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Blue Jays call up Gose, Bisons look to snap mini-skid

By Taylor Nigrelli 

The Bisons take the field tonight looking to snap a two-game losing streak against the visiting Durham Bulls, who lead the IL South.

They will have to do so without outfielder Anthony Gose whom the Blue Jays called up Saturday to replace injured Nolan Reimold, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

The team will also be without its leader in home runs and walks as the Blue Jays called up Dan Johnson Friday.

P.J. Walters (2-0, 3.27) will make his fourth start for the Bisons. The righty has had a bit of a roller coaster 2014, as he’s played for three teams.

He started the year in the Pacific Coast League with the Omaha Storm Chasers. The Blue Jays acquired him in a trade and placed him in Double-A New Hampshire. After four solid starts, he was promoted to Buffalo.

Righty Matt Andriese (9-4, 3.41) will get the call for Durham. The former San Diego third-round pick has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the International League this season, posting wins in eight wins in his past nine decisions. He’s tied with four others for third in the IL with nine total wins on the season.

Tonight’s Lineup:

Ryan Goins – 2B
Jared Goedert – 3B
Kevin Pillar – CF
Cory Aldridge – DH
Brad Glenn – LF
Ryan Schimpf – RF
Mike McDade – 1B
Mike Nickeas – C
Jonathan Diaz – SS

Bisons host RailRiders in Independence Eve game

By Taylor Nigrelli

In what has become a popular tradition locally, the Buffalo Bisons will host their annual Independence Eve game tonight, complete with the season's largest post-game fireworks display and a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

As of this morning, only 3000 tickets were available for the game.

The 20th edition of Independence Eve will feature a matchup against the struggling Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (40-46). The Herd (45-40) took the first two games of a five-game set with 1-0 and 3-1 wins yesterday in a double-header.

The Bisons may be a little fatigued heading into tonight’s matchup as four of the team’s past six contests have gone into extra innings.

Esmil Rogers (2-1, 3.10), who’s spent time in both Toronto and Buffalo this year, will get the start for the Bisons. Chris Leroux (1-2, 7.94) is expected to get the call for the Railriders.

The Herd will be looking to build on a recent hot streak that’s seen the team win five of its past seven games.

Tonight’s starting lineup:

Kenny Wilson – LF
Ryan Goins – 2B
Kevin Pillar – CF
Dan Johnson – 1B
Erik Kratz – DH
A.J. Jimenez – C
Ryan Schimpf – RF
Andy LaRoche – 3B
Jonathan Diaz - SS

Bisons snap four-game skid, McGuire shines

By Taylor Nigrelli 

The Bisons used another dominant Deck McGuire performance to beat Toledo, 5-2, and snap a four-game losing streak Thursday afternoon in front of an announced School Kids Day crowd of 15,361 in Coca-Cola Field.  

McGuire pitched seven innings, allowed one run on three hits and tied a Bisons season high with 10 strikeouts. McGuire moved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.29 in his third Triple-A start.

The Bisons grabbed the lead early, scoring four runs in the first inning on the strength of back-to-back two-RBI base hits by Matt Tuiasosopo and Ryan Goins. The Herd would add a fifth run in the eighth inning on a Darin Mastroianni sacrifice fly.

Mike Hessman, who’s currently tied with Bisons great Ollie Carnegie for the all-time International League home run record of 258, failed to break the record, finishing 0-3 with a walk.

The Bisons will look to come away with a series split with the Mud Hens when they take the field Friday for a 7:05 start. Sean Nolin (2-2) and Mike Belfiore (2-2) are expected to start for Buffalo and Toledo, respectively. 

Hessman sits as Bisons open series against Mud Hens

By Taylor Nigrelli

Toledo slugger Mike Hessman, who is currently tied with Bisons great Ollie Carnegie for the all-time International League home run record with 258, will  not start today, as was previously expected.

Hessman was also not in the lineup yesterday as he had pre-cancerous growths removed from his nose and forehead.

Buffalo fans may still have a chance to see Hessman, who played briefly for the Bisons in 2010, break Carnegie’s record if he’s able to play either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Liam Hendriks (5-0, 1.48) will get the start for the Bisons (27-27) tonight as the team opens up a four-game set against the Toledo Mud Hens (27-31).

Hendriks gets the call after spending nearly two weeks with the Toronto Blue Jays. The righty pitched just 11 and two-thirds innings in two starts for the big club but sported an impressive 2.31 ERA.

The Blue Jays outrighted Hendriks Tuesday. In doing so, the Jays called up righty Chad Jenkins for the third time this season. The Herd will also be without relief pitchers Neil Wagner and John Stilson, who were moved to the disabled list Monday.

Duane Below (3-1, 3.81) will get the call tonight for Toledo.

Bisons lineup:

Darin Mastroianni - CF
Ryan Goins – 2B
Jared Goedert – 3B
Dan Johnson - DH
A.J. Jimenez - C
Matt Tuiasosopo – 1B
Brett Carroll - RF
Kenny Wilson - LF
Jonathan Diaz - SS

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 drop doubleheader

By Amy Moritz

The game was only scheduled for seven innings as the first half of a doubleheader at Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon.

Still it took nine innings to decide the game as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders took a 2-1 decision over the Buffalo Bisons.

In Game 2 of the doubleheader, Scranton jumped all over strater Kyle Drabek and went on for a 7-2 win to sweep the twinbill.

In the first game the Bisons tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Kevin Nolan legged out a doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Chris Getz.

Getz stole second with two outs but an iffy third-strike appeal on Steve Tolleson ended the inning and sent the scheduled seven-inning game into extra frames.

 The Bisons threatened in the bottom of the eighth with two walks and no outs, but shallow fly balls to the outfield and a strikeout by Ricardo Nanita left the runners stranded. 

Austin Bibens-Dirkx, freshly promoted from Double-A New Hampshire, gave up a leadoff walk in the ninth to Ronnier Mustelier. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-out single to center by Carmen Angelini.

The Bisons had a runner in scoring position when Getz drew a two-out walk and stole second. Tolleson drew a walk bringing Brett Caroll to the plate, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the eighth. Carroll struck out  to end the game.

Ricky Romero pitched a solid outing getting his second start of the season. He gave up one run on two hits through six innigns of work. He had just two strikeouts and it was the four walks which hurt the lefty.

In the third, Romero gave up two walks, including to the leadoff batter Antoan Richardson. Richardson moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. A walk to Ramond Flores put runners on the corners with out out. With the infield playing shallow, Jose Pirela’s ground ball found space to score the game’s first run.

The Bisons didn’t get their first hit of the game until the fifth inning when Kevin Nolan led off with his first Triple-A single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Nickeas but good defensive plays by Scranton in the field kept the Herd off the board.

Bisons to unveil new message boards, sound system on Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field

Cropped herd board
Depiction of new Coca-Cola Field message board, featuring game score, batter information, out of town scores and time clock. (Bisons.com)



By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons announced roughly $500,000 in improvements to Coca-Cola Field today, with a new sound system to replace the dated version that has been in house since the ballpark's 1988 opening and the installation of new LED message boards on the facing of the club level down both baselines.

Both features will be ready for Opening Day, April 3 against the Rochester Red Wings.

The 120-speaker Distributed Sound System was approved and funded by the city's Capital Program to replace the centralized sound system that had been in place. It has a price tag of over $300,000 and will send music and public address sound throughout the park much more evenly than in the past. Speakers used to be only located in the center field scoreboard and weather, especially wind, impacted the sound quality. The new system has just three speakers in the scoreboard and the other 117 around the park.

The Bisons are footing the roughly $225,000 bill for the LED boards, which will be 50 feet long and 2 1/2 feet high. They will also take care of a major pet peeve I've always had: The score not being on display between innings because it comes off the center field board. The boards will feature real-time game statistics and out of town scores. 

"Providing the absolute best ballpark experience has always been our number one goal and these two additions are great compliments to the action on the field," Jonathan A. Dandes, President of Rich Baseball Operations, said in a statement issued by the team. "The sound system will allow us to reach every fan in the ballpark with crisp and clear music and public address announcements, while the new message boards will be loaded with timely statistical and player information to enhance the baseball experience."

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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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