Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens begin their four-game series against Norfolk at Fifth Third Field with tonight’s game starting at 7 p.m. I’d like to try something new starting tonight … instead of blogging live during the contest, I’ll put together a pre-game report and then a post-game report. So here we go!
5:30 p.m. – Here’s my thinking on getting away with the in-game blog … first, it helps me focus on the game a little better. Second, I’ll have snippets that I will Tweet instead of trying to blog everything. Third, I’ll give you post-game reports a lot faster. Finally, I’ll mix in an in-game report when circumstances warrant. For example, I would post on the blog in-game stuff like the Drew Smyly report from Thursday’s game (because the game was running slow and I had stuff done early).
5:35 p.m. – I’m floating a trial balloon here, so PLEASE pass along feedback at the bottom of the page. And I’ll listen to both pro and con, so now is your chance to state your preference, OK? Thanks!
5:40 p.m. -- The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing RF is Matt Young, followed by Justin Henry in CF, Rob Brantly at DH, Jeff Baisley at 3B, Ryan Strieby at 1B, Jerad Head in LF, Bryan Holaday at C, Cale Iorg at 2B, Argenis Diaz at SS and RHP Thad Weber as the starting pitcher. Norfolk lineup is next ...
5:45 p.m. -- The Norfolk lineup of manager Ron Johnson ... Leading off and playing LF is Xavier Avery, followed by Nate McLouth in CF, Lew Ford at DH, Miguel Tejada at 3B, Joe Mahoney at 1B, Bill Hall at 2B, L.J. Hoes in RF, Blake Davis at SS, Chris Robinson at C and RHP Chris Tillman as the starting pitcher.
5:53 p.m. -- OK, a few notes ... First, the Mud Hens were NOT able to activate 1B John Lindsey for today's game. Lindsey is expected to sign any day, but there is a holdup of some sort with the paperwork from his team in the Mexican League.
6:08 p.m. -- A note about the Mud Hens rotation -- and an answer to the question many of you have been asking about LHP Drew Smyly and RHP Jacob Turner. The Mud Hens list the starter for Tuesday's game as "TBA." As you may have guessed, that is the day that Smyly and Turner would be the probable starters. The Tigers need to decide if Smyly or Turner will start for Detroit that day, and the other pitcher will be with the Mud Hens.
6:16 p.m. -- While we are speaking of Smyly, I got quotes from him following his work for the Mud Hens yesterday. I also analyzed his 36-pitch effort (charted balls and strikes, charted pitch speeds, and even charted which type of pitch he threw for strikes most). Long story short: he threw a LOT of strikes. If you want details, click here to read Thursday's in-game blog (and start around the 11:30 mark of the game).
6:26 p.m. -- Speaking of Thursday's game, click here to read the on-line story from the contest (which features Drew Smyly but also talks about Lehigh Valley's 7-4 victory). Also, click here to view the photo gallery from the contest, courtesy of The Blade's Andy Morrison.
6:35 p.m. -- About to close the books on the pre-game ... A word about the Norfolk team in town these next four days: they are a VETERAN team. Miguel Tejada obviously is the best-known name, but guys like Nate McLouth, Lew Ford and Bill Hall also are experienced major-league veterans. And Saturday's starter is former Tigers & Mud Hens LHP Dontrelle Willis, so that is a familiar name. For those wondering: the word I get is that there is ZERO chance LHP Jamie Moyer will pitch against the Mud Hens for Norfolk in this series.
6:45 p.m. -- OK, I'm going to close the books on this pre-game blog. PLEASE click on the "comments" link below and let me know what you think about this, and about the in-game blog. Thanks!