Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens begin a brief four-game homestand at Fifth Third Field by hosting Columbus tonight at 7 p.m. We’ll get the in-game blog rolling with lineups, an update on the Mud Hens roster, and much more. Most-recent posts are at the bottom, so let’s roll!
5:00 p.m. – Back in the saddle after a couple of days off, so I’m catching up on the team just like you are. Let’s get this rolling with lineups, OK?
5:05 p.m. –The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing 3B is Justin Henry, followed by Ben Guez in RF, Matt Young in CF, Jerad Head in LF, John Lindsey at DH, Ryan Strieby at DH, Rob Brantly at C, Cale Iorg at 2B, Argenis Diaz at SS and RHP Jacob Turner as the starting pitcher. Columbus lineup is next ...
5:10 p.m. -- The Columbus lineup of manager Mike Sarbaugh ... Leading off and playing CF is Ezequiel Carrera, followed by Cord Phelps at 2B, Travis Hafner at DH, Matt LaPorta at 1B, Russ Canzler in RF, Jared Goedert at 3B, Tim Fedroff in LF, Luke Carlin at C, Gregorio Petit at SS and LHP T.J. McFarland as the starting pitcher.
5:16 p.m. -- Heading down to the clubhouse ... back in a moment.
5:40 p.m. -- OK, back from the clubhouses with a few notes. First for the Mud Hens ... The only move made on the road trip was the release of IF Jeff Baisley and the promotion of 3B Bryan Pounds from Double-A Erie. Baisley went 2-for-4 in his first game with the Hens and 1-for-33 (.030) in the nine games that followed, meaning he finished with an .081 batting average, no homers and three RBIs. Pounds played in 54 games for the SeaWolves and hit .208 with four homers and 13 RBIs.
5:51 p.m. -- A word about the Mud Hens rotation ... with Sunday's rainout, the rotation was merely pushed back one day. RHP Jacob Turner, who was supposed to start Sunday's game, will start tonight, and the rest of the Mud Hens rotation is pushed back one day. That means RHP Thad Weber starts Tuesday, LHP Andy Oliver starts Wednesday, LHP Adam Wilk goes Thursday, LHP Casey Crosby starts Friday when the Hens begin a three-game series in Louisville, and Turner comes back to pitch Saturday.
6:01 p.m. -- A quick word about the opposition, the Columbus Clippers ... The Clippers are in second place in the IL West Division, eight games in front of the Mud Hens. The Hens have a 6-2 record against the Clippers, though they are just 3-2 here at Fifth Third Field. Columbus starter T.J. McFarland began the season with Double-A Akron and was 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA to earn a promotion to Columbus, where he has gone 2-1 with a 4.22 ERA. In his last start, which came June 24 against Lehigh Valley, McFarland threw a complete-game four-hit shutout.
6:10 p.m. -- A mild surprise in the Columbus lineup thanks to Sunday's rainout ... DH Travis Hafner, who was supposed to complete a rehab assignment with the Clippers Sunday, has joined the team here in Toledo for tonight's game. Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh said Hafner is scheduled to get four at-bats as the Clippers' DH, although that may be adjusted based on how many times Hafner has run the bases and how he feels. Will he stay with the Clippers after today's game? Sarbaugh said that has yet to be determined.
6:18 p.m. -- One other note while I'm thinking about it ... Sunday's rainout has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 25 at Huntington Park in Columbus. First pitch for the first game of that doubleheader is set for 5:35 p.m.
6:25 p.m. -- About to forage for some dinner ... back in a few minutes.
6:50 p.m. -- Well, that was a little tougher than I expected, but I'm back. Actually. Just back in time to say "I am back" and I will see you on the other side of first pitch with a first-inning scouting report of Jacob Turner. See you in a few minutes ...
7:07 p.m. -- Jacob Turner escapes a two-one, one-out jam by getting Matt LaPorta to hit into a double play. Turner threw 12 pitches in the first, six of which were strikes. Turner's fastball sat at 91-92 mph (two at 91, three at 92, one at 93, one at 94) while his slider sat at 89 mph (two at 89). He threw two change-ups, one at 83 and one at 85. No score as the Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the first.
7:17 p.m. -- The Mud Hens used a walk and a single to put runners on first and second with nobody out, yet failed to score as Columbus starter T.J. McFarland got a strikeout and a double play to end the threat. McFarland threw 16 pitches in the first inning, only seven of which were strikes. McFarland's fastball sat at 89-91 mph (six at 89, one at 90 and two at 91) while his breaking ball (it looked like a slider) sat 84-86 mph (two at 84, one at 86) and his change-up sat at 81-82 (one at each speed). No score as we head to the second.
7:29 p.m. -- Tough break costs Jacob Turner a run in the bottom of the first. With one out Turner gave up a double, then got ahead of Tim Fedroff 1-2. Fedroff fouled off a pair of pitches surrounded by a called ball, then Turner didn't get a strike three call on a pitch that looked like a strike. Turner missed on the 3-2 pitch to put runners on first and second; a single loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly brought home the run. If Turner gets the strikeout, the sacrifice fly is instead the final out of the inning. Instead Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the second, trailing 1-0.
7:48 p.m. -- The "shift" gets Travis Hafner in the third inning -- sort of. Hafner hits a soft line drive to the shortstop position, where third baseman Justin Henry made the catch. In his first at-bat Hafner took a ball and then was hit by a pitch. In the second at-bat Hafner took two pitches for a ball, swung and missed a 93 mph fastball, then hit the soft liner to the shortstop position. Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the third trailing 1-0.
7:58 p.m. -- The Mud Hens find a way to scratch out a run in the third when Argenis Diaz singled with one out, then stole second -- the ball beat Diaz to the bag, but Columbus shortstop Gregorio Petit didn't tag Diaz at second. Then with two outs Matt Young lined a single back up the middle that scored Diaz. We're tied at 2-2 as we head to the fourth.
8:09 p.m. -- And Jacob Turner responds with a shut-down fourth inning, striking out the first two batters and getting an easy roller for the third out. Turner has thrown 65 pitches through the first four innings, 38 for strikes. He has given up four hits, one walk and one hit batsmen in those four innings and has collected four strikeouts, including three in the last four he has faced. We're tied at 1-1 as the Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the fourth.
8:23 p.m. -- Hafner grounds out again in his third at-bat ... He took a ball from Turner, swung and missed at a 93 mph fastball, took another ball and then a strike (on a fastball that painted the outside corner) before grounding out to the shortstop ... who was positioned at the spot normally covered by the second baseman. We're still tied 1-1 as the Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
8:34 p.m. -- A Racing With the Stars update ... Jamie Farmadillo takes an early lead, but all three came sprinting to the finsh, with Kitty Holmes just nosing out Jim Flealand at the finish. Back to baseball ...
8:51 p.m. -- Jacob Turner is not able to survive the sixth inning ... He gave up a double, then three straight singles to the first four batters of the inning to produce two runs, then with two outs and two strikes Ezequiel Carrera lined an RBI single to bring home a third. Matt Hoffman comes out of the bullpen to clean up the mess, which has runners on first and third with two outs and Cord Phelps at the plate, with Columbus now leading 4-1.
8:59 p.m. -- By the way, if you haven't heard ... Former Tigers and Mud Hens LHP Dontrelle Willis announced his retirement today. Willis was released by the Phillies in spring training and was pitching for Norfolk when he decided to call it a career. I went back-and-forth with Willis, but he certainly was a great quote and there were some good interviews as well as a few not-so-good. I know a number of former teammates who loved having him as a teammate. Best wishes to Willis.
9:06 p.m. -- The "shift" again retires Hafner, but again the shift isn't necessary. Hafner takes a pair of Matt Hoffman pitches called balls, then took a strike before hit a routine ground ball to the shortstop position. That's where Toledo third baseman Justin Henry was stationed, and Henry threw Hafner out. Hafner is 0-for-3 with a hit batsman in four plate appearances. Mud Hens trail 4-1 as we head to the seventh.
9:17 p.m. -- The Mud Hens offensive struggles have continued so far in this contest ... Columbus starter T.J. McFarland has allowed just four hits and three walks that have resulted in one run in seven innings. McFarland has struck out five and has thrown just 95 pitches -- 57 of which were strikes -- although his night seems to be over (Dan Wheeler is warming up in the bullpen). We go to the eighth with Columbus still leading 4-1.
9:42 p.m. -- The shift finally DOES retire Travis Hafner in the ninth inning ... with two outs and a runner on third base, Hens reliever Chris Bootcheck fires a pitch that Hafner lines directly to Toledo second baseman Cale Iorg standing in shallow right field. That ball would have been a base hit had the shift not been in place. Barring extra innings, Hafner finishes 0-for-4 plus a hit batsman. The Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 4-1.
9:56 p.m. -- Mud Hens get a walk but do not score in the bottom of the ninth and lose to Columbus by a 4-1 score. Heading to the clubhouse, so I'm closing the blog. Thanks for following along!