Welcome to Coop Scoop coverage of the 2012 season! The Hens celebrate the Fourth of July at Fifth Third Field by hosting Columbus 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!
5:30 p.m. – Hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Don’t forget to say “thank you” to our Founding Fathers, who really took a chance against incredible odds and saw things through to victory. And I saw someone tweet today that we should thank all the people who make this republic “work,” especially our armed forces, our police forces and our fire and rescue forces as well. Thanks to all of you!
5:35 p.m. – OK, let’s switch to baseball and get this rolling with lineups …
5:40 p.m. –The Mud Hens lineup for manager Phil Nevin ... Leading off and playing 2B Danny Worth, followed by Argenis Diaz at SS, Ben Guez in RF, Jerad Head in LF, John Lindsey at 1B, Bryan Pounds at 3B, Bryan Holaday at C, Audy Ciriaco at DH, Cale Iorg in CF and LHP Andy Oliver as the starting pitcher. Columbus lineup is next ...
5:46 p.m. -- The Columbus lineup of manager Mike Sarbaugh ... Leading off and playing CF is Ezequiel Carrera, followed by Trevor Crowe in LF, Vinny Rottino at DH, Matt LaPorta at 1B, Russ Canzler at 3B, Chad Huffman in RF, Gregorio Petit at SS, Luke Carlin at C, Ryan Rohlinger at 2B and LHP Chris Seddon as the starting pitcher.
5:56 p.m. -- OK, a few notes ... First, the news of the day is that there is no news regarding roster moves, etc. The Fourth of July holiday probably is going to slow down the waiver movement of Matt Young, so the roster remains unchanged.
6:07 p.m. -- If you had to do a double-take when you looked at the Mud Hens lineup, your eyes do not deceive you. Cale Iorg is starting in centerfield for the Hens tonight. This IS the first time Iorg will play center in a professional game, but this is NOT his first game in the outfield. He played in two games in left field for the Hens last season and made seven starts in left for Double-A Erie last season as well.
6:12 p.m. -- Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin explained the start for Iorg in centerfield this way: "Cale has been working out there, and he's one of our best athletes. Justin Henry needs a day off, and Cale is our best option in center."
6:19 p.m. -- Another reason for using Iorg in center to replace Henry: It gives the Mud Hens another right-handed bat against Clippers' starter Chris Seddon. Left-handed hitting opponents have a .195 batting average against Seddon, while right-handed hitters are batting .280 against him. Seddon's ERA against lefties (0.83) and righties (4.46) have prompted Nevin to use a strictly right-handed hitting lineup against him.
6:29 p.m. -- I'll be on the Mud Hens' pre-game show momentarily, so I'm going to pass along a few links ... First, click here to read the game story from Tuesday's victory (which wasn't in the print edition of the paper, since the game ended so late). Click here to read the feature I wrote about John Lindsey.
6:36 p.m. -- Also, click here to read the in-game blog from Tuesday's contest. Enjoy!
6:46 p.m. -- OK, back from the TV gig ... I'm going to sneak a bite to eat, and I'll be back after first pitch. But here's a story you MUST read ... Jennifer Feehan wrote a terrific story about a flag with ties to the 9/11 disaster that is back in this area. Please read this ... thanks!
6:52 p.m. -- And before I forget, my favorite anthem singer is back tonight, and he will be singing the anthem for the 150th time before a Mud Hens game. Congrats to Dan Ferguson. He does the anthem right: no frills, no slow and silly. Again, congrats to Dan. See you on the other side of 7 p.m.
7:11 p.m. -- A two-out walk comes back to bite Andy Oliver in the first inning. With two outs and no one on Oliver walked Vinny Rottino, and that ended up costing him three runs. Matt LaPorta nearly hit a home run -- it bounced off the railing in left for a double -- for the first run, and Russ Canzler and Chad Huffman followed with RBI doubles. Oliver threw 28 pitches in the first, 16 of which were strikes. His fastball sat at 92-94 mph (one at 91, two at 92, nine at 93, three at 94, one at 96) while his change-up sat at 82-84 (one at 81, one at 82, five at 84) and the slider sat at 86-87 (two at 86, one at 87). He also seemed to throw a "cut" fastball that sat at 89 mph (three at 89). Mud Hens trail 3-0 as they come to bat in the bottom of the first.
7:25 p.m. -- The Mud Hens got a leadoff home run from Danny Worth off Columbus starter Chris Seddon in the first inning, but another runner got picked off to end a mild threat. Seddon threw just nine pitches in the first, six of which were strikes. Seddon threw one fastball at 90 mph; the others sat in the 87-88 range (two at 87, one at 88) while his breaking ball sat at 81-82 (three at 81, one at 82). Our score is Columbus 3, Mud Hens 1 as we move to the second.
7:37 p.m. -- Andy Oliver gets out of the second inning without incident, but he still labored through 22 pitches -- only 10 of which were strikes. He walked the No. 9 hitter for Columbus (who just got called up from Double-A). Oliver then got ahead of Ezequiel Carrera 0-2, only to see Carrera work the count full before striking out. Oliver the fell behind Trevor Crowe 3-1 before Crowe grounded out. With this heat, I predict a short night for Oliver if this continues.
7:45 p.m. -- If things haven't been tough enough for Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin recently, he got hit by a foul ball in the bottom of the second. Bryan Pounds hit a hard grounder down the third-base line that Nevin was unable to avoid. Nevin hobbled for a little bit, and seemed to take some good-natured grief in the dugout, but also seems to be OK. Still 3-1 Columbus as we head to the third.
7:52 p.m. -- The only relief for the Mud Hens may come from Mother Nature ... in the form of a rain delay. Oliver has given up two more runs in the third and Columbus still has runners on first and third with only one out. But the relief would be temporary: The game wouldn't be lost. We would pick up at the point of the delay, if it's not an official contest.
7:58 p.m. -- Andy Oliver does not survive the third inning, giving up six hits and four walks in just 2.1 innings. Oliver threw 69 pitches, only 31 of which were strikes. In particular Oliver had problems throwing his fastball for strikes. Brooks Brown comes into the game with the bases loaded, one out, and the Mud Hens trailing 5-1.
8:03 p.m. -- And Oliver's ERA takes a beating as Brown gives up a grand slam to Ryan Rohlinger (the Clippers' No. 9 hitter) and Toledo now trails 9-1 as Columbus still bats in the top of the third. Oliver's ERA for this game (eight earned runs in 2.1 innings) is 34.71, and his ERA for the season rises from 4.43 to 5.11.
8:09 p.m. -- Final damage assessment for Columbus in the top of the third ... The Clippers collected five hits and three walks, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six times. Mud Hens now trail 9-1 as they come to the plate in the bottom of the third.
8:14 p.m. -- Here's all you have to know about tonight's game so far: The bottom two hitters in the Mud Hens' lineup, Audy Ciriaco and Cale Iorg, are batting for the first time in the bottom of the third. The top FOUR hitters in the Columbus lineup already have batted three times in the contest.
8:31 p.m. -- I understand that a 9-1 deficit seems insurmountable ... but the Mud Hens are at least giving themselves a chance. Toledo put runners on second and third with only one out, and John Lindsey drives in both baserunners with a double. Yes, it's still a six-run deficit. But all you are looking for is a chance, and at least the Hens have a chance. A few more runs this inning would be nice, by the way.
8:52 p.m. -- Perfect response by Columbus to Toledo's two runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Clippers quickly respond with three runs in the top of the fifth inning ... and are still threatening, with runners on first and third with only one out. A bounce-back inning like that takes away any momentum the Hens may have picked up in the fourth. As I type this it's Columbus 12, Mud Hens 3 in the top of the fifth.
9:04 p.m. -- Danny Worth has had some good swings today. In the first inning he clubbed a no-doubt home run to left, and here in the fifth he had a potential home run to left hook foul before slamming a doubled to deep center. So Worth is 2-for-3 tonight (he grounded out in the third) after going 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday. Hens still trail the Clippers 12-3 with Toledo still batting in the bottom of the fifth.
9:10 p.m. -- Racing With the Stars update ... Very tight around second base and towards third, then Kitty Holmes seemed to bump Jamie Farmadillo and all three runners turned on the jets. Holmes had the inside track and "cruised" to victory. OK, maybe that's not the best joke to make. So back to baseball ...
9:35 p.m. -- Luke Putkonen comes on in the seventh and gets a double play to erase a walk in a clean inning of work. Putkonen threw 13 pitches, but only six strikes. Putkonen's fastball sat at 94-95 mph (one at 95, three at 94, four at 95 and one at 96) while his three curveballs came in at 78, 79 and 81 mph. Columbus leads the Hens 13-3 as Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
9:51 p.m. -- Watching Putkonen struggle a bit in the eighth, and his problem becomes obvious: he's struggling to command his breaking ball. He has thrown six breaking balls, and only one of them was a strike -- although two of the breaking balls were hit for outs. The last breaking ball he threw was a hanger that the Clippers' No. 9 hitter missed, grounding into a double play. Putkonen has thrown 26 pitches, 15 for strikes, and he could come back for a third inning. Still Columbus 13, Mud Hens 3 as Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the eighth.
10:10 p.m. -- Luke Putkonen pitches around a walk to cover the final three innings for the Mud Hens. Toledo needs a miracle to claim the victory tonight. I'm going to get to work at this point ... thanks for following along. Stay safe!