Here is pre-game and in-game information from the Mud Hens' game vs. Syracuse at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday, May 21. Make sure to press “refresh” for updates throughout the contest.
Syracuse Chiefs (17-27) at Toledo Mud Hens (15-31)
First pitch: 10:30 a.m.
Radio: 1230 AM, WCWA. Click here to listen on the Internet.Gameday: Click here to follow the contest pitch-by-pitch.
SYRACUSE: Leading off and playing RF is Chris Rahl, followed by Jeff Kobernus in LF, Will Rhymes at 2B, Chris Marrero at 1B, Corey Brown in CF, Mike Costanzo at DH, Zach Walters at SS, Carlos Rivero at 3B, Brian Jeroloman at C and RHP Ryan Tatusko as the starting pitcher.
MUD HENS: Leading off and playing CF is Quintin Berry, followed by Kevin Russo at 3B, Jordan Lennerton at DH, Nick Castellanos in LF, Danny Dorn at 1B, Ben Guez in RF, Bryan Holaday at C, Corey Jones at 2B, Gustavo Nunez at SS and RHP Derek Hankins as the starting pitcher.
- The move is not official yet, but the Mud Hens are going to activate IF Brandon Douglas Thursday when the team begins a series in Gwinnett. RHP Michael Morrison has been sent to Double-A Erie to make room for Douglas on the roster.
- RHP Al Alburquerque is expected to be available on Thursday. He had not thrown in a game since May 15, so the Hens wanted him to throw on the side before seeing game action.
- Losing today's game means the Mud Hens lost the series to Syracuse 3-1. Toledo now is 2-9-2 in its 13 series this season. ... As for the homestand, the Hens finished 4-4, which is the team's best homestand so far this season. Toledo was 4-5 in its April homestand and 3-5 in the homestand that started the month.
The Mud Hens make things interesting in the ninth, scoring twice on singles by Quintin Berry and Kevin Russo and a two-run double by Jordan Lennerton. Nick Castellanos also drew a walk, but Toledo couldn't push any more runs home. You'll hang this 7-5 loss on the bullpen, which gave up the lead with three runs in the eighth and then ruining a potential comeback with three runs in the ninth. Heading to the clubhouse ... I'll post a few notes when I return!
The Chiefs blow the game open with a three-run rally off Kenny Faulk and Brayan Villarreal. Faulk allowed Syracuse to load the bases on two walks and an infield single, and Villarreal did get one out -- on an infield grounder that scored a run -- and a two-run double off the wall in left by Jeff Kobernus. The Hens now trail 7-3 as they enter their last at-bats.
The Mud Hens got a leadoff double by Jordan Lennerton -- who now is 3-for-3 with a double, two singles and a walk -- and a one-out walk to Danny Dorn along with a two-out walk by Bryan Holaday (in a 10-pitch at-bat), but Syracuse reliever Mike Crotta got a groundout by Argenis Diaz to escape a bases-loaded jam. We got to the ninth with Syracuse in the lead 4-3.
Evan Reed came on and walked the first batter he faced, Chris Rahl -- although, in fairness, his 2-2 pitch has been called a strike all day and wasn't in this situation. Then Reed found himself in a 3-2 count against Jeff Kobernus and the Chiefs sent the runner as Kobernus hit a grounder that Gustavo Nunez, who moved to second base, misplayed for an error that put runners on first and third. Rahl scored on a groundout by Will Rhymes, with Kobernus moving to second, and Kobernus took third on a Chris Marrero groundout. Then Kenny Faulk came out of the bullpen, and Corey Brown slammed a two-run homer to straight-away center. Suddenly Syracuse is back in front by a 4-3 score as the Hens come to bat in the bottom of the eighth.
Toledo gets a two-out walk to Quintin Berry, who stole second base but was stranded there when Kevin Russo struck out to end the inning. The Mud Hens lead 3-1 as we move to the eighth.
Mud Hens starter Derek Hankins pitches another strong inning, getting the Chiefs 1-2-3. Hankins has thrown 101 pitches, 62 for strikes. As the Hens come back to the dugout, Evan Reed continues to warm up, so I would assume Hankins' day is done. And it was a pretty good day: Hankins allowed just five hits and three walks while striking out five. Seventh-inning stretch, with Toledo still leading 3-1.
The Mud Hens get on the board thanks to a BIG hit by Nick Castellanos. The rally began when Kevin Russo blooped a one-out single to center that knocked Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko out of the game. Jordan Lennerton worked the new pitcher, Jeremy Accardo, for a walk, and Castellanos slammed the first pitch he saw from Accardo over the fence in right-center for his fifth home run of the season. Toledo now leads 3-1.
Toledo starter Derek Hankins got a little help from Bryan Holaday behind the plate to retire Syracuse. Hankins gave up a leadoff walk to Chris Marrero, who then was sacrificed to second. Then Holaday threw down to second and picked Marrero off. Terrific throw by Holaday to shut down the threat.
Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko mows down the Mud Hens again, getting two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning. Tatusko has nine strikeouts, almost double his season's high. The only good news: Tatusko is probably reaching the end of the pitching line, since he already has thrown 81 pitches. Before today, Tatusko's season high in pitches is 71 ... so we will see how much longer. It's still 1-0 Chiefs as we move to the sixth.
Toledo starter Derek Hankins found a spot of trouble by giving up a single to Brian Jeroloman and then throwing a wild pitch that moved Jeroloman to second base with two outs. Hankins walked Jeff Kobernus to put two runners on base, but Hankins was able to strike out Will Rhymes -- and that's not easy. Rhymes came into the game striking out once every 15.73 plate appearances, making him the second-toughest player to strike out in the International League. Chiefs still lead 1-0 as Toledo comes to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
The red-hot Jordan Lennerton led off the inning with a single -- he now has both of Toledo's hits today -- but he never moved past first as Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko then struck out the next three hitters. It's worth noting that, while Tatusko has seven strikeouts, four have been called third strikes -- let's call it an "inconsistent" strike zone by home plate umpire Andy Dudones. In the interest of full disclosure, Toledo starter Derek Hankins has four strikeouts, and two of them have been called, so it has gone both ways. As we move to the fifth, Syracuse leads 1-0.
Mud Hens starter Derek Hankins got the first two outs of the inning before issuing a walk to Mike Costanzo. But Hankins got a popout to end the inning. ... Think Little Leaguers are the only ones who lose track of how many outs there are? Costanzo stayed just a couple of steps away from first base when teammate Zach Walters hit that two-out popout. Even if the Hens would have dropped the ball, it would have been easy to throw Costanzo out at first.
The Mud Hens got a two-out walk from Quintin Berry, and Toledo manager Phil Nevin tried to make something happen by "sending" Berry on a 1-1 pitch to Kevin Russo. Russo nearly took advantage of the hit-and-run by hitting a grounder towards second, but Syracuse second baseman Will Rhymes was able to track the ball down and get the out at first. Still Syracuse 1, Mud Hens 0 as we move to the fourth.
The Chiefs get on the board with a run off Derek Hankins. Carlos Rivero led off with a double off the wall in left-center, and he came home on a double off the base of the wall in right-center by Brian Jeroloman. But Hankins kept Jeroloman at second base by getting three outs on the infield, including a strikeout. The Hens come to bat, trailing 1-0.
Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko mowed down the Hens in 1-2-3 order in the bottom of the second. Because of the Chiefs' perilous pitching situation -- they are down two pitchers, see the pre-game notes below for details -- it is important that Tatusko has thrown just 31 pitches so far. That puts him in a good position to go a little deeper into this contest and save the Syracuse bullpen from extra work. We move to the third in a scoreless game.
Toledo starter Derek Hankins retired the Chiefs in 1-2-3 order in the second inning, and needed just 11 pitches to do it. He's at 32 pitches through two innings, which isn't a bad pace. ... A note courtesy of one of the Hens' official scorers, John Malkoski: This is the first game of this series where we had a scoreless contest moving into the second. In each of the previous three games, at least one team scored in the first inning.
Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko struck out the first two Mud Hens he faced before Jordan Lennerton singled up the middle to extend his current hit streak to 11 games. That was it for the Hens in the first, though, so we move to the second in a scoreless game.
Mud Hens starter Derek Hankins gave up a leadoff single to Chris Rahl -- giving Rahl a 14-game hit streak -- but Toledo catcher Bryan Holaday threw Rahl out trying to steal. Holaday now has thrown out 14 of the 30 opponents who have tried to steal on him; 14 is tied for the most in the International League, and that 46.7 percent success rate for Holaday is the best in the IL. ... But Hankins then gave up a two-out single to Will Rhymes, and Rhymes stole second before Hankins struck out Chris Marrero to end the inning. Update on Holaday: 14 of 31 caught stealing, 45.2 percent.
- Let’s start with an update on the Mud Hens roster, which has added a pair of pitchers. One is RHP Al Alburquerque, who is with the team. Alburquerque was optioned to the Hens from Detroit on May 16 (Thursday). The other new pitcher is RHP Evan Reed, who was optioned to the Hens today as RHP Luke Putkonen was promoted to Detroit.
- Two changes by Syracuse, also involving pitchers. The Chiefs' parent club, Washington, called up today's scheduled starter, RHP Yunesky Maya, and also called up LHP Fernando Abad. Starting in place of Maya is RHP Ryan Tatusko, and the Chiefs will be pitching a "bullpen" contest, so the back end of the game could be crazy.
- The other move made by Syracuse is placing former Mud Hens and Tigers RHP Ryan Perry on the disabled list. Perry is a STARTER for the Chiefs, but he has a 1-4 record and 7.68 ERA in eight starts for Syracuse.
- Finally, here are some links from Monday's 10-inning loss to Syracuse. Click here to read the game story from Monday's game. Click here to read a notebook from Monday's game, which includes a look at starter Shawn Hill. Click here to read the in-game blog from Monday's game. And click here to view the photo gallery from Monday, with photos courtesy of The Blade's Dave Zapotosky.