Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens continue their 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. – This is going to be a strange night … since I have an early deadline on my story, then a game story late. I will spend some time away from the blog, but I’ll let you know when I’m working on something else, OK. So let’s get this rolling with lineups …
5:05 p.m. –The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing CF is Justin Henry, followed by Danny Worth at 2B, Ben Guez in RF, Jerad Head in LF, John Lindsey at 1B, Rob Brantly at DH, Bryan Pounds at 3B, Bryan Holaday at C, Argenis Diaz at SS and RHP Thad Weber 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 Trevor Crowe in RF, Cord Phelps at 2B, Matt LaPorta at DH, Vinny Rottino at 1B, Tim Fedroff in LF, Jared Goedert at 3B, Matt Pagnozzi at C, Gregorio Petit at SS and LHP David Huff as the starting pitcher.
5:19 p.m. -- On to the news ... First, from the Columbus dugout: DH Travis Hafner is not with the Clippers. He isn't in the lineup and is not in the clubhouse. So fans are advised that they shouldn't come to Fifth Third Field looking for Hafner.
5:27 p.m. -- Turning to the Mud Hens clubhouse ... the moves from yesterday and today have come to fruition. LHP Darin Downs and RHP Jose Ortega were promoted to Detroit, while RHP Luis Marte and IF Danny Worth were sent to Toledo. Worth IS here -- no doubt you noticed he is in the starting lineup -- while Marte is NOT here.
5:34 p.m. -- To add to the Mud Hens woes, OF Matt Young was designated for assignment by the Tigers. The idea was to remove Young from Detroit's 40-man roster to make room for Downs there. The problem, from a Hens perspective, is that Young isn't available to play for Toledo while he is going through waivers. The holiday may make his time off the roster a little longer than usual. When it rains, it pours for the Hens, right?
5:45 p.m. -- Need to do a little work here for a few minutes, so I'm going to pass along the first of several links. Click here to read the story I wrote following yesterday's game about the moves the Tigers made, included a detailed look at the newest Tiger, Darin Downs.
5:52 p.m. -- Hope you noticed at the bottom of that story a fan comment talking about the Mud Hens this season. I won't comment on it ... at least not at this moment. But I encourage everyone to click on the link above, read the comment by "Chris" and post your own response. I'd like to find out what people think about it. Agree or disagree, click on the "comment" button and let everyone know your thoughts.
6:02 p.m. -- While I'm at it, here are a few other links ... Click here to read the blog from Monday's contest against Columbus. Click here to read the game story from the contest, which features a look at Indians DH Travis Hafner.
6:11 p.m. -- For those of you wondering about the weather ... we've got hazy skies around Fifth Third Field. At this point the bullpen mounds are covered, but nothing else is. A better sign that we're starting on time: As I type this the grounds crew is putting lines on the field. That wouldn't happen if we were expecting rain. So I believe, at this point, we're good to go.
6:17 p.m. -- Now the grounds crew is watering the infield, so we're good to go. The temperature here is 92 degrees right now, so bring your sunglasses and an ice cube or two!
6:27 p.m. -- Now that I have completed my weather report, I'm going to take a break and sneak a little dinner. Back in a few minutes.
6:44 p.m. -- Well, I'm in one of those situations where I need to do some writing, so I need to leave the blog for a few minutes. I'll be back to talk about Thad Weber and his first inning of work on the other side of the hour!
7:08 p.m. -- Thad Weber rolled through the first inning unscathed, giving up a one-out walk and a two-out stolen base to Trevor Crowe but otherwise avoiding trouble. Weber threw 12 pitches, six of which were strikes, in the first. Weber's fastball sat at 89-91 mph (four at 89, two at 90, three at 91), while his breaking ball sat at 81-83 mph (one at 81, one at 83). My guess is those fastballs are split between four-seam and two-seam fastballs.
7:17 p.m. -- Columbus starter David Huff mowed down the Mud Hens in order in the first inning, throwing strikes on seven of his eight pitches and collecting a strikeout along the way. Huff's fastball sat at 92-93 mph (two at 92, three at 93) while his one curveball sat at 78 mph and his one change-up sat at 84 mph. No score, end of the first.
7:24 p.m. -- OK, working on the story for the Fourth of July edition, so I'm going to be focused on that for a little while. I'll have scoring updates, then back to blogging when the story is over.
7:32 p.m. -- The Mud Hens put together a nifty two-out rally to score twice in the bottom of the second. Rob Brantly singled, Bryan Pounds singled Brantly to third, and Bryan Holaday doubled into the gap in left-center to bring both runners home -- with Pounds just beating the throw to the plate. Mud Hens lead 2-0 as we head to the third.
7:55 p.m. -- Matt LaPorta slammed a no-doubt home run to lead off the fourth. LaPorta hammered the first pitch of the inning over the fence -- and over the netting protecting Monroe Street -- for his 17th home run of the season. Hens still lead, 2-1, as they come to bat in the fourth.
8:29 p.m. -- OK, I'm back in the game ... thanks for hanging with me. Story is sent ... and it's starting to rain as we play in the bottom of the sixth inning, Mud Hens still leading 2-1. Toledo has the bases loaded with one out and Argenis Diaz at the plate. I'll fill in a few details over the next few minutes. Hang on ...
8:38 p.m. -- The Mud Hens have gotten production from the bottom part of the order today ... Rob Brantly (fifth batter) has two hits and two runs scored, Bryan Pounds (sixth hitter) has two hits and two runs scored, while Bryan Holaday (eighth hitter) has three hits, including a pair of doubles, and two RBIs. Toledo leads 4-1 at the end of the sixth.
8:45 p.m. -- The Hens runs in the sixth scored thanks to a good piece of baserunning. One-out singles by Brantly, Pounds and Holaday loaded the bases, and Argenis Diaz singled in the first run of the inning (and kept the bases loaded). Then Justin Henry hit a slow roller to second base ... if Diaz runs to second, he gets tagged out to start an inning-ending double play. But Diaz stopped and forced Clippers second baseman Cord Phelps to chase and tag hit, allowing Henry to reach first and the run to score.
8:57 p.m. -- Meanwhile Mud Hens starter Thad Weber has held the Clippers in check except for the LaPorta home run. The Clippers did get baserunners in the early innings but did not score, and after the home run he got especially tough. Weber gave up a single to Vinny Rottino, then promptly retired the next nine hitters in a row. In the seventh Weber gave up a leadoff single, then a two-out single that moved the lead runner to second, but got a flyout to end the threat. Even better for the Hens is that Weber has thrown just 88 pitches to this point, although Collin Balester is warming up.
9:06 p.m. -- The rain has pretty much stopped as Collin Balester comes on in relief of Weber in the eighth, the Mud Hens leading 4-1.
9:13 p.m. -- Uh oh ... Balester has walked the first two batters of the eighth inning, with a stolen base-wild pitch putting runners on first and third with no one out. Matt LaPorta comes to the plate as the tying run, with no one out.
9:16 p.m. -- And it starts to rain. Again.
9:17 p.m. -- And now we've got a rain delay after Matt LaPorta flies out.
9:18 p.m. -- Nifty effort by the grounds crew to get the tarp on the field pretty quickly. It's difficult to get the tarp on the field quickly when it rains hard, because the rain lands and sticks on the tarp. And the tarp ain't heavy even without rain. But the grounds crew got the job done, and head groundskeeper Jake Tyler "Tebowed" after the tarp was put in place.
9:35 p.m. -- Restart of Mud Hens-Clippers set for 9:50 p.m., I am told. The grounds crew is rolling up the tarp, so that seems reasonable.
9:43 p.m. -- OK, while we're in the process of preparing for a restart, here's a quick game recap: Mud Hens offense is fueled by the bottom of the order, as eighth hitter Bryan Holaday slammed a two-out, two-run double into the gap in left-center in the second and the Hens got four singles to score two more in the sixth. Meanwhile Toledo starter Thad Weber was strong in his seven innings of work, giving up six hits and one walk and only one run -- although that run was a well-struck home run by Matt LaPorta leading off the fourth.
9:49 p.m. -- It looks as if Collin Balester is going to return to the mound. By the way, terrific effort by the grounds crew in covering the field quickly, then getting it ready quickly. We will start at roughly 9:50 p.m. as promised.
9:52 p.m. -- Some times all you can do is laugh ... Balester throws one pitch, Vinny Rottino hits a sacrifice fly to center that scores Trevor Crowe from third base, and Phil Nevin promptly removes Balester from the game. Including the 32-minute rain delay, that's one of the longest 2/3 of an inning efforts you'll see. Matt Hoffman comes in, and Columbus pinch-hits Russ Canzler to get a right-hander to the plate against the lefty Hoffman.
9:57 p.m. -- Things are getting dicey here at Fifth Third Field as Hoffman walks Canzler on seven pitches to put runners on first and second base with two outs. Chris Bootcheck comes on with two outs in the eighth and the tying run on base.
10:03 p.m. -- Bootcheck blows away the Clippers' Jared Goedert on three pitches to end the eighth-inning threat by Columbus. Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the eighth leading 4-2.
10:09 p.m. -- Bryan Pounds is having a big day for the Mud Hens, tripling past the centerfielder to give him three hits in the game. Bad news: Pounds tries to score on a suicide squeeze, but Bryan Holaday misses the bunt and Pounds is tagged out on a rundown. We head to the top of the ninth with the Hens looking to close out a 4-2 win.
10:20 p.m. -- Bootcheck closes out the victory as Mud Hens snap a seven-game losing streak at home. Heading down to the clubhouse for a few quotes for the web story. I'll tweet the link when it is posted. Thanks for following along!