Attack of the Lake Monster (Volquez vs. Banuelos)

MOOSIC, PA - (August 7, 2011)  Saturday's game was banged, due to torrential downpours.  (You haven't seen it rain until you've seen a downpour in a mountainous area like Scranton.  Their catch basins are, like 30' deep to handle the massive runoff, and they still turn into geysers in heavy rain.)

There was a doubleheader Sunday to make up for the rainout.  They decided to put the marquee matchup first, with Saturday's starters playing the second game.

Edinson Volquez's Gameday photo still shows him with long hair, so I'm always surprised to see that he now has almost no hair at all.


Manny Banuelos took the mound for the SWB Yanks.  Banuelos is one of the Yankees' top prospects, and was only recently promoted to AAA.  This was only his second start at the AAA level.


Jerry Gil, infielder/outfielder turned relief pitcher, did not appear in this game.  He did sign a lot of autographs before the game started, though.


Denis Phipps.


Jeremy Hermida.


The Bats got off to a good start.  Second baseman Jose Castro hit a leadoff single.  Chris Valaika also singled...


...and Jose Castro went first to third.


Castro would eventually score on a Juan Francisco GIDP.

Invisible bat!


Denis Phipps lost his bat twice in the same at-bat.  Fans started yelling at him to put on his batting gloves.  Instead, he rubbed some dirt on his hands. 

He was 0-for in this game, despite being blistering hot before and since.  Maybe he was too worried about losing his bat again.  It was a really hot, humid day.  The worst day, weather-wise, I have ever spent in a ballpark.  Sweat was just pouring off everyone.  I can imagine it was difficult to keep a grip on the bat handle.

Volquez has a pretty ERA in AAA - 2.19.  But he just didn't look that sharp.  He got the first two outs in the first inning, then gave up a single, a wild pitch, a double, and a walk.  Only one run scored, but it wasn't really what you want to see from your once and future ace.


I wish I had cool shades like Kris Negron.


Chris Valaika warming up. I like the short hair.  Kind of makes you want to stroke it.  :-)


Valaika hit a weak check-swing groundout in the 5th.  He shouted, "F*CK!" quite clearly, to the annoyance of many of the fans.  PNC Field has an announcement before each game, reminding fans that profanity is not allowed.  Maybe they should include players in that, too.  :-)

Volquez's line for the day: 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks.

83 pitches, 52 for strikes.  1 wild pitch.


I guess that's not that bad.  Banuelos pitched even better, though.  (Admittedly, both teams have been gutted by callups.)

Devin Mesoraco, dripping sweat like the rest of us.  Have I mentioned it was a freakin' sauna that day?


Jared Burton pitched the 6th.


He looked so good on Friday.  Sunday...not so much.  He gave up a walk, two hit by pitches, a home run, and the lead.



Chris Valaika picked up Burton, hitting a two-run homer.


Game tied.  

Carlos Fisher mowed down the top of the Yanks' order.



Game tied after 7.  Free baseball!

It was Kris Negron with the game-winning hit.  He doubled, scoring Mesoraco.


Jordan Smith pitched the 8th.  It was three up, three down.



Bats win the first game of the doubleheader, 5-4.


It was Chris Valaika (2 for 3 with a home run) and Kris Negron (1 for 4 with game-winning double) who were the unlikely heroes of the game.  But then, almost everyone else has been called up.

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