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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

 

Hot-hitting Bisons OF Pillar gets call to Toronto

By Mike Harrington

Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus has been dealing with some hamstring tightness and could land on the disabled list. That hasn't happened yet but the Jays are dealing with a short bench and Sportsnet's Shi Davidi is reporting they have called up Kevin Pillar from the Bisons, costing the Herd one of the hottest hitters in its lineup for tonight's series opener against Gwinnett in Coca-Cola Field.

(2:30 update: The Blue Jays have officially made the move, calling up Pillar and returning infielder Jonathan Diaz to the Bisons)

Pillar was hitting .305 for the Bisons with one homer and 19 RBIs and had a team-high 43 hits. but those numbers hardly tell the story of his last few weeks. After a 1-for-24 start to the season, Pillar has been one of the International League's most dangerous hitters.

Pillar is hitting .359 in his last 117 at-bats, .392 in May and .403 in his last 10 games. He's reached base in an IL-high 26 straight games, is tied for the league lead in doubles (13) and is tied for second in extra-base hits (17). He batted .403 during an 18-game hitting streak that ended May 6 and rates as the best in Triple-A this season.

Pillar batted .299 in 52 games last year for the Bisons and hit .206 in 36 games for the Blue Jays.

Romero on the mound as Bisons open series in IL's newest park

Charpark
Bisons broadcaster Ben Wagner (@BenWag247) tweeted this view of the vista at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte last night as he stopped in for the Knights' game against Lehigh Valley. The Bisons open a four-game series there tonight. (Click for a bigger view)



By Mike Harrington

The Bisons open a four-game series tonight in Charlotte and it will be their first look at BB&T Ballpark, the gleaming 10,000-seat facility that is the talk of the International League in the first month of the season. The Charlotte Knights used  to play across the border in Fort Mill, SOUTH Carolina and were at the bottom of the IL attendance charts.

Not any more. They enter tonight's game No. 1 in the league, averaging 9,483 for 15 openings. (The Bisons are seventh at 5,493).

On the field, Charlotte is just 12-21 and lost four straight to the Bisons last week in Coca-Cola Field. The Bisons (18-13) remain in a virtual tie for first in the IL North but lost the final three games of their series in Gwinnett.

Ricky Romero makes his sixth start of the season tonight for Buffalo. He remains without a decision in his first five, while  compiling a 4.88 ERA. Romero allowed a season-high five runs over four innings in a no-decision to the Knights last Saturday,  in a game the  Bisons rallied to win in the ninth, 6-5.

As for the picture above, that's one incredible view of downtown Charlotte. Why didn't Buffalo build its park like that to face downtown and not the expressway? It's all based  on the size of the stadium  lot, the position of the sun and the shadows caused by the old HSBC Tower. Unfortunately, they pretty much built it the only way they really could.

Babe Ruth beat Bisons -- on the mound -- in home opener 100 years ago today

Ruth-jpg
The Buffalo Evening News story on Babe Ruth beating the Bisons on May 8, 1914. Click for a bigger view.

By Mike Harrington

Here's one that belongs right out of the pages of the newly-established BN Chronicles history pages on our site -- and a big tip of the ol' cap to UB Library Web Manager Scott Hollander for sending it along in a recent email.

On May 8, 1914 -- 100 years ago today -- the Bisons dropped their International League home opener to the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, in an 11-inning affair played before a crowd of 6,064. The starting and winning pitcher for the Orioles that day? 

A 19-year-old prospect named Babe Ruth.

Yep, The Sultan of Swat was about two months away from making his MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914 when he beat the Bisons that afternoon. 

The game was played at what was then known as "Buffalo Baseball Park". It was at the corner of East Ferry and Michigan and was replaced there in 1924 by what became known as Offermann Stadium.

The Bisons finished that season 89-61 under manager Bill Clymer, a 1989 inductee into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame.  They were in second place, four games behind the Providence Grays. The Orioles finished sixth out of eight teams at 72-77.

The full page from the Buffalo Evening News on that game and other sports of the day can be viewed at this PDF by clicking here.

UB's Hollander said he came across the stories while doing research for the UB Sports History Collection.

As for the current Bisons, they're playing a 10:35 a.m. start today at Gwinnett in the finale of a four-game series. 

Starting pitching woes contribute mightily to AL East's struggles

By Mike Harrington

So why is everyone in the AL East pretty much mediocre and only Toronto (at plus-4) owning a positive run differential? It's mostly because of starting pitching.

Check out the numbers below for the starters on the five teams: 

Team W-L , ERA (AL rank)
BOS 11-12, 3.83 (5)
TOR 12-9, 4.19 (7)
NYY 13-11, 4.36 (10)
BAL 10-12, 4.46 (11)
TB 9-11, 4.48 (12)

Check out the standings heading into tonight's games:

BAL 16-14
NYY 17-15
TOR 16-17
BOS 16-17
TBR 15-18

Not what anyone expected. The Rays and Orioles meet again tonight at Tampa Bay, while the Blue Jays and Phillies switch sites and move to Rogers Center, and the Yankees wrap up a three-gamer in Anaheim before opening a toughie Friday night in Milwaukee.

 

Wedge, Tubbs, Miske to be inducted into Buffalo Baseball Hall

Wedge
Eric Wedge led the Bisons to a 91-51 record in 2001. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News file photo)

 

By Mike Harrington

Former Bisons manager Eric Wedge, ex-Buffalo outfielder Greg Tubbs and longtime Western New York-based scout Bob Miske have been elected to the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame, the Hall committee and the Buffalo Bisons announced today.

Wedge, Tubbs and Miske will be inducted in ceremonies prior to the Bisons' game July 11 against Durham in Coca-Cola Field. Their inductions will increase the Hall's membership to 91.

Wedge is the third manager in the Bisons modern era to be inducted into the Hall, joining current New York Mets skipper Terry Collins (Class of 1992) and Brian Graham (Class of 2008).

Wedge managed the Bisons to a 178-108 record and playoff berths in 2001 and 2002, setting a modern-era mark for winning percentage at .622. The '01 Bisons set a modern-era mark for wins by going 91-51 and won the IL North by 13 1/2 games before losing Game Five of the IL semifinals to Scranton in a 19-inning thriller that remains the longest game in the downtown ballpark's history.

The '02 Bisons were 87-57 and avenged that loss to Scranton by sweeping the Red Barons in a three-game semifinal series before losing to Durham in three straight in the IL finals. Wedge was the IL manager that summer at the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Wedge managed the Cleveland Indians from 2003-2009, posting a 561-573 record and getting the Tribe within one game of the World Series in 2007 before it lost Game Seven of the ALCS in Boston. The Indians won the Central Division that year and Wedge was named AL Manager of the Year. Click here for my story heading into that postseason on the Wedge-led '07 Indians, whose roster was filled with former Bisons.

From 2011-2013, Wedge managed the Seattle Mariners to a 213-273 record.  Wedge resigned at the end of last season and is doing TV work this year for ESPN while living in East Aurora with his wife, Kate, and two children. Wedge met his wife, an Alden native, while he managed the Bisons.

Tubbs
Greg Tubbs played for the Bisons in 1991-92 and 1994. (Bisons.com photo)

Tubbs (left) was the most common leadoff hitter for the Bisons in 1991, 1992 and 1994. In 364 games he batted .283 with 60 doubles, 19 triples, 12 home runs, 121 RBIs and 67 stolen bases. He’s third in the modern era in total hits (370) and joins Jesus Feliciano (2009-11) as the only two Bisons since 1985 to have 100+ hits in three separate seasons.

Tubbs is also known for catching the final out in center field for both of the Bisons' American Association division-clinching wins at then-Pilot Field in 1991 and 1992. He played 11 seasons in the farm systems of the Braves, Pirates and Reds and saw 35 games of big-league time for Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Miske
Bob Miske shows off his World Series rings. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News file photo)

Miske (right) is an Eggertsville resident who currently scouts for the New York Yankees. He is in his 50th year of scouting and is entering the Hall in the Steward category. He has worked for the Dodgers, Yankees and Seattle Mariners. 

Miske began his career with the Dodgers in 1964 and spent 30 years with Los Angeles, earning World Sreies rings in 1981 and 1988. He worked for the Yankees from 1994-2001, with Seattle from 2002-2008 and returned to the Yankees in 2009. 

Miske is no stranger to Hall of Fame honors. He is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Scouts Hall of Fame (2000), the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame (2010), the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame (2000) and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (2004).

Miske is a 1961 graduate of the University of Buffalo where he was captain of the baseball team (1959-1960) and MVP of the basketball team (1960-1961). He was an Eastern College Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete in 1961 and was inducted into the UB Hall of Fame in 1984.

Stroman escapes jam in 9th, gets first MLB win as Blue Jays nip Phils in 10th

Stroman
Marcus Stroman works in the ninth inning Tuesday in Philly. (AP Photo)

 

By Mike Harrington

It looks like the Blue Jays will initially keep Marcus Stroman in the bullpen (think David Price, '08 Rays), and that's no problem for the former Bisons ace. After all, he's in the big leagues at 23 after pitching just five games in Triple-A with the Herd.

The iffy back end of the rotation (think Dustin McGowan and J.A. Happ) did fine this time through so there's no reason for the Jays to rush Stroman into the mix just yet. Let him get his feet wet in the pen -- but he's not getting mop-up duty.

Stroman came into a 5-5 game Tuesday night in Philadelphia -- and needed to get the final out of the ninth with the winning run at third -- before the Jays pulled out a 6-5 victory in the 10th on Juan Francisco's sacrifice fly. That gave Stroman his first big-league win in just his second appearance.

"My heart was pounding. Can’t describe it, but I was definitely amped up," said Stroman, whose father was at the game and who earned a post-game beer shower from teammates.

Newsday has this report on the Long Island native's win, including an interview with his mother.

Late-night craziness: Girardi's huge tirade, lots of extra innings, lots of rain in DC

By Mike Harrington

If you wanted to catch all the doings in baseball Monday night, it meant you had to hang to nearly 2 a.m. Tuesday to see them. So here's a rundown of most of what went on while most of you were asleep:

---The Yankees lost in Anaheim, 4-1, as the Angels scored three runs in eighth on bases-loaded walks by Shawn Kelley. The Yankees had failed to score in the top of the eighth as they loaded the bases with no outs before Brett Gardner fanned and Derek Jeter -- who had two hits to snap an 0-for-14 slump -- The strike zone of plate umpire Laz Diaz was the big story, however, as manager Joe Girardi got tossed for arguing a pitch during the Gardner at-bat that was pretty much on the ground. Yikes.

You can click here to see the ejection of Girardi and his hat-throwing rage against Diaz. It's great stuff and well worth the chuckle (sorry, no embed code from MLB.com).

Here's Girardi's post-game presser, where he demonstrates how Diaz "gave me the Mutumbo", a finger-wag made popular by the former NBA star when blocking a shot.

Elsewhere:

---The Giants needed 5 hours, 29 minutes to pull out an 11-10 win in Pittsburgh in 13 innings. They've won six straight, nine out of 10 and have the third-best record in baseball at 21-11. And remember, the Giants are proving to be an even-year team. They won the World Series in 2010 and 2012 -- and did not make the playoffs in 2011 and 2013, finishing just 76-86 last year.

The Giants became the first MLB team since 1969 to sweep a series without a single hit with runners in scoring position when they posted wins over the weekend in Atlanta by scores of 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1. So what happens last night? The Giants went 8 for their first 12 in RISP at-bats.

---The Nationals and Dodgers sat through a 3-hour, 17-minute rain delay in the fourth inning (absurd in my view), restarted their game at 11:40 p.m. and the Nats finished off their 2-0 win. When it ended at 1:21 a.m, the Nats took over first place in the NL East from the skidding Braves.

--The White Sox needed 12 innings to take the opener of their four-game, two-ballpark set with the Cubs, 3-1. 

--It was just past 2 a.m. Eastern when the Padres wrapped up their 6-5, 12-inning win over the Royals. Jedd Gyorko tied it in the ninth with a home run off Royals closer Derek Holland, KC took the lead in the top of the 12th but Will Venable's two-run single in the bottom of the 12th won the 3-hour, 57-minute affair.

Durham pitcher Geltz, former UB star, suspended 50 games for failing drug test

Geltz
Durham pitcher Steve Geltz during his trip to Buffalo last June (Buffalo News file photo)

 

By Mike Harrington

Durham Bulls reliever Steve Geltz -- the former Wilson High and University at Buffalo star -- was hit with a 50-game suspension Monday night by The Office of the Commissioner after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

As per the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the suspension is without pay and is effective immediately. It's important to note the "drug of abuse" distinction, which notes the suspension is for substances that include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates. It is thus not a suspension for the use of performance enhancers.

Geltz, 26, is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings over 11 games for Durham, a Tampa Bay affiliate. He went 5-3 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA in 41 games last year as Durham won the International  League Governors' Cup championship.

Geltz pitched two games for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, making his debut on Aug. 16 and, oddly enough, it came against Tampa Bay.

Click here to read my column from last June on Geltz as he came to town with the Bulls. Durham is not scheduled to visit this year until July 10-13, and Geltz would be eligible to return in late June.

Go to the video: Kawasaki does Bisons' in-game interview

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons' broadcast team does an in-game interview during each home contest, and Ben Wagner and Duke McGuire usually talk strategy with manager Gary Allenson. During Sunday's series finale against Charlotte, they tried a different idea.

Brace yourself, Toronto. It was Munenori Kawasaki.

The Japanese infielder became a folk hero in Toronto -- and earned himself a couple appearances on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" -- with a post-game interview that went completely viral after his walkoff hit beat the Orioles last May. This one was simply epic.

So starting off with that reference to "I am Japaneeeeese", here's how Kawasaki's chat went Sunday. His English is improving for sure. Note the references to Buffalo's cold weather, coaching at first base, living in a hotel and sushi.

With hit streak at 16, Herd's Pillar named IL Batter of the Week

By Mike Harrington

Bisons outfielder Kevin Pillar, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games during Sunday's win over Charlotte, was named the International League Batter of the Week today. Pillar's streak is the longest current one in the league.

Pillar hit .444 for the week (12 for 27) with nine RBIs as the Bisons won their final six games of a 7-1 homestand to take over first place in the IL North Division. Among his highlights were a 4-for-4 game in last Monday's 17-5 thrashing of Louisville, scoring the only run in Friday's 1-0, 11-inning victory over Charlotte and lashing a two-run walkoff triple in the bottom of the ninth Saturday to beat the Knights, 6-5.

Pillar enters tonight's series opener at Gwinnett batting .275 with 15 RBIs. After opening the season in a 1-for-24 slump, he has batted .341 since -- and is batting .385 since April 17. Pillar is Buffalo's first IL batter honoree since Luis Jimenez took the honor April 15-21, 2013. 

The IL Pitcher of the Week is Columbus' Josh Tomlin, who tossed a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts Thursday at Durham. Tomlin, who pitched one game for the Bisons in 2008, is 2-1, 2.06 in five starts for Columbus this year but is expected to be promoted to Cleveland to make Tuesday's start against Minnesota. He went 12-7 for the Tribe in 2011.

Bisons pick up sixth straight win

by Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Bisons picked up their sixth straight win Sunday afternoon. With two runs in the eighth, the Herd defeated the Charlotte Knights, 5-3 at Coca-Cola Field.

Trailing, 3-2, the Herd tied the game in the sixth on an RBI single from Jared Goedert.

In the eighth, RBI singles from Darin Mastroianni and Ryan Goins came with two outs to give the Herd the lead.

Bobby Korecky shut the door in the ninth with a strike out and a strong defensive play from Goins.

The Bisons begin an eight-game road trip, kicking off a four-game series at Gwinnett Monday night.

Bisons say goodbye to Stroman, hello to winning streak

by Amy Moritz

While we were sleeping (okay, at least while I was sleeping) Marcus Stroman got his first big league promotion.

Stroman was on his way to Pittsburgh this morning to joining the much maligned bullpen of Toronto Blue Jays for today's game with the Pirates. It was only a matter of time before the 23-year old got his Major League break. He posted a 1.69 ERA with 36 strikeouts in five starts for the Herd.

His departure will certainly impact the Bisons, although the pitching has been pretty solid for the Herd as of late. The Bisons lead the International League with a 2.91 staff ERA.

The pitching has been a main reason why the Herd is on a five-game winning streak and winners of seven of their last eight games. At 16-10 Buffalo is alone in first place in the International League North Division.

Kyle Drabek gets the start for the Herd this afternoon as the team closes out its homestand with a 1:05 first pitch against the Charlotte Knights.

Drabek (2-2, 4.74 ERA) is coming off a win on Monday where he threw five innings of two-run baseball. He struck out a season-high six batters in the outing.

Offensively, Kevin Pillar's 15-game hit streak ins the longest active streak in the International League. Since April 17 he has averaged .383 with seven doubles and 12 triples. He has driven in 12 runs and scored 10.

Ryan Goins put up back-to-back multi-hit games and is averaging .375 in his four games with the Herd since being sent down from Toronto. 

Today's starting lineup for the Bisons:
Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Kevin Pillar -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Brett Carroll -- DH
Jack Murphy -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- SS

 

 

Bisons ace Stroman gets call from beleaguered Blue Jays

By Mike Harrington

It took an injury in the Toronto starting rotation and another blowup by the Blue Jays' bullpen but Bisons ace Marcus Stroman earned his first big-league callup to the Blue Jays late Saturday night.

Stroman had his contract purchased from Buffalo and will initially join the beleaguered Toronto bullpen after Blue Jays relievers gave up six runs over the seventh and eighth innings of an 8-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. Following Friday's 6-5 loss to the Pirates, Toronto closer Sergio Santos was bounced from that role after giving up two ninth-inning home runs.

Starter Brandon Morrow was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a a torn sheath in his hand Saturday and could miss the rest of the season. That prompted Stroman's recall.

John Lott of the National Post has this recap of Saturday night's game, featuring many interesting quotes from the clubhouse on the bullpen woes. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet offers his views with this column.

Stroman, who turned 23 on Thursday, was Toronto's No. 1 draft pick in 2012. He is 2-2 with a 1.69 ERA in five starts for the Bisons, with 36 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 2/3 innings. He threw six no-hit innings in his last start Tuesday against Louisville but was pulled due to an 80-pitch limit. 

Stroman will intially start in the bullpen, clearly piggy-backing Dustin McGowan's start Sunday in Pittsburgh and J.A. Happ's outing Monday in Philadelphia. Then we'll see if the Blue Jays put him in the rotation next weekend at home against the Los Angeles Angels. That's what I told the Blue Jays they needed to do in my column Thursday.

Stroman was scheduled to be the starter in the Bisons' road trip opener Monday at Gwinnett, so we'll also have to see how the Herd moves forward with its rotation.

An avid social media user, here's what Stroman had to say late Saturday night.

Pillar's triple gives Bisons another walk-off win

by Amy Moritz

It was the second straight walk-off win for the Buffalo Bisons as a triple by Kevin Pillar scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win over the Charlotte Knights at a wet Coca-Cola Field Saturday afternoon.

It was an inauspicious start for Ricky Romero who gave up three straight hits, including an RBI double. After just one inning, Romero had already thrown 37 pitches, just 17 of them for strikes, and gave up two runs on four this with a pair of walks.

He went four innings, getting tagged for all five Charlotte runs while giving up eight hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

Trailing 3-0 in the second, the Herd got on the board and the offense opened up after a one-out single from Jared Goedert and a throwing error by Charlotte which put runners on first and third. Mike Nickeas had an RBI single and Munenori Kawasaki an RBI double to cut the lead to 3-2.

Two-out hits helped the Knights extend to 5-2 as Tyler Saladino had had an RBI double in the third and Dan Black an RBI single in the fourth.

The Herd rallied with two run sin the seventh. Darin Mastroianni singled and scored on a triple by Ryan Goins. Goins then scored on a two-out single from Dan Johnson.

In the ninth, Mastroianni led off with a single and Goins followed that up with a perfect bunt down the third base line. That set up Pillar who drove the ball to the right field warning track.

Goins hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning Friday night to give the Herd the win.

The series concludes at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

Pitching staff outstanding for the Bisons

by Amy Moritz

It's been miserable baseball weather and the offense at times has had difficulty cracking the bats. But the Buffalo Bisons have their pitching staff. And that has made all the difference this homestand.

The Herd has won four straight games to sit a 15-10 -- five games over .500 for the first time this season. They sit in first place of the International League North Division, percentage points in front of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

And they have their pitching staff to thank for that.

In the first six games of this homestand, Bisons starters are 4-0 with a 0.76 earned run average. They have collectively struck out 32 and allowed just 19 hits in 33 1/3 innings of work.

Ricky Romero looks to continue that trend this afternoon as the Herd hosts Charlotte at 1:05 p.m. (Radio 1520).

Romero is still looking for his first decision of the season while making his fifth start. He has a 3.60 ERA and has been outstanding at home, giving up just one run on four hits in 11 innings of work in two games at Coca-Cola Field.

Meanwhile Kevin Pillar is on a 14-game hitting streak, the second longest in the IL behind a 15-game streak by Rochester's Chris Parmelee. The streak is the longest for a Bisons player since outfielder Vinny Rottino hit in 20 straight in 2010.

Today's starting lineup for the Herd:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Kevin Pillar -- LF
Dan Johnson -- DH
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Jared Goedert -- 1B
Jonathan Diaz -- 2B
Mike Nickeas -- C
Munenori Kawasaki -- 3B

 

More roster news plus notes and lineups for the Bisons fridaynightbash!

by Amy Moritz

Friday afternoon included more roster moves for the Buffalo Bisons. I know. Set your face stunned. 

The Toronto Blue Jays recalled catcher Erik Kratz, who leaves the Herd on a four-game hitting streak. Catcher Jack Murphy returns to the Herd. He was on the Bisons' Opening Day Roster and made three starts before being transferred to Double-A New Hampshire.

Also back to the Herd is Chad Jenkins who was optioned by the Jays. The right-handed pitcher started the season in Buffalo and was promoted to Toronto on April 25 where had appeared in one game, giving up three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Other notes for tonight's 7:05 fridaynightbash! as the Herd hosts the Charlotte Knights:

  • Sean Nolin starts for Buffalo. He has allowed four hits over his last two starts.
  • Kevin Pillar's 13-game hit streak is tied for the second longest active streak in the International League, trailing a 14-game streak by Rochester's Chris Parmelee.
  • Bobby Korecky is the only pitcher in affiliated baseball that has league qualification who has yet to give up a run in 2014. The reliever has thrown 20 innings of scoreless baseball with 19 strikeouts.
  • Speaking of pitching, the Bisons' staff as a team ERA of 2.97, the best in the league.

Tonight's Bison's lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- LF
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Kevin Pillar -- CF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Ryan Schimpf -- DH
Ryan Goins -- SS
Mike Nickeas -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- 2B

Hendriks has plenty of control

by Amy Moritz

With all the (rightful) talk about Buffalo Bisons starting pitcher Marcus Stroman let's not forget Liam Hendriks.

The righty is 3-0 with a 1.25 earned run average and gets the start for the Herd tonight as they open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights at Coca-Cola Field (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520).

No pitcher in affiliated baseball has thrown more innings in 2014 without a walk then Hendriks. In 21 2/3 innings pitched he has yet to issue a free pass. He has 21 strikeouts and had given up four runs (three earned) on 14 hits over that span.

Kevin Pillar is still working his hitting streak which has stretched to 12 games -- tied for the second longest in the International League. Since April 17 he has averaged .391 with six doubles, seven runs batted in and nine runs scored.

Pillar is batting third tonight. The complete Bisons' lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Jared Goedert -- DH
Kevin Pillar -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Ryan Schimpf -- 3B
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Erik Kratz -- C
Munenori Kawasaki -- SS

A look back at a good April for Bisons as May opens with (naturally) roster moves

By Mike Harrington

After Wednesday's International League off day, the Bisons started May with some player moves today as the Toronto Blue Jays called up outfielder Anthony Gose and infielder Steve Tolleson from the Herd. The Jays then returned infielder Jonathan Diaz to Buffalo and designated Moises Sierra for assignment, with hopes the outfielder could clear waivers and return to the Herd.

The Blue Jays appear to have given up on Sierra for now after he batted just .059 in limited duty. Tolleson, batting .236 for the Bisons,  provides added depth for interleague play coming up in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. 

The Bisons open a four-game series against Charlotte  tonight at 7 in Coca-Cola Field. They are 13-10 and one game out of first place in the International League North. 

Here's where the Bisons stand out of the 14 IL teams through the first month:

BATTING
Average: .246 (8th)
Runs:  108 (6th)
Runs/game: 4.7 (5th)
Home runs: 11 (12th)
Steals: 24 (3rd)
Steal percentage: .774 (24-31-4th)
OBP: .337 (6th)
Slugging: .354 (9th)
Strikeouts: 164 (12th)
Walks: 103 (3rd)
OPS: .691 (8th)

PITCHING
ERA: 3.06 (1st)
Strikeouts: 190 (10th)
Walks: 91 (8th)
Hits: 187 (12th)
Home Runs: 14 (9th)
Saves: 8 (3rd)

Herd wraps up four-game set with Bats

By Rodney McKissic

Rain threatened to put a damper on tonight's Bisons-Louisville game but it looks like the contest will be played as scheduled. It was pivitol to play the game - the finale of a four-game set - because this is the last time the Bats will be at Coca-Cola Field this season.

Here is the Bisons lineup for tonight's game:

Anthony Gose, CF
Darin Mastroianni, RF
Kevin Pillar, LF
Dan Johnson, DH
Matt Tuiasosopo, 1B
Ryan Goins, 2B
Jared Goedert, 3B
Steve Tolleson, SS
Erik Kratz, C

 

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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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