(Portland) They fought like cats and dogs.
I’m sorry, I just had to use that. Why? Because it was true.
Tight game this afternoon with the Portland Sea Dogs getting three runs in the eighth inning on their way to a 4-2 win over the visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The Wednesday noon start brought out over six thousand fans and they saw the home team win an important game. The Sea Dogs are currently in 4th place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League.
The top two teams will make the playoffs. Binghamton will get first but the race for second place is tightening up. Second place Trenton (Yankee farm team) leads Portland by 4 ½ games with 13 games left. However, by the luck of the schedule, the two teams will meet a remarkable nine times the rest of the way including the last five at Hadlock Field. The opportunity to move up in the standings is certainly there for the taking for the Sea Dogs.
Many of today’s attendees were disappointed to learn yesterday that phenom Henry Owens would not be pitching in today’s game. Henry has pitched once at Hadlock and that was after a two-hour rain delay. Let’s just say that not too many have seen him pitch in person at the AA level in Portland.
Mickey Pena got the start today for Portland and the lefty looked very good. There was no indication that this was his AA debut. He has been with Salem (A) this season. Mickey went seven innings giving up only five hits and no runs.
Marcus Walden of the Fisher Cats was just as effective as Mickey was. Marcus came in with the deceiving 6-12 record but he had won four games against Portland with a very impressive 1.56 ERA.
The Sea Dogs scratched out a run in the 4th inning. Christian Vazquez (three hits/1 run/1 rbi) scored from third as Derrik Gibson’s hustle prevented an inning ending double play.
That 1-0 looked safe after reliever Jeremy Kehrt retired the first two batters in the eighth inning but then the wheels came off. Jeremy gave up six hits to the next nine batters he faced. He did manage to escape with only one run given up in the eighth but the score was now tied.
A hit batsman and a walk surrounded two outs for Portland in their half of the eighth. Out went Marcus Walden and in came Evan Crawford. That switch did not go well! Michael Almanzar tripled to right bringing both runners home. That was the 24th run this season that Michael has delivered with two outs. Christian Vazquez followed with a single and Portland had a 4-1 lead.
In the ninth Jeremy Kehrt continued to struggle. He gave up a run (now 4-2) and he left with two outs and the bases loaded. Noe Ramirez came on to save the game getting Andy Burns to pop to shortstop Derrik Gibson along the left-field line.
I will have to admit that I was a bit disappointed not to see Henry Owens in action. However, maybe I’ll look back in a few years and say I saw Mickey Pena debut in AA ball. He could be a good one.
With Henry out of the mix, I was left to get recently called up Deven Marrero. Would you believe that he wasn’t playing either!
I did, however, get some shots of Deven before and during the game……but not any action shots.
Minor league baseball is a great take for the family. There certainly is plenty of entertainment for everyone. I did notice the there were few buses in front of Hadlock so obviously camps are over and the resumption of school is at hand.
I continue to be disappointed with the Sea Dog mascot Sluggo. How many times can he lose to opponents ¼ his size? He always gets a bad start and usually falls down, which gives him no chance. I wonder if he’s heard of the Washington Generals??
Thanks to Portland Sea Dogs media director Chris Cameron for arranging my visit. I may try to get back to Hadlock during their five-game series with Trenton that ends the season. There is a big if. Henry Owens has to be pitching. I would like to think that in a five-game series, that might mean something, the 20-year-old would get a start.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)