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Minor League Baseball Roadtrips: Any Suggestions?

A couple of years ago I decided to embrace the part of my life that follows “Fever Pitch” and fully own that I love baseball, I love traveling for baseball, and it doesn’t matter that most of my time outside of teaching involves thinking/watching/playing/analyzing/writing baseball.

Since then, I’ve gone on two baseball themed road trips. In summer 2015, I drove to Savannah, GA and back since it was the last summer that the Sand Gnats would be a Mets team. I was fortunate enough on that trip to also see the Greenville Drive, Durham Bulls, Carolina Mudcats, Norfolk Tide, Richmond Squirrels, and the Trenton Thunder (+the Baltimore Orioles, and there was one rainout: the Bristol Pirates).

Last spring I drove out to Cleveland when the Mets went there and I picked up a few more minor league games with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Altoona Curve, Binghamton Mets and the Harrisburg Senators (+a rainout in Syracuse).

I’m currently planning a few more trips for this year including an April drive down to Miami and an early July drive to St. Louis.

Who should I see on the way? Why should I see them?

Wild Card Game Preview: Giants vs Mets

The Mets and Giants took very different paths to get to tonight’s Wild Card show down in Queens. The Mets, the current National League Champions, were hampered by injuries all season that decimated their pitching staff and sidelined a sizable portion the bats. The Giants were running away with the division and then went into a massive slump that led them here. However, they have one of the best pitchers in the game. The Mets can make the same claim and the Mets had to run through some of the best pitchers in the game last year, so let’s dive into tonight’s match-up!

Syndergaard is 14-9 over 31 games and 30 starts this year over 183.2 innings with a 2.60 ERA. His final start of the season was strong as he held the Marlins to 1 ER over 6.0 innings while allowing 5 hits and striking out 8. Way back in May he had a rough start against the Giants on a dreary Sunday allowing 4 ER over 5.2 innings. Near the end of August he dominated the Giants holding them scoreless and to 2 hits over 8.0 innings. The Giants have the following numbers against Noah:

  • Belt 0-6, 3 BB
  • Crawford 2-8
  • Pagan 0-5
  • Panik 2-6
  • Posey 3-6
  • Span 0-6
  • Pence 1-5, HR
  • Blanco 0-3

The Mets bats draw Madison Bumgarner who is 15-9 over 34 starts and 226.2 innings this year with a 2.74 ERA, his best season of his career in terms of ERA (he also finished as season with 4 complete games for the 3rd time in a row). In his last two starts hehas allowed 8 ER over 13.1 innings while walking 2 and striking out 10. In his first time against the Mets he allowed no runs and 3 walks over 6.0 innings and at the end of August he allowed 4 ER over 5.0 innings (so basically the reverse of Thor). The Mets have the following numbers against Bumgarner:

  • Bruce 3-23, HR
  • K Johnson 7-20
  • Loney 2-13, 2B
  • Cespedes 3-10, 2B
  • Lagares 1-9
  • Reyes 3-9
  • Cabrera 3-7
  • Rene Rivera 2-3, 2B, HR
  • T.J. Rivera 2-3

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Phillies

The Mets did it!

By winning yesterday, the Mets locked up the top Wild Card spot giving them one game in the regular season of “meaningless” baseball. (For those wondering, a Mets loss and a Giants win today will put them with the same record, but the Mets won the season series this year). Anyway, as the Mets await to find out if they are facing the Giants or the Cardinals, they will play one last regular season game.

Originally Syndergaard was going to start today, then it the word was if the Mets clinch, Syndergaard would pitch only one inning (which raised a lot of eyebrows). Instead the Mets are going with Gabriel Ynoa today, which makes way more sense. He’s 1-0 on the season over 9 games and 2 starts totaling 13.2 innings with a 7.90 ERA. His last start was on the 23rd and it was a short one as he allowed 5 hits and 2 ER over 2.0 innings (which was also his first time facing the Phillies). Last time out he allowed no runs and 3 hits over 1.2 innings against the Marlins). The Phillies have the following numbers against Ynoa:

  • Hernandez 1-2
  • Herrera 1-2
  • Quinn 1-2
  • Asche 1-1
  • Galvis 1-1
  • Hellickson 0-1
  • Howard 0-1

Jerad Eickhoff will make his last start of the season today. He was 11-14 over 191.1 innings with a 3.72 ERA. He’s coming off of a short but effective outing against the Braves where he allowed on hit, a solo homer, over 4.0 innings while striking out 5. He hasn’t faced the Mets since mid-July where he allowed 2 ER over 5 hits in 6.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Jerad:

  • Granderson 2-14, 2B, HR
  • Conforto 5-12, 2 2B, HR
  • Cespedes 2-12, 3B
  • K Johnson 4-9, 2B
  • Cabrera 4-8, 2B
  • d’Arnaud 1-6, 2B
  • Duda 2-5, 2 2B

(That being said, I’ll be surprised to Granderson, Cespedes, Cabrera, etc in the lineup today).

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Phillies

The could clinch a play off spot today! If the Mets win, they are in! If the Cardinals lose, the Mets are in! If the Mets win, and both the Cardinals and the Giants lose, the Mets have the top spot. Last night the Mets got another strong start from Gsellman and Bruce continued his hot streak as the Mets beat the Phillies 5-1.

This afternoon, Colon will get things started for the Mets. He’s 14-8 over 33 games and 32 starts and 186.2 innings with a 3.42 ERA. He’s coming off of his first rough start in a whole against the Marlins where he allowed 7 ER over 2.1 innings. It also was an extremely emotional game. His last rough start before that though was against the Phillies where he allowed 4 ER over 7.0 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Howard 6-30, 3 HR
  • Galvis 5-25, 2B, HR
  • Herrera 5-25
  • Hernandez 5-19, 2B
  • Asche 4-17, 2 2B
  • Rupp 5-17
  • Bourjos 5-15, 2B, 3B
  • Franco 0-14

Phil Klein is sort-of getting the start today as the Phillies have already announced today as a bullpen day. Between the Rangers and the Phillies he’s 0-1 this season over 11 games and 1 start with an 8.22 ERA over 15.1 innings. He made a start for the Phillies against the Giants back on August 3rd where he pitched 5.0 innings allowing 4 ER. He faced the Mets last week where he allowed 3 ER over 0.1 innings in the 17-0 drubbing. The Mets have the following numbers on Phil:

  • Loney 0-2
  • Bruce 1-1
  • Cespedes 0-0, BB
  • Granderson 0-1
  • TJ Rivera 1-1

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Phillies

The Cardinals and Giants both won on the Mets off day, so the race for the Wild Card just got a little tighter. The Mets still control their destiny though as they head into Philly for the last series of the season.

Robert Gsellman gets the nod for the Amazin’s. He’s 3-2 over 7 games and 6 starts this year with a 2.56 ERA over 38.2 innings. The Mets needed him to log innings in his last start to save the bullpen and he did, holding the Phillies scoreless over 7.0 innings while striking out 8 for his best start of his career. In his previous start against the Phillies he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Robert:

  • Altherr 1-5
  • Franco 1-5
  • Hernandez 1-6, 2 K
  • Herrera 0-4, 2 K
  • Galvis 2-5, 2B
  • Alfaro 1-3
  • Howard 0-3, 2 K

The Mets will get another look at Alec Asher who is 2-0 over 4 starts and 21.2 innings in 2016 with an ERA of 1.66. His last start against against the Mets where he allowed 4 runs, all unearned, over 5.0 innings (to put that in perspective, he’s allowed only 4 earned runs in his previous 3 major league starts). The Mets have the following numbers against Asher:

  • Cespedes 1-2
  • Conforto 1-3, HR
  • d’Arnaud 1-3
  • Duda 0-3
  • Granderson 1-2, 2B
  • Caberba 0-2
  • Reyes 1-2

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Marlins

The Mets offense from Sunday came back last night as the Amazin’s beat the Marlins 12-1 and look to do it again today as they maintain a hold on the top Wild Card spot. Last night’s offense was punctuated by a positive performance, including a homer, from Jay Bruce, a monster shot from Cespedes, and a bases clearing double for Duda. Both the Giants and the Cardinals won last night so the race remains tight.

Seth Lugo gets the nod for the Amazin’s. He is 4-2 this season over 16 games, 7 starts, over 58.2 innings with a 2.61 ERA. He’s coming off of his first start allowing 3 ER since August 19th. In his last start against the Marlins, he allowed 2 ER over 6.0 innings. The Marlins have the following numbers against Lugo:

  • Ozuna 0-2
  • Prado 2-4, 2B
  • Realmuto 1-4
  • Yelich 1-4, HR
  • Gordon 1-3, 2B
  • Hechavarria 1-2
  • Scruggs 1-3

Jose Urena is 4-8 over 27 games and 11 starts pitching 78.2 innings with a 5.95 ERA. His last two starts have been rough allowing 12 ER over 5.0 innings (coming after 8.2 innings of shutout baseball against the Dodgers). His two starts against the Mets this year have been good, holding the Mets to 2 ER over 12.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Jose:

  • Granderson 1-7
  • K Johnson 0-6
  • Loney 0-5
  • Reyes 3-6, 3B
  • Conforto 3-4, 2B
  • Cespedes 0-4
  • Flores 1-4, HR
  • Bruce 1-3, HR

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Marlins

Last night was extremely emotional night for the Marlins as the Marlins were all introduced as #16 and both teams went out of the dugout for a moment of silence. The Marlins left a spot open for Fernandez and then signed the base of the mound. Then Dee Gordon took a pitch wearing Fernandez’s before going knocking a homer out of the park and breaking down rounding the bases. The Marlins ended the night back on the mound leaving their hats.

The Cardinals lost as well and the Giants didn’t play so for the most part the Wild Card Race took a night off, as it should.

Tonight Noah Syndergaard returns to the mound, missing a start due to strep throat over the weekend. On the season he is 13-9 over 30 games and 29 starts with 177.2 innings and 2.63 ERA. Syndergaard was on a great run of starts until his last start were he allowed 5 ER and 8 hits over 3.2 innings of work. He’s 1-0 over 2 starts against the Marlins this year allowing 3 ER over 14.0 innings. The Marlins have the following numbers against Thor:

  • Dietrich 3-7, 2B
  • Bour 2-6, 2B
  • Hechavarria 1-6
  • Ozuna 2-5, HR
  • Stanton 0-5
  • Yelich 2-6, 2B
  • Mathis 0-5

The Mets will face off with Tom Koehler tonight who is 9-12 over 31 starts and 170.0 innings with a 4.02 ERA. In his last three starts he’s 0-2over 14.0 innings allowing 10 runs, 9 earned. In his last start against the Mets he allowed 5 ER and 10 hits over 5.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Koehler:

  • Duda 3-27, 2 2B
  • Granderson 7-29, 2 HR
  • Lagares 6-23, 3B
  • d’Arnaud 7-17, 2 2B, HR
  • Flores 6-18, 3 2B
  • Cespedes 6-17, 3 2B, 3B
  • Loney 3-12, 2B
  • Cabrera 5-10, 2 HR

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Mets @ Marlins

The Mets beat the Phillies by an almost incomprehensible 17-0 as the Giants and Cardinals both lost. The Mets look to close in on the Wild Card as they start their last 7 games of the season.

Tonight will be an incredibly tough game in Miami. As you have undoubtedly heard by now, early Sunday morning, phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez passed away in a tragic boating accident. Jose Fernandez transcended pitching and baseball as an ambassador for the sport and demonstrating that baseball is supposed to be fun. His untimely passing has hit the baseball world hard.

Yesterday the Marlins cancelled their game as the club game together to start to process. As of 6:30 this morning, the Marlins have not yet announced who is starting tonight.

Bartolo Colon will be on the mound for the Mets. He is 14-7 over 32 games and 31 starts with 184.1 innings of work and a 3.12 ERA. In the month of September he has made 4 starts and is 2-0 pitching 25.2 innings with a 1.75 ERA. In his last start against the Marlins, he held them to 2 runs, 1 earned, over 7.0 innings of work. The Marlins have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Cabrera 1-17, 2B
  • Granderson 4-13, 2 HR
  • De Aza 2-11, 2B
  • K Johnson 2-13, 3B
  • Reyes 5-12
  • Rivera 2-5, 2B, HR
  • Bruce 1-5, HR
  • Cespedes 2-3, 2B

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Phillies vs Mets

The Phillies jumped out to an early 10-0 lead against the Mets last night, and somehow the Mets clawed back to a final score of 10-8. Meanwhile, the Giants and the Cardinals both won last night so the pressure continues for the Mets this afternoon as they look to win another series and keep a Wild Card spot and post-season berth.

The Mets will turn to Robert Gsellman today who is 2-2 over 6 games and 5 starts over 31.2 innings with a 3.13 ERA. In his last two starts he has tossed 11.0 innings allowing 2 ER while striking out 10 batters. His longest start of his career came against the Phillies where he pitched 6.0 innings allowing 7 hits and 4 ER. The Phillies have the following numbers against Robert:

  • Altherr 1-2
  • Franco 1-3
  • Hernandez 1-3
  • Joseph 1-3
  • Paredes 2-3, 2B
  • Ellis 0-2
  • Galvis 1-2, 2B

The Mets bats will draw a rookie this afternoon in Jake Thompson who is 3-5 over 9 starts and 49.2 innings with a 5.62 ERA. (It is worth noting that his numbers are still heavily influenced by 3 of his first 4 starts where he allowed 6, 5, and 7 ER). In his last two starts he’s 2-0 over 11.0 innings allowing 10 hits and 5 ER. He’s never faced the Mets before in a major league game.

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Phillies vs Mets

A day after the epic bat flip, the Mets won again beating the Phillies 10-5 escaping trouble a few times in the game to get another win. The Cardinals and the Giants both lost so the Mets are in sole possession of the top wild card spot, however the Mets are in an interesting place in terms of pitcher usage.

Originally Sydergaard was going to start tonight, but he has strep throat and won’t be able to go until Monday. So the Mets are going to turn to Sean Gilmartin to make his second start on the season. The Mets have been burning pitchers recently, adding 10 more pitchers used last night, and it is unclear how much they will get out of Gilmartin tonight. On the season he has pitched 13 games with 17.0 innings with a 4.76 ERA. He’s pitched 0.2 innings against the Phillies this year allowing a hit and a walk. The Phillies have the following numbers against Gilmartin:

  • Galvis 2-8
  • Herrera 2-6
  • Howard 0-4
  • Asche 0-4
  • Bourjos 0-2
  • Blanco 1-3
  • Ruf 1-3, HR

Alec Asher gets the nod for the Phillies. He’s 1-0 over his first 3 starts this year with 16.2 innings and a 2.16 ERA. The last time he faced the Mets was last year towards the end of the season, and it wasn’t a good day for him as he allowed 5 ER over 0.2 innings, not making it out of the first inning. The Mets have the following numbers against Alec:

  • Cespedes 0-0, BB
  • Conforto 1-1, HR
  • d’Arnaud 0-1
  • Duda 0-1
  • Granderson 1-1, 2B

Let’s Go Mets!