Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the Mud Hens' game against Louisville coming to you live from Fifth Third Field. I'll share thoughts, stats, and anything of interest from the game (newest posts are at the bottom, so refresh frequently).
5:00 p.m. -- Welcome to the blog ... I appreciate everyone who reads the blog. With the start of the game in less than an hour, I'm going to get right to work.
5:05 p.m. -- OK, first here is the starting lineup for the Louisville Bats of manager Rick Sweet ... Leading off and playing SS is Zack Cozart, followed by Dave Sappelt in CF, Jeremy Hermida in LF, Devin Mesoraco at DH, Todd Frazier at 1B, Juan Francisco at RF, Chris Valaika at 3B, Corky Miller at C and Kristopher Negron at 2B. The starting pitcher for the Bats is LHP Travis Wood. The Mud Hens are next ...
5:10 p.m. -- Here is the starting lineup for the Toledo Mud Hens of manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing 2B is Will Rhymes, followed by Danny Worth at SS, Timo Perez at DH, Ryan Strieby at 1B, Ben Guez in LF, Clete Thomas in RF, Omir Santos at C, Jeff Salazar in CF and Argenis Diaz at 3B. The starting pitcher for the Mud Hens is LHP Duane Below. A few notes are next ...
5:15 p.m. -- Note-wise, let's start with the Mud Hens. If you checked the lineup, you realize that Cale Iorg is not in Sunday's starting lineup. Two reasons for the move: first, manager Phil Nevin said he wanted to make sure Danny Worth got some playing time at shortstop, which is one of the positions he would play when he is in Detroit. Second, Nevin said he wanted to give Iorg a day off. Iorg has played in 70 games this season -- the only player with more games is Ryan Strieby with 71. Iorg comes into the game in a 3-for-28 (.107) funk. Nevin said he may give Iorg the day off tomorrow as well, but that's still up in the air.
5:26 p.m. -- Jason Beck of MLB.com just tweeted that the Tigers' Carlos Guillen is expected to make a rehab visit to Toledo in the near future, either at the end of the coming week or the week following. Stay tunes, and I'll see if I find out more about that.
5:37 p.m. -- Here is a link to a story I had in today's paper looking at the Mud Hens' season to this point.
5:48 p.m. -- Hope you enjoy all the reading ... I'm going to sneak a quick meal, then come back with weather. Back in a moment.
5:59 p.m. -- Today's weather, as the Mud Hens take the field for the start of the game. The game-time temperature is 81 degrees, and the wind is a slight 6 mph -- and won't play any factor in this game. The game is next!
6:13 p.m. -- Hens starter Duane Below retired the Bats with only a walk in the first inning, but he did labor to get outs. It took Below 28 pitches to get through the first inning, 15 for strikes. And that was just for four hitters ... each one saw at least five pitches. Below's fastball sat at 91-93 mph (three at 91, three at 92, six at 93) while touching 94 twice. He seems to be throwing a "cutter" of sorts, which sat at 88-89 mph (four at 89, three at 88). And he mixed in a curveball in the 79-82 mph (one at each speed).
6:22 p.m. -- Bats starter Travis Wood mowed through the three Mud Hens he faced in the first, striking out one along the way. Wood only needed 10 pitches, seven of which were strikes, to complete the first inning. His fastball sat at 89-91 mph (three at 89, one at 90 and 91) with one that touched 93. Wood's curve sat at 76-79 mph (two at 76, one at both 78 and 79).
6:41 p.m. -- A nice break for Duane Below in the third inning ... he retired the Bats on nine pitches in the third inning. That levels his pitch total to 49 pitches, 32 of which were strikes. Through three innings, that's an average of roughly 16 pitches per inning, and he could cover at least six or seven innings comfortably at that pace.
6:54 p.m. -- The Hens bunch together four singles in a row to score twice and lead 2-0 at the end of the third. If you've heard of "shut-down" innings, this is a big one for Toledo starter Duane Below. Toledo has just scored twice, and Below needs to keep the Bats off the scoreboard to give the Hens some momentum. To make things more difficult, it's the 2-3-4 spots in the Louisville order. Let's see what happens ...
7:22 p.m. -- Took a quick break to talk to a couple of friends ... scouting report on Duane Below in the sixth momentarily. After five innings it's Mud Hens 3, Louisville 0.
7:38 p.m. -- Funny how the game turns out ... as Below struggles through the top of the sixth, it looks as if Travis Wood is finished for the day -- after five innings.
7:49 p.m. -- Duane Below labored through the sixth, giving up a pair of runs on three hits while also walking a batter. Below has thrown 97 pitches, 57 for strikes, and is probably finished for the day -- Brendan Wise is warming up in the Hens bullpen. Below's fastball in the sixth inning sat at 90-92 mph (eight at 91), which twice hitting 94. Below's pitch that looks like a cutter is sitting at 89 mph, while his curve sits at 76-79 mph (one each at 76-78, two at 79). We are in the middle of the sixth and it's Mud Hens 3, Louisville 2.
8:06 p.m. -- As we reach the seventh-inning stretch, the Mud Hens lead Louisville 4-2. The Hens have collected eight hits through the first six innings, but they have been productive when batting with runners in scoring position. Entering the seventh Toledo is 4-for-7 in such situations ... and I know some people think I harp on the RISP stats too much. But they're usually called "key" hits when they happen, so I believe it's equally key when they DO NOT happen.
8:23 p.m. -- Wanted to scout Brendan Wise in the eighth ... but Lester Oliveros has come on to pitch. So I'll scout Oliveros, but first let's give some kudos to Wise ... another scoreless inning that lowers his season's ERA to 1.62 and gives his six consecutive scoreless outings. Some may disagree, but I believe Wise has been the Hens' most effective reliever this season.
8:34 p.m. -- It took 26 pitches, but Lester Oliveros was impressive in striking out three Bats -- and walking one -- in the eighth. Unfortunately, only 14 of those pitches were strikes. But get a load of the pitch speeds: His fastball sat at 93-95 mph (three at 93, four at 94 and two at 95) while touching 97 mph twice and touching 99 mph TWICE. The breaking ball sat at 86-88 mph (four at 86, one at 87 and two at 88). He will return for the ninth inning, by the way, to try and close out a win. It's Mud Hens 4, Louisville 2.
8:45 p.m. -- Oliveros closes the deal, and the nine-game losing streak is over. Mud Hens 4, Louisville 2. I've got to run down to the clubhouse, so I'm going to close the blog. Thanks for following along.