Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens continue their homestand with the second of four games against Lehigh Valley at Fifth Third Field. Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m., so I’ll get the LIVE blog started right now. The newest posts are at the bottom, so refresh frequently. Here we go!
5:30 p.m. – Let’s get things rolling with lineups first, then a few notes and finally a few links from Monday’s game. So let’s begin with the lineups …
5:35 p.m. -- The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing CF is Justin Henry, followed by Ben Guez in LF, Alex Avila at C, Jeff Baisley at 3B, Ryan Strieby at 1B, Jerad Head at DH, Matt Young in RF, Cale Iorg at 2B, Argenis Diaz at SS and LHP Adam Wilk as the starting pitcher. Lehigh Valley lineup is next ...
5:40 p.m. -- The Lehigh Valley lineup of manager Ryne Sandberg ... Leading off and playing SS is Andres Blanco, followed by Pete Orr at 3B, Kevin Frandsen at 2B, Jason Pridie in LF, Michael Spidale in CF, Cody Overbeck at 1B, Steve Susdorf in RF, Tuffy Gosewisch at C, Tug Hulett at DH and RHP Scott Elarton as the starting pitcher.
5:46p.m. -- OK, a few notes ... First, confirming the worst-kept secret surrounding the Mud Hens: Brad Eldred will be leaving the Mud Hens to sign with a Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan. Eldred actually already has left and his replacement, Jeff Baisley, is in the lineup.
5:55 p.m. -- For those who want numbers and info on Eldred and Baisley, click here to read Monday's post-game story.
6:04 p.m. -- One other Mud Hens note, this one regarding the rotation ... RHP Thad Weber has returned to Toledo after the Tigers optioned him to make room for Octavio Dotel. Weber won't be activated before Thursday, when Jacob Turner is called up to start for Detroit that night. Hens manager Phil Nevin said he expects Weber to fill the opening in the Mud Hens rotation Friday for the first game in the Norfolk series.
6:15 p.m. -- I'm going to post a few links, then take a break for lunch. Click here to read the in-game blog for Monday's game against Lehigh Valley, and don't forget to read the story about Eldred and Baisley above.
6:23 p.m. -- And here are a few links from Monday's print edition of The Blade ... Click here to read the game story from Monday's contes t, which features rehabbing Tigers C Alex Avila; click here to read about Jacob Turner talking about starting against his favorite team growing up, St. Louis (this story also includes some other Mud Hens roster moves); and click here to view a photo gallery from Monday's game, courtesy of Lori King.
6:31 p.m. -- Going to eat a little lunch now ... back a little closer to first pitch!
6:52 p.m. -- OK, back in action. We'll start up shortly ...
7:05 p.m. -- Adam Wilk mows down the IronPigs 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning. The radar gun on the scoreboard isn't working again tonight, so no pitch speeds. But Wilk was a strike-thrower in the first inning, finding the strike zone with nine of his first 10 pitches. No score as the Hens come to plate in the bottom of the first.
7:22 p.m. -- The Mud Hens roll to three runs in the bottom of the first inning off Lehigh Valley starter Scott Elarton. Rehabbing C Alex Avila walked on four pitches, and the newest Mud Hen, Jeff Baisley, lined an RBI double down the right-field line. Toledo also got RBI singles from Jerad Head and Matt Young to lead 3-0 end of the first. Elarton had command problems in the first, throwing just 17 strikes among 33 pitches.
7:26 p.m. -- HEY! THE RADAR GUN ON THE SCOREBOARD IS BACK IN ACTION! YAHOO!
7:48 p.m. -- Outside of a home run to Cody Overbeck in the second, Toledo's Adam Wilk has pitched well so far. He has given up just two hits and one run and has been throwing strikes, finding the strike zone with 32 of his 44 pitches. Hens lead 3-1 as they come to bat in the bottom of the third.
8:01 p.m. -- Nice at-bat for Alex Avila to lead off the fourth ... worked the count to 2-1, then hit a line drive to centerfield for a single. Ran the bases without incident after getting caught in a rundown in the first inning. We've finished three innings and the Mud Hens lead 3-1.
8:20 p.m. -- Adam Wilk has done his part to end his personal seven-game losing streak with five strong innings. He has given up just two hits so far, striking out six and not giving up a walk while setting down the last seven batters he has faced. Wilk has thrown 66 pitches, 49 of which were strikes (74.2 percent, which is outstanding). Hens come to bat in the bottom of the fifth leading 3-1.
8:36 p.m. -- The Mud Hens offense also doing its part to snap that losing streak. Ryan Strieby slams a two-run homer off the left-field scoreboard, and Toledo now has five runs on 10 hits through five innings. Alex Avila singled again before leaving the game for a pinch-runner (he was 2-for-2 plus a walk), and the Hens have been good with runners in scoring position (4-for-9 thus far). Toledo leads 5-1 entering the sixth.
8:41 p.m. -- Racing With the Stars update ... Kitty Holmes took an early lead but seemed to cramp around second base, and Jamie Farmadillo took command until a late charge by Jim Flealand gave Flealand the win at the wire. Back to baseball ...
8:50 p.m. -- Adam Wilk found some trouble in the sixth inning, giving up singles to the first four batters he faced for one run, got a double play that limited the damage and scored a second run, then got the final out. Wilk was still throwing strikes, but couldn't get the third strike on the early swings. The double play did help keep the IronPigs at bay. It's now 5-3 after the Hens are retired quickly in the bottom of the sixth.
9:05 p.m. -- The Mud Hens still have had bserunners, but they are squandering them in these later innings. Toledo still leads 5-3 as we enter the eighth, but the Hens have 13 hits and plenty of baserunners. Two double plays and a caught stealing have blunted the offense in these later innings, but Collin Balester has thrown two scoreless innings to keep the IronPigs at bay.
9:23 p.m. -- Tough baserunning inning for the Mud Hens in the eighth. Matt Young led off with a double, but Young was thrown out at third on a sacrifice attempt by Cale Iorg. Iorg raced to third on a single by Argenis Diaz but was thrown out in a rundown on a groundout by Justin Henry. For those who wish to complain about Iorg getting thrown out at home, remember that Henry hit the ball back to the pitcher, and that could have easily been a double play. Chris Bootcheck comes on in the ninth to save a game where the Hens lead 5-3.
9:35 p.m. -- Bootcheck struggles with control to start the ninth but claims the save, his 13th this season, as Mud Hens beat Lehigh Valley 5-3. Heading to the clubhouse. Thanks for following along!