(Portland ME) He’s baaack!
Michael Chavis, that is.
Boston’s #1 prospect stroked the big hit (2-run homer) leading the Portland Sea Dogs to a 5-4 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a beautiful Thursday night of Eastern League baseball.
Michael has been away from the Red Sox for 80 games after testing positive to a banned substance. But now he’s back where he left off with the Sea Dogs.
I took a few pictures of Michael tonight and, believe me, he had the look of someone with a chip on his shoulder.
What a segue! The featured entertainment was the Axe Women. They had me nervous when they started throwing axes at targets! What could go wrong? They also had some chain saws going which kept the Hadlock grounds crew busy clearing the wood chips off the playing surface.
Good crowd watched this one. Beautiful weather and the start of the second half of the Eastern League season.
I have been following tonight’s opponent (New Hampshire Fisher Cats) since I realized in early April that they had two of minor league’s best prospects (Vladi Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette) on their roster.
I saw Vladi’s last active game with the FC’s on June 6th. He left that game with what looked like a minor leg injury. Hasn’t played for them since. Today I found out that he’s rehabbing in Florida and will play a few games in the Gulf Coast League. His likely future destination is AAA Buffalo but maybe he’ll play for New Hampshire on the way there.
That still leaves Bo Bichette playing regularly for the Fisher Cats. The NH shortstop reminds me of Mookie Betts because he has power, but he also can steal bases.
Bo also never gets cheated when he bats. In that area, Bo has the Dustin Pedroia approach to swinging.
The Fisher Cats lost CF/leadoff batter Jonathan Davis recently via a promotion to Buffalo. The Cats had Dalton Pompey in the leadoff spot tonight. Dalton reached the majors and now is trying to get back there.
Another of the Toronto prospects (Harold Ramirez) is now batting cleanup for NH. He has a very solid .310 batting average going for him.
Catcher Max Pentecost is yet another prospect playing in Manchester (NH). Tonight, Max gave the Fisher Cats an early lead with a 3-run homer.
Another NH player, Cavan Biggio, who wasn’t even a Top Thirty Toronto prospect at the start of the season, is now in that category. Cavan has recently switched from 2B to 3B. He has turned into a power hitter. Tonight, he drove in a run.
Boston’s #12 prospect (Josh Ockimey) pinch hit late in the game.
Surprised that there weren’t any other photographers at this one.
The 7PM start had part of the field in sun with the rest of it in shade. Makes picture-taking a challenge. The shade started on the NH side, so I started there. When the field was all shade, I moved over to the Portland side. I ended up with a pretty good look at some infield plays.
When possible, I will cheer on Slugger as he tries to end his lifelong losing streak racing youngsters. Tonight was different. I was stunned when Slugger took off while his very young opponent was getting instructions. That’s just not fair and it troubled me. And the opponent needed all the help he could get. He was set to follow Slugger, when he was supposed to be going in the opposite direction! But despite the big lead, Slugger got what he deserved for cheating. The big guy was ten yards from that elusive first win when the belly whoppers kicked in. I don’t know what Slugger dined on pre-race, but it certainly didn’t settle well. He ended up bent over and I thought that the cleanup crew would be getting a call. Fortunately, he didn’t leave any memories but he did keel over on his back to protect his upset stomach. Meanwhile, the opponent trotted happily across home plate. Yet another devastating setback for Slugger. In previous losses I have questioned his training methods. It may be time to check his eating habits too.
Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach was in the house.
Thanks to media connection Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)