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Old 02-24-2019, 03:51 AM   #2741
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I must admit, I don’t remember all that much after strike three to Ricky Loya, but according to my thick head on the following morning, there was probably alcohol involved. I also found it hard to get out of bed, until I noticed that I was not in bed at all, but had slept spooning with World Series MVP Kevin Harenberg on a bench in the visitors’ clubhouse in the Buffaloes’ lovely yet still ringless place, and my right arm was pinned under Harenberg’s body.

The Day After was for shuffling our bums back to Portland and then slowly disperse for the holidays – except for some players that still had contract talks to conduct before the free agency opened, but before we could get to that, we had to wait for Nick Valdes to also fly over from Kansas, and he spent another day cleaning the clubhouse there to get it back into orderly condition.

The Raccoons’ 2029 budget would amount to $36.5M, their largest ever, and $3M more than in 2028. This was also the first budget set by Nick Valdes, who was less cheap than his deceased father (and had to spend less on … “personal protection” than Carlosito, who ultimately had turned out to not have spent *enough* on his private army), but really liked rearranging that bobblehead collection either by first name, or by last name, or by career base hits.

The $36.5M budget put the Raccoons into the top 5 in the league for the first time since the glory days of the 1990s, and into fifth place precisely. The only teams with more money to blow would be the Pacifics ($48M), Titans ($41.5M), Crusaders ($39M), and Condors ($37.5M).

The five poorest teams in the league were the Indians ($24M), Wolves ($23M), Blue Sox ($22.4M), Falcons ($21.6M), and Loggers ($21.2M). The only missing CL North team were the damn Elks, who ranked 14th with a $32.5M budget. The average budget was $32M, the median budget was $33.5M – so the Coons’ budget was less top-ish then f.e. the Indians and Loggers were bottom-ish.

Smart investments were still key. Thankfully we had an expert here for making smart investments! (pats Cristiano Carmona on the shoulders and looks at the display on the laptop on Cristiano’s thighs) No, Cristiano, we are not resigning Daniel Bullock for 10 years and 50 million.

For a nice surprise and the first time in decades, ownership did not plunder the cash register after the season. While Carlosito had usually required all the leftover money (minus a few token bucks to keep the lights on til April) to be wired back to him at the end of the season, Nick Valdes only took roughly 80% of the season profits and left the Critters with about a million in cash. A million! (flaps arms by sheer excitement)

And with that we could sharpen the pencils and start looking at where to make cuts and were to make additions…!

The Raccoons had a number of free agents and several “interesting” arbitration cases coming up. [Full table below] First to the free agents; Mark Roberts would have been on that list, but signed a 4-yr, $10.4M extension in September, so that was probably our only type A free agent off the hook. The Raccoons had two type B free agents left, Jon Correa and Tim Stalker. Now, Correa had not been a great revelation after coming over from the Bayhawks in the middle of the season and for stretches in August and September was used only as pinch-hitter. He had made $2.08M in ’28 and as 35 years old. Valdes wanted to keep him around, but I was not keen on spending millions on old farts. (Yes, Mark Roberts will be an old fart by the time his 4-year deal is over, too; bear with me here)

Tim Stalker was the other way round. Tim Stalker, a 3-time Gold Glover at short that had been forced to move because of Alberto Ramos, was the player who had blown the Raccoons a bit out of the water during contract negotiations in late summer, seeking a deal near 7-yr, $25M. Now, he was certainly an impressive player, batting near .300 with double-digit power if you let him get at-bats, had Gold Glove level defense at second base, and was stealing bases. He had surely been underpaid so far, having made $1M in his last year of team control. But he was also 30 years old and the Raccoons were wary of 7-year contracts to players 30 and beyond. (Yes, Rico Gutierrez had been given a 9-year contract just last winter, but he had been *28* - completely, totally different… somehow… Steve from Accounting, explain it to them!)

I really wanted to keep Tim Stalker around, especially with Jarod Spencer having flatlined (.595 OPS between the last two seasons) and having been worth -1.7 WAR the last two years combined after he had led the league in base hits in 2026. Well, Spencer was (and had always been!) a strictly-singles hitter who had zero patience at the plate. Never mind that he did not hit a homer until his FOURTH season in the majors; he had a walk rate of barely 4%... it was not sufficient for a guy slugging .356 for his career. So the Coons could probably not afford Stalker, had to try and sneak out of the $800k commitment to Spencer for 2029 (after which he would be a free agent), and had to find a replacement somehow if they could not get Stalker to reduce his demands. Moving Rich Hereford to the keystone was one option, especially with Matt Nunley still having maintained a firm grip on the hot corner (in terms of D) despite his season having been rudely decimated by that broken leg in April. He still managed to put up 1.0 WAR in essentially a quarter of a season. 2029 would also be the last on Nunley’s contract.

Yeah, back to this year’s free agents. Stalker aside, there was still a quintet of other players: Kyle Anderson, Jaden Booker, Jeff Kearney, Armando Leal, and Danny Morales.

Booker had been a depth minor league signing that had been promoted to the major leagues after the Nunley injury and ultimately had stunk hard enough to be sent back for a never-ending carousel of other meager AAA infielders, and had batted .181 for the season. The Raccoons had no desire to keep him around, and the same was true for Jeff Kearney, who was clearly over the hill, having lost but all the stuff between 2027 and 2028. He had rung up 9.3/9 in ’27, but managed only 5.1 K/9 in ’28. Somehow, the Coons had survived his 69 outings, but it had not been pretty and he had not been any sort of reliable. We would go on either with Jeremy Moesker or with a free agent or whatever we could grabble in a trade. Kearney had spent three years with the Raccoons.

Leal and Morales had been very solid backups throughout the season, with Morales being the best version of that right-handed backup outfielder / pinch-hitter the Coons had gotten their paws on since Eddie Jackson. There was just one problem: his rapidly deteriorating defense. His range was paltry for a 34-year-old player. He had never been a defensive wizard; but our head scout (whose name I had noted down somewhere here in these papers, but could not find right now) ranked him absolutely the worst defensively of our players, by a good margin, too. Leal was probably worth keeping around by himself, but Nick Valdes wanted us to upgrade over Elias Tovias, and Tovias was probably hard to move with another three years on that contract and given his erratic production pattern.

Then there was Kyle Anderson, who had restored order in the bickering clubhouse after having come over from the Falcons three offseasons ago. There was only the mild problem of him having been expensive, constantly injured, and having lost two of his four pitches. His 4.4 K/9 this year were a huge red flag. You might think he was a 39-year-old veteran on his very last leg, but he was in fact *29* and completely losing it already…

The Coons had to be wary here with their starting pitching. We now had Roberts and Rico locked up long time, but there were question marks in other regards. For example, we did not really have a #5 around right now, or much of a #4. The George James trials had ended in failure (4.22 ERA in 39 GS; 4.99 ERA in 19 GS this year; and he also couldn’t strike anybody out), and our default #3 Rin Nomura was scheduled for elbow surgery to have bone chips removed a few days from now and would *likely* miss the first month of the 2029 season, then would carry that yellow injury flag on his file for the rest of his career.

So our eyes turned longing to Dan Delgadillo, who was all his own horror story. Having gone from “21-year-old” rookie to Tommy John surgery, a very good 2026 campaign that netted him huge coin in super-2 arbitration to demotion to St. Petersburg this year. In five (some partial) major league seasons he had posted ERA’s of 3.80, 5.44, 2.76, 3.88, and 4.89 and you had no idea what he’d do next…! There was a HUGE problem with his contract, since he had already made $2M in arbitration for 2028 and would of course only make more in 2029. Again, his contract was a HUGE problem. Yes, he pitched an inspiring Game 3, but he had also not been able to strike out anybody for the entire season, posting a career-worst (by far) 4.4 K/9 mark and didn’t keep the ball on the ground, either, getting bombed 14 times in just 119.2 ABL innings.

HUGE problem!

So the Coons needed at least one starting pitcher from somewhere, and Anderson was not going to be it. Unless we could convince him of a major pay cut (he made $1.78M in ’28) and a move to the bullpen, Anderson was not going to come back.

When has pitching ever been our chief concern?

Well, the Raccoons knew six of their Opening Day starters as far as the lineup was concerned in Ramos, Hereford, Harenberg, Mora, and Gomez; also probably Tovias unless a catcher would fall from the sky. There was not much to add to that lineup to scare the opposition, and if we could keep Stalker around, that would be daft, too! But the pitching staff had more question marks than exclamation marks…

Like Delgadillo, Nomura would be headed for arbitration along with all the goods in the bullpen: Ohl, Surginer, and Boles. It was probably worth exploring one or two long-term extensions to the latter guys. Also, Alberto Ramos was eligible for arbitration for the first time. That was going to be expensive…
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:24 PM   #2742
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Rin Nomura was very open to sign an extension while his arm was still oozing from surgery. To be precise, he sought a 6-year contract. And while his terms were friendly for the Raccoons, he was two days removed from having his elbow scratched out and cleaned of debris and puss, and that was not always something players seamlessly came back from. The Raccoons could not agree to a 6-year contract under those circumstances.

Dan Delgadillo meanwhile did not seek a 6-year deal, but was content driving me nuts with a demand for $2.5M for 2029. If he got that contract, he would tie Rich Hereford for the second-highest salary in 2029, behind only Mark Roberts. Did his output merit that? Surely not, but get that into a temperamental Cuban’s head, however old he is…

In the end we signed 1-year deals with both to stave off arbitration. Nomura signed for $1.1M, while Delgadillo would pocket $2.15M without much in terms of justification, but that is what the world had come to … less reward for more effort… back then, in my days, there would have … (rabbles on incoherently)

… (sigh)

That left Tim Stalker to have a painful talk with. Tim by now was convinced that he was worth 8-yr, $27M, which made me weep inside. That was not a contract the Raccoons could agree to here. And I probably wasn’t going to get him to sign a 5-yr, $10M deal, either. There was A LOT of gap to cover here…

+++

October 21 – The Condors trade LF/RF/INF Tom Fitzsimmons (.307, 10 HR, 100 RBI) to the Falcons for OF Juan Camps (.273, 10 HR, 63 RBI).

+++

In early November, the Raccoons and Tim Stalker actually announced a contract extension …! Stalker would make $17M over six years as part of the deal, including $2.8M in 2029, then $3M for the next two seasons before the contract value would slowly recede to $2.6M in 2034. That last year was a player option.

Yes, we had to make plenty of concessions here, but it was the only way to keep Stalker around, and even then there was plenty of growling and hissing and we came close to burying our fangs in each other’s necks during negotiations …

But that’s it, the Raccoons keep all the hurting parts of their lineup together for not just one, but actually two more seasons. They were all signed through 2030 at least; Tim Stalker through 2034 (obviously), Hereford and Tovias through 2031 (yes, Elias counts for this purpose, too); and Harenberg, Gomez, and Mora through 2030; in addition to that, Alberto Ramos is under team control through 2031.

With Stalker staying, he will continue to pair with Ramos up the middle. Rich Hereford would swing back and forth between third base and leftfield … or maybe not. Matt Nunley would share time with *somebody* at third base, and I wanted to split him with a right-handed bat. With Hereford’s versatility, that somebody could also be a corner outfielder. Danny Morales was technically fitting the description, but his defense was horrendous. The Raccoons would have to find somebody else.

Also, a starting pitcher for behind Roberts, Rico, and Rin, and … well… Delgadillo.

In the week before the actual salary arbitration we also avoided that nasty spectacle with all other eligible players. Alberto Ramos signed for 1-yr, $900k; Josh Boles signed for 1-yr, $560k; the interesting ones were Surginer and Ohl though – Kevin signed for 2-yr, $900k while we got Ricky for 3-yr, $1.875M. Surginer’s deal was flat, while Ohl’s was escalating slightly, but for both of them we took out their remaining year(s) of team control, plus one year of free agency.

Arbitration was offered to Jon Correa for the draft pick compensation attachment, which was a bit of a gamble, but Correa probably felt snubbed for having ridden the bench for much of August and September, and gracefully made his way out the door with a brand new ring.

With salary arbitration and roster cleansing behind us, it was on to the offseason proper. The Raccoons had roughly $3M to go shopping with.

+++

2028 ABL AWARDS

Players of the Year: PIT 1B Danny Santillano (.367, 22 HR, 109 RBI) and TIJ 3B/SS Shane Sanks (.302, 32 HR, 111 RBI)
Pitchers of the Year: WAS SP Jorge Beltran (16-8, 2.67 ERA) and NYC SP Mike Rutkowski (17-8, 2.70 ERA)
Rookies of the Year: SAL SP Steve Younts (15-6, 2.80 ERA) and VAN 1B David Fisher (.282, 13 HR, 50 RBI)
Relievers of the Year: SAL CL Phil Harrington (3-5, 1.89 ERA, 42 SV) and NYC CL Travis Giordano (10-5, 1.57 ERA, 37 SV)
Platinum Sticks (FL): P LAP Dave Christiansen – C PIT J.J. Henley – 1B PIT Danny Santillano – 2B SFW Ricky Tello – 3B SAL Guillermo Obando – SS WAS Dave Menth – LF SAC Doug Stross – CF DEN Abel Madsen – RF SAC Pablo Sanchez
Platinum Sticks (CL): P OCT Jeff Dykstra – C OCT Mike Burgess – 1B TIJ Kevin McGrath – 2B ATL John Johnson – 3B TIJ Shane Sanks – SS OCT Alex Serrato – LF VAN Alex Torres – CF CHA Nate Nelson – RF SFB Cesar Martinez
Gold Gloves (FL): P SFW John Rucker – C TOP Giovanni James – 1B DEN Brad Gore – 2B WAS Pat Pick – 3B CIN Ricardo Rangel – SS DAL Silvio Clooken – LF SFW Jeff Wadley – CF TOP Ian Coleman – RF DAL Ryan Collins
Gold Gloves (CL): P OCT Jeff Dykstra – C LVA Josh Motley – 1B POR Kevin Harenberg – 2B BOS Rhett West – 3B OCT Lorenzo Rivera – SS IND Mario Pizano – LF BOS Willie Vega – CF BOS Adrian Reichardt – RF IND Zachary Ryder

OUTRAGE!! OUTRAGE!! How dare they not give the Player of the Year to Rich Hereford?? OUTRAGE!! OUTRAGE!!

(waves arms, screaming)

No, Maud, I don’t want to calm down! – No, we will write an angry letter to the league office right now! – No, the red paper! The RED paper! RED WITH RAGE!!
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
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: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 02-27-2019, 04:58 AM   #2743
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The Raccoons, with their assumed holes in the rotation, behind the dish, and on the left side of the green grass started their offseason efforts by attacking the most glaring (the rotation), which would also be the costliest. We would not be shy about chasing the top free agents up trees, either, although we knew it could get very expensive, very fast.

There was, f.e., one of our opponents in the CLCS this year, former Condor Jonas Mejia, who had suffered through years and years of terrible defense in the shoe box in Dallas, posting ERA’s over five at times, but had become a stingy ace in Tijuana. He was a right-hander, which was the preferred handedness for us, given that we already had three southpaws in the rotation with Mark Roberts, Rico Gutierrez, and Rin Nomura (who was assumed to return to the team in late May at this stage). Add Delgadillo because we sorta had to, and then there was a spot open; two for the start of the season, although right now the plan was to cover the gap with Billy Ramm, or if he failed, George James, reluctantly.

The Coons would lose out on Mejia in a hurry though, as the righty signed a deal with the Rebels to become their ace within a week of the free agency period beginning. He was also not very talkative at all when I contacted him. Probably a sore loser! Can’t have that on our team anyway!

There was another righty in Bobby Morris, who had won 27 games between the last two years with the Miners, but was more of a low profile guy, and was also pitching only about six innings per start despite overall good numbers, on account of low stamina. The Raccoons had been through this dilemma before with Antonio Donis primarily, and then Donis had possessed murder stuff (although he would not efficiently employ that until almost a decade later with the Gold Sox). Morris’ stuff was not of the murder sort, and he was not likely to dominate teams. He had not up to this point, either.

There was longtime veteran and 2024 Pitcher of the Year Luis Flores on the market; Flores was a 35-year-old lefty, about whom our scouting department threw up several red flags. His K/9 had been in decline for a few years, and he had missed time with injuries in each of the last four seasons. He was seeking basically all the money we had, and this one smelled like Daniel Dickerson all over again. The Coons signed Dickerson to a 3-yr, $9.6M contract prior to the 2013 season, and had gotten absolutely nothing out of him. 223.1 innings and eight wins … across three seasons. The Critters were well advised to steer well clear of a guy like Flores…

Then there was longtime Indians stalwart and also southpaw Tom Shumway on the market. The Shumster (not an official nickname… YET) had an iron physique and had put up the same numbers more or less for a decade. You knew what you’d get – 230 innings, 2.5 BB/9, 6.5 K/9 … and numerous grounders. He would usually pitch in the high 2’s in terms of ERA, but had suffered a bit of a blip in 2027, posting a 4.25 ERA with the Aces. His career ERA was “only” 3.33, but some of that was the burden of younger years with less experience and fortune. Shumway could basically command any contract he wanted; he was 31 years old and radiating confidence that he’d keep it up for numerous years down the road. Could you even err with him? He was probably also eager to sign with a winner given that he had put up ten seasons’ worth of borderline Hall of Fame numbers (1,537 K and 36.9 WAR f.e.) and wanted some silverware down the road. He was a 5-time All Star, but had not won anything shiny between the Indians and Aces.

There was another stingy veteran available, 33-year-old righty Ian Prevost, but he would miss the first half of the season recovering from a torn flexor tendon and then you never knew how he’d be afterwards. There was also type A compensation attached to him (as was to any other pitcher outlined above), and the overall package just screamed to stay away from at this point. Sorry, Ian?

That left us to worry about the catching situation and the search for a right-handed third baseman or leftfielder, either one of those or both. Right now Daniel Rocha was the #2 catcher in the organization, which was certainly *a* solution, even if it was not a great one. He was a .244 batter in two cups of coffee so small it was hard to put any weight on those numbers (82 AB in total). He had hit a fair bit in a nearly full season in St. Pete last year (.259 with 7 HR) as a 24-year-old, and he was a strong defender, so he had that going for him, besides the fact that he’d make the minimum, which was always a good thing on teams in the process of churning out contracts of $2.5M/y or more.

Also, this silly quirk: there were only six Colombian players that had appeared in the ABL in 2028, and the Raccoons had two of them (Rocha, Magallanes). Notables besides our pair were journeyman reliever Freddy Heredia, who had been with the Capitals but was now a free agent, and the Crusaders’ Nelson Ayala.

As we are on players from weird places, Brazilian Daniel Bullock did not get signed until May when the Aces gave him a minor league deal, used him across all levels, and largely got nothing out of him. I am well informed about his whereabouts since Cristiano Carmona voice-chats with him every ****ing morning while I desperately try to have a little bourbon with a shot of coffee in peace. I would slam the laptop’s screen down on his fingers, but how’s he going to push his wheelchair with broken fingers? See, I am said to be kinda impulsive and mean, but I am not *that* impulsive and mean.

So far.

CRISTIANO, STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW RAMOS CAN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO BULLOCK OR I SWEAR I’LL –

(takes a sip to calm down)

+++

November 22 – The Rebels sign 27-yr old ex-TIJ SP Jonas Mejia (81-90, 4.04 ERA) to a 4-yr, $14.36M contract.
November 22 – The Indians pick up former Capitals reliever Antonio Quintana (32-35, 3.91 ERA, 12 SV) on a 3-yr, $2.43M contract. Quintana is said to be a closer candidate for the 2029 Indians.
November 23 – The Titans trade for Dallas’ RF/LF Dave O’Rourke (.256, 57 HR, 226 RBI), sending 1B Bob Lloyd (.250, 49 HR, 176 RBI) to the Stars.
November 23 – Boston also adds 35-year-old ex-SFB 3B/1B Eddie Moreno (.319, 171 HR, 1,034 RBI) on a 1-yr deal worth $1.26M.
November 23 – Indy adds C Edgar Paiz (.258, 11 HR, 61 RBI) in a trade with the Cyclones that sends INF Izzy Alvarez (.267, 124 HR, 603 RBI) and a prospect to the Cyclones.
November 24 – A trade with the Scorpions sends INF Dan Williams (.270, 6 HR, 66 RBI) to the Condors in exchange for MR Lisuarte Paradela (13-11, 3.56 ERA, 19 SV) and a prospect.
November 26 – The Raccoons announce the addition of 31-year-old ex-LVA SP Tom Shumway (124-96, 3.33 ERA) on a 5-yr, $16.5M contract. The Raccoons forfeit their first-round draft pick to the Aces.
November 28 – Former Aces SP Luis Flores (148-95, 3.35 ERA) signs a 2-year deal with the Pacifics. The contract will see the 35-year old Flores earn $6.36M.
November 29 – The Raccoons trade for 27-year-old TIJ SP/MR Sean Rigg (20-16, 3.86 ERA), parting with 30-year-old 2B/LF/3B Jarod Spencer (.297, 8 HR, 316 RBI) and 23-year-old AA OF John Richard.
November 30 – The Pacifics sign ex-POR LF/RF/1B Jon Correa (.274, 165 HR, 805 RBI) for 3-yr, $6.96M. The Raccoons receive a supplemental round compensation pick.
December 1 – Rule 5 Draft: 17 players are taken across four rounds. The Raccoons draft 24-year-old utility man Chris Baldwin from the Pacifics.

December 1 – The Condors add former Titans utility man Matt Good (.285, 139 HR, 827 RBI) on a 2-yr, $4.56M deal.
December 2 – Veteran SS Andrew Showalter (.307, 263 HR, 1,257 RBI) returns to the Knights after two years with the Condors. The 37-year-old will make $5.52M over two years.

+++

BAM!! SHUMWAY!!

I know, I know, how can I blow all our money on a single stud southpaw when he already had two or three stud southpaws? Well, first, I like southpaws; and second, just look at him! Look at him! He’s in perfect condition…! (lifts each of Shumway’s arms individually, then both at the same time) See, all parts still moving! (squeezes Shumway in the sides of the jaws to reveal his teeth) …aaand… we’ll get that tooth fixed, too, I guess.

Besides, who says we won’t wheel’n’deal a little down the road?

The first deal was however not related to the Shumway signing at all. The Raccoons were in spending mode, but they were also spending on the wrong guys. Jarod Spencer had been quite the flash for a few seasons in the mid-20s, but he had been worth negative WAR in the last two years. As pointed out earlier, he was a singles slapper that was mortally offended by the idea of ball four, had no power, and scouting found his speed and defense to be diminishing at 30. The Coons had been on the hook for $1M on him for the 2029 season when his performance really didn’t merit it. The Condors in turn were tired of Sean Rigg, who had received $322k in arbitration, was certainly not going to crack their rotation (but had made 49 career starts between 2026 and 2027), but had not been amazing in relief for them either in ’28. All it took for the deal was a 2026 12th-round pick that wasn’t cracking it in the minors. Rigg is mainly competing with the likes of Nick Derks for a spot in he shallow end of the pen right now.

Tim Stalker will be the second base starter for the next years, anyway, partnered up with Ramos long time (or at least as long as we can pay Albie … or Berto?). Backups are sketchy though. Rich Hereford is certainly one, and while Butch Gerster would be a sweet alternative on paper, he had absolutely no second base experience, having only been used on the left side of the infield. German Sanchez was an experienced second baseman, but lacked any batting skill at all.

Various former Raccoons finding their parachute to be working: Adam St. Germaine got 2-yr, $700k from the Aces; Armando Leal got $396k for a tour of duty with the Bayhawks;
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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

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Old 02-27-2019, 05:21 PM   #2744
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Why did the Raccoons bother with selecting a badly hitting rule 5 guy when they were otherwise trying to gobble up every left-handed ace with a pulse? Well, I dig super utilities for one, and then there were – after the Spencer trade – up to two open positions on the Opening Day roster where it came to position players; and maybe even three, because I am not exactly married to Juan Magallanes.

The Raccoons had pretty clearly given away six spots in the lineup to Abel Mora (CF), Rafael Gomez (RF or LF), World Series MVP Kevin Harenberg (1B), Tim Stalker (2B), Alberto Ramos (SS), and Elias Tovias (C). Rich Hereford, the CLCS MVP, was penciled in as swingman between 3B (vs. LHP) and the other corner outfield position (vs. RHP). Matt Nunley took the 3B assignment against righties. Pencilling in the cheap Rocha as backup catcher for the moment, Magallanes as backup outfielder, and generously Butch Gerster as backup shortstop and third baseman, that still left two spots unoccupied, including a lineup assignment for a corner outfielder against left-handed pitchers, and, well, lacking any obvious opportunities a utility position. Was Chris Baldwin going to be a threat with the bat? No. But sometimes it can be enough if you can sub for someone late or pinch-run for Harenberg.

And while I was having an offer out there to a right-handed corner outfielder at this point (a former division rival even), that utility spot was still up for contention. I just wasn’t sure I had to blow another $500k we didn’t necessarily have anymore after signing Stalker and Shumway for a combined $6.1M for ’29 on a bench job that would perhaps net 125 at-bats at most.

I hoped to get that corner outfielder during the winter meetings, but everything those served was to escalate the price and we were not drowning in cash at this point, and it was also hard to find a spot to clip a few edges.

+++

December 5 – The Loggers deal C/1B Steve Garcia (.299, 4 HR, 31 RBI) to the Knights for the #68 prospect SP Jon Bleich.
December 5 – The Crusaders get LF/RF Matt Owen (.292, 81 HR, 426 RBI) from the Rebels in exchange for three prospects.
December 5 – The Aces trade MR Alejandro Purcella (17-15, 4.80 ERA, 4 SV) to the Cyclones for 2B Nick Ronchetti (.261, 5 HR, 72 RBI).
December 7 – The Warriors sign ex-BOS MR Harry Merwin (54-62, 3.23 ERA, 302 SV) to a 2-yr, $1.5M contract.
December 8 – LF Ron Raynor (.253, 102 HR, 408 RBI) is traded along with a pile of cash from the Buffaloes to the Blue Sox in exchange for 2B Chris Rager (.223, 8 HR, 35 RBI) and prospect Matt Triolo, who has been traded three times in the last six months.

+++

There was also a Hall of Fame ballot out, although there were rather few players on it this season:
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:26 PM   #2745
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The right-handed outfielder the Raccoons were after in December and whose asking price escalated in the week of the winter meetings and reached $1.2M by the middle of the month was former Titan Yasuhiro Kuramoto. He would have nicely complemented the extant personnel in the outfield, but at some point I hit a budget snag, and this was after “borrowing” a cool million from the player development budget.

Side note, I also tried to “borrow” money from the scouting budget to make ends meet at least on paper and at least temporary, but a siren and red lights that I did not know were installed here to begin with went off *right away* and within seconds Nick Valdes called and just told me “No!”. He had painstakingly calculated to the single dollar that this was exactly how much scouting we needed, and not a dime more – or less.

Sometimes he made me miss Carlosito…

Anyway, the Coons dropped out of the Kuramoto hustle because the funds just weren’t there and had to look somewhere else. That is when I stumbled over a scouting report again that had been lying around for a while here and was for a player I had tried to trade for unsuccessfully a few times in the last few years. He was now on the Wolves, and I managed to steal him from them after two days of loud phone calls.

+++

December 16 – The Raccoons trade for the Wolves’ 33-yr old OF Matt Jamieson (.260, 74 HR, 482 RBI), sending to Salem 25-yr old AAA SP George James (14-13, 4.22 ERA) and 30-yr old AAA C Jing-quo Liu (.183, 0 HR, 5 RBI).
December 20 – The Miners sign ex-SFW SP Nick Salinas (50-53, 3.31 ERA) to a 5-yr, $17.48M contract.
December 22 – Former Blue Sock, SP Mark Morrison (54-59, 4.13 ERA) inks a 3-yr, $2.13M deal with the Stars.
December 23 – The Titans add a closer with former Thunder Jonathan Snyder (26-22, 2.95 ERA, 169 SV), who signs a 2-yr, $4.92M contract.
December 23 – 32-year-old OF Terry Kopp (.271, 162 HR, 779 RBI) jumps ships in the FL West, going from the Gold Sox to the Pacifics for a 4-yr, $10.24M contract.
January 2 – The Raccoons claim #67 prospect SP/MR Bobby Reed (0-0, 7.71 ERA) off waivers by the Stars.

+++

Yes we were trading a still crisp first-round pick who had sometimes been serviceable for an aging outfielder that would only play fourth fiddle out there, but how many times have I complained about George James in the last three years? Never about Jamieson! Matt was part of the 2026 champions Coons.

He would now be part of the 2029 champions Coons!

Let’s just not look at our prospect situation, because … well, there is nothing to look at, really. Which is why I went to the lengths of claiming a #67 prospect that probably will not be a ranked prospect come spring. And why would the Stars waive him if they didn’t know things we didn’t know? Given that Reed basically just came off arm reattachment surgery, I am going to curb my enthusiasm over the addition.

Elsewhere, the Gold Sox gave Kyle Anderson a $284k contract (he made $1.8M last season);

+++

2029 HALL OF FAME BALLOT RESULTS

There were again four new inductees into the Hall of Fame, including two near-unanimous selections.

The first of those was Knights LF Jose “Dingus” Morales, who got his nickname from his insistence that he hit dingers best, plus some sub-standard English from the young Dominican, who was a breathtaking five-time Player of the Year between 2006 and 2018, wining the awards with three different teams: Atlanta, Sioux Falls, and Cincinnati. Despite his supreme slugger status, Morales was a journeyman for his entire career and hooked up with eight different teams, in all compiling a .327 average with 352 dingers and 1,388 RBI as well as 135 stolen bases. Despite his home run name and prowess, he never lead the league in home runs; but he won three batting titles, and five times headed his league in slugging, as well as six times he led the league in OPS. Respect for him was universal, and he was elected to 12 All Star teams. He won his only championship of his career in his twilight as a fourth outfielder and pinch-hitter deluxe for the 2021 Loggers at the age of 38.

Other than Morales, who slugged for a living while playing at best average defense, Nashville’s Antonio Esquivel was a serial winner in terms of Gold Gloves, piling up eight of those in his career, while also throwing in two Player of the Year awards in 2015 and 2019, the latter one paradoxically coming with the Knights. He won the CL batting titles that season (also at the age of 38), his first away from his home for 15 seasons, Nashville. Not much of a base stealer, he was however an extra-base threat, going beyond the single 887 times in his career, while hitting 3,263 base hits in total. His only championship ring came even later than Morales’, as he won a ring as a backup with the 2022 Titans at age 41.

Arturo Lopez pitched for seven different teams in his career, but was inducted as a Scorpion, the team with which he spent two stints and seven seasons in total. A vicious right-hander that broke the 100 K mark as a reliever five times in a six-year span in the 2010s, Lopez racked up not only three Reliever of the Year awards in a row in 2015, 2016, and 2017, but also took home the FL Pitcher of the Year trophy in 2015 while relieving for the Warriors to a tune of a 1.24 ERA as 12.4 K/9. He led the FL in saves twice and piled up 463 for his career, which also saw him rough up 1,266 batters in 1,046 games. He won his only championship ring at a rather tender age, at 33 with the 2016 Pacifics.

The Hall waited five years to call on backstop Jose Paraz, who spent 14 of his 21 seasons with the Indians, during which he was a constant presence behind the dish, failing to appear in 145+ games only once between 2003 and 2011. He never led the league in any major hitting category, but nevertheless was a batter pitchers would fear as he regularly put up OPS values well over .800 into his late 30s. He hit 20+ home runs seven times, and 269 for his career, and finished with a .830 OPS, 2,005 hits and 1,130 RBI. He was also notable in drawing far more walks than times he struck out, 1,443 free passes against 1,093 strikeouts. He was the 2000 CL Rookie of the Year, an All Star 11 times, won the Platinum Stick for backstops six times, and like most of this year’s inductees won his only ring with a team different from the one whose insignia he wore on his Hall of Fame plaque, taking home the 2015 championship with the Crusaders at the age of 38, batting .327 with three homers in almost 400 PA that season. Paraz joined long-time teammates Curtis Tobitt and Ron Alston in the Hall of Fame; Alston was elected on the first ballot in 2025, while Tobitt was elected on his first ballot as well in 2024.

Full results below:

ATL LF Jose Morales – 1st – 98.5 – INDUCTED
NAS 3B Antonio Esquivel – 1st – 97.2 – INDUCTED
SAC CL Arturo Lopez – 2nd – 89.9 – INDUCTED
IND C Jose Paraz – 5th – 80.4 – INDUCTED
LAP 1B Stanley Murphy – 1st – 37.3
TIJ SP Kelvin Yates – 10th – 31.5 – DROPPED
PIT 1B Steve Butler – 1st – 27.5
LAP 3B Jens Carroll – 4th – 22.3
ATL LF Gil Rockwell – 2nd – 21.1
VAN 1B Ray Gilbert – 4th – 7.0
??? SP Juan Valdevez – 1st – 6.1
??? SP Bob King – 3rd – 5.8
OCT RF Tom Reese – 1st – 1.8 – DROPPED
SAC SP Jorge Gine – 2nd – 1.5 – DROPPED
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:16 PM   #2746
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By February, Yasuhiro Kuramoto still had not signed anywhere, and it had become really quite quiet around him. Had he played a bit of a gamble to coax the Coons out of additional coins? If so, that had failed when we picked up Jamieson from the Wolves…

Apart from that, January was a quiet experience for us. There was no obvious way to improve on 23 spots on the 25-man roster, I declared. Well, you could always do better than say Nick Derks or Sean Rigg in a long relief role, but at least they were making the minimum (Derks) or not much more than that (Rigg). The Ramm/Moesker situation was something that had only to last us six to eight weeks until we could get Rin Nomura back from bone chips in his elbow.

No, the obvious spots were on the bench; Daniel Rocha was a sturdy defensive catcher, but a paltry batter; and Chris Baldwin was the rule 5 super utility that had many applications, none of those in an offensive sense … although he also fit out speed crew and was a good pinch-running option, too.

To be honest, the rest of the bench, except for whoever was sitting between Nunley and Jamieson was not very impressive. Butch Gerster had hit for a .885 OPS last year, but that had come in 122 at-bats (with four homers, though). I saw him more as the go-to guy with three on and one out, because he did have a keen eye and could draw walks (21 in 144 PA), but also because he was not an obvious double play candidate. Then there was Magallanes, who had been half-dead for four months, but had warmed up in the last four to six weeks of the 2028 season, eventually closing with a not-completely-****ty .262/.367/.312 line. It was not the BEST bench for sure…

But there was also the problem that we had a hard time trading for anything given our lack of a) depth in general and b) prospects as a whole. I tried to nip a backup catcher improvement from a few teams in January, but invariably they wanted to talk about Albie Ramos, The Excitement. And I didn’t have that.

So January passed us by completely, more or less; and the first half of February has been consigned to chase after some cheap and free depth for the AAA level…

+++

January 5 – Former SAL INF Dan Cobb (.289, 31 HR, 280 RBI) signs a 1-yr, $1.68M contract with the Bayhawks.
January 6 – 44-year-old ex-DEN 1B Jose Gutierrez (.292, 43 HR, 789 RBI) finds a $360k gig with the Thunder.
January 17 – The Gold Sox add ex-WAS OF Jorge Lopez (.267, 20 HR, 313 RBI) on a 3-yr, $4.8M contract.
January 27 – The Pacifics reinforce with 30-year-old former Miners SP Bobby Morris (63-62, 4.36 ERA), who is added on a 4-yr, $13.68M deal.
January 30 – Former Condors CL Pat Selby (60-50, 3.44 ERA, 185 SV) falls to the Titans. The 34-year-old righty signs a 3-yr, $8.24M contract.
February 2 – The Titans keep adding with ex-LAP SP Bryan Hanson (130-97, 3.52 ERA) and will pay $1.34M on a 1-year deal for the 35-year-old southpaw.
February 4 – Former Scorpions SP Jordan Caldwell (102-100, 4.19 ERA) jumps to the division rival Gold Sox, signing a 2-yr, $4.32M contract.
February 7 – Ex-LAP SP Shane Baker (74-91, 3.78 ERA) joins the Crusaders on a 3-yr, $7.32M contract.

+++

Gutierrez was born in 1984. For comparison – that was the year the Raccoons traded for Kisho Saito. And yet, he keeps playing (on his last leg, but he keeps playing, and keeps getting paid).

And the Raccoons of old? Steve Hollingsworth got $366k from the Wolves; and that was it for the moment.
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Old 03-02-2019, 04:34 PM   #2747
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No major upsets happened in March. We did not trade Rico Gutierrez for a collection of Elvis records, nor did we sign a guy named Elvis to a $20m deal.

Yasuhiro Kuramoto ended up getting paid in Oregon – just not on our end. The Wolves signed him to a $1.34M deal in late February. That was at least more than our last offer at $1.1M. Oh well, we got Jamieson – I’m good.

Graham Wasserman signed for 2-yr, $824k with the Scorpions; Josh Stevenson got an $860k gig in Washington; Brett O’Dell went to the Condors for $276k; Justin Hess joined the Bayhawks on $321k;
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Old 03-02-2019, 04:55 PM   #2748
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2029 PORTLAND RACCOONS – Opening Day Roster (first set in parenthesis shows 2028 numbers, second set career numbers; players with an * are off season acquisitions):

SP Mark Roberts, 34, B:L, T:L (16-5, 3.17 ERA | 116-76, 3.01 ERA) – Mark Roberts led the league again in K/9 after a bit of a down year in 2027, but still didn’t win a game in the postseason. Nevertheless, the former Pitcher of the Year and Triple Crown winner was rewarded with another big 4-year deal and will get another Opening Day assignment.
SP Tom Shumway *, 32, B:L, T:L (14-7, 2.81 ERA | 124-96, 3.33 ERA) – would probably be the ace on many staffs around the league, but it was hard to dislodge Roberts around here, who had seen some stuff in recent years. Shumway was probably a top 10 starter in the league, but had yet to sniff the World Series, having spent all his time with the Indians and Aces. His vicious 3-pitch mix with cutter and circle change will surely not keep the Coons from getting there again…
SP Rico Gutierrez, 29, B:L, T:L (12-7, 2.56 ERA | 86-61, 3.29 ERA) – I said before, that if he could keep the ball in the park a bit more, he would be a true ace. He led the CL in homers conceded in 2027. Then he went on and won the ERA title in 2028. He could have won a lot more games if he had gotten some sort of run support… Has decent control while keeping batters alert with a move-happy 96mph heater.
SP Dan Delgadillo, 26, B:R, T:R (8-4, 4.89 ERA | 40-35, 3.82 ERA) – bad enough to start last year to actually suffer demotion to AAA not once, but twice, Yusneldan returned just in time for the playoffs, and barely outlasted Kyle Anderson to get a rotation assignment, but then pitched a very fine Game 3 on the Buffaloes as the Coons swept the World Series. Nevertheless, he seems to be getting worse whenever he should be getting better, and we wonder how old he actually is, and have wondered that ever since he signed on initially.
SP Billy Ramm, 26, B:L, T:L (2-1, 1.40 ERA | 2-1, 1.58 ERA) – 4-pitch mix with a groundball tendency, Ramm could find a hole in the bullpen too once Nomura rejoins the staff; he definitely made a bit of an impression in three spot starts during the 2028 season while spending the rest of the year in AAA.

MR Nick Derks, 28, B:R, T:R (2-0, 4.64 ERA | 5-2, 4.69 ERA) – despite running out of options and being waived twice in the last 12 months, Derks remained in the organization and even made the Opening Day roster after initially having replaced the fallen Dan McLin halfway through ’28; he hung around and beat out mainly Steve Costilow for the final spot in the pen because the Raccoons spent big on Roberts, Shumway, and Stalker, and could not go after another beast reliever.
MR Jonathan Fleischer, 26, B:L, T:R (4-1, 3.77 ERA, 1 SV | 6-3, 3.72 ERA, 1 SV) – right-hander with a 96mph heater and a nasty curveball, but unfortunately also with some significant control issues. Suffered some abuse in his first full season, being called on to pitch almost 70 innings through the end of August, and then came the postseason still, but should get less garbage assignments with Derks around.
MR Jeremy Moesker, 25, B:L, T:L (1-1, 2.61 ERA | 1-1, 3.94 ERA) – left-hander attempting to go about his job with finesse, but doesn’t always find the right spot; at least he gets groundballs…
MR Billy Brotman, 30, B:L, T:L (3-2, 2.64 ERA | 18-17, 2.57 ERA, 17 SV) – control remains an issue for Billy, but his tendency to keep the ball on the ground help him greatly. Has been used and will be used more as a general purpose left-hander while the other southpaw (Jeff Kearney in prior years, Moesker now) will be more put into specialist duty.
MR Kevin Surginer, 29, B:R, T:R (4-6, 2.58 ERA, 4 SV | 30-24, 3.08 ERA, 8 SV) – very solid and mostly reliable reliever that goes about his job with so little noise that you sometimes entirely forget he's still there. Has in the past been a popular choice for long relief and extra inning battles, but is also a valid setup choice for Josh Boles.
SU Ricky Ohl, 30, B:R, T:R (4-3, 2.68 ERA, 8 SV | 18-12, 2.43 ERA, 28 SV) – aggressive strikeout pitcher who broke through the 13 K/9 mark for the first time in his career in 2028 and continues to serve as auxiliary closer as the Raccoons can mix and match it a bit between three lockdown relievers at the thick end of the bullpen.
CL Josh Boles, 25, B:L, T:L (3-3, 2.60 ERA, 42 SV | 9-9, 2.18 ERA, 62 SV) – debuted mid-season in 2026 and never went away anymore. While injuries to Ricky Ohl and Jonathan Snyder down the stretch in 2027 surely helped him ascend to the closer's role, his 13.3 K/9 and 88 total strikeouts in 59.2 innings in '27 sure got him noticed, too. His dazzling knuckle curve unnerves both left- and right-handed batters and we can not imagine a better closer right now. In 2028 he was the assigned closer on Opening Day for the first time and immediately led the CL in saves.

C Elias Tovias, 29, B:S, T:R (.250, 14 HR, 63 RBI | .253, 85 HR, 350 RBI) – Elias Matias Tovias Diaz has good defense, good game calling, a rather strong arm, and if the bat could strike out a little less, he would actually be an impact player, but he posted a sub-100 OPS+ (97) for the third time in four seasons in ’28.
C Daniel Rocha, 25, B:R, T:R (.357, 0 HR, 1 RBI | .244, 0 HR, 7 RBI) – got the backup job primarily by being cheap and in the organization already; at least he is very capable defensively; one of two Colombians on the roster in addition to Magallanes.

1B Kevin Harenberg, 31, B:L, T:L (.256, 20 HR, 75 RBI | .297, 145 HR, 683 RBI) – came up with his worst ever season in his first full year in Portland, amounting only to a .774 OPS. Then got worse in his second season and appeared dead in the water for months before heating up in August and drilling the Buffaloes senseless in winning 2028 World Series MVP honors.
2B/SS Tim Stalker, 30, B:R, T:R (.298, 11 HR, 60 RBI | .266, 55 HR, 327 RBI) – very good defensive middle infielder, more than just token speed, and most of the time also a good batter; the latter actually pulled him back off the bench where Alberto Ramos put him in 2026, since Stalker was able to make the most of the injury time he was allotted and swatted the ball for 41 extra-base hits in just 391 attempts, good enough for an .854 OPS that should make some genuine sluggers on the roster blush with shame, and he amped it up to 50 XBH in 2028 while missing 32 games.
SS Alberto Ramos, 23, B:L, T:R (.374, 1 HR, 37 RBI | .316, 5 HR, 116 RBI) – the 2026 Rookie of the Year Ramos was a treat all around, at least when he was able to stay on the field. Injuries limited him to 98 games last season, but he still managed to tie the franchise mark for stolen bases set by Yoshi Yamada in 2005, and you can only wonder what records he can tear down if only he could refrain from tearing or straining or breaking his body...
3B/2B/SS/LF/RF Rich Hereford, 31, B:S, T:R (.275, 32 HR, 140 RBI | .282, 150 HR, 634 RBI) – skilled and versatile defender with a bat that can make the ball jump some distance, Hereford came over in a deadline deal with the Gold Sox in 2027 and then made the 2028 season all about himself, tying Tetsu Osanai’s ancient franchise records for RBI in a season as well as leading the league in homers. Now he just have to repeat while playing two different positions depending on the opposing pitcher...
3B Matt Nunley, 38, B:L, T:R (.275, 1 HR, 10 RBI | .278, 145 HR, 876 RBI) – it was largely a lost season for eternal Matt Nunley, who signed a new 2-year deal prior to 2028, but broke his leg on Opening Day and did not come back until the last third of the season. He will largely play against right-handers in what could potentially be his final season.
RF/LF/3B/CF/2B/1B Chris Baldwin *, 25, B:R, T:R (rookie) – super utility player taken in the rule 5 draft off the Pacifics; we will have to see whether he can hit anything at all, but his defense is near-universal and very good for sure. Also a potential go-to pinch-runner for a guy like Harenberg.
SS/3B Butch Gerster, 27, B:R, T:R (.303, 4 HR, 15 RBI | .277, 4 HR, 20 RBI) – made a bit of noise as singles slapper (but with four homers) in limited exposure last season and that was enough to win a backup job on a minimum deal.

LF/CF/RF/1B Abel Mora, 32, B:L, T:R (.269, 12 HR, 56 RBI | .271, 111 HR, 587 RBI) – Mora became a free agent, then crawled back into the fold when the big deal he coveted did not materialize prior to 2028; as much of an allround player as you can find, hitting for average (having reached .300 once with the Wolves) and power, possessing good speed, and fielding very well, also good for a pawful or two of assists every year. Not quite Neil Reece Reborn, but then again Neil's a Hall of Famer and they just don't fall from the skies.
1B/LF/RF/CF Rafael Gomez, 30, B:R, T:L (.275, 14 HR, 71 RBI | .272, 118 HR, 566 RBI) – like many others on the team in ’28 he took a really long time to get going and could not repeat his 25 HR, 104 RBI breakout season of 2027, but he batted for average and power still and also played some strong defense.
CF/LF/RF Juan Magallanes, 25, B:S, T:R (.262, 1 HR, 9 RBI | .245, 1 HR, 19 RBI) – the Colombian alumnus of a Jewish high school in Manhattan spent the entire 2028 season on the roster without getting noticed in any way, shape or form, which can either work in your favor or against you these days...
LF/CF Matt Jamieson *, 33, B:R, T:R (.271, 6 HR, 27 RBI | .260, 74 HR, 482 RBI) – acquired via trade for the season time, Jamieson will play a split platoon with Matt Nunley while Rich Hereford ferries back and forth between third base and leftfield. Always a good if not overwhelming batter, he is also a solid defender in left and can also still play center, which was his more common assignment in his first brief stint with Portland in ’26, which you may remember yielded a ring.

On disabled list:
SP Rin Nomura, 30, B:L, T:L (16-6, 3.07 ERA | 44-19, 2.92 ERA) – Nomura uses his 3-pitch mix efficiently to keep hitters guessing and also kept the ball on the ground most of the time. He pitched well enough to partake in the wins title in the Continental League in '27, but he is not exactly a strikeout monster and at times didn’t get strikeouts for entire starts in 2028. Nomura had bone chips removed from his elbow in October and has yet to begin pitching. He is expected to start a rehab assignment in the second half of April.

Otherwise unavailable: Nobody.

Other roster movement:
SP/MR Sean Rigg *, 28, B:R, T:R (0-0, 4.18 ERA | 20-16, 3.86 ERA) – swingman added in the Jarod Spencer deal with the Condors, who can fill many roles, but none that we need at this very moment.

The remaining leftovers from September were either reassigned earlier already or had options and passed seamlessly to AAA, and then again we are mostly talking about guys like Steve Costilow and German Sanchez…

OPENING DAY LINEUP:

Not much discussion about the starting lineup this year…

(Vs. RHP: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts)
Vs. LHP: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – LF Hereford – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Roberts)

Seems like we will kick off against southpaw John McInerney, and of course you field your best suit on Opening Day; in regular season play, it is likely that we will rest either Mora or Harenberg for whatever shuffle gets Magallanes or Gerster into the lineup. Rocha will probably also play against left-handers when feasible. Unlike last year, we don’t have TWO switch-hitting catchers anymore.

OFF SEASON CHANGES:

It was again not a frantic offseason for the Raccoons, who made precision moves to improve their lot down the road. We only added six players on major league deals, and three of those via the rule 5 draft or waivers. Tom Shumway however is an impact hurler not to be ignored and the rotation was at times a bit wonky in ’28. Shumway shall fix that. Overall we ended up tied with the Blue Sox for sixth place and +2.4 WAR in BNN’s mind, so I’ll take that.

Top 5: Gold Sox (+8.8), Indians (+7.0), Pacifics (+6.5), Thunder (+5.6), Stars (+2.8)
Bottom 5: Knights (-4.8), Scorpions (-5.4), Bayhawks (-5.8), Wolves (-6.7), Condors (-11.3)

PREDICTION TIME:

For once, I was remarkably close last year and guessed us to win 96 and win the division, and well, aren’t the playoffs a crapshoot anyway? The CLCS sure was…

The personnel has not changed a whole lot, and maybe we got even that wee bit better. None of the other teams in the North seems to have made leaps and bounds, and I feel confident that we can charge at the 100 wins mark … and of course win the North again.

There is no reason the Raccoons should not become repeat champions!

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT:

…but they will be in a boatload of trouble once the majority of the contracts on the team run out after the 2030 season. The farm, while no longer ranked dead last in the ABL, remains barren. Our system clocked in at 21st place this season, and while we actually do have two top 100 prospects again (wow…) and five ranked prospects overall (last year: two ranked prospects), there is a certain lack of excitement about the future.

Also, one of those two ranked prospects from last year (#189 Raffaello Sabre) is no longer ranked…

#71 (new) – A SP Darren Brown, 19 – 2028 first-round pick by Raccoons
#92 (new) – A C Elliott Thompson, 19 – 2028 sixth-round pick by Raccoons
174th (-50) – AA SP Izzy Chavez, 21 – 2025 international free agent signed by Raccoons
185th (new) – AA 2B Fernando Solis, 20 – 2024 scouting discovery by Raccoons
198th (new) – ML OF/INF Chris Baldwin, 24 – 2025 first-round pick by Pacifics, selected in rule 5 draft by Raccoons

Five more to make up the franchise top 10:

INT SP Jonathan Galvan, 17 (2028 IFA), A SP Ignacio del Rio, 19 (2026 IFA), AA INF/RF Joe McFarlin, 23 (2027 3rd Rd.), A SP Raffaello Sabre, 20 (2025 IFA), A 2B Edgar Torres, 19 (scouting discovery);

The top 5 overall prospects this year are:

#1 IND AAA 2B Dan Schneller (was #1)
#2 NAS AA 3B Chance Bossert (was #2)
#3 SFW AA 2B/SS Mario Colon (was #3)
#4 MIL AAA SP Josh Long (was #5)
#5 NAS AA SP Matt Hose (newly drafted)

Last year’s #4, Salem’s SP Steve Younts, is obviously no longer eligible after pitching with the big league club all year and going 15-6 with a 2.80 ERA on the way to winning the Rookie of the Year title.

Next: first pitch.
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Old 03-03-2019, 05:49 AM   #2749
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Raccoons (0-0) @ Indians (0-0) – April 2-4, 2029

Opening Day brought the Furballs to Indy for an opening 3-game set against a team that they had beaten 13 times in 2028 and against whom they had taken the season series for six years in a row. It had also been six years since the Indians’ last winning season, and they had not made the playoffs since 2006, but they had come up second in offseason WAR gains according to BNN and were ready to turn this struggling camp of tents around.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (0-0) vs. John McInerney (0-0)
Tom Shumway (0-0) vs. Andy Bressner (0-0)
Rico Gutierrez (0-0) vs. David Saccoccio (0-0)

But that rotation of theirs still didn’t impress me. We would see a southpaw for Opening Day, then two right-handers after that.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – LF Hereford – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Roberts
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – RF Plunkett – C Kennett – 2B Ryder – 3B Roesler – LF Aleman – P McInerney

The Indians were ready to face Roberts, who allowed long fly balls to the first four batters he faced, including yielding back-to-back bombs to Ben Suhay and Mike Plunkett right in that first inning. The Indians went up 3-0 by the second inning, which Zachary Ryder led off with a single, stole second, and reached third base on Tovias’ throwing error. Alex Aleman plated that runner with a groundout. The Raccoons in the meantime had been on base with a leadoff walk to Ramos in the first inning, then didn’t reach again until Matt Jamieson reached on an error in the FIFTH. Jamieson was picked off, just before Abel Mora hit a triple to center, a 2-out knock in the fifth that was actually our first base hit in the game and season. Roberts got stuck in the bottom 5th, strafed for three more base hits by Suhay, Plunkett, and Elliott Kennett, and left with two outs, runners on the corners, and already down 4-0. Kevin Surginer came in, threw a wild pitch to score Plunkett, then gave up a 2-piece to Zachary Ryder that buried the Coons by seven. And the most depressing Opening Day game in memory was far from over; Nick Derks pitched two clean innings in the sixth and seventh, then was retained for the eighth and was completely blasted out of the contest by retiring none of the first four batters he faced in the inning. He plated Kennett with a wild pitch, then got pounded with a 3-run homer by Alex Aleman. The Coons were shut out by McInerney into the ninth inning, and he could have finished the job despite a leadoff single by Rafael Gomez and a walk issued to Rich Hereford if he hadn’t thrown away Daniel Rocha’s 1-out grounder in Harenberg’s spot. That one filled the bases for Mora, who hit a 2-run double to right-center while also hurting his knee and requiring replacement by Magallanes to pinch-run. Jose “Butch” Diaz replaced McInerney, allowed another run to score on Tovias’ groundout, a RBI double to Matt Nunley, a walk to Ramos, and finally got Tim Stalker to fly out to right. 11-4 Indians. Mora 2-4, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI; Nunley (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI;

Well. That sucked. At least it can hardly get worse.

The Druid advises me that Mora has a mild case of knee tendinitis and should be held out of at least the next game. No harsh damage, though.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – P Shumway
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – RF Plunkett – C Kennett – 2B Ryder – 3B Roesler – LF Aleman – P Bressner

Tom Shumway’s appearance against his first major league team began with a triple yielded to Mario Pizano, but the Coons stranded that runner on first base, actually. Jon Gonzalez popped out to shallow center, Ben Suhay whiffed, and Mike Plunkett grounded out to Nunley. Bottom 2nd, Zachary Ryder walked, moved up on a Mike Roesler groundout, then with two outs reached third base on Aleman’s infield single. Oh well, at least the pitcher came up – Shumway had him at 1-2, then allowed a clean RBI single to right. Pizano grounded out to strand two, but this season started with CONSIDERABLE horror. Shumway led off the third with a single to right-center that Plunkett overcharged for an error that put the tying run at second base. Ramos singled to right, putting them on the corners, and then Stalker fouled out, Harenberg popped out, and Hereford bounced one to Jon Gonzalez to strand the runners.

The Raccoons stranded runners in scoring position in each of the next two innings, and there were also enough tears shed by the laughing baseball gods for a 30-minute rain delay somewhere in between. The bottom 5th saw Shumway unravel with a leadoff single by Aleman, who was bunted over by Bressner. Pizano reached on Nunley error before Jon Gonzalez doubled home the runners with a wallbanger in left, then scored on Suhay’s single to right. Shumway somehow made it through six but left in a 4-0 hole that grew to 5-0 against Jonathan Fleischer before the Raccoons accidentally scored a run in the eighth off the otherwise dominant, yet routinely unimpressive Bressner, putting Hereford and Gomez on the corners before Elias Tovias hit a sac fly. That was already all the Coons amounted to. They got Magallanes and Gerster on base against Antonio Quintana in the ninth, but the game ended when Harenberg grounded out to the pitcher. 5-1 Indians. Ramos 2-4; Gomez 3-4;

Guys? Winter is over! Stop hibernating!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Rocha – P Gutierrez
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – CF Suhay – RF Plunkett – C Kennett – 2B Ryder – 3B Roesler – LF Aleman – P Saccoccio

Wrap your head around that – the Raccoons SCORED FIRST. Ramos led off the game with a single, stole second (#1 of hopefully a great many this year), moved up on Stalker’s fly, and scored on Abel Mora’s sac fly. We then waited for Rico Gutierrez to make the same harsh impact with the Indians’ predominantly right-handed lineup that had already devoured two sterling southpaws laden with accolades in this series, but that didn’t happen at all. Rico was not dominant, but struck out three and allowed only two base hits in covering the first five innings, while nursing the tender 1-0 lead and while the Raccoons were still laboring on a second base hit of their own in this game; they had none after the initial Ramos single until Abel Mora singled with two outs in the top of the sixth… Hereford flew out to Plunkett to end the inning, dropping to .100 for the season; still better than Harenberg and Tovias, though…

Harenberg knocked his first base hit in the seventh, 1-out single to right that came after Rafael Gomez hit a double… and was thrown out between second and third base. Great, now they added early-season stupidity to early-season breathlessness! At least Rico did nothing stupid all the way to the eighth inning, when he put the tying run aboard when he dropped Harenberg’s feed at first base. Aleman reached on the 1-out error that ended Rico’s day, as the Coons sent out Ricky Ohl against right-handed PH Edgar Paiz. Ricky K’ed his man, and when left-hander Trent Herlihy came out to bat for Pizano, Billy Brotman was assigned to him. Aleman however stole second to improve the Indians’ lot before Herlihy ended up flying out to Hereford anyway. The Raccoons failed to tack on an insurance run in the ninth despite a leadoff single by Mora, and thus it was Josh Boles all on his own in his debut, facing the 2-3-4 batters. The “nothing works” mantra refused to dissipate with a 1-out single by Suhay and a 2-out double by Kennett that put the tying and winning runs in scoring position for Zachary Ryder, who was at .400 in the early going; also a switch-hitter. Boles stayed in, Ryder flew to shallow center, Mora showed his knee was well and made the catch on the run. 1-0 Blighters. Mora 2-3, RBI; Harenberg 1-2, BB; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

We had Thursday off on the way to San Francisco, which gave us a lot of time to analyze this terrifically horrendous first series before we’d go to a ballpark that was routinely hostile to the team… there was just an overall vibe to the place at the Bay that made me envision a 1-5 start to a title defense season as I glumly stared out of the window on the plane.

Raccoons (1-2) @ Bayhawks (1-2) – April 6-8, 2029

Despite putting up five runs per game in their first set against the Knights, the Bayhawks had the same pale 1-2 record than the Critters right now, which had to do with starting pitchers getting blown up. Huh! San Francisco had claimed the season series for two years in a row, with the Critters winning only three games against them in 2028.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (0-0) vs. Alex Lopez (0-0)
Billy Ramm (0-0) vs. Gilberto Rendon (0-0)
Mark Roberts (0-1, 9.64 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (1-0, 2.57 ERA)

Three righties on offer.

…but for starters, the opener was rained out on Friday and we got a double-header scheduled for Saturday. Oh the suspense of how this would screw us down the road …!

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – RF Gomez – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – 2B D. Cobb – SS Pulido – LF E. Rendon – C Pizzo – P A. Lopez

The Coons plated a run in the top 1st again, and again it involved Ramos singling, stealing a sack, and coming home on something other than a base hit, this time Hereford grounding out to Dan Cobb for his first RBI of the year. And then came Delgadillo, got bombed by George Hawthorne on his third pitch of the season, and surrendered two more hits to Mike Martin and Tomas Caraballo before he got any out at all. The Bayhawks took a 2-1 lead on Cesar Martinez’ sac fly, but the Coons roared right back against the righty Lopez, who walked Tovias in the second inning before Delgadillo hit a crucial 2-out single into shallow left. Three more 2-out singles followed, all of them plating a runner, off the bats of Ramos, Stalker, and Mora, as the team reclaimed a 4-2 lead before Hereford struck out. That didn’t change the face that Yusneldan sucked, though. Mike Pizzo hit a bomb in the bottom 2nd to cut the score to 4-3, and the Bayhawks loaded the bases before Martinez hacked himself out bidding for a slam and ended up stranding three.

At this point everybody was expecting a double-blowout in the first game of a double header, ruining both teams well into next week, and at some point the Raccoons had Billy Ramm in the pen to toss so he could pitch long relief in here rather than start the second leg, which would then go to Roberts on regular rest, but all of a sudden both pitchers pulled themselves together and offense died down for three innings. Matt Nunley then opened the sixth with a double to right, and when Delgadillo singled off Lopez for the second time, runners were on the corners with nobody out for Ramos, who blew up Alex Lopez with the Raccoons’ first(!) home run of the season, a 3-run dinger to right-center that extended the lead to 7-3. The Coons got Delgadillo through another inning at the expense of a run on Edwin Rendon’s RBI double that cashed Dan Cobb’s leadoff walk, and the Raccoons had a good chance to answer in the seventh. Harenberg and Tovias hit 1-out singles off southpaw Justin Hess, after which he sent Jamieson to bat for Nunley for countering purposes. Jamieson singled up the middle to load them up, with Butch Gerster batting for Delgadillo, but popping out over the infield. Ramos lined out to Jose Pulido, ending the inning with three men stranded.

Bottom 7th, here came Surginer, and he set fire to the 7-4 game right away. Walk to Hawthorne, a double by Martin, and then a wild pitch. KEVIN!! Behave or it’s back to the cage for you! He struck out the next two before we went to Moesker for all the lefties coming up. Dan Cobb flew out to center, keeping it at 7-5, but Moesker put two guys aboard in the bottom 8th. Fleischer replaced him in time to strand the tying runs with a K to Hawthorne. When Magallanes hit a 2-out RBI single in the ninth for a 3-run lead, the Coons – with concern of the double header in progress – stuck to Fleischer for the ninth inning, which was a bit of a gamble for sure. However, Jonathan struck out Martin and Caraballo, then got Martinez to pop out and thus secured this wild opener. 8-5 Coons. Ramos 3-6, HR, 4 RBI; Stalker 2-5, RBI; Harenberg 3-4, BB; Nunley 1-2, BB, 2B; Jamieson (PH) 1-1, BB; Magallanes 1-1, RBI; Fleischer 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, SV (1);

We would cycle most of the bench in for the second game of the day; it was team philosophy to try and get everybody a starting assignment in the first week, and what better opportunity could there be than this double header. The exception was Jamieson, who remained out of the lineup against the righty.

Game 2
POR: SS Gerster – 3B Nunley – RF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – CF Magallanes – C Rocha – 2B Baldwin – P Ramm
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B M. Martin – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C Leal – 2B Pulido – SS J. Cruz – P G. Rendon

Another starter, another bumpy first inning. Bumpy in Ramm’s case meaning two hits, two walks, and one run before Jose Pulido popped out above home plate to strand a full set. Billy caught himself after that and put a few zeroes on the board, while all the Raccoons got through five innings was Rich Hereford’s solo homer to begin the second inning, which tied the score, but so far did little to liven up his 1-for-16 start to the season. Neither team found a run until the seventh inning; there, Chris Baldwin landed his first major league hit, a 1-out double to center, advanced on Ramm’s groundout, and then came home when Butch Gerster dinked a ball in front of Ruben Orozco for a 2-out RBI single. Crucially, Ramm got through seven, which allowed the Raccoons to mix their pen if required in the last two innings; Boles, Ohl, and Brotman were all still available, plus Derks if the Bayhawks’ pen would collapse right now. It did in fact not; and in fact the Raccoons never got another runner on base. Neither did the Baybirds; responsible for that was the same thing that was responsible for the double header in the first place – rain. It started in between innings and rapidly pick up pace while Abel Mora opened the eighth with a lengthy at-bat against Mike Bass that ultimately saw him strike out. Hereford faced one pitch before the umpires called for the tarp to protect the mound, and proceedings halted there. It rained well into the night, and thanks to Butch’s clutch single the previous inning, the Raccoons eeked out a sweep in the double header. 2-1 Critters. Gerster 2-4, RBI; Ramm 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

That also meant that our pen was still in good shape for Sunday, where Mark Roberts would try to log a few outs without any long balls hit against him. This was thankfully not an easy place to hit it out of, but if Ramos could go deep…..

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 2B D. Cobb – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C Leal – 3B Pulido – SS J. Cruz – P Huf

Armando Leal had watched Alberto Ramos for a full season and knew his every twitch; thus, when Ramos walked to open the game and could no control the urge to scoop second, Leal had been ready, launched from the crouch and fired a missile that dismissed Ramos shockingly easily! In more bad breaks for the Raccoons, Mark Roberts not only was bombed by Orozco in the bottom 2nd, but also put Leal and Jose Cruz on base with base hits, then fell to 3-1 with two outs against ex-Coon Matt Huf (who had in fact been in the package we had traded for Roberts years ago) before allowing a 2-run double into the corner in left. Hawthorne struck out to end the inning, but we had not yet seen the last extra-base hit by a pitcher in this game.

For example, Roberts doubled off Huf with two outs in the third, but there was nobody on base and while Ramos walked, the inning dissipated when Stalker grounded out to short. Abel Mora hit a solo homer in the fourth to cut the gap to 3-1, but Roberts faced Huf with two outs and Cruz on first again in the bottom of the inning, and this time Huf doubled up the rightfield line…! Cruz was sent again, but this time thrown out at the plate by Rafael Gomez to end the inning. In intermittent rain (some real Portland weather down here!), Roberts continued to allowed almost two base hits per inning, but was taken off the hook by Rich Hereford’s 2-out, 2-run homer in the sixth inning. Mora had drawn a walk against Huf to set up the opportunity for last year’s RBI champ who was now at four driven in and an OPS over .600 …! Also, too bad that Orozco hit a leadoff jack in the bottom 6th to put the Baybirds back in front, and that was even a left-handed hitter…

In a near tit-for-tat, Tovias fell just short of a leadoff jack in the seventh, doubling to the base of the wall behind Orozco instead. Here, the Coons sent Baldwin to pinch-run; the run was important! Nunley grounded out, moving Baldwin to third, and Huf then ran full counts to Gerster, who walked, and Ramos, who grounded to Dan Cobb at second base. Cobb tried to turn two rather than make an attempt on the fast Baldwin at the plate, but Gerster aimed for Jose Cruz’ face with his spikes to break up the attempt, allowing Baldwin to score with the tying run. Ramos then took second base in a hit-and-run in which almost everybody messed up. Stalker did not hit the ball, but Leal also juggled it and had no chance this time. Two pitches later, Tim found the gap in left-center for a go-ahead RBI double. Mora walked, Hereford struck out, and the team stranded two more in the eighth when Harenberg reached on an error, Baldwin was nailed, and Daniel Rocha grounded out to short with two outs and runners on the corners, but we were out of catchers at that point… Brotman crapped out in the bottom 8th, issuing leadoff walks to Orozco and Leal before Fleischer would have to contend with that mess. He did so badly; Pulido reached on a sac bunt that nobody on the infield knew how to handle, loading them up with no outs. The Coons failed to turn two on Cruz’ grounder to short, which tied the game, and that allowed PH Ivan Pena to give San Fran the lead with a sac fly to center before Hawthorne popped out. Top 9th, Alex Cordova faced the top of the order and issued a walk to Ramos right away. With Leal keeping one eye firmly on Ramos, the Coons resorted to bunting with Stalker, then sent Jamieson to bat for the pitcher in the #3 hole where we now could have used Mora… Jamieson grounded out, moving the tying run to third, but Hereford struck out for the third time in the game to end it. 6-5 Bayhawks. Mora 1-2, 2 BB, HR, RBI;

In other news

April 3 – The Cyclones’ SP Jim Shannon (1-0, 0.00 ERA) 1-hits the Buffaloes in a 4-0 Cincinnati win. The Buffaloes’ only hit is a Ken Hess (.286, 0 HR, 0 RBI) single in the eighth inning.
April 4 – TOP RF/LF Travis Benson (.200, 0 HR, 1 RBI) reportedly suffered a separated shoulder during a night out boozing and will miss up to three weeks.

Complaints and stuff

The rain-shortened middle game against the Bayhawks means that one week in we already only have three players anymore who have appeared in every game: Harenberg, Hereford, and Nunley. Mora dropped out early with the bum knee, and then there were Gomez, Stalker, and Ramos that all didn’t get a shake in that second leg of the double header that ended in the top of the eighth.

Rich Hereford had a ROUGH week to begin the year, but I am not overly concerned yet. He put the ball in play 18 times. Two of those were bombs, and on the others he registered a .063 BABIP. I blame the baseball gods right now! Oh, they had some fun this week, undoubtedly.

I’m sure there would be more nitpicking to do between “Fan” Tovias and “Launchpad” Roberts, but maybe another week will heal wounds. There was also some bullpen mismanagement, probably. But f.e. on Sunday we made the double switch that removed Mora to get Ohl in for two outs and Brotman for four. They barely logged three outs between them while blowing the game, with Billy especially unable to find the strike zone at all. Roberts has allowed four bombs in 10.2 innings, which over the length of his new contract should work out to – per Steve from Accounting – merely $34,666 for each of the 300 homers he is expected to release. A real bargain!

There were a few late signings this week, including long-ago Coon Wade Davis signing up with the Cyclones, as well as the Titans adding former Elk John Calfee, one player I would have liked to keep out of the division…

Coons come home now and will open shop against the Knights on Monday. The Titans will be in on the weekend.

Fun Fact: Ron Alston ranks in the top 5 in both franchise base hits and home runs for both the Indians and Bayhawks.

In between he of course played for the Critters, too, but that amounted to only 2 1/2 seasons and ranks 21st in homers (71, between Vern Kinnar and Liam Wedemeyer), and 49th in hits with 411, wedged between Jesus Palacios and Dylan Alexander.

But Alston’s 1,124 base hits rank him fifth amongst Bayhawks, and he is second in homers for the team with 162. For the Arrowheads, he has third places with 1,310 hits and 227 dingers.
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Old 03-03-2019, 05:05 PM   #2750
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DOUBLE WHAMMY!!

Raccoons (3-3) vs. Knights (2-4) – April 9-11, 2029

The Coons had won the season series for three straight years against the Knights, 5-4 in 2028, and they would be their first opponents at home in the new season. Both teams had shown leaky pitching and defense in the first week, but the Knights had also struggled to score and sat in the bottom three in both runs scored and runs allowed. But it was early; and the Coons had their own problems…

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (1-0, 5.14 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Ernesto Lozano (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (1-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. Andy Jimenes (0-1, 2.84 ERA)

Lefty to start the series, then two right-handers. And hopefully we get to score a few runs, and earlier.

Game 1
ATL: LF W. Lopez – 3B A. Alvarez – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – C Lundy – 1B M. Mendoza – CF G. Ramirez – P Rosas
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Shumway

Somehow, the horror show of the first week continued. Tim Stalker hit a double that did not lead to a run in the first, and then Roy Pincus began to carve up the Coons. He hit a leadoff double in the second and scored on Manny Mendoza’s groundout, then batted in a 1-1 game – Jamieson had homered in the bottom 2nd – with Willie Lopez and Adrian Alvarez in scoring position and two outs, grounded to Ramos, and Alberto just plainly fudged it for a run-scoring error. John Johnson flew out to center to leave them on the corners. Not that the Knights were much better at not screwing up; when the Coons had leadoff singles by Hereford and Jamieson in the bottom 4th, both to center, Harenberg spanked the ball into a double play, but rather than getting out Mora, Rosas threw a VERY wild pitch past Craig Lundy to tie the score with Hereford coming in from third base. Rosas went on to work a 3-0 count against Shumway to begin the top 5th, then swung and popped out to short, and the Coons would take the lead in the bottom 5th. Tovias led off with a soft single to left, moved up on a bunt and a groundout, then scored on Stalker’s clean single to center. Tim stole second, and Mendoza dropped a throw by old veteran Andrew Showalter to put Gomez on base and runners on the corners for Hereford, who dropped a soft one into shallow right-center for an RBI single, extending the lead to 4-2. That became 5-2 when Johnson dropped Jamieson’s 1-2 pop – it was not a pretty game at all! Harenberg flew out to Lopez to end the long inning.

Light rain joined the carnival in the sixth, an inning in which Tom Shumway rung up the side, then made it four in a row with a K to Mendoza in the seventh. He went on to nail Guadalupe Ramirez with a 1-2 pitch, then narrowly survived a drive to right by PH Wade White, the 39-year-old war horse. He was also at 108 pitches at that point, and the Coons went to the pen. Kevin Surginer would collect four outs without major accidents, walking only Showalter with one out in the eighth, and set up Josh Boles for the ninth. He did get to take the opportunity despite two Coons reaching against Jose Fuentes in the bottom 8th, thanks to Elias Tovias doing damage to his own team with an inning-ending double play grounder. The Knights went down in order against Boles, who ended the game with a K to Guadalupe Ramirez. 5-2 Critters. Stalker 2-4, 2B, RBI; Hereford 2-4, RBI; Jamieson 2-4, HR, RBI; Shumway 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (1-1) and 1-2;

Nick Valdes would come in for the last two games of the series. Better behave, boys!

Game 2
ATL: LF W. Lopez – 3B A. Alvarez – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – 1B M. Mendoza – C J. Ramirez – CF G. Ramirez – P Lozano
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez

It was ALL right-handed bats against Rico Gutierrez, which was historically sometimes an issue. Guadalupe Ramirez hit a 2-out triple in the second, then scored on a regrettable single by Lozano to put the Knights on the board first, but the Coons got even more damage out of the #8 hole in their half of the second inning. Tovias worked a 2-out walk to bring up Matt Nunley, who crushed a 2-piece to right-center that was measured at 411 feet and flipped the score. Yup, still life in that 38-year-old body! Unfortunately, Rico could not hold on to the lead. The Knights had a steady trickle of base hits, including leadoff singles in the fourth hit by Johnson and Mendoza. Guadalupe Ramirez then was ready to do more damage, hitting a 1-out RBI double over the head of Rafael Gomez to tie the score, but Rico for once prevailed against Lozano, ringing him up, and Willie Lopez grounded out to Nunley to keep it at 2-2. Nunley also gave Rico a new lead, plating Gomez (leadoff triple!) with a sac fly in the bottom 4th, and the Coons added a run when Hereford singled home Stalker in the fifth, but Rico was also gone from the game after five, having needed 108 pitches through five against a chewy, righty lineup.

The Coons went to the pen, with Nick Derks getting through the bottom of the order in the sixth, then sent Ricky Ohl. Ricky had a clean seventh, but put two on in the eighth, Mendoza and Jose Ramirez. The Coons were waiting for a lefty pinch-hitter, which only appeared with two outs, D.J. Fullerton in Lozano’s spot, then replaced Ohl with Billy Brotman against yet another 39-year-old veteran. Billy almost threw an exit pitch that Mora hauled in quite deep in centerfield; hit to a wing it would have flipped the 4-2 score, but Abel ably curtailed it to end the inning. Portland failed to tack on in the late innings, but Mora also remained on post for Josh Boles, who put Alvarez on with a walk, Showalter with a single, but Mora made a crucial catch hustling in this time against Pincus for the second out, and Boles finally rung up John Johnson to end the game. 4-2 Coons. Stalker 1-2, 2 BB, 2B; Nunley 1-2, HR, 3 RBI; Ohl 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

Game 3
ATL: CF W. Lopez – C Lundy – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – LF C. Mendoza – 3B A. Velez – 1B W. White – P Jimenes
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Delgadillo got torn to shreds in a matter of minutes, with Willie Lopez leading off the game with a jack, and it only got worse. In the second, Chris Mendoza drew a leadoff walk, Wade White singled, and it was 2-0 after Andy Jimenes’ sac fly. Delgadillo walked the bases full, then threw a doozie to Showalter that was hit over the fence in rightfield to make it 6-0, all earned. Portland scored two in the bottom 2nd, which Hereford opened with a double to center, then scored on Harenberg’s single, Kevin’s first RBI of the year, and none too early. Gomez walked (and still had no RBI), and a Nunley groundout would eventually plate Harenberg. The Coons kept Delgadillo around until he put White and Lopez on base, then yanked him for Fleischer, who would have gotten out of the inning… hadn’t Ramos fired away a wild throw into the stands on Showalter’s 2-out grounder. That scored an additional run, Fleischer walked Pincus to load them up, but was dumb-lucky enough to have Johnson line out to Nunley on a 3-1 pitch.

Not pretty, once again, down 7-2, and it had yet to get worse. Fleischer walked both Mendoza and Velez to begin the fifth, then threw a wild pitch. CAN ANYBODY HERE THROW A ****ING BALL?? It didn’t matter in the end, because Fleischer walked White anyway, putting three on with nobody out. Jimenes struck out, Lopez brought in a run with a groundout, and Lundy hacked himself out to end the inning with an 8-2 score, and it became 10-2 on back-to-back 2-out RBI doubles by Mendoza and Velez off Derks in the sixth. In a dumpster fire of a game, the Coons scored three meaningless runs in the bottom 8th, two of them unearned with the inning starting with Mora reaching on a Johnson error. Hereford doubled him home, Tovias also got an RBI, but of course the game was long out of hand. Hereford and Harenberg hit 2-out doubles for another run in the ninth, but it was well too late to make it actually interesting. 10-6 Knights. Hereford 3-5, 3 2B, RBI; Harenberg 3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Tovias 1-2, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Gerster (PH) 1-2, BB;

Nine walks, two errors, two wild pitches, a hit batter (by Moesker) and that was just THIS game. That whole series was a MESS. We won two, Tuesday was halfway decent… let’s just keep it at that and bury the experience in that part of the brain that gets most damaged by alcohol and drug abuse…

Raccoons (5-4) vs. Titans (5-4) – April 13-15, 2029

The teams entered the series tied for third place in the North and only half a game off the top spot, so a series win could make the difference here. The Titans had swept the Thunder earlier in the week, but ranked only eighth in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. Still better than the Critters, though. The Titans’ run differential was +4, while the Coons’ was actually -6. We had won the season series in 2028, 10-8, for the first time since the fall of the Western Roman Empire…

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Mark Roberts (0-1, 7.59 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (0-1, 4.38 ERA)
Tom Shumway (1-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (0-1, 4.26 ERA)

We were expecting one southpaw in this series, too, which would be Wingo on Sunday.

Game 1
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – 3B Corder – 2B West – CF Reichardt – RF Calfee – C T. Perez – P Viamontes
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Ramm

…and another Raccoons pitcher just got swamped hopelessly! Ramm allowed a hit and a walk in each of the first two innings, both times was dug out with a double play, but Viamontes led off the third of a scoreless game with a single to left, Jonathan Morales also singled, and so did Willie Vega, and there were three on with nobody out for the middle of the order. Ramm, the horrible fool, nailed Stephen Williams with a 1-2 pitch to push in a run, allowed another one on an Adam Corder groundout, then got another double play of the 5-4-3 variety that kept him from being completely blown out. The Raccoons had no base hits the first time through, but had already had Harenberg annoyingly strand a pair in the bottom 1st with a grounder to first base, Mora having reached on an error and Hereford on a walk. Alberto Ramos was not reaching base at all right now, and also made his third error of the week when he dropped an Adrian Reichardt pop in the fourth inning. It only got worse, as usual. The Titans stole three bases off the terrible Ramm and Tovias duo in the fifth, scoring one run in the process. The Coons saw Tovias with a leadoff single in the bottom 5th. Nunley walked, Ramm got a bunt down at least, and Ramos brought in his catcher with a sac fly, but Ramm right away allowed a leadoff jack to John Calfee in the top 6th, his final inning, and left down 4-1. Not that they needed any more runs to subdue the lame-ass Raccoons; who got only three hits off Viamontes through eight innings. The Titans tacked on two runs against a stuffless Kevin Surginer in the ninth, allowing them to leave Viamontes in the game to finish the game, which he promptly did. Harenberg hit a leadoff single, Gerster struck out, and Tovias smashed into a double play. 6-1 Titans. Fleischer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

Can we get at least ONE decent game this week?

Please?

Game 2
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – P Waite
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – C Rocha – P Roberts

Bottom 1st, Ramos led off with a single, stole second, and the Critters filled the bases on a walk drawn by Abel Mora and an infield single that Hereford legged out, bringing up Harenberg in double play country. Grounder to Rhett West, throw to Williams, to Morales, inning over, and only one inning into the game I had already bitten off the neck of my bottle of booze. And that was before the top of the second inning, which Dave O’Rourke led off with a homer to left, and which continued with a 1-out homer by Rhett West to left-center, a 2-out single by Tony Perez to center, and then a 2-run homer by … the ****ing opposing pitcher, Jeremy Waite, the put Mark Roberts in a 4-0 hole in the second inning, on three dingers.

As usual, there would be no remedy to the pain, only more and more and more pain. Jamieson and Nunley began the bottom 2nd with singles, were stranded, and the top 3rd began with Willie Vega reaching base on a Rocha error. Roberts walked Williams, then bled an RBI single to O’Rourke. Corder singled to Mora’s feet to load them up, and those runs scored on a balk (…!) and a 2-run single by Reichardt, at which point Roberts was yanked and the ball went to Nick Derks to do whatever the **** he wanted; it could hardly be worse than Roberts’ way of monkeying around out there. Derks got out of the inning; but the fourth inning just continued the rout. Leadoff single by Morales, Vega drew a walk, Williams singled, three on with nobody out; O’Rourke hit a sac fly, Derks walked them full again right away with a free pass to Corder, then threw a run-scoring wild pitch. At that point it was merely 10-0 in the fourth. That became 12-0 on Nunley’s 2-base throwing error on a West grounder, and the Titans had three consecutive 4-spots on the board. The game was of course far out of the window at this point, but there were more runs. The Titans kept flogging Jeremy Moesker (in his third inning…) for two in the seventh, then got another run off Fleischer in the eighth. The Coons scored two that nobody gave a **** about in the bottom 6th in which Harenberg hit an RBI triple. Yeah, great, whenever it doesn’t count for anything! Just like his 2-run shot in the eighth… 15-4 Titans. Hereford 2-4; Harenberg 2-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI; Jamieson 2-4; Nunley 1-1, BB, RBI;

Heads rolled after this one; Nick Derks (11.81 ERA) was culled and placed on waivers and was designated for assignment for reasons of a bled-out pen alone, and for sucking balls on top of that. Seriously, Nick – don’t be so weird! Don’t suck on the balls!!

Sean Rigg was called up after having made a start for the Alley Cats on Tuesday; he would be well rested.

Game 3
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – P Wingo
POR: 2B Stalker – SS Gerster – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 1B Baldwin – CF Magallanes – P Shumway

Tom Shumway did not shatter into a million pieces as soon as the protective foil was removed for the first inning, which automatically made him Player of the Week as far as the Brownshirts were concerned. He shed two hits and a walk in the early innings while whiffing four, but most importantly, no homers, no errors, no fallen-off arms, and the game remained scoreless (and the Coons remained hitless) through three. Corder and West hit singles in the fourth, but Shumway got strike three past Reichardt to end the inning. Unfortunately, he was already over 70 pitches…

Ultimately, it was not a high pitch count that ended Shumway’s day, but the forces of nature. After five shutout innings he had to yield to an hourlong rain delay, which at least also ruined Dustin Wingo’s no-hit bid, as the inept Raccoons were still H-less during the delay. Sean Rigg thus made his Raccoons debut in the sixth inning, which Willie Vega led off with a double to center on a 1-2 pitch. O’Rourke would hit a double to fence in left to plate him with one out, and the Coons were spiraling towards their fourth straight defeat. Somehow Rigg lasted two innings in the 1-0 game, while also bunting into a force after Magallanes’ leadoff single in the bottom 6th. Mike Stank opened the bottom 7th with a walk to Jamieson, then surrendered a double to Hereford, and NOW the Raccoons actually had their first scoring opportunity…! Second and third with nobody out, and Rafael Gomez countering the southpaw… and the he grounded back to the mound on the very first pitch… GODDAMNIT, SCORE SOME RUNS, YOU BUMS!! … I thumped the glass panels offering a perfect view of the misery on the field with both fists in the burst of rage; they did overturn Stank, but only barely. Tovias hit a sac fly to left to tie, and then Baldwin snuck a single to center to go ahead with two outs, his first major league RBI (and one more than Gomez on the season). Baldwin stole second, Javy Salomon walked Magallanes anyway, and then Mora came out to bat for Rigg, but struck out.

The Coons, holding an actual 2-1 lead on three hits, could finally send in their good guns, Ricky Ohl getting into the eighth. Williams flew out to deep right before Ohl walked O’Rourke and Corder reached on a horrendous throwing error by Tim Stalker, which put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Rhett West turned on a 1-2 pitch, homered to left and the Raccoons ended up getting swept, but did so in style, hitting into inning-ending double plays with the tying run at the plate in both the eighth (Jamieson) and the ninth (Harenberg). 4-2 Titans. Magallanes 1-2, BB; Shumway 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K;

In other news

April 9 – A wild pitch by NAS MR Jimmy Souders (0-1, 1.69 ERA) allows the Warriors to walk off in regulation, 3-2, against the Blue Sox, with Hiroaki Ryu scoring from third base on the errant toss.
April 10 – The Warriors lose CL Gilberto Castillo (0-0, 7.71 ERA, 1 SV) to a torn triceps. The 27-year-old righty, who saved 39 games last year, is expected to be out for at least three months.
April 10 – The Warriors are also 1-hit by the Blue Sox in their Tuesday game, but actually win, 1-0, on a homer by 1B/SS Edgar Gonzalez (.357, 1 HR, 6 RBI).
April 12 – The Blue Sox are wound up in a 17-0 thrashing at the hands of the Miners, for whom 1B Danny Santillano (.308, 2 HR, 6 RBI) has four base hits, a homer, and 3 RBI. Five different Miners have three or more hits, and four have three or more RBI.
April 15 – CHA LF/RF Barend Kok (.220, 2 HR, 8 RBI) will be out for a month with a strained hamstring.

Complaints and stuff

(comes out of the bathroom and wipes a chunk of barf off his face) Well, that sucked!

There was NOTHING this week that I appreciated. NOTHING. Not ONE player did anything right! We somehow even managed to wind up with the worst defense and second-most errors…!?

The dinger count on Mark Roberts is at seven in just 13 innings, which should give you seven reasons to not sleep at night.

When Nick Valdes was in town on Tuesday, we got into a bit of a fight because of what he thinks is a lack of team chemistry – his explanation was a bit weird, but maybe I just can’t follow it. Maybe I am not the sharpest tool in the shed! But Valdes insists on renumbering our players so we can always have a prime number-amount of players in the starting lineup that wear a prime number on their uniform.

Well, we might try that one once our current dynasty falls apart…! But for now I think we’ll - … Mr. Valdes, why are you ironing numbers on uniforms in my office?

Fun Fact: The worst a Raccoons team trying to defend their championship status have ever done in the following season was an 81-81 campaign in 1994.

But that year they actually started 6-3, then 10-6, and the wheels did not come off until the second half of May. They actually led the CL in offense in April. This team currently sits 11th in runs scored, 11th in runs allowed, and doesn’t know where the knelling sounds are coming from.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:29 PM   #2751
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Raccoons (5-7) vs. Loggers (6-6) – April 17-19, 2029

The story was well known; the Loggers had not won the season series against the Raccoons in *15* years, going down 12-6 in 2028, but this was their chance for a headstart in the new season given that the Raccoons had lost four in a row and right now didn’t seem like between batting, pitching, and fielding they could manage any of those at a remote level of competence. The Loggers ranked seventh in runs scored and runs allowed; the Coons were 11th in either category…

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (2-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (0-2, 6.35 ERA)
Billy Ramm (1-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Joe West (0-1, 2.51 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (1-1, 9.64 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (1-1, 3.54 ERA)

For this series, the token left-hander would be the first one we’d face. Meanwhile we used the off day on Monday to move Billy Ramm ahead of Dan Delgadillo, giving Yusneldan another extra day to think about what the **** he was doing …

Game 1
MIL: 3B Lockert – 1B Cambra – C J. Young – LF Schorsch – CF Sherrod – 2B Holder – RF Wheeler – SS Rauser – P Colmenarez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Mora – C Tovias – P R. Gutierrez

Lo and behold, Kevin Harenberg hit a 2-out RBI single in the bottom 1st to plate Jamieson, who had earlier also singled, followed by a walk drawn by Rich Hereford. While Rico could not hold on and surrendered the lead on a 2-out single by Jason Rauser in the top 2nd, scoring Kaleb Holder, any clutch hit had to be marked down as rousing success right now… Overall there was not much offense in the early innings, but the Raccoons came up with the bases loaded in the bottom 4th. Hereford had knocked a leadoff single, and Colmenarez issued 1-out walks to both Rafael Gomez and Abel Mora to load up the bases for Elias Tovias, who came pretty close to hitting into a double play when he grounded fast to Matt Lockert, but the third baseman’s feed to second was over Holder’s head for an error that put the Coons up 2-1. It was all they got; Rico struck out, and Ramos popped out to short as he remained completely unable to get on base right now. At least we could draw comfort from the fact that the Loggers’ lineup was not one to specifically counter Rico’s somewhat lopsided splits; there were as many as five lefty bats in there, including the pitcher, and that sure helped him to coast through seven innings with the 2-1 lead. An insurance run would have been nice, though! Unfortunately, nothing of the sort came about; the Coons had two on in the fifth until Harenberg hit into an inning-curtailing double play, and then didn’t put up any specific threat in the following innings. Top 8th, the pen took over, which had been the undoing on Sunday with Ricky Ohl blowing a 2-1 lead to the Titans, and here he nailed Lockert with one out to put the tying run aboard. But Billy Brotman was already lined up against the following left-handed batters, got Firmino Cambra to pop out foul and rung up Jim Young to exit the inning. Bottom 8th, a 2-out uprising saw Matt Nunley single in Gomez’s spot against right-hander Bobby Valencia, who then walked Mora. Elias Tovias had done enough harm to his own team in this game that we sent Butch Gerster to bat for him, but he popped out to Holder and the runs were stranded. Then came Boles and blew the lead Rico had scratched out when Tom Schorsch hit a leadoff jack to right, tying the score at two, and I banged my head against the door frame for the rest of the inning. The game spilled over into a 10th inning, in which Boles unhelpfully retired the side in order before Hereford and Harenberg went to the corners with a pair of leadoff singles against righty Julio Palomo. Nunley had remained in the game after pinch-hitting the last time around and would once more relieve the Raccoons from their terrible pains, turning an 0-2 pitch around to knock it past Holder for a walkoff single… 3-2 Blighters. Jamieson 2-5; Hereford 3-4, BB; Harenberg 2-5, RBI; Nunley (PH) 2-2, RBI; Mora 1-2, 2 BB, 2B; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K;

A win is a win is a win. A win is a win is a win. A win is a win is – no, sorry, Josh, that SUCKED!!

The Loggers also skipped Joe West in their rotation, setting up Ramm against Shepherd in the second game.

Game 2
MIL: 3B Lockert – 1B Cambra – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – CF Sherrod – 2B Holder – LF Wheeler – SS B. Day – P Shepherd
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Ramm

Alberto Ramos came in .209 after another 0-for-5 day on Tuesday, but led off with a double to right in the bottom 1st and quickly came home when Tim Stalker blasted a fastball into the stands to give Ramm a 2-0 edge. After that it threatened to become one of those iffy games; Hereford reached on a Lockert error, but was picked off to end the inning, while the bottom 2nd saw Jamieson draw a leadoff walk and be caught stealing before Nunley also walked. Matt Nunley advanced on a groundout by Tovias, then scored on TWO wild pitches by Shepherd! By the third, Firmino Cambra hit into a double play, which was also not an event anybody should ever bet on…

With that, the game calmed down; the middle innings were largely uneventful while Billy Ramm held the Loggers to two hits in the 3-0 game, but the Coons weren’t doing anything, either, having just one base hit (a Harenberg single with nobody on) after the Ramos-Stalker pair slapped Shepherd around in the first. Hereford hit a 2-out single to center in the bottom 6th, but Harenberg now chose to pop out… oh well, at least Billy Ramm seemingly effortlessly retired Logger for Logger, all the way to two outs in the eighth when Brendan Day found the gap in left-center for a triple, only the Loggers’ third hit in the game. Switch-hitter Wilson Aquino batted for Shepherd in the #9 hole, and Ramm was on 99 pitches, but Aquino was also weaker against lefties. Don’t change lefty for lefty! Ramm stayed in long enough to look as befuddled as Tovias when Day stole home to get the Loggers on the board, then allowed a single on the next pitch. Surginer replaced him now and retired Lockert to get out of the inning. The Coons let a Tim Stalker double with one out in the bottom 8th dissipate, then sent Boles back out. This time the Loggers went down in order. 3-1 Coons. Stalker 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Nunley 0-1, 2 BB; Ramm 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, W (2-1);

Weirdly, despite his excruciatingly slow start, Rich Hereford now had a 10-game hitting streak.

The last game of the series would feature right-hander Alex Contreras (2-0, 4.50 ERA) opposite Dan Delgadillo.

Game 3
MIL: 3B Lockert – 1B Cambra – C J. Young – LF Schorsch – 2B Holder – RF Rueda – CF Wheeler – SS Rauser – P Contreras
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Rocha – P Delgadillo

Delgadillo, who already entered with more than one earned run allowed per inning pitched, started the game with two walks before the Loggers popped out three times, so there was probably still more misery to unpack in this game, some of it pitching related. Contreras for example shed four hits, all singles, in the bottom 1st, with Ramos and Stalker going to the corners right away. Mora hit to second for a run-scoring groundout, Hereford hit an RBI single, Harenberg singled to put Critters back on the corners, and then Nunley had another run-scoring groundout before Gomez flew out softly to end the inning. As far as Delgadillo was concerned, he at least upheld the pretense of being a major league pitcher for a few innings. He allowed no hits through three innings, but walked three and balked once, until Tom Schorsch led off the fourth with a jack to right, cutting the score to 3-1. Holder singled, but was still on second with two outs. Jason Rauser was rather hot and a left-handed batter, so was walked intentionally to bring up the pitcher, who of course, as these things go, singled to load the bases for Matt Lockert, whom Delgadillo would get to 0-2 on two terrible hacks until he actually hit the ****ing ball on the third attempt and sent a deep drive to right in rather uncomfortable fashion, except that Rafael Gomez had hustled back in time to make the catch on the track.

The Coons didn’t do all that much; Ramos was on with a 1-out single in the bottom 5th and stole second, but was stranded with both Stalker and Mora grounding out to Cambra. Yusneldan got stuck for good in the sixth after a Holder single leading off, then a walk to Mike Wheeler. Those were the tying runs, and Jeremy Moesker came in to restore … chaos. Rauser grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Moesker walked the pitcher Contreras on four pitches, then with the bags full nailed Matt Lockert to force home a run. Firmino Cambra, who in a previous life had been a scary situational hitter in the Federal League, ran a 3-1 count, then rolled it over to Stalker to strand a full set of Loggers yet again, and the Coons remained up 3-2. Moesker and Fleischer managed to hold up in the seventh, and Ricky Ohl retired the bottom of the order in the eighth, which just left the question whether there was any insurance on the plate before Josh Boles would be wrung out for a third straight appearance. The question would be – surprisingly – yes, with Ramos leading off with a single, stealing second and taking third on Young’s throwing error, and coming in on a Mora single. Hereford and Harenberg also knocked singles, the latter running the score to 5-2, and while Jason Rauser leapt high in the sky for a Matt Nunley liner, he could not get it, either; Nunley dropped an RBI single into left-center, moving the game out of save range. The inning lasted even long enough for Daniel Rocha to break an 0-for-15 spell to begin the season with a 2-out RBI double to right off southpaw Alex Gutierrez. Gerster grounded out to end the inning, and Sean Rigg pitched a quick ninth to finish the sweep. 7-2 Furballs. Ramos 3-4; Hereford 2-4, RBI; Harenberg 3-4, RBI;

I am really glad we got this bit of damage control in now, because our CLCS buddies are coming up and they can actually play baseball.

Raccoons (8-7) vs. Condors (11-5) – April 20-22, 2029

The Condors, who had – funnily – already torn Mark Roberts to shreds in the fall, and would see him in the opener, tied for the lead in the South at this point (the Coons were 1 1/2 out in the North) but were also on a tear, having won eight games in a row after a 3-5 start! They were doing it all on pitching though, although that should not diminish their pitching: they had allowed only *30* runs so far, which was fewer than TWO runs per game…! Such a thing was entirely unheard of, and it made even their lackluster, eighth-place offense look entirely sustainable to wreak sufficient havoc to make a challenge for the postseason again. The Raccoons had gone 8-8 against the Condors in 2028, if you were inclined to count the CLCS going the distance.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (0-2, 11.08 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (2-1, 1.29 ERA)
Tom Shumway (1-1, 2.04 ERA) vs. George Griffin (1-2, 2.37 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-0, 1.40 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (2-1, 2.57 ERA)

Those would be their three right-handers, with southpaws Joe Perry (3-0, 1.25 ERA) and Jeff Little (3-1, 2.05 ERA) looming as additional threats should the Condors decide to utilize having had Thursday off rather than Monday like the Coons.

Game 1
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – 1B McGrath – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Bross – P Villalobos
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Roberts

The Condors, who as said allowed fewer than two runs per game, allowed a bushel in the first inning; Ramos hit a single, but was still on first when Hereford came up with two outs. Rich doubled over the head of Chris Murphy, with Ramos starting early and scoring easily for a 1-0 lead. Harenberg hit an RBI single, and Matt Nunley wrecked a fastball over the fence for a 4-0 rush in the opening inning! Hereford hit another RBI double, then cashing Tim Stalker, in the bottom 3rd, but by that point the Condors had already taken Roberts deep once, Kevin McGrath doing the honors in the top 2nd. By virtue of Mike Matias’ leadoff single, it was a 2-piece and now a 5-2 game through three frames.

And Roberts shed some runners, issuing a walk in both the fourth and fifth innings, but held up for the moment. Shane Sanks, the reigning Player of the Year (growls) did not, having to leave the game after being nailed by Roberts with a 98mph heater to begin the sixth. Matt Good replaced him. The Condors loaded the bases with quick singles by Matias and McGrath, and here was the pickle! Roberts stuck to it for the moment, struck out Danny Zarate, but then nailed Adam Braun, too, and was yanked right after that. Kevin Surginer inherited a mess and made it blow up, conceding an RBI single to Dave Bross, and another one to Chris Murphy. In between, Joel Denzler grounded to Stalker for what might have been the end of the inning, if Ramos had not dropped the feed for yet another error. The Condors scored four in the inning to take a 6-5 lead, then put another one on Surginer in the seventh, but by then I was already weeping anyway. And not for no reason; the Raccoons did absolutely nothing through the middle innings and beyond, all the way into the ninth. The pen had held the Condors tight in the eighth and ninth and the gap was two runs still. Those two runs were in scoring position with one out after Magallanes walked in Gomez’ place against Mike Baker, and Tovias doubled up the rightfield line. Matt Jamieson batted for Ricky Ohl and struck out, and Ramos flew out to Adam Braun. 7-5 Condors. Hereford 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI;

Game 2
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – 1B McGrath – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Bross – P Griffin
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – C Tovias – P Shumway

Murphy opened the game with a jack to right, which was so consoling, especially with the Coons setting themselves up for major failure in the bottom of the inning by putting three on with nobody out. Ramos singled, Stalker got hit, and Mora singled again. Hereford flew out to Matias, but deep enough to bring in Ramos to tie the game, Harenberg singled to restock the bases, and then Nunley remained scalding hot and dropped an RBI single in front of Matias to put us up 2-1. The inning fizzled out then with Jamieson whiffing and Tovias grounding out to Dave Bross. Now, there was more to come here; the bottom 2nd saw Ramos draw a 1-out walk, be caught stealing, but then Stalker got hit AGAIN, Mora walked, Hereford walked, and was this gonna end? No, Harenberg also walked, pushing in a run, and then came Nunley, Destroyer of Empires, who hit a 2-run single to center. YOU GO, MATT!! Jamieson walked to reload the bases, but then Tovias struck out to keep the score at 5-1.

It did not stay 5-1 for long; Chris Miller doubled in Bross in the third to get the Condors to 5-2, which the Coonies countered with a Ramos single to right and a Stalker triple to left in the bottom of the inning. Griffin walked Mora, then was removed to be suffocated with a pillow after eight hits and five walks in 2.1 innings. Righty Markus Bates faced Rich Hereford, who knocked an RBI single to right to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Bross fumbled a Harenberg grounder for an error, finally loading the bases with one out for Nunley, who took ball four in a full count to push in another run, his fourth in the game and his 15th on the season. Things continued with Jamieson flying out, but Tovais hit a 2-out, 2-run single, and then Bates even allowed an RBI single to Shumway, which meant that in the third inning, Alberto Ramos came to the plate for the fourth time in the game…! Bates got him to 0-2 before firing a 100mph burner right down the middle. Alberto took notice and mauled the leather sphere for a massive home run to right – GRAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM!!!

Of course, the game was over at that point. The Raccoons added two more runs in the fourth with Jamieson landing his first RBI not coming on a homer when he doubled home Hereford, but after that the Coons laid down and removed a few of the studs by the sixth inning, including Hereford and Ramos. The Condors shifted back to second gear right away and never threatened Shumway again. The Shumster went eight innings of 5-hit ball, then was removed on account of the pitch count approaching 110 and why break the guy needlessly? Sean Rigg did the ninth in scoreless fashion. 16-2 Furballs!! Ramos 3-4, BB, HR, 4 RBI; Stalker 2-4, 3B, RBI; Mora 2-3, 2 BB, 2B; Magallanes 1-1; Hereford 2-3, BB, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-5, BB, RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB, 4 RBI; Jamieson 2-5, 2B, RBI; Tovias 2-5, 3 RBI; Shumway 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (2-1) and 1-5;

(waves with both arms and screams) Excitement!! Excitement!! Excitement!!

(still waves with both arms)

Game 3
TIJ: CF C. Murphy – SS C. Miller – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – 1B McGrath – C Zarate – LF Braun – 2B Bross – P Potter
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – CF Magallanes – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Matt Jamieson went yard in the first to put Rico up 1-0 and made a bit for another one his next time up, but was then denied by Adam Braun. That was already in the fourth; through that inning, the Coons had no other base hits, but the Condors had only put two runners aboard against Rico Gutierrez, either, and one of those (Murphy) had been caught stealing by Tovias. This was also for all intents and purposes a right-handed lineup that Gutierrez was silencing, which was also encouraging; well, at least until the whole thing derailed as usual. Murphy, Miller, and Sanks would knock straight 2-out hits in the sixth inning to undo the Coons, two singles and a double over Jamieson’s head that plated both runners because they were both already in scoring position after a wild pitch. The Coons were still on that one base hit and looked puzzled for sure; Rico and Ramos would hit back-to-back 1-out singles in the bottom 6th to at least do SOMETHING, but Matt Nunley’s hard liner to left was intercepted by Adam Braun and Jamieson went down on strikes. Nothing good happened in the seventh and eighth innings, while at least the Condors weren’t moving further away. Mike Baker would face the top of the order, and behind those hitless Rich Hereford in the bottom 9th as the Coons needed one to tie and two to win. Ramos blooped a single to center, but the Condors had exchanged catchers when Danny Zarate had been hit for in the top of the ninth; Brett O’Dell was now behind the dish, and he was also a former teammate of Ramos, who knew his every move and antic. …and Ramos stole second base anyway! Nunley grounded out to second, moving Ramos to 90 feet away, where he stayed while Jamieson grounded out to the mound… and while Hereford grounded out to Matt Good. 2-1 Condors. Ramos 2-4; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, L (2-1) and 1-2;

Yeah, they just couldn’t save a few of Saturday’s runs for Sunday, no? No, they just couldn’t…

In other news

April 17 – In a bonkers game, the Scorpions defeat the Pacifics, 16-15, thanks to a 7-run rally in the eighth inning. The Pacifics score three runs in four different innings; SAC RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.360, 1 HR, 11 RBI) drives in six on four base hits, while LAP 3B Jason LaCombe (.143, 0 HR, 2 RBI) walks five times in six plate appearances.
April 18 – Washington’s 21-year-old phenom Enrique Trevino (.359, 0 HR, 2 RBI) falls a dinger shy of the cycle in a 5-5 performance with a triple, two doubles, and 2 RBI in a 10-2 rout of the Miners.
April 19 – In the second weird-ass game of their series, SAC RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.400, 1 HR, 17 RBI) goes 5-for-6 with a walk and 5 RBI against the Pacifics, but can not prevent his Scorpions from blowing a 7-1 lead in the ninth, then a 10-7 lead attained in the top of the 11th. The Pacifics score four in the bottom of the inning to claim an 11-10 walkoff victory. LAP OF Bobby Ortega (.400, 1 HR, 7 RBI) comes off the bench but still finds time to drive in four runs, including a 3-run homer off Sacramento’s Jay Schimek (0-0, 27.00 ERA) in the ninth inning.
April 19 – Aces outfielder Nick Hatley (.278, 1 HR, 8 RBI) shines with four hits and four RBI as the Aces drum the Knights, 14-2, starting with a 10-run first inning.
April 22 – RIC RF/LF Keith Damron (.250, 0 HR, 6 RBI) will miss three weeks with a strained hamstring.

Complaints and stuff

Fantastically, the first Raccoon to reach 10 RBI this season was … MATT NUNLEY. The homer off Villalobos on Friday did that. Hereford hat nine ribbies at that point. Also, Nunley reached 15 by the end of the week and is still the team leader. Oh, Matt, you dirty beast! (slaps the feeding Nunley on the bum) Give me animal names! (Nunley’s whiskers twitch in confusion)

Quirky as well: Matt Nunley has only one strikeout in 53 plate appearances this season. I guess old age makes you too slow to swing at the high, bad stuff?

Brodnax, Virginia – that is the place of the zip code we put up in the first five innings on Saturday. Boy, that was fun. Would have been more fun to also win the rubber game after Rico had pitched his heart out. I still can’t fathom though that the Condors came in allowing 1.9 runs per game and left having allowed 7.3 runs per game to the Raccoons …!

Nick Derks went unclaimed (quelle surprise) and was assigned to St. Pete on Tuesday. Also in St. Pete: Rin Nomura, who has started a rehab assignment this week and is yet looking for command and control.

Fun Fact: 40 years ago this Saturday, Daniel Hall shredded the Falcons for six base hits in a 12-4 Raccoons win.

He was the second Coon to achieve the feat after Freddy Lopez in 1977, and only Jorge Salazar and Cookie Carmona have done it after him.

Cookie does not have a contract right now… the poor thing…
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:07 AM   #2752
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Raccoons (9-9) @ Aces (12-7) – April 24-26, 2029

The Aces ranked third in the South and had a healthy start overall. They sat tied for sixth in runs scored, but were second in runs allowed, with just a hair under three runs per game being scored against them. While better numbers had not helped the Condors on the weekend, it was sure something to take note off as we got to their place. They were also scoring an enviable 1.5 runs for every run allowed… The Raccoons had taken the season series three years in a row, with a 6-3 record in ’28.

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (2-1, 2.61 ERA) vs. Jose Menendez (2-1, 3.13 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (2-1, 7.36 ERA) vs. Abramo Archibugi (2-1, 1.97 ERA)
Mark Roberts (0-3, 9.82 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (1-2, 2.08 ERA)

If these matchups would hold, the teams would send opposite-handed pitchers against one another in every game and we would face a left-hander on Wednesday; however, with Monday having been off for either team, things were open to get shuffled, although the Critters were not yet inclined to skip Mark Roberts, who was still due another $10M on that fabulous new contract that was surely not going to be the first bell of doom for this potential dynasty.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Ramm
LVA: 2B Ronchetti – LF Dunlap – 1B A. Diaz – 3B M. Green – RF Serrano – SS Folk – C Scheffer – CF Hatley – P Jo. Menendez

Billy Ramm found himself in a 2-0 hole in no time at all, lacking command, control, stuff, and even a goddamn rabbit’s foot when he walked Nick Ronchetti to begin his night, then was taken deep immediately by Tom Dunlap. Angel Diaz also walked, but was left stranded when the Aces made three straight outs. Ronchetti and Diaz would also draw walks in the third inning, then without any damage occurring, and Ramm continued to be besides himself and walked Dunlap in the bottom 5th. At that point, he was on five walks and strikeouts each, with only that 2-run homer allowed in terms of hits. Angel Diaz made it two hits, and also two 2-run homers, belting a dinger to left that put the Aces 4-1 ahead. The Raccoons had amounted to precious little, bringing only Tim Stalker across in the fourth inning after a leadoff double and an RBI single by Mora, who was then stranded. Abel would lead off the top 6th with a double through Diaz, and was part of Critters on the corners after Rich Hereford singled to Dunlap’s feet, bringing up Harenberg as the tying run with nobody out, but also in a great double play spot. He settled for a conventional run-scoring groundout, with Hereford moving to third on Nunley’s grounder after that. Rafael Gomez walked with two outs, remaining unburdened by either an RBI on the year or a .200+ batting average, but at least Elias Tovias had shown occasional power before and could still … strike out.

Ramm was yanked after a 1-out walk to Brody Folk in the bottom 6th, replaced by Jeremy Moesker, who gave his very best village idiot impression, walking Philip Scheffer, getting Nick Hatley to strike out, and then conceding an RBI single to the pitcher Menendez with two outs. He continued to walk Ronchetti to fill the bags, and Dunlap, too, pushing in a run, before Surginer came into the mess in progress, but refused to solve it before allowing a 2-run single to Diaz. Mike Green lined out to Nunley, at which point the Raccoons trailed 8-2, but actually out-hit the Aces 6-4. Scheffer homered of Surginer in the seventh to run the tally to 9-2, and while Nasty Beast Nunley added an RBI to his growing collection with a run-plating groundout in the eighth, we were well beyond counting (or coping) at that point… 9-3 Aces. Mora 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Hereford 2-4;

Raccoons pitchers walked ELEVEN batters in this game.

ELEVEN.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – SS Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Magallanes – C Rocha – P Delgadillo
LVA: SS A. Medina – LF Dunlap – 1B M. Hamilton – CF Hatley – C Motley – 3B M. Green – RF St. Germaine – P Archibugi – 2B Ronchetti *

In a progressive approach, the Aces batted the fearsome slugger Archibugi (.364/.364/.364) eighth against Dan Delgadillo, ahead of and humiliating the “defensive-minded” Ronchetti, who had nevertheless torn holes into Billy Ramm on Tuesday. It immediately hurt them in the bottom 2nd, in which Delgadillo walked a pair (seriously, guys…), but then rung up ex-Failcoon Adam St. Germaine and got Archibugi to ground out to end the inning. Meanwhile, the Coons were also in the habit of stranding pairs; Ramos (single) and Jamieson (walk) got on in the third, but Hereford grounded to second to end the frame, and Magallanes and Rocha hit 2-out singles in the fourth, but then had to trot back to the dugout when Delgadillo flew out to Nick Hatley rather easily. Oh well, at least Yusneldan had yet to explode…

Top 5th, the Raccoons had Ramos fly out to center to begin the inning. Hatley dropped the ball when he removed it from his glove, and the Coons protested that this was ruled a good catch, but to no avail. Frustration only grew after singles by Stalker and Jamieson, which would have scored Ramos easily for the first tally in the game, but at least Archibugi threw a wild pitch that almost took out Hereford’s legs to advance those two into scoring position with one out. C’mon Rich – you don’t wanna trail Nunley in RBI, do ya!? He grounded out to the left side, keeping the runners pinned, and Harenberg flew out to Dunlap, but at least from Harenberg nobody was expecting any sort of clutch…

Clutch would be reserved for somebody else entirely. Magallanes was on second base again with two outs in the sixth, and Delgadillo was at the plate AGAIN. This time he lined into the gap in left-center, past Dunlap, and this was good for the first run in the game, an RBI double by the Coons hurler, who went on to score on a Ramos single to right, making it 2-0 and STILL held up on the mound. The Coons went to the corners between Stalker and Jamieson to begin the seventh after the sixth had ended on Josh Motley throwing out Ramos trying to nip second base, presenting Rich Hereford with another RBI chance. He again grounded out poorly and without bringing in a run, while Jamieson moved up, so at least Harenberg had no chance to hit into a double play. Rejoice! He still popped out like a fool, and Gomez grounded out to Mike Green, stranding Stalker at third base. GODDAMNIT, YOU BUMS!!! The Aces knocked out Delgadillo with back-to-back doubles by Motley and Green in the bottom 7th, and Brotman barely kept the tying run aboard against PHs Justin Quinn and Angel Diaz, and I was indeed surprised that Ricky Ohl and Josh Boles, who each put the tying run aboard in their respective innings after that, did not serve up a 2-run blast to lose this one after all… 2-1 Blighters. Ramos 2-5, RBI; Jamieson 2-3, BB; Magallanes 2-3, BB; Delgadillo 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, W (3-1) and 1-3, 2B, RBI;

And no, there is no swatting talent in AAA that could help us out in the short term. Or long term.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Baldwin – P Roberts
LVA: 2B Ronchetti – LF Dunlap – 1B A. Diaz – 3B M. Green – RF Serrano – SS Folk – C Scheffer – CF Hatley – P Hague

There were some Vegas fans behind rightfield with a huge cardboard that encouraged Mark Roberts to tee it up for the Aces, which was somewhat offensive to us, but at least the Coons were already ahead when they gave Roberts the ball. The game had started with Hague walking Ramos, while Stalker reached on an infield single. Mora flew out, but Hereford dinked a single into no man’s land to bring Alberto around to score before Nick Hatley grossly misplayed a Harenberg F8 into an RBI double by overrunning it. Nunley’s sac fly and Tovias’ 2-out double ran the score to 4-0 before Baldwin flew out to Danny Serrano, who would pop out to strand Diaz and Green in the bottom 1st. Roberts was unscored upon (never mind the three hits and the clumsy walk) through two innings, dropping his ERA all the way under NINE. By having Hague line out hard to Harenberg (who was basically just lucky to swipe it) to begin the bottom 5th, Roberts even got into the 7’s, and the Raccons had even added a run in between, Tim Stalker hitting a leadoff triple in the top 5th and actually being driven in by Abel Mora with a sac fly. And while Roberts pitched six shutout innings, he still managed to get taken deep by somebody in the seventh, and none other than repelling ex-Elk Brody Folk and his .119 batting average… At least it was a solo job, Roberts finished the inning, but then allowed a leadoff single to Dunlap (a left-handed batter) in the bottom 8th. Surginer replaced him and retired the next three Aces without walking a bunch and/or throwing an exit pitch. Everybody was making progress here – as long as you didn’t go into how it would be a 2-1 game if Hatley hadn’t overrun that Harenberg fly… The Coons loaded the bases in the ninth with a Tovias-drawn leadoff walk, Baldwin bunting into a force, Jamieson’s pinch-hit single, and Ramos walking, too, all against righty Victor Alvarez, who remained in to face Stalker, who hit an RBI single for the only tally in the inning. Sean Rigg ended the ballgame without inviting the Aces back into it. 6-1 Coons. Stalker 3-5, 3B, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1; Roberts 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W (1-3) and 2-3;

Brody Folk has not been an Elk for seven years, but I never forget such transgressions!!

Raccoons (11-10) @ Indians (11-11) – April 27-29, 2029

Back to Indy, where this season of trials of the heart and soul had begun; the Indians were in third place in the tightly-packed North and sat eighth in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. Their rotation was especially sturdy with a 3.08 ERA. And of course they had won two of three games from the Raccoons in that opening series of the season.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (2-1, 2.10 ERA) vs. John McInerney (2-1, 2.78 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (0-2, 6.00 ERA)
Billy Ramm (2-2, 3.81 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (4-1, 2.95 ERA)

Here we would be served the southpaw first; the Indians also had a few guy on the DL already, including Jon Gonzalez (.316, 1 HR, 7 RBI) with a strained medial collateral ligament.

Game 1
POR: CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – SS Gerster – C Tovias – P Shumway
IND: SS Pizano – LF Plunkett – CF Suhay – C Kennett – 2B Herman – RF Ryder – 3B T. Johnson – 1B Aleman – P McInerney

Early on it was the expected pitching duel; McInerney allowed only one hit the first time through, ironically to Shumway, and Tom also allowed only one base hit to Ben Suhay, while ringing up five batters. Stalker led off the fourth with a single, but it did not look like he’d get in, advancing on two groundouts before Harenberg came up with two outs, and well, what good could happen there? Kevin doubled off the fence in left for the first run of the game, and while I was stunned, I still managed to nod approvingly. Gomez was walked intentionally, which was crass for a .185 hitter, but the Indians longed to get to the .167 hitter behind him. Butch Gerster promptly flew to Suhay in center… and Suhay dropped the ball. The misplay by the all-or-nothing hitter, all-or-nothing defender plated a second run, and if nothing else cleared the pitcher’s spot after an intentional walk to Tovias and McInerney angrily whiffing up Shumway to end the inning. That was it for offensive shenanigans, at least successful ones; the Coons got Magallanes and Stalker to the corners with nobody out in the fifth, but McInerney chainsawed the middle of the order to strand them, and Gomez’ leadoff single in the sixth (yay, .200!) also yielded no rewards. The Indians came up with two infield singles (Pizano, Suhay) in the bottom 6th, which would normally have doomed the Critters in some sort or way, but Shumway was ON and got a double play from Mike Plunkett in between to defuse danger. Magallanes and Stalker hit another pair of singles with one out in the top 7th; Jamison struck out, Hereford walked, and Harenberg got rung up on three pitches, which made a leadoff walk to Nick Herman in the bottom 7th the more alarming as it brought up the tying run. Zachary Ryder popped out foul, Todd Johnson spanked into a double play, and maybe Shumway was indeed untouchable tonight! Well, maybe he was… but he definitely was on 106 pitches through eight and the clown show around him failed to produce another run or two to make us feel warm and comfy with him going up against the meat of the order, all right-handed, in the bottom of the ninth. So we brought in Josh Boles, which turned soon into one of those experiences… Suhay fouled out, and PH Edgar Paiz would foul out… but Paiz hit for Ryder, and in between Boles walked a pair. There was no peace of mind with this team …! At least there was also no base hit to be had with Todd Johnson, whom Boles struck out to escape the jam. 2-0 Coons. Magallanes 2-5; Stalker 3-5; Shumway 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K, W (3-1);

Before we could get Rico into the next game in orderly fashion, rains doused Indy on Saturday and washed out the middle game. A double header was called for Sunday, still in iffy weather, and we were not guaranteed to get two games in there, either. Rico remained in the nominal middle game, with Billy Ramm tapped for the second contest.

The Raccoons had no more off days in the near future, so at some point we had to get Sean Rigg to make a spot start.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
IND: SS Pizano – LF Plunkett – CF Suhay – C Kennett – 2B Herman – RF Ryder – 3B T. Johnson – 1B Aleman – P Bressner

Ramos led off with a single, stole second, and scored eventually on Mora’s sac fly – almost textbook! …and then all the best-laid plans became unhinged when Rico lasted only one inning before leaving with an injury. The Racconos were instantly doomed. Sean Rigg took over and at least got the advantage of facing an almost exclusively right-handed lineup that had been attuned for Rico Gutierrez rather than a righty hurler. Cold comfort. The Indians put a 6-spot on him in the fourth inning, and while a Nunley error was included, so were two base hits, a walk, a hit batter, and a bases-loaded walk even BEFORE Bressner hit a mortal 2-out, 2-run double. Surginer inherited the runner on second with two down, which became runner on third with two down when Tovias booted a pitch for a passed ball, and runner on first with two down after Mario Pizano’s RBI single.

The Coons looked dead and smelled dead for a while; Mora hit an RBI single to plate Stalker in the sixth, cutting the gap to 6-2, but while Harenberg found the bases in the same inning, between Hereford, Nunley, and the still RBI-less Rafael Gomez the Coons amounted to two strikeouts and a weak fly to center. Top 7th, Tovias led off with a single against Bressner, who then misfielded Surginer’s bunt to put a second runner on base. Ramos singled to load them up, and the tying run was at the plate with nobody out. Bressner struck out Stalker, but walked in a run against Mora, who had all the Coons’ RBI in the game now at least until Hereford legged out the return throw from Pizano on his grounder to second base, giving him an RBI groundout. Harenberg, his usual threat, flew out to center to strand the tying runs. That was their last chance to fudge, too; the Indians plated an insurance run when Elliott Kennett hit a Jeremy Moesker brain fart for a country mile in the bottom 8th, but that one only mattered in passing in the box score. 7-4 Indians. Ramos 2-4, BB; Nunley 2-4, 2B; Tovias 2-4; Surginer 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K;

(shakes the Druid violently) What is with, Rico, Mena! What is it!!??

What do you mean you “need embalming fluid”??

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – LF Jamieson – CF Mora – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – 2B Baldwin – C Rocha – P Ramm
IND: SS Pizano – LF Plunkett – CF Suhay – 2B Herman – RF Ryder – 3B T. Johnson – C Paiz – 1B Aleman – P Matthews

Despite all the panic there was still a rubber game to play which the Coons were ill set up for, never mind the walk, the bloop, and the blast in the first inning that put them 3-0 ahead and pulled Rich Hereford even with Matt Nunley for the team lead of 17 RBI, and broke the tie with several players for the team lead with TWO home runs. Nunley would tell him NO for the RBI thing before long though; Mark Matthews did not fool anybody, really. Ramm, Ramos, and Jamieson rapped off straight singles to score a run in the top 2nd, and the top 3rd began with Hereford walking before Harenberg and Nunley smacked back-to-back RBI doubles. The bottom of the order went down without noise, but the Coons were still up 6-0 behind Billy Ramm, who tried to show his very best behavior, but had Arrowheads on the corners with nobody out in the bottom 3rd. Jake Williams had doubled in Matthews’s spot, and Pizano singled. Williams tagged from third and went for home when Plunkett flew out to Jamieson, and Matt unleashed a PERFECT throw to kill off the runner at the plate for a 7-2 double play. Suhay flew out to Mora to keep the Indians off the board through three innings.

And that was not Jamieson’s last assist in the game, thanks to Ramm continuously shedding runners, and the Indians not being shy about running. The bottom 4th saw a leadoff double by Nick Herman, who then scored on Nunley’s throwing error on a Zachary Ryder groundball. Johnson singled to left, Ryder went for home, but was again thrown out by Jamieson. Paiz grounded out and Alex Aleman flew out to left to strand Johnson at second base, and the Indians down five. A crucial spot occurred in the sixth inning. The Coons had Mora on second with two outs and Nunley at the plate. Jim Kretzmann was told to walk him intentionally, the final act in his 2.2 innings of relief. Baldwin came to the plate, batting .111, but the Coons were more looking for cohesion than a knockout blow while the Indians went to righty Myles Mood, who fell to 3-1, then ostensibly surrendered a knockout blow as Baldwin hit a gapper that plated both runners with a triple! Up 8-1, Rocha was also walked intentionally and we were happy to have Ramm strike out because we needed more innings from him. He entered the bottom 6th on 74 pitches, needed only six more to get through the 4-5-6 batters, and I was almost calm until the Coons stranded Ramos on third after a leadoff triple in the seventh… A Ramos error put Paiz on base to begin the bottom 7th, but Ramm labored around that hurdle, too. Ramm was wrung out for 109 pitches, but completed eight innings successfully and without giving up an earned run…! Butch Gerster unsuccessfully batted for him leading off the top 9th, but the Critters filled the bags between their next four batters against Ricky McClendon, before – with the Critters notably up by seven runs – Kevin Harenberg clocked McClendon’s final pitch for a bases-clearing double into the leftfield corner. Fleischer coughed up a run in the bottom of the inning, but all that was on our mind was to get outta here at that point… 11-2 Coons. Ramos 2-3, 3 BB, 3B; Jamieson 3-6, RBI; Hereford 2-5, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Harenberg 2-5, BB, 2B, 4 RBI; Nunley 2-4, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Ramm 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (3-2) and 1-3, BB;

In other news

April 24 – VAN LF/RF Alex Torres (.241, 3 HR, 12 RBI) will be out of action for three to four weeks with a lat strain.
April 24 – Scorpions and Miners go at it for 15 innings before Sacramento prevails, 9-7. SAC INF/LF Jorge Castro (.232, 1 HR, 9 RBI) leads all players with three RBI.
April 25 – LAP SP Luis Flores (2-1, 1.95 ERA) might miss a couple of starts with a shoulder subluxation.
April 27 – The Buffaloes’ SP Jose Lerma (2-2, 2.40 ERA) and relievers Adam Rosenwald and Vince Devereaux 1-hit the Cyclones for 11 innings before their offense can pull out a 2-0 win. Cincy’s only hit was a sixth-inning single by LF/RF/1B Kyle Brown (.318, 1 HR, 3 RBI).
April 28 – NAS SP Dan Jerge (2-3, 5.03 ERA) 2-hits the Capitals in a 4-0 shutout.
April 29 – OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.264, 4 HR, 9 RBI) figures to miss a month with a thumb sprain.
April 29 – A throwing error by MIL C Taylor Canody (.333, 0 HR, 1 RBI) on NYC INF Giacobbe Vacarri’s (1-for-1, 0 HR, 0 RBI) stolen base attempt allows Vacarri to score all the way from second base to walk off the Crusaders for a 5-4 win in the 10th inning.
April 29 – SAL CL Phil Harrington (2-4, 3.65 ERA, 6 SV) walks off the Stars in the 10th inning, 3-2, when his wild pitch plates DAL INF/RF Silvio Clooken (.268, 1 HR, 4 RBI) from third base.

Complaints and stuff

(goes through his cue cards, slowly)

(looks at the back side of the second card)

(coughs)

(looks at the first card again)

Nope, sorry. No good news. None. Except that it is mildly funny to see Matt Nunley scratch and claw to maintain the team lead in ribbies. But everything else… oh, and we are heading for Elkland. Well, the players are. I had to fly back to Coon City of course.

If we lose Rico, we are deader than dead…!

Fun Fact: On April 29, 1978, rookie Francois Dédé churned out six base hits in the Loggers’ 12-2 thrashing of the Elks.

Of course the Loggers did not have fun with Dédé for very long. He had to retire after a serious concussion in 1980 at the age of 25. He could have been a goodie, had he made it. His final career slash was .296/.346/.439.

(removes Coons cap and honors Dédé’s memory in silence)

*No ****, the AI batted the pitcher eighth! I have NEVER seen that in 16!
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:36 AM   #2753
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Raccoons (13-11) @ Canadiens (12-13) – April 30-May 3, 2029

I lay awake at night, picturing in vibrant colors the boundless horrors that would befall the Critters in the poisonous shadows of Elkland, and whether they would not be devoured whole at all…! The damn Elks ranked second in runs scored, but also in the bottom three in runs allowed, with a +6 run differential (Coons: +3). That second-best offense in the CL was probably the biggest worry for us right now, given that our pitchers as a whole were… let’s call it soul searching. This was the first meeting this season between the two teams; the Raccoons had carried home the season series last year, 11-7.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (3-1, 5.57 ERA) vs. Estevan Delgado (2-1, 4.50 ERA)
Mark Roberts (1-3, 7.46 ERA) vs. Chris Sinkhorn (3-1, 2.83 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-1, 1.60 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (0-3, 3.90 ERA)
TBD vs. Jeremy Truett (2-3, 5.20 ERA)

Two left, two right, and then drop some, or whatever. Meanwhile, the Raccoons were not sure who to start on Thursday given that Rico was in agony and even if he was available would have to start on short rest. It looked a fair bit like we’d try to get Sean Rigg to make a spot start.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – CF Mora – 1B Gomez – RF Magallanes – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
VAN: LF Tessmann – SS Byrd – CF Wojnarowski – RF Coca – 1B D. Fisher – 3B Anton – 2B Gura – C Wickline – P E. Delgado

Out of the gate, Big Delgado easily outpitched Little Delgado, which was not hard to do against a visiting ballclub that amounted to one base runner in the first five innings, and Delgadillo was, well, Delgadillo. That runner, Ramos with a leadoff single in the fourth, was of course stranded, and the Elks held on to a small lead they gained in the bottom of the first when they scored one run on singles by Danny Tessmann, Tony Coca, and David Fisher. They added another run in the bottom 4th, Delgado knocking in a 2-out run with a clean single to left against an entirely unconvincing Delgadillo, who would not strike out a single position player in this outing… nor the pitcher with Matt Anton in scoring position and two outs. Ramos hit a 2-out single in the sixth, but then ceased to be all our offense when Tim Stalker got a ball over Anton and by Tessmann for an RBI double that nominally signaled a close contest when it really wasn’t up to that point; it *felt* like a 5-0 gap. On to the seventh, where Rich Hereford led off with an infield single against a bumbling Delgado, then started early on the 2-1 to Abel Mora, who grounded up the middle, but the resentable Ted Gura narrowly missed the ball by inches. The second scratch single of the inning gave the Coons runners on the corners with nobody out in a 2-1 game; also Rafael Gomez and his grand total of zero RBI at the plate. That one ended, just ahead of April, with a single to left, and then the Coons’ offense screeched to a halt when Magallanes hit into a double play and Tovias went down flailing. Bottom 7th, Delgadillo held up until he nailed John Byrd with two outs, then was replaced by Brotman. Billy allowed a single to Brian Wojnarowski, the hideous specter, then a 3-run bomb to Tony Coca, and nothing good happened after that either… Jonathan Fleischer pitched in the bottom 8th, walked Gura, then walked off the mound with shoulder discomfort. Jeremy Moesker was available to wave that particular runner around, too. And THAT run turned out to be the difference; Jonathan Shook was shaken for two runs in the ninth, yielding a single to Mora and a walk to Butch Gerster before being replaced by Raul de la Rosa, whom Elias Tovias took deep with two outs, leaving the Coons one run short. Matt Nunley singled, Alberto Ramos walked, Baldwin ran for Nunley at second… and Tim Stalker grounded out to Gura. 6-5 Canadiens. Ramos 2-4, BB;

The Raccoons removed two pitchers from the roster as the calendar shed the leaf of April. Jonathan Fleischer headed to the DL with shoulder tendinitis, but might be good after 15 days, and Jeremy Moesker (5.59 ERA) was banished to St. Petersburg. We brought up grizzled AAA veterans Hector Morales and Juan Barzaga. Both had last been seen in Portland in ’27. Barzaga, the 32-year-old righty that was in his 17th year in the organization, having signed in January of 2013, was 4-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 43 games (5 starts) for his rather limited major league career. Morales, the 29-year-old lefty, spotted a 1-0 record, 3.54 ERA, and 27 appearances, all in relief.

Also to the DL with shoulder soreness on Tuesday: Elks closer Raul de la Rosa.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Magallanes – C Rocha – P Roberts
VAN: SS Byrd – 2B Al. Medina – RF Coca – CF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – 1B D. Fisher – LF N. Day – C Balcome – P Sinkhorn

Both shortstops opened their halves of the first inning with a base hit, neither scored, and the Coons customarily left plating any runners to their pitchers anyway. Magallanes drew a 1-out walk in the second, advanced on Rocha’s groundout, then came around from second when Mark Roberts singled up the middle. Both teams stranded pairs routinely in the first four innings; the Coons did so twice, the Elks even three times against a wonky Roberts, who seemed to come up with a strikeout all the time just before everything could collapse onto him once more. The next run in the game did not occur until the fifth inning and Tim Stalker’s leadoff jack off Sinkhorn made it 2-0 Coons. Roberts continued to hold up in the fifth and sixth without allowing a plurality of runners, and then led off the seventh with another single off Sinkhorn that dropped in front of Tony Coca. Ramos singled past Anton, and Stalker dropped one into shallow center, loading them up with nobody out for Matt Jamieson, who grounded to Anton, who had no trouble finishing off the snail-paced Roberts at home. Rich Hereford struck out, Harenberg grounded out to short, and it was all so awful… Roberts lasted seven, then was hit for in the top 8th after 101 pitches and no dingers allowed(!), with Ricky Ohl taking over to face the top of the order in the bottom of the eighth inning. At once – a crisis. Byrd singled through Harenberg, and Ohl smashed a pitch into Alarico Medina’s core. Tying runs on, no outs, Coca and Wojnarowski flailed out before Harenberg caught a foul pop by Anton to end the inning. Portland would put Jamieson and Hereford on against Sinkhorn in the ninth, who pitched a complete nine by getting Tovias, hitting for Harenberg, to ground out to short. Josh Boles thus took over the 2-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and saw off the damn Elks on six pitches. 2-0 Coons. Ramos 2-5; Stalker 3-4, HR, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, W (2-3) and 2-2, RBI;

And the heavens still came crashing down.

By Wednesday, the Raccoons placed Rico Gutierrez on the DL with a torn labrum. He would probably miss most of the remainder of the season.

What is this? Sharpsburg, MD in 1862?

(deep sigh)

We called up Trevor Draper, a 23-year-old lefty, to make the spot start on Thursday. He had been our second-round pick in the 2024 draft and was already on the 40-man roster. So far in AAA this year, he was 0-2 with a 5.16 ERA. Last year in Ham Lake he had gone 6-13 with a 4.54 ERA, but with a BABIP that had hinted at sabotage by his own team. In the long term, Rin Nomura would take over Rico’s roster spot, but Rin was not restored to satisfaction in his rehab assignment yet.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Baldwin – P Shumway
VAN: SS Byrd – 2B Al. Medina – RF Coca – CF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – 1B D. Fisher – LF L. Gross – C Balcome – P J. Martin

The astonishing journal of Matt Nunley’s 2029 season got another entry in his first starting lineup assignment of the week as he drummed Joe Martin with a first-inning 3-piece following straight 2-out singles by the 3-4-5 batters; yes, even Kevin Harenberg had a clutch RBI single! Half the 4-0 lead was instantly drunk away by Shumway, though, as he offered a leadoff single to John Byrd in the bottom 1st, then got taken deep by Medina. That one was particularly strange, because it looked nothing like a dinger off the bat, but kept growing longer and longer and longer until a confused Rich Hereford had stop at the fence and still had not gotten nowhere near it. Probably divine intervention at work here!

The Coons added a run on Ramos walking, stealing, advancing on an error, and finally a wild pitch in the top 2nd, but Alarico Medina kept tearing up Shumway, driving a leadoff triple in the bottom 3rd and scoring on Coca’s sac fly to inch the Elks closer again to 5-3, and that lead collapsed in the fourth in spectacular fashion, with Riley Balcome reaching on a 1-out error by Nunley, before the Elks shrugged and had Joe Martin swing away for a single. Byrd singled to right, with Balcome bidding for home from second base; Baldwin’s throw was nowhere near Tovias for the second error of the inning, the run scored, and the tying run, Martin, came home on Medina’s sac fly to Mora in center, knotting us all up at five.

Shumway hung around long enough to see a Harenberg double with one out in the top 6th dissipate, as well as to surrender the go-ahead run. Luke Gross hit a leadoff double to left in the bottom 6th and scored on two productive outs, putting the Coons in a 6-5 hole. Top 7th, Jonathan Shook on the mound, and Jamieson batted for Baldwin leading off, sneaking a single up the middle. Gomez hit for Shumway and rolled a ball near the third base line, unplayable, for an infield single. Ramos flew out to center, Stalker was blatantly robbed by the career scum Gross in deep left, and while Mora walked, Hereford struck out. Of the 2028 magic for Rich Hereford, little remained. Instead, the Elks upended Juan Barzaga for five runs in the bottom 7th, starting with a Medina double and Coca homer, and quickly cascading through the lineup, but also including a 2-out throwing error by Ramos, who kept making those. The meltdown was bad enough that Medina came up again in the eighth with a chance for completing a reverse-natural cycle with a single off Sean Rigg, but struck out. What a consolation! As was Jamieson’s who-cares RBI double in the eighth… 11-6 Canadiens. Harenberg 2-4, 2B, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 2-2, 2B, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-2;

That was four errors in this game, by the way, but they would have lost even without the four unearned runs.

I hate this ****ing **** town and want it to burn to the ****ing ground…

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Draper
VAN: LF Tessmann – 2B Al. Medina – RF Coca – CF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – 1B D. Fisher – SS Byrd – C Balcome – P L. Hernandez

All the incendiary daydreams aside, no major conflagration consumed Vancouver between games, and the Critters had to face the pink-clad Stinkers again on Thursday, then opposite Leon Hernandez (0-1, 6.27 ERA), with Truett having been removed from the rotation.

Draper retired the first five batters in his major league career before clipping David Fisher, who stole second base, but was stranded there when Byrd struck out, the first K on Draper’s belt. Neither team managed more than one base hit in the first three innings, but the Raccoons then landed three singles in the top 4th to take the lead. Sluggin’ Nunley of course had the 2-out RBI with Mora and Harenberg on the corners. Draper was still on a 1-hitter in the fifth inning, but reality was catching up with him. After beginning the bottom 5th with a K to Byrd, he walked Balcome. Hernandez bunted, with Harenberg fudging that one into an ambitious and failed attempt to nip Balcome at second. Two on, one out, Draper slammed Danny Tessmann in the forearm to load the bases. Tessman left to get X-rays (which would come back negative) and was replaced by Gura. Draper was then fully buried by falling debris as Medina hit a 2-run single, Coca came up with a sac fly, and Wojnarowski with a 2-out RBI single to put the ****ing Elks up 4-1.

Tovias hit an RBI double off Hernandez in the seventh, and despite me at home mixing up a little cocktail with bleach, that blue stuff to cleans the oven, two old batteries, and a slice of lemon, the Raccoons had the tying runs on with nobody out in the eighth after a Ramos double and Stalker working a walk. But, seriously, when had that ever helped them? Mora flew out. Hereford struck out. Of course, of course. I toasted to Kevin Harenberg on the TV screen with runners on the corners and an 0-1 count between him and Jonathan Shook and was about to quaff the entire smoking concoction in the glass that seemed to be melting, too, when Kevin crashed a 360-footer over the rightfield fence to flip the score, 5-4 Portland. Okay, maybe we will have a drink later…?

Not to worry about the ****ing Elks, though, who immediately knotted the score with a booming leadoff jack by Wojnarowski off Billy Brotman in the bottom 8th. Before long, my drink dissolved the glass, table, carpet, and floor and dripped down into Mrs. Sweeney’s apartment, but I did not have attention for that, holding on to a pillow and dear life as Ricky Ohl overcame two long drives in the bottom 9th to send the game to extras, where Ramos drew a leadoff walk against left-hander Jesus Chinchilla (yes, actually), Mora also walked, Hereford legged out a return throw to break up a double play, and then Harenberg deposited a 2-1 breaking ball for his second 3-piece in as many attempts, this one measured at 387 feet to right-center. Nunley flew out to left (and had to forfeit the team RBI lead when he did not go deep) and the bottom 10th saw Josh Boles packing Elks on the corners after a Coca double and Norman Day single. Anton hit a sac fly before Donny van der Hout pinch-hit for Chinchilla; van der Hout was a 27-year-old Dutch Antillean catcher and leftfielder (and unicorn, probably) who was making his major league debut in this very moment. It was brief one, as he hit the second pitch he got to Nunley for a game-ending double play. 8-6 Raccoons. Harenberg 3-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI;

The Elks lost Wojnarowski to a strained hammy in the ninth, so this series drew some serious blood from both teams…

See that you get outta there, boys…!

Raccoons (15-13) @ Rebels (9-18) – May 4-6, 2029

The Rebels tied for last with the Buffaloes (!) in the FL East and were the first interleague opposition for us this year. They were second from the bottom in runs scored (just 3.3 per game!) and also in the bottom three in runs allowed in the Federal League, with a diseased -45 run differential that did not hit at a great future and/or rotten luck. They had not won a series from the Raccoon since 2018, and had won only two games overall of the 15 played since then. We had swept them in 2028.

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (3-2, 2.91 ERA) vs. Joaquin Serrano (1-2, 4.41 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (3-2, 5.20 ERA) vs. Felipe Delgado (1-2, 3.53 ERA)
Mark Roberts (2-3, 5.85 ERA) vs. Tim Sloan (1-4, 6.09 ERA)

Right-left-right from them.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Ramm
RIC: CF F. Olmos – 3B Hansen – 2B Hernandes – C Dehne – 1B Grigsby – RF Dalton – SS Donahue – LF DiPietro – P Serrano

The Coons had three singles in the first, but didn’t score because at some point Tim Stalker got himself picked off first base, but Serrano would give them more chances. The Coons loaded them up with a leadoff walk drawn by Nunley and singles by Gomez and Ramm in the top 2nd. Ramos pushed home a run with a 1-out walk, but then Stalker hit into a double play. Starting with Mora, the Critters would then hit four straight 2-out singles, all to left or left-center, in the top 3rd, plating two runs in that inning before Billy Ramm flew out to Dan Dalton to end it. But Ramm was also all over the place, had walked a pair in the second, and had two on again in the bottom 3rd after a single by Franklin Olmos and a walk dropped to John Hansen. Marco Hernandes singled to left, Olmos scored, but Hansen was killed in a rundown, and Matt Dehne struck out to end the inning in a 3-1 score.

Both teams unpacked two runs in the fourth inning; Ramos and Stalker got on and would be singled in by Hereford, while Ramm bled another hit and a walk and had already allowed one run in the bottom 4th when Chris Couch pinch-hit for Serrano and lined out to Harenberg… or so it appeared at first, but Harenberg never controlled that ball, ended up dropping it and chased it into foul ground to allow the Rebels’ third run across in the 5-3 game. The custom pair was also aboard for the Rebels in the fifth, owing to singles by Dehne and former Raccoon Mike Grigbsy, but Ramm managed to get strike three past Evan Donahue to strand them in scoring position. The score indeed froze for a few innings. Ramm lasted only 5.2 innings thanks to general wildness, while the Raccoons got four outs from Surginer while they struggled to solve right-hander John Hicks in long relief. Gomez hit a leadoff single in the eighth eventually, but Hicks rung up Tovias, his fourth K in 3.1 innings. Matt Jamieson batted for Surginer and finally broke the spell that Hicks had put on Portland, raking a fastball over the fence in leftfield to put the Coons up by a slam! Bottom 8th, Sean Rigg faced two and retired none to create a jam. Hector Morales struck out Chris DiPietro before Ohl took over against right-handed pinch-hitter Dan Knudson and got him to hit into a double play. As he was already on it, he also finished the deal against the top of the order in the ninth. 7-3 Coons. Harenberg 2-5; Hereford 2-5, 2 RBI; Gomez 3-4, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1, HR, 2 RBI; Ohl 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, SV (1);

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Magallanes – C Rocha – P Delgadillo
RIC: CF F. Olmos – 3B Hansen – 2B Hernandes – RF Dalton – 1B Grigsby – C T. Salinas – LF Restrepo – SS Donahue – P F. Delgado

Big Delgado vs. Little Delgado II on the week saw the Coons rap out five base hits for three runs in the opening frame, and they could have had more if Ramos had not been caught stealing after the first of four straight singles to begin the game. Harenberg followed Hereford’s RBI single with a run-scoring groundout, and Gomez doubled home Hereford for the three runs. The Rebels had two hits off Yusneldan in the bottom 1st as well as John Hansen thrown out at the plate by Gomez, so things could still swing either way. The second inning was a clown show, with Delgadillo bunting into a double play after Rocha led off with a walk, while the Rebels had a guy thrown out at home for the second time. This time it was Tony Salinas by Juan Magallanes on Evan Donahue’s single to end the inning. Jamieson homered off Delgado to make it 4-0 in the third, and Delgado left for an injury shortly afterwards. With Delgadillo continuing to shed runners, too, there were 15 base hits in the game through just three innings, but still only the four runs, and Yusneldan managed to keep the Rebels off the board through five, but then got yanked in the sixth after allowing a 2-out single to Dan Dalton and then loading the bags with free passes to Grigsby and Salinas. Brotman came on and got a (too deep for comfort) fly out to Magallanes from left-handed batter Andy Restrepo to banish the danger.

The Raccoons had landed ten hits in those first three innings, then got none in the next three. Stalker hit a single in the seventh, which led nowhere, but Hereford began the eighth with a single and stole second. That prompted an intentional walk to Harenberg, and Colin Peay got around Gomez and Magallanes and was almost out of the inning when he faced Daniel Rocha with two outs and the runners in scoring position, and then still allowed a 2-run single to right-center to the catcher that hit .156 even AFTER the 2-out heroics. This lured the Coons into keeping Juan Barzaga in the game who had just crawled his way through the bottom of the order and would now face the good part in the bottom 8th. He retired Hansen, Hernandes, and Dalton in order… although Magallanes and Gomez each robbed a potential extra-base hit… and yet we managed to turn this into a save situation! Bottom 9th, Sean Rigg was slammed around for four hits, including doubles by Salinas, Donahue, and Dehne, then a 2-out single by Franklin Olmos. Runners were on the corners in the 6-2 game and Josh Boles was sent out. John Hansen struck out to put it in the books. 6-2 Raccoons. Mora (PH) 1-1; Stalker 2-5; Jamieson 2-4, HR, RBI; Gomez 2-4, 2B, RBI; Rocha 2-4, 2 RBI; Delgadillo 5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, W (4-2); Barzaga 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Well, that is another series win against Richmond…!

Game 3
POR: 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – SS Gerster – C Tovias – P Roberts
RIC: CF F. Olmos – 3B Hansen – 2B Hernandes – C Dehne – 1B Grigsby – RF Dalton – SS Donahue – LF Couch – P T. Sloan

Top 2nd, Hereford drew a leadoff walk before Nunley reached on an error by Sloan. While Abel Mora doubled to plate the first run of the game, him and Nunley were left in scoring position as the bottom of the order made three weakling outs. Jamieson hit a solo bomb in the third, but Roberts had the game tied up in the bottom of the inning on Matt Dehne’s 2-run shot to left. Roberts continued to struggle and surrendered the go-ahead run in the fifth after an Olmos single, a walk to Hansen, a double steal, and then Hernandes’ sac fly. At least he struck out Dehne to strand Hansen on third…

But the Coons were down 3-2 and had only three base hits, two of those Mora doubles, and Abel found another double in the sixth. That one tied the score thanks to Hereford having reached on an error and scoring on the play! Sloan moved Mora to third base on a wild pitch, then conceded the run on Butch Gerster’s single up the middle that put the Critters in front again, 4-3. Gerster stole second, then scored on Tovias’s single past the lunging Hernandes to add an insurance run. Roberts did not get through the sixth, putting the tying runs on with a Dalton double and by nailing Chris Couch, with Brotman coming out to face PH Chris DiPietro with two outs and securing a pop to Nunley to end the sixth.

Top 7th, Harenberg singled, Nunley walked, Mora reached on an error against Sean Bastone. With the bases full and two outs, Ramos batted for Gerster against the right-hander, but lined out to Hernandes. In turn, Brotman walked a pair in the bottom 7th, then was bailed out by Ricky Ohl, who got Dehne and PH Restrepo to fly out to Jamieson for a total of five runners left stranded and no runs in the seventh inning. The game was far from over, though; Surginer put Dan Dalton on base with an eighth-inning single, and Morales came to wave him around on Dan Knudson’s 2-out pinch-hit single before Olmos flew out to Hereford. That cut the lead to a single run and no insurance came around in the ninth, either. Boles appeared with no cushion in the bottom 9th. Hansen popped out to Stalker, and then Hernandes hit a bomb that blew the game, well over the rightfield fence. Boles struck out the next two, but could have shoved those K’s up his bum just as well…

Top 10th, Abel Mora led off against lefty Seth Odum. He already was on three extra-base hits and added a fourth, a leadoff jack to right-center. Odum got Ramos and Tovias, then allowed a single to PH Rafael Gomez… and a triple to Stalker over the head of Olmos that made it 7-5. Jamieson lined out to right.. .and the Coons did not really have another reliever rested and ready to go… Sean Rigg was all that was left now, fresh off a drubbing on Saturday. Dalton flew out to deep right. Donahue flew out to left. Rigg nailed Couch with a pitch, which brought up the tying run. Alas – plot twist – the Rebels were out of position players on the bench… and Seth Odum had to bat! And he flew out to Hereford. 7-5 Coons. Stalker 2-6, 3B, 2B, RBI; Mora 4-5, HR, 3 2B, 3 RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1;

In other news

May 1 – SFW SP John Rucker (6-0, 1.71 ERA), who was the FL’s Pitcher of the Month in April, has a no-hitter blown up with two outs in the ninth inning and two strikes on SAL SS/3B Guillermo Obando (.327, 0 HR, 16 RBI), who singles through the left side. Rucker has to settle for a 1-hitter over the Wolves in the 4-0 shutout.
May 5 – The Titans might be without SS Keith Spataro (.319, 1 HR, 7 RBI) for the rest of the month. The 28-year-old was down with an intercostal strain.
May 6 – NAS 3B/SS Omar Camacho (.327, 1 HR, 17 RBI) fouls off four 2-2 pitches by IND CL Antonio Quintana (0-3, 5.40 ERA, 10 SV) before hitting a 2-out walkoff single to left for the only run in the Blue Sox’ 11-inning, 1-0 walkoff win.
May 6 – Three Scorpions pitchers hold the Titans shut out through eight before the Titans break out for four hits, four walks, and two hit batters in a 10-run ninth inning that races them past the Scorpions for a 10-4 win.

Complaints and stuff

The offense seems somewhat alive, the pitchers were not (all) bludgeoned as soon as they poked their black noses from the dugout… and we went 5-2 as a result this week. Never mind that the Rebels are horrendous. ALL THE WINS COUNT.

Friday’s win behind Billy Ramm moved the Coons to 16-13, the first time on the season that they were more than two games removed from .500. Since we didn’t stop winning at that point, the weekend series thus marked the sixth straight time the Coons won an interleague series from the Rebels. But the Loggers’ streak of futility against us is still longer… They are also on our plate next weekend after we will have hosted the Gold Sox for three.

Fun Fact: The Sioux Falls Warriors have never had a no-hitter.

And I don’t remember them ever having been just one strike away from one…
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:59 PM   #2754
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Raccoons (18-13) vs. Gold Sox (18-13) – May 8-10, 2029

This was only going to be a brief stopover at home before the Raccoons would head back out to Milwaukee for the weekend. We had played the Gold Sox the last two years, losing two of three in ’27, but sweeping them after Rich Hereford had switched sides in 2028. Denver ranked second in the FL West, trying to end decades of playoff futility, and was third in both runs scored and runs allowed in the Federal League with a +23 run differential, 12 runs better than the Coons’ even after a weekend sweep over the Rebels.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (3-2, 2.27 ERA) vs. Tommy Weintraub (2-1, 3.55 ERA)
Billy Ramm (4-2, 2.95 ERA) vs. Danny Arguello (2-2, 4.34 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (4-2, 4.32 ERA) vs. Mario Alva (2-1, 2.49 ERA)

Southpaw in the middle here; but just like the Coons were using the off day on Monday to skip Trevor Draper, who was still around, but would not make an appearance until the weekend, after which we would likely exchange him for Rin Nomura on account of the latter’s expiring rehab assignment (Rin had yet to find his command, though…), the Gold Sox could skip somebody in that order to bring southpaw Mike Cavallin (4-2, 2.80 ERA) into the set.

Game 1
DEN: SS Schlegelmilch – 3B Rock – CF Madsen – RF Chavira – 1B Gore – C F. Garcia – LF Colston – 2B Canchola – P Weintraub
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Shumway

Abel Mora kept hitting doubles, but his second-inning, two-base knock was the only mark the Coons left in the box score in the early innings. Somewhat of a pitcher’s duel, the game saw Shumway retire the first eight Sox in a row before Tommy Weintraub singled up the middle in the third, but was stranded. Bottom 3rd, the Coons had two out and nobody on before Ramos walked, Stalker singled, and Harenberg walked. There was a full count to Rich Hereford, then a strikeout, continuing the stark contrast to last year, where Rich would have driven in any number between one and six runs on that play. Teams would occasionally find a single in the next few innings, but got nowhere near scoring, with the occasional double play involved; Abel Madsen hit into one for Denver, Tim Stalker was guilty for Portland. Bottom 6th, Weintraub began the inning by nailing Kevin Harenberg in the knee. Harenberg went down and seemed to be in considerable agony, as was his GM in his office atop the playing field. Baldwin would run for him and take over at first base, stole second base, then saw Hereford strike out again, yet the bags filled up with an intentional walk to Mora and Nunley reaching on a Trey Rock error. Rafael Gomez was 0-for-2 with 2 K and a decided lack of clutch, but the Coons didn’t twitch and send Jamieson. Gomez flew out poorly to shallow right, the runners all held, and Elias Tovias gingerly lifted a ball over to Eric Colston to end the inning. The Gold Sox got to third base in the seventh with the help of a Hereford handling error on Vinny Chavira’s leadoff single, but Colston lined out to softly to Matt Nunley to strand that runner. Shumway led off another inning with a leadoff single in the bottom 7th – he had been the guy doubled up by Stalker earlier – but was stranded just as well, and it would only get worse. Shumway got through eight, but Alberto Ramos didn’t, leaving the game with an injury as well and being replaced by Butch Gerster. Kyle Anderson held the Coons at bay in the bottom 8th, and Boles got through the ninth after Shumway left with 108 pitches on the odometer. But still, nobody could dig out a run, and a scoreless game went into overtime with the Coons nearly out of personnel… Top 10th, Hector Morales allowed a single to Fernando Garcia, nailed David Canchola, but somehow was not toppled by the Gold Sox. The miserable game went to the 13th when Hereford struck out to strand Gerster on second in the 12th, and Juan Barzaga’s third inning finally yielded a run… for the Sox of course. Reliever(!) Allen Reed singled, as did Bob Rojas, and a Trey Rock groundout produced the golden run. Rocha and Nunley made poor outs against Reed to begin the bottom 13th before Rafael Gomez doubled to right to prolong the pain. Tovias fouled out on a 3-1 pitch to end the game. 1-0 Gold Sox. Gerster 1-1, BB; Stalker 2-5; Shumway 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K and 2-3;

Harenberg out for a week, which is a ****ty duration for an important player to be out, and Alberto Ramos had not yet been processed and dissected by the Druid, who went home to pray to the Moon Goddess in the 11th inning.

(tries to wrestle a bottle of booze from Slappy) No, Slappy, no! – I need it all …!!

Between games, the Gold Sox swapped C Fernando Garcia (.211, 0 HR, 6 RBI) to the Elks for two meager prospects.

Game 2
DEN: SS Schegelmilch – 3B Rock – CF Madsen – C Brooks – RF Chavira – 1B Gore – LF Colston – 2B Canchola – P Arguello
POR: 2B Stalker – CF Magallanes – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 1B Gomez – 3B Nunley – SS Gerster – C Tovias – P Ramm

The only Coons hit the first time through was a gapper for a double by Ramm in the bottom 3rd, and that led nowhere. Billy shed at least a runner per inning from the start, but the Gold Sox never got that fat knock in that would do anything major to the scoreboard. The bottom 4th then gave the Raccoons a real chance they had not earned: Jamieson led off drawing a walk from ex-Coon Danny Arguello (although he had never suited up in the brown shirt, only in the minors), and when Hereford rolled a grounder across the infield, Jeremiah Brooks threw that one past Brad Gore for a 2-base error. Runners in scoring position, no outs for Rafael Gomez and his 3 RBI on the season. He added a fourth one – whoah, pace yourself, big fella! – on a groundout to Ted Schlegelmilch, while a passed ball on Brooks plated Hereford. Before the inning was out, Butch Gerster homered to left-center, putting the Coons up 3-0 in wholly unmerited fashion. To make up, they added two earned runs against Arguello in the bottom 5th. Stalker singled, Jamieson singled, Hereford walked, and with two outs and runners all over, Rafael Gomez found the gap for a 2-run double to stretch the score to 5-0, and there was a sixth run in the sixth inning when Butch Gerster led off with a single, stole second, advanced on a grounder by Tovias, and scored on Ramm’s grounder to David Canchola.

Up to that point, Billy Ramm had held up extremely well despite all the runners, but was singled to death in the top of the seventh. Colston and Canchola opened with singles and went on to score one by one on singles by Schlegelmilch and Rock, at which point Ricky Ohl replaced Ramm. Ricky allowed a MIGHTY deep drive to left off Abel Madsen’s bat that was just a tad too high and not long enough and dropped into Jamieson’s glove right at the fence. Brooks then struck out. The Critters responded by raking righty Jeff Horton for a 4-spot in the bottom of the inning, and that after he retired Magallanes and Jamieson to get going. Hereford and Gomez singled with two down, Nunley walked, and then Gerster and Tovias each hit 2-out doubles into the gaps. Sometimes it works, sometimes it ****ing doesn’t. Like the ninth, which ****ing didn’t. Sean Rigg bled two walks, three singles, and got only one out and got yanked for Brotman with the bases loaded and Vinny Chavira batting with one down. One run scored on the resulting fielder’s choice, but Brotman walked Gore. Eric Colston ran a 2-0 count before grounding to third base. Nunley to first, out, game over just in time before I could snap. 10-5 Raccoons. Jamieson 1-2, 2 BB; Gomez 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Gerster 3-4, HR, 3 RBI; Ramm 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, W (5-2) and 1-3, 2B, RBI;

By Thursday morning, the Druid came up with only a minor issue with Ramos, who had iced his paw for two days… and then turned out to only have a finger blister. Now his hand was somewhat dead, and he would only be available to pinch-run and maybe light other duties for the next few days.

Game 3
DEN: 2B Schlegelmilch – 3B B. Rojas – CF Madsen – RF Chavira – C Brooks – 1B Gore – LF Colston – 2B Canchola – P Alva
POR: 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – SS Gerster – C Rocha – P Delgadillo

Delgadillo came apart entirely right out of the gate. Abel Madsen homered in the first, and the third began with a Jeremiah Brooks double. Colston singled in the run, and Delgadillo yielded a walk to Canchola, the runners pulled off a double steal, and Schlegelmilch singled in two more with a 2-out liner into shallow right center. Three singles loaded the bases in the third before Colston struck out and Canchola popped out to Gomez at first base, but the Coons were in a 4-0 hole that was threatening to get much deeper rather soon. The bases were loaded AGAIN in the fourth, which Alva opened with a single to center (…), Bob Rojas chipped in a single and Chavira drew a 2-out walk to bring up Brooks, who had making-up to do after his shoddy defense on Wednesday, and smashed a 2-out single to center on the first pitch. Gore grounded out, but it was now a 6-0 quagmire.

Delgadillo was gone after the fourth, pinch-hit for by Magallanes with Gomez and Gerster in scoring position and two outs, by far the team’s best opportunity to date. Magallanes put an 0-2 pitch into play, but grounded out to Canchola. The flames licked Juan Barzaga for four 2-out singles and two runs in the fifth, an inning in which Tim Stalker hit a leadoff triple and was stranded at third base, a point at which I consigned myself to the various vices I had access to, only some of which the Druid knew about. (slowly reaches into the inconspicuous white box and pulls out a live yellow-and-black frog and licks it across the neck) Oh, boyyyy …! Oh, … oh, boyyyy …!

OOH… BOYYYYYY….!!

Weird things must have happened down the road. I woke up the following morning in a hotel room in Milwaukee, with a newspaper on my face that heralded Tim Stalker to have hit for the cycle.

Apparently, Mario Alva had retired nobody in the sixth after I had entered a medium-to-heavy trip. After hitting a single and being caught stealing in his second attempt, and that futile triple, apparently – as I pieced it together from the paper – Tim Stalker had homered for the Coons’ first runs after a pinch-hit single by Baldwin in the bottom 6th, and the inning lasted long enough to bring him back up with Gerster and Rocha in scoring position, two outs, and then he knocked a double to plate them. Well, yeah, that tied the game, and completed the cycle, too.

And I missed it.

Stupid frog.

Ah, whatever, the Coons lost anyway. Ricky Ohl surrendered two hits, a walk, and a run in the eighth, and they never made that run up anymore. 9-8 Gold Sox. Stalker 4-6, HR, 3B, 2B, 4 RBI; Jamieson 2-4, BB; Gomez 3-3, BB, RBI; Gerster 2-4, BB, RBI; Baldwin (PH) 1-2;

Raccoons (19-15) @ Loggers (11-23) – May 11-13, 2029

The Loggers sat in the bottom three in both runs scored and runs allowed, and were also already almost ten games out in the division. They had a few injury woes, like the Coons, missing primarily outfielders Alexis Rueda and Vinny Diaz, and also had neither power nor defense to offer, also only two pitchers with multiple wins. As a matter of fact, reliever Bobby Valencia had four of the team’s 11 wins. The Coons were 3-0 against them this year.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (2-3, 5.68 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (2-1, 3.40 ERA)
Trevor Draper (0-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. Joe West (1-4, 3.43 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-2, 1.89 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (1-4, 4.34 ERA)

Three righties this time around.

Game 1
POR: 2B Stalker – CF Mora – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 3B Nunley – SS Gerster – C Tovias – 1B Baldwin – P Roberts
MIL: 3B Lockert – 2B Holder – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – LF Cambra – 1B Aquino – CF Sherrod – SS Rauser – P Contreras

The game started hysterically, at least as far as I could tell during the super-thick sunglasses I had to wear because of all the bright pink lights everywhere… although they were also shining inside the glasses? Stalker reached on a throwing error by Jim Young, Mora dropped in a single, and then Matt Jamieson hit a gapper between Firmino Cambra and Chris Sherrod, who almost took another out, and both fell down. The runners scored, Jamieson was waved around third base, too, and by the time the Loggers found the ball again, Jamieson crossed the plate with a 3-run, inside-the-park homer! The crew added a run in the second on little more than two infield singles. Baldwin hit the first one, stole second, moved up on Roberts’ groundout, and came home when Stalker legged out a grounder that Jason Rauser intercepted deep, but could not turn into a play. Rauser went onto hit into an inning-killing double play in the bottom 2nd, which Roberts started by nailing the just-healed-up Willie Trevino, and surrendered that run on a Cambra single and a groundout. But Roberts held up for the moment, while the Loggers as a whole kept withering. Matt Lockert’s massive throwing error to begin the fourth inning put Gerster on second base. Baldwin hit an RBI single, a little floater into shallow right, with one out, was bunted to second, and scored on a clean Stalker single to make it 6-1. A seventh and final (and fourth earned) run fell out of Contreras in the fifth; Jamieson hit a leadoff double and was singled home by Nunley, 7-1. At that point it was about waiting for Roberts to turn into a catapult again, which never happened. He lasted eight innings on three hits and that lone run as the Loggers mildly despaired against him. The ninth saw Ramos return to action for the first time since Tuesday, hitting a pinch-hit leadoff single in the #9 hole against Alfredo Casique and stole second base before the bags filled up and Hereford scored him with a sac fly. The Loggers got that run back against chronically useless Sean Rigg in the bottom of the inning on doubles by Young and Cambra, but the Coons would not turn this into a new ballgame anymore. 8-2 Critters. Stalker 2-5, 2 RBI; Mora 2-5; Jamieson 2-4, BB, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Baldwin 2-4, RBI; Ramos (PH) 1-1; Roberts 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W (3-3) and 1-2;

Scoring eight+ runs for three straight games moved the Raccoons into FIRST place in runs scored in the Continental League?

What?

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – P Draper
MIL: 3B Lockert – 2B Holder – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – LF Cambra – CF Sherrod – 1B Schorsch – SS B. Day – P J. West

The Coons stranded runners in scoring position in the second, when Tovias struck out, and the third, when Hereford popped out to Kaleb Holder, while Draper maintained a strenuous hold on a shutout until the fourth, when it all came crashing down with force. The Loggers stranded five runners between the first three frames, but by the fourth had Draper’s number. Willie Trevino hit a leadoff single, and before long the bases started to fill up. With two on, Brendan Day hit an RBI single, Joe West also hit an RBI single, and Draper nailed Matt Lockert to load them up for Holder, who hit the first pitch he got high to center and easy fodder for Abel Mora, keeping the deficit at 2-0.

Joe West was upended in due time, though, with a soft single by Tovias over Holder to lead off the fifth. Draper bunted him over, and then Ramos and Stalker ripped extra-base knocks up either line. Ramos hit an RBI double to left, Stalker an RBI triple to right, and the game was tied with the go-ahead run 90 feet away, and Jamieson’s fly to right was deep enough to allow him to chase home and give Portland the 3-2 lead. Draper appeared to have none of the idea of a major-league win on his ledger, though, loading them up with a leadoff walk to Young in the bottom 5th, followed by a Cambra single and walk drawn by Chris Sherrod. Tom Schorsch ran a full count, then spanked into a 4-6-3 double play to bail out the failing Raccoons starter, who was on four walks and zero strikeouts.

Top 6th, Joe West’s 1-2 nailed Mora for a no-out runner. Nunley whiffed on the hit-and-run, but so did Young on the throw to second that saw Mora easily save. With the count now 1-2 on Nunley, he pressed a single through the left side, with Mora waved around against Cambra’s medium-sized arm. He would not have gotten him anyway, but Cambra threw SO wildly that Nunley got an extra base out of the throwing error that sailed 20 feet past Young. Unforunately, the bottom of the order struck out collectively to strand him. But the Loggers kept melting; Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, moved up on Stalker’s grounder and Jamieson was walked intentionally to get to Hereford(!). The Coons pulled off a double steal, and both runs scored when Hereford turned Travis Feider’s 0-2 pitch into a single to left-center, running the tally to 6-2, then was picked off first to short-circuit the inning. Draper threw one pitch in the seventh, which Holder doubled on, then got yanked. Morales surrendered the run on a Young single, but when Taylor Canody singled to right with two outs, the Loggers sent the sluggish Young from second and found him to be thrown out at home by Rich Hereford to end the seventh. The Coons scored two on Zach Weaver in the ninth, which Ramos, Stalker, and Jamieson opened with straight hits. Jamieson got an RBI, so did Nunley (reclaiming the sole team RBI lead!), and then we went to Sean Rigg once more with a sizable lead. He got two out, then walked Young. Trevino hit a liner to left that Jamieson misplayed; rather than holding Trevino to a single, he rushed it and it bounced under his glove for extra bases. The Loggers waved Young around again, but by now Jamieson had recovered the ball and threw home, where Tovias slapped out his opposite catcher to end the game. 8-3 Furballs! Ramos 3-4, BB, 2 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-5, 3B, RBI; Jamieson 2-2, 2 BB, RBI; Nunley 2-5, 2 RBI;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – P Shumway
MIL: 3B Lockert – 2B Holder – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – LF Cambra – 1B Aquino – CF Wheeler – SS B. Day – P Shepherd

Shepherd lasted five pitches, just long enough to walk Ramos, then departed with an injury, throwing the Loggers into spinout mode again. Alex Gutierrez took over, but at least that gave them a left-handed hurler against a lineup not expecting that. However; Ramos stole second, which was unnecessary given that Stalker ran into a fat one and belted it over the wall in left for a dizzyingly fast 2-0 lead. Milwaukee made up a run right away on Lockert’s leadoff triple and Holder’s sac fly in the bottom 1st, and they made up the difference in the second on Firmino Cambra’s leadoff double that saw him move up to third by the time there were two outs, when Shumway had Brendan Day at 1-2, then balked in the run. Day would end up whiffing, so that one miffed me slightly.

The Coons struggled to put it together against Gutierrez, then Travis Feider, while Shumway kept making stupid mistakes. He nailed Trevino to begin the fourth, wiggled out of that, but allowed a leadoff single to Day in the fifth, and that one quickly turned sour when Lockert and Holder hit infield singles to bring in the go-ahead run. Jim Young hit a proper single to right to load them up, but Nunley speared a sharp Trevino bouncer AND turned it for two to save the Shumster’s bacon. Shumway was then hit for in the sixth when Feider willed them up with two outs; Nunley singled, Feider walked Gomez and Tovias, and the Coons’ paws were forced. Gerster flew out to left to throw away the opportunity. The game basically ended when the Loggers loaded them up in the bottom of the inning against Barzaga on a walk, a hit batter, and an infield single, then had Lockert hit a gapper to empty the sacks. The bleeding continued against Hector Morales, who waved in another two runs and put the Coons down six after six, in other words – game over. Abel Mora would hit a homer off John Nelson in the eighth to scratch the Loggers a little bit down the road, but that was all in terms of a rally. 8-4 Loggers. Mora 2-4, BB, HR, RBI; Nunley 3-4, 2B;

In other news

May 8 – SAC SP Jesse Koerner (2-2, 4.23 ERA) is going to miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum.
May 9 – PIT 3B Omar Lastrade (.306, 1 HR, 10 RBI) will be out for a month with a strained hamstring.
May 10 – SFW CF/1B Pedro Cisneros (.256, 3 HR, 9 RBI) will be out for a month after spraining an ankle.
May 11 – The Rebels swap RF/CF Dan Dalton (.324, 2 HR, 12 RBI) to the Thunder for #81 prospect SP Eric Peck.
May 12 – Salem’s SP George James (1-2, 4.41 ERA) 2-hits the Gold Sox in a 1-0 Wolves win.
May 12 – A home run by DAL C/1B Jack Stickley (.280, 2 HR, 6 RBI) is the only tally in the Stars’ 1-0 win over the Warriors.

Complaints and stuff

That was a weirdly awful and awfully weird week. For starters, as some of us noticed – I didn’t, because of that hallucinatory frog – Tim Stalker hit for the cycle during a rally, but the Raccoons lost anyway to the Gold Sox. Stalker is the first Critter to be on the losing side while hitting for the cycle, and the first ABL player to suffer that fate since Boston’s Steve Butler in 2015 – then also in an interleague game against the Stars. The Coons now have the two most-recent cycles in the ABL history; Rich Hereford cycled last year against Indy, and the game of black devil magic also served to help Tim Stalker towards Player of the Week accolades this week. He batted .400 (12-30) with 2 HR and 9 RBI.

AND we got an inside-the-park homer this week, too! That game we didn’t even lose…

But there was definitely fire to the offense – take this: the Critters scored 6+ runs in nine out of ten games between June 2 and 12. They lost two of those nine, and the 13-inning stinker on Tuesday, but that still did not really budge our gap to the Titans. Oh well, the season is young, and some of our players haven’t even suffered terminal injuries yet. Which brings us to Kevin Harenberg. How KEVIIIN is that? A 6-RBI game here, and then he immediately misses a week with a banged up knee? Can’t get no momentum like that …!

That is still a tall order for a cry; the Coons are still first in offense with exactly five runs per game at this point. The pitching has been the problem recently… we need a few new arms in that pen, too, but for starters Trevor Draper will now head back to AAA in exchange for Nomura, who walked 20 in 38.2 innings of rehab ball. He had a 1.40 ERA, but on a .196 BABIP…

Back home now, to host the Crusaders and Thunder.

Fun Fact: Danny Arguello was traded by the Raccoons, with Sam Armetta, for Cole Pierson in 2018.

Pierson was last seen in the majors in 2023, so this was not a winning move by the then-contending Raccoons, who never got all that much out of Pierson, who is 39, but still hanging in there with odd minor league jobs. Sam Armetta last appeared in the majors in ’25 with the Coons, and has retired by now, a career .216 batter that was worth negative WAR for the 222 games he featured in between three different teams.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:48 AM   #2755
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Raccoons (21-16) vs. Crusaders (17-19) – May 15-17, 2029

This was the first series this season with New York, who the Coons had beaten 13 times in 2028, and to whom the Coons had not lost the season series since 2024. The Crusaders had the worst offense in the Continental League (compared to the best for the Critters), and were entertaining merely average pitching. Their run differential was a depressing -30. They were also not exactly great in either power, speed, or defense, and it looked like the season might have a lot more trouble in store for them.

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (5-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (2-5, 5.56 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (4-2, 5.30 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (2-1, 2.79 ERA)
Rin Nomura (0-0) vs. Robbie Gonzalez (0-4, 7.58 ERA)

Three right-handers on the plate here. The off day on Monday could allow the Crusaders to move Eddie Cannon (3-1, 3.51 ERA) into the set, but he was also right-handed.

We made two roster moves going into this series, activating Rin Nomura from his rehab assignment, as well as Jonathan Fleischer off the DL, placed Juan Barzaga (14.85 ERA) on outright waivers, and sent Trevor Draper back to St. Petersburg. Meanwhile we were still without Kevin Harenberg, but expected him to get back into the lineup by Thursday or Friday. Nick Valdes was standing next to me at the big window as the opening contest was about to start and asked me who would provide the thump with Harenberg out and Hereford having the blues. I shrugged, not knowing an answer. But in recent times, somebody had almost always come through…

Game 1
NYC: LF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – 1B Tadlock – RF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – SS Cameron – CF Ugolino – P Moffatt
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – P Ramm

Valdes was disgruntled before long given that Billy Ramm needed little time to ruin his evening out at the ballpark… and that of the remaining 23,000 and change in attendance, too. Leadoff walk to Chris Reardon in the second, then a booming homer by Tony Fuentes in line drive fashion, swiftly followed by another walk to Joe Cameron… and another 2-run homer hit by Fabien Ugolino. In the third, Ivan Vega singled and Andy Schmit homered, making it 6-0 and putting the game more or less to bed already. Sean Rigg came on in the fourth and had his very first pitch belted for a solo shot by Vega, while through five innings the damn Raccoons did not even touch SECOND base, and actually didn’t get that far until the eighth inning, when Nunley hit his second leadoff single in a row, and this time was not even doubled home by Gomez, but stranded on third base when Daniel Rocha fouled out on an 0-2 pitch. Ron Tadlock hit a leadoff double off Surginer in the ninth which turned into a tack-on run on Fuentes’ sac fly, which saw Abel Mora unleash such a bad throw (30 feet at best) that the trainer hustled out and hauled him in when Mora admitted to having felt pain. Magallanes took over for the last out on the Crusaders’ part, while Doug Moffatt completed a 4-hit shutout on six strikeouts and 89 pitches. 8-0 Crusaders. Nunley 3-3;

Well, the daily shambles report hints at elbow discomfort for Abel Mora, so he would be out of the lineup for at least a few days, but was officially listed as day-to-day and felt nothing while swinging a bat, so was available for pinch-hitting and running the bases. And he LITERALLY felt nothing, as in the arm doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

All good, all good. Bring the purple poopers on again.

Interlude: waiver claim

But in between, the Raccoons claimed left-hander Mauricio Garavito (0-0, 1.04 ERA) off waivers by the Bayhawks. The 27-year-old third-year reliever would replace Morales on the roster, who had an ERA of zip, but that did not show that he had allowed almost all of his inherited runners to score in his brief time up, and I wasn’t having that. So while we claimed Garavito off waivers, Morales ended up ON waivers.

Raccoons (21-16) vs. Crusaders (17-19) – May 15-17, 2029

Game 2
NYC: 1B J. Espinosa – LF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – CF Ugolino – 2B T. Fuentes – RF Reardon – SS Laughery – P Marron
POR: SS Ramos – CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – RF Baldwin – P Delgadillo

Nick Valdes had over night gone through the empty bottles around the place, had sorted them by color and had taken them out for recycling; he also refused to leave before the team gave him a W. To that end, Rich Hereford sat in the middle game in addition to all the other personnel that could not be involved, because he had a dead guy’s look in the eyes and could take some watching from the sidelines.

Portland scored first in the first, Ramos walking, stealing, and scoring on a Stalker single. Never mind Alberto was almost doubled off second base on a stupendously early start when Magallanes lined out to Tony Fuentes. The lead was not going to last, but at least Delgadillo waited for more than the customary two innings before whistlingly wandering into a rape factory. It was a leadoff double by Andy Schmit that went through the left side in the fourth that would eventually give the Crusaders the tying run on Fuentes’ 2-out, 0-2 single to left-center, but the Schmit double was the one that bugged me because I could not help but imagine that 28-year-old Matt Nunley would have had that ball for breakfast. 38-year-old Matt Nunley didn’t seem to react well to it at all. It could not have been the plate with pie in his bare paw; he had made a 15-year career out of having pie on the field in the fourth inning… and the seventh…

Marron faced the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom 5th then, having put on Ramos and Magallanes with singles before he also lost Tim Stalker in a full count. Jamieson was 0-for-2 in the game, but technically had the highest batting aveage in the lineup at .314 right now; we were hoping for good things! We got a pop to short. Nunley however, the chief cashier on the team still, singled to left to bring in at least Ramos with the go-ahead marker. Gomez flew out to Reardon in shallow right, but Reardon could not catch up with Tovias’ fly to right that reached the track for a 2-out, 2-run double, 4-1. The inning ended after an intentional walk to Chris Baldwin, who had his rule 5 status as his only excuse for being on the roster, and Delgadillo flying out easily to Vega in leftfield. Nunley had two on with two out in the bottom 6th and tested the D of Ugolino in center with a long fly, but it had too much hangtime and was a rather easy third out.

Delgadillo lasted one out in the seventh before allowing a single to Joe Cameron. Brotman came on against the left-handed Juan Espinosa and got a double play to clean up, and then Gomez and Tovias hit doubles off Brent Beene to go to the corners right away in the bottom 7th. Beene plated a run with a wild pitch, ended up walking Baldwin when the rule fiver didn’t even try very hard, and then the Coons sent Hereford to bat for Brotman, because watching and learning was one thing, but a 3-man ben was entirely another. Beene remained in to face him, ran a full count, then hung a curve that was never seen again after Hereford walloped it over the fence in left-center. That put the Coons up by seven, and they made it nine in the following inning with Daniel Rocha’s pinch-hit, 2-out, 2-run single past Schmit. Garavito made his Coons debut in the ninth and retired the Crusaders on six pitches. 10-1 Furballs. Rocha (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; Magallanes 3-6; Stalker 3-5, BB, 2 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-5, RBI; Tovias 5-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Baldwin 2-3, 2 BB, 2B; Hereford (PH) 1-1, HR, 3 RBI; Delgadillo 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (5-2);

After that 5-hit effort, Elias Tovias’ batting average is up to a nice, round, .222 …

Also, on a staff with Mark Roberts, Tom Shumway, (and at one point Rico Gutierrez), Dan Delgadillo and Billy Ramm with a combined ERA of 4.27 co-led the team in wins with five each. Nobody else even had four.

And here came Rin, who had zero.

Game 3
NYC: LF I. Vega – 3B Schmit – C F. Delgado – 1B Tadlock – RF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – SS Cameron – CF Ugolino – P R. Gonzalez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Nomura

Ivan Vega opened Nomura’s return by doubling to left after a 9-pitch battle, but Nomura dug a trench, struck out two, and Tadlock grounded out to third to waste the instant opportunity. In fact, the Crusaders’ first four hits off Nomura were all for extra bases. They just weren’t bunching them up until the fourth inning, in which Ron Tadlock opened with a triple to right, but scored on Reardon’s sac fly even before Fuentes hit a double (and was stranded). That erased a 1-0 lead from the second inning, which Hereford had opened with an infield single, Nunley had doubled to center, but the Coons only got a Tovias sac fly after that, and Nunley and Hereford bickered at each other in the dugout because Nunley thought Hereford should have scored on the double, which then would have put them even in terms of RBI, which was a stupid fight, but maybe it could bring out… the best in them?

Those two made outs to begin the bottom 4th, but Tovias homered to break the 1-1 tie. The Coons actually put the next three batters on base on two singles and a walk, but Stalker flew out to Reardon to leave the bases stacked. Bitterly, Nomura walked two after Ivan Vega homered the game tied in the top 5th, threw a wild pitch, and surrendered the Crusaders’ go-ahead run on a Tadlock single. Felipe Delgado would be thrown out at home by Hereford to end the frame. This was not the last swing of the pendulum of fortune in the game, though. Nunley and Magallanes reached base in the bottom 6th, and at that point Abel Mora was sent to bat for Nomura, but grounded into a fielder’s choice at second. However, since running was not an issue, he remained in the game for the Ramos at-bat with two outs, and scored when Alberto rammed a shot through Ron Tadlock and into the corner for a 2-run double, flipping the Coons back into the lead at 4-3. Robby Gonzalez got yanked for Jesse Wright, who got Stalker to ground out to end the sixth. Surginer pitched a clean seventh before Wright walked Harenberg and got a new branding by Rich Hereford with a 2-run bomb over the wall in rightfield, 6-3! Ricky Ohl struck out the side in the eighth, and Josh Boles ended the game without creating the utmost danger… because Ryan Anderson hit into a double play before he could walk Ugolino to bring up the tying run… 6-3 Coons! Ramos 2-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-4, 2B;

This was the first save for Josh Boles in 12 days, and it was not entirely his fault…? But almost. He blew one attempt against the Rebels, but only made two appearances between the Rebels set and now.

Raccoons (23-17) vs. Thunder (24-17) – May 18-20, 2029

Despite their better record, the Thunder were, after being swept by the Aces during the week, five games out and only in third place in the South which seemed to have made a swift turnaround from the crapfest it had been only two years ago. They ranked fourth in runs scored, but ninth in runs allowed, so there were questions as to their viability as a contender despite the good record. Their rotation looked really crummy, ninth in ERA with a 4.44 mark. The Coons had beaten them six times in 2028 and had won the season series three years straight.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (3-3, 4.89 ERA) vs. Chris Klein (2-3, 4.36 ERA)
Tom Shumway (3-3, 2.22 ERA) vs. Peter Gill (2-2, 3.16 ERA)
Billy Ramm (5-3, 3.86 ERA) vs. Zach Warner (2-2, 6.07 ERA)

„Graveyard“ Gill figured to be the only southpaw we would get this week. He would be a nice measuring stick, though, as the Coons were so far 7-3 against lefty pitching this year.

The Thunder were tied for second in bombs, but dead last in stolen bases and nearly last in defense. But at least we would see Dave Garcia this time around, and on the field, too, not just in a cast on the sidelines… The perpetually injured ace outfielder was batting .325 with 5 HR and 24 RBI at this point. Also batting .316 for the team in limited exposure? 44-year-old Jose Gutierrez, who will probably still be suiting up when all of us are long dead and forgotten.

Game 1
OCT: SS L. Rivera – C Burgess – LF D. Brown – 3B D. Garcia – CF Dalton – 1B J. Gutierrez – RF Sagredo – 2B Kane – P Klein
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Hereford – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

Dave Garcia whacked a 3-run homer off Roberts in his first chance, so there was a subtle hint that maybe us and Mark would not all be okay eventually. Mike Burgess had doubled, and Dan Brown had lined a sharp single to right to set Garcia up for early heroics. Roberts calmed down after that and only shed a flurry of singles in the next bushel of innings, and the Coons made up a run right away on a Stalker single and Harenberg double in the bottom 1st, but once Tovias doubled up Nunley in the bottom 2nd they did not get on base anymore, and it was still a 3-1 game in the bottom 6th when Ramos opened with a triple over the head of Dan Dalton in deep right-center. Jamieson drove in the run with a single after Stalker lined out to Mike Kane, but was then also caught stealing on a botched hit-and-run with Kevin Harenberg. Like you have to point out that anything involving Harenberg was ever botched… Roberts lasted eight in a budding loss before Abel Mora hit a 1-out double in his spot against a still resilient Chris Klein. Ramos narrowly landed a bloop which Ricky Loya got so close to that Mora had to hold halfway too long to make a bid for home plate, so Stalker came up with runners on the corners, lined a pitch over the leaping Dave Garcia and up the leftfield line. When Dan Brown could not cut it off and the ball rolled to the corner, everybody knew that this was a score-flipper rather than just a play to tie; Ramos came around from first base with the go-ahead run, and even had time for a refreshment and a chat with the third base coach on the way. Stalker moved up to third on Jamieson’s single, and the Thunder still hoped that the experienced Klein could get a double play grounder from Harenberg, but he hung his 101st pitch of the night and Harenberg did not miss it at all. The park roared KEVIIIIIN when the ball broke the plane over the rightfield fence, and out of the blue the Critters were up by a slam. The Thunder were so stunned, they could not even do harm onto Sean Rigg in the ninth inning. 7-3 Furballs!! Ramos 2-4, 3B; Stalker 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Jamieson 2-4, RBI; Harenberg 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI; Mora (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Game 2
OCT: SS. L. Rivera – RF Sagredo – LF D. Brown – 3B D. Garcia – CF Dalton – 1B J. Gutierrez – C L. Riley – 2B Kane – P Gill
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 1B Gomez – CF Magallanes – 3B Gerster – C Rocha – P Shumway

Shumway blatantly obviously lacked stuff, whiffing only one batter through five innings and blowing up a 2-0 lead that Rafael Gomez had given him with a 2-piece in the bottom 2nd (Gomez’ first dinger in ‘29…) when the Thunder strafed him for three doubles by Sagredo, Dalton, and Gutierrez, and he had had at least two of those on two strikes, but could not get rid of them. The Coons had only two base hits through four innings; Ramos had landed a soft single in the third in addition to the Gomez shot. The fifth then began with Rocha grounding out, but Shumway then worked a walk against a confused Gill, and Ramos rolled a ball on the infield that sparked even more confusion and the Thunder didn’t get any runner out on the play. Gill then walked Stalker on four pitches, loading the bases for Jamieson with one out. Dave Garcia made a strong play on Jamieson’s grounder to left, zinged to second for the second out, but the return zing was not in time and the Coons took the lead as Shumway came home. Thinking about it, Shumway would have been a better out to get here… maybe in a later inning? That brought up Hereford with Critters on the corners, but his liner was shagged by Lorenzo Rivera to end the inning.

The Coons tagged on a run in the following inning. Gomez’ leadoff walk turned into a run thanks to Magallanes’ grounder to first and Butch Gerster doubling to the fence in left. Shumway suddenly found his stuff, whiffing pairs in both the sixth and seventh innings, but the Coons also stranded pairs of runners in either inning and it was still a 4-2 affair. Shumway was on 92 pitches through seven and remained in even with right-handed Ricky Loya pinch-hitting for Gill to begin the eighth. Loya grounded out to short, but Shumway walked Rivera, then hung around to face Luis Sagredo, a lefty batter, who grounded out. That was it; with right-handed .311 power hitter Dan Brown coming up, the Coons went to Ricky Ohl (who got the out) in a double switch that also placed Harenberg on first base with a guarantee to bat in the bottom 8th and would do so with Gerster on second base and one out after a leadoff double off Dusty Kulp, who had an ERA under one that he soiled himself by throwing a wild pitch that allowed Gerster to score on a soft single to left hit by Harenberg. The Raccoons got an additional run after Ramos hit into a fielder’s choice, then stole second in a pitchout that nevertheless saw Liam Riley throw the ball into centerfield in eager anticipation. Ramos scampered to third, from where Stalker singled him in. With that, the save was off for Josh Boles, but not for Ricky Ohl, who retired the 4-5-6 batters in order to finish the game. 6-2 Coons. Ramos 2-5; Gomez 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Gerster 2-4, 2 2B, RBI; Harenberg 1-1, RBI; Shumway 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (4-3); Ohl 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, SV (2);

Game 3
OCT: SS L. Rivera – C Burgess – LF D. Brown – 3B D. Garcia – CF Dalton – 1B J. Gutierrez – RF Hodgers – 2B Kane – P Warner
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Baldwin – P Ramm

The Raccoons had two base hits the first time through the order: a Nunley single in the second… and a Jonathan Fleischer single in the third… Like on Tuesday, Billy Ramm was blown up immediately; Rivera walked, Burgess singled, Brown accidentally grounded out, Garcia hit an RBI single, and then Dalton and Gutierrez hit back-to-back doubles that ran the score to 4-0 in a third of an inning. There was something majestic about seeing a 44-year-old man bust his bones to second base, but I would rather see the Coons keep winning. Could they keep winning with Billy Ramm anywhere near them? Not bloody quite. He walked Victor Hodgers, nailed Kane, allowed one run on Warner’s grounder, and then two more on Rivera’s single, and was then yanked before the inning was over, stuck in a 7-0 hole. The game was of course over despite the Fleischer single that opened a 2-run rally in the bottom 3rd. Ramos doubled, and the runners scored on a Stalker sac fly and Harenberg single, respectively. Fleischer was abused for four innings of shutout ball, and we then got four outs from Garavito, the recent arrival, but the Coons did not threaten to have another rally in them until the bottom of the sixth when Warner allowed singles to Hereford and Nunley, who went to the corners to begin the inning. Gomez had doubled up Nunley the last time around, and now grounded to Garcia, but the perpetually limp Garcia missed it for an RBI single. Suddenly – the whiff of a chance. Tovias flew out to center, Mora hit for Garavito and popped out, and Magallanes whiffed entirely to blow off said chance.

A Kane homer off Sean Rigg in the eighth moved Oklahoma out of slam range, but the Raccoons grappled against Dusty Kulp again in the bottom of the inning. Gomez, Jamieson, and Magallanes all hit singles, loading them up with two outs for Ramos, who would face new lefty Danny O’Reilly, hit a ****ty grounder on the infield, but legged the ****ing thing out for an RBI single. Out with O’Reilly, in with Ying-hua Ou against Tim Stalker. Ou lasted four pitches, all balls, before Paul Metzler came in for Harenberg, but Metzler was a right-hander actually, while Kevin was the go-ahead run. …and struck out. 8-5 Thunder. Ramos 2-5, 2B, RBI; Harenberg 2-5, RBI; Nunley 3-5; Gomez 2-5, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1; Fleischer 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K and 1-1;

In other news

May 14 – The Titans amount to only six hits in a 3-2 win over the Loggers that takes 18 innings to complete until BOS 2B/3B Rhett West (.236, 5 HR, 19 RBI) singles home BOS 3B/SS Stephen Williams (.220, 3 HR, 16 RBI) and hands MIL MR Alex Gutierrez (0-2, 4.05 ERA) the loss in his fourth inning of work.
May 15 – The Knights acquire C Matt Dehne (.214, 2 HR, 9 RBI) from the Rebels in exchange for OF Billy Jennings (.189, 3 HR, 18 RBI) and an unranked pitching prospect.
May 15 – A torn labrum ends the season of MIL SP Morgan Shepherd (1-4, 4.34 ERA).
May 18 – BOS SP Jeremy Waite (4-2, 2.80 ERA) is expected to miss an entire year for elbow reconstruction surgery. Several elbow ligaments seem to be damaged for the 30-year-old right-hander.
May 18 – NAS MR Chris Pyles (0-1, 8.31 ERA) ends an 11-inning affair with the Stars with a wild pitch that plates DAL 2B/SS Lazaro Hernandez (.300, 0 HR, 3 RBI) to give Dallas a 10-9 win.
May 19 – LVA SP Jose Menendez (6-3, 4.34 ERA) 3-hits the Indians in a 3-0 shutout, whiffing five.
May 19 – The Wolves spank the Miners, 15-2, with SAL LF/RF Yasuhiro Kuramoto (.247, 4 HR, 12 RBI) driving in three runs in a 4-hit game.
May 20 – The Buffaloes rally to erase a 7-run deficit in the ninth inning against the Warriors, then still come apart for four runs in the top of the 10th inning to lose, 12-8.

Complaints and stuff

(makes a combing motion on Honeypaws’s fur, but does not actually hold a comb) We haven’t had a 1-run win in almost a month… and it is not for a lack of wins. Delgadillo and three relievers squeezed out Abramo Archibugi and the Aces in a 2-1 game on April 25, and since then the Coons have routinely won not only by two runs, but by three or more. 15-7 since that Aces game, and seven wins in a row with a margin of victory of 3+ runs (although there were of course defeats in between). Having too many good contributors to the offense is not a problem we are used to having. I am besides myself in this unknown situation. (is still pretend-combing Honeypaws)

Of course we still have pitching problems. I won’t say who is seriously behind the #8 ball right now, but he allowed 13 runs in 3.2 innings this week. Problem is, we still have no prospects to consider. There would be Dave Martinez, who got royally spanked in a brief cameo last season, and there would be Garrett Sparkman, a 27-year-old trash heap pickup (he signed in April) with barely two-and-a-half pitches that is part of the once-it-has-all-gone-to-hell reserve. He has a 3.48 ERA in 41.1 innings in St. Pete, but he also had a .264 BABIP working to his advantage.

The Waite injury news came out like 24 hours after the Titans signed him to a 4-yr, $12.64M extension. I don’t know who does the physicals over there, but they might be able to use a professional in that role! … Mena, put down the frog. – Yes, that is the one I licked last week. – No, he’s still dry. – Maybe Chad still has some glue for you.

Fun Fact: Despite all the injuries, Dave Garcia has been worth 61 WAR in a 15-year career and is a .293/.360/.494 batter.

He also has 276 homers and 1,057 RBI. There is a Hall of Fame case to be made there, depending on how much you allow for injuries to interfere with greatness, in Garcia’s case two Player of the Year belts, four Platinum Sticks, a Gold Glove, a bunch of All Star nods, and a few murderous 35+ HR seasons in his early 20s before his shoulders, hips, and knees started to steadily crumble.

That injury-adjusted Hall of Fame case is the same that is to be made for Jonathan Toner a few years down the road…
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:43 AM   #2756
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2029 DRAFT POOL ANALYSIS

For the first time in a while, the draft pool made you more excited about the position players rather than the pitchers included. Also, for the first time in a while, the Raccoons had signed away their first-round pick and would not get more than crapshoots at the available talent, and while Matt Nunley, drafted in the fourth round almost 19 years ago, is still-living proof that you can find serviceable major league talent with a stick even with the #132 pick - .279 with 148 HR and 902 RBI as of now – things would probably be picked thin by the time the Raccoons would make their first selection.

There was a tiny safety net the Critters had fallen into; losing Jon Correa in free agency after a 3-month rental had given the Critters a supplemental round pick, which as of now was going to be the #37 selection, but there were still two compensation-eligible free agents on the market that could get signed and make us slide back a bit further. Those were Ian Prevost (out with a torn flexor tendon and type A) and Jesse Bowsher (type B). The latter had been lit up to a 7.32 ERA with the Loggers in ’28 and did not seem likely to get signed even after draft day.

Regardless, we did manage to compile a shortlist with 103 players, three of which were on the list twice for two-way potential, and also the following hotlist of our most-wanted players, of which we would likely get none at #37 (* notes high school players; ^ notes two-way player):

SP Justin Kaiser (13/15/10) * – BNN #8
SP Rick Haugh (12/12/10) – BNN #2
SP Kent Turner (12/13/9) – BNN #5

RP Gabe Creech (16/13/9) ^ – BNN #4

C Mitch Cook (11/12/13)

INF/RF Billy Bouldin (15/3/5)
1B Ryan St. Pierre (9/15/14)
INF Josh Barnett (12/10/11) *

OF Sean Calais (13/10/4) * – BNN #3
3B/RF/LF Sonny Deming (9/11/13)
OF John Baron (8/14/12)

Creech was actually listed as an outfielder, but we liked the stuff he showed off whenever he moonlighted in hurling. However, given his prominent positioning on BNN’s own hotlist he was unlikely to get anywhere near #37 …
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Raccoons (25-18) @ Falcons (17-26) – May 22-24, 2029

The Raccoons hit the good old road and headed to Charlotte to face the last-place Falcons. This was one of those teams in trouble; they ranked ninth in runs scored and tenth in runs allowed, but actually had their starting AND relief pitchers both rank last in terms of ERA in the Continental League, which was also one of those rare and undesirable feats. The Raccoons had actually lost the season series against the Falcons last year, going 4-5.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (5-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. Chris Rountree (3-5, 4.53 ERA)
Rin Nomura (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Ismael Gutierrez (3-3, 4.84 ERA)
Mark Roberts (4-3, 4.67 ERA) vs. Mike Fernandez (4-2, 4.80 ERA)

Yeah, yeah, I know, hardly a difference between THESE starting pitchers… Rountree in the Tuesday opener would be the only southpaw we would encounter in this series.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – RF Kok – LF Salto – 3B G. Ortíz – SS Hobbs – 1B McClenon – 2B T. Delgado – P Rountree

By the fifth inning, Alberto Ramos was a homer shy of the cycle in a game in which for quite a few innings few did much and many did little. He had singled in the first but had been caught stealing when Jamieson missed the signal to do the former part in a hit-and-run, and then had doubled in the third inning before dying a LOB death of natural causes when Stalker and Jamieson both flew out ineffectively. His fifth-inning triple however, which came with one out, drove in Elias Tovias after the catcher had opened the inning with a single to right, and also tied the score at one in a game in which the Coons were out-hitting the Falcons, nominally, 7-2, but it did not really show up on the board, did it? Delgadillo had coughed up the Falcons’ run right in the first on a leadoff single by Nate Nelson, a grounder, a wild pitch, and a sac fly hit by Barend Kok. Also, the Coons threatened to strand Ramos again, with Stalker grounding out to Greg Ortíz for the second out. Jamieson got four wide ones, hinting at a lack of respect for Rich Hereford once more. Hereford paid them back, singling cleanly to shallow right for his 30th RBI and the go-ahead blip in this game. The Coons got to 3-1 on Harenberg’s RBI single to center before Gomez grounded to Ortíz, who booted the ball to load the bases on the 2-out error. That one proved costly when Rountree hung a 2-2 breaking ball to a salivating Abel Mora, who hit a bomb calculated to be *496* feet deep to the very top rows in the leftfield stands! GRAAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM!!!!

It was literally the exit pitch for Rountree, who got yanked right away after 4.2 innings and seven runs (three earned), and in a perfect world Delgadillo would have done without a pair of 2-out RBI knocks in the bottom of the same inning, but it was what it was, and Tomas Delgado and Pat Fowlkes pulled the Falcons back to 7-3 after the end of five. The Coons were lukewarm now, though, and Rich Hereford and Kevin Harenberg hit back-to-back bombs against unlucky Falcons righties Brandon Smith and Kevin Woodworth in the sixth inning. Hereford’s even counted for three, creating an 11-3 blowout. Delgadillo was on the verge of removal with two on base and one out in the bottom 6th when Greg Ortíz spanked into a double play, after which he retired the Falcons in order in the next two innings. Over 100 pitches, he was however hit for in the top 9th. Baldwin grounded out in his place, while Sean Rigg picked up the garbage inning. Ortíz hit a 2-out single when it did not matter anymore, and when Michael Hobbs popped out to Stalker, the game was in the books. 11-3 Raccoons. Ramos 4-5, 3B, 2B, RBI; Jamieson 2-4, BB; Hereford 2-4, BB, HR, 4 RBI; Harenberg 4-5, HR, 2 RBI; Mora 1-5, HR, 4 RBI; Tovias 3-5, 2B; Delgadillo 8.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, W (6-2);

Stalker may have gone 0-for-5, but what is that one blip? There is nothing to complain about a team scoring 5.2 runs a game. Kevin Harenberg is batting .343 now and leads the batting race …!? Ramos is second at .340; he added another single, but then popped out, and did not get another shot on a homer, which would have completed a natural cycle.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Nomura
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – 1B Fowlkes – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortíz – SS Hobbs – 2B Fitzsimmons – P I. Gutierrez

The Raccoons bats began the day silent again. It was not until the fourth that Rich Hereford singled and got them into the H column, but at least the game was still scoreless… until Rin Nomura came apart with great spectacle in the bottom of the fourth. Leadoff walk to Matt Cooper, then a Pat Fowlkes double, putting a pair in scoring position with nobody out was not the greatest start, and while Graciano Salto grounded out to Nunley to pin the runners, Barend Kok then singled to center to plate Cooper and a walk to Ortíz loaded the bases. Michael Hobbs hit an RBI single to shallow left, but when Tom Fitzsimmons hit a ball hard to left, Hereford was in the way, and so was Tovias at home plate when Kok made a run for it, but was thrown out by Rich, stranding two and keeping the deficit manageable at 2-0. The Falcons were only a mild rally away…! But the mild rally never got started. Gutierrez shed the odd walk here and there, but the Critters’ best chance actually was in the sixth inning when Hereford reached on a Fitzsimmons error with two down and Abel Mora ran a 3-0 count, then poked and grounded out. Gutierrez made it all the way into the ninth inning on a 1-hitter and on only 82 pitches (!?), then had to face the meat of the order. The Falcons did not send their closer, at least not right away, and also not after Harenberg looped a leadoff single over the head of Fitzsimmons. Hereford popped out, Mora grounded to right and into a force play. Nunley flew out to rightfielder Barend Kok. 2-0 Falcons.

Oops.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – 2B Baldwin – C Rocha – P Roberts
CHA: CF N. Nelson – C Cooper – 1B Fowlkes – LF Salto – RF Kok – 3B G. Ortíz – SS Hobbs – 2B Fitzsimmons – P M. Fernandez

Roberts was perfect the first time through the Falcons lineup, whiffing four, but the Coons were not a whole lot better. Matt Nunley hit a double in the second and was stranded on third base after two groundouts, and that was their early-inning offense. Harenberg hit a leadoff single in the fourth and ended up doubled off on a 3-U play that ended the inning when Matt Nunley lined out to Fowlkes and Harenberg was nowhere near first base. In turn, the Falcons tripped Roberts for straight singles to load the bags with nobody out in the bottom 4th. Rich Hereford hurt himself on a sliding/tumbling catch on Salto’s sac fly and had to be replaced by Jamieson, and that was the last out that Roberts got for a while, walking two to push in a run before Hobbs hit a 2-run single and another run scored on a wild pitch to Fitzsimmons, who ended up walking. Fernandez struck out, which was only the second out in a 5-run inning, but Nate Nelson was also rung up when he couldn’t see with all the tears in his eyes because the Raccoons were just too miserable, having given $10.4M to THAT guy. While the Coons did make up an unearned run in the fifth on another Ortíz error and Ramos legging out a 2-out grounder for the RBI infield single to plate Baldwin, the Falcons pulled that run back on garbage man Sean Rigg, who spilled another bin or two on the way out of this terrible game. Or three. Those runs were unearned thanks to a Jamieson error in left, but the Coons had seen enough of Rigg and voided his plane ticket for the next leg of their road trip. Portland scratched out a few meaningless runs in the seventh with Baldwin doubling, being plated by Ramos again with a 2-out single, and Ramos stole second and scored on Mora’s single. Harenberg chipped in an RBI double, and yet it meant nothing. That 3-spot was taken back by the Falcons in the bottom 8th with four hits and three runs against Fleischer… and then some more with Gomez throwing away a Kok single that allowed Salto to not only go first-to-third, but first-to-home against Garavito. 13-4 Falcons. Ramos 4-5, RBI; Harenberg 2-5, 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-4, 2B; Baldwin 2-4, 2 2B; Tovias (PH) 1-1;

Sean Rigg (4.91 ERA) was not the only discard after this game. The Raccoons also culled Daniel Rocha, batting .128 after an 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

We called up 30-year-old C Shane Ivey, who had leapt onto the AAA team last year and was doing nothing worth mentioning (but was a left-handed batter) and had never seen big league time before, as well as an earlier waiver claim in right-hander Bobby Reed, who was 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 18 games in AAA. He was also walking seven batters per nine innings.

Ah, small sample size!

Raccoons (26-20) @ Knights (21-27) – May 25-27, 2029

Here was another CL South team to give a little push out of the bottom. The Knights were seventh in runs scored, tenth in runs allowed, and also had a bottom three rotation, although the Coons were surely getting there… We had so far won two out of three games from them in this season.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (4-3, 2.24 ERA) vs. Tim Wells (5-4, 5.12 ERA)
Billy Ramm (5-4, 5.07 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (6-4, 3.08 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-2, 4.53 ERA) vs. Andy Jimenes (3-5, 5.29 ERA)

The Knights, who would send two southpaws followed by a righty, had their own injury woes right now, missing a few important pitchers like Adrian McQuinn and Rich Hewitt from their pen as well as regular Guadalupe Ramirez, all of which were on the DL.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – 3B Gerster – P Shumway
ATL: CF Collado – 1B S. Garcia – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – C Dehne – 3B M. Mendoza – LF W. Lopez – P Wells

It was Magallanes to use speed and a stolen base to eek out the first run of the game in the top of the third inning. Opening with a single, he swiped second off a clumsy Matt Dehne (who was probably still shaky from having been NAILED by Shumway in the previous half-inning), advanced on Gerster’s grounder, and then scored on a wild pitch. Oh, whatever works…! The lead did not last long; Tim Wells hit a leadoff single off Shumway in the bottom 3rd (…), and was maneuvered around on a walk to Ray Collado and two productive outs. Locked in that 1-1 tie, neither team looked like they had a horse in this race. Both teams had only three hits through six innings, and when Gomez hit a leadoff single in the top 7th, Tovias immediately doubled him up. Gerster drew a leadoff walk in the top 8th, was bunted over by Shumway, and then withered away, and Shumway was removed afterwards on account of 102 pitches. Ricky Ohl retired the Knights in order in the bottom 8th, and with NOTHING going on in the top 9th also got the bottom of that latter inning. Roy Pincus hit his first pitch over the wall to end the game. 2-1 Knights. Shumway 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K;

Forget I ever expressed any delight for the offense…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – CF Mora – P Ramm
ATL: CF Collado – 1B S. Garcia – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – C Dehne – 3B M. Mendoza – LF W. Lopez – P Rosas

The horrors continued unabated, with the Coons stranding Ramos after a leadoff single in the top 1st, while the Knights got Ray Collado on with a single, Steve Garcia hit into a double play, and then Ramm got taken deep by Andrew Showalter before loading the bases on a walk, a single, and 1-2 nail job. Manny Mendoza grounded out to strand the full set, but good lord …! No, divine mercy would not intervene any time soon; Nunley reached base in the second and got doubled up by Tovias, and while Abel Mora singled to begin the third, he was also stranded at third. At least he got to leave the game early, although only because he was bleeding from the mouth after running into the fence on the pursuit of a (caught!) Showalter drive in the bottom of the inning. Magallanes replaced him while I pinched my nose in an effort not to cry…

The Knights added a run to move up 2-0 in the fourth, also in depressing circumstances. John Johnson was on third base with two outs and Willie Lopez up. The way Billy Ramm was going an intentional walk was in order, but he just surrendered the RBI single to the ****ing pitcher then… Credit where it was due, Ramm hit a 2-out double in the fifth that was actually picked up by Alberto Ramos with a double of his own to finally get the Coons on the board. Rosas nicked Stalker, but Harenberg just hit another old fly to center that didn’t harm anybody… except for the Coons’ chances. The Knights put two more runs on Ramm in the sixth on a Johnson leadoff jack, then parked runners on the corners with two outs and Collado up. Kevin Surginer replaced Ramm, threw a wild pitch, and so it was 4-1. And while nine more Raccoons stepped in at home plate, Knights pitchers would not miss another beat, except for Rafael Gomez’ leadoff single in the ninth against Ed Blair. Nunley hit into a double play immediately, and the game ended when Tovias grounded out to second. 4-1 Knights. Ramos 2-4, 2B, RBI; Gomez 2-4; Mora 1-1; Reed 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Shane Ivey made his major league debut as pinch-hitter and had already seamlessly mended in with the rest of the team, grounding out poorly to first base.

Abel Mora had a badly swollen face and was not fit for duty – but the Druid considered him to be as good as new in about two or three days. …as long as his eyes wouldn’t swell shut by then.

On the other hand, the Raccoons placed Rich Hereford on the DL with a torn rib cage muscle. He might be back in August. Or in September. Or not at all.

The Raccoons brought up 2023 fourth-rounder and #95 pick Sean Catella, age 24, really more of a versatile defender than any sort of hitter. He had no power, no patience, and little speed. All he brought was an assortment of gloves, and the ability to make outs from either side of the plate. He had batted .273 in AAA at this point.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
ATL: CF Collado – 1B S. Garcia – SS Showalter – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – 3B M. Mendoza – C J. Ramirez – LF W. Lopez – P Jimenes

Ramos led off with another single and this time even came around… with a Showalter error helping out along the way and making the run unearned by the time Alberto scored on a Harenberg groundout. The Coons would make two errors early on involving Ray Collado, neither of which led to a blowout inning. Nunley threw away Collado’s grounder to begin the bottom 1st but Collado would be caught stealing, and in the third Harenberg dropped a foul pop by Collado for an error, but Collado didn’t reach on his second attempt, grounding out to short. Top 5th, it was still 1-0 when Tovias, who had hit into ANOTHER double play his first time up, hit a 1-out single to right. Delgadillo bunted, Manny Mendoza grossly threw the ball away, and the Coons had runners in scoring position with one out to fatten up the score. Ramos struck out. Magallanes grounded out to Johnson. Nobody scored.

Except for the Knights. Lopez hit a 1-out single, was bunted over, then scored on a Collado single in the bottom 5th. That tied it up, and Ramos’ throwing error and Showalter’s RBI single gave the Knights a 2-1 lead. Pincus flew out to end the fifth, but the bottom 6th began with a Johnson single to left before Mendoza dropped a bunt that just died out of everybody’s reach and became a single. And while Ramirez hit into a double play that moved Johnson to third, Willie Lopez legged out another grounder for an infield single that brought in the runner.

Down 3-1, Tovias hit a 1-out single again in the seventh (but don’t you ever bring him up with a guy on first…), and the Coons desired to bat for Delgadillo. Their bench was four turds, with Mora unavailable: Ivey, Gerster, Catella, and Baldwin; Butch it was for the occasion while we shrugged in resignation. To anybody’s surprise he singled to right, so the tying runs were on. Ramos walked to fill them up and we were now two to three errors or wild pitches away from a lead. Or maybe Jimenes would keep losing them, walking Magallanes in a full count to force home Tovias and make it 3-2, but he was also immediately yanked for another right-hander, Levi Snoeij, who hailed from Bonaire, and got Tim Stalker to hit into a 6-4-3 inning-ender. The damn Coons would amount to a fourth error (Magallanes dropping a Ramirez fly in the eighth), but never to a third run in getting swept. 3-2 Knights. Tovias 2-4; Gerster (PH) 1-1;

No, Bonaire is not near Eugene. It is closer to Venezuela…

In other news

May 22 – IND LF/RF Mike Plunkett (.308, 5 HR, 24 RBI) drives in five with a 3-hit day as the Indians flatten the Thunder, 18-5.
May 22 – The Condors will have to make do without SP Jorge Villalobos (6-3, 2.91 ERA) until after the All Star Game. The 32-year-old righty has to sit with a shoulder strain.
May 24 – The Aces are 3-hit and shut out by NYC SP Eddie Cannon (4-2, 3.25 ERA) in a 7-0 Crusaders win.
May 25 – CIN LF/RF Ken Gibbs (.244, 6 HR, 19 RBI) might miss time until the All Star Game with a severe concussion.

Complaints and stuff

With Rich Hereford lost for the next three months or however long, we can forget about title defense. Axe your ambitions. This team is making a run for the cellar. The rotation sucks. The bullpen sucks. The hitting made a VIOLENT turn towards sucking and now sucks as hard as ever.

Through Tuesday, they scored 5.2 runs per game. They hardly scored 5.2 runs in their next four games, lost them all, and the Titans opened a gap. And who in this team is supposed to make them close it? There are four pitchers in the rotation alone that you can’t trust with a cake, let alone a baseball…

I should have listened to Uncle Jimbo when I was young and should have gone into the farming business. People are always gonna eat corn. But some of these baseball teams are just too much to stomach…

Fun Fact: Almost exactly 38 years ago, on May 25, 1991, Daniel Hall suffered a concussion when he ran into the wall in a 3-1 win over the Bayhawks.

He ended up missing three months while getting his brains reshuffled.

The Raccoons did not win the World Series that year, either.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:24 AM   #2758
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Raccoons (26-23) vs. Condors (30-20) – May 28-30, 2029

The woeful Raccoons limped home laden with five straight defeats, where Nick Valdes was already waiting on me in my office and demanded an explanation, then was not happy with my explanation that the baseball gods were out to get me. Also, the Condors were coming in right away on Monday, so no time to roll up on the good old brown couch and weep until nightfall… Tijuana was second in the South, 1 1/2 games out, and ranked third in runs scored and second in runs allowed in the league. Their run differential was +66, quite scary for late May. They were 2-1 over the Critters this season.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (1-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. George Griffin (3-6, 5.86 ERA)
Mark Roberts (4-4, 5.12 ERA) vs. TBD
Tom Shumway (4-3, 2.14 ERA) vs. TBD

If there was anything working in the Coons’ favor here, it was that the Condors’ rotation was in shambles after losing Jorge Villalobos to injury AND they had been in a double header on Saturday. On the other hand we had honestly no clue (and neither did they) how they would line up their hurlers. Right-hander George Griffin would go on regular rest on Monday. After that it was maybe southpaw Ethan Jordan (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who had made only one scoreless relief appearance in his just-begun career. For the third game probably one of Saturday’s starters on short rest. Available to pick from where RHP Adam Potter (6-3, 2.62 ERA) and LHP Joe Perry (6-0, 1.46 ERA).

Game 1
TIJ: RF M. Matias – SS C. Miller – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – C Zarate – LF Braun – CF C. Murphy – 2B D. Williams – P Griffin
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – CF Catella – C Ivey – P Nomura

The Condors would get an extra-base hit with two outs in most innings here. Adam Braun doubled in the second and was stranded. Chris Miller tripled in the third… and was stranded. But appropriately Danny Zarate one-upped them and hit a 2-out jack in the fourth, the first run in the game with the Coons hitless against Griffin at this point. Their only runner had been Ramos, reaching on an error but immediately forced out on a Stalker grounder to short, and Tim Stalker himself was then caught stealing. But neither team managed much offense in the middle innings. Ramos made an error in the sixth that led nowhere, while Sean Catella reached on a Kevin McGrath error in the bottom of the same inning, and immediately was doubled up by Shane Ivey, poking at 3-1. Griffin walked Nomura, then allowed a soft line single to Ramos to break the no-hitter, but Tim Stalker flew out pathetically to Adam Braun in left.

Nomura lasted seven innings, whiffing ten, but still remained on the 1-0 hook because the ****ing Raccoons failed to hit the ****ing baseball. The top 8th saw Bobby Reed in trouble only after a 2-out error by Harenberg, then a bloop single by Shane Sanks to put a second runner on base. Zarate ran a 3-0 count before flying out to Matt Jamieson, which ended the inning. The Coons also got two on with two out in the bottom 8th with a pair of singles by the catching corps of Ivey and Tovias. Ramos was then called out on a 2-2 pitch that he thought was nowhere near the zone, which he also voiced to the home plate umpire, who promptly tossed him from the game. Gerster took over for the ninth inning, in which Billy Brotman walked leadoff man Braun, nailed PH Brett O’Dell, and then had Gerster make a sparkling play to avoid a 1-out grounder from Matt Good to get into centerfield. Runners on second and third, right-hander Omar Larios would see Ricky Ohl with two outs. Ricky threw three balls, then conceded a line drive – right into Stalker’s mitten, ending the inning. Stalker, Jamieson, and Harenberg then went down in order against Mike Baker on two ****ty grounders and a strikeout. 1-0 Condors. Tovias (PH) 1-1; Nomura 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, L (1-2);

Game 2
TIJ: RF M. Matias – SS C. Miller – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – C Zarate – LF Braun – CF C. Murphy – 2B Bross – P Jordan
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – CF Magallanes – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – P Roberts

There was absolutely no offense worth reporting in the first three innings, not even against Launchpad Roberts. The game was scoreless in the bottom 4th when the Coons led off with a Stalker double and a Dave Bross error that added Harenberg to the mix, but we now had runners on the corners and no outs – what chance! Surely Matt Jamieson would eat the bloody rookie alive and this losing streak would end! Jamieson hit a sac fly, which was at least SOMETHING, before Gomez hit into a fielder’s choice. Magallanes however turned a 2-2 pitch to deep center, over the head of Chris Murphy, and to the fence for a 2-out double to score Gomez for a 2-0 lead. Tovias whiffed to end the inning, but Butch Gerster opened the bottom 5th with a double into the leftfield corner. Roberts bunted him to third, Ramos struck out (…!), Stalker walked, and then Harenberg also found the space behind Murphy for a 2-out, 2-run double, also the first earned runs in Jordan’s career. Now up 4-0, the Coons just had to make Roberts and the pen hold up, which sounded oh so easy in theory… In cold, harsh reality, Roberts had a clean sixth, but then Braun hit a leadoff single in the seventh and Roberts nailed Murphy. Nobody out, tying run in the on-deck circle. Dave Bross was a switch-hitter without much power, so the Coons risked it, and Bross lined out softly to Harenberg for the first out. The Condors did NOT hit for Jordan, however, and told him to bunt. The bunt sucked – Roberts turned it into a 1-5-3 double play to exit the frame unharmed, but the Condors would come closer with a McGrath homer off Jonathan Fleischer in the eighth inning, and while the Coons pulled the run back when Tovias singled in Gomez in the bottom 8th and thus took off the save, Josh Boles was royally bored after the losing streak and was sent into the 5-1 game anyway. Zarate opened with a single against him, but he whiffed the next two and then got Bross to fly out easily to Magallanes. 5-1 Raccoons! Magallanes 2-4, 2B, RBI; Tovias 2-4, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, W (5-4);

A win …! (cries) A win …!

(cries)

Game 3
TIJ: RF M. Matias – SS C. Miller – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – C Zarate – LF Braun – CF C. Murphy – 2B Bross – P Perry
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – CF Mora – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – P Shumway

Shumway retired Tijuana in order the first time through, while the Coons got Ramos aboard to begin the bottom 1st, only for Stalker to hit into a double play. Butch Gerster was on third base with Stalker batting with two outs in the bottom 3rd, and again Tim could not get it done and grounded over to short. However… Chris Miller got it done, throwing away the ball for an error that plated Gerster for the first run in the game. Harenberg grounded out to the pitcher Perry then. Miller redeemed himself right away, hitting a single in the fourth as the first Condor to reach base, then trotted around when McGrath bombed Shumway to left to flip the score. Portland would put Gomez and Mora on the corners with one out in the bottom 4th, but Perry eviscerated both Tovias and Gerster on strikes to quell the threat. Top 5th, Braun and Murphy opened with singles, and while Murphy hit into a fielder’s choice, Shumway conceded a run on an 0-2 single up the middle conceded to Perry, who was then caught stealing (!!) before Mike Matias struck out to also strand Bross on third base, but the hole was now two runs.

Bottom 5th, Shumway tried to get revenge, too, and lobbed a leadoff single into shallow right. Ramos (to center) and Stalker (to left) also hit soft singles, loading the bases with nobody out for Harenberg, who held laudably still to draw four balls in a row to push home the pitcher. Much in contrast to that: Jamieson, who cracked a ball into a 6-2-3 double play (…) and Gomez with a household groundout to short. Shumway held on for seven, but was still on a 3-2 hook when Ramos opened the bottom 7th with a single to right. Stalker singled over Miller’s head, but Ramos only reached second base on the close play, then third when Harenberg flew out to right. And then Jamieson hit into another double play, this time the household 6-4-3 variety. GODDAMNIT!!! Top 8th, Surginer got blown up on a leadoff double by ****ing Chris Miller, then a ****ing homer by ****ing Shane Sanks, who stole the ****ing Player of the Year title from ****ing Rich Hereford ****ing last year. The Raccoons got Mora (who forced out Gomez) and Gerster (double) into scoring position in the bottom 8th, but when Matt Nunley pinch-hit for ****ing Kevin Surginer, the Condors unveiled ****ing David Kipple, a long-ago discard by the Coons, who got Nunley to ground out to throw that chance away, too. But the game was not over yet; Ramos opened the ninth with a groundout, but Stalker singled and Harenberg doubled, putting them in scoring position with the tying run drawing up being… Matt Jamieson, 0-for-4 with two double plays and a strikeout in the game. The bench however remained pathetic, too. Jamieson remained in there, took a strike, another one, and then belched an unassuming fastball over the fence for a 420-footer. That one actually tied the game. Holy - … what? The Condors exchanged pitchers, bringing righty Alex Ramos, while the Coons had a hunch and sent Magallanes to bat for Gomez, which was more of an OBP chance here given that Gomez was not exactly swatting ‘em. Ramos promptly walked him and Magallanes advanced on Mora’s grounder, bringing up Tovias, himself 0-4 on a million strikeouts. Like Jamieson, he turned it around with a homer, this one to right and ending the game. 7-5 Coons!? Ramos 3-5; Stalker 3-5; Harenberg 2-4, BB, 2B, RBI; Magallanes (PH) 0-0, BB; Gerster 2-3, BB, 2B;

Wait, what just happened?

In any case, Jamieson very narrowly escaped being yelled at big time here. Very narrowly!

Raccoons (28-24) vs. Indians (25-29) – June 1-3, 2029

After an off day on the 31st, the Indians came in. The season series with them was tied at three and they were middling in many categories. Sixth in runs scored, fifth in runs allowed. Their rotation was pretty good, fourth with a 3.58 ERA, but their pen was the stuff of horror flicks, sitting second from the bottom in ERA (but the Coons were only one spot ahead of them…). We took note of the Indians’ second-worst OBP (.316), but their tendency to hit extra bases and to swipe a bag if they didn’t. They also had a great defense, so more double play incoming for our guys…

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (6-3, 4.37 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (2-6, 7.45 ERA)
Rin Nomura (1-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. David Saccoccio (5-4, 1.81 ERA)
Mark Roberts (5-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (8-4, 3.77 ERA)

The Coons skipped dismal Billy Ramm when they got the perfect chance due to the off day on Thursday, an opportunity the Indians did not take, sending the battered Matthews in as the vanguard of three righties.

Game 1
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Plunkett – LF J. Williams – 2B Schneller – CF Zanches – C Paiz – 3B Ryder – P Matthews
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Delgadillo

Numbero uno prospect Dan Schneller had made his major league debut a few weeks back and was so far batting .250 with 2 RBI in the Bigs. He struck out against the first Coon he faced, Yusneldan, who sat down a string of Indians to begin the game until Zachary Ryder’s 1-out double in the third inning that went into the rightfield corner. Two grounders to Nunley stranded that runner, though, and Matt was also the only Raccoon to reach base the first time through, drawing a walk in the bottom 3rd. Top 4th, leadoff single by Jon Gonzalez, who moved up on a disputed balk call that unnerved Delgadillo into walked Jake Williams and giving up an RBI single to Schneller up the middle. Jon Gonzalez was safe at home, but also injured in a violent collision with Elias Tovias, who just dusted himself off while the 2026 World Series MVP was helped off the field with a thigh injury, to be replaced by Alex Aleman. Delgadillo’s unravelment was completed with a first-pitch homer by Alex Zanches, putting the Indians up 4-0. Aleman reached base with a walk in the fifth, then stole TWO bases before scoring on a single by Mike Plunkett, who thus extended a hitting streak to 11 games while burying the Coons five deep. Those Coons for the second time this week faced a pitcher with an abysmal ERA and could do NOTHING against him, even when the Indians made TWO errors in the bottom 5th. The home team’s lineup kept sucking on… Before Rafael Gomez hit a clean single to center in the seventh inning, their only base hit had been an infield single by non other than speedster Kevin Harenberg. IN THE SEVENTH!! Nunley walked after the Gomez single, and Tovias hit into a double play to end the inning. Bottom 8th, Butch Gerster hit a leadoff single that knocked out Matthews in a 3-hit shutout (much confidence on display here), and they were on the corners after Ramos singled off J.R. Hreha. Stalker’s RBI double made this some sort of chance, but the inning fizzled out with ****ty outs from the middle of the order, with only Jamieson at least getting Ramos in with a sac fly. Bottom 9th, Alfredo Quintana allowed a leadoff double to Gomez, then picked him off second base (…!) before Chris Baldwin’s pinch-hit triple. Tovias brought that run in with a grounder, but might as well not have… Gerster flew out to right. 6-3 Indians. Baldwin (PH) 1-1, 3B;

The amount of rank stupidity on display here was so ginormous, it will take me weeks and months to dole out an appropriate amount of yellings.

Game 2
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Plunkett – C Kennett – LF Aleman – 3B T. Johnson – CF Ryder – 2B Schneller – P Saccoccio
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Mora – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – C Tovias – P Nomura

Jon Gonzalez was back in there on a balky leg, but you wouldn’t have noticed. He drove in the first run in the game, a 1-out RBI single to score Pizano from second base, which he had stolen, in the third inning. Pizano got to 16 steals with that theft off Nomura, who would not see anybody bat lefty in this lineup, compared to Ramos, who seemed absolutely stuck at 17. The Raccoons would not put anybody on base with less than two outs until the fourth inning when Jamieson hit a leadoff single… only to be doubled off on a Harenberg grounder. Worst thing was that the booze was not helping and I was out of bleach, ink, or other spices. Bottom 5th – Nunley drew a leadoff walk and Magallanes hit a snort for a single to left, two on and nobody out. Tovias struck out in a full count, Nomura popped up, and Ramos grounded back to the mound. The Arrowheads scratched out a second run in the sixth inning with a leadoff single by Plunkett, an Elliott Kennett groundout, and then an infield single by Aleman that moved Plunkett to third for scoring on Todd Johnson’s long F8 to Magallanes. Rin, at times a strikeout would help!

And just when Kevin Harenberg was about to run up enough bad boy points for a public flogging before the Sunday game, he tied the game – out of the blue, too – with a 2-run homer in the bottom 6th. Stalker had led off with a single to center. And just after THAT had happened, Nomura was dismembered in the seventh. Dan Schneller with ANOTHER leadoff single, then an RBI triple by the pest Pizano and a quick RBI single by Gonzalez. Nomura was yanked after walking Plunkett, with Kevin Surginer just barely getting out of the inning. The Coons got a 2-out triple from Sean Catella in the bottom 7th, but of course with nobody on and without Ramos getting the ball past the infielders, either. The Indians then blew up Bobby Reed for good in the eighth inning. Leadoff walk on four pitches to Johnson, then a Ryder single and a walk issued to Schneller to fill them up. Nick Herman hit a 2-out single in Saccoccio’s spot to knock out Reed, who retired NOBODY, and when Ricky Ohl replaced him he allowed another single and an RBI to Pizano, who promptly also stole another base, keeping runners in scoring position with nobody out. Gonzalez whiffed, and Plunkett flew out to right, but Mora threw away the ball as Herman bid for home and was charged an error. Kennett singled home Pizano, 9-2 by now, and only Williams struck out to end the inning. That still wasn’t all – we still managed to fit in Dan Schneller’s first major league homer, a 2-run shot off Garavito in the ninth inning. 11-2 Indians. Jamieson 2-4; Ivey (PH) 1-1; Magallanes 2-4; Catella (PH) 1-1, 3B;

Bobby Reed (10.38 ERA) was culled right after this game and sent to St. Petersburg. This time we brought up something actually resembling a prospect, 2025 fourth-rounder Matt Stonecipher from Rhode Island, who had an 0.45 ERA in 20 innings in AAA, walking seven and whiffing 19.

Game 3
IND: SS Pizano – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Plunkett – C Kennett – LF Aleman – 3B T. Johnson – CF Ryder – 2B Schneller – P Bressner
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Baldwin – C Ivey – P Roberts

Pizano opened this one with a single to left and Roberts would have an eagle eye on him as soon as he was on first base. He should not pass here, not on his watch! Roberts watched him so intently, he rubbed an itching nose with his foot on the rubber and was called out for a balk, but SOMEHOW Pizano was not plated with a two pops and a strikeout in the inning. Bressner also balked in the first, Ramos from second to third to be precise after he had hit a leadoff double. Stalker plated him with a groundout for an early 1-0 edge that surived the early innings despite a 2-out triple that PIzano hit over Mora in the top 3rd. Jon Gonzalez flew out to center to end the inning. Bottom 3rd, the Coons rapped off straight singles to load the bases, with one problem being that Roberts hit the first single and then remained a roadblock for the trailing runners. Jamieson batted with three on and nobody out and now I had the eagle eye and kept waiting for stupid **** to unravel. I would not be disappointed; Jamieson hit into a garden variety 4-6-3 double play that scored Roberts before Harenberg struck out to keep it 2-0. Weren’t they just outrageous?

The Arrowheads put the tying runs on base in the fourth, when Roberts walked a pair, and the fifth, when Bressner singled with two strikes on him and Nunley chipped in a 2-out error chasing Jon Gonzalez’ grounder. Neither situation spiraled onto the important R column on the board, but unnerving they were nevertheless. Mark Roberts – Launchpad, Model, Furball, and Slugger rolled into one – hit a 1-out double in the bottom 5th against Bressner, and before long the bags were full after four quite wide ones with intent to Ramos, plus a Stalker single, and now Jamieson was batting with one out. I tried to sneak to the closet with Maud’s crossbow, but she had none of that, and so Jamieson’s next double play grounder went unpunished.

Roberts finished six, but also got over 100 pitches doing so, which set the Coons up for a bullpen blowup. Abel Mora hit a stray homer off Bressner in the bottom 6th, extending the lead to 3-0 before Fleischer got the ball to face the 8-9-1 batters in the seventh. He whiffed three… with a Pizano single in between, but he did strike out Gonzalez in a full count to end the frame. Ramos responded with a single in the bottom 7th, stole second – his first sack of the week – and scored on a Stalker single to scratch out the extra run. The Indians responded by putting two on against Surginer in the eighth, but did not score, then two more against Brotman in the ninth. Boles thus came on with two outs to face the streaking Plunkett, ran a 3-1 count, then surrendered a long drive to right that somehow dropped into the mitt of Sean Catella before it could cause a major frenzy. 4-0 Blighters. Ramos 3-3, BB, 2B; Stalker 3-4, 2 RBI; Roberts 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, W (6-4) and 2-2, 2B;

In other news

May 29 – The Loggers’ 1B Wilson Aquino (.244, 1 HR, 19 RBI) chips in four hits, including two doubles and a triple, and 4 RBI in a 14-7 slugfest win over the Thunder.
June 1 – CHA 2B/3B Tomas Delgado (.197, 2 HR, 10 RBI) could miss most of the remaining games this year with a ruptured finger tendon.
June 2 – The Pacifics rally past the Gold Sox with a pair of 6-spots in the seventh and eighth innings to claim a 15-6 win. LAP RF/LF Oscar Mendoza (.286, 6 HR, 31 RBI) drives in five runs from the leadoff spot.
June 2 – The Aces will miss 2B/SS Andres Medina (.310, 9 HR, 26 RBI) for a month. The 32-year-old switch-hitter will have to sit with a groin strain.
June 3 – The Scorpions rout the Warriors, 15-6, but actually trail until the eighth inning, scoring a dozen runs in the last three frames. SAC SS/3B Matthew Crabtree (.261, 2 HR, 23 RBI) drives in seven runs on three hits, including a ninth-inning grand slam off SFW MR Vinny Olguin (0-0, 8.49 ERA).
June 3 – The Falcons out-hit the Thunder, 18-11, but still go down to an 11-8 defeat on the strength of the Thunder’s 9-run seventh inning. CHA 3B/SS Michael Hobbs (.281, 6 HR, 35 RBI) leads all players with 4 RBI in a 3-hit effort.
June 3 – PIT SS Josh Peddle (.330, 4 HR, 13 RBI) is out for the year with a broken elbow.
June 3 – WAS LF/RF Josh Stevenson (.318, 2 HR, 11 RBI) ends a 16-inning affair against the Blue Sox with a walkoff homer off NAS MR Matt Goga (1-1, 4.05 ERA).

Complaints and stuff

Another week that felt like no more than ten minutes … in an underwater maze. I call the Critters lucky to escape with a 3-3 record *and* gain a game on the Titans, who lost on Sunday, the first time all week that those two teams’ fortunes diverted on any given day.

We will have ample time to discuss matters regarding the division lead with them next week, which will see the Coons play four in Boston. Weird scheduling around the interleague games here has us then fly back out west to play the Scorpions at home before heading to the East Coast *again* for a 3-city trip, and we will be back in Boston at the very end of the month, making it three trips to the other coast in June. In turn, the schedule only has us play one full series east of the Mississippi in July (@ Charlotte), and NONE in August, when the furthest east we’ll go will be Oklahoma.

This week, the Raccoons faced two pitchers with wildly terrible ERA’s. Those two pitchers went 15+ innings and allowed ONE run between them, and that run scored after the starter’s departure (Matthews on Friday) on the watch of the respective pen.

The blowout on Saturday was the franchise’s 4,100th regular season loss. It sure was in style…! But the most outrageous thing this week were surely Matt Jamieson’s four double plays with either the bags stacked or runners on the corners. I mean… I mean… I mean, what?? We know this team could aptly be named the Portland Clutchless, but COME ON…!

Fun Fact: Mark Roberts, who completed ten years of service time this week, has never put up an ERA+ under 100 in his career.

…well except for this year (93). The good news is that he is improving rapidly from his shambles start. He got bombed seven times in his first three starts; three times in his next four starts; and only one in the five starts since, and he allowed no runs in 13 innings this week, picking up two of our three wins (the other was Tovias’ walkoff against the Condors).

Maybe the $9,517,283.95 left on the deal are not entirely lost yet…
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:22 PM   #2759
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Raccoons (29-26) @ Titans (32-23) – June 4-7, 2029

It was probably a bit early for a do-or-die series, but the Raccoons better not get swept in this one. In fact, winning this 4-game set would be awesome …! The Titans were eighth in runs scored but had some stingy pitching that allowed the second-fewest runs in the league, so there was something to chew on in vain… The Titans were also up 3-0 for the season series.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (4-3, 2.30 ERA) vs. Armando Gonzales (0-3, 9.20 ERA)
Billy Ramm (5-5, 5.08 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (7-2, 2.79 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-4, 4.74 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (2-3, 2.72 ERA)
Rin Nomura (1-3, 3.42 ERA) vs. Bryan Hanson (3-6, 3.98 ERA)

Two right, two left. First up was 37-year-old Venezuelan Armando Gonzales, whom the Titans used to try and plug a hole the size of Jeremy Waite, and who had a 5.18 career ERA and had appeared for three different teams in a career from 2015 through 2029… albeit in only 128 games and with a 6-year hole between 2019 and 2025 where other players would usually have their peak. But this was a crucial game, the Coons never scored for Shumway, and now watch the schmuck Gonzales no-no the Critters…

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Shumway
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – P A. Gonzales

Paws up if you had Tom Shumway as your pick for the first Raccoon to reach in this game, because that was sadly the correct guess. He singled in the third inning, then was left on when Ramos flew out to Willie Vega. Adrian Reichardt was the only Titan to get on base in the early innings, reaching on a Ramos error, but Tony Perez immediately hit into a double play to erase that blemish. The second run through the order saw a Harenberg single and absolutely nothing else as the Raccoons looked like bloody kits against a 37-year-old punchline. Said punchline then also broke up a developing no-hit bid by the Shumster in the bottom 6th, hitting a leadoff single, but the Titans could not break through despite a vicious 2-out liner to left by Stephen Williams, that nevertheless went right into Matt Jamieson’s mitten. Jamieson then went on to open the seventh inning of a scoreless game with a double into the gap between Vega and Reichardt, and surely the Critters would be in business now! Harenberg got walked intentionally before a wild pitch made the point moot and made it absolutely imperative that Abel Mora did something valuable here. Instead, the Titans gave out another free pass, loading the bases with nobody out for Nunley – a mean trick that the baseball gods would surely not approve of! Nunley, the only player in the game born before Gonzales, grinded out a full count and then watched ball four outside to push in Jamieson with the game’s first run. And then Gomez popped out on a 3-1, Tovias lined out to Rhett West, and Shumway was rung up.

Shumway loaded the bases in the bottom 7th before somehow getting out with a strikeout to Gonzales, who was weirdly not batted for, probably because he was such a two-way force on the Coons. Shumway got Jonathan Morales out in the eighth, then allowed a single to Vega. That was the end for him. Ricky Ohl took over, rung up Williams, then left with a tweaked hammy. Left-handed Eddie Moreno (who was with the Pacifics in that 2026 World Series and almost took the Coons down here or there) batted for Dave O’Rourke, making us send Billy Brotman, who secured a strikeout to end the inning. Harenberg hit a leadoff double in the top 9th that led absolutely nowhere against Ryan Corkum holding the fort, and so it was Boles with no cushion in the bottom 9th. Adam Corder almost hit one out to begin the inning, but was caught by Jamieson at the fence, Reichardt drew a 2-out walk on four pitches, but somehow Jamieson got to a soft fly by Perez before all the walls could cave in onto the Coons. 1-0 Blighters. Harenberg 2-3, BB, 2B; Shumway 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, W (5-3);

I am prone to saying that a win is a win is a win… but this game… this was just pathetic. This was an embarrassment …!

At least there seemed to be no permanent damage to Ricky Ohl, who we might want to go tender on for a day or two, but otherwise he was still in working condition.

In this long string of games, we’d rest Stalker and Jamieson as everyday right-handed batters in what was from the start an unappealing pitching matchup on Tuesday. We would try to sneak in days off to the left-handed everyday guys in the latter two games.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – LF Magallanes – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – P Ramm
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – P Viamontes

Ramm continued to blow out of any hole, escaping a scoreless first only because Abel Mora made a perfect throw to erase Jonathan Morales at home plate on O’Rourke’s 2-out double, then loaded them up on three singles in the bottom 2nd. Viamontes batted with one out, fell behind 2-2, Ramm still could not remove him, and then Viamontes spanked into a double play to keep the Titans off the board. For a nice change, Ramm *walked* the bases full in the bottom 3rd, putting on Vega, Williams, and finally Corder with two outs. This time, it came apart. Ramm threw a wild pitch to put the Titans up 1-0, then walked Rhett West with two outs, then handed a doozie to Reichardt, who knocked in two with a single into no man’s land. Ramm struck out Perez, but the fourth saw only more liquid diarrhea flowing off the mound. Morales hit a 1-out single, Williams came up with a 2-out single to right that would have placed them on the corners except that Morales scored on a weird throwing error by Gomez, and a walk and a nicked batter loaded the bases. Ramm was yanked at that point and sent straight to the nearest bus terminal to catch any vehicle available and report in St. Pete. Fleischer replaced him and continued the clown show seamlessly, getting whacked for a 2-run single by West, an RBI single by Reichardt, then walked Perez. Viamontes, who had started the inning by flying out, popped out foul. It was a 7-0 game. The Raccoons were obviously beaten, dominated by Viamontes, who would pitch a complete game 5-hitter, but actually hiccuped right after the Titans took the 7-run lead and produced bases loaded with one out in the fifth. Ramos walked to force in a run, and Magallanes hit a sac fly, but that was already it, and the Raccoons reached scoring position only once more in the game. 7-2 Titans. Harenberg 2-4; Stonecipher 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

This was the major league debut for Stonecipher, unfortunately in pretty drab circumstances. He yielded no ground to the Titans when the previous personnel had already yielded ground aplenty.

As mentioned above, Billy Ramm, who was 5-6 with a 5.82 ERA and actually 0-4 with a 15.07 ERA in his last five outings (including one in relief in a blowout last week that was actually four outs without being ripped a new bum hole), was axed from the roster. Completely stripped for options, the Coons would try to buy time with Trevor Draper, who was recalled after getting shanked for five runs in 4.1 innings by Toledo on this day and would nevertheless take the regular turn on Sunday.

Maybe we should keenly watch the waiver wire for improvements!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – CF Catella – P Delgadillo
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – CF Reichardt – C Leonard – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – RF Calfee – P Wingo

Lo and behold – the Coons scratched out a run before I could get warmed up for my first temper tantrum of the contest! Ramos hit a 1-out single in the third, stole second, then was brought in on Jamieson’s 2-out single past the reach of West. That almost compensated for putting up with Delgadillo’s act, who allowed no hits through the first three innings, walked two, and in general lived off his defense. He also came to the plate with the bags full and one out in the fourth inning. Gomez, Gerster, and Catella had all reached base, the latter one only on an intentional walk. Delgadillo hit a soft looper, uncatchable, over the head of Gold Glover Adam Corder at third base for a clean RBI single, which brought up Ramos to hopefully work some gap magic. Nah, he grounded to left. Stephen Williams lunged and knocked the ball down, but could not scramble in time to make a play, giving Alberto an RBI infield single, 3-0. Stalker actually knocked a 1-2 pitch through on the left side for the third RBI single in a row, and Jamieson hit a run-scoring grounder to Williams that raised the tally to 5-0 and knocked out the unlucky Wingo. Rafael Urbano got Kevin Harenberg to fly out to left to end the inning.

So, how about that Yusneldan no-hitter? Willie Vega singled up the middle to begin the bottom 4th, which was that, and in fact he put the leadoff man on in each of the middle innings. In the fifth and sixth, it was a leadoff walk each time. The Titans kept hitting it into the teeth of the defense and had only Vega’s single for base knocks through five, but finally cracked Delgadillo in the bottom 6th, then in a 6-0 game after a Corder throwing error had plated an unearned Ramos run in the top 6th. Keith Leonard hit a 2-out, 2-run single off Delgadillo to break the ice, and Corder drew a walk before Delgadillo was yanked on three hits and six walks on his ledger. Surginer came in to face John Calfee, the former Elks scourge, threw a wild pitch to scare me, but then rung up Calfee to end the inning with a 6-2 score. Surginer actually entered in a double switch that removed Rafael Gomez and put Surginer in his spot, while Abel Mora entered to play center and bat ninth. This came up in the top 7th when Rafael Urbano, still working, drilled Catella with a 1-2 pitch (the only way for Catella to reach base, apparently), then hung a 1-2 that Mora mauled for a 2-piece to right. Surginer actually didn’t face another batter, the Critters going to Brotman when left-hander Nate Ellis appeared as pinch-hitter in the #9 hole to begin the bottom 7th. The matchup yielded the third leadoff walk for Boston in a row, almost made me snap, but Morales hit into a 6-4-3 before the Titans could shift into rally gear. That was their final base runner; Fleischer retired them in order in the final two frames, while the Coons grabbed two tack-on runs on a string of singles against Mike Stank in the ninth. 10-2 Coons. Ramos 5-6, RBI; Stalker 3-6, RBI; Jamieson 2-6, 4 RBI; Gomez 2-4; Tovias 2-4, BB; Mora 2-2, HR, 2 RBI; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K;

We had 18 base hits in taking down the Titans here, all singles except the Mora homer.

Okay, guys, a win would be BIG in this final game of the set. No off days! Everybody is on deck!

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – CF Mora – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Nomura
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 3B Corder – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – P Hanson

For the second time in the set, the Titans had the go-ahead run thrown out at home plate to end the bottom 1st. This time Gomez did the honors on Williams, who had drawn a 2-out walk ahead of a pair of singles by O’Rourke and Corder, and those singles were sharply hit off Nomura, too…! Instead, Portland scored first when Jamieson scored on a Tovias single in the second, but collapse was not far off for Nomura, who allowed a leadoff triple to Morales in the bottom 3rd, plated the tying run with a wild pitch, then just kept on giving with two outs, walking O’Rourke before yielding straight singles to the 5-6-7 batters to concede another two runs and fall 3-1 behind before Rhett West was caught in a rundown…

Nomura was a mess, especially with two down, and lasted only five innings on 105 pitches. Surprisingly, he left with a W in the offing after the Coons’ own 2-out rally in the top 6th against Hanson, who allowed four straight 2-out knocks; Harenberg, Jamieson, and Mora all hit singles, and Gomez hit a score-flipping double by O’Rourke to put Portland up 4-3 before Tovias grounded out to third base. The Coons’ pen was thin once more and we had to try and cheat the bottom 6th with Stonecipher, who allowed a single and walked two, but with the bases teeming rung up PH Nate Ellis on three pitches and got Morales to ground out to strand all the precious runners.

Top 7th, Jonathan Snyder pitching for Boston. The ex-Critter walked Nunley to start off. Magallanes popped out, but Ramos singled, and Stalker was nailed, presenting Harenberg with the bases loaded and one out. Willie Vega hustled back to hold him to a sac fly on a drive to left, and that was the only insurance run the Coons got out of Snyder. Vega hit a leadoff single off Garavito in the bottom 7th, then was doubled up by Williams, Ohl did a painless eighth, and Boles faced Perez, Calfee, and Morales in the bottom 9th and allowed none of them on base. 5-3 Furballs! Ramos 2-5; Mora 2-4, RBI;

Yes, baby …!!

(punches fists in the air repeatedly before freezing) … Mena …! Mena …!! I pulled something!!

Raccoons (32-27) vs. Scorpions (28-32) – June 8-10, 2029

The Scorpions’ dominant run in the FL West had ended a short while ago and they were currently trying to figure out how deep the drop into the abyss would be before they could build a new team to replace the dynasty that sort of never was because while they had won the West six years in a row they almost always choked in the playoffs and won only a single championship. Right now they sat in last place in a Western Division that dominated its Federal League counterpart like there was no tomorrow, but they sure knew how to score, sitting fourth in runs plated in the FL. Their pitching however was a nightmare, second from the bottom in the FL, with the blame mainly on the rotation. These teams had not met in the last three seasons, and the Coons had not won a series from Sacramento since 2021.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (6-4, 4.18 ERA) vs. Reese Kenny (2-1, 5.28 ERA)
Tom Shumway (5-3, 2.09 ERA) vs. Alex Vallejo (3-2, 3.82 ERA)
Trevor Draper (1-0, 5.25 ERA) vs. Vincent Alfaro (4-5, 3.87 ERA)

Three right-handers on offer, and not their best suit, either, with Jesse Koerner and Eddie Krumm on the DL. They were also missing a key outfielder in Justin McAllester.

Game 1
SAC: CF Blossom – 1B M. Rucker – C Drews – RF P. Sanchez – 3B J. Castro – SS Crabtree – LF Ribble – 2B Morris – P Kenny
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Ivey – P Roberts

Of course Roberts was torn apart first; after initially lingering forever in a first inning with two walks (David Drews, Pablo Sanchez) and three strikeouts, Roberts allowed singles to Matthew Crabtree and Mark Ribble to begin the top 2nd. Crabtree scored on the Ribble single thanks to a grim throwing error by Abel Mora, and before long John Blossom hit his first dinger of the season off Launchpad Roberts. The Coons, after a slow start against a crummy pitcher (what else?), got leadoff men aboard in both the third and the fourth, but Stalker and Jamieson hit into double plays, respectively. Nunley opened the fifth with a double off the fence, and a Shane Ivey single put runners on the corners… for Roberts… who had doubled in the third and was batting .409! …and who (voice breaks) singled to center!! That got the Critters on the board, down 3-1 with the tying runs on base, even if those tying runs had negative speed. The top of the order ****ed it up, though. Ramos flew out to center, Stalker almost hit into a double play only for Wayne Morris being too slow on the turn, and Mora popped out to shallow left. The Coons stranded Jamieson and Gomez after a pair of sixth-inning singles and looked absolutely hellbent to lose this game to the absolutely crummy Kenny, who had entered on 30.2 innings, 23 walks, and 12 strikeouts, yet had drawn them an absolute nose through six.

Gerster batted for Roberts to lead off the bottom 7th and singled to left, the Critters’ eighth hit in the contest, and that brought up the tying run once more. Ramos grounded out. Stalker grounded out. Mora popped out. In turn, Garavito retired nobody in the top 8th, loading the bases with a Mike Rucker single and two walks after that. Ohl came on, had PH Luis Moreira at 0-2, then still almost gave up a slam. Jamieson made the catch at the fence, then threw away the ball in a futile attempt to throw out Rucker, who was ancient, but still had legs and Jamieson was 360 feet away, for another utterly stupid error. The other runners almost moved up, but were stranded when Ohl whiffed Crabtree and got Ribble to roll out to Harenberg. John Blossom also homered off Stonecipher in the ninth. The Coons went down without a whimper. 5-1 Scorpions. Nunley 3-4, 2B; Gerster (PH) 1-1;

There are no words.

Game 2
SAC: CF Blossom – LF Stross – C Drews – RF P. Sanchez – 3B J. Castro – SS Crabtree – 1B M. Rucker – 2B Morris – P Vallejo
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Shumway

The Coons stranded Ramos and his leadoff walk in the first, then Jamieson and his leadoff double in the second… Shumway got through the first two innings alright, but struck out nobody the first time through, and issued leadoff walk to Wayne Morris in the third and to Pablo Sanchez in the fourth. Both of those two runs OF COURSE came around to score, and the Scorpions even loaded the bases in the fourth against the hapless Shumway before he happened across Vallejo with three on and two down and rung him up, presumably by accident. Vallejo was another pitcher that arrived in the game with more walks than strikeouts, but it sure didn’t look like that from the completely inept approach the Raccoons cultivated in this or any other game. The resident clown show only got on the board in the bottom 5th, which saw Tim Stalker hit a gapper for a 1-out triple. Mora promptly struck out as if he had rehearsed the situation a thousand times, and Harenberg rolled a ball to first… except that venerable Mike Rucker was 42 and had no range whatsoever as he hung on to dear life… and his walker. Harenberg came up with an RBI single when every other first baseman, dead or alive, would have ended the inning. Jamieson fouled out to end the fifth, and the sixth saw Gomez hit a leadoff single, after which little happened until Shumway came up with Rafael on second and two outs. The Shumster, unbelievably, singled to right and plated Gomez to knot the score at two, then saw Ramos fly out poorly to Pablo Sanchez on a 3-1 pitch. He clawed his way through the top 7th to at least secure himself another no-decision surrounded by a team that obviously hated him. AND their GM! A leadoff single by Stalker in the bottom 7th led nowhere, of course. Enter Kevin Surginer, who immediately threw an exit pitch for a leadoff jack hit by John Blossom in the top 8th. Blossom had entered Portland with no homers to his credit, and now he had THREE. Surginer was taken apart for another run on a walk and two hits before Brotman bailed him out. Matt Nunley countered with a leadoff jack in the bottom 8th, cutting the gap to an insurmountable 4-3, and Tovias struck out. Vallejo walked Magallanes, then allowed a single to Ramos. For any other team, this would be a chance to turn this ****ty game around. For the Raccoons this was just another prime opportunity to make a bid for vaudeville fame as the infallible double play artistes! And Stalker WOULD have hit into that double play…! – but Crabtree farted on the ball, and the error loaded the bases. It also invited left-handed Juan Melendrez against an 0-for-4 Abel Mora. The Coons flinched, sent Butch Gerster instead, Melendrez ran a 3-1 count, and then Gerster poked. I screamed like a girl as Crabtree lunged for the bouncer up the middle – but missed it! Magallanes scored, Ramos scored, and the Coons took a lead …! And the Harenberg found that elusive 4-6-3 double play… Top 9th, Boles allowed a leadoff single to Morris, then another single to Ribble. Oh dear. Blossom struck out, which surprised nobody more than me, and then Doug Stross ran a full count against Boles before cracking a 3-2 into play. Bouncer to Ramos, zinger to Stalker, rocket to Harenberg – ballgame. 5-4 Blighters. Ramos 2-4, BB; Stalker 3-5, 3B; Gerster (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; Jamieson 2-4, 2B; Nunley 2-4, HR, RBI; Shumway 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K and 1-3, RBI;

Whatever the **** works…! (dramatically rolls his eyes and re-applies his oxygen mask)

As an aside, the Titans lost their first two against the Stars, and we were now tied for first place, with everybody but the Loggers within 3 1/2 games in a really mediocre North.

We were reasonably confident that we would get a southpaw on Monday, so Ramos and Harenberg would not get a deserved day off until then. We tried against all reason to take the rubber game while Trevor Draper would be whacked around like a cartoon character.

Game 3
SAC: CF Blossom – LF Stross – RF P. Sanchez – 3B J. Castro – SS Crabtree – C Hearn – 1B Woodward – 2B Morris – P V. Alfaro
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Draper

Wonders never ceased as Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 1st, stole second, and actually came around without the aid of two errors or balks or passed balls … but two groundouts. Mora got the RBI there, then scored a run his next time up, which only occurred in the fourth and after a leadoff single. Harenberg doubled to put two in scoring position with nobody out, which was a tall order to scratch out a run with. Jamieson popped out, and Mora barely made it home on Gomez’ grounder to Morris, who looked home, but then took the easy out because he considered his team still had hope in a 2-0 game (and Nunley grounded out to end the inning). His team, however, was getting no-hit by Trevor Draper at that point, which was stunning in itself. But since this was Bollocks Country, not only did Draper no-hit a technically proper major league team for 5.1 innings in the end, no, when the Scorpions did land a base hit in the sixth … it was their pitcher to drop a single into rightfield. Mad world! It was a mad world out here! Blossom then hit into a double play to end the inning and Portland remained up 2-0. Stross opened the seventh with a clean single to right, and the next three Stingers hit three real rockets off Draper; one at Gomez, one that Mora shagged on the run, and one that came right to Nunley, but three rockets for three outs nonetheless.

Although he was only on 69 pitches, Draper was hit for in the bottom 7th as the Coons tried to generate anything vaguely resembling offense, but didn’t reach base with Gerster in the PH role. It was Ramos to get on with a 2-out double past the reach of John Blossom, and Stalker actually singled him in. A CLUTCH HIT. FOR PORTLAND. SOUND THE BELLS!! Jonathan Fleischer retired the Scorpions in order in the eighth, the Coons got Harenberg on in the bottom 8th, then got him off with a double play, but Nunley also turned a 5-4-3 on Blossom after Josh Boles doled out a 4-pitch walk to Mike Rucker to begin the ninth. Stross was called out on strikes to end the game. 3-0 Coons. Ramos 2-3, BB, 2B; Harenberg 2-4, 2B; Draper 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (2-0) and 1-2;

In other news

June 4 – MIL LF/RF Willie Trevino (.272, 6 HR, 31 RBI) drives in six runs in a 16-10 Loggers riot over the Canadiens.
June 6 – NAS SP Dan Jerge (5-7, 4.39 ERA) 3-hits the Miners in a 3-0 shutout, whiffing six. It is the second shutout of the season for the third-year player.
June 7 – VAN OF Brian Wojnarowski (.254, 9 HR, 20 RBI) might miss a month with a sprained ankle.
June 8 – Also out for a month with an ankle sprain would be SFW CF/1B Pedro Cisneros (.256, 3 HR, 9 RBI).
June 10 – PIT 3B Ryan Czachor (.246, 2 HR, 15 RBI) has the Miners’ only hit in a 1-0 loss to the Indians. IND SP John McInerney (6-5, 3.01 ERA) goes eight and whiffs a dozen Miners.

Complaints and stuff

There was plenty of stuff this week that would drive any reasonable person up a tree from which they would not come down again until after the end of the season. You know, there were more insufficient performances by starting pitchers. There was absolutely criminal neglect in RISP situations by absolutely any batter on the roster (minus Gerster!). There was the Raccoons tumbling through Boston and lifelong menace Adrian Reichardt winning a Player of the Week button by default (.520, 0 HR, 9 RBI).

But the most infuriating thing remains John Blossom, a third-year backup with four career homers, who came into Portland with no dingers in about 100 PA this year, and then whacked three off the Coons. That was a good one, baseball gods! That was a good one! (threatens with a fist)

Do dingers off Mark Roberts even count anymore? Do they come with an asterisk?*

Funnily(?), our slew of left-handed pitchers takes a lot of bite out of Alberto Ramos against the Titans, who seem to use a strict platoon for their catchers, playing Tony Perez against southpaws, and while Keith Leonard has the much better bat, Perez has a murder arm and two Gold Gloves and Alberto did not get a single good jump on him in three games this week, but stole a pair off Leonard in the Wednesday game.

On the other hand, Alberto Ramos now leads the entire ABL in batting average, one point ahead of DEN Jeremiah Brooks, and 13 points ahead of … Keith Leonard!

Next week: Capitals, Crusaders… and also the draft!

Fun Fact: Friday’s matchup saw players traded for another as Mark Roberts and Reese Kenny met on the mound.

That would have been the November 19, 2023 trade with the Bayhawks thad landed us Mark Roberts AND Jon Gonzalez for Matt Huf, Jonathan Shook, and Reese Kenny.

While Huf is doing alright for himself as the ace on a losing team (77-90, 3.85 ERA for his career), Shook has bounced around and into the Elks pen at this point, and then mainly as a long man. He was 37-50 with a 4.34 ERA for his career that included 223 appearances, only five of those with the Coons, all starts, and a 7.99 ERA in those. Kenny, a #22 pick in 2019, never pitched for the Raccoons and recently spent his age 27-28 seasons exclusively in the minors. He was 9-20 with a 4.70 ERA in major league action before the Friday meeting.

*They do not.
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__________________
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

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Last edited by Westheim; 03-16-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:23 PM   #2760
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(with the Coons on the road, the ballpark is mostly empty)

(except for Slappy, who rummages through my office an search of a bottle opener)

(Slappy shrugs, cracks open his bottle with the helmet of a Daniel Hall bobblehead, then makes himself comfortable on the brown couch)

(silence)

***

I played the first games of the following week (spoiler: we did not lose all of them!), right up to the draft, but I doubt I can get through the draft and the last few games with the Crusaders today. Monday looks meh, and Tuesday is probably impossible. So while we face the dreadful prospect of three days without a full update, why not muse about which Raccoons, current or former, you like most, which you like least, which players you would like to be future Raccoons, and where you stand on the important question of whether I should be medicated or not.
__________________
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



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