Game 109: Ducks at Bluefish

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During Long Island’s 5-1 homestand against the Skeeters and Patriots, the Ducks did a fantastic job of getting timely hits and making sure they did not leave many runners on base. In the six games, the Ducks left a total of 41 runners on base, an average of just under seven per game. On Monday night, one of Long Island’s biggest Achilles heels returned in their 4-3 loss to the Bluefish in Bridgeport.

The Ducks left a total of 12 runners on base in their series-opening loss, failing to take advantage of Bridgeport’s Kyle McMillen making a spot start for the recently retired Julio Rodriguez. The Flock had McMillen on the ropes early, getting two runs in the first inning and another in the third. However, they missed cashing in on several big opportunities over the course of the game, including:

Top 2: Runners at first and second with nobody out
Top 4: Bases loaded with one out
Top 7: Runner at second with one out/runners at first and third with two outs
Top 8: Runners at second and third with one out
Top 9: Runners at first and second with two outs

On the mound, the Ducks got another quality start from John Brownell, his fifth in a row. The right-hander was especially strong to finish out his start, allowing just one walk and one single over his final four innings of work. After Fred Lewis’ RBI single tied the game at three in the third, Brownell retired 14 of the last 17 hitters he faced, including 11 consecutive batters from the fourth through the seventh. However, he was unable to secure the shutdown inning after Long Island scored, allowing a two-out RBI single by Lewis in the first that scored James Simmons, who reached on an error. In addition, he gave up two runs in the third after the Ducks put him back up by two. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he certainly pitched well enough to win.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Monday’s series opener, complete with audio highlights.

So, with the Ferry Cup Series now tied at nine games apiece, tonight’s showdown between the cross-sound rivals will determine which team will at least gain a share of the Ferry Cup title for 2014. And boy do we have a great pitching matchup!

The Ducks will go with right-hander Bobby Blevins, who has been magnificent this season. He enters with a 7-3 record and a 3.05 ERA, which is good for third best in the Atlantic League. The third-year Duck takes the mound tonight following his complete game masterpiece against the Skeeters this past Thursday. In that start, Blevins allowed just one run on seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three. He needed just 97 pitches to toss all nine innings and threw 70 of them for strikes. Blevins has made eight consecutive quality starts dating back to July 4 and is 3-0 with a miniscule 1.40 ERA in that span, allowing just 10 earned runs over 64 and one-third innings. Most impressive of all might be that he’s walked just seven batters in those eight starts. Blevins has a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Bluefish and came within one strike of a complete game win in Bridgeport on July 29.

Opposing Blevins will be D.J. Mitchell of the Bluefish. The right-hander has had a fine season for Bridgeport, posting an 8-7 record with a 3.48 ERA through 21 starts entering Tuesday. The former big leaguer won each of his last two outings, but he struggled his last time out, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks over five and two-thirds innings against the Blue Crabs on Thursday. He opposed Blevins in that July 29 game and pitched well, allowing just two runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings. However, he would have taken the loss if not for the heroics of Austin Gallagher in the ninth. Mitchell is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts against the Flock, striking out 28 batters in 28 innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 19th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and ninth of 10 games between them in Bridgeport. The series is tied at nine, while the Ducks have a 5-3 advantage in Bridgeport. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 283 games against each other alltime, with the Bluefish holding a143-140 lead and a 78-61 edge in Bridgeport. Both teams have played for the Ferry Cup since 2009, with the Ducks winning the trophy three times (2009, 2011, 2013).

Starter Success: Ducks starting pitchers are now 7-1 with a 2.03 ERA (20 earned runs in 88 and twothirds innings) over their last 13 games after Brownell yielded two earned runs in seven innings on Monday. In that span, they’ve allowed 76 hits and 18 walks while striking out 54. Dating back to August 2, the starters are 9-2 with a 2.03 ERA, allowing 25 earned runs in 110 and two-thirds innings.

What Can Brown-ell Do For You? With seven innings of three-run ball (two earned) on Monday, John Brownell tossed his fifth consecutive quality start. In those five starts, he has a 3-1 record with a 2.11 ERA, giving up nine earned runs in 38.1 innings of work. He’s allowed 27 hits and 13 walks while striking out 24 in that span as well. Brownell leads the Atlantic League in wins (12), innings pitched (160.1), complete games (5) and games started (23) while ranking second in strikeouts (109).

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Despite allowing the winning run on Monday, the Ducks bullpen has been strong of late. In the last eight games, Ducks relievers have allowed three runs over 18.1 innings (1.47 ERA) on 12 hits and five walks with 17 strikeouts. Tommy Organ tossed a scoreless inning on Monday, his sixth as a Duck. In those six innings, he’s yielded four hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Off to the Races: The Ducks picked up three more stolen bases on Monday night, increasing their total this season to 100. That’s good for second-most in the Atlantic League behind the York Revolution (130). Joash Brodin collected his 22nd stolen base in 25 attempts this year, while Jan Vazquez earned his first two of 2014. Long Island has compiled 19 stolen bases in their last 10 games.

Multi-Hit Machines: Joash Brodin earned his second consecutive multi-hit game with three hits on Monday. He’s picked up multiple hits in four of his last six games, batting .409 (9-for-22) in that span. Lew Ford also collected his second straight multi-hit games and has hit safely in seven of his last eight games. In those eight games, he’s batting .375 (12-for-32) with four doubles, five RBI and seven runs.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast with live streaming audio on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#29 Evan Crawford – CF
#25 Brendan Harris – SS
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#6   Bill Hall –1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#22 Joash Brodin – RF
#30 Sergio Miranda – 3B

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Bluefish
#22 Kyle McMillen – DH**
#11 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#15 Ramon Castro – 2B
#36 Fred Lewis –LF
#19 Luis Lopez – 1B
#20 Denny Almonte – CF
#17 Casper Wells – RF
#9   Luis Rodriguez – C
#5   Juan Martinez – SS

#18 D.J. Mitchell – RHP

**Yes, that is last night’s starting pitcher Kyle McMillen in the lineup leading off. The reason? Bridgeport is celebrating the 63rd anniversary of when 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel appeared in a Major League game as a member of the St. Louis Browns. Today, the Bluefish have signed 4-foot-1 actor Colin Buckingham, who will pinch hit in the bottom of the first inning for McMillen. He is wearing number 1/8 on the back of his jersey. After he pinch hits, James Simmons will take over as the designated hitter. For more information on the tribute to Eddie Gaedel, please CLICK HERE.

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard as the Ducks and Bluefish battle for the Ferry Cup!

UPDATE (7:56): TOP 3: Ducks put up a five-spot against D.J. Mitchell! Bill Hall with a two-run single and Cody Puckett with a three-run homer!

UPDATE (8:08): BOT 3: Bluefish get on the scoreboard with a two-out solo homer to center by James Simmons.

UPDATE (8:21): TOP 4: Six more runs are in for the Ducks! RBI single by Lew Ford, a bases loaded walk to Hall, and a grand slam by Adam Bailey!

UPDATE (8:27): One final run in the fourth, as Brandon Bantz crushes one off of the Webster Bank Arena!! 12-1 Ducks lead!

UPDATE (9:05): TOP 6: Three more runs are in for the Flock! Two-run triple by Puckett, who has now driven in five runs, and a run-scoring groundout from Joash Brodin!

UPDATE (9:25): TOP 7: A fantastic night continues for Hall, as he crushes a three-run blast to left. He has six RBI tonight! Ducks lead 18-1!

UPDATE (10:03): FINAL: Rob Whitenack tosses two scoreless innings! Ducks win it 18-1 over the Bluefish and guarantee at least a share of the Ferry Cup!

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Posted on August 19, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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