Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens continue their homestand with the third 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. – Game three of the series, with lineups first, then a couple of 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 Matt Young, followed by Ben Guez in RF, Alex Avila at DH, Jeff Baisley at 3B, Ryan Strieby at 1B, Jerad Head in LF, Rob Brantly at C, Audy Ciriaco at SS, Argenis Diaz at 2B and LHP Casey Crosby 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, Erik Kratz at C, Jason Pridie in LF, Cody Overbeck at 1B, John Suomi at DH, Michael Spidale in CF, Steve Susdorf in RF and LHP Pat Misch as the starting pitcher.
5:46p.m. -- OK, a few notes ... First, the news of the day from Detroit: LHP Drew Smyly will pitch for the Mud Hens Thursday. He is expected to cover three innings, with RHP Brooks Brown to follow. Smyly had an UGLY blister on his finger, but everything seems to be OK. I guess we'll see Thursday, won't we?
6:06 p.m. -- Back from the clubhouse ... and sorry, the computer barfed on me when I'm gone. Checked with manager Phil Nevin on Thursday's starter, and he said Drew Smyly will go first and RHP Brooks Brown will come on in relief. I would suspect Smyly will be on a pitch-count or an innings count.
6:16 p.m. -- I need to eat because I'm going to be on the Mud Hens TV pre-game on BCSN. I'll be back in just a minute with a few reading links while I'm gone. Back again in a few minutes. ...
6:23 p.m. -- OK, here are a few links, beginning with the print edition. Click here to read Tuesday's game story, which featured the newest Mud Hen, Jeff Baisley. Click here to view the photo gallery from Tuesday's game, courtesy of The Blade's Jeremy Wadsworth.
6:32 p.m. -- About to go on TV, but here is the link to the in-game blog from Tuesday's game. Talk to you again in about 15 minutes.
6:52 p.m. -- Got to sneak in some other work before first pitch. Back in a few. ...
7:07 p.m. -- Mud Hens starter Casey Crosby retired the IronPigs in order in the first inning. Crosby threw 10 pitches, seven for strikes. Crosby topped out at 93 mph with the fastball and sat at 76-77 mph with the curveball, which he struggled to command. Mud Hens coming to bat in a scoreless game.
7:20 p.m. -- We're off to a quick start ... and Casey Crosby had much better command of his curveball in the second inning, which also was a 1-2-3 inning with his second strikeout. Crosby has thrown strikes with 14 of his 21 pitches so far, and he looks good to this point. Still no score as Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the second.
7:26 p.m. -- While I am thinking of it ... fans of Jamie Moyer should circle next Monday on their calendar. If things stay as they are now, Moyer will start for Norfolk on that day when the Tides finish their four-game series against Toledo at Fifth Third Field.
7:36 p.m. -- Well, the no-hitter is gone for Casey Crosby, but he continues to throw well so far through three innings. Crosby has thrown just 37 pitches, 23 of which were strikes. He has shown good command of all of his pitches to this point.
7:46 p.m. -- Things are not going as well for DH Alex Avila as he spends his third day with the Mud Hens. In the first inning Avila was called out on strikes (he never swung bat, taking two strikes, taking a ball, and then taking a called third strike). In the third he got ahead of Lehigh Valley starter Pat Misch 2-0, fouled off a strike, took a strike, took a ball -- and then struck out on a breaking ball. Avila is now 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
7:54 p.m. -- Casey Crosby has allowed just one hit and zero walks through four innings, striking out four in shutting out the IronPigs to this point. Crosby is throwing a lot of strikes -- 30 of his 48 pitches are strikes. And as impressive as those numbers are so far, he has been that impressive. No score as Mud Hens bat in the bottom of the fourth.
8:06 p.m. -- Well, I guess I jinxed Crosby, who gave up a run in the top of the fifth. He fell behind the leadoff batter, Erik Kratz, and Kratz slammed a 3-0 pitch down the left-field line for a double. Then Kratz scored on a double by Jason Pridie down the right-field line. Crosby made a nice play on a grounder back to the mound with Pridie on third, tagging Pridie out in a rundown and keeping the batter-runner on first base. Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning trailing Lehigh Valley 1-0.
8:14 p.m. -- Racing With the Stars update ... A slow start for everyone as Jamie Farmadillo held the lead. Then everyone turned on the jets, with Farmadillo holding off a hard-charging Jim Flealand to claim the victory. Back to baseball ...
8:20 p.m. -- Lehigh Valley threatening in the sixth thanks to back-to-back singles putting runners on first and third with no one out. What makes this dangerous is the strong start by IronPigs starter Pat Misch, who has held the Hens scoreless on two hits through the first five innings. It's important that the Hens keep the lead as close as possible.
8:31 p.m. -- Nice effort by Casey Crosby to keep the IronPigs off the board in the sixth. Especially tough third out when, with the bases loaded, Crosby got ahead of Jason Pridie 0-2, then saw Pridie foul off four tough pitches before lining the ball hard to right. But it was a fly out, and the Hens still trail by just a run as they come to bat in the bottom of the sixth.
8:39 p.m. -- Alex Avila singles in a run, then leaves for a pinch-runner. Heading to the clubhouse to talk to him. Back in a little. ...
8:55 p.m. -- I asked Avila about coming out at that point in the game ... "I talked to [Mud Hens manager] Phil Nevin before the game. Originally I wanted four at-bats, but I told him three would be fine. One more at-bat wouldn't make difference." I asked asked him about the finish to his stay in Toledo: "I feel great physically and mentally. The last three days were about getting back in the rhythm of the game."
9:24 p.m. -- Lehigh Valley scores an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning, with a throwing error by Rob Brantly on a steal attempt putting the runner in scoring position for a sacrifice fly. As I type this the Hens are batting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Can the Hens rally?
9:32 p.m. -- The answer is no, as Hens lose to IronPigs 2-1. Down to the clubhouse ... thanks for following along.