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Bisons use big eighth inning to upend Chiefs

The Bisons offense came alive Saturday as the team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over Syracuse.

Buffalo starter Deck McGuire impressed, going seven innings and allowing just two runs on three hits. However, Syracuse starter Taylor Jordan was more impressive for most of the game, allowing just one hit in seven innings at one point.

Jordan began to struggle a bit in the eighth, however, and the Bisons took full advantage of the opportunity. Andy La Roche and Munenori Kawasaki led off the inning with singles before Kenny Wilson hit into a fielder’s choice.

Things began to look bleak again for Buffalo as Darin Mastrianni popped up for the second out. However, Jordan walked Ryan Goins and was subsequently taken out to allow Xavier Cedeno finish the inning.

Cedeno surrendered back-to-back two-RBI singles to Jared Goedert and Dan Johnson before getting A.J. Jimenez to strike out. But the damage was done. Neil Wagner came on to earn his fourth save with a scoreless ninth inning.

As Bisons manager finished up his press conference after the game, he summed up what many Bisons faithful are liking thinking.

“Hopefully, we’re back on track,” he said.

The Bisons will take on Syracuse again tomorrow in the third game of a four-game set. Ricky Romero and Ryan Tatusko are scheduled to take the start. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05. 

Bisons look to end four-game skid

By Taylor Nigrelli

The Bisons are set take on the Syracuse Chiefs today in the second game of a four-game set today at 1:05 p.m at Coca Cola Field. Deck McGuire (1-0, 3.18) will take the start for the Bisons while Taylor Jordan (0-1, 4.67) will take the hill for Syracuse.

When Buffalo takes the field today, it will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak. The offense has been the main culprit in this slump, scoring in just five of the past 37 innings.

Friday, the Bisons dropped the first game of the series to the Chiefs, 5-4. Syracuse scored all five runs in the fourth inning as they knocked out Buffalo starter Esmil Rogers. Outfielder Darin Mastroianni shined bright in the loss, reaching base four times on two hits and two walks.

The matchup featured a twinge of controversy in the fifth inning. After being shut down for most of the early going, the Bisons appeared to be in in the early stages of a rally. First basemen Dan Johnson hit a blooper behind third base that appeared to have dropped before Zach Walters of Syracuse could snag it. However, the umpire declared Johnson out, much to the chagrin of Buffalo manager Gary Allenson.

Highly-touted Toronto prospect Marcus Stroman was originally scheduled to start Friday. However, he was scratched at some point in the afternoon under Toronto’s orders. The Blue Jays called him up to make his first career start today against Kansas City.

Today’s lineup:

CF Darin Mastroianni
SS Ryan Goins
3B Jared Goedert
1B Dan Johnson
C A.J. Jimenez
LF Matt Tuiasosopo
DH Andy LaRoche
2B Munenori Kawasaki
RF Kenny Wilson

Stroman scratched as move apparently coming from Blue Jays

By Mike Harrington

If you were coming to Coca-Cola Field tonight to see Marcus Stroman make the start in the Bisons' homestand opener, by all means still make the trip. The weather is beautiful (for once). But you won't be seeing Stroman on the hill.

The Blue Jays' top pitching prospect has been scratched from his scheduled start and Esmil Rogers is taking his place in the 7:05 series opener against Syracuse. Manager Gary Allenson did not have much information on the Stroman situation, other than to say there's no health issues for the 23-year-old. Hmmm.

The Bisons had a 4 a.m. wakeup call today for their 6:30 a.m. flight from Indianapolis and are not holding batting practice as usual. In fact, they have a late report time to the ballpark but Stroman is not here. Stroman did some long-tossing and running about 5:15 and then headed into the clubhouse.

Stroman, in fact, tweeted today about mall shopping (ostensibly at the Walden Galleria) and was not on the Bisons' flight home this morning. That would not be all that unusual that he would have come back yesterday, given that he was scheduled to go tonight. 

"I have no idea. I'm kind of on hold," Stroman told me after coming off the field. "I'm just waiting."

Stroman said agent Brody Schofield had no further information for him either, other than to tell him to hold on and see what happens.

"They told me they just wanted me in Buffalo," Stroman said. "There's been very, very little communication on it. There's a chance I might be taking a car service out of here soon to go up there but other than that, I really don't know. It's just kind of a holding pattern. I honestly have no idea."

The rotation as it stands right now for this series has Rogers followed by Deck McGuire, Ricky Romero and Kyle Drabek.

But, as Allenson wryly noted, "It's constantly changing every day."

Stroman has made two starts for the Bisons since returning from Toronto and neither was all that auspicious. He took the loss in each, allowing seven earned runs over a combined nine innings. But he continued to have a high strikeout/walk ratio with nine strikeouts and just two walks.

For the season with the Bisons, he's 2-4 in seven starts with a 3.03 earned-run average -- but has 45 strikeouts and nine walks in 35 2/3 innings.

"I'm 100 percent ready. Starting is ultimately what I want to do," Stroman said. "But whatever they need me to do is fine. It's the big leagues. I guess this is how it works. I'm still new to all this."

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start Drew Hutchison and Mark Buehrle this weekend against Kansas City. There was no indication of any issues with the Toronto rotation when manager John Gibbons met the media this afternoon. But antennas are up at both ends of the QEW for a Stroman callup. In addition, it's known the Chicago Cubs are widely interested in Stroman in any deal for ace Jeff Samardzija -- as I wrote about in Sunday's Inside Baseball column -- and that they've scouted Stroman in Buffalo at least once this season. Stay tuned.

7:15 p.m. update: Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Sportsnet's Barry Davis that Stroman is indeed in limbo pending the result of J.A. Happ's start tonight. Stroman could be needed in long relief or to start Saturday if the Jays want to go to a six-man rotation through one turn.

Rogers was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on May 23 and reported to Buffalo after clearing waivers. He pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings in his Bisons debut Monday in Indianapolis.

"Might as well see him," Allenson said. "He threw the ball pretty good the other day. Some of these guys, you get them down, they're a little rusty and stuff. It takes them a few times. He was all right. It wasn't like he was locked in like a Greg Maddux but he looked good."

The Bisons' bullpen has also taken a major hit as standout late-inning specialist Bobby Korecky had his contract purchased by the Blue Jays this afternoon. Korecky is 3-1 with five saves and an 0.29 ERA -- allowing just one run in 31 innings and striking out 32.

"That's pretty good," deadpanned Allenson. "It looks like it's hittable but apparently it's not. You don't see a lot of good swings off him."

Rob Rasmussen has returned to the Bisons from the Blue Jays, and Allenson said Neil Wagner likely gets the ball in the ninth inning. Here's the Bisons' lineup tonight:

Darin Mastroianni, cf
Ryan Goins, 2b
Jared Goedert, 1b
Dan Johnson, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, lf
A.J. Jimenez, c
Munenori Kawasaki, ss
Kenny Wilson, rf
Jonathan Diaz, 3b
Esmil Rogers, p

Bisons' longest homestand of season opens tonight

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons return home tonight and their longest stand of the season in Coca-Cola Field opens at 7 p.m. against the Syracuse Chiefs. It's a 10-game stand, featuring six games against Syracuse (Washington) and four against Toledo (Detroit).

The Bisons' 3-5 road trip ended with Thursday's 3-2 loss at Indianapolis, a game that saw the Herd take a 2-0 lead in the first and fail to score again as its offensive struggles continue.

The Bisons have dropped five of their last six, collecting just 13 runs in those games, and they have scored in just three of their last 28 innings. They're tied for 10th in the International League in runs at 211, and are just four off the bottom run held by Rochester.

The Herd is staying afloat thanks to a pitching staff that's posted a 3.37 team ERA (which would be the lowest for a full season since the 2002 club posted a 3.30).

The Bisons are 26-24 and have fallen 1 1/2 games back of first-place Syracuse in the IL North. The Chiefs (29-24) have won eight of last 10 and the Bisons will play eight of their next 12 games against them. Top Toronto prospect Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start for Buffalo tonight. 

The visit by Toledo starts Tuesday and Mud Hens DH Mike Hessman is currently at 257 home runs, one shy of the IL record of 258 set by Bisons legend Ollie Carnegie.

The promotional schedule is chock full as well. There is the team's annual post-game Home Run Derby tonight. Saturday is Dog Day, with a pregame dog parade and fans able to bring their pooch on the right field berm. Sunday is Cap Day, Thursday is the team's annual 10:35 a.m School Kids Day, and next Saturday (June 7) is Star Wars Night -- with only about 2,500 tickets left.

Video: Blue Jays use Buffalo connection to push streak to 9

By Mike Harrington

The Blue Jays have won nine in a row. Their next four games are in Rogers Centre against struggling Kansas City -- which just got swept at home by the Astros and was outscored, 21-5, in the process. Talk about a chance to blow things open early to get a grip on a playoff berth. R.A Dickey gets the start in tonight's game.

The Jays completed the sweep of Tampa Bay Wednesday night thanks to some Buffalove. Anthony Gose's bunt was thrown down the first-base line and Kevin Pillar raced home from first, scoring the winning run with a head-first dive in the bottom of the ninth.

Check out the play here. (sorry, MLB embed code not working right now).

Earlier this week, John Lott of the National Post did this roundup of ex-Bisons contributing in Toronto.

My guess is that Gose will stay with the Jays from this point and that Pillar will come back to Buffalo when Rasmus is ready. And that should really help the Bisons because Pillar is hitting around .300 in the big leagues and will now have the added confidence of the stint up there and knowing he's fully on the big club's radar any time there's a need.

Blue Jays wrap up sweep at Fenway, call up Hendriks from Bisons to start Friday vs. Oakland

By Mike Harrington

The Toronto Blue Jays are alone in first place after wrapping up a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park with a 7-2 win early Thursday evening.  Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista homered on back-to-back pitches in the first inning off Jon Lester and that was all Mark Buehrle needed to become MLB's first eight-game winner.

After the game, the Jays announced they have called up red-hot Buffalo Bisons starter Liam Hendriks and will give him the start Friday night in the series opener against the Oakland Athletics in Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays want to separate Buehrle from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and will put their No. 5 slot in between them, instead of going to Hendriks Saturday. 

Hendriks (5-0, 1.48 in nine games/seven starts) is second in the International League in ERA, tied for second in wins and has an IL-leading 0.80 WHIP. He has walked just three batters in 48 2/3 innings.

The game will mark the start of a stretch where the Jays will have 16 of their next 19 games at home. So far, at least, that hasn't been a good thing for teams in the AL East. Toronto is just 10-11 in Rogers Centre and no East club is over .500. The Red Sox, in fact, endured an 0-6 homestand for the first time since 1994 and are 10-17 in Fenway -- the second-most home losses in baseball.

Hens' Hessman cracks 400th MILB home run; could break IL mark in upcoming series here

By Mike Harrington

All Mike Hessman has done in a minor-league career that dates to 1996 is hit home runs. In pretty much every stop he's made. Eleven stops in the minors -- including 18 longballs in 64 games for the Bisons in 2010 -- as well as three stops in the majors (Atlanta, Detroit, New York Mets) and even 48 games in Japan in 2011.

Hessman went deep Tuesday in the first inning of Toledo's 3-0 win over Rochester in Frontier Field and it was the 400th home run of his minor-league career. has been keeping this rotating graphic of Hessman's power numbers and now has it updated with No. 400. Here's the video of the shot, with the call by Rochester announcer Josh Whetzel, who is also the voice of University at Buffalo basketball. 

(Memo to the Rochester TV crew: Whetzel is word-picturing a great scene of teammates congratulating Hessman and Red Wings fans standing and applauding behind the dugout and you missed all of it showing replays of him jogging around the bases. Just plain terrible. You gotta be better.)

Now Hessman has another quest: He has 255 career home runs in the International League -- just three shy of all league's all-time record of 258 set by Bisons legend Ollie Carnegie (1931-41, 1945). Carnegie is one of just three players to have his number retired on the left-field wall at Coca-Cola Field.

Hessman has 12 games to go before a four-game set in Buffalo between the Bisons and Mud Hens opens here June 3. He might already have the record by then, but it would make for a pretty interesting backdrop if he was on the verge of it when he hit town. Bears watching.

More from Joe Siddall on broadcasting and the Blue Jays

Joe Siddall (right) with Jerry Howarth in the Blue Jays' radio booth. (Fox Sports Detroit)

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read my column in Wednesday's editions on Canisius College outfielder Brett Siddall and his father, new Blue Jays radio announcer Joe Siddall, as they continue to cope with the February death of their 14-year-old brother/son, Kevin.

There are plenty of poignant thoughts in the story and Canisius will be playing with plenty of emotion during its MAAC Tournament opener against an opponent to be determined tonight in Lakewood, N.J. I talked to Joe Siddall Tuesday from Fenway Park prior to the Blue Jays' series opener against the Red Sox and made sure to get some Jays talk in as well that didn't really fit the column.

So here are the outakes of the interview, largely focused on Joe Siddall's MLB thoughts:

---Siddall said he can "talk baseball until I'm blue in the face" and was always comfortable dealing with the media as a player. He said learning the nuances of broadcasting has been a fascinating ride, especially the depth of preparation that goes into a television broadcast in areas such as pre-planned graphics. He spent five games on the last homestand working in the Sportsnet TV booth.

"It's been a comfortable transition, from the broadcasting perspective and learning tricks of the trade," he said. "I continue to bounce things off Buck Martinez, Pat Tabler, Jerry Howarth and learn things that help me get better. 

"TV is a different ballgame so to speak. It's such a big production, starting with the meeting during the day, so you're prepared for the show opening and the graphics you'll be discussing during the game. It's really neat. I joked after my five days that I will certainly watch a game on TV differently now because now you know what went in to all the things. A really cool experience."

On legendary Jays announcer Howarth: "It's been great working with him since day one. He's been that right-hand guy to give me tips and pointers and it's helped our broadcast. The No. 1 thing Jerry has taught me is to have fun. When you're in the booth, have fun, joke, laugh, talk baseball. That's what people want to hear."

The Blue Jays in the AL East --  "They're hanging in because everybody has issues, all these teams are struggling. We're here in Boston and here's a team coming off the World Series that's struggling and not consistent whatsoever. The Blue Jays' lineup is tremendous."

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista -- "He's special. I worked batting practice with the Tigers for 12 years and worked with Miguel Cabrera every day. Imagine what that's like. Maybe Jose isn't Miguel Cabrera but he's just about the same type of player every time out. He's had tremendous discipline here. When Edwin Encarnacion was scuffling, Jose didn't try to do too much and he contributed offensively."

Jose Reyes as an X-factor guy: "He seems to be coming along. If he gets on base consistently, he would score so many runs. The lineup is so deep with power that if Reyes gets on base, it's really going to be tough. What's really going to be the big factor is the pitching. They have to solidify that. And who doesn't say this, but it would sure be nice to have one more solid big-league starter."

Red-hot Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle: "I can't not laugh answering a question about him. I have to chuckle. The way he does it is unbelievable. It should inspire every kid in the minor leagues who throws 84 mph. He locates so well. You do that it doesn't matter if it's at 84 or 94. He changes speed, moves it in and out. He's a classic pitcher...He's good at his craft."

Pujols Twitter
From left, Canisius teammates Anthony Massicci, Brett Siddall and Connor Panas pose with Albert Pujols of the Angels last week in Toronto. (Joe Siddall Twitter photo)

Three-run homer sinks Stroman as Bisons fall to Lehigh Valley

By Mike Harrington

Marcus Stroman got his work in Tuesday in Coca-Cola Field, but one pitch conspired to ruin his day.

Lehigh Valley's Jim Murphy slugged a three-run homer off the Toronto Blue Jays' prized prospect with two outs in the fourth inning, and that proved to be enough as the IronPigs held off the Buffalo Bisons, 3-2, before an announced crowd of 5,428.

Stroman, back down from the parent Toronto Blue Jays after a stint in the parent club's bullpen, was razor-sharp in his first three innings before running into trouble in innings 4-5. 

Stroman fired six no-hit innings in his previous Triple-A start, April 29 against Lousiville, before getting pulled because of a pitch count. He retired the first seven hitters Tuesday, stretching that run to 8 1/3 innings in Triple-A before Leandro Castro's clean single to shallow left.

In the fourth, Stroman issued a one-out walk to Darin Ruf and gave up Steve Susdorf's two-out single. He fell behind Murphy, 2 and 0, and the IronPigs' first baseman crushed a no-doubt blast over the fence in left-center to give the visitors the lead.

Stroman got through five innings, throwing 40 of his 64 pitches for strikes before getting removed because of a pitch limit. He allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one. Despite a 2.27 earned-run average, he is just 2-3 in his six starts with Buffalo.

The Bisons staked Stroman to a 2-0 lead in the third as Jack Murphy and Munenori Kawasaki lined back-to-back doubles to produce a run and Jared Geodert's fielder's choice grounder scored another. Kawasaki's two-bagger was his ninth of the season, tied for the team lead, and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

Buffalo had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth but Jack Murphy took a called third strike -- one pitch after his screaming foul ball to deep right was a couple of feet away from turning into a walkoff homer. Kawasaki then took a called third strike.

The Bisons and IronPigs split the four-game series, but the Bisons finished 2-5 on their homestand. Buffalo is off  Wednesday and starts an eight-game road trip Thursday in Lousvillle. The next home game is May 30 against Syracuse.

Stroman back on hill for Bisons matinee, homestand finale

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons wrap up their homestand today with a 1 p.m. matinee against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and it marks the return of Marcus Stroman to the rotation. Stroman was 2-2, 1.69 in five previous starts with the Herd -- including six no-hit innings April 29 against Lousville -- before getting called up to pitch in the Toronto bullpen. He's expected to be on about a 65-pitch limit today.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was on The Fan 590 in Toronto this morning and made it sound like Stroman's time back in Triple-A could be brief. The Blue Jays will start either Todd Redmond or Buffalo's Liam Hendriks Saturday against Oakland and might slide Stroman into that No. 5 slot in the rotation the next time it comes around after that.

The Blue Jays have called up Buffalo reliever Rob Rasmussen today and could send him back Friday if Hendriks gets the call.

The Bisons have also added veteran left-hander Raul Valdes, as the Blue Jays acquired him in a trade with Houston. He was 1-0, 3.48 at Oklahoma City and also pitched eight games with Houston (0-0, 12.27). Valdes pitched nine games (seven starts) with the Bisons in 2010 when they were in the Mets chain and was 2-1, 3.00.

Here's the Bisons' lineup:

Darin Mastroianni, cf
Ryan Goins, 2b
Jared Goedert, 3b
Dan Johnson, dh
Brad Glenn, lf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 1b
Brett Carroll, rf
Jack Murphy, c
Munenori Kawasaki, ss
Marcus Stroman, p

Bisons offense comes alive in Sunday afternoon win

by Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Bisons broke out of their offensive slump with a 7-1 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in front of 7,377 at at Coca-Cola Field Sunday afternoon.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Herd.

The first inning set the ground work for the Bisons as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Darin Mastroianni led off with a walk, stole second then scored on a single by Ryan Goins. Jared Goedert then blasted a two-run homer and Matt Tuiasosopo added an RBI single.

The IronPigs got a run back in the third but the Herd extended its lead to 5-1 in the fourth when a Mastroianni single scored Mike Nickeas.

In the sixth, it looked as if the Herd had turned a double play to end the inning but Maikel Franco was called safe at first. With two outs starter Shawn Hill gave up a walk and a hit to load the bases. He however got the next batter to ground out to second to end the inning and the threat.

Buffalo added two more run sin the seventh as a walk and back-to-back singles from Brad Glenn and Tuiasosopo loaded the bases with no outs. A fielder’s choice by Brett Carroll scored one run while a sacrifice to center from Mike Nickeas scored another.

Hill (1-1) picked up his first win for the Herd. He gave up one run on four hits in seven innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

Rob Rasmussen struck out three in the eighth while Ryan Tepera struck out three in the ninth to secure the win.

The series continues Monday at 1:05 p.m.

Bisons look to end losing skid

by Amy Moritz

Streaky. It's just baseball. But it's something the Buffalo Bisons would like to even out.

It's been feast or famine for the Herd lately. From April 28-May 5 the club won seven straight games. They lost four. Then won three straight.

Now they're on a four-game losing streak as they host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at 1 p.m . (Radio 1520) at Coca-Cola Field.

Righty Shawn Hill gets the start making his Coca-Cola Field debut. He made two starts for the Bisons on their last road trip. On Monday in Charlotte, he gave up five runs in six innings of a no-decision.

Hill spent nine years in the Washington/Montreal system from 2000-08. He pitched three games for the Expos in 2004 and went 4-5 in 16 starts for the Nationals in 2007.

He has pitched at five levels in the Blue Jays organization and this season started with Double-A New Hampshire.

It's the offense that needs to step up for the Herd as the team has produced just seven runs in its last four games.

Today's lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Dan Johnson -- DH
Brad Glenn -- LF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 1B
Brett Carroll -- RF
Mike Nickeas -- C
Munenori Kawasaki -- 2B

As Bisons look to new series, Romero reflects on nine-walk disaster against G-Braves

By Mike Harrington

In more than two decades of covering the Bisons, the only pitcher I've seen struggle like Ricky Romero was Tim Wakefield. In between his meteoric rise with the Pirates and his rebirth for a long career with the Red Sox, Wakefield was 5-15 for Buffalo in 1994 and his knuckleball was all over the place.

Eventually, Wakefield figured things out, but the Pirates cut bait before it cost them any more money. As it turned out, they were premature in their decision. The Toronto Blue Jays don't have the same luxury with Ricky Romero, whom they are paying $7.5 million to this year and another $7.5 million next year.

Romero set a Buffalo franchise record with nine walks in the first game of last night's doubleheader against Gwinnett, an eventual 4-1 loss. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings and has walked an International League-high 32 in 29 2/3 innings this year. Romero said his arm is fine and that his pregame bullpen session last night was his best of the season. He had procedures done on his knees in October and said there are good days and bad days. Perhaps they're impacting his delivery.

"I've worked hard. There's no denying that," Romero told me today in the Bisons' dugout after batting practice. "It's frustrating and it's definitely not fun. You go home sit there and kind of say, "What the hell happened?" But you wake up today and it's a new day.

"I'd rather come out after 2 2/3 knowing I gave up nine hits and made them earn it than come out of the game and reflect what happened," Romero said. "I was like, 'Wow, they didn't even earn those two runs. I gave them to them.' When I'm in the zone and my stuff is moving, I know my stuff plays and it gives hitters trouble."

Romero was at the park early today and will throw some Sunday morning. He may get pushed back a few days, largely so he can attend his brother's college graduation at Long Beach State. Manager Gary Allenson said at this point he expects  to keep Romero starting to see if he can figure some things out.

"I look forward to the next day, forward to coming out here and working," Romero said. "My work ethic has never changed, whether I've been successful or not. The struggles are pretty hard. It's sleepless nights for sure. At the same time, you still have a job to do. Knowing I'm preparing and getting better in some areas away from the game like the weight room and better preparing my body is a big priority too."

The Bisons will be starting the anti-Romero today in right-hander Liam Hendriks, who is 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA -- and has walked just two men in 41 2/3 innings. Lehigh Valley will be spot-starting former Bisons hurler Brad Lincoln. As part of Armed Forces Tribute Day, the Bisons will be wearing camouflage caps.

Here's the Buffalo lineup:

Darin Mastroianni, cf
Ryan Goins, 2b
Jared Goedert, 3b
Dan Johnson, 1b
Brad Glenn, rf
Matt Tuiasosopo, lf
Andy LaRoche, dh
Mike Nickeas, c
Jonathan Diaz, ss
Liam Hendriks, p

Let's play ball! (Finally)

by Amy Moritz

There will be baseball at Coca-Cola Field today as cool (but dry!) conditions have taken over the downtown Buffalo ballpark.

The Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves will play a doubleheader today, both scheduled for seven innings.

The pitching rotation stays the same with lefty Ricky Romero (0-1, 6.00) scheduled to start for the Herd in Game 1 while Kyle Drabek (3-2, 4.04) will start Game 2.

Weather woes: Since today is the last regular season meeting between the Bisons and Gwinnett, one of the games lost in Thursday's postponement will not be made up. The Herd has had eight postponement this season, five of them at home. And yet the Herd is holding its own. Consider they have played six fewer games that Pawtucket and the Bisons are tied with the PawSox for the International League North Division lead.

Transaction news: Because we can't have a day without transaction news. Outfielder Brad Glenn has joined the Bisons from Double-A New Hampshire. Glenn hit .235 with five doubles and 14 RBI in 36 games with the Fisher Cats. Glenn was with the Bisons for 18 games in August last year, driving in 10 runs while hitting five home runs.

Today's Game 1 Lineup:
Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Matt Tuiasosopo -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Brett Carroll -- RF
Andy LaRoche -- DH
Mike Nickeas -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- 2B


Bisons manager Gary Allenson on rotation, Gose and the weather

by Amy Moritz

The rain again washed out baseball at Coca-Cola Field Thursday. The Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves will try again on Friday with a doubleheader at 5:05 p.m. Since the series concludes on Friday, the Herd and Braves both lose a game this season.

Manager Gary Allenson said that the rotation remains the same with Ricky Romero (0-1, 6.00) scheduled to start Game 1 and Kyle Drabek (3-2, 4.04) the starter for the nightcap.

Other notes and quotes from rainy downtown Buffalo:

  • Sean Nolin was moved to the disabled list with a left groin strain. Chad Jenkins will take his spot in the starting rotation.
  • Anthony Gose was called up by the Blue Jays and was in the starting lineup for Toronto's game with the Cleveland Indians Thursday night in Rogers Center. Allenson on Gose: "Anthony Gose beats to his own drum sometimes. I told him, 'When you're done playing go to law school because you like to win every argument.' "
  • Thursday's washout makes that eight postponed games for the Bisons this year including five at home. Last year they had 11 but just four in 2012. The modern era record for postponed games is 14 set in 2000. Allenson: "Can't do anything about the weather. It's more your fault than it is mine. You're from Buffalo. I'm from Florida."

Bisons waiting on the weather while Gose goes up to Toronto

by Amy Moritz

The current scene (at 3:54 p.m. ET) has the tarp on the field, cloudy but bright skies and no current precipitation at Coca-Cola Field.

The professional weather prognosticators say that is going to change. Soon. And well into the night.

As of now it's doubleheader on for the Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves at Coca-Cola Field after last night's game was washed out.

That is subject to change.

In the meantime there's roster news to report. (Isn't there always roster moves to report these days?) The Toronto Blue Jays placed outfielder Coby Rasmus on the 15-day disabled list with hamstring tightness. The recalled Anthony Gose from the Bisons to take his spot and Gose is already in the lineup for the Blue Jays tonight in Rogers Centre.

Should the games go on, Ricky Romero is scheduled to start Game 1 for the Herd. It's his seventh start of the season and he is coming off his first decision -- a loss on Friday in Charlotte.

Kyle Drabek is scheduled to start the nightcap. He picked up a win over Charlotte on Saturday with a season-best six innings of work. He struck out seven with no walks and allowed just two unearned runs.

The lineup for Game 1:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Matt Tuiasosopo -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Brett Carroll -- RF
Andy LaRoche -- DH
Mike Nickeas -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- 2B

Another day, more roster moves as Herd continues homestand

by Amy Moritz

You knew we'd start off the second day of the Bisons' homestand with more roster moves, right? Because that's how the Toronto Blue Jays roll. At least over the last few days.

Today's roster moves see catcher Erik Kratz and closer Neil Wagner recalled to the Blue Jays while righthanded pitcher Chad Jenkins was optioned to the Herd. Also for the Bisons, pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was activated off the disabled list. He missed seven games with a right shin contusion.

That makes 13 roster moves in the last four days and John Lott does a good job laying out the moves on the National Post website.

The moves haven't impacted the Herd too much. They still have the best record in the International League at 21-15. They're tied with Pawtucket for first in the IL North heading into tonight's game.

The Bisons will look to rebound after last night's 3-2 loss to the Gwinnett Braves.

Ricky Romero makes his seventh start for the Herd. He picked up his first decision in his last start -- a loss on Friday in Charlotte. In that game he gave up five runs in three innings.

Romero has been good at home this year, though, with a 3.60 ERA in three starts at Coca-Cola Field.

Tonight's lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- LF
Anthony Gose -- CF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Ryan Goins -- SS
Andy LaRoche -- DH
Mike Nickeas -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- 2B

Halfway through Subway Series, Mets are toast of New York and Yankees are full of questions

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy trots out his three-run homer Tuesday in front of Derek Jeter. (AP Photo)

By Mike Harrington

Masahiro Tanaka is 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA and the Yankees need him to pitch well tonight more than any of his other starts this season. Tanaka is the starter against the Mets in Citi Field, and the Yankees have looked dreadful in getting swept in the Bronx in the first half of the Subway Series.

In last night's affair that stretched nearly four hours, the Yankees endured a 12-7 drubbing that left both New York teams at 19-19. But they feel quite a bit different.

The Mets are battling, have won three straight and getting reinforcements coming from the minor leagues with Rafael Montero making his MLB debut tonight on the mound. The Yankees have dropped four straight -- even though they've scored 23 runs in those four games -- and the injuries are piling up, notably to CC Sabathia and Carlos Beltran.

In the Daily News, Andy Martino said it's the austerity Mets that feel good about themselves while the big-money and breaking-down Yankees are trying to figure out how they can get healthy.

The Mets have won six straight in the Subway Series and Kevin Kernan write in the Post that even a visit from Babe Ruth's Hall of Fame plaque couldn't save the Yankees.

It wasn't all good for the Mets. Zach Wheeler had an 11-4 lead and couldn't get the five innings in to get the win.

Tough inning for Nolin as Herd loses to Gwinnett

by Amy Moritz

Sean Nolin pitched his way out of a few jams early in the game.

The wheels came off against the best offense in the International League in the sixth inning Tuesday night. He gave up two walks and back-to-back singles which tied the game, 2-2. He left with the bases loaded and reliever John Stilson walked the next batter. Stilson was tagged for that run, too, in the Buffalo Bisons' 3-2 loss to the Gwinnett Braves.

In that sixth inning, Stilson was already warming up in the bullpen as Nolin was starting to lose command of his pitches. But Bisons trainer Voon Chong came out to the mound as the pitching change was being made to tend to Nolin.

Manager Gary Allenson said Nolin was dealing with an injury but could not be specific about it.

"He has a leg issue going on," Allenson said. "I don’t know if he did it on one pitch or if it was building up. Maybe that’s why he walked a bunch of guys that inning. ... He’s got a leg problem. I can’t be specific about it. But just to be safe, we took him out. There’s no sense in letting somebody stay out there in a minor league game and making something worse."

Bisons open homestand on winning streak

by Amy Moritz

The Bisons return from their eight-game road trip to warm temperatures and sunny skies in downtown Buffalo as they host the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 p.m. 

The Herd has won three straight and enter tonight's game tied with Pawtucket for first place in the International League North Division. Buffalo owns the best record in the league at 21-14 (.600).

Earlier transaction news sent outfielder Kevin Pillar to Toronto while shortstop Jonathan Diaz returned to the Herd. Diaz is not in the lineup but will be active for tonight's game along with infielder Chris Getz who cleared waivers.

Back in the lineup at third base tonight is Andy LaRoche who missed the last 25 games while on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Sean Nolin (2-1, 2.34) gets the start for the Bisons. Last Thursday he took his first loss, giving up four runs to Gwinnett in 5 2/3 innings. That game snapped Nolin's 25-inning shutout streak that lasted from April 13 to May 8. Nolin's 2.34 earned run average is the 11th lowest mark in the IL.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:

Darin Mastroianni --LF
Anthony Gose -- CF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Andy LaRoce -- 3B
Brett Carroll -- DH
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Mike Nickeas -- C
Munenori Kawasaki -- SS


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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 |

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 |