Home | Webstore
Latest News: OOTP Update 20.6 - OOTP 20 Available - FHM 5 Available

  

Go Back   OOTP Developments Forums > Out of the Park Baseball 20 > OOTP Dynasty Reports

OOTP Dynasty Reports Tell us about the OOTP dynasties you have built!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-06-2019, 03:33 PM   #2721
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Back home again, and with just enough energy to angrily shake the fist and yell at the Critters if they continue to not being able to pull at least four runs out of their arse …!

+++

Raccoons (52-40) @ Crusaders (51-42) – July 17-19, 2028

“Crucial” was maybe not strong enough as a word when it came to this series starting on Monday. The Crusaders were eighth in runs scored, third in runs allowed, but trended upwards, while the Coons… not so much. They were 8-5 in July, while we were 5-9 while playing mostly the Loggers. If there was something to cling onto, it was our 7-2 record against them this season…

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (6-3, 4.30 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (9-6, 3.56 ERA)
Rin Nomura (8-5, 3.02 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (10-3, 2.17 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-4, 2.43 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (10-8, 4.10 ERA)

All righties here as far as New York was concerned.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Allan – P K. Anderson
NYC: 1B Espinosa – 3B Schmit – CF Hatley – RF I. Vega – C F. Delgado – LF Olszewski – SS Cameron – 2B S. Valdez – P Marron

Neither pitcher looked sharp but the lineups looked worse in the first few innings in New York. The Crusaders poked Anderson for three singles, a walk, and a run in the bottom 1st, then consigned themselves to hitting further offerings into the teeth of the defense (albeit usually hard), while the Raccoons barely managed to scratch out the tying run in the third, Correa singling home Ramos. The sixth saw a 1-out walk offered to Rafael Gomez, who stole second, then made it to third on an infield single by Harenberg. Tovias did his best to hit into a double play, but the Crusaders couldn’t turn it further than a 4-6 play, allowing Gomez to score and Portland to take the lead.

Anderson made it six and two thirds, but could not extricate himself from nailing Felipe Delgado to begin the bottom 7th. With two outs, Delgado was on second and left-handed batter Nelson Ayala pinch-hit for Sergio Valdez. The Coons sent Kearney, who yielded an infield single before being removed for Ricky Ohl against PH Ryan Anderson. Ohl rung him up, and the Coons squeezed through into the eighth, where the battery of Billy Brotman and Elias Tovias stupidly blew the lead on catcher’s interference when Brotman appeared to have Andy Schmit rung up for the second out, then an Ivan Vega single and TWO 2-out walks… Joe Cameron grounded out to strand three in the 2-2 tie. For this “effort”, Brotman got the W in the nail-biter. The Coons got Tovias on with a leadoff single in the ninth, then ran Spencer in his place. Spencer made it to second as Ryan Allan grounded out, then scored on Danny Morales’ pinch-hit single, which ultimately proved enough of a difference in the game. 3-2 Coons. Harenberg 3-4, 2B; Morales (PH) 1-1, RBI; Anderson 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Allan – P Nomura
NYC: RF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – CF Hatley – SS Cameron – LF Olszewski – 1B Espinosa – 2B B. Torres – P Rutkowski

Bobby Torres lasted two batters before suffering some sort of core injury shagging a Tim Stalker liner and was replaced by Sergio Valdez. For consolation, the Crusaders got a leadoff jack from Ivan Vega in the bottom 1st before hitting into double plays in each of the first three innings. Hereford hit into a double play in the fourth as the Coons offense once more was missing in action. Nomura left the game after a leadoff single by Juan Espinosa in the bottom 5th owing to a tender hammy, and from there on the Coons hardly had hope to pull out a win anymore, having to go to Jonathan Fleischer, but the oft-beleaguered long man got a double play from Valdez and whiffed Rutkowski to keep the team just a tiny run away. The Critters failed to do anything with Ramos on to lead off the sixth, but then put Gomez and Harenberg on the corners with a pair of singles in the seventh, and nobody out. Tovias’ sac fly, sadly, was all we got, tying the game at one at least. Ramos didn’t reach to start the eighth, but Stalker was nailed by Rutkowski. Correa flew out, but Hereford singled, and then Gomez also put a ball through the left side. The Crusaders went on to fumble that one on the throw back in, the error belonging to everybody and nobody, but it did score Stalker from second to put Portland in front, 2-1. The runners advanced, prompting four wide ones to Harenberg, but Tovias struck out, Rutkowski’s seventh and final victim.

Boles was not available and no insurance run came about, which was something the Coons already anticipated. Kearney had gotten three outs in the seventh, got two more in the eighth, then was replaced with the rest of the battery in a double switch. Ohl got out of the eighth, and then had to face the top of the order in the ninth to nail down this game. He walked Vega before hanging a golden sombrero on Schmit. A Felipe Delgado single upped the pressure, but Ohl prevailed, whiffing up Nick Hatley and Joe Cameron on his way to an EXTREMELY important 4-out save. 2-1 Furballs! Gomez 2-4, RBI; Harenberg 2-3, BB, 2B; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; Kearney 1.2 iP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, W (1-2); Ohl 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, SV (5);

This put the Elks in second place. They were three games back after having been idle on Monday.

Rin Nomura’s hamstring was not THAT bad. He *might* miss a start, but the Druid could not tell right now. The sky was cloudy and obscured the stars he needed for precise diagnostics.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – CF Magallanes – P Gutierrez
NYC: RF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – CF Hatley – 2B Jewell – SS Cameron – LF Olszewski – C R. Anderson – 1B N. Ayala – P Moffatt

Three singles to begin their game allowed only one run for the Crusaders in the first, but yet again Portland had to play this one from behind. They had once more nothing the first time through, then wasted Ramos on third base in the third inning. A throwing error by Tim Stalker also put two Crusaders into scoring position in the bottom 3rd, but Ryan Anderson popped out to strand them, too. Through six, Moffatt allowed only two hits and rung up six against a hopelessly clueless lineup that probably needed another hit batter and two or three errors to get going. Nothing happened in the seventh, Rico retired after six and two thirds on the hook, and I had accepted our fate when Juan Magallanes – out of the deepest blue – took Moffatt yard to lead off the eighth. But that one only tied the game… and they still couldn’t get any sort of offense together. Kevin Surginer pitched the eighth and ninth to extend the game to extras, where the middle of the order grounded out feebly three times. Billy Brotman took over, allowed a leadoff double to Schmit in the tenth, failed to ring up Hatley in an 0-2 count, the groundout advanced the runner, and then a Sergio Valdez fly to right ended the game, Gomez having to make the catch too deep to have a chance at the plate. 2-1 Crusaders. Gutierrez 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

I think I will have to go back and randomly threaten to kill certain players. Or random ones! That always puts them into third gear for a half-week or so…

Raccoons (54-41) @ Bayhawks (41-53) – July 21-23, 2028

The Coons had been swept in their first series with San Fran on the season, which was not entirely unfathomable despite them sitting 18 games out in the South. Their run differential was only -4 with an active offense and porous pitching, and they were several games under their deserved record. With the way things were going especially against “weak” teams, the Coons probably had to brace for impact, especially at the Bay, which had never been very fertile ground for the Critters.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (10-3, 2.85 ERA) vs. Guillermo Regalado (7-5, 3.70 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (6-3, 3.99 ERA) vs. Sergio Arendondo (5-7, 4.34 ERA)
Rin Nomura (8-5, 3.00 ERA) vs. Gilberto Rendon (8-3, 4.89 ERA)

As threatened, the Coons skipped George James and went right to Mark Roberts, while the Bayhawks had nothing to send up but right-handers. At the same time, Rin Nomura (that ol’ hamstring) was questionable on Sunday, so it was not impossible that James would be reinserted into the series at that point…

San Francisco had also traded for Vegas’ corner infielder Eddie Moreno and cash during the week, parting with two second-rate prospects.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Allan – P Roberts
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C J. Ramirez – 2B Pulido – 3B Hawkins – P Regalado

The Coons scored two in the opening frame, which Ramos inaugurated with a double into the corner, then came home on Jon Correa’s single. Regalado walked them full before giving up an RBI single to Harenberg, but after that Tovias hit reliably into a 6-4-3 double play. Correa popped Ramos from second base a second time in the second inning, then with two outs and as the last of three Critters at the top of the order to drop in a single, running the score to 3-0. Correa was back at the plate in the fourth inning, then with one out, but would not plate Ramos … who had struck out. Instead he plated Mark Roberts and his leadoff single with a groundout. Tim Stalker (double) was still on base and tripled home by Rich Hereford for a 5-0 edge.

At this point Roberts could coast, theoretically, but still needed 70 pitches through five innings of 3-hit ball. Wastefulness would not get better; the bottom 6th began with a Mike Martin single, then straight walks to Tomas Caraballo and Cesar Martinez to load the bases. Ruben Orozco poked at a 3-0 pitch and flew out to Gomez in shallow right, which under my regime would be reason enough for a court martial, and no bedtime story for a month. Roberts came as close to still imploding as possible, without actually doing so. Both Jose Ramirez and Jose Pulido would hit sharp liners. Both hit them at outfielders and made outs, and only Ramirez’ brought in a run on the sac fly, leaving Portland still up by a slam through six. Roberts only lasted one additional out before walking PH Eddie Moreno in the bottom 7th. Surginer bailed him out, throwing only three pitches to get a double play from George Hawthorne, then partook in offensive operations by bunting Ryan Allan to second base after Armando Pena’s leadoff walk in the top 8th. Ramos was walked intentionally, they pulled off a double steal, and the Baybirds sunk into the quagmire on a particularly bad throwing error by Tomas Caraballo that plated the runners and put Stalker on second base. Hereford would get him in. This put the Coons into an 8-1 game and cried out for getting outs from Nick Derks, which had worked not so well in the past. Within six pitches, Baybirds were on the corners with nobody out thanks to Martin and Caraballo singles, and just when an actual pitcher was about to get into the game in Derks’ stead, he spooled off three strikeouts. Further supported by a Ramos-provided RBI in the ninth, Derks ended the game without actually coming apart this time. 9-1 Coons! Ramos 3-4, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-6, 2B; Correa 3-5, 3 RBI; Harenberg 3-5, 2B, RBI; Spencer 1-1; Derks 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Anderson
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – 2B W. White – 3B Hawkins – C Jai. Jackson – P Aredondo

24 hours later, the Coons’ best scoring opportunity in the first five innings came when Aredondo threw away a Magallanes grounder to present Kyle Anderson with Tovias and the centerfielder in scoring position and two outs. Anderson struck out, ending the top 2nd, and that was largely it for Portland. The Bayhawks did no fare much better with their batters, but eventually got Jaiden Jackson to run into one in the fifth, a solo homer to right that put something, anything on the scoreboard. Anderson came apart in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out before balking home a run. Wade White then singled to center, plating the team’s third run, while Orozco was thrown out at home plate. That would not be the last time that happened to Orozco in this game …! Kearney was pitching in the bottom 8th with Orozco on second, Pulido on first, and one out when Tom Hawkins singled to center. Magallanes fired home again, and killed Orozco AGAIN. Then Jaiden Jackson hit an RBI single to right… The Coons had scored on a solo shot by Tovias in the top 7th, but weren’t going to dig this one out anymore unless a major shift of the tectonic plates underneath the ballpark. In some way, this occurred in the ninth. Down 4-1 and facing righty Alex Ramos, Harenberg led off with a single before Tovias rolled a ball near the first base line. Caraballo hustled in, then searched for Ramos at first base, which ended no better than his terrible throw late on Friday. The 2-base error put Coons in scoring position and the tying run at the plate with nobody out. Morales hit for Magallanes, one run scored on a wild pitch, and the other on Morales’ groundout, but the tying run was still at the plate. Gerster struck out, and Ramos hit the other Ramos with an 0-2 pitch. As Spencer batted for Kearney in the #2 hole, Alberto Ramos swiped second base away from the Bayhawks and was a single away from tying it up, but Spencer flew out to Hawthorne on the next pitch. 4-3 Bayhawks. Harenberg 2-4; Tovias 2-4, HR, RBI; Gerster (PH) 1-2;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – C Leal – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – 2B Spencer – CF Allan – P Nomura
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C J. Ramirez – 2B W. White – 3B Hawkins – P Rendon

Nomura stoically declared himself ready to pitch on Sunday. The Druid shrugged. Whatever was going to come out of that, Jon Correa continued to hurt his old team with a 2-run homer in the opening frame, cashing in on Ramos, who had drawn a 4-pitch walk from former Coons farmhand Gilberto Rendon at the top of the contest. His pitching sure didn’t look dominant in the early going. Orozco singled in the second, almost followed by a Jose Ramirez-authored score-knotter that a hustling Correa caught an arm’s length from the fence in deep left. Nomura would continue to flirt with disaster in the third (Hawkins leadoff single) and fourth (Martinez double), but was also helped out by strong defense, especially from Harenberg. Meanwhile, the Coons had disappeared into dreamy dreamland after the first-inning tally and were sitting on only two base hits through six innings, a total only abetted in the top of the seventh with Kevin Harenberg launched a 420-footer to right-center to up the score to 3-0, three hits a side. Nomura went on to yield sharp singles to the left-handed batters Orozco and White in the bottom 7th, but also got a double play in between to escape untouched once more. Things brightened up even more in the eighth, with Leal and Correa reaching base ahead of a Rendon-sinking gapper for a 2-out, 2-run triple by Rafael Gomez, who otherwise hadn’t been known for clutch RBI hits in a while… Right-hander Mike Bass got Harenberg to fly out, and while theoretically Rin Nomura now still had a shot at a shutout, entering the eighth on 89 pitches, Pulido’s pinch-hit leadoff single to left didn’t get him much closer. Getting a double play from Hawthorne hit right to Ramos did, though! Martin grounded out, and Nomura was at 100 pitches through eight and sent out for the ninth inning, although that entailed watching him bunt into a double play in the top 9th. The Coons still scratched out two add-on runs thanks to singles by Spencer, Morales, Ramos, and Leal, all off lefty Steve Schwellenbach, but the individual shutout never materialized. Nomura put two on and got only one out, leaving Ricky Ohl to wipe up Jose Ramirez (K) and Wade White (F5). 7-0 Coons. Leal 2-5, RBI; Correa 2-5, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, HR, 2B, RBI; Morales (PH) 1-1; Nomura 8.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (9-5);

In other news

July 17 – CIN SP Josh Irwin (5-9, 4.99 ERA) might miss a month with a herniated disc.
July 19 – The Gold Sox send SP Ernesto Lujan (7-9 ,4.09 ERA) to the Buffaloes for two prospects.
July 20 – DEN CF/LF Abel Madsen (.298, 20 HR, 59 RBI) is out for a month with a knee sprain.
July 22 – Tijuana backstop Danny Zarate (.254, 2 HR, 34 RBI) will be out for a month after tearing his meniscus.
July 23 – MIL OF Willie Trevino (.227, 8 HR, 39 RBI) hits a maximum-effect walkoff grand slam off LVA CL Franklin Alvarado (4-8, 6.00 ERA, 19 SV), making up a three-run deficit with two outs to turn the Loggers into 5-4 winners.
July 23 – Six different Falcons hit six home runs against the Canadiens, yet Charlotte still goes down to defeat in Vancouver, 11-8, after a 5-run Canadiens rally in the eighth inning.

Complaints and stuff

As far as surprises go, Kevin Harenberg won CL Player of the Week honors. He went .542 (13-for-24) with 1 HR and 2 RBI this week. Bigger impacts have been made, but at least he got the average up to .257 and the OPS+ in the vague vicinity of 100. What a tall order for an adorned slugger…

Alberto Ramos sits fourth with 21 stolen bases, but the CL crown might be out of reach. While third place holds Elk Alex Torres with 22 bags, the leaders are quite far away. IND Mario Pizano took 35 bags, and TIJ Joel Denzler has 30. It is still far from shabby when you factor in that Ramos missed a staggering 61 of the team’s 98 games, when between themselves, the top 3 combined missed only *11* games.

We are the only division leader not at 60 wins and a .600 average.

Mark Roberts has a valid triple crown case to make. He leads the CL in strikeouts by 11 over Doug Moffatt. He ties with several pitchers (all in the South) for the lead in terms of wins. His ERA at 2.79 needs further work. He ranks only eighth amongst qualifying pitchers in the CL, trailing among others Rico Gutierrez, but the season is still long and terrible things can happen to multiple pitchers. On the other hand, Rico (0.99) still has a better WHIP than Roberts (1.01). Those two are the top two in the category in the CL. Only Jim Shannon is under 1.1, and he was traded to Cincy a while back…

As we are on the leaderboards… while he has slowed down, Rich Hereford still leads the ABL in RBI with 76. That is nine more than the next-closest CL chaser (Kevin McGrath of the Condors), but also six more than the FL leader, Warrior Jeff Wadley with 70.

Next week: Condors, Knights, the top 2 in the South. We are a combined 4-5 against them this season, just as we are a combined sub-.500 against teams not in our division this year. It is true; our +14 W-L record came wholly (+15) from games against teams in our division, and then primarily in games against the Crusaders (9-3) and the damn Elks (8-3). I have always preached that those games count double, and the 2028 Coons are the living embodiment of that truth …!

Fun Fact: The Falcons are the only CL South team the Raccoons have never met in the CLCS.

But we did play the Condors once, in 1993. We won the CLCS in six games before squeezing out our second set of rings against the Capitals in the full seven games in the World Series.

Back then we had no clue that it would be the last Raccoons championship for over three decades…
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
pgjocki (02-06-2019)
Old 02-08-2019, 01:02 PM   #2722
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (56-42) vs. Condors (62-37) – July 24-26, 2028

The Condors not only led the South, but also had a the best record in baseball, which was some stark contrast to 2027, which if you remember failed to see the CL South send out a single above-.500 team for the postseason. The Condors scored the most runs, 5.2 counters per game, and were also surrendering the fewest runs, making them a serious contender. Their run differential was +157, which dwarved the Raccoons’ own of +41. There was not really a comparison between those teams… Tijuana led the season series, 2-1.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (8-4, 2.36 ERA) vs. George Griffin (7-6, 4.07 ERA)
George James (6-8, 4.89 ERA) vs. Joe Perry (11-3, 3.15 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-3, 2.79 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (4-3, 3.55 ERA)

Teams would send out opposite-handed starters for every game in the series, with the Raccoons facing two right-handers sandwiching a lefty in the middle game on Tuesday.

Game 1
TIJ: CF Murphy – C Teague – SS Showalter – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – LF Denzler – P Griffin
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Gutierrez

Chris Murphy hit a jack to open the game, which was such a great way to start a fresh week, just when Maud had almost managed to make me drink a coffee without any sort of shot in it for the first time since the President Bush administration (the very first one, not his son or the other one). The Coons put Hereford and Gomez on base with singles in the second before Tovias and Magallanes sucked the air out of the inning with a foul pop and a roller to first, respectively, but we did manage to tie it up in the following frame on a pair of doubles by Ramos and Correa. Not that this would put Rico in a better place; he shed six hits through four innings, including three singles in the fourth to load the bases with one out. Luckily, just there he arrived at George Griffin, got a K, and then exited the inning when Murphy flew out easily to Jon Correa.

Rico Gutierrez lasted six and a third before leaving on 111 pitches and without getting a decision. Neither did Griffin, who also didn’t last a full seven innings, but still didn’t yield another inch to the Critters, for whom Ricky Ohl and Jeff Kearney continued to hold the fort in the seventh and eighth before the tie was broken in the Coons’ favor in the bottom 8th when Jon Correa hit a solo shot to leftfield off southpaw Lisuarte Paradela. A Danny Morales walk in the previous inning aside, that was also all the Critters could coax from the Condors pen. Josh Boles got the ninth, starting with Joel Denzler in the #8 hole. Denzler grounded out the 2-3 way, Eric Little flew out to Correa (by then in rightfield after some shifting), and Ramos handled Murphy’s grounder to have the game end with him. 2-1 Coons. Ramos 2-4, 2B; Correa 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Gomez 2-3; Gutierrez 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K;

Yeah, it is really Rico’s fault. How dare he allow a run…? It was his third straight game in which he allowed but a single run, and still could not get his team to give him a win. He actually hadn’t won a game since June 29 against the Elks, and it really wasn’t his fault one teeny bit.

Game 2
TIJ: CF Murphy – LF Denzler – 3B Sanks – RF O. Larios – SS Showalter – C Teague – 1B Chaplin – 2B Bross – P Perry
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Correa – 3B Hereford – LF Morales – RF Gomez – C Leal – CF Magallanes – P James

Two quick runs put the Coons in a lead after the first inning. Ramos and Stalker hit singles, Ramos came home on a wild pitch, and Stalker was brought around eventually on a Danny Morales groundout. Unfortunately, right from the start, George James was being chased by a steamroller and hardly managed to gain any ground. Andrew Showalter hit a leadoff jack in the second to cut the lead in half, and he would also issue walks to Mike Chaplin, Dave Bross, and Chris Murphy in the same inning, escaping barely alive when Joel Denzler grounded out to Stalker to end the frame. That was already four walks after two innings, and he added two more to Shane Sanks and Omar Larios as the top 3rd began. Showalter ran a 3-1 count before singling, and now it was three on and nobody out. Jayden Teague emptied the bases with a double, putting the Condors up 4-2, and there was no real hope that George James would become a useful pitcher either right now or in the near future anymore. Somehow he would not allow another run in being dragged through five innings with five hits and seven walks charged against him eventually, but he was still on a 4-3 hook when he was pinch-hit for with Spencer to begin the bottom 5th. In between, Rich Hereford had singled home Ramos in the third inning. The lucky bastard got even taken off the hook in the inning when Spencer doubled to right, moved up on Ramos’ single, and ended up scoring on Jon Correa’s sac fly to center, with the game level at four after five innings.

It didn’t stay tied for long. Jeff Kearney got picked apart for a run in the top of the sixth by the top of the order, and the Raccoons struggled to mount any sort of response. Fleischer struck out every batter he faced in a 4-man outing, but that didn’t generate offense either, and then the ninth saw Nick Derks cough up a leadoff single to Tom Fitzsimmons, after which Billy Brotman came on and allowed a single to Bobby Marshall before misfielding Adam Braun’s bunt to load them up with nobody out. Dave Bross hit a sac fly, 6-4, before Eric Little pinch-hit and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. But the Coons carted up the bottom of the order in the ninth against Pat Selby and his 2.45 ERA, although Armando Leal’s leadoff double to right gave them a fighting chance. Tovias batted for Magallanes and grounded out, Harenberg batted for Brotman and lined out to Fitzsimmons, and then Ramos went down on strikes altogether. 6-4 Condors. Ramos 3-5; Spencer (PH) 1-1, 2B; Fleischer 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

The owner was in for the rubber game, which could only mean good things…

Game 3
TIJ: CF Murphy – C Teague – SS Showalter – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – LF Denzler – P Potter
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Allan – P Roberts

Hereford drove in Stalker for a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Shane Sanks’ leadoff jack negated that early perk right away in the second inning. The Condors were making more contact off Roberts than I could find entertaining, but things could still get way worse. First it did for Fitzsimmons, who looked like a poor fielder twice to begin the bottom 2nd, having a wicked bouncer by Rafael Gomez go over his glove after it hit the edge of the infield dirt, and then he blatantly missed Tovias’ roller for another single. The Coons then sent up Ryan Allan, one of their two chronically inept centerfielders on employ. Since being called up again on July 13, Allan had batted 0-for-17. That he still got at-bats said something about Yeshiva Rambam alumnus Juan Magallanes and made us long for Abel Mora to heal speedily. The Coons, nothing if not shrewd, had ALLAN bunt to get Roberts to bat with runners in scoring position and one out. The bunt worked, but Roberts struck out and Ramos grounded out to Fitzsimmons, who finally handled a ball correctly to end the inning. The first two were on again in the bottom 3rd; Stalker singled, Correa walked, but we would not bunt with Rich Hereford, the ABL leader in RBI with 78. He struck out, Harenberg walked in a full count, and then took out Fitzsimmons to break up the double play Rafael Gomez was about to hit into, allowing Stalker to score and Portland to take a 2-1 lead. Tovias flew out to center to strand a pair here, and did the same to strand another pair in the fifth inning to continue his extended run of uselessness.

Roberts kept being held together by some slick defense in the infield and outfield. In fact, the defense was so notoriously mean to the Condors that Roberts did not pitch out of the stretch even ONCE through seven innings. The Condors had that Sanks homer … and NOTHING else. Meanwhile the Coons had Elias Tovias batting with two on (Hereford, Gomez) and two out for the third consecutive time in the bottom 7th. Hereford was Potter’s man, but Paradela had already walked Gomez. Tovias ame, saw, and walked, at which point Danny Morales OBVIOUSLY batted for Allan. 0-1 pitch, grounder to left, PAST Showalter – and two runs scored! Roberts batted and flew out to center, then conceded a run in the eighth after Adam Braun’s leadoff double finally got him out of the windup. Bobby Marshall pinch-hit and singled with two outs to get the run across, but the Coons still had a 2-run edge and Murphy struck out to end the top 8th, and entered the ninth with a 3-run edge after Alberto Ramos slapped Bobby Thompson for a leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth inning! Josh Boles was a strike away from whiffing the side when Shane Sanks hit a 2-strike, 2-out single to right. McGrath singled to left, but Adam Braun popped out to end the game just before it could get truly ugly. 5-2 Coons! Ramos 1-3, 2 BB, HR, RBI; Stalker 2-5; Hereford 3-5, RBI; Gomez 1-2, 2 BB, RBI; Morales (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; Roberts 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, W (12-3);

The series win saw the Coons maintain a 4-game gap over the Crusaders, while the Elks stumbled over the Knights, got swept, and fell to 5 1/2 out.

Raccoons (58-43) vs. Knights (62-37) – July 24-26, 2028

The Knights, fresh off their sweep of the Elks, tried to get a last scratch at the eloping Condors, whom they trailed by 8 1/2 games at this point. The week had started well for them with their three wins and the Coons holding Tijuana to one, but now they had to come through against the same Coons, against whom they had so far tied the season series, 3-3. Atlanta sat third in runs scored and runs allowed, but even then their +70 run differential significantly outpaced the North-leading Raccoons.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (6-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. Tim Wells (11-6, 2.86 ERA)
Rin Nomura (9-5, 2.82 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (6-12, 3.58 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-4, 2.31 ERA) vs. Mike Cockcroft (4-9, 5.01 ERA)

Probably two lefties to begin this weekend set, although it is hard to tell without actually listening in on the Knights’ clubhouse conversations. The Knights’ rotation was a bit in a state of flux right now because of a trade this week that had send SP Estevan Delgado (7-7, 3.23 ERA) to the Elks for a prospect, #68 SP Jon Bleich, and a season-ending injury befalling his ostensible replacement Yoo-chul Kim (0-0, 3.60 ERA) who you may remember as being still on the Coons’ books in the aftermath of the Billy Ramm trade with the Loggers. We had released him after he passed waivers on Opening Day, and he had not signed with the Knights until earlier in the month and had only pitched five innings before going down.

By Friday, the Raccoons made two roster changes. George James (6-8, 4.99 ERA) and Butch Gerster (.325, 2 HR, 10 RBI) were sent to St. Petersburg, while we recalled Dan Delgadillo (2-4, 6.30 ERA) and Matt Nunley. The latter had amounted to only a single at-bat, an out, before breaking his leg on Opening Day, but had terrorized AAA pitching as a 37-year-old on rehab and we were keen to see whether any flame remained at the major league level.

Game 1
ATL: LF W. Lopez – 3B R. Miller – 1B Tadlock – 2B J. Johnson – CF Jennings – C T. Perez – RF Kym – SS Greene – P Wells
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Correa – 3B Hereford – LF Morales – RF Gomez – C Leal – CF Magallanes – P Anderson

While Anderson out of the gate struggled with command, the Coons still made it to the scoreboard first in the second inning. Morales led off with a single, Gomez doubled, and Leal singled over the head of Rich Miller for the first marker on the board. Magallanes also hit an RBI single (!), and Anderson moved over the runners, albeit with a groundout after falling to two strikes bunting in vein. Ramos hit a sac fly, 3-0, but Magallanes was thrown out at home to end the inning on Tim Stalker’s bloop single. The Knights went to work on Anderson right away; Tim Wells hit a leadoff single in the third, Willie Lopez doubled, and then a foul pop by Miller and Ron Tadlock whiffing out but a bit of a wrench into the gears, but Anderson still lost John Johnson on balls, his third walk in the game. Bases loaded, two outs for left-handed batter Billy Jennings, batting .375 in limited action (48 AB) – he flew out to Magallanes. He would fly out to Magallanes again in the fifth inning, stranding Tadlock and Johnson in scoring position, but by then the Knights were actually on the board, Johnson having dropped in an RBI single to score Rich Miller in a mild 2-out rally that shortened the lead to 3-1.

Anderson would not get old in this game, but was allowed to bat and ground out to short in the bottom 5th, then got through the sixth despite a Chun-yeong Kym single when Wells came up with two outs and popped out over the infield. He struck out Lopez to begin the seventh, but then lost Miller for his fifth walk and was removed in favor of Kevin Surginer, who secured outs from Tadlock and Johnson to end the inning with the 3-1 lead still intact. The Coons then went on to run Wells from the game in the bottom 7th. Magallanes opened with a single, Spencer singled for Surginer, Ramos hit an RBI double and just when Wells finally seemed ready for a break, Willie Lopez dropped a fly ball and the Coons started to run away. And just when they seemed to run away, Levi Snoeij entered, got a double play from Rich Hereford and got Morales to ground out, and the inning came to an end, now in a 6-1 game. But even Snoeij gave up a run in the seventh on a hit and a walk, but struck out Matt Nunley when the returnee pinch-hit for Kearney with two outs. Nunley then sat up camp at the hot corner for the ninth inning, Hereford taking a seat, but didn’t get a chance while Nick Derks turned away the Knights. 7-1 Furballs. Stalker 2-4, RBI; Gomez 1-2, 2 BB, 2B; Magallanes 3-4, RBI; Spencer (PH) 1-2, RBI;

Matt Nunley would then make a start the following day when the Knights decided to have righty Andy Jimenes (2-2, 4.47 ERA) take the ball. The 23-year-old “Dude” Jimenes had 13 appearances this season, six of them starts. He had not yet faced the Coons this season. And that U is as long as you can hold it.

Game 2
ATL: CF Collado – RF Jennings – 1B Tadlock – 2B J. Johnson – SS Greene – C T. Perez – 3B Moroyoqui – LF C. Mendoza – P Jimenes
POR: SS Ramos – C Leal – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – CF Magallanes – P Nomura

Duuuude got shackled for three runs in the third inning when he walked Ramos, allowed a single to Leal that sent Ramos to third base, and then yielded deep flies to Stalker for a sac fly, and then Hereford for a 2-piece that put Rich at 80 RBI on the year. Portland added a run in the following inning that was part leadoff walk to Matt Nunley, who was forced on Gomez’ grounder, but mostly Billy Jennings throwing away a challenge when Gomez made for third base on Magallanes’ single to right. The throw would have been late, and also went past Jesus Moroyoqui into foul ground for an error, but when Jimenes didn’t get Nomura out cleanly (Rin grounded out), the run was earned. Nomura in the meantime went about his craft with skill and precision. Through five, he had shed two singles to Jennings, a walk to Drew Greene, but had logged nothing but (mostly soft) outs otherwise. That changed in the sixth; Ray Collado hit a leadoff triple, and then Nomura threw a fastball into Jennings’ rips to put runners on the corners with nobody out. The bases somehow emptied on Ron Tadlock’s run-scoring groundout, but then Johnson hit a double to left. Greene lined out softly to Matt Nunley to end the inning, but what looked like a sure shutout at first was now a real ballgame again, and definitely no shutout anymore. Top 7th, Moroyoqui singled, Chris Mendoza got nailed, but Trent Herlihy hit into a double play. So far, all still well…! … I proclaimed as I clutched Honeypaws against my chest.

The Coons added a run in times of panic; Ramos singled off Snoeij to begin the bottom 7th, advanced on Leal’s groundout, then stole third base and eventually scored on Hereford’s double to make it 5-1. Not that it helped Nomura – Collado led off the eighth with a single, and then Jennings got drilled again. Both teams had enough of this; the Knights of getting nailed three innings in a row, and the Coons of all the runners…! Ricky Ohl came on with two on and nobody out, whiffed Tadlock, then got a grounder to second from Johnson that Stalker inexplicably fudged, wholly and completely. The error loaded the bases for Drew Greene, who had no homers in 122 attempts this year, struck out, but Tony Perez dropped a single into shallow center that counted for two. When Kym, a lefty swinger, pinch-hit at that point, the Coons sent Brotman, who got him on a grounder to end the miserable inning. No insurance came forth, and once again Boles was one whiff away from striking out the side in the ninth, but then lost Collado in a full count. That brought up Jennings, who had reached base four times, twice on singles, and twice on bruises. Boles ended his streak here, striking him out to secure this game. 5-3 Raccoons. Leal 2-4; Hereford 2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Magallanes 2-3, BB; Nomura 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, W (10-5);

Matt Nunley got his first hit of the season, a double that led nowhere nice in the middle innings. Meanwhile Hereford got to 81 RBI in the game, now nine ahead of *anybody* in the ABL. Jeff Wadley with 72 RBI was the closest opponent, and they were not really on our radar right now. If we faced the Warriors this season, it would be after the CLCS.

Our wins notwithstanding, the Crusaders kept hanging in there, while the Elks kept sliding towards .500;

Game 3
ATL: CF Collado – 3B R. Miller – 1B Tadlock – 2B J. Johnson – SS Greene – C T. Perez – RF G. Ramirez – LF W. Lopez – P Rosas
POR: SS Stalker – 2B Spencer – 1B Correa – 3B Hereford – LF Morales – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Gutierrez

Even when Elias Tovias finally made fat contact, evil Willie Lopez robbed him to end the second inning. That stranded Rich Hereford at third base after he had hit a leadoff single and had stolen second base earlier in the inning and kept the game scoreless into the fourth inning when Rico yielded a pair of singles to Miller and Tadlock to begin the inning, then a sac fly to John Johnson. There it was – the run that would again deny him. The Coons could not get in Rafael Gomez from third base with nobody out, courtesy of a throwing error by Tony Perez on Gomez’ stolen base attempt, when Tovias struck out, Magallanes popped out, and Gutierrez struck out to run out the fifth inning. The Coons got nothing together at all and Rosas carried a 2-hitter through seven while Rico still hoped to somehow live long enough to still witness the coin flip to the other side, but Ron Tadlock’s 2-out, 2-run homer in the eighth, cashing Miller, pretty much put this one in the loss column with a 3-0 tally and Rosas still looking rather unimpressed by the Critters’ offerings. He retired them in order in the eighth, then came back out for the bottom 9th with the 3-0 lead and on 90 pitches. This time, the top of the order would have to answer. Stalker struck out. Spencer singled. Ramos batted for Correa and doubled up the leftfield line, which brought up Hereford with the tying run, but the Knights still stuck to Rosas, or had their manager just fallen asleep? In one of those major upsets that baseball would throw at you from time to time, Rosas ran a full count on Rich Hereford, who finally hit a pop right over home plate. Backup backstop Victor Ayala tossed the mask, planted himself, and the infielders watched intently as Ayala suddenly panicked, had the eventually returning ball glance off his glove, and chased it into the infield. Spencer scurried home, Ramos advanced, and Hereford had made for first base all the time on what became a run-scoring error. Now Rosas was yanked for righty Ed Blair. Wishing to counter, the Coons sent Nunley for Morales, but Matt couldn’t to better than a sac fly. Gomez struck out to end the game. 3-2 Knights. Ramos (PH) 1-1, 2B;

In other news

July 24 – IND SP Mo Robinson (5-5, 3.25 ERA) potentially faces Tommy John surgery after partially tearing his UCL. In any case he is lost for the season.
July 24 – VAN INF/LF Ted Gura (.293, 4 HR, 52 RBI) is also lost for the season with a torn posterior cruciate ligament.
July 25 – The Aces pick up super utility Brody Folk (.304, 4 HR, 35 RBI) from the Falcons, who receive a promising but unranked prospect.
July 26 – LAP 3B Jason LaCombe (.341, 0 HR, 30 RBI) will miss a month with a sprained knee.
July 26 – The Scorpions walk off on the Miners for a 10-inning, 7-6 win when PIT MR David Gerow (3-2, 4.09 ERA) nails rookie OF/1B John Blossom (.059, 0 HR, 1 RBI) with the bases loaded in the bottom 10th.
July 27 – The Bayhawks get SP Alex Lopez (6-7, 4.14 ERA) from the Falcons for 3B Greg Ortíz (.302, 4 HR, 30 RBI).
July 28 – The Thunder pick up the tab on NYC swingman Chris Klein (4-1, 2.31 ERA, 1 SV) in an exchange for LF/RF Carlos de Santiago (.283, 6 HR, 40 RBI). Klein was used in both start and relief roles by the Crusaders, but was put back into the rotation by the Thunder.
July 28 – LAP SP Dave Chrisitansen (15-3, 2.73 ERA) and LAP CL Joe Moore (3-2, 1.58 ERA, 32 SV) combine for a 1-hitter in a 2-1 win over the Cyclones. A fifth-inning single by LF/RF Manny Ramirez (.353, 0 HR, 6 RBI) is the Cylcones’ only entry into the H column.
July 29 – LVA OF David Allard (.245, 1 HR, 13 RBI) goes 4-for-5 with 3 RBI in a 13-3 drubbing of the Indians, in which the Aces score nine times in the fifth inning.
July 30 – The Indians give up and arrange for two deals. They send SP Chris Sinkhorn (10-6, 3.29 ERA) to the Canadiens for C Manny Sanchez (.217, 4 HR, 26 RBI) and a pitching prospect, then trade OF Matt Jamieson (.238, 3 HR, 12 RBI) to the Wolves for a low-key prospect.

Complaints and stuff

Oh look, Matt Jamieson is back in Oregon. – Yeah, don’t get me started. I also can’t say I dig Sinkhorn on the Elks. Guy knows how to win – he led the league in wins three times in his career, and remember he got his first scars on the Loggers, then went to the Gold Sox, who haven’t won as much as a coupon for decades.

A 4-2 week against the 1-2 punch in the South … that could have been much worse. Next week? The last-place Falcons and the Indians, who could theoretically get into last place by the weekend. That’s gonna be fun …?

After four months we finally found out that Juan Magallanes still had a pulse. That decided the centerfield conundrum for Abel Mora’s eventual return (late next week probably) in his favor. Unless more broken legs intervene with plans.

The international free agent hunt is over. The Raccoons ended up signing four players; two six-figure pitchers and two cheap position players. In total we spent $262k, so we will again be able to roll high with no restrictions next season.

Fun Fact: The Denver Gold Sox have finished second in the FL West nine times since their last playoff appearance in 2003.

That includes six straight runner-up finishes to the Scorpions from 2019 through 2024. However, on average in those six years they got beaten by a whopping 12.83 games, and they were never closer than eight games.
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic




Last edited by Westheim; 02-08-2019 at 03:21 PM.
Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2019, 06:03 PM   #2723
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (60-44) @ Falcons (44-62) – July 31-August 2, 2028

Charlotte was home to the CL team with the worst pitching, with 5.3 runs falling out of the Falcons per game. Their offense ranked them eighth in the CL, which wasn’t going to help them a whole lot as they sat in last place in the South, 20 1/2 games out of the leading Condors. Of course, their season had long been written off as a loss, but at the same time the Coons had so far had a hard time with them, splitting the first six games of the season evenly with them.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (2-4, 6.30 ERA) vs. Chris Rountree (3-12, 5.02 ERA)
Mark Roberts (12-3, 2.76 ERA) vs. Jesse Schiebout (5-7, 4.98 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-4, 3.82 ERA) vs. Joel O’Brien (3-2, 6.19 ERA)

Some grim ERA’s there; their “ace” was Mike Fernandez with a 4.04 ERA and a pale 5-12 record. Rountree was the only southpaw in the bunch.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – 1B Correa – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 2B Spencer – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Delgadillo
CHA: 1B Fowlkes – 3B G. Ortíz – LF Salto – CF N. Nelson – C Sigala – RF Camps – SS Webb – 2B Rolland – P Rountree

Two shackled pitchers turned up and a pitcher’s duel broke out, at least for the first four innings. The Coons had nothing against Rountree, and Delgadillo looked vaguely competent, at least until the fifth inning when he bunted into a force at third base to ruin the top of the inning, then got roughed up in the bottom half, too. Jaylen Rolland hit a 1-out double, then scored on Rountree’s single to center, swiftly followed by a long ball over the leftfield fence hit by Pat Fowlkes. In a hurry, the Coons were down 3-0 before hitting a bushel of singles in the top 6th. Morales led off with one, Correa whiffed, Hereford singled, Gomez whiffed, Spencer singled, and with three on and two outs Elias Tovias broke up the procession with a ball over the head of Graciano Salto for a bases-clearing double that put the Coons even again. Magallanes was walked intentionally, Delgadillo was not hit for and struck out, and the inning ended in a 3-3 tie. Fascinatingly, the offenses then stopped again; both pitchers went through seven innings without further harm, but the Coons got a good chance in the top of the eighth against Rountree. Rich Hereford singled to left to begin the inning, Salto overran the ball, and the error put the go-ahead run on second base with nobody out. Rafael Gomez got four wide ones to get to Spencer, which was a strange choice one way or another, and Jarod singled to left to load the bags again for Tovias, but this time it was a double play scenario. He executed masterfully, bouncing fast to Fowlkes, who fired home to get Hereford, and they even got the lumbering Tovias at first base. Stalker batted for Magallanes, but flew out to Juan Camps in right, stranding runners in scoring position.

But the Falcons would try again – top 9th, righty Jimmy Shearer pitching to Ryan Allan, now in center and batting ninth. Allan hit a ****ty grounder that Jairo Sigala couldn’t dig out in time and that resulted in an infield single. Ramos whiffed on a hit-and-run, but Sigala threw the ball into centerfield to allow the go-ahead run to third base with nobody out. Ramos turned the first-pitch strike into a walk, but Danny Morales flew out to shallow center, keeping the runner on, and Allan also wasn’t going to score on Jon Correa’s soft fly to Sal- oops, no, he dropped it. The third critical error by the Falcons was the one that finally allowed the Coons to score. Hereford singled to load them up, but we only got a pinch-hit sac fly from Harenberg under our own power before sending in Josh Boles for the 4-5-6 batters. For the third time in a week, Boles was one strike away from ringing up the side when Juan Camps hit a double on a 1-2 pitch. Jason Carmichael pinch-hit after that one, and the Falcons would lose on another grievous error when Carmichael singled to center. Camps went around and scored, but Carmichael had not stopped at first base and was caught up in a rundown by Ryan Allan from which he emerged thoroughly pelted for the final out in the contest. 5-4 Coons. Hereford 3-5; Spencer 3-5; Tovias 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Magallanes 0-1, 2 BB; Allan 1-1;

Despite my best efforts, the Raccoons failed to land another reinforcement at the trade deadline, which silently passed.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – C Leal – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – CF Allan – P Roberts
CHA: SS Hobbs – CF N. Nelson – 1B Fowlkes – RF Kok – LF Salto – C Sigala – 3B Webb – 2B Rolland – P Schiebout

In a weird-ass game, there was a Falcons error on Fowlkes right at the start of the game, but the Coons couldn’t get Ramos around… or anybody else, in fact. They loaded the bases on three singles in the second inning, but when Roberts lifted a ball out to Salto and the Coons sent Nunley from third he was thrown out at the plate and the inning was over. The Coons didn’t do anything else through five innings, while Salto walked, stole second, and scored on Ernie Webb’s single in the bottom 2nd. Mark Roberts also had to fight off rain and a brief rain relay, and struck out nobody until the fifth inning, then still in a 1-0 deficit. He also walked the pitcher Schiebout once, and fell behind 2-0 on Fowlkes’ homer in the bottom 6th, but that was after Tim Stalker had drawn a leadoff walk, stolen second, and had still been stranded when Nunley hit into a double play to erase Kevin Harenberg and the second walk of the inning. At some point, we realized that the loss in this game was divined to fall onto the Coons… Ramos was on base to start the eighth, but was caught stealing, even though Armando Leal then singled. Nothing worked … until Rich Hereford ran into a hanger thrown by righty Brian Bowsman and powdered it some 410 feet outta right center. That one tied the game with two outs in the eighth and left Mark Roberts with a no-decision in a crummy start. Bottom 9th, Fleischer walked Barend Kok on four pitches to get going, then allowed a double to Salto, putting the winning run on third base with no outs. Hugo Ochoa grounded to Ramos, who fired home – out! But when Ernie Webb also grounded to short, Ramos didn’t get Salto as well… that throw was late and the Falcons walked off. 3-2 Falcons. Ramos 2-4;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Anderson
CHA: 1B Fowlkes – SS Hobbs – RF Kok – LF Salto – CF N. Nelson – C Sigala – 3B Webb – 2B Rolland – P O’Brien

The Coons walked three times the first time through the lineup, but had no hits and the Falcons chipped in no errors, so there was no early scoring, at least not for the visiting team. The home team went up 1-0 in the second in the rubber game for both this series and the season series when Nate Nelson doubled and scored on Jairo Sigala’s single, and then 2-0 in the third on Michael Hobbs’ solo shot. The Coons only became active in the fourth. Harenberg drew a leadoff walk, Tovias doubled, and Magallanes was put on intentionally. Anderson struck out, but that was only the second out; Ramos singled hard past Ernie Webb, who had robbed him three of four times in this series, but couldn’t catch up with this ball as it escaped into the outfield and tied the game as two runs scored. Tim Stalker put the Coons in front with an RBI single to left before the inning fizzled out.

O’Brien walked six in this start and was done before completing six innings, but the Coons failed to pummel him like they had failed to pummel any of the Falcons’ horrendous starters in this series. This had to come back to bite them in the furry bum; Sigala came through again in the bottom 6th, finding runners on the corners with two outs and doubling off the fence to flip the score in the Falcons’ favor, 4-3. Anderson lasted seven but was still on the hook when the Falcons cycled through their entire pen in the Coons’ half of the eighth. Tovias led off with a shy single. Magallanes failed to bunt him over, poking into a force at second base. Morales flew out to Salto. Ramos hit an infield single. By the time Stalker stepped into the box, the Falcons were on their fourth reliever of the inning, righty Josh Pillsbury, who got Stalker to ground back to the mound to suffocate the wannabe rally. Pillsbury went on to retire the middle of the order 1-2-3 in the ninth, including K’s to Hereford and Harenberg. 4-3 Falcons. Ramos 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; Tovias 2-3, BB, 2B;

Well… at least the Crusaders didn’t do much either… we are still up by 4 1/2…

Raccoons (61-46) vs. Indians (48-59) – August 3-6, 2028

Next stab at a foundering team. The Indians had a 9-game losing streak going and were last in batting average and runs scored in the Continental League. Their pitching was solid, allowing the fifth-fewest runs, but when you were only scratching out 3.6 runs a game, any sort of momentum was hard to get. Or so I hear. The Coons led the season series, narrowly, 4-3.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (10-5, 2.87 ERA) vs. Jim Kretzmann (0-1, 15.43 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-5, 2.38 ERA) vs. Frank Kelly (0-0, 9.39 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (2-4, 6.00 ERA) vs. David Saccoccio (8-9, 3.09 ERA)
Mark Roberts (12-3, 2.74 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (2-2, 4.22 ERA)

All right-handers, if they really go in that order. Injuries had ravaged the Indians’ rotation and anything was possible. Frank Kelly was the ex-Coon continuously trying to come back from some sort of injury. He had been blown up over nine relief appearances so far this season. Kretzmann was a rookie that had been strafed in his first career start. He had made three relief appearances last year… and had been strafed.

Can we get any sort of offense … at all?

And, oh, what nice surprise… the dear owner decided to fly by for the first two games and already brought some helpful advice, like, adding a hometown player to get more people to the park.

Game 1
IND: SS Pizano – 2B T. Johnson – CF Suhay – C Kennett – RF Ryder – LF M. Cowan – 1B Aleman – 3B Roesler – P Kretzmann
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Nomura

Much to the pleasure of my peptic ulcer, the Coons were hellbound to not score Rich Hereford after his leadoff triple in the second inning, but their evil plans were foiled when Kretzmann uncorked a wild pitch to Tovias, and that one got Hereford home with two down for the first marker on the board. Tovias (and Magallanes) actually went on to single, but that was with the pressure and the RISP off, so he wasn’t fooling me with no “oh I woulda…!” – but the Coons turned over the lineup for the third, which would surely not be all bad. Stalker doubled, Correa singled, Hereford hit a boomer for three, his 20th homer on the season, and he was now also at 87 RBI and had had his paws in all the Coons runs in the 4-0 game.

While Nomura was very good, he was not all dominant. In fact, the Indians had a man in scoring position in three of the first four innings, twice on a double; Ben Suhay hit one into the leftfield corner in the first, and Mario Pizano doubled off the fence and the tip of Hereford’s glove in the third, but neither got around to score. Kretzmann in turn was sent to bed by the fourth, in which Nomura singled, Stalker doubled, and Jon Correa brought in a run with a well-placed groundout, 5-0. The sixth inning was unremarkable in that Nomura retired the top of the Indians’ lineup in order, except that Suhay was thrown out by Nunley on a grounder that was rather near the mound, but he still raced in and made a bare-hand play to beat the centerfielder on a bang-bang play – 37 years old and still got the guts! …including those of some poor animal no the sandwiches he had brought in his lunchbox and that were stinking up the dugout.

The Furballs went up 6-0 in the bottom 6th on doubles by Stalker and Hereford, which was remarkable in that Rich was now a single short of the cycle, but was not guaranteed another at-bat at this point. At the same time, Nomura got stuck in the seventh, bleeding three singles for a run before hitting Jon Gonzalez with his 100th pitch of the game. That loaded the bases with two outs, the Coons went to Surginer to face Pizano, but the opposing shortstop ripped a 2-run single on Surginer’s first pitch. Todd Johnson struck out to end the inning, now in a 6-3 score. Nunley walked and Morales had a pinch-hit single in the bottom 7th, which was not enough for a run, but enough to bring up Hereford in the eighth, which the Coons entered facing southpaw Ben Knox after a perfect eighth from Jonathan Fleischer. Knox retired Stalker and Correa before facing Hereford with two outs and nobody on. Hereford spanked the first pitch right at third baseman Mike Roesler… but it was hit so hard that Roesler couldn’t play it cleanly as the ball bounced just in front of him and hit off his glove before striking him in the stomach. Roesler moaned, recovered, but got nothing on the throw to first and Hereford legged it out – RICH HEREFORD HAS HIT FOR THE CYCLE!!!

That was not the last straw in the game, either. After the videoboard flashed up with congratulations and the home crowd was done snickering in appreciation – and even some of the Indians players applauded Hereford for undoing them in probably their 10th straight loss – Rafael Gomez batted for Harenberg and hit a 2-piece over the fence to give Portland a 5-run edge. Nick Derks put two on, but eventually nailed down the ninth in his memorable win. 8-3 Furballs! Stalker 3-5, 3 2B; Hereford 4-5, HR, 3B, 2B, 4 RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB; Morales (PH) 1-1; Nomura 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, W (11-5);

Guess what – Nick Valdes basically told me “well done” on the trade that got us Rich Hereford last season. In fact it has been a year and four days since the deal with the Gold Sox that sent him over.

Game 2
IND: SS Pizano – LF Plunkett – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – C Kennett – 2B T. Johnson – RF M. Cowan – 3B Dichio – P Saccoccio
POR: SS Ramos – C Leal – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – P Gutierrez

A day after once-in-a-decade heroics, Rich Hereford was involved in double plays in his first two trips to the plate and beyond and it was never really his fault. He lined into an inning-ending double play in the first inning that I tended to blame on Armando Leal’s lack of awareness for his surroundings that allowed the Indians do double him off second base, then was the first out on Rafael Gomez’ ball into a 6-4-3 double play that ended the fourth inning. In between, three players had gone yard, all with solo shots, but the Indians were up 2-1 on homers by Pizano and Suhay. Leal had gone deep for the Coons in the bottom 4th. Portland knotted the score against Saccoccio in the bottom 5th when both Nunley and Magallanes hit doubles to right to begin the frame, and the Indians added more runners with an intentional walk to Ramos after Gutierrez had gone down whiffing. Leal singled past Jon Gonzalez into right for an RBI single, putting Portland up 3-2, and when Stalker walked in a full count, the bags were full for Hereford, who ripped away at the first pitch he got, which turned out the last pitch from Saccoccio, and was also never found again after clearing the batter’s eye – GRAAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM!!!!

Staked to a 7-2 lead after the 6-run fifth, Rico basically only had to keep working well. Don’t spark a meltdown! And he didn’t; Rico retired the Indians in order all the way to the ninth inning, where the annoying all-or-nothing hitter Ben Suhay hit a 1-out triple into the rightfield corner. That was a bit of a problem; we would have liked for Rico to finish the game, but again… don’t spark a meltdown. He would get one more batter, Elliott Kennett, but we got Ricky Ohl up just in case. Kennett struck out, Rico’s 10th victim in the game… and he made it 11 on Todd Johnson to end the game…! 7-2 Furballs! Ramos 1-2, 3 BB; Leal 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-4, HR, 4 RBI; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, W (9-5);

As Valdes left he told me to keep up the good work.

What the heck does that mean? – Maud? – Maud? – What did he say?

For now, we’d shuffle in some off days for the everyday guys. Including Hereford! We will not have an off day next week either, and I don’t want to run everybody into the ground while we are up by more than a handful.

Game 3
IND: SS Pizano – 3B Roesler – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – LF Plunkett – RF Ryder – C M. Sanchez – 2B T. Johnson – P F. Kelly
POR: SS Stalker – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – LF Morales – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – P Delgadillo

There was a rain delay as early as the second inning, by which time the Indians led 1-0 on account of Roesler’s first-inning triple and Jon Gonzalez’ run-scoring groundout. The Coons tried to strand as many runners as possible early on, or like Harenberg in the bottom 1st just simply hit into a double play. Harenberg drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 4th, moved to second on Morales’ single, to third on Tovias’ fly to center, then froze when Nunley flew out to Zachary Ryder in right. Magallanes walked against the drifting Kelly, whose state made me sad and had done so for years, but all that did was bring up the pitcher with three on and two down. Lo and behold, Delgadillo singled over the second-base bag, two runs scored, and the score was flipped in favor of the home team!

Stalker flew out to strand another pair and the tender 2-1 lead was always in danger of going extinct with 2028 Dan Delgadillo on the mound. Yusneldan gave up a leadoff double to Suhay in the sixth, and also walked Ryder with two outs. Suhay had moved up on Mike Plunkett’s fly to center, and Ryder took second base via steal, but when Manny Sanchez lined to the left side, Stalker jumped and made the catch, just barely. Now, would the Indians bat for Frank Kelly with three on and two outs? Probably! But it wouldn’t hurt to feel their pulse. Todd Johnson got directions to first base to load them up for the #9 hole, the Indians did not bat for Kelly, the count ran full, and then Kelly flew to center. Magallanes was there and - … dropped the ball. Two runs scored as the entire ballpark gasped at once. That one had the potential to unspool the entire team… I could feel it in my guts. Pizano fouled out on a 3-0 pitch, but we really needed to get some runs right now, down 3-2. Nothing happened in the bottom 6th, but Kelly walked Magallanes to begin the bottom 7th. Ramos batted for Delgadillo, struck out (!), but Kelly disappeared after walking Tim Stalker. Right-hander David Wayne with his 6.53 ERA threatened to snuff out the Coons once and for all, the weirdly cursed Jarod Spencer popped out, but Rafael Gomez singled to left and Magallanes was waved around to score and tie the game. But that noise you heard was Wayne coming apart – he surrendered an RBI single to Harenberg, putting Portland up 4-3, and then a gasp that threatened to fall into Plunkett’s mitten at the fence before coughing over said fence for a 3-piece to Danny Morales. Spencer did manage a 2-out RBI single in the eighth, though. 8-3 Furballs! Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gomez 2-5, RBI; Morales 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Magallanes 0-1, 2 BB; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, W (3-4) and 1-1, 2 RBI;

This was the first game all season in which Rich Hereford did not appear. He was the last Critter to show his whiskers in all contests of the year.

Game 4
IND: SS Pizano – 2B T. Johnson – 1B Jon Gonzalez – C Kennett – RF Ryder – LF Aleman – CF M. Cowan – 3B Roesler – P Matthews
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Allan – P Roberts

While Portland scored first on Sunday thanks to Ramos’ leadoff triple and Spencer’s sac fly in the first, the Indians were on the brink of doing some major damage in the third inning, in which they hit three singles through the same seam between Ramos and Hereford. No fault on the defense, just three perfectly placed grounders in the inning. That loaded the bases with one out for Gonzalez, who struck out, and then Kennett, who … struck out. PHEW. Oh, never mind – the Indians just kept singling Roberts every which way they liked. They had three more singles in the fourth inning, two through the left side, with Roesler driving in Alex Aleman to tie the game at one. Roberts sat on seven base hits through four innings. Bottom 4th, leadoff walk drawn by Jon Correa, then a single over Johnson hit by Hereford. That one came AFTER Zachary Ryder dropped a foul pop near the sidewall, which gave Hereford a second shot. When Matthews lost Harenberg in a full count, the Coons had three on and nobody out, a.k.a. The Danger Zone. Gomez’ run-scoring groundout was all they got. Tovias was walked intentionally, Allan struck out, and Roberts flew out to Mike Cowan.

Then came the fifth and more boundless horrors. Todd Johnson hit a leadoff single that Allan overran to put the tying run on second base. It did not matter much for Roberts drilled the next TWO batters to load the bases with no outs… Weirdly enough, once **** was steaming, he seemed to get it back together… He rung up Ryder, surrendered the tying run on Aleman’s sac fly, but then also got Cowan to pop out and strand them on the corners in the 2-2 game. At this point, his pitch count was completely shot, but he would hang around long enough to surrender a go-ahead home run to Pizano in the top 6th… The Raccoons picked two innings from Nick Derks while their lineup continued to be no real help for the cause of a 4-game sweep, but the Indians’ pen crumbled ever so slightly in the eighth. Knox walked Hereford, who advanced on Harenberg’s groundout, then scored when Gomez singled off Wayne. That tied the game, but not more. Kevin Surginer held the Indians in place in the top 9th, bringing up the 8-9-1 part of the lineup against righty Brandon Smith and his 6.27 ERA in the bottom 9th. Nunley led off after entering in the second double switch of the game, grounded out, and the Coons didn’t get somebody on until Ramos singled with two down. When he was caught stealing, the game went to extras. There the Arrowheads continued to hit them through the seams; Kennett and Ryder went to the corners after both rolled a ball through between Spencer and Harenberg to begin the inning. Dominique Dichio lined hard to left, but Nunley made a marvelous play AND doubled off the confused catcher! …and then the Indians still scored on Bill Boggus’ double to left… Spencer hit a leadoff single in the bottom 10th, was doubled off by Correa, and then Johnson handled Hereford’s grounder to salvage a game for the Indians on the way out. 4-3 Indians. Ramos 2-5, 3B; Derks 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

In other news

July 31 – BOS 1B/RF/LF/2B Matt Good (.281, 8 HR, 36 RBI) lands his 2,000th base hit in the Titans’ 7-3 loss to the Aces. Good reaches the milestone on a first-inning RBI double off LVA SP Ed Hague (9-9, 5.04 ERA).
July 31 – The Thunder feverishly rally past the Crusaders in the eighth inning, scoring nine times to turn a 6-2 deficit into an eventual 11-6 win.
August 1 – BOS 3B/2B Rhett West (.250, 4 HR, 40 RBI) figures to miss the entire month of August with a strained triceps.
August 2 – OCT CF Dave Garcia (.290, 10 HR, 49 RBI) will probably miss a month once again with a sprained thumb.
August 5 – SFB 1B/3B Eddie Moreno (..270, 7 HR, 24 RBI) lands his fourth hit for the Bayhawks after a July trade, which is also the 2,000th of his career, in a 5-3 loss to the Thunder. The marquee hit is a pinch-hit RBI single off OCT MR Max Nelson (6-6, 5.42 ERA) in the eighth inning.

Complaints and stuff

Mark Dawson – Vic Flores – Adrian Quebell – Rich Hereford

…those are the Raccoons that have hit for the cycle. We had actually not been involved in a cycle for 19 1/2 seasons, ever since Quebell’s in May of 2009. The Indians had not been in a cycle for 16 years, having fallen victim to Hall of Famer Martin Ortíz of the Crusaders in 2012.

Not entirely by surprise came Rich Hereford’d dedication as Player of the Week in the Continental League, torturing opposing teams with a .423 clip (11-26), 3 HR, and 10 RBI.

Pitcher of the Month in the Continental League? Mark Roberts of your dear Raccoons. He made five starts, won them all, and posted a 2.04 ERA in 35.1 innings with 40 K while yielding only 24 hits and seven walks.

As expected (…), the Coons went worse against the bottom feeders (4-3) as they had against the top teams in the South (4-2) the week before. And up next? The Loggers that almost unwound us completely in July, when we went 4-5 against them in some extended home-and-away action in the pair of 4-game sets around the All Star Game. After that: the Gold Sox, deeply regretting the Rich Hereford deal I assume.

Abel Mora started a brief rehab assignment in the middle of the week. He should be back in Portland to start the next week!

Fun Fact: The Indians have two cycles to their credit. Both came in the 2000s with Jose Paraz (2004) and Angel Solís (2007).

Solís’ cycle is one of six natural cycle in league history. Overall the ABL has seen 76 cycles. Hereford’s was the first this season.
Attached Images
Image Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2019, 03:05 PM   #2724
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (64-47) vs. Loggers (46-64) – August 7-10, 2028

The Raccoons were only 6-5 on the Loggers this season after some pretty stale performances in the nine games the teams played in July. The Loggers were getting bopped by pretty much everybody else, so this remained a bit of a mystery to me. They were in the bottom three in both runs scored and runs allowed, and their rotation as near the worst in baseball. So, I don’t know, sometimes things don’t quite work out…?

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (7-5, 3.93 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (6-10, 4.49 ERA)
Rin Nomura (11-5, 2.92 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (6-3, 2.98 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (9-5, 2.35 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (7-9, 4.22 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (3-4, 5.48 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (5-9, 3.95 ERA)

The Loggers would get going with the southpaw, then send three right-handers after that. They also had a few guys on the DL, most notably Firmino Cambra. Meanwhile, the Coons made a roster move as indicated and brought back Abel Mora from rehab, sending Ryan Allan to St. Petersburg.

Game 1
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – CF Hollingsworth – LF W. Trevino – RF Schorsch – C Canody – SS Becker – 1B R. Amador – 2B Rauser – P Colmenarez
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Correa – RF Gomez – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Anderson

Kyle Anderson did not pitch very economically and despite allowing only one run was out of the game in five innings. That one run was a first-inning homer by Willie Trevino, a batter Anderson never retired in this outing, leaving Trevino 3-for-3, while Jason Rauser was 0-for-0 with two walks, one intentional, one not so much, by the time Anderson retired to the showers. The Coons had tied the score right in the bottom 1st, Ramos, Stalker, and Hereford all hitting singles, but since then had gotten only one other hit out of Colmenarez. Hereford grounded out to begin the bottom 6th, but then full counts yielded a walk to Jon Correa, a single by Rafael Gomez, and with two outs Elias Tovias squeezed a grounder past Jeff Becker for an RBI single, putting the Coons in general and Jeff Kearney in particular into the lead. Harenberg would hit for Kearney, but flew out to Steve Hollingsworth to end the inning. Fleischer had a scoreless seventh, but allowed a leadoff single to Trevino (4-for-4) to begin the eighth. Billy Brotman came on, got around a pinch-hit single by Steve Garcia, and exited the inning on two whiffs and a pop. The Raccoons would not get noticeably near an insurance run, leaving Josh Boles to figure out the ninth on his own, starting with Jason Rauser, who singled on 0-2. Alexis Rueda grounded to first in a way that allowed the Coons to kill the lead runner, and then Vinny Diaz popped out foul, leaving things to Hollingsworth, who you may remember was no gem as a Raccoon in any situation (.193, 0 HR, 2 RBI). He put the 2-2 in play, softly, but Tim Stalker made a hustling play and threw him out, narrowly, to end the game. 2-1 Coons. Tovias 1-2, BB, RBI;

Game 2
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – SS Becker – LF W. Trevino – RF Schorsch – CF Hollingsworth – C S. Garcia – 1B W. Aquino – 2B Rauser – P Rogers
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Correa – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Leal – RF Gomez – P Nomura

Rich Hereford continued to make the mothers of opposing pitchers weep with a 2-run homer in the first inning. Tim Stalker had hit a double to bring him to the plate in the opening frame. Kevin Harenberg would up the tally to 3-0 with a solo shot in the fourth while Rin Nomura was holding the Loggers as short as the grass on the field. He needed 51 pitches through five innings, yielding two hits and whiffing five. Vinny Diaz hit a bloop into no man’s land for a single in the sixth, but was doubled off by Jeff Becker, and while Willie Trevino led off the seventh with a double down the leftfield line, soft contact kept him on the bases with no chance to go home at any point. The Critters one-upped the Loggers, though, when Ramos hit a leadoff triple in the bottom 7th… and was also left stranded. Stalker grounded out to Rogers, Correa fouled out behind home plate, and Hereford hit a deep fly, but it had enough hang time for Hollingsworth to amble under it. Nomura shed singles up the middle against Jason Parten and Diaz in the eighth, yet still pulled through when Becker popped out, and he was still only on 82 pitches and I still saw no reason not to keep him out there… even though the Coons loaded them up against righty Joe West in the bottom 8th. Harenberg singled, Mora singled, and Nunley singled in Gomez’ place. Three on, one out, pitcher at the plate. No, really, it’s fine. Nomura grounded out to bring in the run that took off the save anyway for the time being, with Ramos then striking out in a full count. Top 9th: K to Trevino, then Schorsch grounded out. There was Hollingsworth again… and he flew out easily to Mora. 4-0 Furballs! Ramos 2-5, 3B; Stalker 2-4, 2B; Mora 3-4; Nunley (PH) 1-1; Nomura 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, W (12-5);

This was Rin Nomura’s first-ever career shutout, and his fourth complete game. Three of those CG’s have come this season. This includes another complete-game win over the Loggers in May, as well as a loss in a rain-shortened April contest with the Knights in which he actually only pitched six innings, but the box score never made it to the seventh column…

Game 3
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – SS Becker – LF W. Trevino – RF Schorsch – CF Hollingsworth – C S. Garcia – 1B W. Aquino – 2B Rauser – P Contreras
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – LF Correa – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – P Gutierrez

Rico had made a habit of shutting out the Loggers a few years back, but hadn’t managed the feat in a while, and wouldn’t in this game, thanks to Tom Schorsch’s leadoff jack in the second inning. That erased the 1-0 lead from Jon Correa’s run-scoring double play grounder in the bottom 1st (and that came after Steve Garcia dropped his previous foul pop for an error), but the Coons put provide a new lead in due time. A Wilson Aquino error put Harenberg on base to start the bottom 2nd. Leal forced him on a grounder, but Nunley walked and then Rafael Gomez walloped a fastball over the leftfield fence to stake Gutierrez to a 4-1 lead, and the third saw the lead grow to 6-1. Correa opened with a single, Hereford walked, there was a groundout, a balk, and a sac fly as Contreras kept visibly disintegrating.

Then the weather came apart, too, and it started to rain just as the third inning ended. Quite badly, actually, and the game went into a 40-minute delay as soon as Willie Trevino hit a leadoff single in the top 4th. Rico came back a different pitcher, yielded two more singles and a run, and then was kinda lucky to exit the inning on consecutive pops to Ramos off the bats of Garcia and Aquino. Contreras also struggled (but that was not due to the rain), as did the Loggers defense. A Jason Rauser error put Rico on base in the bottom 4th, and they gradually filled the bases until Hereford knocked out Contreras with a 2-out, 2-run single into shallow center. Cory Dew replaced him, but gave up an RBI single to Harenberg before Leal popped out. Would Rico get through five innings? Yes, but barely. This included the Loggers, down by seven, sending Dew to the plate to strike out. Diaz hit a 2-out single, stole second, but was stranded when Becker grounded out, and we decided to call it a day with Gutierrez after that. So did the offense – they never came close to scoring again, but they did not have to. Nick Derks was nearly perfect for three innings (he hit Trevino, who was then doubled up by Schorsch), and Kevin Surginer retired the Loggers in order in the ninth to go up 3-0 in the series and 9-5 on the season. 9-2 Raccoons! Correa 2-4; Harenberg 2-4, RBI; Spencer (PH) 1-1; Gutierrez 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, W (10-5); Derks 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

Game 4
MIL: SS Becker – CF Hollingsworth – LF W. Trevino – 1B W. Aquino – C Canody – 3B Parten – RF Rueda – 2B Rauser – P Shepherd
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Delgadillo

The sweep was tall task though, with Dan Delgadillo getting murdered as soon as he finished his warm-up tosses. Hollingsworth singled and Trevino went yard in the first, and he surrendered another run on three line drive base hits in the second inning. Well, Elias Tovias kept the Coons at least close with a 2-run double in the bottom of the second inning, but then the Critters got bogged down in their usual “oh look, a double play – mine!” mentality and few good things happened. Delgadillo at least threw a few zeroes onto the board going into the middle innings, but surrendered a leadoff jack to Alexis Rueda in the sixth. Rauser singled, and here were the Loggers, in last place, but showing the utmost disrespect for Yusneldan when they had Shepherd swing away with a runner on first and nobody out. He hit a hard grounder, right at Tim Stalker, and the Coons turned two. Now I REALLY hoped that we could come back and beat them by a single run. Or a million!

That comeback was hard to come by, though. The Coons put them on the corners, but left them there in the sixth when Nunley struck out. We’d be back on the corners the following inning, which started with Tovias flying out to center, but Hollingsworth could not contain the drive of Rafael Gomez, who came up with a double after entering the game in a double switch the previous half-inning, Nunley being gone and Hereford back at third base. Ramos singled softly to right, setting up Mora as the go-ahead run, but he struck out in a full count. Stalker ran to 2-2, then hit a drive to deep right. Rueda didn’t get it, and Stalker was flinging them hindpaws, reaching third base standing up on a score-knotting triple! Hereford stranded him, grounding out to Rauser. That was Stalker’s last act in the game, him being removed in the next double switch after Kearney issued a 2-out walk to Rauser in the top 8th. Vinny Diaz would face Ricky Ohl, and powdered a fastball over the centerfield fence to put the Loggers back on top, 6-4.

Bottom 8th, the Loggers tried to salvage at least this one game. Zach Weaver allowed a single to Harenberg to begin the inning. Correa flew out against Joe West, who then allowed a single to Spencer, who had come into the game in the second double switch. That brought up Tovias, who would face lefty Travis Feider, ran a 3-1 count, and then mauled a baseball for a real rocket over the leftfield fence – it was a score-flipper!! Ramos would get on, but was caught stealing to send the game to the ninth, where Boles allowed a leadoff single to PH Tom Schorsch. Trevino flew out to center, Aquino popped out harmlessly. Taylor Canody sent a drive to left with two outs. Correa back, back… back… further back… and he caught it on the warning track …! 7-6 Furballs!! Ramos 2-5; Stalker 2-3, BB, 3B, 2 RBI; Correa 3-4; Spencer 1-1; Tovias 2-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI; Gomez 1-2, 2B;

A sweep! So sweet!

Raccoons (68-47) @ Gold Sox (54-59) – August 11-13, 2028

20 games out in the West, the Gold Sox were also playing out the string on the season. They sat second from the bottom in runs scored in the Federal League, as well as seventh in runs allowed. They (not unexpectedly) were good in mashing homers, but little else, really, and the pitching staff was a whole lot of “hum!”. The Coons had their worst record against any team against the Gold Sox, .462 all time, and had not won a series from them since 2021.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (12-3, 2.75 ERA) vs. Jeff Horton (2-3, 3.90 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-5, 3.81 ERA) vs. Allen Reed (3-4, 4.66 ERA)
Rin Nomura (12-5, 2.76 ERA) vs. Brendon Coles (4-2, 5.50 ERA)

Here was a rotation decimated by injuries. None of these three had been in the Gold Sox rotation at the start of the season, and had either been brought up from the minors or over from the pen. Their only surviving starter was Tommy Weintraub (8-13, 3.81 ERA), but he had pitched on Wednesday and was unlikely to make an appearance. As things stood, we would likely see a southpaw on Saturday with Reed who had made only one start on the season and had been in relief as late as Tuesday, but was now taking the spot of Chad Allen (6-5, 5.22 ERA), who had been moved to the DL on account of rotator cuff inflammation. Other notable starting pitchers on the DL included Ian Prevost and Jose Menendez. All of them were likely out for the season.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Roberts
DEN: SS Schlegelmilch – 2B Herman – RF Chavira – 1B Gore – C F. Garcia – 3B T. Fuentes – LF Vasquez – CF Colston – P Horton

Mark Roberts came apart for a first-inning 3-spot, allowing singles to Nick Herman and Vinny Chavira, then walks to Brad Gore and Fernando Garcia, which already forced in a run. Tony Fuentes hit a sac fly, Rodolfo Vasquez hit an RBI single, and somehow Eric Colston struck out trying to move the ball along, finally ending a tedious first. Also not helping was the fact that Roberts was the only Furball to land a base hit the first time through the order. They did mount a few hits in the fourth, Stalker and Harenberg getting on, and Nunley hitting a 2-out RBI double to left, but that opened first base to park Tovias, and Roberts grounded out to Herman to strand a full set. Mark Roberts amped up the stuff in the middle innings and allowed next to nothing, but unfortunately it looked like the damage had already been done. Jeff Horton held up to allow only four hits and that one run through seven innings, but was pinch-hit for with ex-Critter Terry Kopp, who popped out, in the bottom 7th. The Coons would have to try their paw on righty Troy McCaskill at that point, bringing up the top of the order in the eighth inning. Ramos struck out, but Mora singled to left. The Gold Sox went to Tobias Amaya, who yielded a double to Stalker, then on to southpaw Keegan Dean with the tying runs in scoring position and the league’s leading RBI man at the plate. Rich Hereford had greeted old buddies in the home team’s clubhouse before the game, but so far had been too polite at the plate for my taste, 0-for-3. That changed here. Dean didn’t fool him one hit and Hereford slapped a liner over Nick Herman for a 2-run single, putting himself at 99 RBI and also knotting the score. Gomez batted for Harenberg, grounded out, but the Sox stuck to Dean against Jon Correa, who hit a blast to left that put Portland up, 5-3!

Roberts, on 99 pitches, did not come back out for the eighth, but hoped the pen would nail down the W for him. The bottom 8th was dicey to say the least. Ricky Ohl faced Herman and rung him up, after which we went to Brotman with three of the next four batters swinging it from the left. He walked Chavira, then allowed a hard drive to right to Brad Gore, which was shagged by Hereford, somehow. Fernando Garcia was the righty batter, but we stuck to Brotman against the all-or-nothing hitter, who hit it all hard to deep left … yet got nothing, Correa catching up with the rocket at the track. Compared to that, the ninth was a piece of cake – Josh Boles faced the minimum and struck out two to do away with Denver. 5-3 Raccoons. Stalker 2-3; Roberts 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, W (13-3) and 1-3;

Game 2
POR: SS Stalker – LF Morales – 2B Spencer – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Correa – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Anderson
DEN: SS Schlegelmilch – 1B Gore – RF Chavira – LF Kopp – C Brooks – 2B Herman – 3B T. Fuentes – CF Colston – P A. Reed

The Gold Sox opened the game with a pair of singles and brought in Ted Schlegelmilch on Terry Kopp’s sac fly. Schegel- … Schleegel- … Maud, how do you pronounce that? Maud? Maud? Oh, Maud is back in Portland. Oh well. … Portland would get a leadoff single from Juan Magallanes in the third, which was swiftly followed by Anderson bunting. Allen Reed pounced, but threw the ball through Brad Gore’s legs for a 2-base error that gave the Critters a stellar opportunity. Stalker cracked an RBI single to tie the game, and Danny Morales put Portland ahead… with a double play. Ah, the thought counts…

Reed tickled Hereford with a pitch to begin the fourth, and before long Rafael Gomez doubled to put again two in scoring position with nobody out. Jon Correa rammed a single through Tony Fuentes to plate them both, 4-1, moved up on a grounder, then came home when Magallanes singled into right-center. There was another bunt, a wild pitch, then a Tim Stalker double to up the tally to 6-1. Reed kept wobbling, allowed a walk to Morales, but got out against Spencer, who grounded out to third base. That still wouldn’t make for a happy end – Rich Hereford rocked a leadoff jack in the fifth to put the Critters up by six, himself at 100 RBI, and brought on a new pitcher in Amaya.

But, surprise – Kyle Anderson would not get the win. The Gold Sox rallied in the fifth, came apart for five hits, a walk, and three runs before the Coons pulled the plug with two outs. Schlegelmilch, Kopp, and Jeremiah Brooks had hit RBI singles, the latter pair with two outs. Surginer replaced him in hopes for a K from Herman, who hit a laser to deep center. Magallanes endeared himself by shagging that one on the run, stranding the tying runs in a 7-4 game. The Raccoons got five outs from Surginer, then – somehow – two from Kearney, who walked Gore and had Chavira single against him, and then somehow still got out of the bottom of the seventh. The Raccoons could not move another runner across home plate for the rest of regulation, while the bottom 9th saw the top of the Sox’ order up against… well, Boles had pitched a lot this week. The Coons had gotten through the eighth cleanly with Jonathan Fleischer, who remained in to face Schlegelmilch, while Brotman was getting ready for the remaining batters. Fleischer got a K, Brotman got two… after Gore singled. 7-4 Critters! Stalker 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Morales 2-3, 2 BB; Magallanes 3-4, RBI; Surginer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, W (3-3);

Whoop-whoop! Can we get a 7-0 week? Rin Nomura will answer to that one.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Nomura
DEN: SS Schlegelmilch – 2B herman – RF Chavira – LF Kopp – C F. Garcia – 3B T. Fuentes – 1B Vasquez – CF Colston – P Coles

With rain in the forecast, the Raccoons scored first, getting Ramos on base with a single, to third after a Mora single, and finally across with Stalker’s sac fly. After this, both teams kept putting runners on, but couldn’t get them across. Through five, Coles shed three hits and four walks, but the Coons couldn’t put anything major together. Nomura issued his third walk to begin the bottom 5th, putting Eric Colston on base, who was soon bunted to second by Coles. Schlegelmilch hit a soft roller on the infield that Nomura could not play in satisfying fashion, giving the Gold Sox runners on the corners. That was actually their second infield single of the game, and both balls hadn’t been handled by Nomura, who nevertheless prevailed. He rung up Herman, then got Chavira to ground out to Stalker. Both teams got a runner on with a single in the sixth, Hereford here, Fuentes there, but still couldn’t push through, and nobody reached in the seventh, while Brian Tyer batted for Coles in the bottom 7th, flying out to Gomez. Nomura was at 99 pitches through seven, so no shutout this time, but he was still up 1-0. Ramos singled off McCaskill to begin the eighth inning, stole second, but was still stranded. Nomura came out for the eighth, but allowed a single to Herman. That moved the Coons to the pen and Kevin Surginer, who got a fly to Mora from PH Jeremiah Brooks, a grounder to first from Kopp, and a grounder to third from Garcia.

On to the ninth. Desi Bowles struggled with control, walked Nunley with one out, then allowed a single to Tovias in a 3-1 count. Jon Correa batted for Surginer, struck out, and Ramos grounded out to Herman after so far being unretired in the game. So it was still a 1-0 game in the bottom of the ninth. Boles would face the 6-7-8 batters here, allowed a leadoff single on a 1-2 pitch to Fuentes, who was then bunted over by Rodolfo Vasquez before Colston struck out. Brad Gore, a left-handed batter, would pinch-hit in the #9 hole against Boles. The two ran a full count before Gore hit a fly to center. No trouble for Mora – the Coons had their second sweep of the week! 1-0 Furballs! Ramos 2-3, 2 BB; Mora 1-2, 2 BB; Tovias 2-4; Nomura 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, W (13-5);

In other news

August 7 – NAS SP Jose Vigil (8-8, 3.60 ERA) is out for the season with a torn labrum.
August 8 – All guns blazing, NYC SP Mike Rutkowski (11-6, 2.59 ERA) strikes out 15 Indians in a 7-1 Crusaders win. He is the first Continental League pitcher in eight years to strike out at least 15 batters in a game.
August 8 – A torn labrum also knocks out ATL SP Mike Cockcroft (5-9, 4.76 ERA) for the rest of the season.
August 8 – DAL 1B Jesus Figueroa (.284, 7 HR, 64 RBI) is also done for the year after breaking his elbow.
August 11 – Starting pitchers keep falling like flies, with the next victim being TIJ SP George Griffin (7-8, 3.79 ERA), who is out for the season with a ruptured finger tendon.
August 13 – SFW SP Scott Soviero (11-7, 3.12 ERA) throws a 3-hit shutout against the Indians in an 8-0 win.
August 13 – DAL RF/1B Chris Hollar (.233, 6 HR, 37 RBI) drives in four runs in the Stars’ 10-8 win over the Loggers, which sees them plate seven runs in a wild sixth inning that includes a 3-run homer by Hollar.

Complaints and stuff

BAM!! SEVEN-OH!! Who’s 7-0? Why, we are 7-0!

The teams behind us were only lukewarm this week; the Elks and Crusaders went 3-3, the Titans even 2-4, which really helped us increase the lead dramatically. The Coons have blown 10-game leads before, but not when they held them in August.

With the Loggers series in the books as a sweep for the Critters (although Willie Trevino was Player of the Week, so there was that), the Loggers’ run of futility against us has stretched to 15 years without ever taking the season series. They last won it in 2013.

Also, the third win in the series was our 500th ever win over the Loggers, the first team against who we have reached that mark. It is not quite close – next up are the Indians with 480 Coons wins. Meanwhile, after the sweep in Denver our all-time-worst-against team is now the Warriors, with a .470 win ratio.

What else? Rich Hereford owns the league with 100 RBI. The next-closest batter? Tijuana’s Shane Sanks, who has 79 ribbies.

Mark Roberts’ triple crown case is not getting better, nor getting worse right now. He ties with three other pitchers (including Nomura) with 13 wins, leads the league in K (8 ahead of Doug Moffatt), but is still only sixth in ERA, nearly half a run behind “Graveyard” Gill of the Thunder. Rico (2nd) and Nomura (4th) are also ahead of him, as well as two Crusaders, Mike Rutkowski and Eddie Cannon.

Next week: Miners at home, then the start of a 2-week road trip that will begin north of the border in Elkland before turning into a round trip to the East Coast and back. We won’t have another home game after the Miners series until September 1.

We will also have a ceremony on September 2, a Saturday home game against Indy, to retire #28 for Angel Casas!

Fun Fact: Prior to Tuesday, the most recent Continental League pitcher to strike out at least 15 batters was Mark Roberts, who struck out 16 Crusaders on September 2, 2020.

Then of course, Roberts was a sophomore with the Bayhawks. But Jonny Toner actually had two high-K games that July. He rung up 16 on July 12, then 17 on July 23.

(sigh) Jonny Toner…
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2019, 06:16 AM   #2725
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (71-47) vs. Miners (62-55) – August 14-16, 2028

Last stabs at home field experience for this month, which also meant that dear owner Nick Valdes would be in town for the last two games of the set and would inquire again intensely why we had not yet signed a hometown player to boost attendance, and also, return on investment yada yada… I tried to enlist Steve from Accounting to help me out here, but he called in sick, knowing what to expect. There’s no calling in sick for the GM, though…

But back to the Miners, who at 8 1/2 games out still maintained plausible playoff ambitions in the FL East, but had to end the Critters’ 7-game winning streak right here and now. Portland, 10 games up on the damn Elks, was supposed to continue grooving though against the Miners, who were more or less around the average in runs scored and runs allowed in the Federal League, with a mild +34 run differential (Raccoons: +82). They did have the best bullpen in the FL though. The Coons had won two of three from them in our last meeting in 2027.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (10-5, 2.40 ERA) vs. Mel Lira (7-13, 3.12 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (3-4, 5.53 ERA) vs. Erik David (4-2, 2.52 ERA)
Mark Roberts (13-3, 2.80 ERA) vs. Bobby Morris (8-8, 4.03 ERA)

Only righties on offer for this 3-game set.

Game 1
PIT: RF J. Stephenson – CF de la Riva – 1B Santillano – C Henley – 2B Lastrade – 3B Czachor – LF O. Alfaro – SS Zeltser – P Lira
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Rico was nearly getting shackled right in the first inning. Carlos de la Riva homered, he nailed Danny Santillano, then allowed singles with two out to Omar Lastrade and Ryan Czachor to extend the Miners’ lead to 2-0. Up came Omar Alfaro, fomer Raccoon batting .258 with eight dingers on the season, and struck out. Just like I remembered the Age of Omar that never was. The Raccoons pulled even in the bottom 1st in pretty much the same manner; Abel Mora homered, and then Stalker, Harenberg, and Correa rapped off singles to tie the score. That was not all – Matt Nunley turned a 1-2 pitch into another RBI single to left, putting the Critters on top for now, 3-2. “For now” lasted barely five minutes before the Miners ripped Rico for two more runs in the second inning. Bob Zeltser and Carlos de la Riva hit doubles to tie, and Santillano got a single through between Nunley and Ramos to go ahead. J.J. Henley also singled, but Mora caught Lastrade’s fly to end the inning.

And at this point, all offense died. The Raccoons would not get another base hit until Stalker singled in the sixth, while the Miners poked Rico for three more hits, but couldn’t score again and didn’t get him out of the game until the seventh inning stretch. This however still left the Raccoons trailing against Lira, who was silently effective, striking out only two batters through six innings and clinged onto that W that usually eluded him despite his fine pitching throughout the year. The Coons did not get another serious chance (runner in scoring position) until the bottom 7th, and then it was on Lira’s throwing error. The Critters had Rafael Gomez on first (after he forced Tovias), two down and Ramos batting. Alberto hit a shy roller near the mound, Lira threw it away, badly, and the Coons had runners on second and third for Abel Mora, who grounded out pathetically on the first pitch he saw. After this, the Raccoons’ pen came apart in spectacular fashion once again. Nick Derks gave up a 2-run homer to Omar Alfaro (…!) in the eighth, then put de la Riva on base in the ninth. Jeff Kearney was brought in to face Santillano and stop the bleeding, but surrendered another 2-run homer to blow the Raccoons completely out of the contest. 8-3 Miners. Stalker 2-4; Nunley 2-4, RBI; Tovias 2-4;

Game 2
PIT: 3B Czachor – 2B Lastrade – 1B Santillano – RF O. Alfaro – CF de la Riva – C Ross – LF J. Stephenson – SS Zeltser – P David
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Morales – C Leal – P Delgadillo

Yusneldan did not allow a hit the first time through, although Ryan Czachor’s 2-out single in the third ended the Miners’ hitlessness. Czachor, the former Falcon, then ended his on-base presence himself by being caught stealing to end the inning. The Coons had a base hit in every early inning, but it was always a single and never got them close, except to the occasional double play (Morales, bottom 2nd). The game was still scoreless when Danny Santillano bettered his average to .361 with a soft single to right with one out in the fourth and Omar Alfaro continued to try to pay back his old team with a double to center. Runners in scoring position, one out, de la Riva grounded poorly back to the mound for the second out, bringing up sophomore backup catcher Toby Ross, who popped out to Stalker to waste the opportunity. Zeltser doubled in the fifth, but was stranded on a strong play by Rich Hereford at the hot corner, handling a spiked Czachor bouncer for the third out. Bottom 5th, Danny Morales reached on a walk, then stole second almost by accident when Armando Leal fell asleep at the wheel, but Ross did not perform much better. It was Morales’ first bag of the year. He had not topped two stolen bases in a season since 2021… Leal grounded out to Lastrade, allowing the runner to third with one out, but with Delgadillo up. Well, he was pitching a shutout and it was still only the fifth. No need to panic. Nick Valdes, who watched from my office to my dismay because it kept me away from the liqu- … the cookies, eyed me with suspicion at least until Delgadillo dropped a looper behind Zeltser for a single and the first ribbie in the contest. After Ramos whiffed, the Coons loaded them up on Mora’s single to right and full-count walk to Tim Stalker, bringing up Hereford, who had yet to work the magic in this series, but grounded out to Santillano to strand all the precious runners.

Delgadillo maintained a 4-hitter through seven, but was then batted for leading off the bottom 7th. His ERA was still over five, and I didn’t trust him further than he could sneeze a baseball after all. Spencer hit a leadoff double in his place and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch while the top of the order more or less kept failing. It was an insurance run alright, even though we had required Erik David to get there… The Raccoons would turn to Billy Brotman to begin the eighth. He got Zeltser to ground out, and then the Miners sent right-handed former Raccoon Josh Stevenson (not to be confused with Josh Stephenson, both right-handed batting outfielders). The Coons turned around and sent Ricky Ohl for two strikeouts to end the inning. Bottom 8th, Portland loaded the bases with one out on singles by Gomez, defensive replacement Juan Magallanes, and a walk Julio San Pedro issued to Armando Leal. Spencer had remained in the game earlier and was at the plate with three on and one out (but Ramos had been taken off his legs, so Ohl was in the #1 hole). In an ugly play, Spencer lined out to Zeltser on a 1-1 pitch, with Magallanes having made for it, then had to hit the brakes and scramble back. Both Magallanes and Zeltser fell on second base. Magallanes fell on top, so was out, but also fell on Zeltser’s hand, which required repairs. The Miners were out of infielders and had to put primary catcher J.J. Henley into service at this point, but this could only bother him if they rolled up Josh Boles in the first place. Boles faced the 2-3-4 batters, with Lastrade opening with a sharp bouncer to left that Hereford handled very well for the first out. Santillano struck out… and so did Alfaro. 2-0 Coons. Mora 2-4; Magallanes 1-1; Spencer (PH) 1-2, 2B; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, W (4-4) and 1-2, RBI;

Josh Stevenson, Josh Stephenson… I hear they use nicknames in the Miners clubhouse, but I can’t confirm that the former Raccoon’s Josh Stevenson is “Puss”.

Game 3
PIT: RF J. Stephenson – CF de la Riva – 1B Santillano – 2B Lastrade – 3B Czachor – C Ross – LF J. Stevenson – SS Zeltser – P B. Morris
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – RF Gomez – C Leal – P Roberts

The Miners went up in the third inning on a Josh Stephenson triple and de la Riva’s following double, but stranded the latter runner with one out on the board. Roberts walked Santillano, then struck out two, which was his average to start this game, two whiffs per inning through four, although he also mixed in five hits and two walks to explode his pitch count in due time. The Raccoons managed a Ramos walk to start the first, which led as far as Leal’s leadoff single in the third – nowhere. The Raccoons could not figure out Bobby Morris one bit; Hereford reached on an infield single in the fourth, and Ramos hit an infield single in the fifth, but neither got even close to scoring. All this kept Mark Roberts far from a chance at the win even before he got bogged down in the seventh inning on Morris’ leadoff single (…) and drilling de la Riva. He struck out Santillano on a terrible 3-2 swing-and-miss, but at 109 pitches looked quite gassed. Surginer took over against the right-handed Lastrade with two on and two outs, and exited on a grounder back to the mound.

Bottom 7th, Harenberg opened with an infield single. The Coons now had four base hits, only one of which had actually reached the infield dirt. Correa popped out, Gomez hit into a double play. We were obviously not meant to win this game… The Miners added an insurance run on Surginer in the eighth thanks to a leadoff double by Czachor and actually productive outs after that. Bottom 8th, Leal led off with a single that actually made an outfielder move, but Nunley flew out to left when he pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot. Ramos dropped in a single against San Pedro, who then was replaced by lefty George Marsh with the tying run on base. Mora struck out, while Stalker faced righty Howard Haws and grounded out to short. Santillano homered off Fleischer in the ninth to make it 3-0, which could hardly matter at this point. Or could it? It could. Southpaw Mike Greene was in for the bottom 9th. Hereford fouled out, but Harenberg got hit. Correa moved him to second with a grounder, which was rather useless, but Rafael Gomez long shot to left wasn’t… except that it still left the Coons in the losing position by a run, that Santillano homer. Next, Greene ran a 3-0 count against Leal before nailing him, which Leal took personally and made a trip to the mound to discuss this with fisticuffs. A brawl ensued that left helmets and gloves scattered all over the infield, also a hair piece that could not possibly belong to any of our places, all of whom had thick natural fur. Leal and Greene both got tossed and when order was restored Magallanes ran for the ejected Leal while Tovias batted for Fleischer against righty David Galmore, who threw three pitches to end the game on a fly to de la Riva. 3-2 Miners. Ramos 2-3, BB; Leal 2-3; Roberts 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, L (13-4);

While Nick Valdes angrily scribbled notes, the Raccoons had to make a roster move for the weekend once the league handed down 4-game suspensions for Greene and Leal. The pain was real though – Nick Derks would have been an obvious candidate to send back to AAA for the weekend, but he was out of options and sometimes pitching rather competently and we did not want to lose him right now. Other options were Fleischer or Magallanes, but we had not touched their last option so far this year and were not keen on starting now either.

But there was another option – the Raccoons had off days on either end of their 3-game set in Vancouver, so they did not need five starting pitchers; and Dan Delgadillo had already used an option this year. Delgadillo was thus sent to St. Pete to catch some fresh air – but with strict instructions for the AAA staff to not use him – and the Coons added Daniel Rocha to the roster, batting .264 with six homers in St. Pete. He had batted .221 with the Coons in 2027. No homers.

Raccoons (72-49) @ Canadiens (63-58) – August 18-20, 2028

The Elks were now in third place, nine games back (the Titans had gone past them), but were as scary as ever because nothing good had ever happened in Vancouver. They were second in runs scored in the CL, but were also allowing the second-most runs. Their run differential was actually negative at -10. Maybe an offense that had hit a rough spot against Pittsburgh could get pack on the hindpaws against their meh pitching? The season series was well in favor of the Critters, 8-3.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (7-5, 4.01 ERA) vs. Chris Sinkhorn (12-6, 3.30 ERA)
Rin Nomura (13-5, 2.65 ERA) vs. Leon Hernandez (10-6, 3.39 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (10-6, 2.54 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (8-9, 4.63 ERA)

Left, right, right. Some of their most annoying batters were also on the DL, including Brian Wojnarowski and Ted Gura. We would stil have to contend with Alex Torres and Tony Coca, though, also their addition David Fisher, who was leading (qualifying part of) the team with both a .310 clip and 21 homers, although only 11 of those had come with the Elks.

Oh well, boys. Just don’t get swept… everything else we can work out somehow.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Correa – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Anderson
VAN: LF A. Torres – RF Day – CF Coca – 1B D. Fisher – C R. Ortíz – 3B Anton – SS Byrd – 2B Read – P Sinkhorn

Unfortunately Kyle Anderson put the Coons well on the way to get swept with shoddy pitching. David Fisher hit a leadoff single in the second, after which Anderson walked three straight Elks to force in a run, then conceded a second one on Howard Read’s double play grounder. Sinkhorn fouled out, but at the same time did not allow any Critter on base, at least until Fisher dropped Matt Anton’s feed for an error starting off the top of the third, putting Tovias on first. Magallanes singled to center and Anderson bunted the runners into scoring position for Ramos, who frankly was not very hot at this point and had his batting average sack steadily now. He managed a run-scoring groundout, but Morales flew out to right, and the Coons remained 2-1 behind. The signs were bleak. Anderson was fooling absolutely nobody and through four innings sat on four hits, four walks, and no strikeouts. The defense was everything that kept him alive, and the Coons could not get the ball to fall in against Sinkhorn, who allowed no other base hits through five innings. Anderson conceded a second run after an Alex Torres triple and Norman Day’s groundout in the bottom 5th, then continued putting them on base. Ramos’ error put Coca on, and then Fisher singled. Ricky Ortíz ran a 3-0 count before popping out for the third out, which was certainly a case for the Elks’ kangaroo court down the road. The awful Anderson was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth, but Spencer flew out to center to begin the top 6th. Sinkhorn walked Ramos, who stole second, then reached third on Morales’ single to right. Stalker came up with the tying runs on the corners and turned an 0-2 pitch into a run-scoring groundout, cutting the gap to 3-2. Rich Hereford had almost hit a game-tying homer in his previous trip, but it had sailed foul past the pole, now took another rip, but struck out. The Coons remained nailed to two base hits, while the Elks kept swinging away merrily. Coca doubled off Kearney in the bottom 7th, and when Ricky Ohl came in to face PH Adan Myles, batting under .200, he allowed a homer to left that extended the score to 5-2 and totally put the game away, and that was even before Norman Day burned Fleischer with a 2-out, 2-run double in the eighth. 7-2 Canadiens.

Typical game for ****ing Elk Town, the city of ****ing **** stains. I angrily shook the fist from the safety of my couch back home in Portland, being of course still banned from travelling to Canada as a permanent entrenchment on their Top 10 Most Wanted List.

No, the mood was not great right now… and the Titans were resurging and had already erased a quarter of our once-10-game lead.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Nomura
VAN: RF Day – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B D. Fisher – SS Byrd – C Balcome – 2B Read – P L. Hernandez

Two batters in, the Raccoons had a 1-0 lead on account of Ramos’ leadoff walk, 30th stolen base, Riley Balcome’s throwing error on the same, and Abel Mora’s sac fly. Great – now Rin Nomura just had to make it stand up! Anton and Coca lashed singles in the first, but the Elks didn’t amount to a run… surely a good sign, right? Right? Well, for now Riley Balcome remained a tenth Critter on the field, fumbling a good strike for a passed ball in the second inning that allowed Matt Nunley to go from first to second, from whence he then scored on Rafael Gomez’ single to left-center. That ran the score to 2-0, which Elias Tovias then doubled with a long homer to right-center, 4-0, and now you had flashbacks to Game 6 and how Nomura could not handle huge leads. Okay, four probably was not *huge*. Plus, this was the Elks, where we easily could have 15-11 games, one way or another.

Leon Hernandez rung up Nomura for the second out, but still struggled to get out of the inning. Ramos walked, stole second on Balcome again, Mora singled, and Stalker walked, presenting the RBI-less RBI leader Hereford with a 2-out chance to wet your paws for. He grounded out to Anton… It turned out he missed his beat by only one cycle through the lineup – Rich homered on his next attempt against Hernandez, extending the lead to 5-0 in the fifth, so that could probably help to break a mini-slump. Nomura was sharp at this point, having allowed only one runner in the previous three innings, and that Norman Day single had been unwound on Anton’s 6-4-3 grounder, but created a completely unnecessary mess in the bottom 5th. The beleaguered Balcome hit a 1-out single, got forced by Howard Read, but with two outs and the pitcher at the plate, Nomura inexplicably walked Hernandez, then allowed an RBI single to Day. Immediately all my red alerts went shrieking off. The pitching coach was tossed from the dugout to talk sense into Nomura. It worked for the moment; Matt Anton grounded out to Stalker to end the inning and strand two. Nomura walked Torres in the sixth, but struck out John Byrd to strand that runner at third base, but I still had this feeling of inevitable doom squeezing my guts, which was not even eased when the Coons got another error on a 5-3 attempt working in their favor in the top 7th. Stalker had just knocked out Hernandez with a 1-out single when Hereford grounded to third. Anton threw that one away, leaving former Raccoon Jonathan Shook with runners in scoring position and one out against Kevin Harenberg, eeeh, make that Matt Nunley with the bags full after the intentional walk. Nunley was 0-for-3, but Shook was a righty, and I decided to have faith while I was rolled up into a ball and chewed on my favorite pillow. When Nunley lined out unluckily I howled like a mortally wounded dingo, at least until Shook walked Rafael Gomez in a full count to force home a run. Tovias flew out to right, and Nomura got stuck for good in the bottom 7th. Curtis Hargraves pinch-walked with two outs, and Day singled to right to put them on the corners. Portland sent for Kevin Surginer in a double switch that removed Nunley for Jon Correa and shifted Hereford to the hot corner. Surginer brought no immediate relief, shedding an RBI single to Anton, but then rung up Coca, arguably the bigger threat. The Coons stranded two in the eighth, then had two on with one out against Raul de la Rosa in the ninth when Tovias spanked a 3-1 pitch into an inning-ending double play. Reason to keep bracing for impact! Balcome hit a leadoff double off Ohl to begin the bottom 9th, and that was not the last fly hit off Righty Ricky … but the other three were caught by either Mora or Gomez and Balcome never scored. 6-2 Coons. Ramos 1-2, 3 BB; Mora 2-4, RBI; Stalker 2-4, BB; Harenberg 3-4, BB; Gomez 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; Nomura 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, W (14-5) and 1-3;

Wheeze.

The Titans also lost, so the lead was not going to shrink any further and rather rapidly for the moment…

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
VAN: RF Day – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B D. Fisher – SS Byrd – C Balcome – 2B Read – P J. Martin

Harenberg popped out uselessly to strand Stalker and Hereford in the top of the first and it was straight downhill from there. Tony Coca homered to put the Elks up 1-0 in the same inning, and in the third Rico lost leadoff man Read on four pitches before Nunley lost grip on Martin’s bunt and peppered it into the dugout for a 2-base error. Day hit a sac fly, Anton hit a 2-run homer, and the Coons were in full retreat at that point, with the Elks leading 4-0 on two base hits, a mark that the Raccoons were still chasing and only matched in the fifth inning when with two outs … Rico Gutierrez singled.

Sigh!

Mora and Hereford hit singles to begin the sixth inning, and the Coons had to draw serious blood now, or else I could really go and pack my suitcase for the flight to New York. Harenberg hit into a fielder’s choice that left Correa with runners on the corners and two outs, and he grounded out precisely to Howard Read, at which point I accepted my fate. By the time I came back from the bathroom it was the eighth inning, still a 4-run game, though now 5-1, and the commentators said something about Alberto Ramos having brought in a run for Portland, but, eh… spilled milk. I was ready for the airport when the ninth unspooled. Nunley led off with a single against relegated starter Victor Govea, but Tovias struck out. Spencer’s pinch-hit single made it a save chance and brought on Raul de la Rosa, the righty closer who had to face left-handed bats now. It didn’t go so well – Ramos ripped a triple into the gap that suddenly brought up the tying run, Mora, in a 5-3 game. Abel came through with a forceful single past Read’s reach, and it was 5-4 for Stalker, who hit into a fielder’s choice. But, ah, we still had Hereford, who was still due about 7 RBI on the week, so he better start now! He hit a 3-2 pitch to right, Read lunged and knocked it down, but couldn’t hold on, had to scramble through the dirt, and his throw was late, Rich had beat it out! Two on and two out for resident killjoy Kevin Harenberg, who last had enjoyed a clutch hit in the 2026 postseason. No good options were available on the bench, though, so the Coons had to go with what had been a solid slugger so very recently, the thought still hurt. He grounded out to Read, because of course he would. 5-4 Canadiens. Mora 2-4, RBI; Hereford 2-4, BB; Nunley 2-4; Spencer (PH) 1-1;

In other news

August 15 – SAL RF/LF Luigi Banfi (.275, 10 HR, 46 RBI) has recorded a 20-game hitting streak that started in his sixth game with the Wolves after coming over from Charlotte in a trade. Banfi records two hits in the Wolves’ 10-4 win over the Knights to reach the 20-game mark. Nine of the Wolves’ runs score in a riotous fourth inning.
August 15 – The troubled Scorpions lose RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.333, 4 HR, 52 RBI) for up to four weeks with a sprained ankle.
August 17 – The Falcons amount to only three hits against the Warriors, but still win 1-0 on CHA 1B Pat Fowlkes (.280, 14 HR, 48 RBI) going yard to lead off the first inning.
August 17 – The Gold Sox beat the Pacifics, 3-2 in 13 innings, when LAP Joe Vanatti (.282, 5 HR, 37 RBI) overruns the 1-out single of DEN 3B/2B Tony Fuentes (.248, 4 HR, 36 RBI) for an error that allows Denver’s Terry Kopp (.282, 15 HR, 60 RBI) to score from second base.
August 20 – The hitting streak of SAL RF/LF Luigi Banfi (.280, 12 HR, 53 RBI) ends at 24 games as the Warriors hold him and the rest of the Wolves dry in a 6-3 Sioux Falls win.

Complaints and stuff

This week sucked. There is no other way to put it. We scored five runs per game last week, resulting in a 7-0 week. This week we went 2-4 while scoring 3.17 runs per game. Go figure.

Our owner is not a bad person in itself – that is what I believe. But we spent most of Wednesday morning going over the layout of the team store and which jersey should hang where to max out sales. Like that was not bad enough, he also had numbers and charts presented by some weird black kid with huge glasses and one of those new laptops with a virtual display. The kid was constantly nodding his head while elaborating on his charts. He could not have been older than 15. Some sort of economics prodigy with a college degree. Also a freak. We had those dark cookies with the milk cream in the middle and he would ask for a spoon (his mom did allow him to handle knives and Nick Valdes had to promise to watch out in that regard) to open the cookies and scratch out the cream, then only ate the black stuff…

Not that the milk cream went to waste. By the end of the mind-suffocating session, Matt Nunley and three other players were beleaguering the table to fight over the scraps.

Ah. At least nobody broke his leg this week. Ain’t life great?

Fun Fact: Rich Hereford is 10 RBI away from joining the franchise top 10 for RBI in a single season.

That mark is 111, several seasons tying for ninth place here, most recently Hugo Mendoza in 2021. Even though this week was not exactly a showcase for Hereford, he is still within easy reach of even Tetsu Osanai’ pair of 121 RBI season in 1986 and 1990 that still tie for third place. Osanai also holds the all-time Raccoons record with 140 RBI in 1989. Second is Mendoza with 133 RBI in ’20.

Osanai’s 140 RBI tie for fifth all time with a mark fellow Hall of Famer Gabriel Cruz put up the year before in 1988. This was the ABL record for 13 years until Jesus Rivera of the 2001 Capitals broke it with 143 RBI, and that has been the high water mark ever since. Nobody was ever had more than 143 RBI.

In second and third are a pair of Dallas Stars that went on to Portland later in their careers. John Alexander drove in 142 in
08, and then there is Mendoza again, tying for third with NYC Stanton Martin’s 2008 campaign with 141 RBI.

Rich Hereford still needs 17 RBI to even break the single-season ABL top 100.
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic




Last edited by Westheim; 02-12-2019 at 11:38 AM.
Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2019, 07:53 AM   #2726
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (73-51) @ Crusaders (65-59) – August 22-24, 2028

Tying for third place in the North and eight games back were the Crusaders, who had so far won only three of a dozen games against the Raccoons this year. We would very much like to channel that mojo again after a rather meh experience in Vancouver, and also to not invite the whole wolfpack of three teams that still entertained plausible hopes back into the race for the division. New York ranked ninth in runs scored, but fifth in runs conceded. Overall, their +20 run differential was not very impressive.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (13-4, 2.74 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (10-7, 3.73 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (4-4, 5.03 ERA) vs. Robby Gonzalez (8-10, 4.00 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-6, 4.08 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (10-8, 2.81 ERA)

Three more right-handers to face. Also please note that Dan Delgadillo was not yet on the roster, since Armando Leal was still suspended for the opener, so we still carried Daniel Rocha as third catcher.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Roberts
NYC: RF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – SS Cameron – CF Olszewski – 1B Jam. Richardson – LF J. Espinosa – 2B B. Torres – P Marron

At first, Roberts was the guy who threatened to come apart early. The Crusaders sent four men up in the opening inning and all hit the ball excessively hard. Only Andy Schmit got the ball to fall in though, hitting a double to center, after which Felipe Delgado and Joe Cameron both lined out to Hereford in rightfield. The Coons had stranded runners on the corners on Harenberg’s account in the opening inning, and then got Ramos on base with a 1-out walk in the third. Alberto scooped second, moved over on Mora’s fly to center, and then came in when Tim Stalker singled over the shortstop Cameron. That was not all – Carlos Marron unwound quickly as Rich Hereford and Kevin Harenberg fired back-to-back jacks to rightfield, upping the score to 4-0 in a real hurry. That didn’t mean Roberts won by default, though. Anything batting from the right side had a good chance to burn him, and even Marron hit a 1-out double in the bottom 3rd. Roberts might have been fine, but after Ivan Vega’s groundout plated the runner with a wild 1-2 well past Tovias.

Bottom 5th, the 4-1 lead was put further to the nest, as were by strained nerves. Roberts got Jamie Richardson on a grounder to Nunley, then loaded the bases against the bottom of the order on straight singles by Juan Espinosa, Bobby Torres, and PH Nelson Ayala. That would only bring up more right-handed batters. Abel Mora shagged a deep fly by Vega to hold the rightfielder to a sac fly, 4-2, and Hereford caught an Andy Schmit offering at the edge of the warning track to sit down the Crusaders. We had sure been more comfortable with Mark Roberts and a lead… His spot in the order came up with no outs and Nunley and Tovias on base after soft singles off Keith Roofener in the seventh inning. There was probably no harm in getting the bunt down here as opposed to pinch-hitting outright. The bunt worked, the Crusaders walked Ramos intentionally, and that brought up Mora with the sacks full, and he added to the lead with a clean-as-a-whistle RBI single to right. Drew Olszewski then robbed the Coons of major damage done, shagging gappers by both Tim Stalker (for a sac fly) and Hereford (to end the inning), keeping the score at 6-2, which was still the score in the bottom 7th when Roberts was relieved with two outs and Bobby Torres on second base. Ivan Vega very nearly went yard on Jonathan Fleischer’s first offering, but Jon Correa made a leaping grab at the fence as that ball lacked just a iota of depth. Fleischer also did the eighth before the Critters nearly exploded in the bottom of the ninth. Kearney retired two Crusaders before walking Espinosa on four pitches. Torres was a righty, but maybe we’d strike luck- nope, single to center, and quite sharp at that. Time for a pitcher not about to ride off into the horizon. Ricky Ohl came on, saw, balked in a run, conceded another on a Ryan Anderson double, and then somehow Stalker got claws on PH Carlos de Santiago’s bouncer and turned it into the final out before I could get a one-way ticket to the top of the Empire State Building. 6-4 Coons. Stalker 2-3, 2 RBI; Rocha (PH) 1-1;

Ricky Ohl got credit for a save here, because baseball does not award Incinerations as a statistic, although I have lobbied for that for decades.

The pinch-hit single in the ninth was also the last act for Daniel Rocha for now (although he was very likely going to be back in September), as the Raccoons brought back Dan Delgadillo to start on Wednesday and to rebalance the roster.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – RF Gomez – LF Morales – P Delgadillo
NYC: 2B Jam. Wilson – RF Jam. Richardson – LF de Santiago – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – 1B J. Espinosa – SS Vacarri – CF Olszewski – P R. Gonzalez

The Coons scored a quick run with a Ramos walk and singles by Mora and Stalker, but Gonzalez rung up Hereford and got a double play (…) from Harenberg, getting out of the first. Gonzalez went on to hit Armando Leal in our backup catcher’s first plate appearance since being ejected and suspended for brawling after getting hit by Mike Greene, but for now Gonzalez got to keep his nicely shaped jaw. The Coons loaded the bases on Danny Morales’ singled after Gomez hit into a fielder’s choice, and then Gonzalez misfielded Delgadillo’s bunt, trying to nip Gomez at third, which he never really had a chance for. Gonzalez, sweating, walked Ramos on four pitches to push in a run, then gave up a clean single to center to Mora for the next run, 3-0. The bleeding was not yet to stop. Schmit missed Tim Stalker’s fast bouncer for a 2-run double, Hereford hit a sac fly, and Harenberg flew out to center to end the inning at 6-0. Now Yusneldan just had to reasonably hold up against a lineup stacked with every left-handed batter with two legs the Crusaders could find and cram into a lineup – only Felipe Delgado was going to face Delgadillo right-handed.

The Crusaders stranded two in the second, then two more in the fourth. Schmit and Delgado had hit singles off Delgado with one out, but Espinosa struck out – Yusneldan’s first in the game – and Giacobbe Vacarri flew out easily to centerfield. But held on, which was really all he had to – don’t get whacked for five, and you’re fine. Meanwhile Chris Wickham no-hit the Coons for 3.2 innings in long relief, but was finally cracked by Danny Morales with a solo shot to left, running the score to 7-0 in the sixth. Wickham got out of the inning against Delgadillo, but would not log another out. He walked Ramos to start the seventh, then loaded them up on singles to Mora and Stalker. Another right-hander, Jesse Wright, replaced him to face Hereford, who hit an RBI single to right. Wright would not retire many; in fact he only retired Morales, yielding two more RBI singles and a bases-loaded walk in between, and then was broken up by Delgadillo with an RBI single. Now, the Coons were up by a dozen. Keith Roofener was back, surrendered an RBI single to Ramos, but then got out of the horror inning by whiffing Mora and getting Stalker to fly out to right. The score was 13-0 at the stretch, although the Crusaders got on the board in the bottom 7th, where Felipe Delgado took Yusneldan deep – yes, the only right-handed batter he was facing. Delgadillo got stuck in the eighth, walking Schmit and Delgado with two outs, and was replaced by Billy Brotman. Not for Brotman, but just in general the Coons made sure to tack on some insurance run on Blake Lowrey in the ninth. Spencer doubled (in Ramos’ place, who had been taken off his legs), Mora walked, Stalker hit an RBI double. Nunley popped out (Hereford was also off his legs), but Harenberg broke the scoreboard for good with a 3-run shot to right, FINALLY putting him into double digits. Brotman allowed a run on a Jamie Wilson double in the bottom 9th… but did anybody care? 17-2 Furballs! Ramos 1-2, 3 BB, 2 RBI; Spencer 1-1, 2B; Mora 2-4, 2 BB, RBI; Stalker 4-6, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Hereford 2-4, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-6, HR, 4 RBI; Delgadillo 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, W (5-4) and 1-3, RBI;

What a rout!!

We probably won’t score for the rest of the month, but what a rout!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – LF Correa – CF Mora – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 2B Spencer – C Tovias – P K. Anderson
NYC: 2B Jam. Wilson – RF Jam. Richardson – LF de Santiago – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – 1B J. Espinosa – SS Cameron – CF Olszewski – P E. Cannon

The Coons hit three singles, but did not score in the first, instantly fueling my fears that we were actually out of runs for the week. The Crusaders instead scored two in the bottom 2nd with four base hits, first an Espinosa double and then three straight 2-out singles, starting with the opposing pitcher, Eddie Cannon. Ramos and Hereford hit doubles in the third to get at least one run on the board, but that was not enough for Anderson, who was consistently pitching with the bases occupied, and somehow didn’t get blown out completely despite eight hits and two walks against him in the first four innings. There were some untimely pops for the Crusaders, there was a crucial double play the de Santiago hit into, but there was certainly no good pitching to be seen from the Raccoons’ hurler. Delgado hit a single in the bottom 5th, but that was it before Anderson was removed after five abysmal innings, yet still only a 2-1 deficit. He almost was taken off the hook in the sixth; Harenberg, who had struck out twice with a total of four batters on base before, hit a single to left, and then Gomez doubled to center. Olszewski seemed to have made a weak throw, so the Coons sent Harenberg around third, but then Harenberg stumbled, lost pace, and was thrown out to end the inning. Kearney was almost undone by a Cannon double, but held on in the sixth, and Surginer overcame a leadoff walk with a double play in the seventh. The top 8th saw Sean Casey yield a leadoff single to Correa, who was run for by Magallanes. The Colombian stole second base, but Mora struck out, Hereford struck out, and Matt Nunley, hitting for Surginer, grounded out to Jamie Wilson. With the Coons hesitating agonizingly hard, the Crusaders stepped in and put the game away, tearing Nick Derks to shreds in the bottom of the eighth. Olszewski homered, Derks allowed a walk to Wilson, and then surrendered back-to-back doubles to Bobby Torres and de Santiago to give up three runs in total. The Critters only went on to waste another leadoff double in the ninth, Rafael Gomez doing things to Travis Giordano, before the bottom of the order stranded him at third base. 5-1 Crusaders. Correa 2-4; Hereford 2-4, 2B, RBI; Gomez 2-4, 2 2B;

I mean, this was an obvious loss. We were never going to score after plating 17 the other night…

The good news was that we outplayed the competition and held an 8 1/2 game lead going into the weekend in Oklahoma.

Raccoons (75-52) @ Thunder (70-57) – August 25-27, 2028

The Thunder had won four in a row and had a top 3 offense in the Continental League, but their pitching was average at best. They were allowing the sixth-most runs, with an especially porous bullpen that sat dead-last in the CL and that they had not managed to meaningfully improve all season. The season series, which the Raccoons had won the last two years, was still up for grabs as it stood at 3-3 going into this final set of the year – except if the Thunder and Coons would both make the playoffs (which has happened before). They were only six games out in the South, and all they really needed was plenty of wins, right now.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (14-5, 2.65 ERA) vs. Andy Palomares (11-11, 4.83 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (10-7, 2.61 ERA) vs. Danny O’Reilly (1-4, 5.07 ERA)
Mark Roberts (14-4, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jose Vazquez (6-9, 4.16 ERA)

Right-left-right, with the southpaw O’Reilly, being a 27-year-old sophomore with the fitting nickname “Dump Truck”. The Thunder were missing some notable players, foremost Dave Garcia (thumb), Erik Janes (back), and “Butch” Diaz (back).

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Leal – 3B Nunley – P Nomura
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – C Burgess – RF Sagredo – SS Serrato – CF Pagel – 1B McWhorter – LF L. Otero – 2B Kane – P Palomares

Harenberg ended another inning with a foul pop in the first but at least “Bam Bam” Hereford had then singled to left already to cash Tim Stalker and his triple for an early 1-0 lead. Rinse repeat in the third. Hereford singled home Stalker, who this time had doubled, and then Harenberg ended the inning with a strikeout. Unfortunately, Nomura was somewhat leaning on his defense and failed to strike out anybody in the early innings. This included yielding a single to Palomares, moving him to second with a wild pitch, and then conceding the run on Lorenzo Rivera’s single. Rivera would only be left stranded because Mora shagged a 2-out drive by Luis Sagredo in the gap, so probably more offense was a good move here as the Coons led 2-1 after three. Nope – the Coons stranded Leal and his double in the fourth, and then saw Alex Serrato go well yard to left to tie the game leading off the bottom of the inning.

Nomura kept whiffing no one, and in the fifth was in deep trouble. A Leal error had put Mike Kane on base to begin the inning, and after a bunt Rivera hit an infield single. Runners on the corners, one out, and Mike Burgess was down 0-2 but then still lashed a liner to center. Mora made another running catch to hold the game in one piece, and Kane, who had lost his quickness a long time ago, retreated to third base as Mora came in on full steam. Sagredo also fell to two strikes, also didn’t go down on a third, but at least grounded out to Harenberg to end the inning. On to the bottom 7th where scrappy Canadian backup Thierry Becker opened with a pinch-hit single up the middle, batting for Leo Otero. Liam Riley then hit for Kane, but grounded out. The runner advanced to second, but the Thunder did not hit for Palomares, who popped out to Stalker. Rivera popped out to Ramos, and Nomura had gone seven without a single strikeout, then was rewarded for it with the lead. Who else than Hereford would hit an RBI single in the top 8th? Well, no one. This time he plated Abel Mora from second base, putting the Critters up 3-2. Here was Harenberg again, not with the best of games, but he sure knew a cue when he heard one. Hereford was itching to get going for second, but could never get a jump. Harenberg made it easier on him, although I gasped when he ripped a 3-1 pitch. But he ripped it well, all the way over the rightfield fence to extend the score to 5-2. Nomura faced two more batters, whiffing none. Burgess drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 8th, then moved up on a groundout, which then had the Coons go to Surginer, who basically did nothing right. A wild pitch moved Burgess to third, from where he scored on Serrato’s sac fly, and then Surginer shed a single and a walk in a full count, inviting Becker as the go-ahead run, although now the Coons skipped to Josh Boles right away. Not that Becker was a lefty. This just seemed like a good spot. Boles surrendered an RBI single in a 1-2 count to Becker, then another single to left to Andy Bareford. The Thunder sent McWhorter from second base, Rich Hereford threw him out at the plate, and we somehow crawled into the ninth still with the lead. Thankfully Boles would retire the Thunder in order in the following inning, even whiffing two. 5-4 Raccoons. Stalker 2-4, 3B, 2B; Hereford 3-4, 3 RBI; Nunley 2-4;

Game 2
POR: SS Stalker – 2B Spencer – LF Morales – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Gutierrez
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – LF L. Otero – RF Sagredo – SS Serrato – CF Pagel – 1B McWhorter – C L. Riley – 2B Kane – P O’Reilly

The Thunder had a 2-0 lead through four, having scored early thanks to a Lorenzo Rivera leadoff double and two soft singles by Sagredo and Serrato in the bottom 1st, then again on Kyle Pagel’s first homer of the season in the third. The Raccoons had two hits and as many double plays through four innings, but put Hereford on base with a leadoff single in the fifth. Gomez grounded out, but Harenberg mashed a wicked homer to right-center to tie the game. Rico lasted six, but that took him over 100 pitches with some stretches of wonky command in between, and he was not going to be back. It looked like he would get yet another no-decision, at least until Harenberg hit a 2-out dinger off O’Reilly in the top of the seventh that gave the Critters their first lead in the game. Well, Gutierrez still got a no-decision. Brotman issued a 2-out walk to Sagredo in the bottom 7th, was double-switched out for Ricky Ohl, and Ricky AGAIN ****ed it up, being taken yard by Serrato in a full count. That one flipped the score and sent the Critters reeling for a brief period. Tim Stalker singled with one out in the eighth, stole second, and after Spencer lined out to Serrato still came around when Danny Morales dropped a single into shallow center, tying the score at four before Hereford grounded out, and that tie even survived a combined Ohl/Kearney/Surginer attempt to come apart in the bottom 8th. Ohl allowed a leadoff single to Victor Hodgers, Kearney nailed Liam Riley, Surginer fooled nobody, and somehow the Thunder still stranded them in scoring position.

Top 9th, Jonathan Snyder retired Gomez and Harenberg before filling the bases on an infield single by Tovias, Nunley’s pinch-hit single, and then a walk to Mora. Tim Stalker hit a ball to deep center, but could not get it past Pagel, stranding the whole set. Fleischer pitched a scoreless ninth, sending us into extra innings for the first time in a bit. Ramos hit a 1-out single hitting for Morales in the top 10th, but was caught stealing even before Hereford struck out against Snyder. Hodgers reached on a Stalker error to begin the bottom 10th, but was then doubled up by Riley and Fleischer struck out Becker to extend the game. The Coons were down to Derks and Boles at this point, going with the former in a road game, while their offense produced a leadoff single in the top 12th, Mora getting the ball past Rivera. He stole second, then was stranded after Stalker walked, Spencer flew out, and Ramos cracked hard into a double play. The tie was not broken until the following inning, when with one out in the top 13th Max Nelson gave up a booming homer to Rafael Gomez. Nobody else reached and Tovias ended the inning with a K, which led the Coons to empty both their pen and bench in a double switch that with the Coons having had the pitcher in the #8 hole since Rico’s departure would prevent Boles, should he give up exactly one run, having to lead off the 14th at the plate. Leal was the last Coon off the bench, so it was now or never. Josh wisely opted for “now”, retiring Becker, Chris LeMoine, and Rivera in order in the bottom of the thirteenth inning. 5-4 Coons. Stalker 2-6; Ramos (PH) 1-2; Harenberg 3-6, 2 HR, 3 RBI; Tovias 2-6; Nunley (PH) 1-1; Mora 1-2, BB; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K; Derks 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, W (1-0);

The Titans were still hanging in there at 8 1/2 back, but the Critters had at least shoved the Crusaders and Elks back to double digits by this point.

But we would still ask Mark Roberts to be kind to the pen in the Sunday game.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Roberts
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – C Burgess – RF Sagredo – SS Serrato – CF Pagel – 1B McWhorter – LF L. Otero – 2B Kane – P Vazquez

Of course he got shattered, what else could ever happen? Serrato homered to lead off the second, which was still manageable, but the following inning went straight to hell once and for all. Kane doubled, Rivera singled, and Burgess and Sagredo hit back-ot-back bombs to lead the Critters 5-0 when they had already stranded a runner on third base twice in the game. Ramos had walked, stolen second, and been left over in the first, and Tovias had singled, been bunted over, and advanced on a grounder in the third, and also had not been brought home. The Thunder were less picky, and had Roberts in the ropes after just three innings, with no long men available. Kevin Harenberg with his tail suddenly on fire hit a solo shot in the fourth, but that was not going to rescue the team… but they unfurled a 3-spot in the fifth that was certainly making it interesting again. Tovias singled, was bunted over, and was still at second after Ramos grounded out to short. Then the 2-out terror began. Mora walked, Stalker plated both runners with a deep double, then scored on Hereford’s single. Even Harenberg singled, but Gomez couldn’t get a grounder past Serrato and the inning ended.

It was now a 5-4 game, but the Raccoons still required Roberts for length after a wild bullpen night on Saturday. He entered the fifth on 72 pitches, so it was not unreasonable to expect to squeeze another two frames out of him. He got through the fifth alright, then dropped down his third sac bunt of the game after leadoff singles by Nunley and Tovias in the top 6th. With runners in scoring position and one out, suddenly he had a chance for the win again! To my greatest dismay, Ramos struck out ripping when a single would have done so much for us. Abel Mora, well more experienced, knew what was needed, poked a soft single into shallow center, and even Tovias on the back end managed to score with the early start, flipping the score to Coons’ way, 6-5. Stalker popped out to end the inning, and the greedy Coons pushed Roberts into the seventh. Kane hit a leadoff single, but he rung up Riley before departing. Ricky Ohl came on as we grandly planned to use him for five outs. Hodgers batted for Rivera to counter the righty, singled, and so did Sagredo with two outs. The latter one scored Kane to tie the score at six, and there was no undeserved win for Mark Roberts in this game.

More nightmares in the ninth. Mora led off with a single against Snyder, only to get picked off before Tim Stalker doubled to left-center. But the Coons still had the nasty Hereford coming up (but no Harenberg, with Kearney in the #5 hole)! Rich looped a ball to left-center, uncatchable and perfect for Stalker to scurry home from second base to grab a new lead, 7-6. Bareford threw home late, allowing Hereford into scoring position, but the Coons were in a pickle with Kearney. Josh Boles had seen two longer outings in the last two days and was not quite fresh. On the other hand, this was a RISP situation with one out and a bunt was not going to help. The Raccoons achingly decided to send Leal to pinch-hit; Billy Brotman was also available for the ninth, so maybe we would be fine after all. Leal walked, but neither Gomez (F8) nor Nunley (K) came through, leaving this to Brotman indeed. Kane went to 0-2 before firing a deep drive that Hereford snagged at the fence, Bareford singled, Becker singled, and I closed my eyes and sighed. Burgess singled to load them up, and only now the Coons sent for Boles. Three on, one out, winning run at second base, Sagredo poked the 2-2 into play, back to the mound, Boles to home, OUT, Tovias to first – late. Serrato would get a shot with two outs, fired a 2-2 pitch to deep center, Mora back, Mora back, Mora even more back – AND HE MADE THE CATCH!!! 7-6 Blighters!! Mora 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-5, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, HR, RBI; Tovias 3-4; Morales 1-1;

(is blue in the face, but still does not dare to exhale)

In other news

August 21 – Good news, bad news for the Pacifics, who lose C Dylan Allomes (.278, 9 HR, 40 RBI) to a torn quad, but still expect him to come back before the end of the regular season.
August 21 – In further unfortunate events for the city of Angels, the Pacifics get 1-hit by SFW SP Juan Muniz (14-5, 3.28 ERA), who claims athe 2-0 shutout win. LAP OF Justin Fowler (.335, 13 HR, 60 RBI) hits a double right in the first inning for the only L.A. base knock.
August 23 – PIT 3B/2B Omar Lastrade (.268, 7 HR, 49 RBI) could be out for four weeks with an elbow sprain.
August 26 – CIN MR Jon Ozier (4-6, 3.86 ERA) does not just blow an 11th inning, 6-5 lead the Cyclones grabbed in the top of the inning against the Warriors – he walks five batters in the bottom of the 11th to force in two runs in the Warriors’ 7-6 win.

Complaints and stuff

Kevin Harenberg again showed glimpses this week of awaking from his 5-month coma. I mean, it is hardly ever too late, but we sure appreciate him doing something useful from time to time. And with glimpses I mean he batted .370 with SIX homers and 11 RBI this week. It was enough to jump his OPS by 45 points (and it is merely late August…) to .740, the highest it has been since the second game of the season; and also enough to make him Player of the Week, his second such nomination this season, actually beating some years where he was a pretty nifty batter throughout without being made Player of the Week twice (or even once). He has ten such awards in a 9-year career.

We released 2026 third-rounder Dillon Barkley this week. Three years of batting under .200 in Aumsville we deemed enough. There is more like him, f.e. second-rounder George Burke from the same draft, also being utmost miserable in Aumsville.

Roberts’ win on Tuesday locked the season series against the Crusaders for the Critters, which gave them upper paws against New York for the third straight season, a mark they last reached from 2015 to 2017. We have not had a longer winning spell against the Crusaders since the 1990s. On the other hand, Roberts’ torpid Sunday outing probably buried his triple crown ambition for good. His ERA is up to 2.94, eighth in the CL, and he has now dropped behind Tom Shumway and Jonas Mejia, too. He still leads the strikeout race, and is one win behind sole leader Rin Nomura, who remains fourth in ERA behind Gill, Rutkowski, and our dear Rico Gutierrez, but doesn’t have a whiff in strikeouts, which of course was not made better by going 7.1 innings with ZERO strikeouts in his sole start this week.

Fun Fact: 29 years ago today, Jason Turner no-hit the Thunder in a 3-0 win, becoming the second Raccoon to throw a no-hitter after Juan Berrios’ in 1977.

Second Coons no-no artist, and the first one to retire with a winning record. Jason was the #3 pick in the 1983 draft, taken by the Knights and was a #94 prospect when the Raccoons got him at the deadline in 1987 in a 5-player deal that principally sent away ineffective SP Vicente Ruiz and Steve Walker of our scruffy mid-80s middle infield combo, the other half of which was Winston Thompson. The no-hitter the threw on August 27, 1989 was actually not the first of his professional career. He also no-hit the AAA Lubbock Flame on May 30, 1988.

He went on to pitch for the Critters for nine seasons, leading the league in ERA with a 2.55 mark in 1991, and winning 20 games once, but eventually signed up for big bucks in L.A. afterwards.

That was after the 1996 season…...

Funny exercise on top before I am shooed away by the tears; when Jason Turner signed with L.A. we got the best-possible compensation pick in the 1997 draft, the #13 selection, and turned that one into Dan Nordahl, who as you may remember was an often aggravating staple of our bullpen during the Decade of Darkness.

We eventually flipped him and Randy Farley (who had been part of the return for David Brewer after ’97) to the Warriors for Adrian Quebell prior to the 2005 season, a move that soon enough ended Al Martin’s career for no good reason.

Quebell was flipped along with three other players, all marginal, into Stan Murphy the following decade, who then went to the Warriors as a free agent after 2015, giving the Raccoons one of their four supplemental round picks in the 2016 draft. The Raccoons turned those into Zach Graves, Chris Matty (chronologically the Murphy compensation), Dave Dyer, and Justin Chambers, so into two to four busts depending on your threshold for a “good” supplemental round pick. In order, they have been worth 3.1, 0.1, 1.8, and zero big league WAR in their careers, and none currently hold a major league job (Dyer was demoted back to AAA by the Titans), and two have already retired (Matty, Chambers). Now, the 2015 offseason also saw the arrival of R.J. DeWeese (costing us a second-round pick, $16.5M over five years, and countless years of life expectancy for 12.6 WAR before both DeWeese and Matty were folded into a 4-player deal that also exchanged centerfielders with the Thunder. They got Andy Bareford, we got Josh Stevenson.

Stevenson is the player where the direct trail from Jason Turner ends. He spent three years with the Raccoons, then left as free agent and has since bounced from team to team. When the Indians signed him after ’23, no compensation was attached to him. (Although the Raccoons would involve Dave Dyer in a deal for Hector Morales, a 28-year-old lefty still taking up space in St. Petersburg)

Okay, I am not quite done here. Remember how I said Steve Walker was one of the players we shed to acquire Jason Turner in 1987? How far can we go back in the other direction? Steve Walker reaches back a fair bit, all the way to 1981 when the Raccoons picked him up (with Spencer Dicks) in a trade that sent Ken Clark and David Castillo to the Warriors. Both of those last two players connect to the Raccoons in the inaugural season of the ABL in 1977… sort of. They were even in the minor leagues for Portland in 1977 (Clark), or where traded for somebody who was (Castillo). January 1978 saw us trade minor leaguer Guy Mawson to the Knights for Castillo, while Clark, who hit precious little for the 1980 and 1981 Raccoons, initially hit for the cycle in an AAA game in 1978, and actually was the #79 prospect at some point. He hit .254 with 14 homers for the Alley Cats in 1977.

There ya go! An unbroken link of players traded for one another or signed as compensation picks from the 1977 season all the way to the present day, even though the ends might dangle in the minors:

Ken Clark – Steve Walker – Jason Turner – Dan Nordahl – Adrian Quebell – Stanley Murphy – Dave Dyer – Hector Morales
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
2 thanks for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-13-2019), blazertaz13 (02-14-2019)
Old 02-15-2019, 12:07 PM   #2727
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (78-52) @ Bayhawks (58-71) – August 28-30, 2028

The Baybirds were buried at the bottom of the Southern Division, owing to a lack of pitching that had seen their fourth-best offense completely undone by a bottom three rotation and a simply crummy bullpen. Their run differential was -32, so their record was probably a bit worse than you’d expect, but on the other hand they were also 4-2 against the Raccoons for the year. But even in 2027 San Fran had been the only team in the South to not lose their season series against Portland. Not that it had gotten them into the playoffs then, either…

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (5-4, 4.68 ERA) vs. Guillermo Regalado (9-8, 3.92 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-7, 4.05 ERA) vs. Gilberto Rendon (8-6, 4.98 ERA)
Rin Nomura (15-5, 2.69 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (9-10, 4.37 ERA)

Three right-handers against us in the final series oft he month – we’d have Thursday off before rosters would expand for the weekend set against Indy.

Game 1
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Leal – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – 2B W. White – 3B E. Moreno – C Jai. Jackson – P Regalado

The second inning saw the Critters load the bases on a Gomez single, Leal getting nailed, and Nunley squeezing a 3-2 pitch for a walk, only to bring up Yusneldan with one out. At least he put the ball in play, flying out to Ruben Orozco sufficiently deep to bring in Rafael Gomez for the first run, after which Ramos struck out. That Gomez single was the Coons’ only base hit in the first five innings, and Delgadillo would not hold on to the 1-0 lead forever. The Bayhawks had two singles and as many double plays the first time through the order, but Mike Martin, the DP goat in the bottom 1st, hit a 1-out triple in the bottom 4th, and Delgadillo lacked the stuff to get out of that sticky spot. He lost Tomas Caraballo on balls, then surrendered the tying run on a sac fly before Orozco grounded out to Nunley. The Raccoons took a new lead in the sixth, Rich Hereford singling to center to score Abel Mora from second base, but after Harenberg got four wide ones – the Baybirds had obviously taken note of his exploits the previous week – Rafael Gomez chopped into a double play to end the inning.

Regalado opened the bottom 6th with a single to center, and it was all downhill from there for Delgadillo. After two outs shuffled the tying run to third base, Caraballo plated the pitcher with a ground rule double and Cesar Martinez walked. With nothing but left-handed bats approaching, the Coons pulled the plug on the well-travelled Degladillo and sent Jeff Kearney with two on and two outs. He walked Orozco, then surrendered a big liner to Wade White… right into the maws of Hereford in leftfield, stranding three in a 2-2 game. Kearney somehow made it through the seventh and the bottom of the order without being murdered by either the Bayhawks or his own GM, and the Coons got a good opportunity in the following inning when Ying-hua Ou walked Ramos on four pitches to begin the top 8th. Mora singled to put runners on the corners, and San Fran was in a real pickle now…. Or so you’d be forgiven to think. Stalker grounded out to first, moving up Mora, but not Ramos, and Hereford and Harenberg both popped balls up in the ****tiest way, and nobody scored in the inning. Top 9th, leadoff single by PH Jarod Spencer, then a walk to Leal issued by right-hander Alex Ramos. Nunley’s appearance screamed double play in an agonizingly slow game, but he was a left-hander after all. And struck out, as did Jon Correa in the #9 hole. Ramos put the 0-1 in play, grounder past the aging Wade White for a single, and Spencer was not going to be held and beat out Cesar Martinez’ throw to break the tie. The throw to home plate also allowed the runners to advance further, leading to two more runs when Abel Mora singled cleanly through the left side; Leal from second base would not have scored on that ball, but Ramos from second base had not a lot of trouble. The Raccoons turned to Kevin Surginer for the save eventually, with Ohl having thrown the last two days, and Boles even the last three days. Surginer was *relatively* rested, having thrown three pitches on Saturday (and more on Thursday and Friday…). Kevin loaded the bases in eight pitches, allowing a single to Martinez, nailing Orozco, and walking White in four, but the Raccoons had nobody to go to, except Jonathan Fleischer, and no, not with the bags full already. Tom Hawkins hit a sac fly, Jaiden Jackson hit an RBI single, but PH Jose Pulido struck out. That brought up leadoff man George Hawthorne, who fell to 2-2 before popping a pitch foul that Nunley chased to the sidewall … and caught. 5-4 Coons. Mora 3-5, 2 RBI; Spencer (PH) 1-1;

Nick Derks pitched the eighth and got the W. He went 18 appearances without a decision before now taking W’s in back-to-back relief outings.

The Titans beat the Thunder, 9-3, to keep the distance at 8 1/2.

Game 2
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Anderson
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B Hawkins – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – 2B W. White – SS Pulido – C Jai. Jackson – P G. Rendon

The Raccoons bopped their former farmhand Rendon for four runs in the opening inning, all with two outs. Stalker singled, stole second, got a running mate when Hereford walked, then came home on Harenberg’s single to right. Rafael Gomez’ 3-piece to left then reunited everybody in the dugout, even though the inning didn’t end until after a Tovias single when Nunley grounded out. However, the Baybirds would be on Kyle Anderson’s neck right away; there was a leadoff single by Hawthorne, then a clumsy walk to Martinez with two outs, and then Orozco gave the fans some life with a 3-run homer of his own. The middle of the order would go on to fail the Raccoons big time in the following innings. They loaded the bases only to have Harenberg ground out harmlessly to strand three in the top 2nd, then had Hereford fly out harmlessly to strand Ramos and Mora in the fourth … although those latter runs would have been unearned, with Ramos only reaching on a White error. He did steal his 34th base though, inching in closer to the league leaders. None of this helped Anderson a lot, who conceded the lead finally in the bottom 4th when the Bayhawks’ Orozco, White, and Jackson all singled to center to tie the score at four. They did also hit for their pitcher, Gilberto Rendon, in the inning, sending out pinch-hitter Edwin Rendon. No relation, and also no further offense as Anderson struck out both the Replacement Rendon and Hawthorne to strand a pair.

With Tovias on base after a 2-out single, the Coons went on to pinch-hit for Matt Nunley in the fifth, but Danny Morales popped out against southpaw Mike Cavallin. In turn the bottom 5th saw Hawkins lead off with a double, Caraballo went yard to right-center, and twobatters later Orozco homered to left to extinguish a horrendous Anderson, buried under seven runs in 4.1 innings. It would get worse for the Raccoons, who brought up the tying run in the seventh inning, but Tovias grounded out to strand two, and that was after Tim Stalker doubled and left the game with obvious discomfort, replaced by Jarod Spencer, all for nought. The Bayhawks added two runs in a smothering of Nick Derks in the bottom 8th, while the Raccoons entirely feebly and never scored after the 4-run first. 9-4 Bayhawks. Stalker 2-4, 2B; Tovias 2-4; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

If we lose Tim Stalker for the season, I will throw myself into the Bay. But right now, the Druid was still buying all sorts of candles and had no diagnosis prepared before the rubber game.

But there were planes going from Portland to San Francisco all the time. I could still throw myself into the Bay later on…

Game 3
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – LF Correa – P Nomura
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – C J. Ramirez – LF E. Rendon – 2B Pulido – 3B Hawkins – P Huf

This time the Bayhawks scored the four runs in the opening inning, swatting Nomura left and right including a 3-piece by Edwin Rendon. And despite the vibrant dysfunction between Ramos and Spencer, who hit into a double play in the first, the Coons scratched their way back into the game when Nomura temporarily stopped the hemorrhage and instead Portland scored some runs. Ramos tripled and (barely) came home on Spencer’s sac fly in the third, and the fourth saw Hereford reach on a Pulido error before Harenberg went yard to cut the gap to 4-3. Tovias singled, Correa walked, but between Nomura and Ramos the Raccoons failed to find the game-tying base hit.

And then there remained the curious case of Nomura absolutely not getting strikeouts in situations that were screaming out for them. Pulido on first, two outs, Nomura got the opposing pitcher to 0-2 in the bottom 4th, then still managed to surrender a double to Huf, swiftly advancing to surrender a hard grounder to left to Hawthorne. Ramos had to lunge to his right, scrambled deep on the dirt and fired a blast to first base that SOMEHOW beat out Hawthorne to end the inning. That looked like an infield single the whole time … and Ramos somehow still got him.

Top 6th, Tovias’ 1-out single brought up the former Baybird Jon Correa, whose acquisition we by now had chalked up another the category of “we meant well, but it wasn’t meant to be”. He was hardly batting .220 as a Raccoon with only four homers. He would not go yard here, either… but he still beat Cesar Martinez with a fly that fell for a double and provided a great scoring opportunity. With Nomura pitching more badly than in recent memory, the Coons pinch-hit right here, sending Danny Morales, who popped out uselessly, but then Alberto Ramos came through with a double up the rightfield line that flipped the score (giving Nomura an optional W) and put him a homer shy of the cycle. And Spencer? Spencer looked at strike three… That stranded Ramos at second, one inning before Correa flew out to Martinez to strand a full set of runners. Surginer and Ohl exploded in the bottom 7th then; Kevin had pitched the sixth, but put on Hawkins (walk) and Omar Millan (single) to begin the seventh. When Ricky Ohl replaced him, he surrendered a score-flipping triple to Hawthorne right away. Somehow, THAT runner remained on base despite arriving at third with nobody out… Cavallin and Armando Pena did away with the Coons in the eighth before Alex Ramos came out for the ninth. Abel Mora led off with a single, which promised not a whole lot with Hereford having been muted for most of the series and 0-for-4 in this game. He struck out. Harenberg flew out to Hawthorne in center, but Gomez got a ball over the head of Mike Martin for a single. Mora dashed for third base, bringing up Tovias, who was 4-for-4 and could not possibly have another single in his bat. He didn’t. On a 3-1 pitch, he popped out to short… 6-5 Bayhawks. Ramos 3-5, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI; Gomez 2-5; Tovias 4-5, 2B;

Maybe, instead of drowning myself in the Bay, I should drown Elias Tovias in the Bay. That would release a lot of frustration.

The Titans won two of three from the Thunder, moving in to 7 1/2. The Coons were idle on Thursday, but the Titans started a 4-game set with the Crusaders, in fourth place and 11 games out, on Thursday and lost the opener against Doug Moffatt, putting our lead as the calendar flipped to September at eight games compared to Boston, ten over the damn Elks, and 10 1/2 over New York.

Also, by Friday morning I found out that Tim Stalker had a broken foot. Off he was to the DL, but there was a solid chance he would be available for the playoffs.

If we ever made it there, eight ahead with 29 to play.

Raccoons (79-54) vs. Indians (58-75) – September 1-3, 2028

The Indians were last in offense, scoring just 3.5 runs per game, and even though their pitching was solid the combination was never going to amount to a winning team. They did have the best defense in the league though, so something to envy there… The season series stood 7-4 in the Raccoons’ favor.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (10-7, 2.63 ERA) vs. John McInerney (8-9, 2.97 ERA)
Mark Roberts (14-4, 2.94 ERA) vs. David Saccoccio (10-10, 3.16 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-4, 4.58 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (3-5, 3.69 ERA)

McInerney was a southpaw, then two right-handers. We might also see swingman Myles Mood (0-0, 1.52 ERA) in the series. Him and Matthews had both tossed in a double header on Monday.

And of course, rosters expanded, so while the Raccoons shed Tim Stalker onto the DL, they still brought up a number of replacements, some familiar.

Jaden Booker had been mostly useless even in AAA, but we were paying his sorry bum and would try to get something, anything out of it in September. We also added Butch Gerster again (badly necessary with Stalker gone) and opted for another middle infielder in German Sanchez. Daniel Rocha took the job of catcher #3. Bullpen reinforcements came via the inevitable Steve Costilow and left-hander Jeremy Moesker, who was the only one in the crowd to not have already appeared for the Raccoons this season, but had made eight relief appearances last year for a 6.35 ERA.

Game 1
IND: SS Pizano – 2B T. Johnson – C Kennett – CF Suhay – LF Plunkett – RF Ryder – 3B C. Castro – 1B Aleman – P McInerney
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – 2B G. Sanchez – P Gutierrez

Rico was in no hurry in this game; he needed 44 pitches to get through the Indians’ lineup once and ran five full counts while doing so. While the Indians did not get a hit or run, this was not the most efficient way to keep an only slightly enlarged bullpen engaged… At least the Critters had pulled out a run in the bottom 1st, with Ramos walking and coming around on a pair of singles by Morales and Gomez before Hereford stuck a dagger into the inning with a double play grounder before Harenberg struck out for good. The Indians’ first hit would then flip the score, a 2-run homer by Alex Aleman that came with two outs in the fifth and was also unearned. Mike Plunkett had reached base on a German Sanchez error. The Critters got even in the bottom 5th on some 2-out rally that saw Ramos single, Morales walk, and Gomez hit a wicked bouncer over the glove of Mario Pizano to bring Ramos around. Pizano got revenge on Hereford then, shagging his dying bloop while racing for the outfield to end the inning, the hit a double to lead off the top 6th, but he would also make the third out at third base, tagging up on Elliott Kennett’s fly to center, only to get thrown out by Magallanes, who hit a 2-out single in the bottom 6th. Jon Correa batted for Sanchez, hit a single to right to put runners on the corners, and that ended both starting pitchers’ day. The Indians yanked McInerney for right-hander Manny Estrella, while the Raccoons used men on the corners with two outs to remove Rico and his “advanced” pitch count. Abel Mora came, walked, and loaded the bases for Ramos, who flew out to Zachary Ryder, and three more Coons were left stranded… The game then got away in a hurry from Kevin Surginer, who got rocked in the top 7th for a Mike Plunkett homer, a Ryder triple, and then Manny Sanchez’ run-scoring groundout. Gomez and Hereford hit singles in the bottom 7th, and Harenberg hit into a double play to kill the effort. Eliott Kennett added a 2-run homer off Costilow in the eighth for the final tally. 6-2 Indians. Gomez 3-5, 2 RBI; Correa (PH) 1-1; Spencer 1-1; Nunley (PH) 1-1;

How nervous a 3-game losing streak against really bad teams makes me right now?

There are five spilled cups of coffee (with Capt’n Coma; okay mainly Capt’n Coma) on and under the desk and you still ask stuff like that?

But, ah, it gets better. For Saturday we had Angel Casas bobbleheads and also a small number retiring ceremony for our newest Hall of Fame closer. That also meant that there was media interest, everybody wanted a piece of the action… and so Nick Valdes was not going to be far from Portland, either… and that with us having dropped three straight to beaten teams.

Game 2
IND: SS Pizano – 3B E. Sosa – C Kennett – CF Suhay – RF Ryder – LF M. Cowan – 2B Wagner – 1B Aleman – P Saccoccio
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 2B Hereford – RF Gomez – C Leal – 3B Nunley – LF Booker – P Roberts

Roberts allowed rockets right from the start and before long bled for two runs on Ryder’s 2-out double in the top of the first. The Raccoons loaded them up in the bottom of the inning, but could only get a sac fly by Gomez, plating Ramos, before Leal flew out to right. But to remain fair to Saccoccio – at least he tried to help out the weirdly hesitating Raccoons and hit back-to-back batters, Gomez and Leal, to begin the bottom of the fourth. Tying and go-ahead runs aboard, the Critters had the chance to shine! Nunley’s single loaded the bases with nobody out for .180 menace Jaden Booker, who struck out in all his futility, when even Mark Roberts managed to lob a fly to center deep enough to get Gomez home and tie the score. Ramos fired a liner to center that fooled Ben Suhay bad enough to fall for a 2-out, 2-run triple, and we could have done more if Abel Mora had not struck out to keep the score at 4-2.

Alex Aleman hit a leadoff single in the fifth, but Roberts struck out the next three, including Todd Johnson as he batted for Saccoccio on the losing end now. The Indians went to Estrella again, and the Critters’ Kevin Harenberg went into the gap for a leadoff double in the bottom 5th. The Indians walked Hereford intentionally to set up the double play, a really mean strategy that oughta be forbidden! Gomez struck out before Curt Wagner missed Leal’s grounder for a bases-loading single. Three on, one out for Nunley, who held still long enough to draw ball four, and even Booker got in a run with a sac fly, stretching the score to 6-2. After the early onslaught, Roberts cruised until the eighth when Kennett got him for a 2-out solo home run, but that still had the Raccoons up by three with a now well-rested Josh Boles eager for murder… and then Rich Hereford took the chance away from him with a 2-out single in the bottom 8th, plating Butch Gerster, who had opened the frame with a pinch-hit single in Roberts’ spot. Instead, the Raccoons sent Derks into the ninth, which sounded a lot like begging for trouble, but he did away with the Indians in six pitches to even the series and set up a rubber game for Sunday. 7-3 Raccoons. Ramos 2-5, 3B, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, BB, 2B; Leal 2-3; Gerster (PH) 1-1; Roberts 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W (15-4) and 0-1, RBI;

This re-tied Roberts for the lead in wins, and he led the strikeout table by an even dozen, but unfortunately his ERA was constantly on the rise and still roughly half a run behind the new leader, Mike Rutkowski.

Game 3
IND: SS Pizano – C Dear – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – LF Plunkett – 2B E. Sosa – 3B T. Johnson – RF Aleman – P Mood
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Swingman Mood did end up facing the Raccoons, as well as a 2-0 deficit after the first inning. Mora had doubled, scored on Harenberg’s roller through Jon Gonzalez, then had allowed another double to Hereford and finally a sac fly to Rafael Gomez. The Indians got on the board in the third with Matt Dear singling in Pizano after a 2-out double. The Raccoons had an answer to that, right away, and it had substance: Ramos led off with a walk in the bottom 3rd, stole second, then scored on Mora’s single to right. Harenberg walked, Hereford advanced the runners with a groundout, Gomez plated Mora with another grounder, and then Tovias fired a 2-run shot on the first offering from Mood, staking Delgadillo to a 6-1 lead. Suhay pulled one back with a leadoff jack, but Hereford drew a bases-loaded walk against Alberto Molina in the bottom of the fourth to extend the gap to five again. The next time Hereford came up the Raccoons had Ramos on second after a walk and a stolen base, Harenberg on first with another walk shed by Molina, and Hereford broke through with a 3-run homer to right-center to bury the Indians two slams deep, 10-2. After this sixth inning, the Raccoons removed (almost) every piece of value from the lineup; only Gomez (moved in to first base) and the bottom three remained by the top of the 7th, and Delgadillo was gone before the seventh inning stretch, too, allowing Plunkett and Elias Sosa on base to begin the inning, then giving up an RBI single to Mike Roesler in the #9 hole. Surginer came in, walked Pizano, then gave up a bases-celaring double to Matt Dear before Jon Gonzalez grounded out. Suddenly I wished our sluggers back into a 10-6 game… Fleischer got rid of the Indians in speedy fashion in the eighth, and for the ninth they brought up the bottom of the order and we were sure we could risk getting Steve Costilow engaged despite his 9.00 ERA. Ah, small sample size (4 innings)! Todd Johnson popped out foul, Alex Aleman grounded out to short, and Costilow fielded Manny Sanchez’ roller himself for the final out. 10-6 Raccoons! Mora 3-4, 2B, RBI; Harenberg 1-2, BB, 2B, RBI; Hereford 2-3, BB, HR, 2B, 4 RBI; Nunley 2-4;

In other news

August 29 – VAN SP Leon Hernandez (10-7, 3.46 ERA) is discovered to have a partial tear in his UCL and is out for the season. The Canadiens will have him try and rehab the injury rather than go for Tommy John surgery.
August 30 – The Canadiens run over the Falcons in a 14-1 thrashing, with VAN LF/CF Alex Torres (.279, 19 HR, 93 RBI) plating six runs on three hits from the leadoff spot.
August 30 – The Titans’ only base hit in a 4-2 loss to the Thunder is a 2-run home run by 1B Bob Lloyd (.274, 21 HR, 82 RBI) off OCT SP Jeff Dykstra (15-9, 3.38 ERA).

Complaints and stuff

Stalker and the Druid were not very subtle about the broken foot. I found Stalker with a leg cast on my couch as I crawled into the office on Friday. At least his cast was Raccoons brown, not like Nunley’s earlier in the year.

Ricky Ohl will keep wearing #28 for the rest of the season and switch to a new number next season. He has already joked that once he will have won his second ring, he will go to #38 and just keep counting.

Rich Hereford did not a have a great week until he broke out for 4 RBI on Sunday, but still managed to zoom up the franchise leaderboard for RBI in a single season. Tying for tenth before this week, he moved up to a tie for seventh:

PORTLAND RACCOONS – SINGLE SEASON RBI LEADERS
1st – Tetsu Osanai (1989) – 140
2nd – Hugo Mendoza (2020) – 133
t-3rd – Tetsu Osanai (1986) – 121
t-3rd – Tetsu Osanai (1990) – 121
5th – Luke Black (2008) – 120
6th – Mark Dawson (1983) – 119
t-7th – Albert Martin (2003) – 117
t-7th – Rich Hereford (2028) – 117
9th – Mark Dawson (1988) – 115
t-10th – several players – 111

We will start the next week with a crucial 3-game set against the Titans, who lost three of four over the weekend against New York, a GREAT result for the Raccoons! In fact, the Titans would have been swept if they had not rallied for a 5-run ninth on Saturday to pull out a 7-6 win in walkoff fashion. We are also far enough ahead that even winning only one of three games against them could be considered a moral victory for us, because we’d still reduce the magic number by two that way. Just don’t get swept…!

Here is the remainder of the road for the competitors in the North for the final four weeks. We will include the Crusaders and Elks… they are all on top of one another, and if the Raccoons went on a losing spree, any of those three could grab second and chase us down. List includes the playoff chance as per BNN:

POR (81-55) – BOS (6), IND (4), VAN (4), LVA (3), MIL (3), NYC (3), TIJ (3) – 98.1%
BOS (73-65) – POR (6), ATL (3), IND (3), MIL (3), NYC (3), SFB (3), VAN (3) – 1.8%
NYC (71-66) – VAN (6), MIL (4), BOS (3), IND (3), LVA (3), TIJ (3), VAN (3) – 0.0%
VAN (70-66) – NYC (6), MIL (4), POR (4), ATL (3), IND (3), NYC (3), SFB (3) – 0.0%

The Condors, up by 8 1/2 in the South, also have a playoff chance of roughly 98%.

Fun Fact: With his bases loaded walk drawn on Saturday, Matt Nunley took sole possession of third place in career RBI for the Raccoons.

Nunley has plated 870 runners in his Coons career (so, all of his career). He still trails Neil Reece (905) and Daniel Hall (980) and does not look like he has much of a shot at least at the latter, but he is also still under contract for 2029. He had been tied with Mark Dawson, who had however plated his 869 RBI in more than 2,000 fewer plate appearances as a Raccoon.
Attached Images
Image Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2019, 07:00 AM   #2728
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (81-55) vs. Titans (73-65) – September 4-6, 2028

Nine games out, the Titans were still the nearest chasers of the Raccoons in early September, which again meant that even just one win in the 3-game set would already have to count as a success for us. Just don’t get swept, boys! The Titans were scoring fewer runs than the Critters, sitting in seventh in the CL, while having conceded the third-fewest runs. Those were not really the numbers of a team that would have good chances to win it all, and the Raccoons would try to make sure they wouldn't win as much as the division. The season series stood at 7-5 in the Critters’ favor.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (15-5, 2.81 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (8-11, 3.64 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-8, 4.47 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (2-4, 2.96 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (10-7, 2.53 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (10-10, 2.91 ERA)

The Raccoons would lead off with Nomura rather than Anderson, switching the two around, to break up the three left-handers again on one paw, but more importantly to not lead off with the currently weakest member of the rotation to artificially maybe create a pressure situation. Each game promised to feature opposite-handed starting pitchers, with Wingo the only lefty Titan on offer.

Game 1
BOS: LF W. Vega – RF Kuramoto – 1B B. Lloyd – SS Spataro – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C Skinner – P Viamontes
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – C Leal – LF Correa – 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – P Nomura

Rin Nomura expertly created artificially maybe a pressure situation with a terrible 33-pitch opening inning in which the Titans ticked him for three singles, a walk, a wild pitch, but only one run with Jon Correa taking Bob Lloyd’s long drive at the fence to at least prevent even further early damage. Of all people, Adrian Reichardt grounded out with the bases loaded to end the top of the first. Oh well, at least Viamontes did way, way worse in the first. Ramos led off with a single but could not get a steal off before Kevin Harenberg’s renaissance continued with a 2-piece to right-center. Not to take a seat back, Rich Hereford homered to center, and before Viamontes could shake that one off, Leal hit a single and Correa went deep to left-center to procure a 5-1 lead on three bombs.

Before long, it rained on the parade – literally. Typical Portland September weather led to a 1-hour rain delay in the third inning, and Nomura was only worse afterwards. He did not get out of the fourth inning, offering a single to Reichardt, three walks, a wild pitch, and two runs were already across with Yasuhiro Kuramoto and Bob Lloyd on base after 2-out walks as the tying runs. Kevin Surginer came on, but blew the game for good. He walked Keith Spataro, after which Adam Corder legged out a run-scoring infield single. A single to right-center off Rhett West’s bat plated two and flipped the score for Boston, 6-5, before Reichardt again grounded out to end the inning. Both teams now had a 5-spot, and neither still had their starting pitcher in the game. The Raccoons would just keep coming apart. There was a Leal throwing error in the fifth that somehow did not lead to a run, but Nick Derks got trampled in the sixth inning with back-to-back walks to Lloyd and Spataro to start the inning, another wild pitch, then Rhett West’s next 2-run single up the middle. Despiritingly, the Raccoons showed next to no rally. They did literally zero in the middle innings, then got leadoff singles in the seventh (Nunley) and eighth (Mora). They either hit into a double play or three pathetic soft flies, and never got a man to second base. Ryan Corkum then issued a leadoff walk to Correa in the ninth, but Spencer grounded to short for a fielder’s choice. Nunley then grounded back to the mound to allow Corkum to turn a 1-6-3 game-ender. 8-5 Titans. Ramos 2-4;

This looks like your run-of-the-mill oh-they-scored-some-more-than-us loss, but it was actually devastating. I am crushed inside …!

(is handed a bottle of Capt’n Coma by Slappy)

Game 2
BOS: CF Reichardt – LF W. Vega – 1B B. Lloyd – RF Good – C Leonard – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – SS Spataro – P Wingo
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – CF Mora – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – P Anderson

Portland again scored in the first on Ramos’ leadoff double, a stolen base (third, in this case), and eventually Hereford’s productive groundout. Mora had also reached base to allow for that. Kyle Anderson responded in depressing fashion with two leadoff walks to Keith Leonard and Rhett West in the top 2nd, then conceded a soft single to Corder to put three on with nobody out. It would not get better. Anderson lost Spataro to a game-tying walk, and then the Coons could not turn two on Dustin Wingo’s grounder to Hereford, falling 2-1 behind. Runners on the corners for Reichardt, who grounded back to the mound, and AGAIN no double play; the Coons were just too slow to turn them. At least Corder remained pinned at third base and Willie Vega came up still with runners on the corners and two out. On the third pitch he saw, Elias Tovias had a smart idea and tried to pick Reichardt off first base. Unfortunately, he threw the ball past Harenberg and Corder scored on the error, and Reichardt moved to second and scored on Vega’s single to left. Bob Lloyd would end the inning with a strikeout, but to be fair to him, he could not stop laughing and had no chance of hitting any of the garbage Anderson was tossing his way. The Titans were up 4-1, and the Raccoons looked like they were routed already.

Butch Gerster homered in the bottom 2nd for some weird touch to the game, but the horror show continued unabated. Leonard hit a 1-out single in the third, went for third on Rhett West’s single to right, but scored on Rafael Gomez’ horrendous throwing error. Amazingly, the Raccoons – despite all the sucking – stayed close. Rich Hereford’s 2-run blast in the bottom 3rd, which plated Morales, surely helped. With that, it was 5-4 Titans after three innings. Too bad that the Coons kept trotting Anderson out there. Top 4th, leadoff single by Reichardt, a pop by Vega, then a POP by Bob Lloyd, some 410 feet to left, 7-4. That was it for Anderson, but the Raccoons now actually had to worry that they would not have enough garbage time pitchers. That Jeff Kearney would not retire ANY left-handed batter he was assigned surely didn’t help. He put the next three Titans on base, then escaped unharmed when the Critters finally turned a double play on Corder (decidedly not a left-handed batter) to end the top 4th. Portland loaded them up in the bottom of the inning on a Tovias double, followed by walks to Gerster and Jon Correa, bringing up Ramos with one out. Alberto made sure that Wingo would not get the W, either, firing a liner up the rightfield line to plate two on a double. The Titans had seen enough, bringing righty Armando Gonzales as replacement, meaning that both pitchers had lasted 3.1 innings and had bled for a combined 13 runs. Err, make that 15 after Abel Mora’s score-flipping 2-out single to right. Hereford hit a double after that, but Harenberg fouled out to strand two in scoring position in an 8-7 game through four innings. The madness.

There was just the slight problem that the Raccoons would have to protect that lead for five innings with an already battered bullpen. They got through the fifth between Fleischer (two outs) and Jeremy Moesker (one out), but the sixth inning would see a completely wacko game rise to its next fever pitch. The Raccoons hoped to get Moesker through the inning against the 3-4-5 batters, right-hander Bob Lloyd followed by two southpaws. Moesker walked Lloyd, got Matt Good to pop out, but then also walked Keith Leonard. Crisis. And it did not look like any salvation was to be born any time soon. Maybe a double play from – nope, he walked Rhett West. I screamed like a horrified little girl, clutching Honeypaws in my right hand and a bottle of booze in my left. Three on, one out, the Coons hoped for a strikeout or two from Ricky Ohl who entered along with Jarod Spencer in a double switch (that saw Hereford move to left) as well as more rain that quickly got worse. Ohl fell 2-0 behind Corder, who hit a drive to leftfield, where Hereford had been supplanted in the double switch, but the ball turned barely foul before it could become a bases-clearing double. With that, the home field umpire jumped out, soaked, behind home plate and waved for the grounds crew. Oh great, just when we went to our least-flammable right-handed reliever! The tarp came onto the field as the skies tried to drain man and mouse, and every other critter in the city. It never stopped dousing from above, and the game was fantastically called after two hours of delay. 8-7 Coons!? Ramos 2-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Mora 1-2, BB, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Gerster 1-2, BB, HR, RBI;

I had lost consciousness from all the screaming after some point, but after the game was called Maud woke me up. What are you talking about, Maud? We won?? – But the writing was on the wall all game long…!

Dodged a BIG BULLET here. Needless to say, the Titans were furious, but the rulebook was what it was…

Rico, how about some GOOD PITCHING now?

Game 3
BOS: LF W. Vega – RF Kuramoto – 1B B. Lloyd – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – SS S. Williams – C A. Arias – P Waite
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 2B Hereford – RF Gomez – C Tovias – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez

By the first inning the Raccoons were on five wild pitches in the series, but Yasuhiro Kuramoto, who reached on an infield single, would be stranded at second when Corder grounded out. Nobody scored in the early innings; the Critters loaded the bags in the second inning, but only with two outs and then brought up Rico, who hit a fly to left that was no challenge at all for Vega. Hereford drew a leadoff walk in the fourth but didn’t advance until Jon Correa legged out an infield single with two outs. Nunley came up and turned a 2-2 pitch around into shallow center for a single. Reichardt had played a wee bit deeper and the Coons sent Hereford around third base to prevent another three on, two outs for Rico, which worked out with Hereford beating the throw to home plate by about two steps, scoring the first run in the game. Then Rico even singled, loading the bases for Ramos, who unfortunately flew out to Reichardt to keep it 1-0.

Rico looked totally fine through five, then allowed a leadoff double to Waite in the sixth, one of the cardinal sins for pitchers. Vega flew out to shallow center, no chance for Waite to advance, so we had still a shot at getting out of the inning. Kuramoto popped out to Nunley, Lloyd grounded out to Ramos, and Rico Gutierrez still nursed a 3-hit shutout through six. But his pitch count was elevated (88 through a quick seventh) and it was a 1-0 game and I was not inclined in such a pivotal contest… Gomez and Tovias opened the bottom 6th with singles, but Nunley would kill the effort with a double play, and add-on offense seemed nigh impossible to come by. Mora hit a double in the seventh that led nowhere, but we had not hit for Rico, either, who faced the bottom of the order in the top 8th. Stephen Williams hit a vicious fly to right that Rafael Gomez would catch while bumping into the fence, but the fence would look worse for wear afterwards. Alex Arias and Waite grounded out easily, putting Rico at 96 pitches. Now, if the Coons could burst out in the bottom 8th, then Rico could still – well, did one run qualify as burst? Gomez hit a 1-out double, then came around on Leal singling in Correa’s place. That was 2-0, but was that enough for Rico to face the top of the order? No, the win was more important than personal glory – the Raccoons sent Josh Boles. Our closer got two outs, then walked the bases full. Portland Panic at its finest, the Coons catapulted Ricky Ohl forth from the bullpen. He would face Reichardt – but, no, Keith Leonard pinch-hitting now to counter the righty! The count ran full, Leonard cracked the 3-2 to the right side! Harenberg lunging and knocking it down! Ohl over to first, the toss, IN TIME!! 2-0 Furballs!! Gomez 2-4, 2B; Tovias 2-4; Correa 2-3; Leal (PH) 1-1, RBI; Gutierrez 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, W (11-7) and 1-3;

GASP…!!!

This was Rico’s first W in almost a month. He had most recently beaten the Loggers in a rain-blighted, five-inning outing on August 9 in Portland.

Raccoons (83-56) @ Loggers (59-80) – September 8-10, 2028

The Loggers were a series loss away from another losing season, their fifth straight and six in seven seasons after their only championship in 2021. They were in the bottom three in runs scored, near the bottom three in runs allowed, but would still hope for an upset to get out of the cellar. This was the last series of the year with Milwaukee, but the Coons had already taken the season series (as usual), having taken 10 of 15 prior games.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (15-4, 2.96 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (7-13, 4.69 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-4, 4.73 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (7-11, 4.30 ERA)
Rin Nomura (15-5, 2.99 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (8-5, 3.35 ERA)

Southpaw, then two non-southpaws.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – CF Magallanes – P Roberts
MIL: RF V. Diaz – SS Ferrer – CF W. Trevino – 1B S. Garcia – 3B Holder – LF Schorsch – 2B Dresch – C J. Salazar – P Colmenarez

While Tom Schorsch put the Loggers in front with a solo shot in the second inning, the Raccoons’ first two hits belonged both to Rafael Gomez, a 2-out single in the first and a leadoff double in the fourth. The latter at least had promise, but Hereford flew out to Vinny Diaz, Harenberg grounded out to Manny Ferrer, and Tovias struck out altogether, stranding Gomez at third base. The Loggers responded with a dumb move; Steve Garcia’s leadoff double and a Kaleb Holder single had put runners on the corners with nobody out in the fourth. Schorsch struck out, and with Corey Dresch at the plate Holder suddenly took off and was thrown out with plenty of daylight between himself and second base. Dresch then grounded out to end the inning. The Raccoons responded with runners on the corners and no outs in the fifth after a pair of leadoff singles from Butch Gerster and Juan Magallanes. That did bring up the pitcher, who was not asked to bunt and struck out instead. Ramos popped out to Ferrer, which would not helped either way, but the Coons might have taken the lead on Danny Morales’ 2-out single to right had Roberts gotten the bunt down. Morales could only tie the game now, but Rafael Gomez also rammed a grounder past Dresch for another 2-out single, and that one got Magallanes across to claim a 2-1 lead. Hereford hit a deep fly to left, but had it caught to end the inning.

The lead would not last. Roberts was searching for his good stuff in the middle innings, didn’t find it, and instead gave up a run on back-to-back doubles to left by Ferrer and Willie Trevino in the sixth inning. He led off the top 7th with a single off Colmenarez though, and the situation became interesting when Ramos dropped a blooper near the rigthfield line that took Vinny Diaz forever to get to, allowing Ramos to reach second base on a double even with the lead-footed pitcher ahead of him. Two in scoring position, no outs in a tied game. Get ‘em, boys! After Morales lined out, the Loggers baffled themselves with an intentional walk to Gomez. True, Rafael was 3-for-3 in the game, but that was Rich Hereford stepping in with the bases full and one out, looking to add to his 121 RBI. Colmenarez did his best, almost fooled Rich, but he dug out a low ball for a floater over the head of the lunging Ferrer for an RBI single, putting Portland back in front, 3-2. The Loggers yanked Colmenarez for right-hander Mike Tandy against Harenberg, and Ferrer was removed alongside in a double switch for Jason Rauser. Harenberg popped out (oh, the clutch!), but Tovias singled cleanly to left to make it 4-2 as Ramos came across. Mora batted for Gerster to counter the righty Tandy, but struck out. And Roberts? Still no stuff. The Loggers rallied on Hereford’s error that put Dresch on base to begin the bottom 7th, after which Roberts nailed Diaz with two outs, then allowed an RBI single to PH Wilson Aquino. The Coons sent for Ricky Ohl, the Loggers brought Alexis Rueda as counter to that move, and the left-hander prevailed, singling past Harenberg into right. Diaz scored, but the Coons ended the inning when they caught Aquino in a rundown between second and third and got him for the third out, but the game was tied again, four-each the score.

Top 8th, southpaw Travis Feider was in for Milwaukee with Nunley having already been inserted into the #8 hole after the top 7th, Mora having stayed in the game rather than Magallanes. Nunley grounded out, but Spencer singled in the #9 hole, bringing up Ramos, who found the gap in right-center for extra bases. The Coons waved Spencer around to score and Ramos slid safely into third base for a go-ahead RBI triple! …and was stranded there. Morales grounded out poorly, and Gomez flew out to Jeff Becker in center. But the game would soon get more stupid. Bottom 8th, Nick Derks would face one batter only, Steve Garcia, and walked him. Brotman replaced him, but filled the bags when he walked Schorsch and lost Dresch to an infield single. John Salazar was hitless on the season and got nailed, forcing in the tying run. Rauser flew out to shallow center, Diaz struck out, but the Loggers had tied the game for the third consecutive inning. Pesky bunch! They would not extend that run, for Portland did not score in the top of the ninth. When the Loggers went down in order against Brotman and Surginer, the game went to extras, where Surginer prevailed in the bottom 10th as the Loggers threw every single left-handed batter with two arms and legs they could find at him, but still could not do more than a Dresch walk. Top 11th, Ramos led off with his second triple of the game against Cory Dew. Morales plated him with a sac fly before Gomez hit a double, advanced on a wild pitch, and was brought in by another sac fly, Hereford’s. Josh Boles retired two Loggers in the bottom 11th before waving for the trainer, which was so comforting. He left the game and the last out would hopefully be Ruben Roque retired by Jeff Kearney, who would come out to face the lefty bat. Roque predictably singled, but Kearney hung around for one more against switch-hitter Jeff Becker, who had little power… and grounded out to Ramos. 7-5 Coons. Ramos 3-6, 2 3B, 2B, RBI; Gomez 4-5, 2 2B, RBI; Hereford 2-5, 2 RBI; Spencer (PH) 1-1;

Fact: Abel Mora has zero pinch-hits on the season.

Josh Boles meanwhile had a sore thumb and was ruled out for the rest of the weekend, but should not require life-saving amputation any time soon.

…but a normal, slightly lame 6-1 game that is out of the window early would be some ACTUAL relief right now. This crazy week…!

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 2B Hereford – RF Gomez – C Tovias – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – C Canody – LF Cambra – CF W. Trevino – RF Schorsch – 1B W. Aquino – SS J. Becker – 2B Holder – P A. Contreras

Ramos singled, stole second, scored on Harenberg’s double to right to give the Coons a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, which was not likely to last as Delgadillo appeared to seamlessly join the procession of pitchers that were being hit by trains, buses, and falling pianos, or at least did his very best. Taylor Canody hit a single in the bottom 1st, Firmino Cambra walked, and Trevino got nailed. Somehow, Schorsch hacked himself out and Aquino fouled out to Nunley to strand all the precious runners. However, the Loggers amounted to only one more base hit through five innings, while the Coons piled up eight total hits through five, but could only add a run on a Correa homer in the fourth. Nunley hit into a double play in the second, Ramos was stranded at third in the third, and Mora wound up Ramos with a double play in the fifth – it was mildly annoying. Contreras did the Coons a favor in the sixth; Gomez had led off with a single and was on third base with two outs. The Loggers extended an arm to walk Nunley intentionally to bring up Delgadillo, but before Yusneldan could ground out, Contreras balked in Gomez when he flubbed the ball preparing for his windup. The Loggers slowly kept disintegrating; Canody struck out to begin the bottom 6th, then gave the ump an earful and was tossed. John Salazar replaced him.

Ramos led off the seventh with his fourth base hit, an infield single, then stole his third base on new catcher Salazar and new pitcher Travis Feider. Mora walked, and the Coons had a chance to break through here with the middle of the order coming up… while Ramos just kept stirring the dirt. Both runners took off and pulled off a double steal on the fumbling Salazar, which took away the double play from Harenberg, who popped out instead. Hereford was walked by Feider, who then left the game after consultation with the Loggers’ trainer, replaced by Mike Tandy, who got out of the jam at the cost of one run on Gomez’ sac fly before whiffing Tovias. Delgadillo held up for seven shutout innings, but got his pitch count over 100 and was pinch-hit for in the top 8th, with Daniel Rocha drawing a 2-out walk in his spot. Ramos went ahead and singled off Tandy, who then had his skull slugged in for three runs on consecutive doubles by Mora and Harenberg, extending the gap to 7-0. Moesker and Kearney would finish the game without allowing another base knock. 7-0 Furballs! Ramos 5-5; Harenberg 3-4, 3 2B, 2 RBI; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K, W (7-4);

That counts as relief.

Rich Hereford would get a day off on Sunday. No particular reason other than us trying to not lose any more players to unnecessary injuries in garbage games. Ramos, Mora, and Gomez also qualify for additional games off, but we are still not resting all of them in the same game.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – 2B Spencer – P Nomura
MIL: RF V. Diaz – 3B Parten – LF Cambra – CF W. Trevino – 2B J. Becker – 1B S. Garcia – SS Holder – C Canody – P Rogers

Ramos walked, advanced on Mora’s infield single, and scored after consecutive groundouts by Gomez and Harenberg to give the Coons the early edge, but Nomura remained shoddy and surrendered the lead before he logged an out. Vinny Diaz doubled to left, Jason Parten singled to right, and Diaz made it around right then and there. The Critters reclaimed the lead in unearned fashion in the second inning; Spencer hit a 2-out single, Nomura’s grounder was mishandled for an error by Becker, and then Ramos hit an RBI single. Mora was robbed in left by Firmino Cambra, stranding two, and that 2-1 tally was still valid when it started to drizzle in the bottom of the fourth. Nomura walked Trevino as soon as he felt the first drops, but nifty plays by Spencer and Nunley kept him from scoring in the inning. Rin did not actually strike out anybody that far into the game, but rung up Holder and Rogers in a clean fifth.

Those were his final batters; rains got worse in the top 6th and put the game into an hour-long rain delay, and after Monday’s disaster after the sizable break, the Coons did not get back to their starter at all. Fleischer came out for the sixth and blew the lead with a Cambra double and Trevino’s RBI single, all with two outs. Brotman got through the seventh, and the top 8th saw Ramos hit a leadoff single off righty Zach Weaver, remaining unretired for the second game in a row. He then also stole second against Canody’s formidable arm, and moved to third when Mora grounded out. There he was stranded on account of ****ty groundouts by Gomez and Harenberg. The tie remained into the bottom 9th, where Jeremy Moesker crapped out with leadoff walks to Roque and Ferrer before he also allowed a 1-out single to Corey Dresch. The bases were loaded and we sent Nick Derks with a knack for strikeouts (11.9/9) and blow-ups for PH John Salazar, still hitless. Well, this was already in the process of blowing up, so Derks could come in regardless! He threw a single pitch, Salazar buried it in the gap, and the Loggers walked off. 3-2 Loggers. Ramos 3-3, BB, RBI; Nomura 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K;

Ramos was LITERALLY more than half our offense in this game. Three more singles, no walks for the rest of the crowd.

In other news

September 5 – The Loggers hold off the Indians in a wild 15-11 win, with MIL C/1B Steve Garcia (.336, 2 HR, 14 RBI) leading all players involved with four base hits. He drives in a pair and scores twice.
September 8 – SAC SP Jesse Koerner (7-13, 5.06 ERA) 2-hits the Warriors in a 6-0 shutout, notching eight strikeouts.
September 9 – The Warriors get revenge with a combined 1-hitter led by SFW SP Scott Soviero (15-7, 2.91 ERA) in a 12-0 rout of the Scorpions. A second-inning single by 1B Luis Moreira (.232, 10 HR, 57 RBI) is the only base hit for Sacramento.
September 9 – LAP SP Mario Alva (3-2, 9.35 ERA) 3-hits the Wolves in a 12-0 rout.
September 10 – SFW C Mike Thompson (.297, 18 HR, 77 RBI) is probably out for the season with an oblique strain suffered while running the bases.

Complaints and stuff

This week made me age about seven months and four days. It was weird, wicked, bewildering, almost every game the brain child of an easily excitable seven-year-old with no concept of the beauty of the game. But I’m still glad we got that Titans game called on accounts of the apocalypse when they had three on and the Coons were out of pitchers…

Alberto Ramos won Player of the Week honors with a .600 (15-for-25) tear, no homers, but 4 RBI. Never mind the six stolen bases and seven runs scored. He was in a *bit* of a slump in late August… but “slump” in this case means no multi-hit game for 13 consecutive days. He still had eight hits in that period for a .211 average. Also: *11* walks. If that constitutes a slump for you, ya gotta be pretty good!

Ramos’ 5-hit game on Saturday put him over 100 knocks for the season (102 exactly) in just 80 games. Oh, the raw talent, the genius, the brittle body…! A bit more subtly, he also tied the franchise and CL record with four sacks taken in the game. It was the first time in 16 years that a Critter reached the mark and only the third time ever. Sandy Sambrano and Cookie Carmona had been the only other Raccoons to swipe four in a single game. The serial theft also tied him with Joel Denzler for second in the CL with 42 sacks, only one behind the leader Mario Pizano (who also stole a base on Sunday, so Ramos is still one behind), and may I point out again that those two missed less than two handful of games between them, while Alberto has missed *61*? Let that kid be healthy for a single season and he might smash all sorts of records…! Yoshi Yamada’s franchise record of 54 stolen bases in a season? He could STILL break that, THIS year…!

THE EXCITEMENT.

That should be his nickname.

I am serious. Kid is 22, but already sixth in stolen bases for the franchise with 132. Health permitting he could get as high as third place by the end of 2029! Concie Guerin holds that spot with 193 bags. Ahead of him are only Matt Higgins (220; also the only Critter to steal as many as 40 in a single season in the prior millennium) and of course Cookie with 428.

By the way, Cookie’s season ended with a knee sprain this week. He batted .227/.227/.227 in limited action for the Cyclones. He was not penciled into the lineup even once. Also: no stolen bases.

With Mike Rutkowski and Peter “Graveyard” Gill suffering floggings this week, Rico Gutierrez suddenly has a sizable lead for the ERA title. It is 0.3 runs for the CL title, and 0.27 runs for all of the ABL compared to WAS Eric Williams.

And what about the playoffs? The Titans swept the Elks over the weekend, so that removes Vancouver for good. The Crusaders are probably dead, but there are still six games they have against the top two. Have them win all, the Coons getting swept by the Titans in the final set, and suddenly they are only 4 1/2 out for the other 13 games. Weirder things have happened.

POR (85-57) – IND (4), VAN (4), BOS (3), LVA (3), NYC (3), TIJ (3) – 99.7% (+1.6%)
BOS (77-67) – ATL (3), IND (3), MIL (3), NYC (3), POR (3), SFB (3) – 0.3% (-1.5%)
NYC (75-68) – MIL (4), BOS (3), LVA (3), TIJ (3), POR (3), VAN (3) – 0.0%

Fun Fact: In the 51 prior ABL seasons, the Loggers amounted to a winning record only 15 times, including ten times in a row from 1994 through 2003. They also had two 81-81 seasons, including 2004.

No other team is really remotely as routinely lousy – except for the Aces (15 winning seasons and three .500 efforts) and Wolves. The latter also have only 17 non-losing seasons, but have 16 prior winning seasons and one 81-81 campaign (not counting this year, which is still up for debate).

The Wolves also have but one championship, too, but we will not ever talk about that again.

(clutches Honeypaws and quivers as the Glenn Johnston-drops-Ed Parrell’s-fly movie begins unspooling in his brains)
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2019, 03:57 PM   #2729
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (85-57) @ Indians (61-82) – September 11-14, 2028

The Indians had already been eliminated, but would merrily represent a stepping stone to disgracefully tumble over to stub our pointy black snouts in the dirt. Never mind that they were at the very bottom in runs scored in the Continental League and merely middling in terms of preventing the other team from scoring. The teams would play four, and the Coons were up 9-5 in the season series.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (7-8, 4.90 ERA) vs. John McInerney (8-10, 2.88 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (11-7, 2.41 ERA) vs. David Saccoccio (10-11, 3.22 ERA)
Mark Roberts (15-4, 2.95 ERA) vs. Myles Mood (0-2, 3.98 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.41 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (3-6, 3.57 ERA)

We’d first get southpaw McInerney, then three right-handers. We would continue to rotate the key players, leaving out Ramos, Mora, and Harenberg on the bench for the opener against McInerney – they were all left-handed batters.

The series would for the last time this year square off the pair of shortstops at the top of the stolen base leaderboard. Mario Pizano (44 SB) led Alberto Ramos by one as the series began.

As an aside, the Indians had an array of injured players on the DL, most notably having added Elliott Kennett (back) and Zachary Ryder (oblique) since we had last played against them.

Game 1
POR: SS Gerster – LF Morales – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Correa – C Leal – 2B Spencer – CF Magallanes – P Anderson
IND: SS Pizano – C Dear – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – LF Plunkett – 2B E. Sosa – 3B Roesler – RF T. Johnson – P McInerney

While Pizano singled to lead off the bottom 1st and stole #45, our main concern remained Kyle Anderson, who got a good run on yet another terrible start. Pizano was one of six Indians to reach base in the opening inning; three singles, a double plating two off Ben Suhay’s bat, and two walks for good measure before somehow McInerney removed himself from the rally for the third out, but that was not until after three runs had scored. The Raccoons got a chance in the third inning, started by Magallanes’ soft leadoff single. McInerney threw away Anderson’s bunt to put runners in scoring position, and the Raccoons got a run on Butch Gerster’s single, then another one on Morales’ sac fly. Gomez walked, but Hereford struck out reaching and Jon Correa rolled over to Mike Roesler to end the inning, down 3-2, but somehow Anderson held up long enough to allow Danny Morales to tie the score with a solo homer in the fifth. In fact, suddenly Anderson was pitching really well – after the first-inning onslaught and including McInerney to end it, Kyle Anderson retired 13 Indians in a row before Ben Suhay led off the bottom 6th with a single to right. At that point he was the tying run; Rich Hereford had been driven in by Juan Magallanes with a 1-out, bases-loaded single in the top of the inning, which soon died when Anderson whiffed and Gerster flew out to the same Suhay. Mike Plunkett’s grounder advanced the runner, and then Elias Sosa singled to center to send Suhay around to … be thrown out by Magallanes. Anderson got out of that, pitched the seventh, too, and in fact for six of his seven innings projected well more calmness than the sterling end of the pen that appeared for the last two innings. Ricky Ohl walked a pair in the eighth, Josh Boles gave up singles to Todd Johnson and Mario Pizano in the ninth, but somehow the Critters pulled through, even getting an insurance solo homer by Butch Gerster in the ninth. 5-3 Raccoons. Gerster 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Morales 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Magallanes 2-4, RBI; Anderson 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, W (8-8);

The Titans were idle, so we stretched our paws to a 9 1/2 game lead, and cut the magic number to a round and wholesome ten.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – RF Gomez – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – 2B Spencer – P Gutierrez
IND: 2B T. Johnson – C Dear – CF Suhay – 1B Jon Gonzalez – 3B E. Sosa – SS C. Castro – LF M. Cowan – RF Aleman – P Saccoccio

The Coons loaded the bags in the first with Ramos getting nailed, stealing second out of spite, making third on a wild pitch, and then they filled up behind him on Gomez’ infield single and Hereford drawing a walk. Harenberg struck out (…), but Tovias plated two with a single before Matt Nunley ended the inning with a foul pop to his significant other in the game, Elias Sosa. Portland added single runs in the next two innings, Ramos plating Spencer with a groundout in the second, followed by Hereford coming home on another Tovias single in the third, but the Indians stayed in touch with Jon Gonzalez’ unearned 2-run shot in the bottom 3rd; unearned because it came with two outs and with Matt Dear only on base for Rafael Gomez dropping his easy fly.

The middle innings were wholly uneventful, but through six Rico Gutierrez still had zero strikeouts, bringing the Raccoons close to consecutive 6+ innings starts by pitchers without any strikeouts between them… at least until Cesar Castro struck out to begin the bottom 7th. So did Mike Cowan. And then disaster swallowed Rico whole. Alex Aleman singled up the middle, the Indians unfurled back-to-back pinch-hit RBI doubles between Manny Sanchez and Mike Plunkett, and Rico required rescue from Jonathan Fleischer who got Matt Dear to ground out, thankfully, but the game was now tied at four … at least until Kevin Harenberg and Elias Tovias slapped back-to-back bombs off right-hander Brandon Smith in the eighth. The ninth saw Mora and Gomez reach base before the Indians decided to walk Harenberg intentionally with two outs and lefty Alex Morin going. Instead, they brought up Elias Tovias with 4 RBI on the day, and Tovias ran it to six with a double to right-center. The Indians probably got what they deserved in this one… 8-4 Coons. Gomez 2-5, 2B; Harenberg 2-4, BB, HR, RBI; Tovias 4-5, HR, 2B, 6 RBI; Leal (PH) 1-1;

The Titans lost to the Crusaders, 5-2, moving the Coons back into double digits with a 10 1/2 game lead, and OUT of double digits with a magic number of eight!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – RF Gomez – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – 2B G. Sanchez – P Roberts
IND: SS Pizano – C Dear – LF Plunkett – 1B Jon Gonzalez – 3B E. Sosa – CF M. Cowan – 2B Wagner – RF Aleman – P Mood

Through five innings, Myles Mood walked four and shed three singles, but notably also struck out seven Raccoons, most crucially Rafael Gomez with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Mark Roberts by contrast notched only three strikeouts through five, two of which were Mood, and got bombed twice to trail 3-0 on a Sosa solo shot in the second and a 2-piece by Alex Aleman in the fifth. Rich Hereford hit a leadoff jack in the sixth to get the Coons on the board and inch himself to within one of the 30-homer mark, and somehow this woke up the team. Kevin Harenberg flew out to deep center, but Tovias and Nunley hit back-to-back doubles to right and right-center, respectively, to put the tying run on second base with one out and to get the Indians into their bullpen. Manny Estrella (11 BB in 13.1 IP) replaced Mood, and the Raccoons replaced .087 batter German Sanchez with somebody worth the oxygen. Danny Morales came through with a pinch-hit single to left, which had Nunley hold at third base, but Mark Roberts hit a fly to center to bring in the run with a sacrifice, getting the brown team even. Estrella conceded a single to Ramos and walked Mora to fill them up, and here was Rafael Gomez with three on and two outs again. He fell to 1-2, then chopped a soft line into leftfield, near the line and far enough away from Plunkett to allow Ramos to score from second for a 2-run, go-ahead single. The Indians ditched the imploded Estrella for Jim Cushing, who allowed a single to Hereford, but no more runs when Harenberg popped out to strand three in a 5-3 game.

Jon Gonzalez ALMOST took it all away again. Matt Dear led off the bottom 6th with a single and was at second when it was Gonzo’s turn. Roberts had thrown a wild pitch in the at-bat, then slid from 1-2 to 3-2, and finally allowed a mighty big drive to deep left. It got too much air, though, and fell into Hereford’s mitten right at the fence, but this one had game-knotter written all over it. Meanwhile, the Coons left the bases loaded for the third straight inning in the seventh. Tovias had been drilled, Spencer singled, Ramos walked intentionally, and then Mora grounded out to Sosa. The Raccoons stuck to Roberts long enough for him to concede another run, Mike Cowan hitting a leadoff double and coming in on another wild pitch as the battery was not only not on the same page, but in different books. While Ricky Ohl held the dogs on the chain in the eighth, the Coons failed to get an insurance run in the ninth despite using TWO pinch-runners. The first, Gerster, was caught stealing when he ran for Tovias. The second, Jaden Booker, was merely stranded through normal ineptitude. It didn’t matter. Boles struck out Gonzalez and Sosa, then got Mike Cowan to fly out leisurely to Gomez. 5-4 Coons. Ramos 2-3, 2 BB; Gomez 2-5, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-5, HR, RBI; Morales (PH) 1-1;

The Titans beat the Crusaders today, but since we won our game, the magic number still got down to seven.

…and then weather happened, and the Thursday game was washed out. Since the teams had no common off day left and the ABL required all games to be played at SOME point, the game would be tacked onto the end of the schedule, so the Raccoons would play the Monday after the nominal season finale against the Titans. The Titans DID play and beat the Crusaders on Thursday, so they were now ten behind and the magic number was still seven.

Raccoons (88-57) @ Condors (86-60) – September 15-17, 2028

This shaped up to be the CLCS pairing for this season. The Coons led their division by ten, the Condors led a pair of teams by eight, and there were only two and a half weeks left. Even these two teams could not likely to enough harm to one another to still lose the playoffs, you’d be forgiven to think. But, well, games gotta be played! The Condors were the crass opposite to the Indians in how they led the CL in runs scored, and THEN added the best pitching in the league, too! Their rotation was first by ERA. Their pen was first by ERA. Little taste of what was to come! The season series was tied at three.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.41 ERA) vs. Joe Perry (15-7, 3.45 ERA)
Rin Nomura (15-5, 2.96 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (12-7, 3.41 ERA)
Dave Martinez (0-0) vs. Adam Potter (8-6, 3.22 ERA)

Two lefties, one righty. Meanwhile, the Raccoons added two more players with minor league seasons ending on the weekend. We brought up OF/1B Ryan Allan again, who finished the AAA season batting .314, and also would give 22-year-old Venezuelan righty Dave Martinez his debut on Sunday. Martinez had been a not-too-expensive July international free agent in 2022 and had pitched to a 12-6 record and 3.28 ERA in AAA this year. He would have had to be on the 40-man roster anyway by December 1 and we had the room now.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – CF Mora – 2B Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Correa – 3B Gerster – C Rocha – P Delgadillo
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF O. Larios – C Zarate – LF Denzler – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Perry

Ramos singled, advanced on Morales’ groundout, and scored on a Mora single for an early 1-0 lead, but the Condors made up the run immediately as Chris Murphy (no shy student on 37 SB) led off with a walk, stole second, advanced on Chris Miller’s infield single, and eventually scored on a Shane Sanks groundout. Daniel Rocha threw out Miller in this inning, then Murphy in the third; the Condors had the leadoff man on in each of the early innings, but by the third did not have their starting pitcher anymore, Joe Perry having departed early with back tightness. They took the lead in the bottom 4th, Danny Zarate singling home Omar Larios, who had doubled into the gap between Mora and Morales, but that this happened with one out was little consolation. Tom Fitzsimmons reached with a leadoff walk in the bottom 5th… and also scored, driven in with a 2-out Miller single. Sanks also singled, but Kevin McGrath grounded out to Correa to end the inning, with the Condors up 3-1.

The tying runs were on right away in the sixth with Steve Gowan’s leadoff walk to Danny Morales, then a Mora single. Hereford came up with only one ribbie on the week, so he had to be hungry, but struck out in a full count. Gomez hit to short for a fielder’s choice against right-hander Markus Bates, prompting Harenberg to bat for Correa… only to make the third out with a soft line to Fitzsimmons. The Condors upped to 4-1 in the bottom of the inning, which Larios led off with a triple to left-center, then came home on a sac fly by Zarate. Delgadillo had allowed five of six leadoff men on base and was bopped right there; Kearney got the Coons out of the inning on two strikeouts.

Top 7th, the tying runs would be on against Bates. Rocha walked, Allan singled for Kearney, and Ramos also singled past Miller to put three on with one out for Leal, pinch-hitting for Danny Morales. He ran a full count, then laid off ball four to push home a run. Mora plated Allan with a groundout, but Hereford’s grounder was also intercepted by Miller and ended the inning, with Ramos and Leal stranded in scoring position in a 4-3 game. The Coons could not get over the hump, but the Condors got Kevin Surginer for an insurance run in the bottom 8th, a Zarate single to left and a Denzler double to left, both with two outs. Top 9th, righty Pat Selby facing the 8-9-1 spots. Spencer batted for Ramos and singled, while Allan was not hit for since he countered the pitcher… and doubled up the rightfield line. This put the tying runs in scoring position for Ramos, who nevertheless grounded out to first to be no help whatsoever. Matt Nunley batted for Surginer, fouled out, and Mora fell to 0-2 with my lip getting bite marks before he ripped a liner into the rightfield corner for the game-tying double! And credit to Omar Larios who tried to warp himself to the line, but just had no chance at all. Hereford flew out to center, though, and the Coons did not get a lead. As consolation, the Condors would leave Adam Braun, the winning run, in scoring position after a leadoff single off Fleischer, sending this one to overtime, which Rafael Gomez opened with a triple off Selby! Harenberg put Portland in front, doubling over centerfielder Juan Palbes, who was swiftly removed with the hurler in a double switch that brought on righty Sean Rigg, who restored order and ended the inning. Josh Boles then ended the Condors to keep the Coons undefeated in the week. 6-5 Critters. Ramos 3-6; Mora 3-5, 2B, 4 RBI; Rocha 1-2, BB, 2B; Spencer (PH) 1-1; Allan (PH) 2-3, 2B;

Boston beat San Fran, 6-4, keeping the magic number from dropping further than to six.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 2B Spencer – CF Magallanes – P Nomura
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF Braun – C Zarate – 2B F. Guzman – LF Hemminger – P Little

Had Ramos not been caught stealing after a leadoff single at the start of the game, the Coons might have scored more than one run in a 2-out rally. Gomez singled, Hereford walked, Harenberg hit an RBI single, and then Tovias grounded out. The Raccoons only amounted to a single walk for the next three innings while Nomura looked solid, but soon was broken open for a 3-run homer by Adam Braun in the bottom 4th. McGrath and Sanks scored on the shot, only Braun’s 10th on the season. Nomura struck out six in as many messy innings, continuing his recent rottenness, and also conceded another run in the bottom 6th, though that was unearned after a Hereford error that put Braun on base. Braun was eventually singled home by Frank Guzman, but in between stole second base, one of four runners that collectively robbed Tovias blind in this game, while Portland took until the same sixth inning to get their first hit since the opening frame, a Rafael Gomez single that led exactly nowhere.

Our next hit was a Ramos single with nobody out in the eighth that came off Lisuarte Paradela, the only batter he faced, moved Mora to second, and brought up the tying run with nobody out. Leal batted for Morales to face righty Josh Sharp, who threw a wild pitch, then got out of his predicament with only one run allowed on a Gomez groundout, ringing up Hereford to get the Condors out of the inning. Pat Selby would do the rest in the ninth. 4-2 Condors. Ramos 2-4; Gomez 2-3, BB, RBI;

For the first time this week, we played and yet the magic number remained the same. The Titans beat the Bayhawks once more, and were now within nine again. The Crusaders and Elks were level for third, and both had a chance of being eliminated on Sunday with a Coons win and their loss.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Martinez
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF O. Larios – C Zarate – LF Denzler – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Potter

This was for the season series, maybe for home field in the CLCS … so I was less than pleased when Abel Mora struck out in the top of the first, then got tossed after slamming down his bat in anger. Magallanes would replace him, while the inning was completed with a Hereford strikeout that stranded Spencer at second base. The next vibrant train wreck was Dave Martinez, who fooled absolutely nobody and surrendered two runs in the first on a Miller single, then back-to-back doubles by Sanks and McGrath. The nightmare continued with Tom Fitzsimmons’ leadoff double in the bottom 2nd, Martinez spiking an ill-advised throw to third base on Potter’s bunt for an error, and after Murphy’s groundout scored the former, another screaming double by Chris Miller plated the latter. Martinez walked Sanks, Miller stole third off the overwhelmed Tovias, and then scored on a McGrath groundout. 5-0 in the second! Martinez was sent back out for the third, only cut murdered further on back-to-back mighty doubles by Denzler and Fitzsimmons and was finally yanked for Steve Costilow in a 6-0 game after just 2.1 innings of absolute GARBAGE, the WORST we had EVER seen. (yells at the sobbing Martinez) YOU … SUCK!!

Speaking of sucking, the rest of the team was happy to chime in. They were never in the game at all. They had two hits through five, then a Magallanes single in the sixth that was met with strikeouts by Hereford and Harenberg to get over it. At least Steve Costilow pitched the finest game of his career (3.2 IP, 0 R) in a complete dumpster fire. Ramos stole his 46th in the eighth inning to get even with Mario Pizano half a continent away. He was stranded at second as the Raccoons steadfastly remained six short of a successful rally. The Coons celebrated with two unnecessary 2-out errors in the bottom 8th (Nunley, Tovias) that put Surginer in a redundant pickle. He got out by popping up Sanks, not that any of that mattered. Nor did Harenberg taking Sean Rigg deep in the ninth. 6-1 Condors. Costilow 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K;

In other news

September 11 – The Miners trash the Blue Sox with a 15-run third inning, enough to win handily, 18-2, with 1B Danny Santillano (.368, 19 HR, 93 RBI) landing four base hits for 3 RBI and SS Josh Peddle (.276, 3 HR, 22 RBI) driving in five runs on three base hits.
September 11 – DEN SP Tommy Weintraub (10-16, 3.73 ERA) is out for the season with a tear in his triceps.
September 12 – LVA SP Ed Hague (12-13, 4.60 ERA) squeezes the Falcons for a 3-hitter in a 1-0 shutout.
September 14 – PIT RF/LF Omar Alfaro (.270, 14 HR, 51 RBI) drives in five in a 12-0 rout of the Blue Sox.
September 16 – LAP OF Justin Fowler (.335, 14 HR, 69 RBI) will miss the remainder of the regular season to rest a knee contusion, but would probably be available come playoff time if the Pacifics could hold off the Warriors.

Complaints and stuff

Boston lost on Sunday, so the magic number will be five at the end of this week. BNN gives us a flat 100% to make the playoffs at this point. I am still having a watchful eye on the final weekend series…

Who was notably not called up again with minor league seasons (unsuccessfully) completed? George James.

And who was about the worst batter on staff this week? Rich Hereford would be that…! He batted 3-for-23 with *11* K. I sure hope he’s not getting into playoff form….. (shivers) … And yet, that was still not half as bad as The Dave Martinez Experience.

All other things are still more or less the same. Ramos is even with Pizano with 46 stolen bases, Rico still leads the ERA race by more than a quarter run; only Roberts has lost his lead in the strikeout race to Morgan Shepherd. However, depending on how things go from here, Mark Roberts *could* make an additional start compared to the Logger… especially with that tack-on game against Indy three Mondays from now, so everything is possible.

Fun Fact: Hall of Famer Martin Garcia holds the eight highest single-season strikeout totals for the Milwaukee Loggers – all in consecutive seasons.

Yup, starting with 232 K in both 1996 and 1997, up to 255 in 1998, 280 in 1999, and then slowly back down again. Five times he led the CL in strikeouts, including four times consecutively starting in ’98. In all of those four seasons he was also named Pitcher of the Year, also a pedigree he won five times in total.

I meant to include a Ramos profile last week but forgot. Stupid! Anyway, there are some wicked numbers on there, f.e. the BB/K ratio. He currently has 15 intentional walks, more than Hereford and Gomez combined! That is not a new development; he was also walked intentionally 14 times each in the last two seasons.
Attached Images
Image Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2019, 01:54 PM   #2730
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
Raccoons (89-59) vs. Aces (76-73) – September 18-20, 2028

The Aces did not have anything to play for anymore. Despite improving on their 81-81 record from last year, they would not make the playoffs this season… after making them last season with that 81-81 record. Yup, the South was relevant again. The Aces had not quite been, ranking eighth in runs scored and runs allowed with a -25 run differential (Coons: +100). The season series was knotted at three.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (11-7, 2.42 ERA) vs. Chris Guyett (6-13, 4.64 ERA)
Mark Roberts (16-4, 3.02 ERA) vs. Tom Shumway (13-6, 2.75 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. Luis Flores (8-5, 4.84 ERA)

Righty, lefty, lefty; not that it mattered all too much, given that the Raccoons were closely hugging the .600 mark against either breed. It would however influence who got a day off maybe.

Meanwhile, Nick Valdes was in the house for the opener. Would have been too calm without him rationing the towels in the locker room…!

Game 1
LVA: RF R. Jones – LF Dunlap – 1B Gilbert – CF Lynch – C Scheffer – 2B Folk – SS Roundtree – 3B X. Monroe – P Guyett
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – LF Allan – P Gutierrez

Rico’s ERA title bid took a wee hit in the first inning as the Aces dropped in three line drives. Tom Dunlap singled, Jon Gilbert doubled, and the runners scored on Kevin Lynch’s single and Philip Scheffer’s groundout. Lots of youngsters in that lineup, and Rico ran right into their knives. Three straight base hits by Scheffer (double), Brody Folk (single), and Steve Roundtree (RBI single) scored another run in the fourth. The Raccoons had done absolutely nothing in between, nor would they amount to much thereafter. There was Harenberg single in the second inning, then nothing else through five. Rico left after six dismal innings, but not before allowing a homer to the disgusting ex-Elk Brody Folk in the sixth. The Raccoons were in a 4-0 hole, and looked entirely dead even when Alberto Ramos led off the sixth with a single, stole second, and came around on a Gomez single. And despite the inexecrable slowness of it all, the Coons had the tying run at the plate in the bottom 8th… and did so incredibly slowly. Ryan Allan led off with a walk in a full count. Butch Gerster batted for Jonathan Fleischer and hit a 3-2 pitch into a fielder’s choice. Ramos ran a full count… and walked. Guyett was still holding out on the mound, struck out Mora on three pitches, then walked Gomez on four. That brought up Rich Hereford with three on and two outs, and he was 0-for-3 after a horrendous previous week (11 K). No K so far this game. Guyett also would not whiff him, but threw a wild pitch to plate Gerster before Hereford grounded to Brody Folk for – what might have been the third out if Jon Gilbert had not dropped the feed from Folk. Another run scored, the Aces were baffled, then stunned when Guyett got blasted by Kevin Harenberg for a 435-foot murder shot to center. COONS IN THE LEAD!! The sudden 5-spot (four unearned) got Josh Boles involved starting with Xavier Monroe, who struck out. Only with two outs did the Aces reach base when A.J. Faulk walked in the #1 hole, but Tom Dunlap lifted a ball easily to Gomez and the Critters took the opener. 6-4 Raccoons! Harenberg 3-4, HR, 3 RBI;

Weirdest thing, Nick Valdes missed the rally when he was busy rearranging our bobblehead collection.

Boston’s Dustin Wingo, Mike Stank, and Ryan Corkum squeezed out the Knights in a 1-0 game, so the gap remained nine, and the magic number was now four. Meanwhile the Crusaders were eliminated from contention.

Game 2
LVA: RF R. Jones – SS Wentz – 1B Gilbert – CF Lynch – C Scheffer – LF Barrientos – 2B Roundtree – 3B X. Monroe – P Shumway
POR: SS Ramos – LF Morales – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – 2B Spencer – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

Roberts struck out four the first time through the Aces order and got a 1-0 lead when Harenberg and Magallanes teamed up for a pair of doubles into the leftfield corner in the bottom of the second inning. Roberts’ second run through the Aces order yielded no strikeouts whatsoever, and the Coons wasted a few chances. Ramos led off with a single in the third, but was doubled up by Morales, and in the fourth the Coons put two men on, but then enganged in hitting into fielder’s choices that got them nowhere before Magallanes flew out easily to Rich Jones to strand runners on the corners. Bottom 5th, Ramos with a 1-out single, then stole second, and then came around to extend the lead to 2-0 when Danny Morales dropped a single into no man’s land in left-center. Gomez also singled, and Hereford cracked into a double play to end the inning.

Top 6th, Gilbert led off with a single to left-center, after which Lynch flew to right, where Gomez had the ball, then dropped it for an error. Scheffer dropped an RBI single into shallow center, and a strikeout would be really helpful right now… Ramiro Barrientos instead singled on the first pitch, loading them up with nobody out. The Coons yanked Roberts, likely ending his strikeout title bid. Ricky Ohl came on to try and safe the unsavable. He rung up two, but surrendered the tying run on Roundtree’s sac fly. While Shumway kept motoring, the Raccoons pieced together innings with their enlarged pen, then got a chance to go ahead again in the bottom 8th when Shumway leaked a leadoff double to Danny Morales. Interestingly, the Aces walked Gomez intentionally, bringing up Hereford with two on and nobody out, which two weeks earlier would have been unthinkable. But here was the slump, and before long Shumway had him at 1-2 and it was all the right moves… until Shumway threw a fastball in the hot zone. Hereford’s whiskers twitched all that briefly, then he unloaded a power shot to left-center for his 30th homer of the season, a go-ahead 3-piece! Shumway was duly removed, but the Aces’ Alejandro Purcella would shed another bushel of hits that led to a fourth run on Matt Nunley’s pinch-hit, run-scoring groundout in place of Billy Brotman, who was now staked to the win. Jeremy Moesker retired the Aces in order in the ninth. 6-2 Coons! Ramos 2-3, 2 BB; Morales 2-4, 2B, RBI; Magallanes 2-4, 2B, RBI;

The Elks were mathematically eliminated with this win, but more significantly the Titans played 13 innings against the Knights on Tuesday… and never scored against Mario Rosas and an array of relievers. The Knights finally broke through in the 13th against Mike Stank, and the 2-0 loss put the Titans on the edge to be eliminated as soon as Wednesday. The magic number was now just TWO.

With the potential of a clincher on the table, Valdes arrived back in Portland on short notice for the final game of the series.

Game 3
LVA: 2B Chambers – CF Folk – SS A. Medina – RF Cornejo – 1B Barrientos – C Motley – LF R. Jones – 3B Fogel – P L. Flores
POR: SS Gerster – LF Morales – RF Gomez – CF Mora – 1B Correa – 2B Spencer – 3B Booker – C Rocha – P Delgadillo

Clinching looked unlikely at the rate with which Delgadillo was picked apart by the Aces, one limb after another. Robert Chambers doubled to start the game, swiftly followed by a Folk homer that put Portland in a 2-0 hole. Those two were at it again in the third, hitting singles, then scored on another single by Andres Medina and Gil Cornejo’s sac fly, respectively, then running the tally to 4-1. Portland was on the board on account of Morales’ first-inning RBI double plating Gerster, then added a 2-run homer off Rafael Gomez’ bat in the bottom 3rd against an equally unimpressive Luis Flores, so this one could still flop either way.

But for starters, Yusneldan was yanked as early as the fifth. Chambers hit a leadoff single to get to 3-for-3, and while Brody Folk flew out to left, Medina then drew a walk. With three left-handed bats coming up, the Critters looked for some relief in Jeff Kearney, which could not have gone any more pear-shaped. Kearney allowed singles to all three of them, then left in disgrace with the Aces up 7-3 and still with runners on first and second and one out. Fleischer replaced him, allowed a line drive single to center to Rich Jones, but when Barrientos tried to score from second he was thrown out by Abel Mora. Kevin Fogel then flew out to Gomez. Going back to starters… Luis Flores would not finish five innings, either. There was a brief rain delay between half-innings, and after that Gerster opened with a triple. Morales popped out, but Gomez singled, 7-4. With two outs, Flores nailed Jon Correa, and then the Critters rolled the dice and sent Hereford to bat for Spencer. Rich doubled to center, plated two, and knocked Flores out of the 7-6 game. With a right-handed pitcher, J.D. Hamm, in the game, the coons batted Nunley for Booker. Matt reached on a Barrientos error, but Rocha struck out to end the inning. Fleischer allowed hits to Hamm (!) and Chambers in the sixth, but was dug out by Brotman, who struck out Medina and Cornejo to keep the runners stranded. The Raccons also left a pair on base when Mora grounded out in the bottom 6th, which saw Ramos pinch-hit for Brotman and ground out, endangering a 10-game hitting streak, but Ramos stayed in the game (a shuffle removed Morales), and was back at the plate in the seventh after a pair of 2-out singles by Nunley and Rocha. He faced Purcella and ripped a liner into the rightfield corner that was came to a stop in the very nook out there, allowing not only Nunley to score, but also Rocha with the go-ahead run from first base, flipping the score and giving Ramos an 11-game hitting streak on the 2-out double!

Top 8th, Moesker walked a pair, forcing Ricky Ohl into action in a tight 1-out spot with Fogel and Myles Beckwith ready to do damage on those base paths. Alberto Velez came out to pinch-hit for Folk, but struck out, and Medina flew out to Mora in deepish center. No insurance came about for Portland, either, so Josh Boles got the 1-run lead in the ninth inning, facing an ever-changing 4-5-6 part of the order, but only Barrientos was still around. PH Jose Navarro led off by getting nailed. Josh remained unfazed, struck out the next three to seal the deal, but this one was special. By then, the Titans had lost in Atlanta – the Raccoons had made the playoffs! Boles threw up his glove, then hustled into the arms of Daniel Rocha. Those two became the core of a giant bouncing huddle as the team piled out of the dugout, the pen, and from all over the field as the Raccoons clinched the division. 8-7 Raccoons!! Gerster 2-4, 3B, RBI; Gomez 3-5, HR, 3 RBI; Hereford (PH) 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Booker 2-2; Ramos 1-2 (PH), 2B, 2 RBI;

WE ARE WINNERS, BABY!!

Even Nick Valdes stopped trying to bend Honeypaws’ whiskers into symmetry to join the celebrations amongst the office folks.

While we are the first team to clinch their division, we did not have the best record, taking a backseat to the Pacifics’ 94-58 mark.

Raccoons (92-59) vs. Crusaders (78-74) – September 22-24, 2028

This final home series of the season had become meaningless after the early-week clincher, but we still had 11 games to play. The secret code now was to not break any more legs… Against the Crusaders’ package of the third-most-paltry offense and the fifth-best pitching, the Coons had won 11 of 15 games on the season.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (15-6, 3.00 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (14-12, 4.34 ERA)
Dave Martinez (0-1, 15.43 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (12-9, 3.82 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (11-7, 2.54 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (13-11, 3.18 ERA)

Three right-handers to battle with. The Coons would of course employ even more of a rotation with their key players now; we sure would not sit Ramos, Hereford et al entirely, but they were not going to make another 11 starts from here on out, either.

Game 1
NYC: SS J. Cameron – RF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C Asay – 2B Fletcher – CF Shaffer – LF Olszewski – 1B Jam. Richardson – P Moffatt
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – RF Allan – P Nomura

The Coons took the lead in the first on a 2-piece… by Jarod Spencer, his first dinger of the season and the eighth in almost 4,000 career plate appearances. Obviously he had to score Ramos, who had opened with a single, and did score Ramos again the next time around, this time with a groundout in the bottom 3rd that plate Ramos after he had tripled to the leftfield corner. Those were the only runs in the early inning, but the Crusaders dinked Nomura for three straight, soft singles in the fourth inning. Jason Asay, Mike Fletcher, and Nick Shaffer did the honors and plated a run in the process. Nomura ended up needing over 90 pitches through five innings, but led off the bottom 5th with a single to center. Ramos singled to right, Spencer singled to left, and the bags were full with nobody out in a 3-1 game. 3-1 was also the count on which Mora dropped a single into shallow center, but Shaffer almost got to it, so Ramos had to hold halfway and could not score from second base; only Nomura came across to make it 4-1, and no other runs would come across. Hereford hit into a double play, home-and-first, and the Coons made the final out with Tovias after Harenberg was walked intentionally. Elias grounded out to Fletcher.

Nomura had a quick sixth, then came back for the seventh, which was led off by several lefty bats. He walked Drew Olszewski, allowed a single to Jamie Richardson, then got another left-handed pinch-hitter in Nick Hatley… who also singled to left. Hereford threw out Olszewski at the plate, but with runners in scoring position and one out, Nomura was finally yanked for Surginer, who balked in one run, conceded the other on a Joe Cameron sac fly, and suddenly it was a 4-3 squeezer. Surginer and Brotman got through the eighth alright, handing off the lead to Boles for the ninth. Jamie Richardson flew out to left, Juan Espinosa flew out to plenty-deep center, but then Josh disemboweled Cameron for a game-ending K. 4-3 Coons. Ramos 3-3, BB, 3B; Spencer 2-4, HR, 3 RBI;

Ramos also had a stolen base, #49 this year, to take sole possession of the lead in this category ahead of the pesky Pizano. Joel Denzler was still stuck at 43 and was probably no factor anymore… as far as the regular season was concerned. It was highly likely the Coons would face him again in the CLCS.

The Crusaders would make adjustments to the rotation and would send right-hander Robby Gonzalez (9-13, 4.20 ERA) into the Saturday game that would also feature Dave Martinez’ second appearance and a bid for the first time not getting flogged.

Game 2
NYC: 2B Jam. Wilson – RF Jam. Richardson – LF de Santiago – 3B Schmit – CF Ugolino – C Asay – 1B Espinosa – SS Laughery – P R. Gonzalez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Leal – 3B Nunley – LF Morales – P Martinez

Dave Martinez got his first career strikeout to begin the game, whiffing Jamie Wilson on four pitches, and then things went down the drain in a hurry. 2-out singles by Carlos de Santiago and Andy Schmit, coupled with a wild pitch plated a run in the first before the second inning saw a leadoff single by Juan Espinosa, a walk issued to J.D. Laughery, and then another walk doled out out to pitcher Robby Gonzalez, who tried his best to bunt, but couldn’t do it. Three on, no outs, top of the order drawing up, and there was also movement in the bullpen for Portland. The Crusaders held themselves to one run, scoring on Jamie Wilson’s double play, before Jamie Richardson flew out to Mora. De Santiago and Fabien Ugolino drew walks in the third, moved up on a groundout, and would have been stranded if Armando Leal had not dropped a foul pop by Espinosa, who singled to center on the next pitch. Mora threw out Ugolino at the plate to end the third sad inning of the game, but it was already 3-0 and the Coons were hitless until Ramos plated their first run with a 2-out RBI triple in the bottom 3rd, plating Danny Morales, who had reached on an Espinosa error. Ready for the playoffs …!!

Without the useless piece of **** Martinez though. He was yanked two batters into the fourth inning, having retired neither. Laughery singled, and Gonzalez walked on four pitches, making it five hits, six walks, and at least three runs through 3+ disgusting innings. One of his runs would score against Jeff Kearney, who was just as much of a mess at this point and walked the bags full before trying to retire anybody. Yet despite subjecting their fans to a world of shame, the Raccoons were technically still in this game. Butch Gerster hit a pinch-hit RBI double, plating Morales, in the bottom 5th to cut the gap to 4-2 and a bloop and a blast was all it would take. None of that ever happened, and by the eighth a bomb went off in the Raccoons’ beleaguered bullpen, burying Steve Costilow and Jonathan Fleischer under the combined debris of four runs without retiring anybody. Kevin Surginer had to dig them out in an 8-2 tragedy that continued into the fifth act with leadoff singles by German Sanchez and Alberto Ramos in the bottom 8th. The former would score on a sac fly, while the latter stole two bases and was still stranded in the end. Not that New York was done – they strafed Kyle Anderson for two runs in the ninth, the key piece being a Nick Hatley triple. 10-3 Crusaders. Ramos 2-5, 3B, RBI; Nunley 2-4; Gerster (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI; Sanchez (PH) 1-2;

You know, life is precious and all, bla-bla, but Dave Martinez (0-2, 11.51 ERA) I’m gonna shoot now and then pack his corpse into a sack laden with rocks and dump that whole crap into the Columbia. I *could* drop it into the Willamette, but I want that rotting piece of garbage further away from the ballpark.

He remained on the roster, so as to not waste an option now (like he’d ever come back while I was still alive…), but we also brought up southpaw Billy Ramm for the final week. He had made a spot start earlier in the year, taking a 7-1 loss against the Knights (only two earned runs were charged to him) and would get another start, maybe even two, as we played out the string.

Game 3
NYC: SS J. Cameron – RF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – 2B Fletcher – LF Hatley – C Mayeux – CF Olszewski – 1B Jam. Richardso – P E. Cannon
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – RF Correa – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez

The top of the order continued to stir, so hard in fact that Alberto Ramos reached an OPS of 1.000 after hitting the first of three singles in the bottom 1st. Hereford hit a sac fly with the bases loaded, after which nothing good happened anymore as Harenberg and Tovias both had black hole days. Spencer and Mora hit back-to-back doubles in the third to break what was then a 1-1 tie with Rico Gutierrez searching for stuff, Hereford singled home Mora, too, and then the inning ended with Kev’n’El’ again. Bottom 4th, Correa hit a leadoff single, but only advanced after Ramos hit a double (that OPS just kept growing, putting any slugger to shame). Spencer grounded out to Cannon to strand the runners.

Rico went six and two thirds, surrendering a solo shot to Andy Schmit in the sixth, but maintained a 3-2 lead on just three hits allowed until being replaced on account of 104 pitches. The Raccoons went to Ricky Ohl, who walked Joe Cameron on four pitches, walked PH Carlos de Santiago, too, and then somehow got out when Schmit popped up a ball to Jon Correa. Bottom 7th, Ramos led off with a double, Spencer singled softly to left, and the Coons had them on the corners with nobody out. Mora struck out, making the specter of a double play appear here, BUT … we were talking about Rich Hereford here. Rich was better than that – he took Eddie Cannon’s soul with a long 3-run homer to right and suddenly we were up by a slam. Ohl and Moesker shared the eighth, and the bottom of that inning began with singles by Gerster and Ramos off Jesse Wright. And here were the Crusaders, knowing that the Raccoons were pretty much allowing a blazing hot Alberto Ramos to do whatever. In this case, a double steal. They KNEW the runners were going. They still couldn’t get even Gerster, even at third base. We only amounted to an Abel Mora sac fly, but Ramos was UNBEATABLE. And Nick Derks at least pitched a scoreless ninth despite a Wilson single and Cameron double with two outs. 7-2 Furballs. Ramos 4-5, 2 2B; Spencer 3-5, 2B; Mora 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-4, HR, 5 RBI; Gerster (PH) 1-1; Gutierrez 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, W (12-7);

In other news

September 23 – The Condors get 1-hit shutout from SP Adam Potter (10-6, 2.83 ERA) in a 7-0 win over the Aces. LVA OF Tom Dunlap (.286, 5 HR, 24 RBI) breaks up the no-hit bid with one out in the ninth inning!
September 24 – The Indians are NO-HIT by VAN SP Estevan Delgado (12-10, 3.31 ERA) in a 3-0 Canadiens win. Delgado, who made only his ninth start of the season for the Canadiens after a mid-season trade from Atlanta, allowed one walk and struck out three in 2:31 of total precision. This is the 54th no-hitter in ABL history and the second ever for the Canadiens.
September 24 – The Condors lock up the CL South with a 9-6 victory over the Aces and will meet the Raccoons in the CLCS.

Complaints and stuff

So who will pitch down the stretch? And in the playoffs? Truth be told, Game 4 looks like a defeat from all the way over here. I think it will probably be Delgadillo to get the final slot in the playoff rotation, but my goodness are some of our pitchers in shambles. Even Rico looks fairly flimsy for a major ERA title candidate now.

Well, Rico, Rin, and Roberts are set. Rated triple-R. All of them should make a final start next week, but we will the rest of the games with the weeds. Roberts goes on Monday and will probably head the playoff rotation so as to not let the gap get too big between outings. It will still be a week… Maybe we will slide Billy Ramm into Monday. Ramm might be the only guy to make two starts in the last eight games, just to absorb innings I don’t want others to take. But I think we are still a pitcher short here… - Maud! – Maud! – I need you in here. I have to count to eight and I don’t have enough fingers! – But I have to hold my sandwich!

Alberto Ramos is on a 14-game hitting streak… and has an OPS over a thousand. The monster! He is now clearly ahead in the stolen base dash with 52 sacks taken. Pizano is still at 48. Alberto is now only two bags behind Yoshi Yamada’s franchise mark for a single season. Oh, and lest I forget – the little terror also wrapped up his second Player of the Week wreath on this September, batting a mind-boggling .619 (13-for-21) with no home runs and 3 RBI. He also walked four times for a frankly stupid .680 OBP. His OPS this week was 1.632…! He is like a guy on speed, flying a Space Harrier on overdrive, straight into the sun…!

Aw, I want a Space Harrier, too …! Is it in the budget? – Steve? – Can we- Can we buy a Space Harrier for team travel and leisure? – Steve from Accounting says nope.

Rich Hereford now has the second-highest RBI tally ever for a Raccoon, passing Hugo Mendoza with that 3-piece off Eddie Cannon on Sunday. He still has eight games to get past Tetsu Osanai’s 1989 campaign, only 5 RBI ahead of him.

We have several notable/pricey free agents (not all of them are both of these), including Mark Roberts, Jon Correa, Tim Stalker, Jeff Kearney, and more coming up. I have talked to two of them this week. Both had outlandish claims. Only one of them took a contract proposal home to mull it over.

Fun Fact: The first Canadiens no-hitter occurred on August 5, 2010, when Juichi Fujita allowed no hits to the opposition in a 4-0 victory.

And who were his opponents?

WELL, TAKE A GUESS.
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-20-2019)
Old 02-21-2019, 06:13 PM   #2731
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
(waves the players goodbye with a handkerchief as they board the plane to Elkland) Goodbye, my boys, goodbye. Farewell. And don’t get hurt, will ya? I want to see all of you in four days with all limbs attached! Goodbye, my boys, goodbye!

Raccoons (94-60) @ Canadiens (82-73) – September 25-28, 2028

The Elks were back up in second place, which would not allow them to reap any immediate benefits as they had missed the playoffs for the 16th straight season. Their second-best offense in the CL had been undone by pitchers allowing the fourth-most runs, and compared to the Raccoons they had lost nine of the fourteen games played so far.

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (0-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Victor Govea (5-9, 4.50 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (8-8, 4.95 ERA) vs. Jeremy Truett (11-7, 3.64 ERA)
Mark Roberts (16-4, 3.00 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (11-11, 4.24 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.83 ERA) vs. Chris Sinkhorn (14-9, 3.57 ERA)

Sinkhorn would be the only southpaw to see here; meanwhile the Elks’ lineup was shot to pieces due to injuries. Their DL held Brian Wojnarowski, Norman Day, Ted Gura, and as newest addition Tony Coca.

The Raccoons had added Kyle Anderson as additional starter ahead of Mark Roberts. Ramm and Anderson were penciled in to make two more starts, while the core group that would form the rotation in the playoffs (including Delgadillo, ostensibly and reluctantly) would each only make one more appearance in the regular season.

I would have to watch these four games, scared to death, from my couch at home. Tim Stalker would stay in Portland with me as we hoped to activate him during the Titans series and give some last-minute reps before the CLCS. In fact, I had taken him home with me for the games, as well as Honeypaws. BOTH my hands needed to squeeze something during these completely meaningless games, and both Stalker and Honeypaws looked bewildered right from the start.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – CF Magallanes – LF Booker – P Ramm
VAN: 2B Byrd – SS N. Millan – LF A. Torres – 1B D. Fisher – C R. Ortíz – 3B Anton – CF Campbell – RF Al. Medina – P Govea

Three speedy guys hit singles for the Raccoons in the top 3rd and yet that was not enough to score any of them. After Govea had retired the first six Critters, Magallanes led off the third with a single to center. Booker whiffed, Ramm failed to bunt properly, and Magallanes was thrown out at second base. Ramos then extended his hitting streak to 15 with a 2-out single, but now the Coons had a snail runner leading the procession, which only advanced another 90 feet on Spencer’s single over the head of Nelson Millan. But Millan also missed Gomez’ grounder to the left side, and that one finally plated a pair before Hereford grounded out. Ramm now had a 2-0 lead and got through the first three innings without being blamed for a runner (but John Byrd had reached on a Hereford error right at the start of the first). Top 4th, the bags were full with nobody out after Harenberg’s double, Leal drawing a walk, and Magallanes squeezing a single past Millan. As usual, it did not end well. Jaden Booker got a run across… while hitting into a double play. And Ramm struck out, keeping it at 3-0 after the top 4th, but it would be 4-0 an inning later. Ramos drew a walk, advanced on Spencer’s groundout and Gomez’ single, then came home on a Hereford groundout, which gave Rich his 136th RBI this year, four removed from Tetsu Osanai’s 39-year-old franchise record. The Coons laid back after that, but we continued to marvel at Billy Ramm’s developing gem. While Nelson Millan hit a leadoff single in the fourth, he got doubled up by David Fisher, and it took all the way to Fisher’s next appearance at the plate, with two outs in the seventh, that the Elks got another hit on a single to right. Ricky Ortíz grounded out to strand that runner, though. Billy secured three groundouts in the eighth, and was not hit for in a scoreless ninth inning. The bottom of the inning began with PH Curtis Hargraves, who singled to right, but John Byrd whipped the first pitch he got at Ramos for the double play. Millan, the only issue for Ramm all game long, coaxed out a 3-2 walk, but Alex Torres, the last standing member of the Elks’ outfield mean machine, struck out to seal the deal. 4-0 Coons! Gomez 2-4, 2 RBI; Magallanes 3-4; Ramm 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (1-1);

Ehm… that was Billy Ramm’s first career shutout! In… his second career start … (giggles)

Game 2
POR: SS Gerster – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – LF Allan – P Anderson
VAN: CF Tessmann – SS N. Millan – LF A. Torres – 1B D. Fisher – C R. Ortíz – 3B Anton – 2B Crosby – RF L. Gross – P Truett

Tuesday’s affair was pretty much the other way round – the Elks scored the occasional run, two in the third and one in the fifth against Anderson, while the Raccoons did largely nothing at all. They had two base hits through five innings, none of them for extra bases, and looked defeated even in a 3-0 game, with Truett appearing unassailable… until Anderson led off the sixth with a single. Gerster flew out, but Mora and Gomez added singles to load the bases for Rich Hereford. One swipe to match the franchise mark! He did not get enough on it, and Alex Torres also made him settle for one RBI on a sac fly, but Harenberg added an RBI single, and suddenly the go-ahead run was on base. Tovias grounded out to leave him as well as the tying run right there. Tying the score would be left to Matt Nunley, who hit a leadoff jack in the seventh for his first dinger of the (for him much abbreviated) season. But the Critters could not topple Truett completely and in turn had to stare at potential defeat again in the bottom 8th with Kevin Surginer on the mound. Ricky Ortíz led off with a grounder back to the mound that Surginer threw away for a 2-base error, but then buckled up and stranded the runner with grounders to short by Matt Anton and Hargraves, then a K against Luke Gross. The game would go to extras, where the Critters went to Steve Costilow, the runt of the litter in the pen, who was doubled against by Alex Torres to begin the bottom 10th. But even Costilow had SOME pride, struck out David Fisher and Ricky Ortíz, then got Tim Campbell to fly out to Gomez in shallow right. But sometimes even pride would not help. The bottom 11th saw John Byrd reach on an infield single with two outs, and in Costilow’s eyes you could see that his head was in the dugout when he glanced back to Tovias to pitch to Alarico Medina. His first offering was pounded over the rightfield fence to end the game. 5-3 Canadiens. Mora 3-5; Morales (PH) 1-1; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – 3B Nunley – LF Morales – P Roberts
VAN: CF Tessmann – SS N. Millan – LF A. Torres – C R. Ortíz – 3B Anton – 2B Byrd – 1B Myles – RF L. Gross – P J. Martin

Danny Tessmann would be the fourth strikeout victim for Roberts in the game and his 200th on the season, but that event occurred in the third inning. In the first, Tessmann had opened the home first with a single, and Roberts had quickly added a walk to Alex Torres before having been taken deep by Ortíz, putting himself in a 3-0 hole. The Raccoons again started out slow, managing only two singles the first time through, but got Nunley and Morales on board with leadoff singles in the fifth inning. Roberts failed again, bunting into a force at third base, and then Ramos could not get the ball past Adan Myles at first. Spencer hit an RBI single, but Mora flew out easily to strand runners on the corners. Through five, the Critters trailed 3-1, despite outhitting the Elks 6-2. And they continued with showing no clutch at all. Gomez singled, Nunley walked in the sixth, but Morales struck out to strand them. Bottom 6th, Tessmann singled, Torres walked… and here came Ortíz… and somehow I had seen this before, but Ricky Ortíz blasted a 3-piece over the leftfield fence. I turned to Tim Stalker to ask whether he also felt like he was stuck in a temporal loop, but he stared at me as blankly as Honeypaws.

Roberts’ regular season was declared over after 5.1 innings of 4-hit, 6-run ball (… only in Vancouver……), but when Jonathan Fleischer took over he retired nobody at all while being charged with four runs, knocked out again by ANOTHER three-run homer to left by Luke Gross. Down 10-1… hey, why not try Dave Martinez in relief? He got out of the inning, somehow, and the top 7th saw a leadoff double by Jon Correa, a Ramos single (hitting streak to 16), then a brutal double play grounder by Jarod Spencer. Hey, at least he got a ****ing run home… so did Nunley with a 2-out single in the eighth, plating Gomez. Not that it mattered much. The final blast in the game was again gross, Gross’, and came off Billy Brotman in the bottom 8th. For a change, it counted only for one. 11-3 Canadiens. Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gomez 2-4; Nunley 3-3, BB, RBI; Correa 2-2, 2B; Martinez 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

That one hurt in the heart, but at least not in the fingers, necks, and hamstrings…

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Gerster – RF Gomez – 2B Hereford – 1B Correa – CF Mora – LF Morales – C Rocha – P Delgadillo
VAN: CF Tessmann – SS N. Millan – LF A. Torres – 1B D. Fisher – C R. Ortíz – 3B Anton – 2B Byrd – RF L. Gross – P Sinkhorn

Sinkhorn dominated the top of the order initially before he nailed Mora and walked Morales in the top 2nd. Daniel Rocha dropped a shy 2-out single to center to bring in Abel Mora, the runners advanced on the throw to home plate, and then Delgadillo found the hole between Anton and Millan for a 2-out, 2-run single on the first pitch he got from Sinkhorn. Ramos walked and Gerster singled to load the bases, and finally Rafael Gomez destroyed Sinkhorn with a long drive to left-center that was not going to be caught, ever. GRAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!!

I will not hold back and freely admit that I smooched Tim Stalker when Rafael Gomez upped the score to 7-0. ON THE LIPS. While us two and Honeypaws were discussing how beautiful life was, the Elks loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit in the bottom 2nd. Delgadillo walked two (Anton, Myles), but Butch Gerster also chipped in an error. One way or another, Tessman struck out with the bases loaded for the third out. In turn, the top 3rd saw three on and nobody out against right-hander Andy Horton, with Correa and Mora singling and Morales walking to present Daniel Rocha with a fat RBI chance. He struck out, but Delgadillo got in a run with a groundout before Ramos also grounded out to strand two, and Portland stranded three in the fourth inning when Morales grounded out to Anton. Gross hit a 2-piece off Yusneldan in the bottom 4th, but the Coons pulled those runs back in the fifth against Horton and Andy Purdy. Rocha singled, was bunted to second, scored on a Ramos double (17-game hitting streak in the fourth attempt), and Ramos also came home on a Gerster single, 10-2… and then Delgadillo shed another two runs on three base hits in the bottom 5th. Not that this bollocks game was finished with that. Jon Correa homered off Purdy in the sixth, 11-4, but Jeremy Moesker retired nobody and was charged with two runs in the bottom 7th, one of those runs coming in on a wild pitch by Ricky Ohl. The Elks kept coming closer. Kearney allowed a single to Tessmann and a blast to Millan in the eighth, and all of a sudden there was a save chance for Josh Boles in an 11-8 game. And even then the Elks would bring the tying run to the plate…! Fisher opened with a single to center, and Anton drew a 1-out walk, but Byrd grounded out Gross flew out to Mora to end the game, finally. 11-8 Raccoons. Gerster 2-4, BB, RBI; Gomez 2-5, HR, 4 RBI; Correa 2-5, HR, RBI; Mora 2-3, BB; Rocha 2-5, RBI;

Raccoons (96-62) vs. Titans (84-75) – September 29-October 1, 2028

While technically nothing mattered against the team eighth in runs scored and second in runs allowed, the Raccoons needed one more win in this series to take the season series from Boston for the first time in seven years. That would be swell, boys! Can we do that? Can we? Please?

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (16-6, 3.03 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (3-5, 3.56 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (12-7, 2.55 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (10-12, 3.74 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (8-8, 4.93 ERA) vs. Chris Munroe (9-4, 2.69 ERA)

Left-right-right.

Game 1
BOS: LF W. Vega – RF Kuramoto – 1B B. Lloyd – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – SS S. Williams – C Skinner – P Wingo
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Correa – C Tovias – LF Morales – CF Magallanes – P Nomura

While the Furballs scored a run on 2-out hits by Tovias, Morales, and Magallanes in the second inning, Rin Nomura was exploded for much more in the top of the third. Yasuhiro Kuramoto singled, Bob Lloyd walked on four pitches, and Adam Corder and Rhett West ripped him in half with back-to-back doubles to put the Titans up 3-1. Portland scratched out a run on Ramos’ leadoff double in the bottom 3rd, then two productive outs, but could not help but worry about their shaky rotation and some of their season-long studs not ripping it anymore right now. Hereford was 0-for-2 with a strikeout by the third inning, but at least Ramos kept chugging. He followed up a Nomura single in the bottom 5th with his second walk of the game (all Wingo offered at that point), putting a quick go-ahead runner on base with one out – but he had also been caught stealing in the first and had not snapped a base all week long, still two short of Yoshi Yamada like Rich Hereford was three short of Tetsu Osanai. Rich came up with himself as the matching run, though, following Spencer’s pop to left and Rafael Gomez’ game-tying RBI single. Runners were on the corners, aaaand… he popped out to Stephen Williams.

Nomura somehow struck out ten batters in six innings before being replaced on account of 100+ pitches. The sixth was also a mess, despite three strikeouts. The first was Rhett West leading off, but after that Nomura issued singles to Adrian Reichardt and Williams, threw a wild pitch, and then stranded the runners in scoring position with K’s to Lance Skinner and Dustin Wingo. The Critters did nothing in the bottom of the inning, so Nomura would not get a W and lost his last shot at a tie for the most wins in the CL. The bottom 7th then saw Magallanes lead off with a single to left. Gerster hit for Fleischer and grounded out, and with the runner at second the Titans walked Ramos intentionally. He’ll get on anyway, just put him on right away! The Coons then undid their best plans with a double steal (53!), then had Spencer beat the range of Williams for a 2-run single into shallow left. Ohl walked Reichardt to begin the top 8th which almost ended in disaster until Magallanes shagged a loooong Keith Spataro drive in deep, deep center to end that inning. Instead, Portland scratched out an insurance run in the bottom 8th against Harry Merwin, Matt Nunley coming up with a pinch-hit double to drive home Correa, giving Josh Boles the max allowance of runs for a save… and he blew it. AFTER retiring the first two batters. Lloyd doubled to left, Corder hit an RBI single, and Rhett West hit a ****ing homer to left.

Ultimately this brought on extra innings. Hereford made the final out, stranding Rafael Gomez after a 2-out single in the ninth, and would do the same in the 11th. In between, Abel Mora flew out in the pitcher’s spot with the winning run (Correa) on third base. Somehow, the grunts in the pen held up the Bostonians, despite walking pairs in the 10th (Derks) and 11th (Costilow). Costilow was finally overcome in the 13th inning, allowing leadoff singles to Willie Vega and John Jacobs before Bob Lloyd BLASTED him for a 3-piece to left. Brotman sorted out that inning, but the Coons were in a sizable hole now. Bottom 13th, Mike Stank on the mound. Magallanes singled to center. Harenberg batted for Brotman and singled to right. Ramos grounded between West and Lloyd, but the first baseman SOMEHOW cut off the quick bouncer and played it back to first base and Stank just in time to get Ramos out (for the third time in a row…). Spencer grounded out to Corder, keeping the runners put, and the same for Gomez… except that Rafael walked. So here came Rich Hereford. Three on, two out, three runs down. A homer would solve ALL his problems. He was also 0-for-6 on the day. Corder handled his grounder to make him 0-for-7. 9-6 Titans. Gomez 3-5, BB, 2 RBI; Nunley (PH) 2-3, 2B, RBI; Harenberg (PH) 1-1;

The horror.

Saturday saw the return of Tim Stalker from the DL. Something to look forward to?

Game 2
BOS: LF W. Vega – RF Kuramoto – 1B B. Lloyd – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 3B S. Williams – C A. Arias – P Viamontes
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Leal – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez

Everybody in a fatal slump sunk deeper into it; the Coons had no hits the first time through, and when Mora and Stalker had 2-out hits in the bottom 3rd to bring up Hereford with the tying runs on the corners, Rich flew out weakly to Willie Vega. Boston remained up 2-0 on the strength of three straight hits off Rico in the top 3rd that had plated their runs, foremost an RBI double by Willie Vega, who went on to strike out with two more runners in scoring position to end the top 4th. Reichardt and Alex Arias had both hit singles off an unimpressive Gutierrez, who lasted six innings of not much at all and remained 2-0 behind thanks to Hereford stranding another runner in scoring position, Stalker in the fifth.

The tying runs were in scoring position with nobody out in the bottom 7th. Viamontes had allowed a leadoff single to Nunley, then a pinch-hit double near the leftfield line to Danny Morales. That brought up an Alberto Ramos that was 0-for-his-last-6, weird and scary enough. He reached 0-7 with a grounder to first that helped nothing. Mora flew out to Reichardt, and Stalker flew out to Fernando Rodriguez in right before they could bring up Hereford with three on and two out to further squelch my aching heart. The Critters put two on in the eighth, but Leal hit into a double play. The bottom 9th still saw them down 2-0 against Ryan Corkum, who allowed a leadoff single to left to Matt Nunley. Gerster batted for Jeff Kearney, but struck out, and Ramos popped out to end his 18-game hitting streak… unless there were extras. Mora walked to bring up the winning run with two outs and in form of Tim Stalker, who squeezed a grounder past Stephen Williams for an RBI single and that… brought… up… Hereford. 0-for-10 in the series. The game did not matter. Removing him would send the wrong message. Gotta have faith! Gotta have faith! We’re gonna do it! We’re gonna do it! Hereford saw a strike and two balls, then hit a line to left-center that fell in. Mora was waved around third and sent for home, the throw was late, and the game was tied!! The runners advanced to scoring position for Harenberg, who would face new pitcher Harry Merwin, and … flew out to Reichardt.

Extras…! Surginer was in to pitch, had a clean 10th, then a less clean 11th. Adam Corder hit a 2-out single, Ramos made an error, but somehow Surginer got out of that mess. The Coons faced Mike Stank in the bottom 11th. The lefty offered a leadoff walk to Jon Correa in the #9 hole, which drew up Ramos, who grounded to second for what ended up a fielder’s choice. Then he stole second without anybody remembering giving a sign – that was #54 and the franchise mark. And then they stranded him at second… In turn, Josh Boles was blown up for the second night in a row, getting ripped for a 2-out, 2-run double by Williams. Jacobs had singled, Spataro had reached on Stalker’s error, and after the double Boles drilled Arias. Somehow the Titans only scored two off him when he deserved six. Portland had nothing in the bottom of the inning. 4-2 Titans. Stalker 3-6, 2B, RBI; Gomez 2-5, BB, 2B; Nunley 3-5, 2B; Morales (PH) 1-1, 2B; Surginer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Doom, doom, doom, nothing but doom all around me.

Hey, we still have a chance to fudge away home field advantage in the CLCS! Just keep on losing, boys!



And then chaos broke out. It rained all of Sunday. No chance to play a ballgame. So the Raccoons would have to go to Indy for the Monday game, then come back to Portland to play the Titans on Tuesday. They would kindly wait for us until then…

Raccoons (96-64) @ Indians (65-96) – October 2, 2028

I hate that this game exists. At least we were not the only game on this day. The Miners and the Capitals also had to play a makeup game for a weekend rainout. If the Miners won that, they would also play on Tuesday, then the Buffaloes in a tie-breaker for the division. Meanwhile the Condors had lost on Sunday, leaving us with home field advantage in the CLCS, and no matter what happened in the last two days, we would always be the #2 seed.

Over here in the City of Arrows, it was Kyle Anderson (8-8, 4.93 ERA) against right-hander Myles Mood (1-3, 3.93 ERA).

POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Anderson
IND: SS Pizano – 3B Roesler – C Kennett – 1B Jon Gonzalez – LF Plunkett – CF Zanches – 2B Wagner – RF Suhay – P Mood

In an unexpected pitcher’s duel, neither hurler allowed more than three hits through six innings, and while Kyle Anderson also walked a whole bunch, the Indians were tactful enough to hit into well-timed double plays whenever they came close to scoring. The Coons were up 1-0 thanks to a third-inning run produced by Ramos walking with two outs and coming around on Mora’s double over the head of Alex Zanches. Anderson was done after six, because the Raccoons went to a pinch-hitter with two outs and Harenberg and Tovias on base with a pair of singles in the top 7th. Danny Morales came out to face George Barnett… and popped out. From here, the Raccoons would have Hereford strand another runner in scoring position in the eighth, Mora having singled and advanced on a groundout, and had nothing at all in the ninth. Brotman and Ohl held the Indians at bay until Surginer came out for the ninth, Josh Boles being given another day off after three consecutive outings, none great. Jon Gonzalez fouled out, Mike Plunkett struck out, Alex Zanches… walked. But Curt Wagner took strike three, and the Coons could hasten back to the airport after 2:33 of not much at all. 1-0 Furballs. Mora 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Correa 2-3, BB; Anderson 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 1 K, W (9-8);

The Miners lost; we’d be the only playoff team in action on Tuesday.

Tuesday!

Raccoons (97-64) vs. Titans (86-75) – October 3, 2028

I hate that this game exists. It would feature Billy Ramm (1-1, 1.29 ERA) against right-hander Jeremy Waite (11-14, 2.91 ERA), who must have run over a black cat at least three times to have that record with that ERA.

BOS: LF W. Vega – RF Kuramoto – 1B B. Lloyd – SS Spataro – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C A. Arias – P Waite
POR: SS Gerster – CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – C Leal – 3B Nunley – LF Allan – P Ramm

Billy Ramm shed a bunch of runners right from the start; the Titans had the bases loaded on a single, a walk, and daredevil Keith Spataro leaning into a pitch until Adam Corder hit into a inning-ending double play in the first, and got another double play in the third. At that point he was already up 2-0 on Harenberg’s 20th homer of the season that collected Rich Hereford in the second inning, and the Raccoons also loaded the bases after this, but Magallanes flew out to center to strand them all. Bottom 3rd, Stalker led off with a double, bringing up Hereford with another RBI chance – not like he had not had any recently. Waite, struggling, hung a curve. Rich appreciated the motion and pumped it to deep left – and OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!! Tetsu Osanai’s 1989 mark for RBI was matched!! The fans demanded a curtain call after Hereford and Stalker danced into the dugout, which they got, but let’s not forget that there were another six innings to play here…

Actually more than that, because this was still the third. Waite struggled terribly, walked Nunley and Allan with two outs, then surrendered an RBI double to Billy Ramm to fall 5-0 behind. This was close to the maximum penalty for a pitcher… Waite was gone after the inning, while Ramm pitched into the sixth, but came apart more and more. Lloyd hit a leadoff jack to get Boston on the board, and Ramm walked Corder and allowed a single to West. With one out they were on the corners, and Ramm was on four hits and five walks as well as 95 pitches and was yanked. The keen plan was for Fleischer to get out of the inning, then for Derks to cover distance. None of that happened. Reichardt loaded them up with an infield single (Corder stayed put), but Arias struck out. Matt Good hit for reliever John Logsdon, which put up a lefty bat as the tying run. We went to Brotman, who got Good to 0-2, then allowed a grounder up the middle. Stalker cut it off, lobbed the ball into Gerster’s legs, and a run scored on the error. Vega singled in two on the very next pitch and it was now a 5-4 mess before Kuramoto flew out to center.

The bottom 6th saw Hereford’s final chance to set a new franchise mark for RBI and he knew it. Magallanes had hit a 1-out double and was in scoring position, while Javy Salomon was the pitcher. Hereford ran a full count, then fouled out, and was replaced by Rafael Gomez between innings. Both him and Ramos would finish the regular season having tied, but not broken, the marks they chased. The Coons chased a winning record against the Titans here, and added two insurance runs with a 2-out rally in the eighth inning. Stalker tripled, Gomez walked, and both Harenberg and Leal hit RBI singles to give Boles another 3-run edge. Again he retired the first two batters (Vega, Kuramoto), then walked Bob Lloyd to create anxiety. Spataro, however, flew out to Gomez, and the regular season was over. 7-4 Coons. Stalker 2-5, 3B, 2B; Harenberg 3-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Leal 2-4, BB, RBI;

In other news

September 25 – BOS SP Chris Munroe (9-4, 2.69 ERA) spins a 3-hit shutout against the Indians. The Titans win 8-0.
September 26 – The Bayhawks are 3-hit in a shutout authored by LVA SP Luis Flores (9-5, 4.76 ERA).
September 27 – With a 4-1 win over the Gold Sox and a Warriors loss, the Pacifics clinch the FL West once again and will get a chance to defend their 2027 title.
September 29 – It takes 13 innings for a home run by ATL RF/1B/LF Chun-yeong Kym (.183, 1 HR, 5 RBI) to provide any sort of score in the Knights-Aces game. Atlanta prevails, 1-0, while the Aces amount to only two base hits.

Complaints and stuff

Everybody has hit the slumps just ahead of the playoffs. Great. Just give the Condors their rings right now…

Alberto Ramos was Player of the Month in September, batting .454 with no dingers and 11 RBI. But that was before the slump.

Slump here, slump there, Raccoons won several statistical categories. Rich Hereford led all of the ABL in home runs (tied with Shane Sanks) and RBI (nobody even close). Alberto Ramos led all of the CL in stolen bases. Rico Gutierrez led all of the ABL in ERA *and* WHIP. Josh Boles led the Continental League in saves. Like Ramos matched Yoshi Yamada’s single season mark of 54 SB, Rich Hereford matched Tetsu Osanai’s 140 RBI tally.

And nobody got themselves killed…!

The Raccoons and Mark Roberts agreed to a flat 4-yr, $10.4M extension this week! This will keep Roberts in the brown shirt until he is 37, which may or may not turn out a wise investment. Roberts has been with us for five season since that trade with the Bayhawks, won a ring, won a triple crown, a Pitcher of the Year, and has routinely been tough as nails. He did not even allow 30 long balls this year…!

In case you wonder what happened to a different reserve catcher we have, Jing-quo Liu – he is still in the organization after spending all year with the Alley Cats… or on the DL. He broke his arm at one point when he slipped on the freshly cleaned stairs in the clubhouse in St. Pete. He could not read the yellow sign that warned of the wet floor…

Fun Fact: The Raccoons’ 98 wins this season are their most in almost 20 years. They most recently won 98 games in 2009.

That was the year in which Keith Ayers was out at home.
Attached Images
Image Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic




Last edited by Westheim; 02-22-2019 at 03:06 AM.
Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
3 thanks for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-21-2019), pgjocki (02-22-2019), WeagleWeagle (02-22-2019)
Old 02-22-2019, 04:45 AM   #2732
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Tijuana Condors (95-67)


The postseason! The spotlight! The excitement! The Excitement! How many bases will Alberto Ramos steal? How many home runs will Rich Hereford smash? How many runs will the Condors score at all?

Well, the Condors won the season series 5-4 over the Raccoons, but that was to be taken with a grain of salt. Three of their wins came against Kyle Anderson, George James, or Dave Martinez – none of which would start in the CLCS, and only Anderson would be on the playoff roster. Only one of the Raccoons’ wins came against a pitcher that we would not expect to take a turn here (George Griffin was on the DL and had been outdueled by Rico Gutierrez in one game this season), although one of our wins came when Joe Perry left a game in the third inning due to injury and the Condors’ pen came apart.

There were however subtle signs that this would not be an easy series… The Condors led the Continental League in runs scored (789) and runs allowed (594) for a +195 run differential. The Raccoons had only come fourth in either category, with a +102 run differential. That was a stark contrast indeed. It was also hard to find weaknesses with these Condors. Maybe the bullpen, which seemed to lack real shutdown guys and had come apart from time to time (but which bullpen didn’t?). The Raccoons had done better in terms of power and defense, but only marginally, and while the Coons had come fourth in stolen bases, the Condors had smashed the competition, stealing just over one base per game.

Then there was the Condors’ rotation, which we expected to feature two right-handers and two left-handers. All with low-3 ERA’s; Joe Perry’s mark of 3.31 was the worst to be likely flung at us. While the Raccoons could line up three starters with equal or better ERA’s, Game 4 would invariably see Dan Delgadillo, who almost got his ERA up to five by the end of the season … again. Delgadillo had been the hero two years ago, going 3-0 in the postseason, but this did not look likely to happen again.

Griffin was not the only injury for the Condors, who were also without Jorge Villalobos, who would not have markedly improved the rotation, and Juan Palbes, a rookie outfielder they would not miss all that much given he only had 25 at-bats in a late call-up. 25 was also the number of Raccoons that were eligible for the postseason roster at all; Tim Stalker had gone down to injury after roster expansion and had returned with a few days to spare in the regular season, thus no options were on the table to shake things up. The Raccoons’ playoff roster really set itself this time around:

Roberts, Gutierrez, Nomura, Delgadillo; Boles, Ohl, Surginer, Brotman, Kearney, Fleischer, Derks, Anderson; Tovias, Leal; Harenberg, Stalker, Spencer, Ramos, Nunley, Hereford; Gomez, Mora, Morales, Correa, Magallanes;

I might have liked to have Butch Gerster available, but the ABL and the rulebook had none of that.

Are we favorites to advance to the World Series? Certainly not, despite home field advantage. Do we have a good chance to battle our way through here? We certainly do!

The Raccoons were in the postseason for the 13th time, one shy of the high water mark of 14 appearances held by the Thunder and Scorpions and tied with the Titans for most in their division. The Condors would be in the playoffs for the 10th time, but they were also one of four teams to never win the World Series, with another one of those (Buffaloes) competing itn the FLCS.

This would be the second meeting between these teams in the CLCS. The Raccoons beat the Condors in six games in the 1993 CLCS before winning their second straight World Series in the last one of those famous three-time matchups with the Capitals.

Just the entry post for now; I will not get to the games until a few hours from now.
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2019, 10:10 AM   #2733
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Tijuana Condors (95-67)


Game 1 – Mark Roberts (16-5, 3.17 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (14-7, 3.18 ERA)

The series started in Portland with a duel between southpaws, probably not the last one of those either. Little had faced Portland twice, going 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in those encounters. Mark Roberts had also met the Condors twice this season, and had also gone 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA.

TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Little
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Morales – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Roberts

The start could have been better. Four pitches into the postseason, Chris Murphy homered voraciously out of rightfield to put the Condors 1-0 ahead. Roberts leaked a walk to Kevin McGrath before securing three outs, but more writing was added to the wall when Alberto Ramos struck out to begin the bottom 1st. It was his first strikeout since August 28 – 110 at-bats ago. Tim Stalker hit a triple, but was stranded when Rafael Gomez flew out to shallow right and Rich Hereford grounded out.

The third inning would make it all worse. Roberts could not get anybody removed with two strikes, and did not even get that far when Jeff Little led off the inning. Instead, Little singled to center, and Chris Murphy emptied another harmless fastball over the centerfield fence to extend the gap to 3-0. The game would only get more out of hand. Ramos had another strikeout in his second trip to the plate, the Raccoons did absolutely nothing, and the Condors tore Roberts wide open by the fourth inning. Andrew Showalter singled, Adam Braun hit an RBI double to center, and Tom Fitzsimmons plated Braun with a single to center. It was 5-0, and Roberts was yanked after 3.1 innings that were nothing but ****ed up.

Fitzsimmons would come around to score against Nick Derks, who issued two walks and then nailed Shane Sanks to put Tijuana up 6-0. The fourth inning only ended on a foul pop by Mike Matias, and Game 1 was absolutely over at this point.

Bottom 5th, Harenberg drew a leadoff walk against a so far mostly flawless Little. Morales fouled out, but Abel Mora dropped a single into center. Elias Tovias flew to deep center, and Murphy could not get back quickly enough; the ball fell in for an RBI double, cutting the gap to 6-1. Jon Correa batted for Derks, dropped a looper in front of Braun for an RBI single, and Ramos’ sac fly plated the third run of the inning. When Little nervously walked Tim Stalker, the tying run was at the plate in Gomez, who grounded out to Showalter to end the inning.

But the Raccoons were neck deep into their pen already. We did not want to use Anderson, who had thrown 73 pitches just three days earlier, but Dan Delgadillo would not see action until Game 4, four days from now, so there was probably no harm in getting him to turn in some 30 pitches. He crawled through a long top of the sixth, stranding Murphy (walk) and McGrath (single) when Sanks grounded out to Hereford. Rich would open the bottom 6th with a single to right, and McGrath’s error put on Harenberg, too. The tying run was back at the plate, now with nobody out, and Danny Morales kept he line moving, singling cleanly to left. Hereford scored from second, and it was now 6-4, soon to be 6-5 when Mora doubled over Murphy. Now the panic was on the Condors, their pen scurrying, but they still had nobody ready when Tovias drew up with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second, and exploded Little for good with a 2-run single up the middle.

Only now the Condors found a reliever, righty Josh Sharp. The Coons used Delgadillo to bunt, which led to Ramos being walked intentionally before Stalker and Gomez were retired on grounders, keeping the Coons’ lead to 7-6. That lead was in grave danger immediately; Delgadillo allowed a leadoff double to Matias in the seventh, then was replaced with Kearney when Omar Larios pinch-hit in the #5 hole. Kearney struck him out, then was immediately replaced by Ricky Ohl. Tijuana forced the issue, Matias stole third, then scored on Danny Zarate’s groundout, tying the score, only for Rich Hereford to untie it with a leadoff jack off Sharp in the bottom of the inning. Bananas! Everything was bananas!!

Ohl held on to that in the eighth, which included a K to the heretofore unretired Chris Murphy. The bottom 8th saw the Raccoons do nothing major at all, leaving it to Josh Boles (whose efforts in the Titans series had not been free of blemish) to put the game away against the 2-3-4 batters, all right-handers. He solved the puzzle with two strikeouts framing Sanks’ fly to Mora.

Raccoons 8, Condors 7 – Raccoons lead series 1-0

Stalker 2-4, BB, 3B; Hereford 2-4, HR, RBI; Mora 2-4, 2B, RBI; Tovias 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Correa (PH) 1-1, RBI; Ohl 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

I aged ten years during this game. But Nick Valdes aged at least 30.

Breath, Nick, breath. Always keep breathing. I have seen games way worse than that.

Game 2 – Rico Gutierrez (12-7, 2.56 ERA) vs. Jonas Mejia (17-11, 3.07 ERA)

The Raccoons would get a right-hander in Game 2, producing a changed lineup, although the change was not unfamiliar. Hereford moved out to leftfield, and Matt Nunley, who had not featured in the first game’s box score, would take over at the hot corner.

Only Rico had faced the other team, pitching to a no-decision in the July series, allowing one run in 6.1 innings. Mejia never came up against Portland in the regular season.

TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Mejia
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

The Coons had the better chances in the early innings, in which Rico allowed only a walk and a single to the Condors, but they wasted all of them. Harenberg grounded out to strand Stalker (single) and Hereford (walk) in the first, Gutierrez hit into a double play with runners on the corners to end the second, and after Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the third, Stalker was the goat and hit into a double play. The game was scoreless through three.

That ended when Shane Sanks – who had tied with Rich Hereford for most homers this year – hit a leadoff jack in the top of the fourth. Before I could contain my dismay, Mike Matias hit another one, and the Condors were up 2-0. The gap only grew in the fifth, in which the annoying pest Murphy hit a triple to right and scored on McGrath’s sac fly, 3-0. The Coons only left them on the corners once more, Stalker flying out to Matias to keep Tovias and Ramos parked on the corners in the bottom 5th.

The Critters did not make the board until the bottom of the sixth. Mora led off with a walk, Hereford flew out to left in a full count, but Kevin Harenberg did something useful for once and found the gap between Murphy and Matias for an RBI double. The tying run was up once more, and once again it was Rafael Gomez, 1-for-7 in the series, although the eyeball test would have given him an even more disastrous clip. Crucially, Mejia threw a wild pitch that moved Harenberg to third base before Gomez flew out to center – now it was a sac fly, and the Coons were back within one.

Spencer batted for Rico Gutierrez, who managed to somewhat correct his line by lasting seven innings, to begin the bottom of the seventh. He grounded to short, Showalter (who was Nunley’s age and really should not be parked at short) flubbed it, and the tying run was aboard. When Ramos singled to right, his first base knock of thepostseason, the tying run reached third base against Mejia. Again, the Condors were trusting their starter to handle the situation until now panic broke out in the pen. Stalker grounded out poorly, moving up Ramos, but keeping Spencer at third. Mora grounded out to McGrath, and suddenly there were two outs and the Condors looked justified, until Rich Hereford happened upon them. Rich took a 3-2 pitch, lined it to center, Murphy had no chance, and King Rich flipped the score with a 2-run double! HERE-FORD!! HERE-FORD!!

After Kevin Harenberg grounded out to third, the Coons used Brotman and Surginer for the eighth. Billy got a pop from Murphy, and the hurling Kevin got strikeouts against McGrath and Sanks. When no insurance run came about, it was on Josh Boles again, with the ninth led off by PH Omar Larios, who struck out. Showalter flew out to Hereford in left. Zarate struck out.

Raccoons 4, Condors 3 – Raccoons lead series 2-0

Ramos 2-3, BB; Hereford 1-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

Win-ners! Win-ners!
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
pgjocki (02-22-2019)
Old 02-22-2019, 11:48 AM   #2734
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) @ Tijuana Condors (95-67)


Game 3 – Rin Nomura (16-6, 3.07 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (10-7, 3.10 ERA)

With the second right-handed option coming up for Tijuana, the Raccoons would stick to the Game 2 lineup.

Potter had seen the Coons three times this year, including once in relief. He went 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA, but most recently had tossed eight shutout innings at them in the September series. Nomura had also gone 1-1 against them in two starts for a 3.14 ERA (same as Roberts, so maybe we’d better duck). Rin had suffered his only loss after the All Star Game against the Condors.

POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Nomura
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Potter

Tom Fitzsimmons shagged Ramos’ grounder to begin the game, but then had straight singles pass him by on either side by Stalker, Mora, and Hereford. The last one put the Coons up 1-0 in the opening frame, but it was the only run the team got in the inning, because Harenberg remained the great deflator around here. He popped out, Gomez singled to load them up, but Sanks robbed Nunley on a quick bounce to end the inning.

The Condors were less picky and undressed Nomura as early as the second inning in shameful fashion. Matias singled and Showalter walked to begin the inning. Zarate hit a fly to center that advanced the lead runner, after which Nomura rung up Brown. With two down, he then bled consecutive 2-out singles to Fitzsimmons to tie, and to ****ing Adam Potter to fall behind 3-1.

Not that Potter held on; Abel Mora opened the third with a gapper for a double, then scored on two productive outs, which cut the gap to 3-2, but the Coons continued with a Gomez double to left and Nunley knotting it up with a single to center. Tovias flew out to right, and when Nomura came back to the mound, he continued to implode. Leadoff walk to McGrath, then a 2-piece drummed by Shane Sanks that put Tijuana up 5-3 and got the Coons pen active. It would then get involved in the bottom of the fourth; Chris Murphy had tripled in Fitzsimmons to extend the gap to 6-3, and management decided Nomura could continue to suck balls in the clubhouse. Fleischer replaced him, but conceded the Murphy run, too, when McGrath hit a sac fly to Hereford, 7-3.

The Critters got a run back in the fifth when Gomez grounded out to allow Mora to score after a leadoff single, but things slowed down completely after that. Ramos got on base in the sixth, but was caught stealing, and the Raccoons went down in order in the seventh and eighth. The wild mix of Fleischer, Anderson, Kearney, and Derks held the Condors also where they were, but that in itself would not help to make up a 3-run deficit.

The ninth inning would see Pat Selby out against leadoff man Elias Tovias, who led off with a single to center. My whiskers twitched. I sensed a chance. Armando Leal batted in the #9 hole and grounded back to the mound. Selby pounced, fired to second – wildly. All paws were safe on the error, and the tying run was at the plate with nobody out. Ramos flew out to center, the stupid ****ing Murphy robbed Stalker in the gap, and Mora flew out easily to Braun.

Condors 7, Raccoons 4 – Raccoons lead series 2-1

Mora 2-4, BB, 2B; Gomez 2-4, 2B, RBI; Fleischer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Never trust hope. Hope SUCKS.

Maybe even more than our starting pitchers. What is going on, boys???

Game 4 – Dan Delgadillo (8-4, 4.89 ERA) vs. Joe Perry (17-8, 3.31 ERA)

The Condors had shackled Yusneldan for four runs and a no-decision in his only attempt in the regular season, and he had also allowed a run in one inning in relief in Game 1. Perry had piled up a 6.28 ERA in three outings against Portland this year, but somehow had ended up 1-0 in those three starts.

POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Morales – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – LF Denzler – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – RF O. Larios – C Zarate – 2B Bross – SS Fitzsimmons – P Perry

Ramos led off with a walk and was immediately doubled off by Stalker, which was not a great help, especially with Delgadillo sucking just as much as the other guys in the rotation, minus maybe Rico Gutierrez. The Condors loaded the bases in a hurry in the bottom 1st and got a 2-run single from Omar Larios to take the early lead.

The Raccoons stranded them at the corners in the second inning; Harenberg had reached on an error by Dave Bross, Morales had singled, but that was all they could pile up on Perry in the inning. Mora fouled out, Tovias grounded out to Sanks to strand the runners. By contrast, the Condors tacked on a run on Fitzsimmons’ leadoff double in the bottom 2nd, a bunt, and Murphy’s groundout, 3-0.

Through four innings the Condors out-hit their wholly inept opposition 8-2, but stranded runners in scoring position in the third, and had them again in scoring position in the fourth when Murphy tried to nip second base and was thrown out to end the inning. The situation would not meaningfully change through six innings, or through seven. The Raccoons had two hits, and the Condors had ten.

Most infuriating was probably the fact that Perry pitched 7.1 innings and struck out NOBODY. It was all the Raccoons hitting into ****ty out after ****ty out after ****ty out. Maybe a double play when Perry walked one at some point. Nunley pinch-hit in the eighth and singled up the middle to get Perry removed from the game. His replacement, right-hander Mike Baker, walked Ramos to bring up the tying run, which had not been at the plate since the second inning. Stalker grounded a 3-2 pitch at Fitzsimmons, who butchered a near-certain double play for an error, and now there were three on and one out.

And remember how routinely miserable the Raccoons were with three on and no outs? Let’s be glad there was one out!

Rafael Gomez faced Baker and poked the first pitch back to the mound. The only thing that cost the Condors home-and-first was probably that it was still hit a wee bit too hard and Baker only got to knock it down at the first swipe. Nunley was out by a mile still, but Gomez legged out the return throw. The Condors then sent lefty Lisuarte Paradela against Hereford, who popped out on the first pitch he saw. The Condors scored an insurance run in the bottom 8th on FOUR 2-out walks, three of them issued by Nick Derks, and one, drawn by PH Adam Braun, by Brotman. The Raccoons went down without as much as a wheeze in the ninth.

Condors 4, Raccoons 0 – series tied 2-2

Nunley (PH) 1-1;

Three hits, four walks… they still never struck out. And yet they were absolutely horrendous. If only our starting pitching could finally sew up their leaky bum holes and get a decent outing together …!

Game 5 – Mark Roberts (16-5, 3.17 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (14-7, 3.18 ERA)

Back to square one, and two pitchers that had been torn up for ERA’s north of 10 in the first game in the series. Little’s was 10.80, which was scary enough, but Roberts had been mauled for a 16.20 ERA, not at all becoming of a former Pitcher of the Year.

POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Morales – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Roberts
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Little

Three little Raccoons produced three pathetic grounders in the first inning in what was hopefully not their reaction to having been 3-hit by essentially a static display of cotton batting in Game 4. Hereford drew a leadoff walk in the second, Harenberg reached on an error, but Morales struck out and Mora hit into a double play. What a joy to know that this series would only be decided in Portland and that we would get kicked out of the playoffs in front of our home crowd…

At least Mark Roberts went off like a fire engine and struck out four in the first two innings, putting nobody on board, then bunted over Tovias after a leadoff single in the top 3rd. Ramos hit a single to right, but Tovias was not going to score on that. Tim Stalker grounded between the mound and Fitzsimmons, which was not a shabby place to put a roller with a speedy man on first base. Fitzsimmons looked at Ramos, did so decidedly too long, then went to first, and then it was too late – all paws were safe, and Tovias had scored to make it 1-0 in this pivotal Game 5. The Raccoons then sent their remaining runners for a double steal. Zarate fired a really good throw to third base, but it was still not enough to beat Ramos. Those were also the Coons’ first stolen bases in the entire series…

Gomez continued with a bouncer over the second base bag that Fitzsimmons cut off, but this time really had no play – the second consecutive RBI infield single extended the lead to 2-0. Hereford struck out, but Harenberg hit a hard RBI single to left to get to 3-0 before Morales was rung up to bring Roberts back out.

Roberts retired the first 12 Condors in a row between everything went wrong again at once. Mike Matias hit a soft pop to left that was probably going to fall for a single, but a confused Danny Morales managed to play the ball into a triple in a graceless display of panic. Showalter hit an RBI double, Braun hit an RBI single, and suddenly it was 3-2 and scary again.

Little was knocked out in the sixth and replaced by Josh Sharp after Mora walked and Tovias hit a double to left. This came with one out and the Coons were unwilling to let go of Roberts, who struck out. Ramos was halfheartedly walked, not really intentionally, but they wanted no piece of him for sure despite him batting .250 in the series, and would rather try their luck with Tim Stalker, just back from injury, with three on and two outs. He popped out.

Roberts had a scary sixth with two deep drives against him that were caught by Mora and Gomez, respectively, then struck out Matias and Showalter to begin the seventh. And then hung one again. Zarate homered to tie the game, and everything was horrible.

Braun robbed both Tovias and Nunley on deep drives in the eight after Mora had drawn a 1-out walk against Sharp, who seemed to pitch forever and effortlessly.

Before long, it was the 10th. Pat Selby was one for Tijuana, while Kevin Surginer had spun two scoreless to keep the Condors from winning. The Coon made three poor outs in the top 10th before they sent Ricky Ohl to at least give them another chance to blow away. Ohl rung up Showalter. Zarate popped out. Adam Braun hit a 420-footer to right to end the game.

Condors 4, Raccoons 3 (10) – Condors lead 3-2

Stalker 2-5, RBI; Gomez 2-5, RBI; Tovias 2-3, BB, 2B; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

(lies in rolled up and expressionless in a wheelbarrow pushed by the Druid as the team leaves the park for the airport)
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
pgjocki (02-22-2019)
Old 02-22-2019, 12:19 PM   #2735
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Tijuana Condors (95-67)


Game 6 – Rico Gutierrez (12-7, 2.56 ERA) vs. Jonas Mejia (17-11, 3.07 ERA)

This matchup had been a winner for the Raccoons in Game 2. It better be one again.

TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Mejia
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Ramos singled, stole second, stranded at third in the opening inning, which was exactly not what my nerves had needed. At least Sanks was the only Condor to reach the first time through, drawing a 2-out walk in the top 1st, but it was not like the Raccoons were any good with the sticks. Stalker hit a 2-out single in the bottom 3rd, their first hit since the Ramos single, and Mora grounded out weakly to strand him, too.

Sanks was on base again in the fourth inning, hitting a 1-out single up the middle. Oh well, no major damage yet, and we can – oh ****, Mike Matias hit a line drive over the leftfield fence. It was the Condors’ eighth home run against an overwhelmed and humiliated Raccoons pitching staff in the series, and they had only one homer of their own. Also notice how we are already moving towards the post mortem in the middle of the fourth.

Rich Hereford made it two with a leadoff jack in the bottom 4th that by definition had nobody on base and thus still saw the Raccoons trundling towards elimination in a 2-1 game. Harenberg singled. Nunley singled. Tovias hit into a double play to end the fourth.

No, there was nothing left in terms of hope. Hope sucked anyway. Confidence was better, but the Coons had been stripped of all of theirs. In better times they would have been a good bet to exploit Mejia’s clumsy leadoff walk to Rico Gutierrez in the bottom 5th. Right now, I only saw three outs lining up to take turns at the plate. Ramos, however, singled, while I got ready to jump out the window with Honeypaws in my arms. Stalker struck out, Mora walked, and it had to happen now or it certainly would not ever happen anymore. Rich Hereford HAD to turn the game around, RIGHT … NOW. Mejia had him at 0-1 when Hereford put the ball in play… a bouncer to Fitzsimmons… terrible, terrible, terrible… terrible things would happen …! Fitzsimmons’ feed was dropped by Showalter for a ghastly error; the Coons tied the score on that alone, and still had the bags full with one out for the next double play action figure, Kevin Harenberg, who, true to fame, hit into a 6-4-3 double play. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! IT CAN’T BEEEEEEE …!!!!

Yet it was. Even Rico was mad as **** and struck out the core of the Condors’ lineup, all righties, in the top of the sixth. But with the Coons, their next RISP chance to **** around with was never far around the corner. Rafael Gomez opened the bottom 6th with a double to right, and here came the bottom of the order for more horrors to be displayed. Nunley grounded out to first, which at least moved up the runner, and Tovias flew out to Braun in shallow left, which certainly didn’t. Our paw was thus forced – we had to bat for Gutierrez. Jon Correa struck out.

Kevin Surginer pitched two clean innings, just like in Game 5. His efforts did not reap rewards, because the Raccoons kept being fooled by Mejia, one way or another. The Raccoons would send Josh Boles for the ninth, and he would face the right-handed middle of the order and labored achingly around a leadoff walk to Shane Sanks, who ended up stranded at second base.

So there could still be a walkoff and maybe a happy end if we could replace Rin Nomura with a rejuvenated (or maybe even just current-condition) Nick Brown within 24 hours. But first they had to win this one, which meant scoring a run, which was hard to do.

Pat Selby was tasked with denying them a run. Tovias led off, hitless on the day, but singled up the middle to become the winning run aboard. And the Critters only needed that ONE run – and sent Boles to the plate to bunt. Once Tovias would be at second, Magallanes would run for him. Josh dropped down a goodie, and Magallanes got into the game with 180 feet to cover. The Condors kept avoiding Ramos, who was walked intentionally to where his hindpaws wouldn’t count. Tim Stalker lopped a single to center, but Adam Braun got so dangerously close to it that Magallanes could not go further than halfway and when the ball fell in could not score. Bases loaded, one out, Abel Mora. Any deep fly would do. He grounded to the mound, and the Condors killed Magallanes at home. At least… well… that brought up Rich Hereford. And they could not walk him, they had to face him all 146 RBI of him, including the playoffs. Hereford swung and missed once, then swung and met the second time. Soft line to center, and everybody knew immediately they’d come back tomorrow, because this was a walkoff single in no man’s land.

Raccoons 3, Condors 2 – series tied 3-3

Ramos 2-4, BB; Stalker 2-5; Hereford 2-5, HR, 3 RBI; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Valdes and me burst into a spontaneous embrace and bounced up and down through my office… at least until he started to comb my disorderly hair.

Yes, Rin, there will be a Game 7.

And you better have your **** together.
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
pgjocki (02-22-2019)
Old 02-22-2019, 12:58 PM   #2736
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Tijuana Condors (95-67)


Game 7 – Rin Nomura (16-6, 3.07 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (10-7, 3.10 ERA)

This pairing had not gone so well for the Coons the first time around in Game 3. Well, Rin, this is why we will replay it now!!

TIJ: CF C. Murphy – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – SS Showalter – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Fitzsimmons – P Potter
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Nomura

Rin Nomura lasted two outs, then left with discomfort. Well, that was ONE way to not soak the loss in a Game 7, but it put the Raccoons right back at the brink of elimination after having been up 2-0 in the series. What the **** were we supposed to do?? It was not like we had any studs left over. In the end the Raccoons replaced Nomura with Anderson, and would play the game by ear.

Even better, after Ramos led off the bottom 1st with a single, Stalker doubled him up again. Tim. Why? Just… why? Why not strike out or pop up like Harenberg, the fool?

Anderson bled a single to Matias and a walk to Zarate in the second, but the Condors brought up Fitzsimmons with two outs and first base open, and the Coons were not beneath the intentional walk here. Potter struck out to strand a full set in the top 2nd.

At least Rich Hereford gave the crowd something to cheer for in between double plays (Gomez, two batters later), and hit a leadoff jack off Potter in the bottom of the second. Now at least we had Anderson staked to a lead! …and still had to hope that the Condors would not put him on an actual stake too soon. And damn, Kyle Anderson did not make for pleasant watching. He walked Chris Murphy (who had actually cooled off while the Condors had won three in a row in Tijuana) on four pitches to begin the top 3rd, then was lucky that Tovias for once threw out a runner as he tried to nip second, AND that that happened before Sanks hit a ball into the gap for a 2-out double. Matias struck out.

Bottom 4th, Stalker led off with a single to right, and then McGrath sucked up Mora’s grounder on the run, but somehow also managed to fling it out of his glove again behind his back, and no add-on defender was watching over McGrath’s nether regions. The error put two on, and two were still on after Hereford hit into a fielder’s choice. Harenberg found them perched on the corners and collected an RBI with a sound single over Fitzsimmons, and Gomez chimed in when he dropped a ball in front of Matias, 3-0. Nunley and Tovias grounded out to end the inning.

Now, how much did the Coons expect to get from Anderson, and how much could they expect from the back end of the pen with the caveat that Surginer had tossed four innings in the last three days? There was surely no harm to let Anderson keep pitching as long as the tying run did not make it to the plate. He had a quick fifth, then even drew a leadoff walk against a disheartened Potter in the bottom of the inning. Ramos and Stalker hit singles, and here was the chance for the knockout blow, with Abel Mora at the plate, three on, and nobody out!

Uh-oh, three on, nobody out? Mora coaxed a walk to force in a run, and Hereford also got a run across, if only on a double play grounder. But that made it 5-0, and only 12 outs to collect for a trip to see whichever band of muggers the Federal League had selected.

Anderson got two outs in the sixth before he allowed a single to Showalter. No immediate panic broke out, but the pitching coach made sure to feel his pulse after five innings of relief and 73 pitches. The pulse was there and detectable, but Danny Zarate still hit an RBI double. It was time to move – Fleischer came into the game to end the inning, which he did with a K to Adam Braun. He got Fitzsimmons to ground out in the seventh, and when the Condors sent a lefty hitter for Potter – Bobby Marshall – Kearney got the last two outs of the inning from him and Chris Murphy, the bum.

Here we were and felt great. The fans had a party. Six outs left and we could line up Ohl and Bole- RICKY!! Kevin McGrath hit a leadoff jack in the eighth. RICKY, WHAT THE **** ARE YOU DOING?? He struck out the next two, then got Showalter to ground out. Still, whyyyy were they making us suffer so much? Nothing good happened in the bottom of the inning, and so it was on Josh Boles, in the darkest night, to get three outs before cocking up three runs, something that he had failed to do as recently as 12 days ago. Zarate led off with a single to left. Braun floated a single into shallow right.

Runners on the corners. Tying run at the plate.

Panic.

After strikeouts to Fitzsimmons and Jayden Teague, Chris Murphy was at the plate as the Condors’ final straw. He had gone 0-for-9 in the last three games. All the more reason to do damage now! He flicked a ball foul to right. He flicked another foul ball over the netting behind home plate. Boles fed him junk low to get him to bite, which didn’t work, twice. Then Josh, the nasty Critter, rapidly fired a high strike that Murphy had not seen coming, not at 2-2. He never moved. He got punched out.

Raccoons 5, Condors 2 – Raccoons win series 4-3

Ramos 2-4; Stalker 2-4; Gomez 1-2, BB, RBI; Anderson 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

Fun Fact: Josh Boles has never been charged with a run in the postseason (10 G, 8.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 14 K).
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
3 thanks for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-23-2019), pgjocki (02-22-2019), WeagleWeagle (02-22-2019)
Old 02-22-2019, 01:22 PM   #2737
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 CLCS

There was of course another series being played in the other league, that one featuring the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Pacifics (100-62), and the Topeka Buffaloes (90-72). Not only had the Pacifics the better record, they had also played in the toughest division in the ABL this year, while the Buffaloes had won the weakest division in the league… and just barely at that.

The Pacifics had led the Federal League in runs scored with a strong .355 team OBP and solid, but not overwhelming numbers in terms of power and speed. Their pitching had been rock solid, with the fourth-fewest runs allowed. Their run differential was a cool +150. It was not ALL shiny, though. While they had two of the best starting pitchers in the league, Dave Christiansen (19-8, 2.90 ERA) and Gavin Lee (19-8, 2.65 ERA), their other two starters had hardly shone a light on themselves and they would have to make to with Shane Baker and his 4.76 ERA for at least one game in the series. Their pen had about four stud relievers, pinnacled by Joe Moore and his 48 saves this season, but was also weak around the underbelly. No Pacific had managed to hit more than 14 homers, which was the mark of OF Justin Fowler (.336, 14 HR, 69 RBI), but then again Fowler had missed 55 games to injury and looked already like a pretty good copy of Dave Garcia from the CL South. Jonathan Morales had driven in 101 runs, and Chris Owen had batted .301, but the team still struggled for a second impact bat in addition to Fowler (when healthy). They were solid and dense throughout the lineup, though.

Offense was not really the Buffaloes’ tune. They had scored the fourth-fewest runs in the Federal League and had more feasted on their overall top 3 pitching. They had a rotation full of low-3 hurlers for the playoffs and a pen that was packed with strong guys with track record even when some of them were former starters. Jose Lerma (16-10, 3.02 ERA) was their ace at this point. Offensively, as hinted at, they could have been better. They ranked fourth in homers, but there was really no speed lost on this team. Their crew did have the best D in the Federal League, though. They also had a 20-HR hitter in Pat Green, added Ken Hess with 15 on top of that, and that was only the guys that had been with Topeka all year. Jay Elder (17 HR) and Giovanni James (15 HR) also had reached the 15-HR mark after midseason trades from New York and Boston, respectively. But the team was not much into hitting for average or getting on base, sitting eighth in either category. They were more of a close-combat, impact gang.

Yeah, the pundits can’t help but be more impressed with the Pacifics, who made their 12th playoff appearance and had four rings already. The Buffaloes were in the postseason for the eighth time, but had never won the championship, one of four teams to lack any ring at all.

+++

Buffaloes @ Pacifics … 4-2 … Buffaloes lead 1-0 … TOP Pat Green 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; TOP Ernesto Juan 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (1-0);

Buffaloes @ Pacifics … 9-3 … Buffaloes lead 2-0 … TOP Jay Elder 2-4, HR, 2B, RBI; TOP Travis Benson 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; TOP Ken Hess 3-4, BB, HR, 2 RBI; TOP Jose Lerma 9.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, W (1-0) and 2-4, RBI;

At this point the Pacifics probably felt insecure. The Buffaloes had beaten both Christiansen (in Game 1) and routed Lee in this game, and would face at least one weaker hurler now.

Pacifics @ Buffaloes … 2-7 … Buffaloes lead 3-0 … TOP Alex Majano 3-5; TOP Giovanni James 2-5, 2 RBI; TOP Travis Benson 2-3, 2 BB;

Major upset in the works! The Pacifics had yet to get at least a pair of players to hit for multiple hits in the same game… let alone win a game…

Pacifics @ Buffaloes … 1-0 (13) … Buffaloes lead 3-1 … LAP Mike Rucker 2-6, HR, RBI; LAP Dave Christiansen 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K; LAP Chris Cooper 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, W (1-0); TOP Jay Elder 2-5, 3B; TOP Ernesto Lujan 7.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K; TOP Vince Devereaux 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K;

Pacifics @ Buffaloes … 2-5 … Buffaloes win 4-1 … LAP Oscar Mendoza 2-3, 2B; LAP Mike Rucker 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; TOP Alex Majano 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI; TOP Jay Elder 2-3, RBI; TOP Travis Benson 2-3, BB; TOP Jose Lerma 8.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, W (2-0);

Upset complete!

Also the first Buffaloes pennant in 27 years. Back then in 2001 they lost to the Titans.
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
blazertaz13 (02-22-2019)
Old 02-23-2019, 04:09 AM   #2738
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 WORLD SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Topeka Buffaloes (90-72)


Here was the World Series, and we might have expected the Pacifics here, but their offense died against the stingy Buffaloes, who made the round of truth for the first time in 27 years. Back then they fell to the Titans in seven games, Game 7 of course being decided by our formerly own Vern Kinnear dropping a walkoff infield single in the 10th inning.

Some of the Buffaloes players at hand now for the first two games in Portland had not even been born the last time the team had gotten a sniff at their first championship. They also probably still didn’t really know how they brushed the Pacifics aside to convincingly, which made them all the more dangerous. If they don’t know, how am I supposed to know?

There were a few key oddities to dissect here. First, the Buffaloes had strong pitching, the second-best rotation in the Federal League, and had allowed the third-fewest runs. This was the second series of the postseason where we could expect an endless shower of pitchers with low-3 ERAs. Their pen was hard to break, too, and contained a surprising amount of ex-Coons in Wade Davis, Vince Devereaux, and Tadasu Abe, who was the odd man out in the rotation. Davis was 39, Abe was 37, and each one of them knew that this was their final stand. None of them had won a ring in their careers.

The offense however had been on the weak end of the scale. They had scored the ninth-most runs in the FL, and had batted only .258 as a team with a .335 OBP. In the FLCS however, four batters had broken out to bat over .400: Alex Majano, Travis Benson, Jay Elder, and Ken Hess. Benson and Elder we knew from their CL days. None of them were likely to kill you in one go. But they had all caught fire at the same time and had swallowed the Pacifics whole, and the Raccoons had to be on the watch.

…especially with the way their pitching had performed. “Cranky” was putting it mildly. We also had lost Rin Nomura to injury in Game 7, and now faced the dire prospect of having to send out Dan Delgadillo and/or Kyle Anderson a combined two or three times in a long series. Could we squeeze Mark Roberts for three starts? Rico was surely not going to start three times. Roberts would start Game 1 on regular rest and then it was off to the races. On the other hand, he had allowed nine runs in 10.1 innings in the CLCS and had graciously dodged a loss in either of his messy starts.

How good were our chances? Even with Nomura’s desolate track record in the postseason (11.02 ERA for his career; 15.75 this season), I would have liked them better if he had been around. Worse yet, he was not even diagnosed as the series began, and so the Coons would carry his dead body on the roster for the time being.

Can we win this series? Sure! Are we heavy favorites? No.
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-23-2019)
Old 02-23-2019, 05:11 AM   #2739
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 WORLD SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Topeka Buffaloes (90-72)


While these teams had never met in the World Series, they had actually met during the 2028 regular season, when the Coons took two of three from the Buffs in June. Nick Danieley shut out the Coons in the opener before Kyle Anderson unfurled 7.1 shutout innings in a rout of Joe Jones (who was on the DL) in the middle game. Fleischer got tagged for four runs late in that one. The rubber game saw Mark Roberts allow only an unearned run in a 2-1 pitching duel against Joao Joo, who had since also been moved to the pen.

Game 1 – Mark Roberts (16-5, 3.17 ERA) vs. Ernesto Lujan (13-14, 3.30 ERA)

Lujan could not have faced the Raccoons in the series earlier this season, having started the year with the Gold Sox, and had not been traded over to the Buffaloes until after our June series with them, while we had only played the Gold Sox in August.

TOP: LF Raynor – CF Coleman – SS Majano – 1B Elder – RF Benson – 3B P. Green – 2B M. Green – C Tarlton – P Lujan
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Roberts

This series almost started like the last one, only that Ron Raynor flew out to center before Ian Coleman whacked a first-inning dinger off Mark Roberts, who desperately tried to keep his ERA away from the 8’s and more towards the 6’s and was not always successful.

Neither was the Coons offense. Ramos hit a leadoff single in the first, but was stranded, while Rafael Gomez ripped at a 3-0 pitch in the bottom 2nd and hit a triple into the leftfield corner, which spared him a spanking. Matt Nunley got him across with a groundout, tying the game at one run for each side after two innings.

For a while, Roberts went into beast mode; he struck out four Buffaloes the first time through, and seven through five innings while waiting on his team to generate a lead. Rich Hereford came up with two outs and Stalker and Mora aboard after a pair of 2-out singles in the bottom 3rd, but struck out, and then they did not reach base again until Roberts hit a single to center with one out in the bottom 5th. Ramos got him forced with a grounder to Alex Majano, but then stole second base off Nate Tarlton and came home on Tim Stalker’s single to right-center, putting the Coons up 2-1 before Abel Mora flew out softly.

Before long, Roberts was in another pickle; Ron Raynor and Ian Coleman, both longtime CL stalwarts, led off with singles to occupy the corners in the sixth, and Roberts did not get strikeouts in time. He DID strike out Jay Elder and Travis Benson… but by then Majano had tied the score again with a sac fly. The Raccoons stranded a pair when Tovias grounded out to end the bottom 6th, but the Buffaloes catcher Tarlton would be less picky when he batted with two outs in the seventh. He took Roberts deep to left, and Topeka held a 3-2 lead.

Jarod Spencer batted for Roberts leading off the bottom 7th, walked, but the Coons could not get him around. Ricky Ohl retired 1-2-3 1-2-3 in the eighth, and when Hereford singled off Lujan to begin the bottom 8th, the Coons were still alive. The Buffaloes probably fancied themselves a double play or sour pop from Kevin Harenberg, who denied them rudely with a gapper in left-center. Hereford had gone early and scored, and Harenberg reached second base as the go-ahead run in a 3-3 tie. Magallanes replaced him for some semblance of speed, but Topeka sought an intentional walk to Gomez, then got Nunley to spank into a double play. Tovias grounded out to Jay Elder to waste it all.

When Kevin Surginer retired Elder, Benson, and PH D.J. Fullerton in order, the Coons still had a chance to walk off, beginning with Jon Correa, who was in the #9 hole after Harenberg’s removal, while the pitcher was in the #5 hole. And to Correa’s credit, he made it quick. Wade Davis threw two pitches. A strike, and then a homer to right.

Raccoons 4, Buffaloes 3 – Raccoons lead series 1-0

Stalker 2-4, RBI; Hereford 2-4; Correa 1-1, HR, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K;

Wheeeeee, a squeeze win …! The entire park was shaking as fans were jumping up and down …!

Game 2 – Rico Gutierrez (12-7, 2.56 ERA) vs. Jose Lerma (16-10, 3.02 ERA)

The Coons would make a diversion from the left-handed lineup they had trotted out against the Condors four times and removed a weak Danny Morales for the man of the hour, Jon Correa, who had gotten very little playing time by the last six weeks of the season after largely acting as a disappointment after a midseason trade from the Bayhawks.

Neither of the pitchers in this Game 2 had lost any of their starts in the LCS. Lerma had gone 2-0, Rico had been 1-0 with a no-decision. Rico also started on short rest as the Coons were trying to make ends meet here.

TOP: LF Raynor – CF Coleman – SS Majano – 1B Elder – RF Benson – 3B P. Green – 2B M. Green – C Tarlton – P Lerma
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Correa – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Unfortunately, the lack of rest showed. Rico could not get strike three over in any form, and while the Buffaloes only got a walk and two singles the first time through, Ron Raynor went yard to start the top of the third to put them 1-0 ahead. At that point the Coons had seen Stalker on base and Gomez hit into a double play in the first, and the third produced Abel Mora with a leadoff single. He reached third base when Tarlton threw away the ball as Mora made a bid for second base, but then Tovias and Gutierrez struck out. Ramos had mercy on the runner, singled to left to score Abel, and the score was tied at one through three innings, with Stalker being rung up by Lerma, who now had 24 K in 20 innings in the playoffs.

The Green team, Pat and Mike, both hit singles to begin the fourth inning before Tarlton struck out, Lerma popped out after failing to bunt twice, and Raynor also popped out to Ramos. They got Majano on base in the fifth, but he was caught stealing, and the other two outs came from K’s as Rico slowly started to develop a groove here, and none too early. Pat hit a 1-out single in the sixth, but Mike Green hit a grounder right at Ramos, who turned two.

In between, the Raccoons had taken the lead on Abel Mora’s leadoff jack in the bottom 5th, so Rico was even in line for the W now, but then again the Coons wasted a Hereford triple with one out in the sixth when Harenberg made a pathetic infield out to keep the runner trapped, and Correa commonly grounded out to Pat Green.

But our hearts were not completely crushed until Rico’s 95th pitch of the day was… and it was crushed by Jose Lerma. The opposing pitcher hit a game-tying homer in the seventh… what a way to … not do… much of anything… of value. Like in the bottom 7th, where Mora hit a leadoff single, then got forced out when Tovias bunted badly. Tovias moved to second when Danny Morales walked in place of Billy Brotman, and here was Magallanes again to pinch-run. Maybe THIS time…? Ramos grounded to short where Majano handled the ball and stepped on second, but couldn’t get rid of the leather sphere before Morales ploughed into him. That broke up the double play, and Majano was removed from the game after landing on his head for some concussion tests. Giovanni James replaced him, since the Buffs were already out of infielders after pinch-hitting a few times in the top of the seventh. Stalker grounded out to Pat Green to strand runners on the corners.

The game got more intense still. Top 8th, Ricky Ohl opened with a K to Elder, then faced Benson, who hit a gapper for extra bases. He thought he had three, but Abel Mora thought he had two and fired aggressively to third base… and Benson was cut down when Hereford tagged him out! This was crucial, because Ricky coughed up another double right away against Pat Green, who actually stopped at second base and was stranded without giving his team the lead when Mike Green was rung up.

Lerma refused to let go of the ball despite a leadoff walk to Gomez in the bottom 8th. Hereford grounded to third for a fielder’s choice, and the Buffs would not make a move with Harenberg at the plate. The double play was in order and handedness matched. Kevin did less of the talk and more of the walk in the sense that he traversed 360 feet when he kicked a HUGE homer to right-center that put the Raccoons up 4-2! Better yet, Jon Correa went back-to-back with him, firing a shot to left-center!

And here came Josh Boles. Like so often, he sat down the first two batters before problems developed. Ken Hess singled. Ricky Loya doubled. All of a sudden, Giovanni James was the tying run at the plate. But Josh had not ever allowed a run in the postseason, and he did not aspire to allow one now, and not to James in particular! Four pitches later, James was wound up for a K.

Raccoons 5, Buffaloes 2 – Raccoons lead series 2-0

Harenberg 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Mora 3-4, HR, RBI;

I would feel better though if I didn’t still remember how the last 2-0 lead was handled…
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2019, 06:26 AM   #2740
Westheim
Hall Of Famer
 
Westheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 6,266
Thanks: 2,219
Thanked 4,425x in 2,549 posts
2028 WORLD SERIES
Portland Raccoons (98-64) vs. Topeka Buffaloes (90-72)


Between games we finally got confirmation that Rin Nomura was not going to be available anymore. Poor sod had bone chips in his elbow and would have to be cut open. He would also be questionable for Opening Day, but that was a thought for a different time. Right now the Coons needed to find a pitcher SOMEWHERE. Dan Delgadillo would get the Game 3 assignment, and after that we would play things by ear. If we’re up 3-0 we could easily go to Anderson and use Roberts on regular rest in Game 5. If we did not go up 3-0 I would read our alternative plan from the pattern of my tear stains on the pillow case.

We did now have the chance to add a guy to the playoff roster, though. Dave Martinez, Billy Ramm, Jeremy Moesker, and Steve Costilow were all eligible as replacement pitchers. We went with Ramm eventually because he had swingman potential and could pitch long relief if Anderson would make the Game 4 start.

Game 3 – Dan Delgadillo (8-4, 4.89 ERA) vs. Nick Danieley (13-10, 3.48 ERA)

POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
TOP: CF Coleman – C Gio. James – SS Majano – 1B Elder – RF Benson – 3B P. Green – LF Hess – 2B M. Green – P Danieley

The Coons only had a Gomez walk after two innings, while the Buffaloes had already packed the bases in the bottom 2nd. Elder and Pat Green hit singles; Ken Hess struck out for the second out, and then Delgadillo surrounded Mike Green’s grounder… and flubbed it for an error. That loaded them up for Danieley, who went down on strikes, but I had felt easier in previous playoff games…

Not necessarily this season, though.

The Raccoons didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning. Stalker opened it drawing a walk in a full count, but was forced out on Mora’s grounder. Abel legged out the return throw, however, and then we finally broke into the H column when Rich Hereford announced that he was still in the lineup and hit a 2-run blast to left that did a good deal of silencing the heretofore rather riotous crowd. Harenberg singled after this, but was stranded, and the Coons had Ramos on with a 2-out walk in the fifth, but Stalker’s deep fly came down over the warning track and into Benson’s mitten to end the inning.

And Yusneldan? I did hardly dare to watch, but he was nursing a 3-hitter and did not create much in terms of panic through five innings, and had also rung up five to that point. He almost looked like the good pitcher he had been in the 2026 playoffs!

The Raccoons struggled with offense still; they had only two base hits off Danieley through five, but the right-hander offered a walk to Hereford with one out in the sixth, then hung one to Harenberg that was never seen again, but estimated at 440 feet off the batter’s eye. That one ran the score to 4-0 and the Buffaloes were really in trouble now. Gomez and Nunley took to the corners with singles, but Tovias hit into an inning-ending double play instead of delivering the knockout blow.

So they would get chances to crawl back into the game. Delgadillo had a calm sixth, but the seventh began with a Benson single to right-center. Pat Green spanked a bouncer to the hot corner, where Nunley whirled around to make a fabulous play to get the lead runner, but the return to first was not in time, and the Buffs were on the corners when Ken Hess singled. Mike Green was batting well under .200 and was a right-hander and we were willing to leave Delgadillo in (you also don’t want to overwhelm Ohl and Surginer, and this was not a spot for f.e. Nick Derks…). He secured an easy fly to shallow right from the latter Green, no chance for the former Green to score, and then the Buffaloes sent .176 batter Ron Raynor to pinch-hit. This was probably Delgadillo’s final batter. At 88 pitches and with left-handed bats after that, this was the one he could lean into and give his all for one final time. The count ran full, but Yusneldan prevailed and rung up Raynor, keeping the 4-0 score intact through seven!

Portland added on in the top 8th against righty Mike Willis’ first appearance of the postseason. He conceded a run on three soft singles by Hereford (who was forced out by Harenberg), Nunley, and Tovias, the latter scoring a run with his roller past Pat Green. Jon Correa batted for Delgadillo, but grounded out.

Kearney and Fleischer pieced together the bottom 8th, which saw James work a walk against Kearney, but the Buffaloes then popped out twice against Fleischer. We continued to play this one by ear in the bottom 9th and just left Fleischer in there for now in a part of the lineup that alternated the handedness of batters anyway. Benson grounded out to short. Green grounded out to short. Hess popped it up over the infield, slammed down his bat in anguish, and sunk to his knees even before Matt Nunley caressed the pop that sent the Coons up 3-0.

Raccoons 5, Buffaloes 0 – Raccoons lead series 3-0

Hereford 2-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, BB, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-4; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, W (1-1); Fleischer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K;

Game 4 – Kyle Anderson (9-8, 4.70 ERA) vs. Ernesto Lujan (13-14, 3.30 ERA)

Roles were defined here. The Raccoons could afford to send out Kyle Anderson for their first matchball serve, because they knew they would have rested versions of Mark Roberts and Rico Gutierrez down the road. The Buffaloes had no such luxury. They went right back into the good stuff.

Only once did the Raccoons win a playoff series in a sweep – the 1996 CLCS against the Aces.

The Raccoons have NEVER lost a Game 7.

POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Anderson
TOP: CF Coleman – C Gio. James – SS Majano – 1B Elder – RF Benson – 3B P. Green – LF Hess – 2B M. Green – P Lujan

This would not be a coaster. Anderson got swamped right away, as Giovanni James singled and scored on Jay Elder’s 2-out double. A single and a walk filled the bases before Mora robbed Ken Hess in the gap to keep the deficit at one run after one inning.

The second inning saw both the Coons take a 2-1 lead on four singles by Harenberg, Gomez, Tovias (to tie), and Anderson (to go ahead!), but at the same time Anderson coughed up a 1-out double to the opposing pitcher in the bottom of the inning, then walked Ian Coleman. After some intense mound conference that took three umpires to break up and shoo everybody back to their position, Anderson found strikeouts against James and Majano to get out of the inning, but everbody was tense, up 3-0 in the series or not.

By the third, you did not know which team was in greater agony. Stalker had led off with a single, then reached third when James threw away the ball on a stolen base attempt. Mora ended up walking, presenting runners on the corners for Hereford, who lined out to Majano, and Harenberg, who – sigh – lined out to Majano. And Gomez also lined a ball to the left side of second base, but that one finally got past Majano and through for an RBI single, 3-1. Nunley struck out in rather pedestrian fashion after that.

Critters were back on the corners in the fourth. Tovias drew a leadoff walk, was bunted over, then made another 90 feet on Ramos’ single to left. Stalker popped the first pitch to shallow center for the sec-OH MY GOD IT DROPPED IN. Majano and Coleman converged on it, but Coleman had played deep for Stalker’s power strain and they were about 20 feet apart when it dropped squarely between them …! This was an RBI single, 4-1, Ramos went to third and scored on Mora’s clean single to right, and that one also sent Stalker to third, from where he scored on Rich Hereford’s grounder, 6-1.

Harenberg grounded out, and now it was the Coons’ to lose, really. Anderson had some leeway here, as much as five runs would provide, but we would have a righty and a lefty stretching and soft-tossing at all times now. Five runs against 18 outs. LET’S DO IT!!

But for starters, Ken Hess homered, and Anderson got only one more out in the fourth before runners were on the corners after Mike Green and Coleman had hit singles. Billy Brotman replaced Anderson, struck out James, and got a soft fly to Hereford from Majano. Four runs against 15 outs.

Fleischer put on Travis Benson and Pat Green in the fifth, but then struck out Hess and got Mike Green to ground out to first. Ramos doubled off Willis to begin the sixth inning, moved up on a Stalker groundout, then came across when Mora dropped a single into shallow right, 7-2. The last one came off righty Derek Barker, who collected a pop from Hereford, but then shed a single to Harenberg. Gomez had the chance for a massive blow here and was unretired in the game, but struck out to strand a pair. Fleischer got one more out in the sixth, then handed the ball to Kearney, who got Coleman on a grounder, but again failed to remove Giovanni James, who hit a double. This was a sticky spot. The Coons had to go back to a righty, didn’t want to use Derks, but the pitcher’s spot would come up in the seventh inning, so we didn’t really want to use Surginer or Ohl, either. But why? We were up by five, and Ohl could keep it like that (Surginer just as well). You can let a reliever bat with two outs and nobody on in the seventh when up by five and ready to clinch, right? Surginer got the whiff from Majano, ending the sixth, then hit a 2-out single off Derek Barker in the seventh. Ramos grounded out, though.

Bottom 7th, and a pickle. Jay Elder went down easily, but Surginer walked Benson on four pitches. Pat Green grounded back to the mound, Surginer wanted two and got none when he threw the ball behind the hustling Tim Stalker’s back. Ken Hess, a left-handed batter, lined to shallow right, but Gomez made a running catch for the second out, and Kevin remained in the game to face Mike Green, who got rung up in a full count. It was still 7-2 with six outs to collect.

Billy Ramm was picked to collect a few of those after having only rejoined the team two days earlier. D.J. Fullerton pinch-hit in the #9 hole to begin the bottom 8th, which lined up three lefties. The Buffaloes did have righty bats on the bench, but those were the rookie Tarlton, old and pathetic Ricky Loya, and LITERALLY Ruben Pelles. Fullerton hit a leadoff double that was really well placed, even though it came in a 3-1 count, and we stuck to Ramm still. Coleman lined viciously to left, but right at Hereford. James hit a long drive to right that looked like a bunch of trouble… but didn’t make it. Rafael Gomez caught the ball at the fence, right underneath a young Buffaloes fan that broke into tears when the ball didn’t reach him.

At this point, the Coons made a double switch. Ricky Ohl replaced Ramm on the mound and Harenberg in the lineup, and Jon Correa went to first base, batting ninth. We were now set up to have Ohl log the last four outs here. On his first pitch, Alex Majano doubled. Jay Elder walked in a full count, and then Travis Benson hit another fly to deep right, but Rafael Gomez remained watchful and logged the third out in the 7-3 game. Oh, Ricky, Ricky…

Wade Davis saw only three batters in the ninth. Nunley walked, Tovias hit into a double play, nothing new to see there. Then Ricky Ohl came back out. Boles was warming up in the pen, just in case. Pat Green hit the first pitch he got and grounded to Ramos, no trouble at all, out number one. Ken Hess struck out on three pitches. That brought up Mike Green, batting .172/.250/.172 in the playoffs. If the Buffs wanted to have another shot, it had to start with Green. And Green doubled to center on the first pitch.

That made Ricky Loya a pinch-hitter and also Ohl’s last batter, no matter what. He ended it right here against Loya, or Boles was going to come in.

Josh Boles did not come in. Loya fouled off a few pitches, but eventually missed a 1-2 pitch and was sent packing as the Raccoons burst out from wherever they were parked and formed a screaming pile on the mound.

Raccoons 7, Buffaloes 3 – Raccoons win series 4-0

Ramos 2-5, 2B; Stalker 3-5, RBI; Mora 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-5; Gomez 3-5, 2B, RBI;

There are no words …!! UN. BE. LIEVABLE…!!

2028 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
Portland Raccoons

(4th title)
Attached Images
Image Image 
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



Westheim is offline   Reply With Quote
7 thanks for this post:
ayaghmour2 (02-23-2019), blazertaz13 (02-24-2019), Bub13 (02-23-2019), pgjocki (02-23-2019), plaugher (02-23-2019), Questdog (02-23-2019), WeagleWeagle (02-23-2019)
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:59 AM.

 

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Minor League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with the permission of Minor League Baseball. All rights reserved.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (www.MLBPLAYERS.com ) is the collective bargaining representative for all professional baseball players of the thirty Major League Baseball teams and serves as the exclusive group licensing agent for commercial and licensing activities involving active Major League baseball players. On behalf of its members, it operates the Players Choice licensing program and the Players Choice Awards, which benefit the needy through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, a charitable foundation established and run entirely by Major League baseball players. Follow: @MLB_Players; @MLBPAClubhouse; @MLBPlayersTrust

Out of the Park Baseball is a registered trademark of Out of the Park Developments GmbH & Co. KG

Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

Apple, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

COPYRIGHT © 2017 OUT OF THE PARK DEVELOPMENTS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright © 2018 Out of the Park Developments