Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens are at Fifth Third Field to begin their four-game series against Charlotte. The 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. – Running behind today for a variety of reasons – some good reasons, some not-so-good, so please be patient. I’ll start with lineups in a moment, then follow with a note or two after that. Let’s get things rolling with the lineups!
5:35 p.m. -- The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing LF is Eric Patterson, followed by Justin Henry in CF, Ryan Raburn at 2B, Brad Eldred at 1B, Ben Guez in RF, Ryan Strieby at DH, Argenis Diaz at SS, Brent Dlugach at 3B, Zach Maggard at C and RHP Brooks Brown as the starting pitcher. Charlotte lineup is next ...
5:40 p.m. -- The Charlotte lineup of manager Joel Skinner ... Leading off and playing CF is Greg Golson, followed by Tyler Kuhn in LF, Brent Morel at 3B, Dan Johnson at DH, Hector Gimenez at C, Jim Gallagher at 1B, Ray Olmedo at SS, Drew Garcia at 2B, Justin Greene in RF and RHP Matt Zaleski as the starting pitcher.
5:50 p.m. -- A few Mud Hens notes ... first, regarding the lineup. Manager Phil Nevin said the shake-up of the lineup continues because, "We've got to find something offensively." Argenis Diaz moved back down in the lineup after hitting second yesterday, Eric Patterson returns and hits leadoff, and Audy Ciriaco will sit with Brent Dlugach starting at third base. Also, note that Bryan Holaday is getting a day off and Zach Maggard playing in his first Toledo game since he was called up from Hi-A Lakeland on May 30.
5:59 p.m. -- A bit of good news for the Mud Hens ... OF Jerad Head took batting practice before today's game, and Nevin said Head is "getting close" to coming back to the active roster. Head went on the disabled list May 3 with an injured left wrist.
6:06 p.m. -- The news wasn't as good for RHP Zach Miner, who went on the disabled list May 24 with a groin strain. Miner cut a bullpen session short "to be cautious." The Hens expect to know more about Miner's status Wednesday.
6:11 p.m. -- OK, turning to the visiting Charlotte Knights ... If you looked at the lineup, you saw that Brent Morel is starting at third base for Charlotte. Morel was placed on the disabled list May 22 (retroactive to May 18) with a lumbar back strain. Morel has hit .333 in his first six games with the Knights.
6:55 p.m. -- Well, sorry about that ... problems with TypePad that I hope are solved. I'll give you a few links, and we'll go straight to baseball. Thanks for hanging with me ...
7:01 p.m. -- Here are the links. Click here to read the game story from Monday's pitchers duel between Toledo's Jacob Turner and Buffalo's Jenrry Mejia. Click here to read the in-game blog from Monday's contest, and click here to read the post-game look at Turner, relievers Matt Hoffman and Jose Ortega and Matt Eldred.
7:10 p.m. -- Mud Hens starter Brooks Brown struggled with command issues in the first inning, walking one batter and falling behind 3-1 before getting the final out. Brown threw 15 pitches, only six of which were strikes. Brown's fastball sat consistently at 93-94 mph (two at 92, six at 93, three at 94, one at 95) while his breaking ball sat at 84-85 mph. No score as the Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the first.
7:16 p.m. -- Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski got a double play off the bat of Ryan Raburn to avoid further trouble in the first. Zaleski also struggled with command, throwing strikes with just four of his 12 pitches. Zaleski does not throw hard; his fastball sat at 83-86 mph (two at 83, two at 84, two at 85, four at 86), while he threw two curves, one at 77 and one at 73. No score, end of the first.
7:31 p.m. -- Well, so far we haven't seen a lot of command from the two starters. Toledo starter Brooks Brown has thrown strikes with just 13 of his 33 pitches in the first two innings, while Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski threw strikes with just four of his 12 pitches in the first. If this continues, both bullpens will get a LOT of work before this game is over.
7:52 p.m. -- Both starting pitchers are starting to figure things out here as we reach the bottom of the fourth inning in a scoreless game. Toledo starter Brooks Brown has retired the last six in a row to finish the fourth. He has thrown 58 pitches, 28 of which were strikes. Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski has limited the Mud Hens to just one hit and one walk through the first three innings, but he has thrown just 18 strikes with his first 30 pitches.
8:06 p.m. -- Too busy watching the T-Town Dragsters dance to "Party In the U.S.A." to type up that the Mud Hens managed a run in the bottom of the fourth. Toledo took advantage of the wildness of Zaleski to score a run. Brad Eldred drew a walk -- Zaleski's third in the game -- and came around to score when Ben Guez lined a triple to deep left-center.
8:17 p.m. -- Charlotte ties the game in the top of the fifth with a run off Brown. Brown's problems began with a leadoff walk, his fourth of the game, and then gave up a single. Hens catcher Zach Maggard picked the lead runner off second base, but a stolen base and a wild pitch before Tyler Kuhn hit a double down the left-field line to score the run. Walks will kill you eventually ... and we head to the bottom of the fifth with the score tied, 1-1.
8:22 p.m. -- Racing With the Stars update ... Jamie Farmadillo took the lead around second base, but all three were tightly bunched as they came towards home. Kitty Holmes had a slight lean to claim the victory. Back to baseball ...
8:34 p.m. -- Ryan Raburn grounds out to third to end the sixth inning. Raburn is 0-for-3 on the night after hitting into a double play in the first and flying out to center in the fourth.
8:39 p.m. -- Brooks Brown is done after six interesting innings ... He allows just one run in six innings despite giving up three hits and four walks. Brown struck out five as he covered the six innings with 93 pitches, 47 of which were strikes. Brown was especially tough when Charlotte had runners in scoring position: The Knights were just 1-for-8 in those situations. Luke Putkonen comes on to pitch in the seventh inning of a 1-1 contest.
8:54 p.m. -- Mud Hens had a chance in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases before Zach Maggard flew out to center to end the threat. We head to the eighth with the score still tied 1-1.
9:17 p.m. -- The wheels are coming off for the Mud Hens here in the eighth ... After a leadoff single, Brent Morel beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second with no one out. Luke Putkonen got Dan Johnson to fly out for the inning's first out, but Hens catcher Zach Maggard was called for catcher's interference to load the bases with no one out. A sacrifice fly brought home one run, and Putkonen walked the next batter to load the bases. Collin Balester came on and got the next batter, Ray Olmedo, to hit a tailor-made double-play grounder to second. But Ryan Raburn booted the ball for an error that allowed a second run to score. Balester bounced back to get the next hitter to line the ball to Raburn for an inning-ending double-play (you won't get me to mention the snow-cone catch by Raburn), but the damage has been done as the Hens trail 3-1 as they come to bat in the bottom of the eighth.
9:24 p.m. -- Audy Ciriaco pinch-hits for Ryan Raburn in the bottom of the eighth inning. No official word on why Raburn came out of the game. On the Morel bunt in the top of the eighth it looked as if Morel stepped on Raburn's foot while covering first. Raburn was shaking the foot after the play, but he did stay in the game. Hens get runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth but did not score, so it's Charlotte 3, Toledo 1 as we move to the ninth.
9:44 p.m. -- Mud Hens get a runner on in the ninth but fail to score, and Charlotte claims a 3-1 victory. Heading to the clubhouse, so I'm closing the blog. Thanks for following along.
LATE ADDITION: Tough day for Ryan Raburn ... finished 0-for-3 with a double-play groundout. Also charged with an error for mishandling a groundball that could have been a potential inning-ending double play in the eighth. He left the game for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth. After the game Hens manager Phil Nevin said Raburn felt tightness behind his knee and would know more about his availability today. I wasn't able to talk to Raburn, but I did see him walk ... and if he was limping, it was only slightly.