Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the Mud Hens' game against Columbus 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).
6:00 p.m. -- Welcome to Wednesday night's blog ... Welcome home, Hens. We've got lineups here in a moment, and a few notes to follow.
6:05 p.m. -- OK, first here is the starting lineup for the Columbus Clippers of manager Mike Sarbaugh ... Leading off and playing CF is Ezequiel Carrera, followed by Jason Donald at 3B, Jason Kipnis at 2B, Chad Huffman at DH, Jerad Head in RF, Luis Valbuena at SS, Jared Goedert at 1B, Tim Fedroff in LF and Paul Phillips at C. The starting pitcher for the Clippers is LHP Scott Barnes. The Mud Hens are next ...
6:10 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 3B, Timo Perez in LF, Ryan Strieby at 1B, Scott Thorman at DH, Omir Santos at C, Jeff Salazar in CF, Ben Guez in RF and Cale Iorg at SS. The starting pitcher for the Mud Hens is RHP L.J. Gagnier. A few notes are next ...
6:15 p.m. -- Note-wise, let's start with the Mud Hens. The two obvious notes involve the pitching staff as LHP Brad Thomas returned to Detroit instead of pitching in Columbus after experiencing elbow discomfort Monday in Columbus. And before today's game the parent Tigers called up RHP Brayan Villarreal from the Hens and sent LHP Daniel Schlereth to Toledo.
6:21 p.m. -- Brayan Villarreal was supposed to start for the Mud Hens tonight versus Columbus. His replacement, as noted above, is RHP L.J. Gagnier, who came to the Hens May 25 from Double-A Erie. Gagnier started three games for the Hens, then was sent to the bullpen and has made three relief appearance. Gagnier also has adopted a lower arm slot and had mixed results -- he threw 3.1 scoreless innings with it in Louisville June 18, but has struggled with it twice against Columbus (five hits, two walks and two earned runs in 3.2 innings).
6:29 p.m. -- The International League announced its All-Star roster for this season, and the Mud Hens' Will Rhymes was named to the team. Rhymes has hit .308 in 51 games with two homers, 15 RBIs and 25 runs scored. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, July 13.
6:50 p.m. -- News from the brother of Mud Hens RHP Lester Oliveros ... "Congratulations to my brother Lester Oliveros for the call to the big show! Thank God! More after the game, when the clubhouse opens ...
6:55 p.m. -- Sorry, the Oliveros situation has dominated my work tonight. We've got baseball in a moment ... I'll talk to you with a Gagnier scouting report momentarily ...
7:07 p.m. -- RHP L.J. Gagnier retired the Clippers in order in the first, throwing just 11 pitches -- seven of which were strikes. Gagnier's fastball in the first inning sat at 89-90 mph (three at 89, two at 90) with one at 88 and one at 87. He threw a change-up at 83 mph and his curve sat at 78-79 mph (one each), although one sat at 76. Gagnier has thrown a few pitches with a more "sidearm" motion, but not all -- mostly to right-handed hitters. Hens coming to the plate ...
7:14 p.m. -- LHP Scott Barnes retired the Hens in order in the bottom of the first, throwing nine pitches -- six of which were strikes. Barnes threw almost exclusively fastballs in the first -- all but one of his first-inning pitches was a fastball, four of which sat at 93 and four at 94. So let's say the fastball sat at 93-94 mph, shall we? The one breaking pitch Barnes threw was a curve at 80 mph. Barnes also turns his back to the batter before each delivery, which makes his pitch tough to stop until the last minute. We've finished the first, and there's no score.
7:31 p.m. -- The first time through the lineup, L.J. Gagnier was impressive. Of the nine batters he faced, he retired eight --- five by strikeouts. He just walked Ezequiel Carrera, but he has kept the Clippers off-balance so far. His pitch count isn't terribly high, so this is good for the Mud Hens ... so far.
7:47 p.m. -- The early problem for the Mud Hens is they haven't had many good swings against Scott Barnes through the first three innings. The only baserunner in the first three innings came on a one-out single by Ben Guez ... and Guez quickly was erased on a double-play groundout by Cale Iorg. We are scoreless through three innings.
7:59 p.m. -- Well, we are scoreless no longer ... A two-out solo home run by Jerad Head gets Columbus on the board. Mud Hens RHP L.J. Gagnier has started to fall behind hitters, and Head slammed a 2-1 pitch off the bricks at the base of the left-field scoreboard for his 11th home run this season. We are in the middle of the fourth, and it's Columbus 1, Mud Hens 0.
8:09 p.m. -- L.J. Gagnier is getting beat by "small ball" here in the fifth ... The Clippers scored a run in the fifth because of a walk, a hit-and-run single and a bunt single for the RBI. Gagnier gets a double play lineout to avoid further damage ... Columbus 2, Mud Hens 0 in the middle of the fifth.
8:14 p.m. -- Gagnier has thrown 79 pitches through the first five innings, 49 of which were strikes. His fastball was all over the charts, with one each at 86-88 mph and a couple at 84. He threw a lot of curveballs, which one each at 76-79 mph as well as one at 71 and one at 68. There's no one warming up in the Mud Hens bullpen as I write this, so it looks as if we'll see Gagnier again in the sixth. Columbus 2, Mud Hens 0.
8:26 p.m. -- Here's your Racing With the Stars update ... After a slow start, Jim Flealand uses the inside position to race to the win. Kitty Holmes had the lead, but took too wide of turn around third base. Back to the game ...
8:30 p.m. -- Columbus LHP Scott Barnes has mowed down the Hens through the first five innings, using just 54 pitches (32 for strikes) while allowing just one hit and two baserunners. Barnes in the fifth inning sat at 91-93 mph with his fastball, but he only threw three fastballs in the fifth. He threw five change-ups in the 85-87 mph range (two each at 86-87, one at 85) while throwing two curves, one at 79 and 81. Notice the pitch count ... If he keeps that up, Barnes could easily complete this game.
8:35 p.m. -- If you are at Fifth Third Field tonight, make sure you look into the Columbus dugout ... there is a bathrobe with "Lewis" and No. 50 on it. It's in tribute to Jensen Lewis, the former Indians reliever who was released by the Clippers after the two games Columbus played here last week. The Clippers suffered a three-game losing streak after leaving Toledo, so the Clippers put the bathrobe in the dugout -- and the team beat the Hens twice, so the bathrobe is 2-0 at this point.
8:41 p.m. -- Matt Hoffman comes on in relief for Gagnier ... great effort by Gagnier to limit the Clippers to two runs in six innings, and great effort to help the bullpen by throwing six innings. We enter the seventh with the score Columbus 2, Mud Hens 0.
8:57 p.m. -- The Clippers break the game open with four runs off Hoffman in the seventh, who got himself in trouble and couldn't escape. He gave up a slow roller for a single and walked a batter to load the bases with no one out. The Hoffman got two groundouts for potential double-plays -- but the balls were hit in such a way that the Hens couldn't get the twin-killing (ball hit into the hole at shortstop, slow roller to second that was too slow to get two). Then the killer ...
9:01 p.m. -- With a runner on first (Ezequiel Carrera) and two outs, Jason Donald hits a slow roller to third base for a single. But Hens third baseman Danny Worth catches Carrera too far off second base. But the Hens butcher the rundown, and Carrera returns safely to second. The next batter, Jason Kipnis, doubles to left-center for two more RBI. We're at the 7th inning stretch and it's Columbus 6, Mud Hens 0.
9:04 p.m. -- With the way Columbus starter Scott Barnes is pitching tonight, that six-run deficit is too much to overcome. Barnes has thrown 86 pitches, 51 for strikes, and has allowed the Mud Hens just one hit and one walk in the first seven inning -- he has faced just one batter above the minimum through the first seven -- while striking out five. And neither of those batters even reached second. So unless Barnes leaves the game or loses command, well, this is an uphill battle for the Mud Hens.
9:21 p.m. -- Well, shut my mouth. Just when I said Scott Barnes had shut down the Mud Hens, Toledo rises up in the eighth. An error opened the door, but back-to-back one-out doubles produce a pair of runs and knocks Barnes out of the game. Nick Hagadone comes on in relief for the Clippers with a runner on second base and one out. Columbus 6, Mud Hens 2.
9:35 p.m. -- Enrique Gonzalez pitches around a double in the ninth, giving the Hens a chance to rally in the ninth. With 2-3-4 coming up to start the frame, it's about as good as the Hens can hope for. But Toledo has struggled offensively all night, so the Hens will need to get rolling quickly to overcome a four-run deficit.
9:45 p.m. -- Game over, Hens lose to Columbus 6-2. Heading to the clubhouse ... I expect some news shortly. I'll be back in a few minutes.
10:04 p.m. -- Back from the clubhouse with news ... Confirming the tweets I have received earlier in the evening. Lester Oliveros was promoted to Detroit (his locker in the Toledo clubhouse is empty), and the Mud Hens will receive Chance Ruffin from Double-A Erie to replace him. Ruffin was a draft pick last year who was named to the Eastern League all-star team this season.
10:10 p.m. -- One thing to think about, Tigers fans ... If Oliveros is called up, and Ruffin is coming up from Erie to replace him, why do the Tigers need Oliveros? I would guess Detroit is putting a pitcher on the disabled list. Who that pitcher is? I have a guess, but I don't know. If I find something out, I'll Tweet it to you!
10:14 p.m. -- OK, I've got to get working on the story ... Thanks for following along. Hens Eggs later tonight!