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Link Report for Saturday 4/11 - Best Brewer affiliate talent of the Link Report era?


Mass Haas

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Saturday's Daily Menu:

 

All times are Central

 

Colorado Springs: LHP Nick Additon at home vs. Nashville (Athletics), 5:35 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime

 

Free Live Audio Link

 

We welcome Dan Karcher, who is the longtime play-by-play voice of the Sky Sox; follow him on Twitter @SkySoxKarch

 

MiLB.TV -- for subscribers; all Colorado Springs games, home and away, will be available to watch via MiLB.TV's $49.99 season-long package ($12.99 to pay for a single month). The audio feed is from the home team. The video of each game is archived online, which is a nice feature. All MiLB.TV details available at the link.

 

NOTE: Notice that on MiLB.TV's page, you can click on "Filter", then "Milwaukee Brewers", and you'll see just the Crew's organizational TV lineup.

 

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Biloxi: LHP Hobbs Johnson at Pensacola (Reds), 6:15 PM pre-game, 6:30 gametime

 

Free Live Audio Link

 

We also welcome Chris Harris as the very first play-by-play voice of the Shuckers! Follow Chris on Twitter @CHarris731. We'll be looking off to his very promising "Shuck Dynasty" blog. All games, home and away, are scheduled to be radio broadcast.

 

MiLB.TV - Seven of the ten Southern League teams telecast their home games, and Biloxi staff indicates it is hopeful it will be eight when the new stadium opens.

 

NOTE: This opening series in Pensacola will be broadcast on MiLB.TV (with the Blue Wahoos audio feed).

 

**********

 

Brevard County: RHP Brandon Woodruff at Daytona (Reds), 5:35 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime

 

Free Live Audio Link

 

Dave Walkovic returns as the play-by-play voice of the 'Tees; follow the Brevard broadcast booth staff on Twitter @BCManateesRadio, as all games are scheduled to be broadcast in 2015.

 

No Florida State League games are available via MiLB.TV.

 

**********

 

Wisconsin: LHP Zach Hirsch at Burlington (Angels), 6:10 PM pre-game, 6:30 gametime

 

Free Live Audio Link

 

Chris Mehring is back to do his customary fantastic work as the Voice of the Rattlers. Follow him on Twitter @CMehring; we'll link to Chris' infamous blog often -- Rattler Radio.

 

NOTE: Forty-two (!) of the Rattlers' 70 home games will be broadcast on TV this season. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (9) and WACY-TV My NEW32 (34) will split duties. We'll let you know when and who, and remember to refer to the Rattlers' full TV schedule so you can coordinate your DVR activity.

 

***

 

So, for the $49.95 season-long package, fans in Brewer Nation can watch all Sky Sox games, most Shuckers games, and all Timber Rattlers home games and some road games.

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Look for these just prior to the respective game times --

 

Colorado Springs Media Notes - It's a unique link each day, but look for it under the "Multimedia" banner on the Sky Sox' site.

 

Biloxi Media Notes - Linked on the Shuck Dynasty blog

 

Brevard County Media Notes - It's a unique link each day, but look for it under the "Multimedia" banner on the Manatees' site.

 

Wisconsin Media Notes - Linked on the Rattler Radio blog

 

***

 

STANDINGS:

 

AAA - Pacific Coast League American Northern Division

 

AA - Southern League South Division

 

High-A - Florida State League North Division

 

A - Midwest League Western Division

 

***

 

Sortable individual stat pages:

 

Colorado Springs

 

Biloxi

 

Brevard County

 

Wisconsin

 

***

 

Weather.com:

 

Colorado Springs, CO

 

Pensacola, FL

 

Daytona Beach, FL

 

Burlington, IA

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AUDIO via Miller Park Prospects --

 

The Colorado Springs Sky Sox fell to the Nashville Sounds on Friday night by a score of 12-8. After the game, our own Ryan Kaufman caught up with Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet.

 

***

 

VIDEO: Jason Rogers bashes a two-run homer in Colorado Springs' 12-8 loss to Nashville Friday night

 

***

 

VIDEO: Biloxi's Adam Weisenburger hits a three-run double as the Shuckers top Pensacola, 7-1

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RHP Barrett Astin Broxton trade) is on the Daytona roster, but the Manatees have yet to see him.

 

Similarly, from the same deal, former 40-man roster RHP Kevin Shackelford is on the Reds' AA Pensacola roster, but the Shuckers haven't faced him yet.

 

***

 

The two players allowed to be taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft (Sean Halton, Orioles, and Kentrail Davis, Angels) were both assigned to the AA level.

 

***

 

When Biloxi travels to Mobile next week, they'll see Diamondbacks AA OF Mitch Haniger.

 

***

 

You can see where other 2014 (now-ex) Brewers farmhands are assigned by visiting this thread.

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We'll see where the Sky Sox game ends up, but check out this sequence -- Nick Additon, already trailing 4-0 after a rough 1st inning, works out of a mega-jam in the 4th, and his mates pick up three runs immediately after:

 

Nashville Top of the 4th

 

Matt Angle singles on a soft line drive to left fielder Matt Long.

Billy Burns reaches on a fielding error by shortstop Luis Sardinas. Matt Angle to 2nd.

Andy Parrino walks. Matt Angle to 3rd. Billy Burns to 2nd.

Max Muncy grounds into a double play, pitcher Nick Additon to catcher Juan Centeno to first baseman Matt Clark. Matt Angle out at home. Billy Burns to 3rd. Andy Parrino to 2nd.

Jason Pridie strikes out swinging.

 

Col. Springs Bottom of the 4th

 

Jason Rogers singles on a ground ball to center fielder Billy Burns.

Bryan Petersen strikes out swinging.

Ben Guez walks. Jason Rogers to 2nd.

Pitching Change: Ryan Verdugo replaces Angel Castro.

Pete Orr singles on a line drive to right fielder Kent Matthes. Jason Rogers to 3rd. Ben Guez to 2nd.

Juan Centeno out on a sacrifice fly to center fielder Billy Burns. Jason Rogers scores. Ben Guez to 3rd. Pete Orr to 2nd.

Luis Sardinas singles on a line drive to center fielder Billy Burns. Ben Guez scores. Pete Orr scores.

Matt Long strikes out swinging.

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Brevard County @ Daytona Suspended (2 Innings)

 

The game will continue on 5/1/2015 as game 1 of a double header in Daytona. Game 2 will be a 7 inning game. Angel Ortega doubled with 2 out in the top of the 3rd, that's where the game will pickup.

 

BC Partial Boxscore

 

BC Parital Recap

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Rattlers drop third straight to start 2015

Bees beat Wisconsin 5-1 for sweep

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

 

BURLINGTON, IA - The Burlington Bees defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5-1 Saturday night at Community Field. The victory allowed the Bees to claim a season-opening sweep of Wisconsin.

 

Burlington (3-0) jumped in front by scoring first for the third game in a row. Wisconsin starting pitcher Zach Hirsch hit Jake Yacinich to start the inning. A one out single by Andrew Daniel moved Yacinich to second. Zach Houchins followed with a single to left to drive in Yacinich for a 1-0 lead.

 

Wisconsin (0-3) came back and loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the second inning. Carlos Leal started the inning with an infield single. Dustin DeMuth and Luis Aviles followed with singles. Greg McCall got Leal home with a slow grounder to second and the only play for the Bees defense was first base.

 

The Bees went back in front with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Daniel doubled to the corner in left after Hirsch had retired the first two batters of the inning. Houchins lined a single to right and Daniel scored ahead of the throw for a 2-1 advantage.

 

Bees starting pitcher Jeremy Rhoades went 5-2/3 innings and retired the final 14 batters he faced in the game. Rhoades struck out ten and left with that 2-1 lead.

 

Hirsch pitched out of a tough jam in the bottom of the sixth inning as he gave up a leadoff double and a wild pitch to put a runner on third with no outs. But, the lefty didn't allow a run as he wrapped his outing with a strikeout. Hirsch struck out eight over his six innings.

 

The Bees added to their lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Josh Uhen, making his Timber Rattlers debut, hit a batter, gave up a single, and a third batter reached on an error to load the bases with one out. Wisconsin couldn't turn a double play on a grounder to short by Yacinich and one run scored for a 3-1 lead.

 

Then, Caleb Adams tripled to center to score two more runs and Burlington was up 5-1.

 

Wisconsin went down quietly in the eighth as reliever Alex Klonowski retired the side in order, including strikeouts of the last two batters to give him three strikeouts in the game.

 

Eduardo Paredes closed out the game by striking the side in order in the ninth.

 

Saturday marked the second time in three games Wisconsin hitters struck out sixteen times in a game. The Rattlers have gone down on strikes 43 times in the first 27 innings played this season.

 

The Timber Rattler return home for a fresh start and to host the Peoria Chiefs in the 2015 Home Opener on Sunday afternoon. Kodi Medeiros, the #1 pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2014 draft, is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Peoria will send Dewin Perez to the mound. Game time at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium is 4:05pm.

 

Sunday is the All-Fan Jonathan Lucroy double bobblehead giveaway courtesy of Cher-Make sausage and Appvion.

 

Also on Sunday, fans may play catch on-field courtesy of Rasmussen College starting at 3:00pm; Timber Rattlers players will don their special Brewers Sunday jerseys for the first time this season; and the players will be available for a postgame autograph session. Make sure to grab a 2015 magnet schedule courtesy of Neuroscience Group on your way out of the stadium.

 

Fans who stay for nine innings on Opening Day will receive a box seat voucher good for any game April 13-16, 2015. Stay for 9 and get a free 9!!

 

If you can't make it to the game, there are several ways to follow the action. The radio broadcast may be heard on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 3:45pm. Sunday's game is also available over the internet on TuneIn Radio and through MiLB.TV.

 

WP: Jeremy Rhoades (1-0)

LP: Zach Hirsch (0-1)

 

TIME: 2:00

ATTN: 865

 

Wisconsin Boxscore

What to say? Well, I'm digging the pace of play rules, these much shorter games are making my life as a link reporter significantly easier.

 

Zach Hirsch had a very nice debut, I'll take 8Ks and no walks against 2 runs every time out.

 

Hopefully the youngsters settle in at the plate because this SO deal has been an epidemic early on as Chris noted and I highlighted above. Of the 3 starting pitchers the TRats have faced: opening day starter Sean Newcomb is a stud and was the first round pick of the Angels last year, game 2 starter Michael Bolaski was a 23rd pick all the way back in 2010, his tandem partner Justin Anderson was a 14th round selection last year, and today's starter Jeremy Rhoades was the Angles 4th round pick last year.

 

Newcomb and Rhoades are legit but the young Rattlers have allowed both pitchers to tally career highs in SOs against them. Rhoades tops out at 95 as a reliever and a has a pretty good slider, Newcomb tops out in the mid 90s with his FB, has a decent slider, and a developing change. I guess what I'm saying is that even though the Angels pitching was very good, I'm not sold it was *that* good as the Rattlers struck out 11 times against pretty mediocre stuff yesterday. The teams turn around and play another 3 game series at the end of the upcoming homestand so the Rattlers will likely see Newcomb and Bolaski/Anderson again on Thursday and Friday.

 

Position player turned pitcher turned position player Carlos Leal got a hit in his first AB making him 5-5 on the season at the point, unfortunately he couldn't keep it rolling and his AVE is down to .714... the slacker.

 

David Denson was robbed in his first AB yesterday but after another very tough day at the plate is still 0 for the season, the other full season hold over from 2014 Jose Pena only has 1 hit on the season, the wind aided triple on opening day. I was hoping both players would start fast this year repeating the level... Dustin DeMuth and Greg McCall were only hitters not to strike out in the game and the first 4 hitters in the order each had 3 strike outs a piece.

 

Wisconsin Recap

 

Bases loaded with no outs in the 2nd but the TRats manage just 1 run:

 

Wisconsin Top of the 2nd

  • Carlos Leal singles on a ground ball to second baseman Andrew Daniel.
    Dustin DeMuth singles on a line drive to right fielder Natanael Delgado. Carlos Leal to 3rd.
    Luis Aviles singles on a ground ball to pitcher Jeremy Rhoades. Dustin DeMuth to 2nd.
    Greg McCall grounds out, second baseman Andrew Daniel to first baseman Ryan Seiz. Carlos Leal scores. Dustin DeMuth to 3rd. Luis Aviles to 2nd.
    Jose Pena reaches on a fielder's choice out, third baseman Zach Houchins to catcher Wade Wass. Dustin DeMuth out at home. Luis Aviles to 3rd.
    Gregory Munoz grounds out, pitcher Jeremy Rhoades to first baseman Ryan Seiz.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Final: Nashville 5, Colorado Springs 3

 

Four Run First Dooms Sky Sox in 5-3 Loss To Nashville

Sky Sox Fall to 1-2 on the Season after Second Straight Loss

By Ed Pearsall / Colorado Springs Sky Sox

 

http://www.milb.com/assets/images/5/2/6/117763526/cuts/04_09_102_pk_fdljxdkd_aqywdfb1.jpg

 

Brent Leach tosses in second-straight scoreless relief appearance in 5-3 loss to Sounds. (Paat Kelly)

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Like their parent club's nickname, Nashville came out swinging on Saturday night as they jumped to a quick 4-0 lead against Sky Sox starter Nick Additon in front of 3,778 fans at Security Service Field.

 

While six hits allowed to his first nine batters faced seems unsightly, Additon (0-1, 10.38) was not nearly as ineffective as one might think when reviewing the game's box score. A high-chop to shortstop Luis Sardinas off the bat of leadoff man Billy Burns set the tone early as Sounds hitters continued to find holes on the strength of a few seeing-eye singles. It seemed that Additon would work his way out of trouble when, with two on and one out, former Sky Sox outfielder Jason Pridie grounded into what looked like an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play. The call never came and Pridie ended up reaching on a fielder's choice, setting up another former Sky Sox outfielder with a chance to give Nashville an early lead. Kent Matthes took full advantage ripping a two-run double down the left field line past the diving reach of third baseman Elian Herrera. A couple of infield singles and a throwing error later created uncertainty for the veteran lefty before striking out Sounds designated hitter Matt Angle to stop the bleeding.

 

Sounds pitching kept Sky Sox hitters off the board in all but one inning as starter Angel Castro allowed two runs while striking out five in 3.1 innings of work before giving way to a stellar bullpen that gave up just one earned run in 5.2 combined innings of relief. Lefty reliever Ryan Verdugo (1-0, 2.45) made his season debut and gave up just two hits in 3.2 innings pitched, setting three batters down on strikes along the way. Left-hander Eury De La Rosa pitched a scoreless 8th before handing the ball over to closer Chad Smith who earned his first save of the 2015 season.

 

The Sky Sox offense found life in the bottom of the fourth inning as base hits by Jason Rogers and Pete Orr along with a walk by Ben Guez set up Sardinas for a shot at redemption after committing two errors in the third and fourth innings. Sardinas slapped a two-run single to left field to that cut the deficit to one. The RBIs were Sardinas' 3rd and 4th of the young season. The Sky Sox offense could not find a rhythm from that point on as Sounds relievers would not allow another base hit until an Orr single in the 9th off of Smith.

 

Orr, playing in his first game of the season after Herrera and Donnie Murphy filled in at second in games one and two, collected two singles in a game where Colorado Springs had no extra-base hits.

 

Manager Rick Sweet's bullpen performed well in relief of Additon as a combination of lanky right-hander Chris Leroux and opening night winner Brent Leach pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief with five total strikeouts and just three hits allowed.

 

The Sky Sox hope to end the series on a high note on Sunday afternoon as RHP Drew Gagnon is set to square off against fellow highly-touted right-handed pitching prospect Arnold Leon in game four. First pitch is slated for 1:35 PM (2:35 Central) at Security Service Field.

 

Colorado Springs Box Score

 

Three errors in three games thus far for Luis Sardinas; I think Juan Centeno is going to hit enough to prove to be a very worthwhile waiver pick - 24, LH bat, and another minor league option for 2016. Ben Guez walked thrice.

 

Colorado Springs Game Log

 

Won't post that first inning log -- seemed plenty ugly enough in the paragraph above...

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New countdown clocks in Triple-A are a distraction to many

By Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs Gazette

 

The new pace of play clock's impact so far this season for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox? Being a distraction.

 

"I was sitting in the bullpen and it was so bright I wasn't even looking at the catcher," left-handed pitcher Brent Leach said of the clock nearest the visiting dugout. Another is near the home dugout with the other on the center field fence near the scoreboard. "It was more of a distraction than anything."

 

The fans in the stands also found their eyes drawn to the clock, even during Saturday's 5-3 win by the Nashville Sounds before a crowd of 3,778 fans.

 

The Sounds took advantage of six hits and an error in the top of the first inning and never trailed.

 

"You can't help but look at it," local fan Mike Desch said. "(The countdown) must really mess with the pitchers."

 

The pitchers seemed to have adjusted well. But the new rules through the first three games at Security Service Field have had little effect with Thursday's opener lasting 3 hours, 21 minutes and Friday's contest 3:47. Saturday lasted only 3:01.

 

Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet is not enamored with the new rule which is being used in Double-A and Triple-A, which was implemented in hopes of shortening the game to make them more TV friendly and accessible to younger fans. Major League Baseball established a pace-of-game committee in September on speeding up games, which lasted for a record average of 3 hours, 2 minutes in 2014, up from 2:33 in 1981.

 

"They are always guys who take a real long time when they pitch but we played a 3 ½-hour game (Thursday) and it had no effect on the game at all," Sweet said. "In other sports you run the clock out, but in ours you have to get 27 outs to win. That's the beauty of it."

 

The clock counts down from 20 seconds in between pitches once the batter and pitcher are ready and does not allow either to restart in most cases. The clock also counts down from 2:25 in between innings and half-innings (2:45 in televised games).

 

After May 1, penalties of balls, strikes and $500 fines will be assessed. MLB has already sent 10 warning letters to Major League players about speeding up their plate or mound appearances.

 

Leach said the rules are just a way for higher-ups to feel they are doing something to help the game.

 

The device made its debut during spring training. Sweet said most offenders were hitters who did not leave at least one foot in the batters' box once the clock began.

 

Sweet said the best way is to eliminate TV commercials at the Major League level. That would hurt revenue, so that will never happen.

 

"I have loved this game my whole life so I didn't see a reason to add it," said Sweet, who is in his 25th season managing in the minors. "But it's the rule and we will abide by it."

 

http://cdn.csgazette.biz/cache/w300-efe202065e02b13dc16d9f64e05ecdbb.jpg

 

A new pace of play clock ticks down from twenty second between plays as Colorado Springs Sky Sox pitcher Taylor Jungmann winds up to pitch as the Sky Sox take on the Nashville Sounds in their home opener at Security Service Field. Photo by Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

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Final: Biloxi 7, Pensacola 2

 

It's not supposed to be this easy...

 

Shuckers take first ever series after 7-2 triumph on Saturday

Biloxi sits alone atop the Southern League with a 3-0 record

Biloxi Shuckers

 

http://www.milb.com/assets/images/8/9/0/117750890/cuts/DSC_0186_hbrmt3fa_etq6o7ec.JPG

 

Nick Ramirez blasted the franchise's first home run with a pinch hit solo shot in the seventh (Photo by Cristina Coca)

 

PENSACOLA, FLA. - The Biloxi Shuckers could not have asked for a better start to the franchise's history, as the club won its third game in three tries after taking down the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Saturday night, 7-2. Biloxi has dominated Pensacola 18-3 through the first three games of the series and sit alone atop the entire Southern League with the 3-0 record.

 

Entering Saturday's game, the Shuckers were just one of just three minor league teams to have not surrendered an earned run (Columbus, AAA CLE, New Hampshire, AA TOR).

 

It didn't take long for the Shuckers to jump on the scoreboard when Orlando Arcia (2x4, 3B, R, RBI) continued to swing a hot bat and tripled with one out in the first. Nathan Orf (3x4, RBI) followed with a single up the middle to score Arcia to give Biloxi a 1-0 lead. Arcia has recorded three straight multi-hit contests and is 7-for-12 with four runs, two doubles, a triple and four RBI to open the 2015 season. His seven hits lead the Southern League.

 

Pensacola was quick to respond when Seth Mejias-Brean singled up the middle to bring in Juan Silva to tie the game at one.

 

The Shuckers (3-0) responded in the second inning, putting up two runs to retake the lead.

 

Yadiel Rivera (3x3, SB, 3B, RBI, BB, 2 R) and Josh Fellhauer (1x4, R, BB) reached safely on singles to put runners on the corners before Parker Berberet struck out looking. Hobbs Johnson tried to lay down a bunt to advance Fellhauer, but ended up reaching safely on an error by pitcher Tim Adleman to load the bases.

 

Kyle Wren (2x5, R) flew out to center for the second out to set up the hot-hitting Arcia.

 

The Brewers' No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America, promptly lined a single to left that was misplayed by Sean Buckley and scored two, giving the Shuckers a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish.

 

Nick Ramirez (1x2, HR) placed himself in the Biloxi Shuckers record book as he blasted a pinch hit homer over the right field wall in the top of the seventh, extending the lead to 4-1.

 

Biloxi tacked on two more runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to give the Shuckers their final tally.

 

Starting pitcher Johnson labored through 2.2 innings, allowing a run on two hits, four walks and two strike outs, but needed 61 pitches.

 

Brent Suter whirled a gem out of relief for Johnson. The left-handed reliever retired Mejias-Brean and Kyle Skipworth to get out of the bases-loaded jam in the third, and allowed just three base runners over his 3.2 innings of work to go along with six punch outs.

 

Austin Ross (2 IP, R, 2 SO) and Damien Magnifico (IP, SO) held down Pensacola in the final three innings to wrap up the contest.

 

Pensacola (0-3) starter Tim Adleman allowed three runs - one earned - on 10 hits in his quality start.

 

The combination of Carlos Gonzalez (IP, R), Kevin Shackelford (IP, 2 R) and Ben Klimesh (IP, R, SO) took the final three frames for the Blue Wahoos.

 

The two teams will play game four of the five-game set Sunday afternoon at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, where RHP Jorge Lopez will make his first start of 2015 against LHP Wandy Peralta. Lopez was Milwaukee's lone reprehensive in the MLB Futures Game in 2014. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 PM, with coverage beginning at 3:45 on 1240-AM WGCM and the Biloxi Shuckers Radio Network. Fans can also listen to the game using the TuneIn Radio app or by going to http://www.biloxishuckers.com. The game can also be seen, live, on MiLB.TV.

 

Biloxi Box Score

 

This isn't news, folks, many of us could see this collection was going to be a blast this season. The 2014 Huntsville squad took a first-half crown, but that group lacked star power and was by far the oldest in the Southern League. This group has a much different profile, and it could be argued is the most talent-laden club of the Link Report (2001-) era. For instance, the 2004 Huntsville club featured Fielder-Weeks-Gwynn-Nelson, but that didn't translate to wins, and the pitching can't compare to this staff. Biloxi, hope this maiden voyage doesn't spoil you.

 

If you have a nomination for a better collection of talent than this club from this era, let us know which year and affiliate you have in mind.

 

Biloxi Game Log

 

It cannot be understated how much value the Brewers have in organizational shortstop depth. Yadiel Rivera is a defensive whiz, and if his game continues to expand (great game here), the absolute key to the Brewers' big league success moving forward lies in what management nets in eventually moving excess middle infield talent -- if Jean Segura returns to 2013 form, how much trade value will he have when Orlando Arcia and Rivera are ready? Oh, and Luis Sardinas, anyone?

 

Kudos to LHP Brent Suter and RHP Austin Ross, who deserve AAA slots, but the Crew went extra-heavy on veteran upper level pen depth this season.

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Clock or not, Biloxi keeps fast start against Wahoos

Bill Vilona, Pensacola News-Journal

 

Tim Adleman took the mound with blinders on.

 

Those two timer clocks with orange lights glaring on either side of home plate didn’t faze him. Adleman was more concerned with the Biloxi Shuckers hitters, who have proven to be tough outs for any Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher so far this season.

 

No matter how well-timed the deliveries have been.

 

For the third time in as many games to begin the season, the Blue Wahoos yielded too many base runners and failed to seize their own opportunities in a 7-2 loss Saturday against Biloxi at Blue Wahoos stadium.

 

“They do have some guys who can swing it,” said Adleman, who worked six full innings and left with a 3-1 deficit that got expanded against the Blue Wahoos bullpen. “It’s about locating the pitches.

 

“And you see what happens when you don’t. They hit the pretty ball hard. And if you do (locate), you have an opportunity to get some easy outs and give you team a chance to win the game.”

 

Another sellout crowd (5,038) watched a familiar narrative. The Shuckers, who ran away with the first half of the Southern League’s North Division title last year as the Huntsville Stars, dominated for the third time in as many games to start the season.

 

But the difference Saturday night was a slice of league history. For the first time, pitch clocks were used as an experiment. The Southern League, along with all Double-A leagues and Triple-A level in professional baseball is implementing a 20-second timer between pitches, a 2 minute, 25 second gap between half innings.

 

The Blue Wahoos got word shortly before the first pitch from Southern League commissioner Lori Webb that the pitch clock was in effect. The game last night was played in two hours, 41 minutes, which was noteworthy in a game that included 19 hits, seven walks and three errors.

 

You can count Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly among a large group of dissenters about utilizing a pitch clock. When it goes from tryout stage to a live rule in a couple weeks, it will be an automatic ball if a pitcher doesn’t throw in 20 seconds.

 

“My honest opinion is we don’t have a problem with the speed of the game in the minor leagues,” Kelly said. “But we’re the ones who do all the experiments.

 

“It’s one more thing for (umpires). It’s one more thing that will cause disagreements, but they have to enforce it.”

 

Kelly is supportive of a enforcing batters remaining in the batter’s box, which the umpires pushed along last night.

 

“It is so early it’s hard to say,” said Adleman on the ultimate effect this could have on professional baseball. “I know I have heard a couple big league guys say it’s ridiculous and you can’t put a clock on a game that has historically been known for not having a clock.

 

“I am not quite sure. I think it could go very well and help speed the game up and help bring more younger people into watching the game, or it can blow up and cause too much backlash and never work out.”

 

Adleman was more concern over a miscue he made in the second inning that led to a 3-1 Biloxi lead. With Shuckers pitcher Hobbs Johnson batting and bunting, Adleman failed to handle the ball initially and Johnson beat the throw to load the bases.

 

With two out, Orlando Arcia continued his torrid hitting and two-out production with a single that scored two runs.

 

“That’s a play I make 99 out of 100 times,” he said. “I just didn’t (last night) and it turned out to be a big play. You just have to go back and work on that between starts and make sure you don’t allow free runs.”

 

After the first two innings, however, Adleman settled into a groove, allowing three singles and erasing two of those base runners on double plays.

 

The big issue for the Blue Wahoos, however, continues to be lack of production at the plate. They left two runners on in the first inning, had the bases loaded in the third when failing to score and could not get Jesse Winker home after his leadoff double in the fifth.

 

In the eighth, catcher Kyle Skipworth, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, launched the Blue Wahoos first home run, deep over the right field scoreboard.

 

“I feel pretty comfortable with (Marquez) Smith, (Seth) Mejias-Breen and Skipworth at the plate with runners in scoring position,” said Kelly, whose team will try and salvage the final two games of the series Sunday and Monday.

 

“It didn’t work (last night), it hasn’t worked so far, but I will take my chances over the length of the season with those three guys.”

 

In pounding out 14 hits, Biloxi had baserunners in every inning. The Blue Wahoos had only four in the final six innings.

 

“They got arms coming out of bullpen,” Kelly said. “I hope that is the best we face all year.”

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Blue Wahoos Lose Third Straight; Time Clock Added To Double-A Baseball

NorthEscambia.com

 

Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Tim Adleman said he didn’t even notice the two 2-foot by 5-foot clocks on either side of the dugouts.

 

Third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean had a hard time seeing base balls hit by the Biloxi Shuckers because of the glare off the clocks.

 

All Double-A teams in the Southern League began using a clock for the first time Saturday to speed up a game that averaged 2 hours, 43 minutes in 2005 and 8 minutes more in 2014.

 

Last night, that meant the Blue Wahoos dropped their third straight game to the Biloxi Shuckers, 7-2, in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

 

In some instances, the new time-saving measures that allows 20 seconds between pitches and 2 minutes, 25 seconds between innings, could shave anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes from America’s pastime, baseball experts have said. For the first month, there will be no penalties enforced, such as assessing a pitcher a ball, if he fails to throw his pitch in time.

 

Adleman said he’s not sure what the effect of a clock will be on a game that’s never had one.

 

“Will it speed up the game and engage young fans or blow up too much and never work?” asked Adleman, who took the loss after leaving the game behind, 3-1, in the sixth inning. “Honestly, I did not notice (the clocks) at all. I was so focused on hitting my spots and getting out there and getting in a good rhythm.”

 

The first three games of the opening season series and the Blue Wahoos have managed three runs on 13 hits against Biloxi’s top-flight pitching staff. They are hitting just .153 against the Shuckers.

 

Pensacola’s Jesse Winker, at least, snapped his 0-7 slump with a single and double in four at bats. However, he was left on third base both times.

 

Kelly said he’s not worried about Winker or his other hitters in the middle of the lineup.

 

“I don’t worry about how Winker is hitting ever,” Kelly said. “I feel pretty comfortable with (Marquez Smith, Mejias-Brean and Kyle Skipworth). It didn’t work tonight and hasn’t worked so far this season. But I like my chances with those three guys.”

 

Adleman entered the game looking for his first Wahoos win as a starter after getting six starts the previous year. He was 0-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 2014.

 

After a shaky start in which he gave up three runs on seven hits in the first two innings, including muffing a bunt hit right to him that ended up costing him two runs, Adleman settled down. He allowed just three hits over the next four innings, benefitting from two double plays. On the night, Adleman allowed 11 men on base but left the game after six innings with Pensacola trailing, just 3-1.

 

One of the biggest Shuckers at the plate? Shortstop Orlando Arcia, the Brewers’ No. 2 prospect, has torn up Pensacola pitching, hitting .583, going 7-12 with two doubles, a triple, four runs scored and five runs batted in.

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