Results tagged ‘ Crooked Nuggets ’

Crooked Nuggets: August Edition

With a few straggling exceptions, the Minor League regular season ended on Labor Day. In conjunction with this imminent cessation of play I spent the day laboring over the August edition of “Crooked Numbers.” If you are visiting this little slice of the internet to begin with, then you probably know that “Crooked Numbers” is a monthly column that details all of the strangest things to have occurred on a Minor League Baseball field over the course of that month. It is a logistically onerous column to write, but any negatives are outweighed by the fact that bizarre baseball minutia is, by far, my favorite kind of bizarre minutia. Crooked Numbers is nothing less than a labor of love

And there’s more where that came from — right here and right now! Welcome to “Crooked Nuggets.” a blog-only supplement featuring all of the Crooked info that’s fit to print, in 75 words or less. There’s so much to get to, so let’s get to it!

crookBasepath Blunders – On August 4 Eugene Renfroe of the Eugene Emeralds smashed a line drive over the left field wall for a two-run home run. Except, no, he did not. Due to “confusion on the basepaths,” Renfroe passed teammate Anthony Torres on his way to second base, was ruled out, and therefore only ended up with an RBI single. No harm, no foul, as the Ems still defeated Tri-City by a score of 6-1.

Appy League Follies – August 10′s game between the Princeton Rays and Pulaski Blue Jays was a comedy of errors — literally. The hometown Blue Jays made seven of them that evening, including five miscues with two outs in the  first inning that led to nine Rays runs. The Blue Jays then clawed back and tied the game at 9-9 after four innings, but  it wasn’t enough as they ultimately lost by a score of 13-12. This strange ballgame was particularly strange for Pulaski starter Ramire Cleto. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed eight runs over 2/3rds of an inning but, as none of the runs were earned, lowered his ERA to 2.47.

Pioneer League Follies – The above Princeton-Pulaski tilt wasn’t the only Rookie-level contest this month in which a team made at least seven errors in a game they ended up losing by one run with both teams scoring in the double digits (and shame on you if you thought otherwise). On August 7 the Orem Owlz defeated the Grand Junction Rockies 11-10, in a game that featured eight Grand Junction errors and 10 overall. This was a particularly trying game for Grand Junction catcher Jairo Rosario, who made four errors. Not only did this account for half of the errors he made in the ballgame, but it also accounted for half of his eventual season total.

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It All Evens Out– To quote the legendary Harry Nilsson, Nashville Sounds starter Jimmy Nelson went through a prolonged stretch throughout July and August in which “things went good, things went bad, things went good, went bad, then good, bad, good, bad, good, bad.” On July 3, July 21, July 31, and August 11 he combined to post a  1.17 ERA. But those gems alternated with starts on July 8, July 26, August 5 and August 16, in which he posted a 7.03 ERA.

Desert Sessions – Scoring 30 runs in the offense-drenched California League is perhaps a bit less impressive than it would be in other circuits, but, still: it’s impressive! The High Desert Mavericks did just this on August 9, scoring 10 runs in both the first and second innings en route to a 30-8 shellacking of the Lancaster JetHawks. Not only did every batter in the starting line-up hit safely — every batter in the starting line-up scored at least one run, drove in at least one and contributed at least one extra-base hit. On the other side of the ledger it was a tough evening for Lancaster’s Mike Hauschild and Blair Waters, as both allowed 10 runs over 2/3rds of an inning of work.

Post-script: One day after scoring 30 runs, the Mavericks were, of course, shut out.

OKC Can They Swing! — Another impressive shellacking that occurred this month came courtesy of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, who defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox by a score of 24-5 on August 3. Further info on this game will hopefully be provided by Crooked Numbers wunderkind Alex Freedman (also the RedHawks broadcaster), but for now let me note the following: all 11 RedHawks to bat in the game scored a run!

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#MegaBowl – The Jackson Generals played three straight doubleheaders against the Mobile BayBears from August 19-21, with the teams somehow managing to play 44 innings over a span of 53 hours. All three doubleheaders were sweeps, with Jackson winning the “dual” on the 19th and Mobile emerging doubly triumphant on both the 20th and 21st.

Streaking Across the Carolina League – 2013′s much-coveted award for “most epically streaky team” goes to the appropriately-named Winston-Salem Dash, who lost eight games in a row from August 11-18 and then followed that up by winning 10 in a row from August 19-29. No other teams paired streaks of of eight games (or more) together this season, although the Great Lakes Loons (seven losses followed by seven wins, May 29-June 12) are worthy of an honorable mention.

But Wait! There’s More! – Somehow, in the midst of their aforementioned 10-game winning streak, the Dash managed to lose a game and this got them booted from playoff contention. On August 28 the team dropped an 8-7 decision to Potomac, but since this was a completion of July 11′s suspended game the winning streak remained intact.

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Men of their Word – This season the Peoria Chiefs instituted a “Guaranteed Win Wednesday” promotion, which provided fans were awarded a free ticket to an upcoming game in the event of a home team loss. Well, that never happened, as the Chiefs took this whole “guaranteed win” thing to heart and proceeded to go 7-0 on Wednesdays at home during the 2013 season.

Information Omission – The Huntsville Stars defeated the Jackson Generals on the last day of the season by a score of 4-3, and to read the Stars’ game recap one think that nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Well, call me crazy, but it seems that the Stars’ outfield shenanigans were deserving of a mention. It’s not every day that a guy ends up with “RF-LF-CF-RF-CF-LF-CF-RF” next to his name in the boxscore. 

Milestone Ruiners – The Tucson Padres scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning on Labor Day, pulling out a 5-4 win over Las Vegas in their final game in franchise history. That’s all well and good, except that this victory was the 3001st in Tucson’s Triple-A history. If the Padres had had the good sense to lose, Tucson would have exactly 3000 wins in its Triple-A victory ledger and all would be right with the world.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Crooked Nuggets: July Edition

I am writing this from a hotel in Bakersfield, cranking up the AC while contemplating the legacy of Buck Owens. My content from this California (and Oregon) trip, which begins tonight at Sam Lynn Ballpark and ends next weekend in Hillsboro, will almost certainly provide me with enough blog (and MiLB.com) material to last through the remainder of the regular season.

But before all that there is this important piece of business to take care of: Crooked Nuggets, the counterpart to my monthly MiLB.com Crooked Numbers column. Read the new edition of Crooked Numbers HERE (highlights include a Merkle-esque blunder, Double-A Rod antics, and the info behind this month’s strangest ejection) and then come back here to enjoy Crooked Nuggets: Minor League on-filed weirdness in 75 words or less.

This post, like every piece of Crooked content, is dedicated to Jayson Stark. May he one day acknowledge the existence of my efforts.

Let’s go!

Crooked Nuggets — Notable instances of July 2013 Minor League on-field weirdness and statistical quirks, in 75 words or less!

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A Delay That Makes Scents – Minor League Baseball’s latest and therefore greatest skunk delay occurred in Lynchburg on July 6, in a game between the Hillcats and the visiting Frederick Keys. Keys reliever Miguel Chalas emerged as the man of the hour, fearlessly ambling onto the warning track and using his glove to capture the skunk. (It turns out that he thought it was a cat). For far more on this riveting saga, please read this funny, informative and creatively-written post on the “Unlocking the Keys” team blog.

Good Things Come – Tim Dillard earned the 36th win of his Nashville Sounds career on June 30, establishing a new franchise record. Let’s just say that Dillard took the long route to the record, as he has just one win in 2013 and earned just one in 2012 (notched on August 14, when he tied the franchise mark). Dillard earned eight wins for the Sounds in 2007, six in 2008, 11 in 2009, give in 2010 and four in 2011. Win #37 is currently scheduled for sometime in early 2015.

Anomalous, I Tell You. Anomalous – MiLB.com records only date back to 2005, and in that time the Kannapolis Intimidators have managed to hit just three pinch-hit home runs — all of them against the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The most recent to do so Juan Ramirez on July 14, his only home run of the season.

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Flair for the Dramatic – Speaking of records dating back to 2005: in that time, there have been 16 “ultimate grand slams” in Minor League Baseball, in which a player hit a walk-off grand slam when his team was trailing by three. The most recent to do so was Dayton’s Seth Mejias-Brean on July 18, which marked the first time that any player in the Reds organization had done so since Adam Dunn on June 30, 2006.

Swinging Singles – The Charleston RiverDogs defeated the Hickory Crawdads by a score of 3-0 on July 21, in a game that featured 16 hits. All 16 of these hits were of the one-base variety.

A Pacific Coast League Canine Mascot Reports from Texas – I am proud and a little bit baffled to have among my sources an honest-to-God mascot, and that mascot is Spike of the Round Rock Express. Presented in its unexpurgated form, here is his latest Twitter-based contribution. Make of it what you will.

 

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All in Two Days Work – Brian Fletcher enjoyed a three-homer game for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals this month, and it sure took him a long time to do it. He blasted two homers against Arkansas on July 23 before the ballgame was halted by a thunderstorm, and then when play resumed the next day he hit a walk-off homer in the 11th.

Texas Sized Whiffin’ — During July 25′s game between the aforementioned Northwest Arkansas Naturals and Springfield Cardinals, six moundsmen combined to strike out a league record 32 batters (18 by Northwest Arkansas and 14 by Springfield, with NWA’s Kyle Zimmer leading the way with 12). The previous record was established way back on September 3, 1951 when Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell struck out 14 for Houston and Bob Turley (who lost the game) struck out 17 for San Antonio.

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better (and then, eventually, worse) – Montgomery’s Victor Mateo and Jacksonville’s Bryan Evans were locked in an masterful pitching duel on July 27, with neither allowing a hit through the first five frames. Evans lost his bid after allowing a solo home run with one out in the sixth, and Mateo then trumped that by allowing back-to-back-to-back home runs to start the seventh.

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Paging Anthony Young – In 2012 Matt Benedict earned a mid-season call-up to the Bradenton Marauders and proceeded to go 0-8 with an 8.08 ERA over 14 appearances. This season he managed to lower his ERA considerably, but still lost his first nine decisions. This epic 17-game losing streak came to end on July 31, when Benedict hurled two scoreless inning and earned the win as his Marauders defeated Dunedin.

Did You Know? – In his New York-Penn League notebook on MiLB.com, Craig Forde points out the following:

A deadline deal in which the Cardinals traded left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the Indians came with a quirky side note pointed out by the crack media relations staff in State College. Infielder Juan Herrera, whom St. Louis received in return, was assigned to the Spikes and became the first player to play against and for the club in the same season. 

Tweet Triumvirate! Sometimes all that you really need to know is contained within 140 characters and, often, a corresponding link. Some examples:

And finally, we close with this month’s contribution from Crooked Numbers’ all-time contribution king: Oklahoma City RedHawks broadcaster Alex Freedman.

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After a sustained run of Crooked brilliance, July turned out to be a pretty tame month for Alex and his OKC cronies. But, by Crooked mortal standards, these are still pretty good:

I don’t know how crooked you can say these numbers even are. Pretty tame month and probably not worth inclusion in the main column anyway.

 *Between July 10-12, the RedHawks played four straight games in which one team was shutout. (Includes a doubleheader on the 12th.)

           July 10: W, 7-0

            July 11: L, 11-0

            July 12 (#1): L, 9-0

            July 12 (#2): W, 5-0

 *Along the same lines, the RedHawks pitched three shutouts July 8-12.  They had pitched three shutouts all season up to that point.

 *The RedHawks won the final four games of the month, scoring four runs each night

Thanks to Alex, as always, for the contribution. If you would like to work your way up the Crooked Numbers contribution ranks, perhaps to a sentinel or even an arch-duke, then please get in touch. The journey of 429 miles begins with a single step.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

A Quick Break From the Road: Crooked Nuggets!

Please believe me when I tell you that I have plenty of Midwest League “On the Road” content to share in the coming weeks, but also please believe me when I tell you that I have been writing lots of other great stuff as well. That’s my mission in life, really: to write great stuff and then bask in the profound indifference that it inevitably generates.

And now for something completely indifferent — Crooked Nuggets! This is the succinct yin to the more verbose yang that is Crooked Numbers, my MiLB.com column that features all the weirdest and wildest things that occurred on a Minor League Baseball field in the past month. Read the new edition of Crooked Numbers HERE, and then read this:

Crooked Nuggets — Notable instances of June 2013 Minor League on-field weirdness and statistical quirks, in 75 words or less!

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Losing Control – Four Myrtle Beach Pelicans hurlers combined to pitch a one-hitter against the Salem Red Sox, but Myrtle Beach lost the game by a 3-2 score as, in addition to the one hit, this quartet of hurlers also issued nine walks.

International League Juggernauts — During the NBA playoffs, the Norfolk Tides made the astute Twitter observation that their bullpen trio of Jon Rauch (6’11″), Mark Hendrickson (6’9″) and Adam Russell (6’8″) are a combined one inch taller than the starting front court of the Miami Heat. For those keeping score at home, that’s 244 inches for this Tides triumvirate against the Heat’s 243.

Get a Whiff of This: Of the 54 outs recorded in June 5′s ballgame between Wisconsin and Beloit, a staggering 33 of them came via the strikeout (16 by Beloit pitchers, 17 courtesy Wisconsin). Of the 18 batters who came to the plate during the ballgame, 16 struck out at least once, 11 struck out at least twice, five struck out at least three times, and one (Wisconsin Timber Rattler Chris McFarland) struck out four times.

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Get Out of Here! Even more staggering is this: of the 24 hits tallied by the Lancaster JetHawks and Stockton Ports on June 5, 11 of them left the park! Max Muncy led the way with three home runs, as his Ports slugged their way to a 13-7 victory. The 11 home runs tied a California League record last accomplished in 1962, while the Ports’ seven home runs fell one short of the record for most home runs by one team in a game.

Triples in Triplicate:  Back-to-back-to-back home runs are rare, but even rarer is the the three-base triumvirate that is back-to-back-to-back triples. That’s what Salt Lake’s Trent Oeltjen, Andrew Romine and Roberto Lopez accomplished in the fifth inning of June 2′s game against Colorado Springs, en route to securing a 10-1 victory. It was the second triple of the season for all three players, and in the ensuing month-plus only Romine has managed to hit another triple.

GG Ailin’ Over at Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh dives into the atrocious inning suffered by Las Vegas 51s reliever Gonzalez Germen against Tacoma on June 13. Germen came on to pitch the eighth inning and surrendered four home runs, marking just the seventh time since 2005 that this has occurred in the Minors. Since 2005 there has only been one pitcher to give up five homers in an inning, and fittingly he, too, has the initials GG: Glenn Gibson, who accomplished the ignominious feat as a member of the Carolina Mudcats in 2008.

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So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya – Indianapolis Indians manager Dean Treanor must have set some sort of record for “earliest ejection” on June 16, as he was tossed from the game while exchanging the line-up card at home plate. Treanor was still steaming from a call the umpiring crew had made the night before, and for more on that plus a whole lot of good writing in general please click HERE.

Something in the Way — The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Cedar Rapids Kernels played a four-game series from June 20-23, and in the final three games of that series a runner was ruled out after being hit with a batted ball. On June 21 (I was there!), the Timber Rattlers had the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Orlando Arcia was hit to end the ballgame. Cedar Rapids’ Jorge Polanco was hit while running to second in the second inning of June 22′s game (I was also there, trust me), and, finally, Byron Buxton was hit while running to second in the third inning Sunday.

(The above tidbit, like so many others, courtesy T-Rats announcer Chris Mehring who, as I write this, is live-tweeting his reactions to the 1996 John Travolta action film “Broken Arrow.”) 

Decisions, Decisions – Winston-Salem’s exemplary “Dashboard Blog” notes that this year’s MiLB “starts without a no-decision” leaders are Winston-Salem righty Chris Beck (8-8 in 16 starts) and, even better, Sacramento’s Andrew Werner (7-11 in 18 starts). I will make sure to monitor this situation as it develops.

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Talkin’ ‘Bout Both Generations – It’s been the question on everyone’s mind lately: have any professional pitchers out there faced both Delino Deshields Sr. and Jr? Lancaster JetHawks broadcaster Jason Schwartz believes he has found the answer: Ted Lilly.

Lilly, 37, pitched to Delino Deshields Sr. five times over the course of the 2000 and 2001 season, while Deshields was on the Orioles and Lilly a New York Yankee. Fast forward to June 30 2013, and Lilly, making a rehab start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, faced Deshields Jr. and his Lancaster JetHawks. Junior walked in his first plate appearance against the wizened Lilly, and laid down a sac bunt in his second.

Laying It Down – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (yes, them again) were defeated by the Kane County Cougars by a score of 4-3 on June 30. This despite the heroic efforts of T-Rats second baseman Alfredo Rodriguez, who tied a Midwest League record by laying down three sac bunts. Per Chris Mehring, the last time this had happened was two decades and a day before. Kane County’s Anthony Silvestri accomplished the feat on June 29, 1993.

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More Alex Freedman! 

Every month, Oklahoma City RedHawks broadcaster Alex Freedman gets in touch with a full-to-bursting round-up of the Crooked-est things he’s observed whilst logging time in his broadcast booth environs. Much of this month’s Freedman missive can be read in June’s “Crooked Numbers” column on MiLB.com. But, of course, there’s more. Take it away, Mr. Freedman:

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Alex Freedman: Crooked Numbers contribution king

On June 6 in game in Omaha, the RedHawks led 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth. A play with a fielder’s choice plus an error tied the game on what should have been a game-ending double play. Two batters later with runners at the corners, pitcher Jose Valdez did the now illegal fake to third, look to first move, resulting in a balk-off win for the Storm Chasers.

 - On June 10 in Oklahoma City, the Iowa Cubs defeated the RedHawks, 7-6. Iowa starting pitcher Yoanner Negrin earned the win, despite allowing five runs and 10 hits over five innings. The real kicker is Negrin struck out eight batters, so the RedHawks were 10-for-15 against him on balls put in play. Yet he still got the win. That still blows my mind.

This has been “Crooked Nuggets,”  a proud subdivision of the monthly MiLB.com column “Crooked Numbers.” Please, someone, get Jayson Stark (who inspired the column in the first place) to acknowledge its existence. My emails have gone unreturned.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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