Game 137: Ducks at Barnstormers

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Two-out situations have not been kind to the Ducks this year. Although there are no stats that showcase how many runs an opponent has scored against the Flock with two outs in an inning this season, it has seemingly been an issue that has popped up at points throughout the year. It was never more evident than on Wednesday night, when the York Revolution scored all 10 of their runs with two outs in an inning en route to a 10-3 series-clinching victory over Long Island. It marked the first time this year that the Ducks lost a series to the Revs.

For the second straight start, Joe Bircher looked strong at the start but failed to get through an inning after getting two men out. Last Friday against Sugar Land, he had a runner at first base with two outs in the fourth before allowing four straight batters to reach and six runs to score. On Wednesday, he threw a 1-2-3 inning in the first and struck out back-to-back batters after allowing the first two to reach on the second. One out away from ending the frame, he got ahead of Nick Ferdinand with a count of 0-2. Then, the floodgates opened. Six straight batters reached on hits against Bircher to knock the lefty out of the game, and the Revolution built a 6-0 lead before Ian Marshall got out of the inning on one pitch.

Long Island got back in the game with three runs in the third off of Rommie Lewis. Delta Cleary, Jr. drove in two runs with a double to left field that was lost in the sky by Ferdinand. Then, Elmer Reyes collected a RBI triple when his deep drive to left-center was lost in the sky by James Simmons. However, the two-out troubles resurfaced again in the bottom of the frame. Marshall needed just four pitches to record the first two outs of the inning, and again, the Ducks got to two strikes on Ferdinand. However, the York left-fielder singled to keep the inning alive, and James Simmons followed with a base hit. The inning would continue when Eric Patterson lined a RBI double down the right field line, and two more runs came home when Cody Puckett threw away a ground ball off the bat of Wilson Valdez. The Revs closed out the scoring with two outs again in the fifth on a RBI single by Valdez. While the game carried less importance considering the Ducks had clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday, they will surely want to improve upon their two-out situations prior to the start of the postseason.

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

Following a quick 25-minute bus trip to Lancaster, the Ducks will begin their final series of the regular season on Friday night when they face the Barnstormers in the first of four games at Clipper Magazine Stadium. They will be facing the Barnstormers for the first time since the second series of the second half. Since their last meeting, Lancaster has been the hottest team in the Atlantic League. They have a 43-23 record in the second half and clinched the Second Half Freedom Division title last night with their victory over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at home. This series will be a good test for the Flock as they enter the playoffs.

Darin Downs will take the mound for Long Island in the ballpark he made his first Ducks start in. The southpaw made his debut with the team on July 14 and threw three scoreless innings in a 5-0 win. He gave up just one hit and two walks while striking out three in his only start thus far against Lancaster. Downs is 4-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts with the Flock and had his last outing cut short when Long Island’s game against Camden was postponed on Saturday after an inning and a half. His prior start came on September 7 against Southern Maryland, a hard luck loss in which allowed three runs over six innings in a 3-2 defeat. Downs yielded eight hits and two walks while striking out four. The former big leaguer has made four consecutive quality starts dating back to August 17 and has six quality starts in his last seven outings.

The Barnstormers will send Edwin Carl to the mound for the series opener, and he will be making his Atlantic League debut. The right-hander pitched with two different independent leagues this year, beginning the season with Schaumburg of the Frontier League before joining Winnipeg of the American Association. He combined to post a 7-6 record with a 3.48 ERA and three complete games in 19 games (18 starts). In 119 games, he struck out 127 batters while walking 43. Carl began his career with four seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization and part of 2013 with High-A Rancho Cucamonga in the Dodgers organization. He has a career record of 21-15 with a 3.36 ERA and 13 saves in 134 games (31 starts).

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Postseason Bound: With the Somerset Patriots defeating the Bridgeport Bluefish on Tuesday, the Ducks have clinched a berth in the 2015 Atlantic League playoffs. They will enter the playoffs either as a Wild Card winner or the Second Half Liberty Division champions. It marks the 10th time in the last 12 seasons that the Ducks have earned a playoff berth (2010, 2014). Long Island’s last two postseason trips have resulted in Atlantic League championships (2012, 2013).

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 211th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 110-100, but the Barnstormers have a 54-53 advantage in Lancaster. Tonight is also the 17th of 20 scheduled meetings between the teams in 2015. Long Island leads the series 10 games to six but Lancaster has a 5-3 edge at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

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).

Reyes Keeps Rolling: Elmer Reyes collected three hits for the second time this week against York and third time overall in his last six games. The infielder now has seven multi-hit contests in 15 games played with the Ducks. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, and in that span, he is batting .462 (18-for-39) with three doubles, two triples, four homers, nine RBI and nine runs scored.

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. returned to the lineup after missing two games due to injury and collected two hits and two RBI. The outfielder now has 21 two-hit games this year and 34 multi-hit contests. In addition, he has eight two-RBI games and nine multi-RBI contests in 2015. Dating back to August 15, Cleary, Jr. has reached base safely in 27 of his last 28 games, earning hits in 25.

Strikeout Artists: Five Ducks pitchers combined to strike out 13 Revolution batters in Wednesday’s game. Mariel Checo led them all by setting down five of the six hitters he faced on strikes. Long Island also struck out 13 batters in their win on Tuesday. As a team, the Ducks’ pitching staff has accumulated 1,090 strikeouts in 2015, which leads the Atlantic League. Their closes competitor is the Barnstormers, who have struck out 110 batters less (980). John Brownell leads all Atlantic League pitchers with 142 strikeouts, a Ducks single season record.

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:

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

#23 Darin Downs – LHP

Barnstormers
#1   Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#3   Tyler Bortnick – DH
#8   Zach Collier – CF
#22 Kent Matthes – LF
#35 Mike McDade – 1B
#7   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#19 Anderson Feliz – 3B
#21 Kevin Rivers – RF
#15 Charlie Cutler – C

#41 Edwin Carl – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the ballgame as the Ducks and Barnstormers begin their final tune-up before the 2015 playoffs. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:07): We are underway in Lancaster! Dan Lyons picks up a single off the wall in right in the opening inning.

UPDATE (7:26): TOP 2: The Ducks strike first on a two-out RBI single through the left side by Anthony Vega! 1-0 Flock

UPDATE (8:04): BOT 3: Barnstormers score three times, including twice with two men out, to take a 3-1 lead after three.

UPDATE (8:34): END 5: Darin Downs strikes out Anderson Feliz for his fifth K of the night. However, the Barnstormers still lead 3-1.

UPDATE (8:41): TOP 6: Randy Ruiz crushes a LONG two-run home run to the left of the batter’s eye in center! His 10th of the year ties the game at three!

UPDATE (9:01): BOT 7: Kent Matthes lifts a solo home run over the wall in right off of Nick Struck to put the Barnstormers back in front 4-3.

UPDATE (9:22): END 8: J.C. Romero works out of a first-and-second, no-out jam to keep it a one-run game. Onto the ninth, 4-3 Barnstormers.

UPDATE (9:29): FINAL: Ducks go in order in the ninth, and Lancaster takes the series opener by a final count of 4-3.

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Posted on September 17, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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