Monday, August 31, 2009

Playoff tickets...

go on sale 9:30 tomorrow morning at Dodd Stadium.

The Northern Division champion Defenders will host Games 1 and 2 next Wednesday and Thursday nights. If a Game 5 is necessary, it will be played a week from Sunday. 


That one hurt. At least Josh Phelps showed he could make contact. He was closing in on the team record for strikeouts in a season, or so it seemed.

Anyway, now we wait to see who, if anyone, gets a promotion tomorrow.

Bumgarner named POW

The Defenders' release...
PORTLAND, ME- Madison Bumgarner, a left-handed starting pitcher for the Connecticut Defenders, is the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending August 30th. The 20-year old made one start for the Defenders last week and was 1-0 with two strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in seven innings pitched. Bumgarner, who is a native of Hickory, North Carolina, made his only appearance of the week on Wednesday night at New Britain and pitched seven shutout innings in a 3-0 victory over the Rock Cats. He struck out two batters in the game while allowing just one walk and scattering four hits. With the win he improved his record to 9-1 on the season while lowering his ERA to 1.91 and his WHIP to 1.06, both of which would lead the league if he had pitched enough innings this season to qualify. The 6’4”, 215 lb. southpaw has not allowed an earned run in six of his 18 appearances with the Defenders since being promoted from Class-A San Jose in early May, and he has allowed two earned runs or less in 15 of those 18 games. Madison, who won the Minor League Baseball Most Spectacular Pitcher Award last season after going 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA with Class-A Augusta, was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2007 draft as the 10th overall selection.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big night

Defenders win 5-3 to clinch Northern Division title. Brett Pill drives in three runs, tying the franchise record of 100 set by Donny Leon in 1999.

Congratulations on both accounts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting it right...sort of

Voting is in for the Eastern League's All-Star team and two Defenders made the team. I'm curious to one omission though.

First, let's congratulate 1B Brett Pill and 2B Brock Bond for making the team, as they should. They are, in my mind, candidates 1 and 1A for MVP, although I am certain that Akron's Carlos Santana will get it.

I thought Eddy Martinez-Esteve deserved to make the team as either an OF or DH. Other than being 30 runs behind Quintin Berry, EME has significantly better numbers.

My bigger bone of contention is the LH starer spot going to Joe Savery over Madison Bumgarner.
Savery: 12-4, 4.41, 112.1 IP, 111 h, 77 K
Bumgarner: 9-1, 1.91, 99 IP, 76 h, 68 K.

There just isn't an argument that Savery is better.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Everything in its right place

It's hard not to look at tonight's win, and more significantly the playoff berth, without mentioning two players: Garrett Broshuis and Eddy Martinez-Esteve.

Both of the guys played on Defenders teams that could be considered the worst in franchise history. Both fought hard to be in position to contribute, and it's only fitting that they played big roles in the clincher.

GB has had some bumps in the road, but when it mattered he stepped up. EME, what can you say? The guy has been playing like an All-Star and deserves to make the All-Eastern League Team, which had its voting completed yesterday. He got my vote.


'Nuff said.

Is tonight the night?

One win -- that's all it takes.

(Or a Trenton loss)

and your Connecticut Defenders return to the postseason for the first time since their 2002 championship season as the Norwich Navigators.

How many of you are going? How many of you are bringing an extra friend or two to try and fill Dodd Stadium so that when the final out is recorded someone else can catch some of the playoff fever?

Once the playoffs begin, what sort of theme or gimmick would you like to see at the stadium? More cowbell? Fake mustaches? Tell me what would enhance September for you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some thngs to ponder

A curious reader wanted to know if Madison Bumgarner has been on pitch count or innings limit. Manager Steve Decker told me that Bum has the same restrictions as anyone on the staff, which is 100 pitches. He said that despite the lefty's age, he is the most physically capable of handling more than 100 pitches.


There's a new addition to the team, as OF/1B Josh Phelps joins the Defenders. He shouldn't be active for Monday's game, but will likely play against the Rock Cats. This could be a big bat off the bench or for the DH slot.


Brett Pill has looked bad against the Mets. He's 0-for-8 with nine runners left on base. I asked Decker if Pill (or anyone else) is getting tired. His response is that no one is tired and that baseball is not a physically tiring sport. He then said that Pill will probably sit Monday's finale against the Mets.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My points of contention

I had two of these with Sunday's 6-5 loss.

First, I have to disagree with Steve Decker on the ruling of the ball hit off Mike McBryde's glove as a hit. It was scored justly and I don't think it's fair to use the he got there so it's an error logic. McBryde had a long way to go to catch up with the ball and it shouldn't excuse the poor job by Kaufman, who allowed a single, double and a hit batter with two outs before the play in question. McBryde should never have had to make that catch.

My second point is with a runner on third and one out, even though the guy at the plate already hit a three-run double, you walk him to set up the double play. It would bring up the No. 8 hitter who is batting .230 , followed by the No. 9 hitter (.270). Sure the guy, De Leon, only had 25 RBIs at that point with just over 200 at-bats. That projects to being just less productive than EME. The logic of pitching to him with Mitch Lively looked good with an 0-2 count, but Lively through a fastball over the plate for an RBI single, which happened to be the eventual winning run.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can't ask for more

In the four years I've covered the Defenders, I have never seen a more exciting conclusion that the one witnessed tonight.

The Defenders rally from 4-1 down to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth. Erie ties it in the eighth and a couple of near misses send the game to extra innings.

In the 10th, Brock Bond lines a triple to left-centerfield and runs through Steve Decker's stop sign at third. The throw is slightly off line, which allows Bond to get in safely. With Brett Pill and his 90 RBIs on deck, it's hard to argue with Deck's logic. Erie intentionally walks Pill to set up a double play should it need it, and brings Mike Mooney to the plate. Mooney hits a chopper to second and the throw home is right on the money. However, Boyer goes in head first and knocks away Jeff Kunkel's glove, sending the ball to the backstop. Boyer gets up and tags home for the win.

Let's not forget Mike McBryde's diving catch in the first to save a run -- or two, maybe. Or the McBryde-Boyer-Jackson Williams play at the plat to gun down an Erie runner. Or Bobby Felmy's home run-saving catch in the third when he reached up over the first wall.

The magic number is 16. Should everyone else keep pace, the clincher comes on the road...likely Aug. 31. But who knows? It may come sooner.

Escaping danger

Great catch by Bobby Felmy, robbing Casper Wells of a home run in the third inning!

So I hear...

that an owner of another minor league team was in town Wednesday night. I'm told it was a coincidence as he supposedly has family in the area. If you believe that, well...

Just check out Friday's Norwich Bulletin.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just to get it out there

Folks, there is no announcement imminent, says two sources close to the situation. There was a rumor started yesterday that the team had been sold. It had not been sold.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I want your input

The season is almost done -- with a few more weeks plus playoffs, that is -- and I am gathering photos from the team's history. If you have any you would like to submit for consideration, e-mail me.

Also, I am putting together an all-time Navs/Defs team. Who do you think belongs? Why?
Put it here and in a few weeks I will release the team members in the paper.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


That is all...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

The odds

Someone told me Sunday that the Defenders are nowhere near a likely playoff team. In case anyone is of similar thought:

* The Defenders own the largest lead over a second-place team of ANY team in ALL of Minor League Baseball

* If the Defenders play .500 (17-17) from here out, New Britain would have to play 27-7 or .794 baseball just to tie. The Rock Cats would have to go 28-6, or .824, to win the division.