Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens return to Fifth Third Field following a three-year hiatus … well, OK, it was only 14 days, but didn’t it seem like three years? The Mud Hens aren’t home for long, though, as they begin a five-games-in-four-days series against Indianapolis tonight at 7 p.m. We’ll get the in-game blog rolling with lineups, update and news on the Mud Hens, and much more. Most-recent posts are at the bottom, so let’s roll!
6:00 p.m. – I am within sight of vacation – it’s like a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m pretty sure it’s not an oncoming train. So let’s get to work on baseball and get today’s blog started with lineups …
6:05 p.m. –The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing 3B is Justin Henry, followed by Matt Young at 2B, Ben Guez in RF, John Lindsey at DH, Danny Dorn at 1B, Jerad Head in LF, Rob Brantly at C, Argenis Diaz at SS, Jamie Johnson in CF and RHP Brooks Brown as the starting pitcher. Indianapolis lineup is next ...
6:10 p.m. -- The Indianapolis lineup of manager Dean Treanor ... Leading off and playing SS is Chase d'Arnaud, followed by Jose Tabata in CF, Starling Marte in LF, Matt Hague at 1B, Jeff Clement at DH, Yamaico Navarro at 3B, Brandon Boggs in RF, Jose Morales at C, Anderson Hernandez at 2B and RHP Rick VandenHurk as the starting pitcher.
6:18 p.m. -- With five games in four days, the Mud Hens' rotation is in a bit of flux because of Saturday's doubleheader. Here's the rotation for the next few games ... Obviously RHP Brooks Brown will start tonight's game, and RHP Thad Weber will start Saturday's first game. The second-game starter has yet to be announced, but manager Phil Nevin said he hopes to know following today's game, depending on which relievers the Hens use. The most logical candidates are the two "long" relievers, RHPs Luke Putkonen and Thad Weber. If one of them pitches multiple innings tonight, expect the other to start Saturday. LHP Ramon Garcia, who was called up from Double-A Erie earlier this week, will start Sunday, followed by LHPs Adam Wilk Monday and Casey Crosby Tuesday in Columbus. There is a doubleheader against the Clippers Wednesday, with Brown starting the first game and a yet-to-be-determined pitcher starting the second contest.
6:27 p.m. -- I won't bore you with all of the roster moves from the past week or so ... click here if you want to read all of the details (including the release of Ryan Strieby, the addition of former Louisville 1B Danny Dorn, several players placed on the disabled list, and more). A couple of updates from that story written earlier this week: IF Cale Iorg took infield today, but has not been cleared to play following his concussion. He is close, though. The second update is that LHP Andy Oliver has not thrown since going on the DL, and his status won't be clear until he throws.
6:36 p.m. -- A reminder that tonight's contest will involve the Mud Hens wearing pink jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off during the contest, with the proceeds to benefit Northwest Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to battle breast cancer.
6:46 p.m. -- I've had several people ask about former Mud Hen (and Tiger) Jeff Larish, who joined Indianapolis from the Red Sox organization in mid-May. Larish was placed on the disabled list July 15 and probably won't see action in this series.
6:54 p.m. -- OK, I need to get a few things done before the game starts ... I will see you on the other side of 7 o'clock with a first-inning scouting report of Toledo starter Brooks Brown.
7:08 p.m. -- Mud Hens starter Brooks Brown set down the Indians without incident in the first inning, using just 11 pitches (seven of which were strikes) to complete the 1-2-3 inning. Brown threw almost exclusively fastballs, which sat at the 91-92 mph range (one at 89, one at 90, three at 91, four at 92). He threw one pitch (that I think was a cutter or a hard slider) that sat at 87 mph. No score as the Hens come to bat in the bottom of the first.
7:24 p.m. -- The Mud Hens may not want to give up the pink jerseys, scoring three runs in the first inning. Ben Guez had an RBI single, with a second run scoring on a throwing error, and Danny Dorn adding a sacrifice fly. While Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk finished with only one walk in the inning, his 24 pitches split evenly between 12 balls and 12 strikes gave a better indication of his lack of command. There was a four-pitch walk, and Guez, hit a 2-0 pitch for his single, and Rob Brantly clubbed a 2-0 pitch hard to straight-away center. The Mud Hens lead 3-0 as we lead to the second.
7:42 p.m. -- Toledo's Brooks Brown got the shut-down inning in the second, but it wasn't easy. He gave up a single and a double to the first two batters he faced, and it took him 11 pitches to strike out Brandon Boggs. Brown also hit a batter, which meant he left the bases loaded in an inning where he threw 28 pitches to give him 39 pitches through two innings. The good news is that the Hens still lead 3-0 as they come to bat in the bottom of the second.
8:25 p.m. -- Sorry about the gap here, folks. Had to finish a couple of responsibilities. The Hens are batting in the bottom of the fourth and still lead, 3-0. Toledo starter Brooks Brown has limited Indianapolis to just three hits, but he struggled again in the top of the fourth. He gave up a double to deep centerfield and a two-out walk but pitched out of the jam. The biggest concern right now is that Brown has thrown 82 pitches in four innings, 55 of which were strikes.
8:29 p.m. -- Unfortunately, the Mud Hens have struggled offensively since an impressive first inning. Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk retired the last two batters in the first inning, then retired nine of the next 10 batters he has faced since. Nothing particularly dangerous against him except a double down the left-field line by Rob Brantly. We head to the fifth with the Mud Hens still leading 3-0.
8:46 p.m. -- Brooks Brown is able to keep Indianapolis off the board in the fifth, but he needed a bit of sleight-of-hand to pull it off. Chase d'Arnaud led off the inning with a double, but Brown picked him off second. That proved critical when then next batter, Jose Tabata, lined a double to the wall in right-center. Tabata took third on a flyout, but he was stranded there when Brown got a called third strike versus Matt Hague to end the inning. Mud Hens bat in the bottom of the fifth, still leading 3-0.
8:59 p.m. -- Zach Miner comes on in relief in the sixth ... Brooks Brown allows five hits and one walk in five innings, striking out six. But he can consider himself lucky, at least to a degree, because of the gymnastics it took to keep the Indians off the scoreboard. Toledo holds a 3-0 lead as it comes to bat in the bottom of the sixth.
9:13 p.m. -- Mud Hens have done little with Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk since the first inning. After the first Toledo's only hit until the sixth was a double by Rob Brantly in the fourth. In that sixth inning the Hens mounted a rally, getting a leadoff single by John Lindsey and a one-out single by Jerad Head to put two on base with only one out. But Toledo fails to score, so the Hens advantage remains 3-0 as we head to the seventh.
9:23 p.m. -- How often do you see a call at first base reversed? We just saw that happen to retire Indianapolis in the seventh. With two outs and none on Jose Tabata hit a routine grounder to shortstop, but Argenis Diaz threw high to first. Toledo first baseman Danny Dorn went behind the base to catch the ball, then stepped on the base to get the out ... except first-base ump Jeff Gosney called Tabata safe. Phil Nevin and a host of Hens argued, and the umpires got together -- and then reversed the call. Replays showed the batter/runner was out, but the first-base ump has to get that call right to start.
9:32 p.m. -- Two scoreless innings of work by Zach Miner, with the only blemish a two out walk in the sixth. Collin Balester comes on to start the eighth, with the Mud Hens still leading 3-0.
9:39 p.m. -- The Mud Hens NEARLY turn a triple play in the top of the eighth ... None out (obviously) and Indianapolis had runners on first and second. Yamaico Navarro hit a two-hopper directly to Justin Henry at third base, who ran and touched third, threw to second (when Matt Young made a nice turn) for the second out and nearly nipped Navarro at first. I don't believe the Mud Hens have ever turned a triple play, but I do remember a (bogus) triple play called against Cody Ross here in 2003. Regardless ... Indianapolis did score a run in the top of the eighth, and the Hens are batting in the bottom of the eighth leading 3-1.
9:51 p.m. -- Mud Hens do not score in the bottom of the eighth ... with Chris Bootcheck having been used extensively in recent games, Luis Marte comes on in the ninth in this save situation. I'll chart it, but if Marte does the job I'll have to get to work. I promise I'll add a quick scout after the game (either to the blog or separately, probably to the blog). Here we go, with Toledo leading 3-1.