Friday, April 15, 2005

My change of plans...

In case any of you didn't find your way here from my other blog, my life has changed completely in the past two days. I've been admitted to a Master's program that was in my own opinion way out of reach, and I've gone from no work to two jobs. Ultimately this leaves me with far less time to take this space to where I was hoping. I still hope to make some semi-regular commentary and updates on the Ottawa Lynx and the IL... but there will definitely be times when it just won't be happening as much as I would like. Hopefully anyone who comes here enjoys what I do get to write, and hopefully it will be about a big turnaround season for the Lynx both on and off the field.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The streak begins...

Ladies and Gentlemen the Ottawa Lynx have climbed back to .500. While this is not in itself tremendously impressive after six games, the three-win bounceback is a good sign after last year's debacle. Veteran righty James Baldwin scattered three hits over seven innings in the 2-0 win. Walter Young had a double in three AB's, and catcher Eli Whiteside went 2-for-4 to bump his average to .353 on the year. Since I've been following Ryan Doumit's fast start, I'll let you know that he went 0-for-4... he's now just 1-for-8 in the series, dropping his 2005 average to a measly .400. Also last night, 25 year-old speedster Rich Thompson stole his league-leading 5th base for Indy in the loss.

The Lynx have an interesting lineup through the first six games... there are eight players with at least 20 AB's so far. Four of them (Young, Bobby Darula, Alex Freire and Bernie Castro) are hitting over .300, while the other four (Ed Rogers, Tim Raines Jr., Keith Reed and Napoleon Calzado) are hitting below .200. It's still early, but with Raines and Calzado hitting near the top (with only a combined .200 OBP), they'll need better work from them so Young and Freire can drive in some more runs (combined hitting 18-for-46 with only 5 RBI).



Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Two in a row!

The Lynx made it two straight last night, beating Indy 3-2 in 10 innings. They don't seem to be happy playing the standard nine early on... they must want to get as warm as possible before they head back to chilly Ottawa. Walter Young went 4-for-4 with his first HR to pace the Lynx... he's now hitting .500 on the season. Rodney Ormond gets the win, with Jacobo Sequea landing his first save. The Lynx held Indianapolis catcher Ryan Doumit (.500/.556/1.250, 4 HR, and 7 RBI's) to just one single in four AB's.

Not long until the Lynx home opener... Saturday Rochester is in town for a double-header, and I will finally get to do a little in-depth work on not only the Lynx but on the rest of the league as well. Tonight they play the second of the four-game set in Indianapolis, with James Baldwin (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) getting his second start against much-hyped lefty prospect Zach Duke (1-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.2 K/9).


Monday, April 11, 2005

They broke out!

Lynx fans rejoice! All two of you! The losing streak is over! It took 13 innings to break out of, but it is done! John Maine went four innings in his first start, giving up 5 hits and 3 walks but only 2 runs, while striking out 7. Tim Byrdak gets the first win of '05 for the Lynx with 2 innings of scoreless work, striking out 4. Rob Stratton hit his fourth(!) homer in the loss for Louisville.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

0-3...

Not a good start for the boys in red and black. Three games into the season, and the Lynx are still searching for their first win. It's not getting any closer, as they have lost by an ever increasing score (5-4 in 10; 4-1; 9-0). Rob Stratton has 3 homers in 9 AB's for Lousiville, and Ottawa has displayed a lack of power thus far (6 extra-base hits in 3 games... 4 doubles, a triple and a lone homerun... and from 6 different players. In case you're wondering, Bats CF Jason Romano alone has 4 extra-base hits, 2 doubles, a triple and a homer ). Walter Young has gone 5-for-11 thus far... and well I can't really find any other good news. 10 pitchers have thrown at least an inning, and only two of them haven't given up a run (E-Rod and Sequea). I guess the best thing to say is that they leave Louisville after today's game... but they head to Indianapolis, who just happens to be the only other unbeaten team in the IL thus far (three straight wins over Pawtucket, including the big win over Curt Schilling). Awesome.

In somewhat better news, at least I think it's better... not long after I ranted about Marcus Thames, he was called up overnight and had a homer and four RBI's in his first game of the season for the Tigers. He deserves to be up there to stay, but I'm not sure that it will happen. Either way it's nice to know that members of the Tigers front office read this and take cues for their personnel decisions from me. Oh how I wish that were true.

A triumvirate prospects with big openings to the season... 21 year-old third baseman Andy Marte of the Richmond Braves (Atlanta) is 6-for-11 with 3 HR's so far. 23 year-old switch-hitting catcher Ryan Doumit of Indianapolis (Pittsburgh) is 5-for-9 with 3 homers as well. Finishing off the three-homer prospect club is 22 year-old second baseman Robinson Cano of Columbus (Yankees).

Lynx @ Louisville at 1:15 EDT today... would be nice to head to Indy on a winning note.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Opening Day...

***NOTE: I wrote this in the wee hours of last night/this morning, then a computer/internet/blogger malfunction caused me not to be able to post... hopefully this one works***

It's been a night of rocky starts all over the place. It's 1:30 am here in Ottawa and I arrived home after getting cleaned out at the poker table to find out that the Lynx had dropped their season opener in Louisville. But let me tell you, finding that tidbit of information was no cakewalk, and finding anything deeper about the game was next to impossible. Let's recap the coverage I've found so far on the start of the IL season:

Minorleaguebaseball.com has been disappointing thus far. The redesign will only impress people if there is content inside. Things looked good in the season previews, but the results aren't quite there yet. To be fair, they did manage to post scores (including the all important boxscores) for 6 of the 7 IL games tonight, but apparently Lynx vs. Bats didn't make the cut.

Sportsnetwork.com was home to IL stats last year, and they did post all seven games on a scoreboard, but unfortunately sans boxscores.

Ottawalynx.com will probably have a write up of the game tomorrow.

I never expected ESPN.com to have much minor league content, but it's pretty funny that the IL daily schedule they have posted showed no games scheduled for April 7th... whoops.

Goggle News had a few papers which got an abbreviated press release on the Lynx/Bats game.

Batsbaseball.com gave me a decent summary of the Lynx and Bats, which is much appreciated when info is tough to come by. Rob Stratton hit a solo shot in the 10th off of Aaron Rakers (0-1) to lift the Bats to a 5-4 victory. From the looks of it, Keith Reed (2), Ed Rodgers and Napoleon Calzado recorded the RBI's for the Lynx. James Baldwin got the start and gave up 5 hits and 3 runs over 5 innings.

In action from the rest of the IL, a guy who should have a job in the big leagues by now lit it up again last night. This is a guy you'll keep hearing about form me until Detroit dumps Bobby Higginson. If you haven't heard of Marcus Thames, hopefully you will sooner than later. Last year Thames got to play a bit in Detroit, hitting .255 with 10 homers and 33 RBI's in 165 AB's. In Toledo, he had a ridiculous line of .329-24-59 in just 234 AB's, with an OPS of 1.145(!). If you don't follow the Tigers, this is the guy whose option to Toledo had three-homerun-hero Dimitri Young seriously peeved. He didn't do much against Durham today... only 5-for-5 with a double, a homer and 2 RBI's (BTW, minorleaguebaseball.com has the teams listed wrong in the boxscore).

Richmond/Buffalo and Norfolk/Scranton were postponed, while Indianapolis' first game as the Pirates' affiliate went very well as they hammered out 7 runs off of Curt Schilling to beat Pawtucket 7-5. Rochester survived 17 Syracuse hits to win 9-7, and Columbus got two jacks off the bat of second-base prospect Robinson Cano in an 11-10 win over Charlotte.

Hopefully I'll be able to get a little more in-depth as we all settle into the new season, and maybe tomorrow we can celebrate the Lynx first win.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

2005 Roster Takes Shape...

Another season of Triple-A Baseball in Ottawa is about to begin. After a 2003 campaign which delivered an amazing late-season push and a playoff birth, 2004 was a tough season for the Lynx. A 66-78 finish was good for last in the division and only one game ahead of the league worst Toledo Mud Hens. This blog will cover the Lynx as much as possible throughout the 2005 season, as well as cover some of the news and top prospects from the rest of the International League. Paticipation and discussion is encouraged from everywhere and anywhere, especially from those of you who follow other IL teams.

With the season starting tomorrow, it's a good time to go over the 23 men confirmed to the Lynx roster so far.

MANAGER

Dave Trembley - Career Record: 1,226-1,269 (.491)

PITCHERS

RH James Baldwin, 33
2004 Stats: Toledo (IL) - 5-7, 3.73; Norfolk (IL) - 3-2, 2.90; NEW YORK (NL) - 0-2, 15.00
The former American League All-Star (Chicago) will be the veteran starter, and put up some good numbers in Triple-A last season.

RH Dave Borkowski, 28
2004 Stats: Ottawa (IL) - 6-9, 4.85; BALTIMORE (AL) - 3-4, 5.14
A career 3.83 ERA in the minors, Borkowski is capable of putting together marvelous starts, like last season where he held the Red Sox to 3 hits over 7 innings on the way to beating Curt Schilling.

LH Tim Byrdak, 31
2004 Stats: Portland (PCL) - 3-0, 5.45; Ottawa (IL) - 2-1, 4.19
This lefty had 11.27 K's per 9 innings while with Ottawa last year... capable of starting if needed, but better out of the pen.

LH Eric Dubose, 28
2004 Stats: BALTIMORE (AL) - 4-6, 6.39
Went 9-5, 3.39 in Ottawa in 2003... will be a valuable lefty starter for the Lynx in 2005.

RH Tony Fiore, 33
2004 Stats: New Orleans (PCL) - 2-2, 4.63; Ottawa (IL) - 3-1, 1.80
Veteran pitched well in Ottawa last season, once won 10 games out of the pen for the Minnesota Twins (2002).

RH John Maine, 23
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - 4-0, 2.25; Ottawa (IL) - 5-7, 3.91; BALTIMORE (AL) 0-1, 9.82
Arguably Baltimore's top pitching prospect, was a dependable starter in his first taste of Triple-A ball last season.

LH Brian McNichol, 30
2004 Stats: Birmingham (AA) - 7-2, 1.48; Charlotte (IL) - 0-1, 6.75
Starter turned reliever missed the 2003 season before returning with a great season at Double-A last year in the White Sox organization.

RH Andy Mitchell, 26
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - 3-2, 2.95
Career ERA of 3.00 in the minors, this will be his first stint above Double-A.

RH Rodney Ormond, 27
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - 2-0, 3.32; Ottawa (IL) - 3-2, 5.55
Struggled at times in his first taste of Triple-A last year but should be called upon a lot this year.

RH Aaron Rakers, 28
2004 Stats: Ottawa (IL) - 4-5, 2.75; BALTIMORE (AL) - 0-0, 4.15
One of Ottawa's most dependable players last season was rewarded with his first call-up to the majors, where he made 3 appearances with the Orioles. Has a career Minor League ERA of 2.54.

RH Eddy Rodriguez, 23
2004 Stats: Ottawa (IL) - 1-0, 5.12; BALTIMORE (AL) - 1-0, 4.78
Split time in the bullpens of Ottawa and Baltimore last year. Our birthdays are two days apart, and he might be slightly more successful so far than I am.

RH Jacobo Sequea, 23
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - 1-0, 2.62
Young Venezuelan had a nice year out of the pen in Bowie last year, did start 5 games as a 21 year-old in Triple-A with Rochester in 2002.

CATCHERS

C R-R Sal Fasano, 33
2004 Stats: Columbus (IL) - .233-10-33
Veteran behind the plate has spent parts of seven season in the majors.

C R-R Eli Whiteside, 25
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - .253-18-60
Young catcher with good defensive skills, showed surprising power last year at Bowie (18 HR in 297 AB's)

INFIELDERS

3B R-R Napoleon Calzado, 28
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - .267-0-0; Greenville (AA) - .359-8-59, 18 SB; Richmond (IL) - .211-0-2
Returns to the Lynx where he hit .311 in 51 games in 2003, had a great year at Double-A in the Atlanta organization last year.

2B S-R Bernie Castro, 25
2004 Stats: Portland (PCL) - .263-0-20, 17 SB
Took a step backwards last season after going .309-2-24 with 49(!) steals in 2003.

IF R-R Alejandro Freire, 30
2004 Stats: Veracruz (MEX) - .200-1-11
The backup infielder hit .311-18-80 at Double-A in 2003.

SS R-R Ed Rogers, 26
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - .284-4-37, 20 SB
Decent hitting shortstop starting his first full season above Double-A.

1B L-R Walter Young, 25
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - .274-33-98
The monstrous first baseman (6-5, 298) set a franchise record at Double-A with 33 homers last year. It will be interesting to see how he handles a park that tends to be inhospitable to power hitters.

OUTFIELDERS

OF L-R Bobby Darula, 30
2004 Stats: Chatanooga (AA) - .366-6-27, 8 SB; Louisville (IL) - .302-1-8, 5 SB
Career .316 hitter in the minors with not much pop and decent speed.

OF R-R Ramon Nivar, 24
2004 Stats: Oklahoma (PCL) - .264-10-52, 15 SB; TEXAS (AL) - .222-0-4
Acquired in the Matt Riley deal, Nivar appears to have potential but hasn't lived up to it yet. Has a career .302 average in the minors, but has only been sucessful on 55% of his stolen base attempts (30-for-55).

OF S-R Tim Raines Jr., 24
2004 Stats: Ottawa (IL) - .262-1-23, 24 SB; BALTIMORE (AL) - .255-0-5, 7 SB
The speedy leadoff man is back at CF for the Lynx, must have a better eye at the plate (.312 OBP, 69/18 K/BB in Ottawa) to get on base more and use his speed.

OF R-R Keith Reed, 26
2004 Stats: Bowie (AA) - .295-16-65
The 1999 first-round pick enjoyed the best season of his career last year, now must continue his progress in his first full season at Triple-A


So all that's left now is to wait another day for all the games to start. Fans in Indianapolis should get the the treat of watching Curt Schilling pitch for Pawtucket as he prepares for the season, which should be one of just many stories the 2005 IL season will produce. Be back soon with Opening Day results!