Game 11: Ducks at Bluefish

The Ferry Cup Series is back! Tonight marks the beginning of Chapter 7 in the Ferry Cup Series matchup between Atlantic League cross-sound rivals, the Long Island Ducks and the Bridgeport Bluefish. Since 2009, the Ferry Cup alternated sites between Long Island and Bridgeport, with the Ducks winning the trophy in odd numbered years and the Bluefish in even numbered years. However, the Ducks broke that trend in 2014 when they earned the Cup for a second consecutive season, taking 11 of 20 games against the Bluefish. This year, the rivalry will be ratcheted up, as the two teams will meet 26 times due to the league’s unbalanced schedule. The Atlantic League sought to emphasize geographic rivalries, and they certainly did so this year with the Ducks and Bluefish.

Long Island enters this week’s three-game series after a league-wide off day on Monday. Their last game was a tough 8-4 10-inning loss to the Sugar Land Skeeters on Sunday. However, they also come in unbeaten in series play. The Ducks have taken two of three games at York and home against Sugar Land while splitting a four-game set in Southern Maryland. At 6-4 overall, the Ducks sit just a half-game back of the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division and overall in the Atlantic League. They’re two games better than a year ago when the Flock started off 4-6.

As for Bridgeport, they come in off of their biggest win of the season thus far and one that will likely hold up throughout the 140-game season. On Sunday, the Bluefish broke out the bats for a 20-0 blowout of the Riversharks in Camden. Bridgeport compiled 25 hits in the victory, including seven doubles and a triple. Three players had four hits (Nick Van Stratten, Sean Burroughs and Welington Dotel), with Van Stratten scoring five times and Dotel driving in six runs. It’s extremely early in the year, but Bridgeport leads the Atlantic League with a .270 batting average. However, despite their strong offense, the Bluefish sit just 4-5 overall and 3-3 at home.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Sunday’s series finale
CLICK HERE to view postgame comments from Kevin Baez, Eric Niesen and Prentice Redman
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

To begin the Ferry Cup Series, the Ducks will send Mickey Jannis to the mound. The right-hander was fantastic in his Ducks debut last Wednesday at Southern Maryland, tossing five innings of two-hit shutout baseball with three strikeouts. He allowed just three baserunners on a double, a single and an error, and he retired each of the last nine batters he faced. Jannis made two starts against the Bluefish a year ago as a member of the Blue Crabs and was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and one complete game. The 27-year-old pitched in 10 games out of the bullpen for the Bluefish in 2013, going 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA. In five games at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in 12 innings of work.

Jannis will be opposed by Bluefish returner D.J. Mitchell, who has also begun the season strong. In two starts, he is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA and eight strikeouts in 10 innings. His last start came last Wednesday against Somerset, and the righty allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings to earn the win. Last year, Mitchell went 9-11 with a 4.63 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 27 starts for the Bluefish. However, he also walked 82 batters, which was a league high. The former Yankee made five starts against the Ducks in 2014, going 1-1 with a 4.31 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 31 and one-third innings. However, at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, he was 0-1 with a 6.87 ERA in three starts and surrendered 11 runs on 11 hits in three and one-third innings in his last meeting with the Ducks in Bridgeport on August 19.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 286th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Bluefish, the most for the Ducks against any other Atlantic League opponent. Bridgeport currently leads the series by a slim 143-142 margin and has a 78-63 advantage at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Tonight also marks the first of 26 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks won the 2014 series 11-9 and were 7-3 in Bridgeport. This year marks the seventh edition of the Ferry Cup Series, with the Ducks winning the Cup in four of the first six years.

Rotation Domination: Eric Niesen continued the dominance for the Ducks’ starting rotation on Sunday afternoon. In 10 games this year, Ducks starters have given up just nine runs (eight earned) in 54.2 innings of work, good for a 1.32 ERA. In that span, the starters have allowed just 36 hits and 12 walks while striking out 39 batters. Long Island has allowed three runs or less in eight of their 10 games and has a 6-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less.

Call in the Closer: Ducks closer Ryan Kussmaul has gotten off to a strong start in his first year with the Ducks. The right-hander has appeared in five games and has yet to allow a run, recording four saves in four chances. In addition, he has yet to allow a hit, surrendering just two walks while striking out six. Kussmaul has totaled 35 career saves and has an ERA of 2.61 in 183 career games.

Going Streaking: Bryan Sabatella is currently on a five-game on-base streak. During the stretch, he has compiled eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400 AVG) with three doubles, one homer, four RBI, five runs and four walks…Lew Ford and Reegie Corona have each hit safely in their last four games. During the stretch, Ford has eight hits in six at-bats (.500 AVG) with three doubles, three RBI, two runs and two walks, while Corona has a .357 average (5-for-14) with a run and a walk.

He Likes to Make an Entrance: Prentice Redman has picked up back-to-back two-hit games in his first two appearances with the Ducks. The former New York Met has four hits in his first 10 at-bats with a double, a homer, three RBI and two runs. Redman joined the Ducks on Saturday after spending parts of five seasons with the Bluefish. With Bridgeport, he compiled a .271 batting average with 55 home runs, 238 RBI, 220 runs and 109 doubles in 426 games.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play. Fans can also follow a pitch-by-pitch account of the game via Pointstreak’s GameLive application by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

#44 Bryan Sabatella – DH
#28 Prentice Redman – RF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#22 Blake Davis – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Erik Komatsu – LF

#6   Mickey Jannis – RHP

#5   Nick Van Stratten – CF
#22 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#7   James Simmons – LF
#32 Andres Rodriguez – 1B
#26 John Alonso – DH
#19 Welington Dotel – RF
#12 Ryan Babineau – C
#6   Luis An. Rodriguez – 2B
#2   Ildemaro Vargas – SS

#18 D.J. Mitchell – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game, as the Ducks and Bluefish begin the 2015 Ferry Cup Series. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:07): We are underway at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, as D.J. Mitchell deals to Bryan Sabatella!

UPDATE (7:31): TOP 1: Bluefish plate two runs on a wild pitch and a pass ball. They lead 2-0 after one inning.

UPDATE (7:43): TOP 2: The Ducks are on the scoreboard! Jon Griffin launches a deep solo homer to left! His second longball of the year makes it a 2-1 game!

UPDATE (8:19): MID 5: Good pitcher’s duel going between D.J. Mitchell & Mickey Jannis. Mitchell has retired 12 straight, & Jannis has struck out 4.

UPDATE (8:30): BOT 5: Bluefish get their two-run lead back on a RBI single to center by Nick Van Stratten. 3-1 Bridgeport after five.

UPDATE (9:05): TOP 7: Ducks get back to within a run on a two-out RBI single by Erik Komatsu, his first RBI as a Duck! Long Island trims the lead to 3-2.

UPDATE (9:23): BOT 7: A three-run double to right field by Sean Burroughs has given the Bluefish a 6-2 lead after seven.

UPDATE (9:48): BOT 8: Bluefish have scored four more runs in the eighth and lead 10-2.

UPDATE (9:59): FINAL: Bridgeport strikes first in this year’s Ferry Cup Series, taking the opener 10-2 over Long Island.

Posted on May 5, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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