison Maruszak, ss
Jeff Farnham, c
Alberto Gonzalez, 2b
---
Chris Bootcheck, p
 

Video: Bucky and Sully on PED scandal, A-Rod

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan discussed performance enhancing drugs in baseball Friday morning on "The Bucky and Sully Show," which airs live at 10 a.m. Friday every week at buffalonews.com.

On PED scandal:

On A-Rod

For more segments from the show, click here.

Bisons make return to Scranton

SWB pic 1
SWB pic II

By Mike Harrington

MOOSIC, Pa. -- The Bisons are back at PNC Field tonight for the first time since Sept. 5, 2011 but it's not the same place they made regular visits to during their stints in both the Triple-A Alliance and the International League.

The home of the newly-christened Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders was completely reconstructed during the last year (Remember, the then-SWB Yankees played the whole year on the road!) and it's quite an improvement for both specators and players. There's a 360-degree open concourse, grass berm in the outfield, party areas, HD video boards and a club level complete with buffet restaurant.

The huge concrete cavern of an upper deck is gone. The place seats about 7,200 with room for another couple thousand in the outfield. It's intimate and scenic, on the base of Montage Mountain. It's about a 4-hour drive from Buffalo and worth the trip. Be sure to look for a big look at the park next week in The News.

Continue reading "Bisons make return to Scranton" »

Romero gets sixth start for the Herd

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Lefty Ricky Romero will make his sixth start of the season for the Buffalo Bisons but only his second at Coca-Cola Field in the first game of a doubleheader against Lehigh Valley.

Romero pitched a season-best six innings in a no-decision at Norfolk on Saturday. HE walked none and struck out three in that out. He his 0-1 with an 11.84 ERA.

Justin Germano is slated to start the nightcap. He is 4-4 with a 6.79 ERA and struck out a season-high eight batters on Sunday in Norfolk. He allowed just two runs in six innings to get the win.

Gose leads off: Centerfielder Anthony Gose returns to the Bisons today and will bat leadoff. He played 13 games with Toronto where he hit .304 (7-23) with two doubles and four runs scored.

Lineup Note: In the first game, Jim Negrych is playing third base. It is first start at the position. He has 43 starts at second and twice was a the designated hitter.

All-Star voting: Second baseman Jim Negrych and designated hitter Luis Jimenez top International League players in their positions in the fan voting for the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game. Fans can vote at MiLB.com and their votes determine the starting lineups for both All-Star teams.

Tonight's Bisons' Lineup (Game 1):
Anthony Gose -- CF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Moises Sierra -- RF
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- LF
Mike McCoy -- 2B
Mike Niceaks --C 

Thole, LaRoche called up by Jays

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons will be pretty thin for tonight's makeup doubleheader against Lehigh Valley (5:30 at Coca-Cola Field) because the Toronto Blue Jays have called up catcher Josh Thole and third baseman Andy LaRoche. They are certainly well-deserved promotions.

The Blue Jays have designated catcher Henry Blanco for assignment. The Thole/Blanco switch was long overdue. R.A. Dickey has said Blanco is the best knuckleball catcher he's ever had, although Thole caught most of Dickey's Cy Young season in 2012 in New York. Thole hit just .171 in spring training for the Jays so they opted to keep Blanco. 

Bad move. Blanco is basically useless offensively and batting  just .184. Thole, meanwhile, was batting .322 with seven homers and 31 RBIs through 41 games. He can be used as a pinch-hitter and can certainly give the Jays some pop behind the plate to spell J.P. Arencibia.

LaRoche hit .282 with seven homers and 32 RBIs in 49 games with the Bisons and is in the big leagues for the first time since 2011 with Brett Lawrie on the disabled list.

The Bisons, remember, are getting Anthony Gose back from Toronto and may be keeping Chad Jenkins in their rotation because the Blue Jays today signed veteran Ching-Ming Wang off the Scranton roster and penciled him in to start Tuesday night; Wang was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Bisons.

Bisons School Kids Day postponed; twinbill set for Friday at 5:30

Rain
No game today at Coca-Cola Field. 

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons' School Kids Day game today at Lehigh Valley was postponed due to persistent heavy rain at Coca-Cola Field. It will be made up with a doubleheader Friday at 5:30. The gates will open at 5.

Around 10,000 children were expected at the game and many made their way downtown in school buses but were left disappointed when the postponement was called about 75 minutes after the scheduled 10:35 a.m. first pitch. There was little chance to play the game as the heavy rain was not expected to let up most of the afternoon

Fans holding tickets to today's game can exchange them for a comparable ticket to any future game this season (excluding special events). The exchanges must be made at the ballpark box office. However, the Bisons say club representatives will be be reaching out to all schools to assist with their ticket redemptions. 

Friday's twinbill will continue to be a regular fridaynightbash! with postgame fireworks. The pregame happy hour begins at 5, with food and drink specials running through 6:30. Ricky Romero, still trying to work his way back to Toronto, is expected to pitch the opener tomorrow with Justin Germano going in the nightcap.

Gose to return to the Bisons

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The tarp is still on the field for School Kids' Day but there's good news for the Buffalo Bisons. Outfielder Anthony Gose was optioned to Buffalo from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gose played his first 40 games of the season with Buffalo, hitting .225 (35 of 154) with a pair of home runs, 12 runs batted in and five stolen bases. He also has 36 runs scored, tied for the fifth most in the International League.

He was promoted to the Blue Jays on May 20. He played in 13 games with Toronto, hitting .304 (7 of 23) with two doubles and four runs scored.

Happy (rainy) School Kids' Day

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Welcome to a rainy morning at Coca-Cola Field. The annual School Kids' Day has a scheduled first pitch at 10:35 a.m. with over 125 schools expected at the ballpark. The tarp is on the field with a light rain falling, but word in the pressbox is that the game is scheduled to start on time. Stay tuned on Twitter (@amymoritz) for weather-related updates.

Romero Makes Start: Lefty Ricky Romero makes his sixth start with the Herd today but just his second at Coca-Cola Field. His last outing was Saturday in Norfolk where he pitched a six-inning no-decision with no walks -- a significant statistic for Romero who is trying to find his mechanics which mysteriously fell apart last season. An American League All Star in 2011 when he won a career-best 15 games, he was the Blue Jays Opening Day starter last season and won four straight decisions. He ended the season losing 13 straight and has been trying to get back to form ever since.

Gomez hits for power: Mauro Gomez has eight home runs in his last 10 games after hitting a solo blast in last night's 5-3 loss. The eight home runs are two more than any player in minor league baseball since May 26. He now is tied for the most homers in the International League this season with 15.

Brown is back: Marty Brown returns to the dugout today after serving a three-game suspension for his antics and ejection in Norfolk on Sunday.

Today's Bisons' Lineup:
Ryan Goins -- SS
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Josh Thole -- C
Moises Sierra -- RF
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- CF
Ricardo Nanita -- LF 

Wildest extra innings ever in Seattle

By Mike Harrington

The White Sox beat the Mariners, 7-5, in 16 innings Wednesday at Safeco Field in Seattle. Fair enough. Long games happen from time to even. Even ones that go 5 hours, 42 minutes.

But this one was unlike any other in MLB history.

There was no score through 13 innings. None. Then the White Sox plated five runs in the top of the 14th to take a seemingly safe 5-0 lead. But the Mariners got a run and loaded the bases with two out. 

And then Kyle Seager hit a grand slam to tie the game, 5-5. Seem odd? Seem pretty incredible? Sure does. Look at the video above. Father runs over a little kid, presumed to be his own, to get the ball. The stunned looking coach the camera pans to in the Chicago dugout? White Sox hitting coach and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Manto

The Elias Sports Bureau and Retrosheet quickly combed the files and figured out it was the first time in big-league history both teams scored as many as five runs in a game that was scoreless through nine. And the first time a team scored as many as five runs to tie an extra-inning game. And the first time anyone in all the years of baseball ever hit a game-TYING grand slam in extra innings to extend a game.

Moral of the story: Never leave a baseball game early.

Jenkins makes Triple-A debut with the Bisons

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Chad Jenkins will make his Triple-A debut with the Buffalo Bisons as the starter for tonight's game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

But this is merely a pit stop on his way back to Toronto.

Jenkins, a first-round draft choice of Toronto in 2009, made three starts with the Blue Jays, from May 12-31. He went 1-0 in those starts with a 3.60 earned run average over 15 innings of work. In his three starts he gave up 18 hits and six earned runs while striking out six with four walks.

Since the Blue Jays had two scheduled off days, they went to a four-man rotation, sending Jenkins to Buffalo so that he could start on his regular day. It is anticipated that he will start for the Blue Jays on June 11.

Jenkins opened the season in Double-A New Hampshire and last season made 20 starts in Double-A before earning his first Major League promotion. He made 13 appearances with three starts for the Blue Jays in 2012.

He becomes the second pitcher to make his Triple-A debut with the Bisons after already pitching in the Majors. The other was Josh Johnson, who was with the club on a rehabilitation stint.

Guest Skipper: Doug Davis, the Blue Jays' minor league field coordinator, will again serve as the Bisons manager tonight as Marty Brown serves the final of his three-game suspension for his antics after getting ejected from Sunday's game in Norfolk. The latest place the video went viral? On this afternoon's episode of "Around the Horn" on ESPN.

Tonight's Bisons' Lineup:
Mike McCoy -- CF
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Mauro Gomez -- DH
Josh Thole -- C
Moises Sierra -- RF
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Langerhans -- LF
Ryan Goins -- SS 

Bisons return home without their manager

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Marty Brown threw batting practice for the Buffalo Bisons Tuesday afternoon, then retired to the clubhouse. That was it for his on-field or dugout participation as the manager served the second of his two-game suspension after being ejected on Sunday in Norfolk.

Brown was arguing for an interference call in the second inning (see the video and details in this previous blog post) and was ejected. He then staged a bit of a sit-in on the field.

Before Tuesday's game, Brown said he was frustrated with base umpire Kevin Bultron's lack of an explanation on the no-call. "Basically he said he didn’t see it and wasn’t going to ask for help," Brown said. "It could have had a huge impact on the game and I didn’t think that was right. If you’re out there at least get the call right or try your hardest to get the call right. I didn’t feel that was appropriate just to tell me he didn’t see it and to get off the field."

Continue reading "Bisons return home without their manager" »

Updated with video: Bisons manager Brown gets three-game suspension for infield sit-in

Bisons manager Marty Brown takes a seat on the Norfolk infield Sunday. (MILB.TV video)

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons open a four-game homestand tonight at Coca-Cola Field against Lehigh Valley but veteran manager Marty Brown will be absent for the first two games after earning a suspension from the International League in the wake of his comedic ejection Sunday at Norfolk.

Brown was suspended three games and fined an undisclosed amount, the team said today. Pitching coach Bob Stanley and batting coach Jon Nunnally ran the team during Monday's 10-5 win at Norfolk, and Toronto Blue Jays minor league field coordinator Doug Davis will be at the head of the Herd tonight and Wednesday.

Brown was ejected in the second inning Sunday, arguing that second baseman Jim Negrych had been interfered with while trying to field an infield chopper. Base umpire Kevin Bultron ejected Brown and the Bisons skipper than made contact with plate umpire Travis Carlson, who tried to get between them.

Brown then sat down on the infield, refusing to leave the field, and tossed his helmet. The umpires walked away from Brown, who finally got up and booted his helmet toward the Buffalo dugout. I've watched the video on the MILB.TV subscription package. Classic. Hysterically funny -- except, of course, to IL president Randy Mobley.

Continue reading "Updated with video: Bisons manager Brown gets three-game suspension for infield sit-in" »

Video: Does the Mets' Harvey rank in the Top Five among major league pitchers?

Watch other segments from this week's "Bucky & Sully Show" here.

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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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