Game 135: Ducks at Revolution

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Kevin Baez said during a pre-game interview prior to last Friday’s game against the Sugar Land Skeeters that one thing he would like his team to improve upon was hitting with runners in scoring position. It’s an area of their game that has looked outstanding at times and has caused them to lose games at others. The latter was the case on Monday in York, as the Ducks left eight men on base, including seven from the fifth inning through the eighth, and fell 5-2 to the Revolution in their road trip opener.

The Ducks opened the scoring in the third inning against left-hander Logan Williamson, as Elmer Reyes hit yet another home run. His solo blast was his third longball in four games and put Long Island up 1-0. However, Bobby Blevins had some trouble with his command in the bottom of the frame (two walks, one with two outs), and the Ducks caught a few bad breaks. With one on and two out, Andres Perez hit a liner to first base that just tipped off the glove of a leaping Sean Burroughs and landed for a hit. Then, after a walk to Brandon Boggs loaded the bases, Bryan Pounds hit a line drive to shallow center. Lew Ford started back on the ball rather than charge in, and he was unable to make up the ground. The ball fell in for a two-run single that gave the Revs the lead.

Long Island answered in the fifth to tie the game, as Cody Puckett singled with one out and scored on Reyes’ double off the Arch Nemesis in left. However, that’s when the Ducks’ struggles with runners in scoring position settled in. The Ducks loaded up the bases with two outs on walks to Anthony Vega and Dan Lyons, but Ford struck out looking on three pitches to end the threat. Randy Ruiz opened up the sixth inning with a single and tried to run from first to third on Mike Blanke’s one-out single to right, but he was thrown out while going in standing up at third. Puckett then popped out to end the inning. Reyes singled to open up the seventh inning, but Vega’s sac bunt attempt resulted in a force out at second base. Fehlandt Lentini and Dan Lyons were retired to end the inning. Then in the eighth, Long Island had runners at first and second with two outs on a fielder’s choice/error and a walk to Blanke. However, Puckett grounded to second to end the inning.

Overall, the Ducks finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-14 with runners on base in the game. Long Island was unable to clinch a playoff spot regardless on Monday since Somerset and Bridgeport were both off, and York is playing desperate baseball as they try to close a three and a half game deficit in the Freedom Division standings. However, the Ducks have now scored just two runs in three consecutive games after compiling nine in their series-opening win last Friday against Sugar Land.

CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights from Monday’s game
CLICK HERE to view Monday’s box score

Long Island will look to rebound in game two of the series on Tuesday night. Taking the mound for the Ducks will be right-hander Bruce Kern, who enters at 9-5 with a 3.37 ERA in 38 games (11 starts) this season. His last outing came in relief of Joe Bircher on Friday against Sugar Land, and he earned the win with three innings of one-run ball. The only run the Yaphank resident would surrender was on a solo homer by Travis Scott. Kern’s last start came on September 5 in a win over Southern Maryland. That night, he fired six and two-thirds innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out five. Tuesday will be the 27-year-old’s first start against the Revolution this year. His previous five encounters all came in relief, and he has thrown three and two-thirds scoreless innings against the Revs.

York will counter with Matt Neil, who is also coming off of a relief appearance in his last outing. That came on Sunday in York’s 11-1 victory at Southern Maryland in which he struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Overall, the right-hander is 3-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 32 games (21 starts) this season. His last start also came on September 5, and he earned a no-decision in the Revs’ 2-1 win over Bridgeport. That night, he threw seven innings of one-run ball, yielding just two hits and three walks with six strikeouts. That performance came after back-to-back starts in which he allowed at least six runs. Neil has made three appearances (two starts) against the Ducks in 2015 and is 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 15 hits and five walks in 15 innings while striking out 14. Long Island has won all three games in which he has pitched against them.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Revolution: Tonight marks the 170th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Revolution. The Ducks currently lead the series 86-83, but the Revs have a 48-36 edge at Santander Stadium. It also marks the 15th of 16 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. Long Island leads the season series nine to five. 12 of the first 14 games have been decided by three runs or less.

Home Cooking: The Ducks finished their home schedule this season with an Atlantic League-best 48-22 record. Their .686 home winning percentage is 57 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .629, 44-26). The 48 home victories are the third-most in franchise history for a single season. The only two greater totals were in 2000 (49-27) and in 2011 (51-20).

Now That’s High Quality Pitching: Bobby Blevins turned in his fifth straight quality start with six innings of two-run ball on Monday. In those five starts, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA, allowing just nine earned runs in 37 and two-thirds innings of work. He’s yielded 31 hits and just two walks in that span while striking out 23 batters. Monday was the first time he walked a batter since August 14 and only the third time in 14 games this season that he walked multiple batters.

Reyes Keeps Rolling: Elmer Reyes launched another home run on Monday, his third longball in the last four games. He has now gone deep in each of the last three days in which the Ducks have played. The former 24-year-old has hit five home runs in 13 games with Long Island after hitting just one in 30 games earlier this year with Gwinnett (AAA, Braves). Reyes now has multiple hits in three of his last four games and is batting .471 (13-for-27) in his last seven contests.

Randy’s Dandy: Randy Ruiz collected two more hits on Monday night. The former big leaguer now has multiple hits in four of his last five games and five of his last seven. In those seven contests, he is batting .464 (13-for-28) with two doubles, one homer, four RBI and three runs scored. Dating back to August 28, he has earned at least one hit in 11 of his last 13 games played.

Walk This Way: Dan Lyons drew two more walks for the Ducks in Monday’s game. The shortstop leads the team with 43 walks during the 2015 season. The next-highest total on the Flock is 36, done by Bryan Sabatella before he was traded to the Bridgeport Bluefish. Lyons has now drawn 43 walks in back-to-back seasons with the Ducks, his highest total in five seasons with Long Island and since he drew 51 combined between two teams in 2010.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio, as the “Ducks Game of the Week.” 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:

Ducks
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#9   Mike Blanke – C
#11  Elmer Reyes – 2B
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF

#30 Bruce Kern – RHP

Revolution
#4   Eric Patterson – LF
#21 Wilson Valdez – SS
#7   Andres Perez – 2B
#33 Brandon Boggs – RF
#37 Bryan Pounds – 3B
#38 Telvin Nash – 1B
#16 Yeicok Calderon – DH
#34 Salvador Paniagua – C
#1   James Simmons – CF

#32 Matt Neil – RHP

We’ll have updates for you throughout the game as the Ducks and Revolution play game two of their three-game set. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:44): END 1: We are underway at Santander Stadium, as both sides are retired in order in the first inning.

UPDATE (6:58): TOP 2: Ducks strike first! Cody Puckett lines a two-out RBI double off of the Arch Nemesis to put the Flock up 1-0!

UPDATE (7:18): TOP 3: Ducks add another run to their lead on Randy Ruiz’s sacrifice fly to right! 2-0 Long Island

UPDATE (8:15): BOT 5: Andres Perez has tied up the game with a two-out, two-run double to left, his league-leading 82nd and 83rd RBIs of the year.

UPDATE (8:44): END 7: After getting out of the fifth, Nick Struck & J.C. Romero have each thrown a scoreless inning of relief. Still 2-2 after seven.

UPDATE (9:09): END 8: Ryan Kussmaul works around a leadoff single by Perez and strikes out two in the eighth! 2-2 as we head to the ninth.

UPDATE (9:25): TOP 9: Ducks take a 5-2 lead on RBI singles from Anthony Vega and Lew Ford and a RBI groundout from Dan Lyons!

UPDATE (9:38): FINAL: Amalio Diaz strikes out the side in the ninth inning for his 14th save, and the Ducks defeat the Revolution 5-2!

UPDATE (9:47): Somerset has defeated Bridgeport 6-2, and the Long Island Ducks have clinched a berth in the 2015 Atlantic League playoffs!

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Posted on September 15, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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