Archive for May, 2010

Game 35: Post-Game Notes

May 31, 2010

— Iggy Suarez left the game in the 8th inning with a hamstring strain.  No word on the extent of the injury or the length of time he’ll miss, but it’s yet another injury for the Patriots.

— They call him Mr. Nasty.  But really, the nickname doesn’t fit Patriots starter Tom Mastny.  More mild-mannered than mean, Mastny looks more like a very tall Seth MacFarlane than anything evil…but it’s doubtful the opposition finds his offerings to be hilarious.

Mastny was solid again, putting together six innings of one-run baseball that kept his team in the game.  He needed around 110 pitches to get through his outing, which took place on the hottest day of the season to date at TD Bank Ballpark.

“They fouled a lot of pitches off,” Mastny said.

“I was just trying to be aggressive over the plate.  The catcher, I walked him three times, which you don’t want to do, so I threw some extra pitches there, but I was just trying to be aggressive and they were swinging and fouling a lot off.  Any time you’re being aggressive against an aggressive team, you’re going to throw a lot of pitches.”

As for the heat, the former Indians reliever told me that it can be difficult to adjust to on the mound.

“When it sneaks up on you like that, yeah, but just being a day game, it throws your schedule off a little bit,” he said.

“I tried not to think about it too much, though.  It’s just as bad for their pitcher and probably even worse for the catcher.  I just tried to go out there and battle and keep the team in it and we came away with the win, so it was good.”

Mastny improved to 3-1 on the season, and has settled into a groove after joining the team late.  After spending spring training with Cleveland, Mastny was on the shelf for about a month, but finally seems to have shaken the rust that came with that unwanted vacation.

“I feel a lot better,” he said.

“Obviously, there’s always things to improve on and stuff to work with.  But I’m starting to feel better, my body feels better.  Now it’s just a matter of throwing pitches where I want, when I want.  I’m getting there.”

— Michael Hernandez is another player who didn’t start the season with the team, added several weeks into the season by Patriots director of player personnel Brett Jodie.  That addition has finally started to pay dividends, as the former Bears standout has now homered in three straight games, including a two-run blast yesterday that proved to be the game-winning shot.

“It was a close game, and the pitching was good on both sides,” Hernandez told me.

“I’ve been getting good pitches to hit and had been missing them, and I finally got some good wood on one.  It got us two RBI and helped us win the ballgame.”

Hernandez seemed to feel his recent hot streak has been more luck than anything else.

“I feel like I’m just running into them,” he said.

“You don’t really try to hit home runs, you just want to make solid contact.  Luckily enough, they’ve been leaving the park.”

With two of the “big three” out of the Somerset lineup, the team has been relying on other members of the lineup to generate offense while Jeff Nettles and Josh Pressley continue to recover from hand and back injuries, respectively.  One day, it’s Matt Hagen.  For the Lancaster series, it was Jason Belcher.  And over the past three games, it’s been Hernandez.

“We all know guys are hurt right now; Nettles, Presley, those guys are a big part of our lineup,” Hernandez said.

“Guys have got to step up.  Every day, somebody new steps up.  We just keep going forward with what we have, and then when those guys get back, we’ll take off together.”

— Joe Holden is scheduled to see team doctors today (Tuesday) to further determine the severity of his injuries.  The Patriots spark plug fouled a ball into his face in Newark, leading to eye and eye socket injuries.  Holden was not with the team yesterday, instead spending the day with his family.

— Elliott Ayala replaced Suarez in the eighth inning, his first action since taking a fastball off of his batting helmet during the Newark series.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 35: Photo Gallery

May 31, 2010

Ramon Castro

Matt Hagen

Noah Hall

Tom Mastny

“First Base Coach” Jeff Nettles

Zach Smithlin

Corey Thurman

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 35: Revolution @ Patriots

May 31, 2010

Game 35 – York Revolution @ Somerset Patriots
May 31, 2010
TD Bank Ballpark – Bridgewater, NJ

Pitching Matchup: YORK Corey Thurman vs. SOM Tom Mastny

Starting Lineups:

YORK

Scott Grimes, CF
Jamar Hill, RF
Ramon Castro, 3B
Jose Herrera, DH
James Shanks, LF
Ian Bladergroen, 1B
Adam Witter, C
Chuck Jeroloman, SS
Liu Rodriguez, 2B

Corey Thurman, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Zach Smithlin, RF
Noah Hall, LF
Matt Hagen, 2B
Joe Burke, 1B
Michael Hernandez, DH
Jason Belcher, C
David Housel, 3B
Iggy Suarez, SS

Tom Mastny, P

Radio Links: Click here to listen to Adam Amin’s broadcast on WCTC

Live Box Score: The link to Pointstreak box score is here.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Scoreless through one…

Joe Burke with a one-out double to left in the second, the first hit allowed by Thurman…

And Somerset’s on the board.  With Zach Smithlin on first, Wayne Lydon and third and Noah Hall at the plate, Smithlin got picked off of first and was in a rundown…Lydon broke home and an errant throw allowed him to score easily.  1-0, Patriots, B3.

Jamar Hill just made a throw from right field that left a lot of people’s mouths open…guy has an absolute hose out there in right.  He didn’t get Matt Hagen — who singled to lead off the fourth inning — out, but man…that was a Keith Reed-esque gun.

Jason Belcher flips a single to right field and plates Hagen…it’s 2-0, Patriots, B4.

Ramon Castro with a double down the left field line that plates a run…it cuts Somerset’s lead in half as well…2-1, Patriots, T5.

Mastny at 106 pitches through 5 2/3…Ben Grezlovski’s warm in the pen.

Michael Hernandez takes a 1-1 Corey Thurman offering and just sneaks it over the right field wall to make this a 4-1 game, B6.

Grezlovski’s in for the 7th…

Kennard’s in for the 8th…

And Ryan McMahon is out tending to Iggy Suarez.  Not sure what’s happened here…but Suarez is out of the game and Elliott Ayala is in the game now at short, just two days after getting drilled in the head by a fastball on Newark.

Casey Cahill’s in the bullpen, but isn’t loose just yet in case he’s needed…

Cahill gets dry humped (yes, that’s actually how that’s referred to…) and Ryan Houston’s up, getting loose for the 9th.  A sac fly made it 4-2 in the 8th…now it’s B8.

Houston in for the 9th…

In-Game Photos: Post-game photos coming…

In-Game YouTube Videos:

Final Score: 4-2, Patriots

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 35: Pre-Game Notes

May 31, 2010

11:40 AM — I asked Brett Jodie about finding a player the caliber of Vito Chiaravalloti at this point of the season, which is pretty rare…

“It’s tough to do,” Jodie said.

“That’s what’s tough about this league.  You start out stacked at the beginning of the year, and then you move forward and lose some players to pick-ups and injuries and stuff, and it’s tough to replace them a lot of the time.  I did speak to Vito before the year, and we expressed interest in him and he expressed an interest in possibly coming back, so that was someone that I knew was available at some point in time, after the school year was over.  But yeah, it’s great to have a guy like that.  Smithlin looks good, too.  It’s fun to find guys you can add right then, you don’t have to fly them down, they can just drive down and be at your place.  So it’s very comforting.  Vito’s a great clubhouse guy and a good player.”

11:35 AM — Spoke to Jeff Nettles a bit in the clubhouse…he’s scheduled to have his cast taken off in about a week and begin rehab.  Looks like everything is on track for a return in a few weeks.

11:30 AM — Lineups are in…

YORK

Scott Grimes, CF
Jamar Hill, RF
Ramon Castro, 3B
Jose Herrera, DH
James Shanks, LF
Ian Bladergroen, 1B
Adam Witter, C
Chuck Jeroloman, SS
Liu Rodriguez, 2B

Corey Thurman, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Zach Smithlin, RF
Noah Hall, LF
Matt Hagen, 2B
Joe Burke, 1B
Michael Hernandez, DH
Jason Belcher, C
David Housel, 3B
Iggy Suarez, SS

Tom Mastny, P

11:15 AM — Spent about five minutes chatting with Joe Burke before the game for a feature for either here or the paper.  Other than that, not a whole lot to say…

Saw Vito Chiaravalloti get some extra hitting in over at the cage.  Don’t think Joe Holden is here.  Don’t have lineups yet…a lot of the guys are still rolling into the clubhouse.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Patriots Add Chiaravalloti, Smithlin; Holden Placed On DL

May 31, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Five-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced the signings of first baseman/outfielder Vito Chiaravalloti (pictured) and outfielder Zach Smithlin.

Chiaravalloti played for Somerset during the 2008 season and finished with 78 hits, 17 home runs, and 42 RBI in 102 games played.

He signed with the Camden Riversharks in 2009 and had an All-Star Season where he finished with a .272 batting average, 109 hits, 26 doubles, 12 home runs, and 60 RBI in 119 games played.

Before Chiaravalloti joined the Patriots, he played for the Atlantic League’s Road Warriors during the 2007 season and hit .296 with 116 hits, 32 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs, and 81 RBI in 112 games played during an All-Star season.

Chiaravalloti has experience in the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles organizations, reaching as high as Double-A with the Blue Jays.

Chiaravalloti has a minor league career .263 batting average with 625 hits, 159 doubles, 95 home runs, and 403 RBI in 691 games.

Smithlin has a season of minor league experience with the St. Louis Cardinals organization before spending the rest of his career with the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League.

He played in 30 games for New Jersey in 2009 and finished with a .262 average. Smithlin hit .280 with 99 hits, 12 doubles, 27 RBI, and 33 stolen bases for the Jackals during the 2008 season.

He has a career .288 batting average with 514 hits, 58 doubles, 154 RBI, and 157 stolen bases in 516 games played.

Both have been activated for Sunday’s game against the Newark Bears. In other team news, the Patriots have placed outfielder Joe Holden on the disabled list after an injury to his eye and eye socket he suffered on a foul ball against Newark on Saturday night.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue on the road until Monday, May 31st when the Patriots return to TD Bank Ballpark to take on the York Revolution at 1:05 pm. The game is a special Memorial Day Celebration with $1.00 Hot Dogs throughout the game. Great seats are available by stopping by the Patriots Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, by calling (908) 252-0700, or on-line at http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

It’s Miller Time…Again

May 31, 2010

(PR) Newark, NJ – Josh Miller dialed in his sixth quality start of the season, throwing 7.0 innings of two-run baseball and the offense put together a dozen hits as the Somerset Patriots defeated the Newark Bears 8-2 on Sunday night, taking the series from their cross-state rivals at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

After the Patriots gave him a three-run edge after the top of the third, Miller (4-2) would be hit for a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. After that, the right-hander sparkled allowing just two hits the rest of the way. Miller finished with four strikeouts, scattering seven hits, ending his night with a flourish retiring the last seven men he faced. Brian Henderson pitched a perfect eighth and after Carlos Hines worked into trouble, Jerry Dunn finished off the ninth to close out the game.

With a one-run lead, Michael Hernandez extended the advantage in the top of the fourth off of Newark starter Paul Fagan. Hernandez homered for the second consecutive night, going the opposite way into the right-center field gap, giving the Patriots a 4-2 lead. Somerset added another run in the fifth when Noah Hall singled home Iggy Suarez. Fagan (3-3) closed out 6.0 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, walking four and allowing six hits.

Hernandez notched a pair of base hits, including an eighth inning double, part of a three-run frame which put the final touches on the series win. Suarez doubled home a run in the inning and newly signed Zach Smithlin knocked home his first two Somerset RBIs on a single. Smithlin had two base hits in his Patriot debut while Hall also drove in two runs.

The first-place Patriots (20-14) now open up a quick home-and-home series with the second-place York Revolution (20-16). Tom Mastny (2-1, 3.96) and Corey Thurman (4-0, 3.48) will square off in the opener on Memorial Day Monday. Coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. from TD Bank Ballpark on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com. The Patriots will feature $1 hot dogs all game long and one lucky family will win a vacation courtesy of Star 99.1 FM.

NOTES: Hall extended his hit streak to six-games, driving in two runs for the second straight night…Hernandez, after his home run on Saturday night which snapped a 116 inning drought for the Patriots, homered for the second time in 10 innings…Matt Hagen also picked up an RBI, his fifth straight game with at least one…David Housel drove in his second run of the season, both coming in the last two games…before the game, Joe Holden, who was injured in Saturday’s game, was placed on the disabled list while Smithlin and former Patriot Vito Chiaravalloti were signed. Chiaravalloti pinch-hit for Hernandez in the ninth and struck out.

Sweeney, Muecke Updates

May 30, 2010

Brian Sweeney left the Patriots just 48 hours into spring training, signing with the Seattle Mariners.  Josh Muecke made a grand total of one regular season start before departing, plucked away by the Colorado Rockies.  One player seems to be headed back to the big leagues, while the other has struggled early on. 

Sweeney (pictured) has been tearing it up for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, going 2-0 with a team-leading 1.69 ERA in 12 relief appearances.  In 21 1/3 innings, the former big leaguer has a WHIP of just 0.98 (13 H, 8 BB) and has struck out 27 batters, tops among relievers on the team.  He’s also yet to allow a home run on the season.

As for Muecke, it’s been a rough go.  In his first six starts with Colorado Springs, he’s 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA.  He’s allowed 42 hits in 27 1/3 innings of work, but has walked only six batters while striking out 16.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Patriots Pummel Bears

May 30, 2010

(PR) Newark, NJ – The Somerset Patriots used a pair of four-run innings and 15 hits to pound the Newark Bears 10-3 on Saturday night, evening up a three-game series at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

Four different Patriots drove in a pair of runs starting with Michael Hernandez launching a two-run home run into left in the third inning, putting the Patriots on the board against James O’Donnell. After the Bears answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, the Patriots began a fifth-inning assault that ended after the Patriots batted around, plating four on five hits as Noah Hall drove in a pair while Matt Hagen and Jason Belcher used back-to-back doubles to bring home the other two, giving Somerset starter Mike Thompson a 6-1 cushion with which to work. O’Donnell (2-1) was pushed out of the game after the eighth man in the inning, Elliott Ayala was hit by a pitch. O’Donnell was done after 4.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs.

Thompson (2-1) put runners on base in every inning but pitched effectively over 5.0 frames, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out four. The Bears put two across in the bottom of the fifth inning but were shut out the rest of the way after Ben Grezlovski threw 3.0 innings of shutout relief. Hagen and Belcher would each drive in another run in the ninth, as did David Housel and JR Hopf to put the Bears away and Jeff Kennard would close the door for a Patriots victory.

Somerset (19-14) and Newark (14-19) square off on Sunday night in the rubber match of a three-game as Josh Miller (3-2, 3.83) and Paul Fagan (3-2, 4.20) will take the bump. Coverage begins at 5:55 p.m. from Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Hall reached base all five times, notching three hits, two steals, and a pair of walks…Belcher also tallied three hits…Hagen has a team-leading 25 RBI, his sixth multi-RBI game of the season…Hopf made his first start for Somerset behind the plate and accrued an infield single and an RBI double…Housel’s RBI was his first this season…three of the four ninth inning runs were unearned…Joe Holden started the game and exited after the first inning when he fouled a pitch into his face. Hernandez substituted in for Holden …Ayala also exited after being hit in the helmet in the fifth inning with Housel staying into play…the 10 runs marks the seventh time the Patriots have scored in double-digits…the scoring effort was just the fourth time in the last 12 games that Somerset has scored more than three runs.

Somerset Drops First Game In Newark

May 29, 2010

(PR) Newark, NJ – Brian Henderson put two on and Stephen Shults sent a shot into the left-field netting with the bases loaded off Casey Cahill in the seventh as the Newark Bears scored six unanswered runs, knocking off the Somerset Patriots 7-3 in the opener of a three-game series at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on Friday night.

Shults’ first home run of the season came at an opportune time. Henderson (1-1) had entered in relief of Jason Monti in the sixth inning where a Matt Hagen error allowed Shults to come in and score an unearned run, tying the game at 3-3. Shults would make a bigger impact the next frame as Henderson started the seventh and immediately saw Scott Spiezio double to left and move to third on a Daryle Ward groundout. After intentionally walking the left-handed John-Ford Griffin, Cahill came in to face former Patriot Teuris Olivares. Instead, left-hander James Cooper came in to pinch-hit for Olivares and was hit by Cahill, loading the bases, bringing Shults to the plate. After swinging and missing on the first pitch, Shults connected and lifted one deep to left field for a grand slam, giving the Bears their first lead of the night and one they would not relinquish.

Newark trailed 3-1 going to the bottom of the fifth where Monti allowed a run to score, beginning the Bear comeback. Monti was done after that, tossing five innings, scattering seven hits allowing a pair of runs, only one of which was earned.

The Patriots took a lead in the first inning off of Newark starter Vince Perkins, who last pitched in the Atlantic League in 2008. A pair of walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for a Hagen RBI groundout and a Joe Burke sacrifice fly. After Monti allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the frame, the Patriots added to their lead with a lone run in the fifth after Wayne Lydon scored an unearned run on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Hagen.

Somerset (18-14) returns to Newark for game two on Saturday night as Mike Thompson (1-1, 2.35) squares off with James O’Donnell (2-0, 1.91). Coverage begins at 7:00 from Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: The loss marks the first time the Patriots have lost back-to-back games since May 12-13…Hagen has a team-leading 23 RBI, his fifth multi-RBI game of the season… Lydon hit leadoff for the first time since Sunday as the designated hitter…newly acquired JR Hopf came in at first base for Burke…five of the seven hits came from the bottom third of the order…Jeff Kennard pitched a scoreless eighth…Elliott Ayala committed two errors while Hagen had the other. The three errors ties a season-high.

Patriots Add Catcher Hopf

May 28, 2010

Ryan Dunleavy of The Courier News reports that the Somerset Patriots have added catcher J.R. Hopf.

Hopf, 27, spent the first four years of his career in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and topped out at Triple-A.  A career .232 hitter, he spent all of last season in Double-A Huntsville.  He can also play first base on occasion.  A roster move will need to be made to get under the limit of 27.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com