Archive for September, 2010

Previewing Game One

Monday, September 13th, 2010

blueclawsplayoffslogoGreetings from Greenville, SC, the site of tonight’s South Atlantic League Championship Series, Game One, between the BlueClaws and Greenville Drive.

Here are tonight’s game notes.

RHP Trevor May
R: 7-3, 2.91, 65 IP, 51 H, 20 BB, 92 K
*9/8 at HIC (W): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K
9/1 vs AUG (W): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 7 K
8/25 at HIC (L): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K
8/18 vs GBO (W): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 0 BB, 12 K

Acquired: 4th round pick, 2008 Kelso, Washington

May, who turns 21 on September 23rd, makes his 13th start for Lakewood and second in the playoffs…He threw 6.2 shutout innings in the game one Division Series win over Hickory on Wednesday…Including last year, May has thrown 17.2 shutout innings in three BlueClaws playoff starts (9 hits, 6 walks, 24 strikeouts)…He joined the BlueClaws this year on the 4th of July after opening the season with Clearwater (5-5, 5.01)…May has won four of his last five and seven of his last nine starts (12 ER in 55.2 innings pitched with 83 strikeouts)…May threw six scoreless innings at Greenville on August 2nd (win) and five shutout in game three of last year’s Championship Series (no-decision)…Was 3rd in MiLB in strikeouts (182) between CLR and LAK…He committed to the University of Washington before signing with the Phillies.

LHP Drake Britton
R: 2-3, 2.97, 75.2 IP, 69 H, 23 BB, 78 K
*9/8 vs SAV (W): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K
9/2 at CHA (W): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
8/27 vs ASH (L): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R/2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Acquired: 23rd round pick, 2007 Waco, Texas
Britton, 21, makes his 2nd playoff start after winning the postseason opener on Wednesday against Savannah (at Greenville)…Has a 2.72 ERA since July 1st (3.70 before)…Made two starts before going on DL in April and came back on May 24th…Did not get to five innings until July 25th and has not exceeded five innings this year… Pitched just 11.2 innings last year between the GCL and Lowell and debuted with Lowell in 2008…Signed in August of 2007 for $700,000 after committing to Texas A&M…Had TJ surgery in the fall of 2008.


Add One to the List

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

2007 BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Drabek will make his big league debut on Wednesday for the Blue Jays, becoming the 36th former BlueClaw to appear in a big league game. Here are the other 35.

His father, former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, was a coach this year with Short-season Yakima in the Arizona organization, will get to see his son pitch for the first time this year.

Drabek, went 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA in 27 starts for AA-New Hampshire, whose season ended Friday when they were eliminated by Trenton in the Eastern League Division Series. He was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.

“It has been my life-long dream, I’m excited my chance has come,” Drabek said. “I definitely wanted to pitch some more this season.”

The Phillies took Drabek in the first round of the 2006 draft and he was traded to the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay deal in December.

He’ll go straight to the bigs from Double-A in part because the Blue Jays did not want to send him this year to Triple-A Las Vegas, a notorious hitters park in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.

Championship Series Rotations

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

trevormay11No huge surprises in the BlueClaws rotation for the SAL Championship Series which begins on Monday in Greenville:

Game One (Monday at Greenville)
RHP Trevor May (7-3, 2.91)
LHP Drake Britton (2-3, 2.97)

Game Two (Tuesday at Greenville)
RHP Julio Rodriguez (5-1, 1.44)
RHP Ryan Pressly (5-7, 3.72)

Game Three (Thursday at Lakewood)
RHP Brody Colvin (6-8, 3.39)
RHP Chris Balcom-Miller (7-7, 3.30)

Game Four (Friday at Lakewood)
RHP Jonathan Pettibone (8-6, 3.49)
LHP Manuel Rivera (5-9, 4.10)

Game Five (Saturday at Lakewood)
May vs TBA

More on the Lakewood starters below.

The BlueClaws turn to RHP Trevor May for game one, who threw 6.2 scoreless innings, with 13 strikeouts, to earn the win in game one of the Division Series at Hickory on Wednesday.

The 20 year-old, was drafted in the 4th round in 2008 (Kelso, Washington), has thrown 17.2 shutout innings in three post-season starts with Lakewood (including two last year). He went 7-3, 2.91 with the BlueClaws this year after going 5-5, 5.01 with Clearwater to open the season.


Three To Go

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

pettibone091110Congrats to the BlueClaws players and staff who knocked off Hickory 6-0 on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Park to advance to the SAL Championship Series beginning Monday night in Greenville.

Jonathan Pettibone pitched as well as one can pitch, throwing seven shutout innings on just one hit, one walk, two hit batsman and fanning a career high nine hitters.

“Pettibone set the tone right away. He was outstanding in every sense of the way. He probably could have gone longer but we’re going to need him again and we had enough runs where we didn’t have to throw him out there too long,” said manager Mark Parent.

Pettibone said later that he felt good from the outset and just wanted to go out there and do his thing.

That he did.

“Of course there was pressure, but the team was ready,” said Pettibone. “We were all excited, especially after the tough loss the night before. I knew the team was going to score some runs for me, especially getting shut down the night before. I just wanted to do the best I could to keep the guys in the game.”

Quick notes:

  • This was the first time the BlueClaws have ever faced elimination during a playoff game.
  • Sebastian Valle has three home runs in 10 career playoff games, including a two run home run in the first inning.
  • Jeremy Barnes’ RBI single in the first came about 5 minutes after alma mater Notre Dame lost to Michigan.
  • Trevor May / Julio Rodriguez / Brody Colvin / Jonathan Pettibone / Trevor May is your rotation for Greenville.

Lakewood hosts games three, four and five, with the last to “if necessary.” Order tickets here. We’ll have more when we get to Greenville, but needless to say it was a special day here at the park.

SAL Northern Division Championship Series Game Three

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

One for the money…The BlueClaws and the Hickory Crawdads meet tonight in game three of the Northern Division Championship Series tonight at FirstEnergy Park. Greenville gets the winner in a best-of-five series beginning on Monday in South Carolina.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Jonathan Pettibone (8-6, 3.49)
HIC: RHP Jake Brigham (5-5, 3.51)

Win Or Go Home…This is the first time in their history the BlueClaws are playing an elimination game in the post-season…They swept both Division Championship Series (2006 vs Lexington and 2009 vs Kannapolis) and both Championship Series losses (2006 vs Augusta and 2009 vs Greenville) came when the team led the best-of-five series 2-0…Hickory lost game three of the 2007 Northern Division Championship Series 9-4 to West Virginia.

Hot Hitting…Jeremy Barnes (3-6) and Keoni Ruth (5-9) are the only BlueClaws with hits in each of the first two games of this series…Barnes had a double in the 7th inning on Friday night and Keoni Ruth had a tenth inning double but was stranded at second base when the game ended (Valle 5-5-3 double play)…Jonathan Singleton, with one hit in each of the first two games, is the only other BlueClaws player with two hits in the series.

A Pitcher’s Series…Lakewood is 12-68 (.176) as a team in the series while Hickory is 11-65 (.169)…Leury Garcia and Jared Prince each have four hits for the Crawdads…The rest of the team has three combined.


Game Three Pitching Preview

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Here is the pitching preview for tonight, Jonathan Pettibone for Lakewood and Jake Brigham for Hickory.

Lakewood: RHP Jonathan Pettibone

8-6, 3.49, 131.1 IP, 114 H, 41 BB, 84 K

9/3 vs KAN (W): 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K
8/27 at HIC (W): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 5 K
8/21 at HAG (W): 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K
8/16 vs DEL (L): 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R/2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Acquired: Supplemental 3rd round pick, 2008 Yorba Linda, California

Pettibone, who turned 20 on July 19th, makes his 25th appearance for Lakewood and has won three starts in a row and four of his last five to end the regular season…Over his last 15 starts, since allowing six runs in 1/3 of an inning on June 6th, Pettibone is 6-4, 2.38, the third best ERA in the league over that time period…He has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 6th and has only allowed three earned runs once in that period (7/18 at Kannapolis)…After his June 6th start, his ERA sat at 5.98…He is 5-1, 2.06 over his last eight starts and gave up two runs in six innings at Hickory on 8/27, his lone start against the Crawdads this year…Drafted between Vance Worley (now in big leagues) and Trevor May (current teammate) in 2008…Committed to USC before signing.

Hickory: RHP Jake Brigham

6-5, 3.36, 83 IP, 66 H, 24 BB, 67 K

9/6 at GRE (W): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K
9/1 at ASH (W): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 6 K
8/26 vs LAK (L): 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K
8/21 vs DEL (W): 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Acquired: 6th round pick, 2008 Orlando, Florida

Brigham, 22, makes his 15th appearance with Hickory after opening the season with Bakersfield (1-5, 6.93)…He gave up five runs in five innings against Lakewood on August 26th, including a home run to Anthony Hewitt…Brigham gave up 10 runs in 2.1 innings (at AUG 7/24) in one game; without that start, his ERA would be 2.34…Began the year with Bakersfield (1-5, 6.93)…Went 2-11, 5.52 with Hickory last year… On 8/10 at Greensboro, he gave up hits to the first two batters and retired the next 27 for a complete game shutout…Missed entire 2008 season.

Onto Game Three

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

While the end result was not what BlueClaws fans had in mind, they were treated to a wonderfully entertaining game on Friday night, a true playoff game with a packed house, scoring chances, and drama. It was just that the wrong team won.

Here is the story in the Asbury Park Press.

Eighteen Lakewood hitters went down on strikes in the game.

“Yeah, that’s frustrating but it’s (Class) A ball, “Parent said. “It’s a big game, some of these guys first big game in front of a big crowd.

“Some of these guys put a little too much pressure on themselves.”

Lakewood had 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 7th, their best chance, but three of those 18 strikeouts (against Miguel de los Santos) ended the threat.

Lakewood went 0-8 with runners in scoring position and wasted some great pitching by Brody Colvin and Julio Rodriguez, who combined to give up just three hits and one run over eight innings.

This will be the first elimination game in BlueClaws history.

SAL Northern Division Championship Series, Game Two

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The BlueClaws can wrap up the Northern Division Championship tonight with a win over Hickory at FirstEnergy Park. First pitch at 7:05. Lakewood won game one 7-0 on Wednesday in Hickory.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Brody Colvin (6-8, 3.39)
HIC: LHP Robbie Erlin (6-3, 2.12)

Digging the Long Ball…The BlueClaws hit at least three home runs in a game just twice this year (four 6/4 at HAG, five 8/10 at WV) but hit three in game one of the series…Sebastian Valle (hit 16), Jonathan Singleton (hit 14) and Alan Schoenberger (hit 5) all went deep for Lakewood.

You Can’t Lose If They Can’t Score…In 13 post-season games (11-2), the BlueClaws have given up a total of 25 runs, 11 in one game (an 11-1 loss to Augusta in game three of the 2006 SAL Championship Series)…In Lakewood’s 11 all- time playoff wins, they have allowed a total of 11 runs.

Mirror Images…With the game one win, the BlueClaws are now 5-0 all time in the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series (2-0 vs Lexington in 2006, 2-0 vs Kannapolis in 2009, 1-0 vs Hickory in 2010)…They are 4-2 all time when they can eliminate the opponent and have never faced elimination in their three year postseason history.

J-Rod…Julio Rodriguez finished the regular season allowing just three earned runs in his last 39 innings (since re-joining the BlueClaws on July 26th)…He gave up 19 hits, 12 walks and struck out 68 in that stretch).


Game Two Pitching Preview

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Here is a pitching preview for tonight’s game two, with Lakewood leading one game to none:

Lakewood: RHP Brody Colvin
6-8, 3.39, 138 IP, 138 H, 42 BB, 120 K
9/5 vs KAN (ND): 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K
8/31 vs AUG (L): 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K
8/24 at HAG (ND): 5 IP, 10 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K
8/17 vs GBO (ND): 2 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Acquired: 7th round pick, 2009 Lafayette, Louisiana

Colvin, who turned 20 on August 14th, makes his 28th start of the year, the only member of Lakewood’s opening rotation who did not miss a turn all season…Since a May 12th start in Greenville when he allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings, Colvin is 4-3, 2.00…In his last four stats, Colvin has allowed 29 hits and nine earned runs in 16 innings pitched…One win since July 4th but on year has 10 starts this year in which he has given up zero or one earned run and not gotten the win…Won the first half clincher (6/20 vs Kannapolis in Lakewood)…Finished 8th in the league in ERA…Making his first start against Hickory, as Erlin is against Lakewood…Was on campus at LSU when he decided to sign with the Phillies at the deadline last August.
Hickory: LHP Robert Erlin
6-3, 2.12, 114.2 IP, 89 H, 17 BB, 125 K
9/5 at GRE (ND): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
8/31 at ASH (ND): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
8/24 vs DEL (ND): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R/2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
8/15 vs CHA (ND): 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R/3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Acquired: 3rd round pick, 2009 Santa Cruz, California

Erlin, who turns 20 on October 8th, makes his 29th appearance and 18th start…He opened the season in the bullpen by allowing one run in 30 innings before moving to the starting rotation on May 18th…Led the South Atlantic League in ERA (2.12), WHIP (0.92), and was second in opponents batting average (.213)…Left- handed batters are hitting .309 against Erlin while right-handed batters are hitting just .179 against him…Committed to Cal Poly out of Scotts Valley High School in Santa Cruz.

DeFratus on Team USA

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

2009 BlueClaws pitcher Justin De Fratus will represent Team USA in the upcoming Pan American Qualifying Tournament in San Juan. The team was announced today by USA Baseball and will be managed by Kannapolis manager Ernie Young.

Last year, BJ Rosenberg played on the team, which won the title in Germany.

De Fratus, 22, went 5-6, 3.19 with the BlueClaws last year. He opened 2010 with Clearwater, where had a 1.79 ERA and 15 saves. He was promoted to Reading in July, where he went 1-0, 2.19 with six saves.

Here is the full roster.

Congrats to Justin!

Last year, Rosenberg and Ernie Young were in Germany while the BlueClaws and Intimidators were facing off in the first round of the SAL Postseason. Rosenberg had been promoted to Reading a few weeks before but Young was away from his team, following the games with Rosenberg online. Lakewood won that series 2-0.

Here is what Rosenberg said of the experience in a Q&A with BlueClaws Blog in the winter:

  • Team USA? I didn’t know what to think about that. It was something you never think you’re going to get a chance to do. That was the highlight of my baseball career, having USA on my jersey.
  • What goes through your mind when you see USA on the jersey? Well, when we first got them, we got all the stuff that first night. I got to the hotel room and set the jersey on the bed and it hit me. Holy Cow. It had the flag on the sleeve, it was surreal. Playing for your country is really special. We were in Germany, and there were some US troops stationed over there. It felt like home for both of us, and I know they got a kick out of seeing us there.
  • Did you and Ernie Young do any trash-talking at the World Cup (Young managed Lakewood’s first playoff opponent, Kannapolis, and was a coach on the World Cup team. Their playoff series was going on at the same time as the World Cup training)?: We were going back and forth a little bit. I met him for the first time at the All-Star Game in West Virginia. He’s a great guy. We never made a bet, but we should have. I was pretty confident in our guys.
  • Were you able to follow the games? Yes. It was pretty nervewracking. I listened to a few games on the radio. In Europe, it was very early morning when the games were going on. I couldn’t sleep not knowing what was going on. It was really cool, wish I could have been a part of it.

Three Links

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Finishing up what will turn out to be about an 11 hour bus-ride back to Lakewood from Hickory, here are some links from last night’s game. on the BlueClaws Game one win, with comments from Trevor May.

“Having the experience of pitching in the playoffs last year helped,” said May, who was third in all of minor league ball this year with 182 strikeouts. “I came out hyped up last year and had to settle down. I went into this game settled down thinking I had to throw one pitch at a time, one batter at a time, one inning at a time and it worked out.”

May also talked to about his start.

“It was a combination of things,” said May, who allowed four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. “I got three strikeouts with fastballs on the letters, and those were all because they were set up with curveballs. [The Hickory hitters] were reading the break and there was no break. I could do that mostly because I was getting ahead early.”

Tony Graham recaps the night in the Asbury Park Press.

Recapping Game One

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Quite the night for the BlueClaws in game one (game story, box score). Trevor May threw 6.2 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts (a BlueClaws playoff franchise record).

“You play the entire year, you get to the postseason and when you get there, the games mean a lot more,” May said. “It’s like being back in Little League or playing for a state championship. Those are the best times of your life.”

May has now thrown 17.2 shutout innings in three BlueClaws playoff starts (two last year and the one tonight).

“There’s always a little extra in the playoffs,” he added. “You want to make sure you end the season with the gas tank at E.”

Hickory did not have two baserunners in an inning against May until the 7th, in which he came out with the bases loaded and two outs. Eric Pettis got through the jam needing just one pitch.

The BlueClaws got home runs from Jonathan Singleton, Sebastian Valle, and a mammoth three-run shot from the unlikely source of Alan Schoenberger. Schoenberger’s, a three run blast in the 5th inning, cleared 32 feet of signage (only 8 needed for a HR) and was his 6th of the season after hitting just one in his first three years in the system.

The BlueClaws are now 11-2 in the playoffs, having allowed 25 runs in 13 games, and 11 runs in the 11 wins.

Keoni Ruth was 3-4 and Jeremy Barnes 2-3 for the BlueClaws.

Brody Colvin (6-8, 3.39) and Robbie Erlin (6-3, 2.12) on Friday, 7:05 first pitch. Order tickets here.

SAL Northern Division Championship Series: Game One

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Greetings from LP Frans Stadium in Hickory, NC where tonight the BlueClaws & Hickory Crawdads open the 2010 South Atlantic League Postseason at LP Frans Stadium. It is a gorgeous evening and should be an exciting game.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Trevor May (7-3, 2.91)
HIC: RHP Neil Ramirez (10-8, 4.43)

May Day…May, 20 (turns 21 on September 23rd), makes his 12th start for Lakewood after opening the season with Clearwater, where he went 5-5, 5.01…He was sent to Lakewood on July 4th when LHP Matt Way went to Clearwater…He threw 11 shutout innings over two starts in last year’s SAL Post-Season after going 4-1, 2.56 with the BlueClaws during the 2009 regular season…Gave up four runs in five innings on 8/25 at Hickory, his lone start against the Crawdads…He struck out at least nine hitters in six of his 11 starts with Lakewood and the 14 that he struck out on 7/26 at Delmarva tied a franchise record (Robinson Tejeda in 2001 and Jason Knapp in 2009)…Between Clearwater and Lakewood, ranks 3rd in MiLB with 182 Ks on the year and 8th in walks with 81 (4th round pick in 2008).

On Ramirez…Ramirez, 21, makes his 29th appearance and 27th start…He beat Lakewood by allowing one run on three hits over six innings on August 25th…Ramirez had an ERA of 5.47 through June but is at 3.20 since…Has pitched into the seventh inning on just three occassions (last 8/30)…9.02 Ks/9 is second among SAL starters…Went 3-6, 4.75 with Hickory last year…Originally committed to Georgia Tech before signing with the Rangers (44th overall pick in 2007).


Barnes Checks In Before Game One

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Before Wednesdsay’s playoff game one at Hickory, we sat down with BlueClaws 3B Jeremy Barnes for a quick pre-game interview…

You clinched on June 20th and have been waiting since then…Ready to go? Yep we’re excited. Ready to get rolling. We’ve been waiting for a long time now. Hopefully we can get out to a good start. We’re real excited and anxious to get going.