Lightning travel to New Milford to take on the Blazers.
Game 1: Perdomo @ Greene
For 4 starts, Shane Greene was the Cinderella of the BDBL, as he lead all pitchers in almost every statistical category. Well, tonight the clock struck midnight.
Top 1, Moss goes yard for a 2 run lead and Harrison roped a 2 RBI single for a quick 4-0 lead.
Top 2, Moss doubles in Hundley to make it 5-0.
Bottom 2, a Saunders RBI double and Garcia sac fly pull NM to 5-2.
Bottom 3, a Betts HR made it 5-3.
Top 4, Perdomo and Hundley walk and Bruce singles. For some strange reason, even though Greene was clearly tired, I decided to have him pitch to Frazier even though I had a pitcher (a lefty) warmed up. Bad move. Grand Slam. 9-3 Lightning.
Bottom 5, a Dietrich sac fly and Betts RBI double pull the Blazers to within 4 runs.
Bottom 8, Grandy scores on a WP. 9-6 Lightning.
Top 9, Moss goes deep again to make it 10-6. That, my friends, is how this story ends.
WP Perdomo (2-0)
LP Greene (2-1)
Game 2: Eickhoff @ Tanaka
Bottom 1, Betts dancing off of third distracted Eickhoff and he balked to score the first run of the game.
Top 3, after an Eickhoff lead off double, Frazier reaches on a 2 out IF single to tie the game.
Top 7, Gomes HR’s for a Lightning 2-1 lead.
Bottom 7, a Saunders RBI single ties the game. Grandy unties it with ah 2 RBI double and Garcia gets the RBI on a groundout to give NM the 5-2 lead.
Top 9, Kimbrel on and K’s Crisp. Rosario PH’s and Tulo throws a ball away. Hardy K’s for out #2 and then Kinsler boots a ball to bring the tying run to the plate. Park PH’s and walks on a borderline call. Kimbrel shows some obvious frustration at the call and then serves up a GRAND SLAM to Bruce. Frazier walks and Moss doubles to put Granite State up 2 runs, 7-5. (all unearned)
Bottom 9, Gomez in for the save and Kinsler tries to atone for the E by lacing a one out single. Grandy triples him home. Carpenter (who started 0 games this series because of usage) was IBB’d to set up the DP. Tulo then tries to make up for his E and rips a single to center. Tie game.
Bottom 11, Blazers load the bases but Bourne pops up to end the threat.
Bottom 12, with 2 outs and Freeman on first, Saunders plays the role of hero with a bomb deep to right to give the Blazers the (not should have been) walk off 9-7 win.
WP Bowman (2-1)
LP Cosart (0-1)
BS Kimbrel (1) (in epic fashion)
Game 3: Nolasco @ Quintana
After Greene lasting all of 3 innings in game 1 and extras in game 2, I needed some depth from Quintana, especially because I was trying to avoid using the way overused Devenski.
Top 4, a Hardy RBI double and Moss (fuck this guy, 232/289/375 vs L) RBI groundout and a Crisp RBI double put GSL up 3-0.
Bottom 4, a Kinsler sac fly make it 3-1 .
Top 6, a Moss double make it 4-1.
Top 8, a Crisp double scores Moss and it’s 5-1.
Bottom 8, Freeman rips a 3 run HR with no outs to pull NM within a run. a Kinsler single and Saunders walk put the tying run 180 ft away, with no outs. Grandy K’s and Tulo K’s. Carpenter walks to load the bases and Castro grounded out the end the threat.
Bottom 9, Matt Cain, THE Matt Cain, allows a 2 out single to Freeman, who then makes it to second on a WP, but Kinsler pops out to SS allowing Granite State to escape 5-4.
WP Nolasco (1-2)
LP Quintana (3-2)
S Cain (1)
The comeback falling short made New Milford lose it’s first one run game of the year.
Game 4: Volquez @ Moore
Top 2, a Hundley double scores Moss and Volquez and Harrison drives in Hundley for a 3-0 GSL lead.
Bottom 2, Blazer bats finally had enough of this shit, with a Tulo RBI single, Castro 2 RBI single and Dietrich 2 RBI triple for a 5-3 lead.
A 7th inning Grandy RBI double and 8th inning Betts RBI double hold off Moss who had 2 more hits in the Blazer 8-3 win to get the split.
WP Moore (3-1)
LP Volquez (0-4)
Blazers finish the chapter at 22-6, 2 games up on Salem in the McGowan.
Moss went 8-18 with 3 2B, 2 HR and 7 RBI.
At the conclusion of the draft, management felt two changes had to be made to the 35 man roster. “These are obviously moves with next year in mind,” stated GM Anthony Peburn. The Blazers said Goodbye to OFs Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Brent Eibner and picked up rehabbing free agents and familiar faces Brett Anderson and Tyler Collins. “We feel Brett can tutor the kids at AAA and really help them develop for next year. We also couldn’t pictute Brett on any other club.” Collins could be a replacement in CF if Granderson gets hurt and be a September call up. “We think both players could contribute to the big club next year.”
Injuries mar Blazers in series.
It was the one thing that could not happen. The one thing Blazer fans have dread over the last eight years. The one thing no one ever spoke of. The biggest “what if” in New Milford. Yesterday, that “what if” became the biggest reality in Blazers history. Mr. All Star. Mr. CY. Mr. MVP. Mr. HOFer. Mr. 40 starts a year. Mr. All Everything. Mr. Dependable. Mr. Blazer himself, Clayton Kershaw pulled up lame during his warm ups and went to the training room. A MRI later confirmed the worst fear any Blazer fan could think of. Clayton Kershaw is going on the DL courtesy of a herniated disc in his lumbar spine. “This of course is a terrible blow to the franchise, but we are confident we are still a playoff caliber team,” stated NM GM Anthony Peburn. “Trainers have assured us that with an epidural steroid injection and rest he will only miss 5 starts this chapter. We will probably then have to ease him back into the rotation and that should give us a great chance to have him at full strength for the stretch run. ” “It just kinda grabbed me,” said Kershaw. “The pain was unlike anything I’ve felt before but I knew I couldn’t pitch through it.”
Because of this injury, Shane Greene will be asked to step in and fill Kershaw’s rotation spot. “I told Kersh I had some pretty big shoes to fill,” stated Greene. “But Kersh just smiled and told me the only shoes I have to fill are my own. That got me to calm down a bit.”
It has been years since Kershaw has not started 7 games in chapter one. It looks like he won’t start many in chapter 2, either, opening the door for a very good Salem team to make a run to the top of the division. “We will battle with who we have,” proclaimed Peburn. “I think we will be fine.”
Meanwhile, the Blazers, minus Kershaw, traveled to South Loop for the first time to face the Furies.
Game 1: Greene @ Maeda
Top 2, a Blazers take advantage of some wildness by Maeda as Castro draws a bases loaded walk to take a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Greene does his best Kershaw impersonation going 5 innings and only giving up 4 H and a walk with 5 K’s and no ER.
Boshers and Bowman escaped a bases loaded jam getting PH Joyce to K to end the threat in the 6th. Devenski came on for the 7th and 8th for some very uneventful frames and Kimbrel closed out the 9th with 2 K’s as Blazers hold on for the 1-0 shutout win.
WP Greene (1-0)
LP Maeda (1-1)
S Kimbrel (3)
Game 2: Tanaka @ Nelson
Top 2, Blazers score 2 on a Tulo RBI double and Tanaka RBI single.
A 5th inning Carpenter HR made it 4-0 Blazers.
Bottom half, an Inciarte single put the Furies on the board for the first time 4-1.
Top 6, Tulo goes yard for a 6-1 lead.
Bottom 7, a Hicks solo shot pulled South Loop to 6-2.
Bottom 9, Calhoun HR’s to lead off the frame and Martinez then singles. Kimbrel got up as fast as he could and after allowing a one out walk to bring the tying run to the plate, he K’d that tying run twice to preserve the Blazer 6-3 win.
WP Tanaka (2-0)
LP Nelson (0-1)
S Kimbrel (4)
Game 3: Quintana @ Porcello
Furies furie all over Quintana early with two in the first courtesy of Cain and Calhoun RBI’s and one in the second on an Eduardo Nunez HR, but Blazers tie it in the second on a Tulo 3 run bomb.
Bottom 4, Porcello helps his own cause with a RBI double and a 4-3 lead.
Top 6, Saunders, who started the season 1 for 14 with 10 K’s ripped a RBI single to tie it. A Tulo single and Castro sac fly make it 6-4 Blazers.
Bottom 7, a VMart RBI IF single pull Furies to 6-5.
Top 9, Saunders with anther RBI single made it 7-5.
Bottom 9, I had a feeling Kimbrel was tired but he wasn’t red, so I went with him. After getting a groundout, he walked the next 2 to bring the winning run to the plate. He was visibly pissed when he was yanked from the game. Boshers came on to get Calhoun, and then Recker PH for Walters. NM counters with McGowan the righty killer but Recker wins the battle with a single plating 2 and tying the game at 7.
Top 12 with one out and runners on second and third, Tulo is IBB’d but Dietrich hits a ball deep enough to plate a run. 8-7 Blazers.
Bottom 12, Treinen comes on and after a 2 out walk, K’s Ramirez who was not only the last pitcher on the roster, but the only batter as well as Blazers win 8-7.
WP Cervenka (1-0)
LP Ramirez (0-1)
S Treinen (1)
Freeman and his Iron rating were lost for the rest of the series midway through this game.
Game 4: Moore @ Samardzija
Top 2, Saunders goes yard for a 1-0 Blazer lead and make it 4 games in a row scoring in the second inning.
A Garcia RBI single in the 4th made it 2-0 Blazers.
Top 5 a Grandy Man solo shot and Garcia bases loaded walk make it 4-0 Blazers.
Bottom 6, VMart and Calhoun go back to back to cut the Blazer lead in half, 4-2.
Bottom 9, Devenski on for the tired Kimbral and gets the Furies in order as Blazers get the sweep and 6th Blazer save in 6 wins for the Blazers.
WP Moore (1-1)
LP Samardzija (1-2)
S Devenski (1)
Blazers hold a one game lead over Salem in the McGowan Division.
After a one year hiatus, the tradition continues.
Game 1: Strasburg @ Kershaw
The very first play of the season for the storied NM defense is an error on a foul pop fly by Tulo.
Top 4, after a Carpenter error, Werth goes yard for a 2-0 Tipper lead.
A Miggy RBI double made it 3-0 in the 5th.
Bottom 7, Freeman goes yard to pull New Milford to 3-1.
Bottom 8, with 2 outs, Betts with an RBI single and Freeman with a 2 RBI double off of lefty Montgomery and Kimbral comes on in the 9th for his first save as Salem wastes Stras’s gem (7 IP, 3H, 1 R, 2BB, 9 K) in a Blazer 4-3 win.
WP Devenski (1-0)
LP Mongomery (0-1)
S Kimbrel (1)
Game 2: Matz @ Tanaka
Tanaka goes 7 strong with 1 ER and is backed by a McCann HR, Matz run scoring balk, and Freeman RBI double as Kimbrel gets save #2 in a Blazer 3-1 win.,
WP Tanaka (1-0)
LP Matz (0-1)
S Kimbrel (2)
Game 3: Gray @ Quintana
Up 4-1 in the 7th on the strength of a Grandy solo shot and Betts 3 run bomb, Blazers pen implodes to the tune of 10 runs in the last 3 innings as Salem wins a laugher 11-4.
WP Montgomery (1-10
LP Bowman (0-1)
Game 4: Guerra @ Moore
Moore is good with 2 ER in 5 IP but Guerra dominates with 0 ER and 3 H in 6 IP. JC Ramirez knocked in 2 for Salem in a 3-1 Salem win and series split.
WP Guerra (1-0)
LP Moore (0-1)
S Solis (1)
As usual, the New Milford Blazers farm system won’t excite prospect pundits but is chock full of gamer type baseball players and pitching, pitching and pitching. “We do a fantastic job with pitching development,” boasts GM Anthony Peburn. “For some reason, we can’t develop top hitting prospects but we keep churning out heady, gamer types that seem to exceed expectations.” This year is no different.
The AAA Hartford Illuminati is lead by a solid starting rotation headed by Blazer #2 prospect and 1M bonus baby Yohander Mendez. Mendez is a 21 year old left hander with TOR stuff and has the #2 pitch in the system with his devastating change up. He is backed by #10 prospect Chih-Wei Hu. The 23 year old had the greatest assortment of pitches in the system in a fastball, slider, curve, change, and palmball. Righty Dinelson Lamet is a 24 year old with above average fastball, slider and change. Lamet is the #11 ranked prospect in the system. The #4 starter at AAA is the #15 ranked prospect in righty Nick Kingham. Kingham has a fastball, curve and change arsenal with very good control. Rounding out the AAA rotation is #17 prospect Austin Voth. Voth is a 24 year old righty with a solid fastball, slider, curve and change package. All 5 starters have the potential to reach the Blazers roster next season, which is good as the reliable Jose Quintana is set to hit free agency. “Any one of those guys can step up and contribute,” said Peburn. The closer is Dan Altavilla. Altavilla (#8) has a 98 MPH fastball and the third best pitch in the system with his double plus slider.
The hitters are lead by the catching tandem of Garrett Stubbs (#6) and Bruce Maxwell (#7). Both left handed hitters, it is hoped that as least one will be ready for the show next year as Jason Castro is a free agent. “Stubbs is an intriguing guy,” said Peburn. “He is small, but is a great receiver, excellent defensively, and can be an average hitter. Maxwell has a little more polish and pop, and because of this, he may get a cup of coffee with the big club this year. If Castro gets hurt, Bruce will get the call.”
The OF is lead by #9 prospect Anthony Santander. The 21 year old switch hitter has 70 power but will need to work on his defense if he is to stay in the OF. #14 prospect JaCoby Jones is a great athlete who has played SS and 3B, but is now in CF where his D projects as plus.
The IF is led by SS Erik Gonzalez (#13). A true SS with a plus arm, the right handed hitter may be better suited for a utility role a la Greg Garcia. The 2B is Chad Pinder (#16). The righty is like Gonzalez where a utility role is possible but is going to develop at 2B. Both are aggressive hitters and don’t walk much, which is not the Blazer philosophy at the plate. 2B Max Schrock (#18) embodies what the Blazers get out of their hitting prospects. His simple, consistent, left handed swing and steady glove could make a sneaky starting 2B at the big league level.
The A ball Nestle Quik are also led by pitching. Anchoring the rotation is Mr 105 MPH himself Michael Kopech. The #1 prospect in the system has a double plus fastball which is the best pitch in the system and sits at 98 deep into games, flashes a plus slider and developing change. The #2 starter is the #3 prospect in draft day steal Max Fried. The lefty was originally drafted by the Blazers and traded for Matt Carpenter. “When we saw he was dropped by Southern Cal last year, he immediately went to the top of our board,” explaind Peburn. 18 year old Jose Albertos (#5) gives the Blazers 3 potential aces in the rotation. He has a 98 MPH fastball, plus curve and solid average change PLUS good control. “He’s a long way off, but he can be a REALLY good one,” said Peburn. Tomohiro Anraku (#12) is the #4 starter. Like Albertos, he is a long way off but has killer stuff. The #5 starter is lefty Kodi Medieros (#19). Medieros is an enigma and will be given one more year to show the stuff that made him a first round pick by the Blazers a few years back.
The hitters are lead by all-everything 2B Luis Urias. The #4 prospect in the system is an excellent defensive 2B, walks way more than he K’s and can square any pitch. “He tracks pitches better than any 19 year old I’ve ever seen,” said Peburn. “He squares up on double plus heat AND double plus off speed stuff. He can tell you what the pitch is coming out of the pitchers hand. Very impressive eye.”
As always, the future is bright in New Milford.
New Milford AP
As New Milford GM Anthony Peburn approached the podium, he seemed to have more swagger than usual. It was a Ric Flair kind a swagger.
“It’s a GREAT day for the Blazers,” he said.
“Could that auction have gone any better for the Blazers?” asked Norm Cummings of the New Milford Spectrum.
“Norm, it was a hell of an auction for us,” replied Peburn. “We made the gaffe with two first basemen, but corrected it. We wanted Freeman, Kinsler and either Grandy or Cain. Sure, we also wanted one of the closers, but we wound up with the next best thing. When you add a #3, #4, and #5 hitter to your line up AND a closer, it’s a pretty good feeling. The addition of Kinsler cost someone his job, who won’t be named right now as the trade is pending and Niewuenhuis just lost his job to Grandy. Grandy is the type of hitter who will do well in our park. He K’s a lot but he will drive in a ton of runs for us.”
“How did the trade for Kimbrel take shape?” asked Marty Bailstock of the Hartford Courant.
“Well, Marty, Chicago showed the most interest, so we tried to work solely with them. We had a few teams kicking the tires but didn’t want to commit to anything as they were also trying to win bids for first basemen in the auction. He initially offered his own 5M pick which we rejected as he was to pick right before us if we had the money to do so. We were talking about a multiple pick deal with a 3M rounder included when he acquired the 5M pick from South Loop. We figured 5 picks into round 3 should get us one of the guys we wanted and it panned out.”
“You still seem about 100 innings short and your next pick is in the 1M round. What are you going to do about that?” asked Sam Dickwad of the Salem Times.
“Sam, it’s only less than 100 innings. We will be fine. As of right now, we can slide Devenski into the starter role to make up for Kershaw and pretty much not lose a beat, as he is just like Kershaw and better than anyone else’s #1 starter. We also have a trade to be completed so we will be fine. Hell, if we had to start YOU once a chapter we can still win 100 games.”
“Predictions for the season?” asked Cummings.
“100 wins, first place, 3 games over Salem. Keep in mind, this Salem team is the best one Glander has put on the field in a long time. It is WAY better than that team he over-hyped a few years ago. This one is the real deal and a World Series contender. It will be neck and neck, but I think landing a third top bat to upgrade in CF AND a closer gives us the edge. We’ll just have to play 160 games and see how it shakes out.”
In an article just to painful to write, the Blazers were eliminated from the playoffs in the OLCS for the 1,ooo,oooth time, 4th time overall by Los Altos. The Blazer’s potent offence was lulled to sleep by Los Alpo’s pitching and was swept. “We now realize what makes us such a good team in a 4 game series and a terrible one in a seven game series,” said GM Anthony Peburn. “Corrections will be made in 2017 and you won’t see your typical Blazer team out there, other than winning a ton of games and the division.”
Blazers @ Giants
Game 1: Kershaw @ Simon
Kershaw goes 8, giving up just 2 hits, one being a HR to Gyorko.
Simon goes 4 giving up 2 H and 2 BB but 0 ER. Jim then goes to Rusin who gives up 2 ER on a Peralta 2 RBI single.
With free baseball, McGee comes on in the 10th and Davis greets him with a walk off HR and a Giants 3-2 win.
WP Torres (2-3)
LP McGee (0-2)
Game 2: Iwakuma @ Lohse
Iwakuma goes 7 giving up an unearned run on 4 H and 2 BB.
Lohse gives up an RBI single to Peralta, a 2 run bomb by Peralta, and Johnson, Tulo and Robinson solo shots.
Up 6-1 in the 8th, Thornton comes on and gets 2 outs that sandwich a bunch of hits and a Grand Slam by Hechavarria. 6-5 Blazers.
KRod lets the tying run on base to start the 9th but then K’s the side. Blazers win 6-5.
WP Iwakuma (13-4)
LP Lohse (1-4)
S KRod (28)
Game 3: Anderson @ Greene
Top 1, Giants finally get Peralta out, but it produces an RBI and a 1-0 lead.
Top 3, Peralta doubles scoring 2, Lowrie triples scoring 2 and Dietrich grounds out for a 6-0 lead.
Top 4, a Carpenter RBI single pushes the lead to 7-0 and an inning later Peralta kills a pitch over the right field wall for a 8-0 lead. Blazers win going away 8-3.
WP Anderson (11-8)
LP Greene (0-2)
Game 4: Quintana @ Bolsinger
Bottom 1, a Votto 2 run bomb puts NY up 2-0.
Top 3, Peralta continues his assault on Giants pitching with a 2 run single to tie it.
A Davis 6th inning double puts New York up 5-2.
Top 7, a Peralta bases loaded walk and Tulo RBI infield single pull NM within a run a 5-4, but NY gets one back in the bottom half on a WP.
Top 8, with 2 outs, Carpenter HR’s to pull NM within one run and Teixeira PH’s for his first PA of the series with a HR to tie the game. Jim then goes to game one starter Simon, who allows a double to Choo, and RBI double to Peralta for the lead, and a RBI single to Tulo to put the Blazers up 8-6.
KRod does his job in the 9th for a Blazers series win.
WP Warren (7-5)
LP Simon (2-3)
S KRod (29)
Peralta goes beast mode in the series with a 12 for 16, 13 RBI performance pushing him to 95 RBI on the year.
Blazers are 40 games above 500 at 82 and 42 with a magic number of 14. Going 18-18 down the stretch will extend the Blazers record with 5 straight 100 win season. 8 more wins will extend the Blazers record to 8 straight 90 or more win seasons.
Blazers play a home and home series with Kansas City.
Game 1: Ventura @ Kershaw
Bottom 1, Kelly Johnson lines a 2 out 2 RBI single followed by a 3rd inning Peralta RBI single and Johnson RBI groundout.
Meanwhile, Kershaw is looking like the Kershaw expected.
Until the 6th.
Top 6, Boulevards hit 5 straight singles to start the inning. Off of Clayton Kershaw. He then buckled down with a K and GIDP to end the threat holding a 4-2 lead.
Blazers win the opener 5-3.
WP Kershaw (14-5)
LP Ventura (7-4)
S KRod (20)
With the win Kershaw ties the immortal Andy Pettitte for 8th on the all time wins list at 158.
Game 2: Corbin @ Tanaka
Bottom 1, Raburn hits his 3rd HR of the year for a 1-0 lead.
Bottom 2, Blazers strike for 4 more on a Tanaka RBI double, Carpenter RBI single and Raburn 2 RBI double.
A 5th inning Choo single is followed by a Peralta 2 run bomb and Choo RBI triple later in the game as Blazers roll 9-2
WP Tanaka (9-2)
LP Corbin (0-2)
Game 3: Anderson @ Happ
Series shifts to KC and the home team goes up early in the first on a Prado RBI single
Blazers tie it in the second on a Choo solo shot.
Top 4, Blazers go up 2-1 on a Ryan RBI single.
Boulevards tie it on a 5th inning Alther RBI triple.
Bottom 9, Warren on for his third inning of work and with 2 outs, the thought crossed my mind to walk Rodgers, as his RH split could hurt me. Of course I 1-1’d him and hit cranked one deep to left to give KC the walk off win.
WP Tolleson (3-2)
LP Warren (4-4)
Game 4: Quintana @ Kazmir
KC scores 2 in the first on Morales RBI single and Altherr RBI double.
Top 2, Nava singles up the middle scoring one but Quintana is gunned at home.
Top 9, Tolleson on for his second inning of work and having thrown 11 pitches the game before and having gotten out of a bases loaded jam including a runner at third with one out the inning before gets the Blazers 1-2-3 for the win.
WP Kazmir (9-7)
LP Quintana (9-6)
S Tolleson (21)
Blazers are in serious jeopardy of having their record chapter win streak end with one series left against a tough Flagstaff squad.
The New Milford Blazers had a busy chapter 2 with a few faces changing on the big club and in the minors.
Who’s here? RP Jake McGee, IF Brendan Ryan, C Trevor Brown, SP Tyler Wilson, CF Drew Stubbs, and 3B Garin Cecchini.
Who’s gone? Aaron Thompson, Amir Garrett, Andy Ibanez, Keon Broxton, Tyler Collins and Christhian Adames.
For the big club, the Blazers add a true back of the bullpen arm in lefty Jake McGee replacing the ineffective Aaron Thompson. Brendan Ryan was added to help with MI PA’s vs lefties replacing Tyler Collins. Collins gets the boot after flipping the bird to fans who booed him after misplaying a ball in CF.
On the farm, the Blazers re-aquire rehabbing Drew Stubbs to play CF in AAA with rehabbing Daniel Nava and Michael Saunders and also re-aquire Garin Cecchini to play 3B for the Illuminati. “We feel a veteran presence is necessary in Hartford in the OF right now,” explains GM Anthony Peburn. “We know Nava and Stubbs and they are comfortable playing for us to try to make the club next year.”
Needing a bigger battery presence, New Milford acquired power hitting C Trevor Brown, who will bat 7th and P Tyler Wilson, who is known for his groundball tendencies. “We feel 1/3 of our Hartford club can contribute in 2017, which is pretty good,” said Peburn. “We feel the future talent we got this chapter is equal to the talent we traded away.”