Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens will play only one game at Fifth Third Field tonight against Indianapolis, with first pitch at 6 p.m. I’m responsible for a lot of writing tonight, so let’s get rolling!
5:00 p.m. – Not as much writing today, so I’ll make the blog live tonight. I’ll get things 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, Andy Dirks in CF, John Lindsey at DH, Danny Dorn at 1B, Jerad Head in LF, Rob Brantly at C, Matt Young at 2B, Audy Ciriaco at SS and LHP Ramon Garcia as the starting pitcher. Indianapolis lineup is next ...
5:10 p.m. -- The Indianapolis lineup of manager Dean Treanor ... Leading off and playing SS is Anderson Hernandez, followed by Jose Tabata in CF, Sterling Marte in LF, Matt Hague at 1B, Jeff Clement at DH, Yamaico Navarro at 3B, Eric Fryer in RF, Jose Morales at C, Brian Friday at 2B and RHP Daniel Cabrera as the starting pitcher.
5:19 p.m. -- OK, a few notes ... First, the news of the day from Detroit: OF Andy Dirks will start a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens tonight. According to Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin, Dirks is going to play five innings in center tonight, then will play seven innings with the team tomorrow. After that, Nevin said Dirks' status will be reassessed. The one thing Nevin stressed was that this isn't a short-term rehab stint, as Dirks will travel with the team to Columbus for the five-games-in-four-days series starting Tuesday.
5:25 p.m. -- As you may (or may not) have noticed, there was a change in the Mud Hens lineup from the lineup I originally tweeted. Audy Ciriaco will replace Argenis Diaz in the lineup, batting ninth and playing shortstop. Manager Phil Nevin said Diaz is getting a day off, nothing more.
5:32 p.m. -- A quick word on the Indianapolis lineup ... SS Chase d'Arnaud is not in the lineup for the Indians, which marks the second consecutive game that he is not a starter. He was having trouble making throws to first, so I am told he is a "healthy" scratch.
5:40 p.m. -- OK, here are a few links before we get rolling. Click here to read the post-game Hens Eggs from Saturday's doubleheader. Click here to read the game story from Saturday's doubleheader, which featured Danny Dorn. Click here to read Sunday's notebook, which looks at why the Mud Hens released Ryan Strieby along with the pitching exploits of Bryan Pounds.
5:49 p.m. -- Almost forgot ... click here to view the photo gallery from Saturday's doubleheader featuring photos by Andy Morrison.
6:11 p.m. -- Ramon Garcia gets nicked for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Actually, Garcia gave up two runs because of a LONG home run by Starling Marte. Marte crushed a 3-1 pitch OVER the scoreboard in left field. And I mean over -- literally. One of the longer home runs in this ballpark's history. Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the first, trailing 2-0.
6:30 p.m. -- The Mud Hens get one back in the bottom of the first in an inning ripe for discussion. Andy Dirks lined a single up the middle, and looked good in his first at-bat. ... A tough decision by Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin in the third-base coaching box. With no one out and runners on first and second, John Lindsey hits a grounder through the hole at shortstop for a single. Nevin sent the runner, who was easily thrown out at the plate. It was the first out of the inning, which helped struggling starter Daniel Cabrera get out of the inning without more runs scoring. Also, the next batter, Danny Dorn, walked on four pitches, which would have forced the runner home.
6:36 p.m. -- Of course, it's easy to judge Nevin's decision NOW. We have time to think about it (Nevin has to make a split-second decision), we know the result of the play (he was easily thrown out), and we know what happened afterward (the walk, etc.). It's a tough job.
6:56 p.m. -- Andy Dirks swings and misses to start his second at-bat, then grounds out to first base. He's 1-for-2 with a single and an RBI. We've played two innings (in a full hour), and Indianapolis leads the Mud Hens 4-2.
7:05 p.m. -- Curious call to lead off the third. Indianapolis hitter Starling Marte hit a ground ball down the third-base line. It seemed to go foul, and the third-base umpire called it foul -- but the home-plate umpire called it fair. Since it's the home-plate ump's call, it's a single for Marte. Right now the Indians have the first two runners on in the third, threatening to add to a 4-2 lead.
7:19 p.m. -- Danny Dorn slams a long home run to right in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 4-3. Nice swing, and a no-doubt blast well into the picnic tables behind the right-field fence. That was Dorn's second home run for the Hens in just seven games ...
7:35 p.m. -- Here's why we are only in the bottom of the fourth inning even though we've played more than an hour and a half: Neither pitcher can get easy outs. Mud Hens starter Ramon Garcia has thrown 90 pitches through the first four innings, 63 of which were strikes. Of those 63 strikes, only six were swings and misses, with 28 foul balls. That's a lot of pitches that are fouled off, giving the batter another life -- and another pitch, possible an easier pitch to hit. By comparison, Indianapolis starter Daniel Cabrera has thrown 72 pitches through four innings, 45 of which were strikes. Of those 45 strikes, eight were swings and misses while only 16 were fouled off. That still isn't a great number, but it's better than Garcia.
7:47 p.m. -- Interesting that Garcia has settled down after giving up two runs in each of the first two innings. After giving up back-to-back singles to start the third, Garcia retired the next three batters that inning (two by strikeout) and then sat down the Indians in order in both the fourth and fifth innings. He has done a good job of keeping the Mud Hens in the game, as we go to the sixth with the score still Indianapolis 4, Mud Hens 3.
7:53 p.m. -- Racing With the Stars update ... Jamie Farmadillo took an early lead (he was ahead by several yards before reaching second base) and was never challenged. I would say he "cruised" to an easy win, but well, that's not my style. Back to baseball ...
7:59 p.m. -- Of course, I've just jinxed Ramon Garcia with my comment a few minutes ago. Garcia gave up a well-struck double by the first batter he faced this inning, Jeff Clement, and Zach Miner comes on in relief. Still Indy 4, Mud Hens 3 with the Indians batting in the top of the sixth.
8:05 p.m. -- Should have mentioned a few minutes ago that Andy Dirks' day is done after five innings of defense and three at-bats. Dirks singled in his first at-bat, then grounded out to first base in the next two. Jamie Johnson replaces Dirks in centerfield as we head to the sixth. Indianapolis still leads the Mud Hens 4-3.
8:25 p.m. -- While the pitching staff has kept the Indians at bay, the Mud Hens have struggled offensively. After Danny Dorn homered in the third, Indianapolis starter Daniel Cabrera retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. The only batter who reached base was Dorn, who blooped a single to right to lead off the sixth. Dorn moved to second on a wild pitch, then moved to third on a groundout but was stranded at third. Toledo is coming to the plate in the seventh, with Indy still leading 4-3.
8:38 p.m. -- Mud Hens score twice in the bottom of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. Ben Guez doubled into the left-field corner to score Justin Henry from first base to tie the game, and John Lindsey doubled into the right-field corner to score Guez. Here's a beauty: The Mud Hens also added an insurance run when Danny Dorn blooped a single down the left-field line to score Lindsey. Indianapolis comes to bat in the top of the eighth with the Hens in front.
9:02 p.m. -- Indianapolis roughs up Jose Ortega for three runs in the top of the eighth to retake the lead, 7-6. The key blow was a three-run home run by Jose Morales on a two-out, 0-2 pitch. Ortega's pitch was a 100-mph fastball that Morales just took the other way ... hard. While Morales came into the game he had a .198 batting average, he is a career .289 hitter in the minors and was an International League All-Star in years past while with Rochester. Mud Hens come to bat in the bottom of the eighth trailing 7-6.
9:19 p.m. -- Mud Hens do not score in the eighth inning, although they do get a runner into scoring position. It's up to Matt Hoffman to keep Indianapolis at bay to give the Mud Hens a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
9:35 p.m. -- Mud Hens get a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth but do not score, meaning Indianapolis claims a 7-6 victory. Heading down to the clubhouse, so I'm closing the blog. Thanks for following along!