Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rays wrap up postseason berth

Tampa Bay, with a 5-0 win over Baltimore tonight, sealed a playoff spot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Young, Twins seal AL playoff spot

Former Biscuits outfielder Delmon Young and the Minnesota Twins celebrated a playoff spot tonight.

The Twins sealed the American League Central title. Young, a Biscuit way back in 2005, has a .299 average and 105 RBIs this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Glen wins second Northern League pitcher of year

Former Biscuit Willie Glen won the Northern League's pitcher of the year award today after going 11-2 with a 2.39 ERA for the Gary SouthShore RailCats. He also won it in 2007 and is the first two-time winner in league history.

Also, I didn't know Gabriel Martinez joined the league for the final two weeks. He was with the Kansas City T-Bones.

Suns finally reach Montgomery's level

The Jacksonville Suns, with a 3-1 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Saturday, finished off a four-game series victory and won their second straight Southern League championship.

The Suns have now won two straight Southern League titles, a feat last accomplished by the Biscuits in 2006-07. The Montgomery Rebels were the only previous team to do it. The Rebs won five championships in six years in the 1970s.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bulls emotional bidding Hernandez adieu

Xavier Hernandez had trouble reaching the door of Durham's clubhouse late Friday night to start a long drive home to Houston.

There were hugs at virtually every step between his locker and the exit, each wishing him good luck as he leaves professional baseball.

Durham's 13-2 loss to the Columbus Clippers marked the end of Hernandez's nine-year tenure as a pitching coach in the Tampa Bay system. On Monday, he starts his new job -- as the pitching coach at Houston Baptist.

"It's going to be tough without him because he's always been so good to us and we have a good relationship," said Richard De Los Santos, who led the International League in wins this year. "He was someone who always helped us out."

Hernandez, who was Montgomery's pitching coach in 2005-06 and has been with Durham the last four years, tried to quickly get out of the clubhouse in hopes he wouldn't get emotional.

It didn't work.

"He's going to do something he wants and it's on his terms," said reliever Dale Thayer, who has been with Hernandez since late in the 2007 season. "There were a lot of good tears."

Hernandez and Durham manager Charlie Montoyo, together since 2005 in Montgomery, shared a long hug at the start of Hernandez's trek.

"We're like brothers," Montoyo said. "I hope somebody gives him a chance someday in the big leagues.

"He deserves it."

Clippers down Bulls for International championship

Jared Head scored four runs and Jason Kipsis hit for the cycle to lead the Columbus Clippers in a 13-2 win over the Durham Bulls on Friday for the International League championship.

Josh Rodriguez had four RBIs for the Clippers, who last won a title in 1996. Columbus rolled up 20 hits for the second time in the four-game series. The Bulls allowed no more than 18 hits in any regular-season game.

Durham totaled 10 hits, two each for J.J. Furmaniak, Elliot Johnson and Rashad Eldridge. Furmaniak and Richard had RBIs. Bulls starter Paul Phillips gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Cobb fine with missing Tampa Bay ceremony

Pitcher Alex Cobb, Montgomery's Rays-named most valuable player this year, is OK with missing Tampa Bay's recognition ceremony tonight in St. Pete. Instead, he's in Durham with the Bulls and playing for an International League championship.

"I'd rather be here," Cobb said. "This is a chance to get a ring."

Cobb finished 7-5 with the Biscuits this season before a postseason promotion to Durham. His 2.71 ERA ranked fourth in the Southern League and his 128 strikeouts were third. Those numbers led to his Tampa Bay award.

"It's an honor, especially because there was a really good pitching staff down there," Cobb said. "When they told me, I was happy to hear it."

Bulls promise crimson carpet for Tide fans

The Durham Bulls have vowed to turn part of their park into a crimson palace tonight for their "Crimson Tide tailgate party." They presold 45 tickets and expect many more walk-up sales. The Alabama fight song shall be heard, the Bulls profess.

D. Johnson, Hellickson, Vogt win top awards

The Rays just announced their minor league organizational awards.

Top awards ...
Dan Johnson, player of year
Jeremy Hellickson, pitcher of year
Stephen Vogt, Erik Walker community service award

Team MVPs ...
IF Elliot Johnson, Durham
RHP Alex Cobb, Montgomery
LHP Matt Moore, Charlotte
IF Tyler Bortnick, Bowling Green
1B Phil Wunderlich, Hudson Valley
LHP Enny Romero, Princeton
RHP Pedro Silvestre, GCL
IF/OF Ariel Soriano, Dominican
OF Nahum Hernandez, Venezuela

Special awards ...
OF Desmond Jennings, best defensive player
OF Ty Morrison, best baserunner
RHP Zach Quate, best relief pitcher

Rays to give out organizational awards

Tampa Bay is scheduled to give out its minor league organizational awards today. They've yet to announce the winners, so there's time to share yours. (I'd say Matt Gorgen will not win.)

Jai Miller on his baseball life, life-changing accident

We've had several stories over the years at the Advertiser about Selma High's Jai Miller. If you've missed those, make sure to read this from the Kansas City Star.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Johnson: Can't play Game 5 without Game 4 win

Elliot Johnson, who scored Durham's winning run Thursday against Columbus, went through his "Bull Durham" cliches, right down to the sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains part.

There was one simple statement that summed up what the Bulls/former Biscuits face Friday: "We have to win tomorrow if we want to play the next day."

Paul Phillips, with the Biscuits until the final day of the regular season, is Durham's scheduled starter Friday.

The Bulls will benefit from a full night's rest. After Wednesday's Game 2 in Columbus, both teams jumped in a bus and drove all night. Durham got in about 6 a.m. It's the fourth time in the postseason the Bulls have made a long drive (to and from Louisville, to and from Columbus).

"It wasn't tough," Johnson said. "We have a job to do. Everyone knew we'd be playing today. We had to come out and do our job."

Well-soaked Cobb did leave with blister

Alex Cobb took an injury-filled path to the blister that brought him out of Thursday's game after four shutout innings.

His treatment for an aching back, aggravated by Durham's recent travels, led to him suffering the blister, he said. Cobb left a game earlier this year with Montgomery because of a blister and suffered from them last year as well.

"I had a little back ache, so I took a soak in the tub and it loosened up my skin," Cobb said. "I would liked to have gone at least one more inning."

Cobb was a postseason promotion from the Biscuits to Bulls. In two playoff starts, he's thrown 10 2/3 innings, allowed six hits and two runs and struck out 13.

That is similiar to the numbers he posted late in Montgomery's season. In his last eight starts, Cobb had a 2.32 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings.

"I felt I was throwing well in Double-A, but a couple of things were going my way," Cobb said. "Lately, I've been able to throw my stuff in the zone a lot better, in and out, where I want to."

Bulls avoid sweep with ninth-inning win

Elliot Johnson raced home on a Leslie Anderson flyout with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Durham Bulls a 3-2 win over the Columbus Clippers on Thursday.

Johnson led off the ninth with a walk and went to third on Justin Ruggiano's bloop single. The Clippers intentionally walked Chris Richard to bring up Anderson, who hit a line drive flyout to center.

Rashad Eldridge hit an RBI single and scored in the fifth to make it 2-0. His single brought home Angel Chavez from second. Eldridge ended up on third after center fielder Eziquiel Carrera's error and was in position to score on Fernando Perez's flyout.

The Bulls avoided a sweep in the International League championship series. Game 4 is Friday.

Cobb leaves due to injury (blister?) after four

Alex Cobb is out after four shutout innings due to an injury. It looked like he was nursing a blister, which is something that knocked him out of a game this year with Montgomery and something he dealt with last year at high-Class A Charlotte.

Cobb was also a lucky pitcher -- and likely wouldn't have stayed much longer anyway. He threw 82 pitches in his four innings, 44 for strikes.

More than Spring are pulling for Tide

Sure, Bulls catcher Matt Spring is pulling for an Alabama rout Saturday -- if he didn't his wife would hurt him -- but there's another Tide fan in the clubhouse.

Trainer Rodger Fleming is from Gordo and he even has tickets to the game. He obviously won't use them if he has to work Saturday. If he can't go, his fiancee is also a big Alabama fan and will go without him.

Montoyo receives IL manager's award

The International League just presented Durham manager Charlie Montoyo with its 2010 manager of the year award. Nice trophy. I'd guess Charlie will have to have it shipped home.

Greetings from Durham

We're here in Durham for Saturday's Alabama-Duke "footbaw" game, a little early so we don't miss Game 3 of the International League championship series.

The Bulls are trying to avoid being swept tonight.

Basic reaction from almost every former Biscuit: "What are you doing here?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bulls drop into 2-0 hole with 4-0 defeat

Zach McAllister threw seven innings and the Columbus Clippers hit three home runs to move within one win of an International League championship, beating the Durham Bulls 4-0 tonight.

The Bulls, who managed seven hits, host Game 3 on Thursday. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will also be in Durham.

Cord Phelps hit a solo home run in the first inning. Jared Goedert and Jerad Head went back-to-back off starter Aneury Rodriguez to make it 3-0 in the fourth.

Durham Bulls invite Alabama fans to IL title series

Alabama fans have been invited by the Durham Bulls to attend a tailgate party Friday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the fourth game of the International League championship series.

That fourth game is "if necessary" and it doesn't look good. The Bulls took an 18-5 shelling Tuesday in the opener of the best-of-5 series and trail 4-0 after six innings tonight.

Call 919-956-BULL during normal office hours or go to durhambulls.com and order tickets. Enter “TIDE” in the special offer code. Select “Crimson Tide tailgate” in the “ticket type” dropdown.

It's $20 for a ticket and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Food line opens at 6 p.m. Eastern and the game starts at 7:05 -- if there's a game at all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clippers decimate Durham in opener

Jerad Head had six RBIs in Columbus' 18-5 clubbing of Durham in the opener of the International League championship series.

The Clippers led 17-1 after seven innings.

Justin Ruggiano's eighth-inning grand slam pulled the Bulls within two touchdowns.

Richard De Los Santos gave up five runs in the first and left with none out in the third at an umpire's behest. He was ejected after hitting a batter who had homered in the first.

Game 2 is Wednesday at Columbus.

McGee's debut one he can build on

Jake McGee had a shaky debut tonight with the Rays. He recorded one out (a strikeout), issued three walks and gave up a run to the New York Yankees. McGee mixed four strikes into his 17 pitches.

Lobaton starts rehab stint with Durham

Catcher Jose Lobaton begins a rehab assignment with Durham tonight in the opener of the International League championship series. Lobaton was hurt while with Durham, but the Rays moved him to the major league disabled list in late August to create flexibility for its potential playoff roster. Richard De Los Santos starts tonight for the Bulls at the Columbus Clippers.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yankees finish off Stone Crabs

Craig Heyer allowed five hits over six innings as the Tampa Yankees claimed a second straight Florida State League title, beating the Charlotte Stone Crabs 9-0 tonight.

Bradley Suttle's three-run home run highlighted a five-run fifth that made it 7-0 off Crabs starter Joe Cruz.

St. Pete: McGee going to major leagues

Jake McGee, who has had an agreeable tenure with the Durham Bulls, is set to hit the major leagues Tuesday, the St. Petersburg Times' Rays guru, Marc Topkin, reports. McGee's tolerable numbers in Durham: an 0.44 ERA in 20 1/3 innings, nine hits allowed, four walks and 32 strikeouts.

Suns in position to join Rebels, Biscuits

The Jacksonville Suns may soon join an exclusive club -- teams with back-to-back Southern League championships.

The Suns face the Tennessee Smokies in a rematch of last year's best-of-5 final series. If they get the same result, they'll be the first team to repeat since the Montgomery Biscuits won in 2006-07.

The Montgomery Rebels are the only other Southern League repeat offender. The Rebs won the first two SL playoff titles in 1972-73 and won three in a row from 1975-77.

Tennessee hosts Jacksonville for the first two games of the series Tuesday and Wednesday. After an off day, the Suns host the remainder of the series starting Friday. Both capped four-game semifinal series victories Sunday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sexton, Stone Crabs avoid Tampa sweep

Greg Sexton scored in the ninth inning on a Jake Jefferies flyout and the Charlotte Stone Crabs avoided a Florida State League championship series sweep with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Yankees.

Game 4 of the series is Monday at Tampa.

Matt Moore ran up 10 strikeouts and gave up one run over six innings. He walked four and gave up four hits. Moore uncorked two wild pitches in the fifth to bring in Tampa's run.

Neil Schenk was the winner with two shutout innings. Zach Quate worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth for the save.

Durham advances to league finals

J.J. Furmaniak hit the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and Durham advanced to the International League championship series with a 4-2 win over Louisville.

Furmaniak also made an over-the-shoulder catch for the final out.

The Bulls face the Columbus Clippers in the best-of-5 finals. Games 1 and 2 are Tuesday and Wednesday at Columbus. Games 3, *4 and *5 will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Durham. (*--If necessary.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Crabs on brink of being swept for FSL title

Bradley Suttle and Jack Rye had three RBIs each to lead Tampa in a 7-2 win over Charlotte tonight. The Yankees have a 2-0 lead on the Stone Crabs in the Florida State League championship series and can finish a sweep Sunday.

Bulls force decisive Game 5

Durham beat Louisville 8-1 to force a decisive fifth game in their International League playoff series. Chris Richard hit a grand slam and had five RBIs. Paul Phillips threw five shutout innings for the win.

Hot Rods, Rays renew affiliation

The Bowling Green Hot Rods and Tampa Bay Rays have extrended their player-development contract through 2012.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crabs kneel to Yankees in FSL opener

Jose Pirela scored twice, Myron Leslie had two RBIs and the Tampa Yankees took advantage of 11 walks in a 5-2 win over Charlotte tonight.

It was the opening game of the best-of-5 Florida State League championship series. Game 2 is Saturday.

Jake Jefferies and Matt Hall homered for the Stone Crabs, who did not draw a walk. Pirela and Leslie each walked three times.

Bats down Bulls in crucial Game 3

Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Louisville Bats a 2-1 win over the Durham Bulls in Game 3 of their International League playoff series.

The Bats have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series with Game 4 on Saturday.

Frazier's shot came off Alex Cobb, who took a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning in his Triple-A debut. Cobb allowed three hits, walked one and struck out 10.

Pat White (Alabamian, QB) signs with Royals

Pat White, a Daphne native who was a star baseball player before becoming a star quarterback at West Virginia, has signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. He was drafted out of high school and while at WVU.

Gorgen greeted move with 'disbelief, at first'

Matt Gorgen's phone rang Thursday afternoon and has taken few breaks since.

The first call was from Tampa Bay farm director Mitch Lukevics informing Gorgen that he'd been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It set off emotions for Gorgen, who has been with the Rays since the 2008 draft through this year's All-Star season with the Biscuits. Gorgen's move completes the July 31 trade that sent Chad Qualls from Arizona to Tampa Bay.

"It was kind of disbelief, at first," Gorgen said today. "I knew they were looking for a player to be named. You see your friends get traded and you see people you know get traded all the time, but I never thought it would be me."

From there, as word circulated, friends and former teammates started calling and texting. So did some friends Gorgen already has with the Diamondbacks. Mixed in was one from interim Arizona general manager Jerry Dipoto.

"It's been a whirwind last two days," Gorgen said.

The move doesn't change Gorgen's offseason plans. He missed a month this season with tendinitis, but the Southern League still named him its top reliever. Gorgen is scheduled to rest until spring training, though that will now be in Arizona and not Florida.

"With the injury, the tendinitis, they felt my workload was sufficient," Gorgen said. "They want me to take time off."

Gorgen is expected to spend next season at Triple-A Reno.

Crabs haul out bubbly for celebration

Hey, guys, don't use it all yet. The Charlotte Stone Crabs got their party on after clinching a return trip to the Florida State League championship series. (Thanks to the Crabs and Nick Martinez for the photo.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Crabs advance to FSL title series

Frank De Los Santos threw 6 2/3 shutout innings of relief to lead the Charlotte Stone Crabs to a 2-1 win over Bradenton on Thursday in the decisive game of a Florida State League playoff series.

The Crabs advance to the best-of-5 league championship series and host the opener Friday. They'll face the Tampa Yankees in a rematch of last year's final won in five games by Tampa.

On Thursday, starter Alex Colome left after 1 1/3 innings (and a two-hour, 16-minute rain delay) before De Los Santos shut down the Marauders. Zach Quate worked the ninth to end it.

Down 1-0, Charlotte struck twice in the bottom of the second. Matt Hall singled home Mike Sheridan and Chris Murrill drew a bases-loaded walk to push in Jake Jefferies.

Gorgen to Arizona to complete Qualls trade

Biscuits reliever Matt Gorgen, who tied for the Southern League lead in saves this season, has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gorgen completes the deal that sent major leaguer Chad Qualls from Arizona to Tampa Bay on July 31.

Gorgen, 23, had 22 saves and a 1.65 ERA in 49 innings this season for the Biscuits. He was named the team's most valuable player by the Advertiser.

Last year, Tampa Bay named Gorgen the organization's top minor league reliever. He had 19 saves and a 1.17 ERA between high-Class A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.

Bullpen keys Bulls in win over Bats

Darin Downs and three other relievers held Louisville to one run over the final 6 1/3 innings in Durham's 6-2 win.

The Bulls evened the best-of-5 series 1-1. Game 3 is Friday in Durham.

Jake McGee, Joe Bateman and Winston Abreu worked the final four innings, giving up one hit and striking out seven.

Justin Ruggiano scored twice and Joe Dillon had two RBIs.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stone Crabs force third game with Bradenton

Stephen Vogt knocked in three runs and Tim Beckham scored three times in Charlotte's 10-2 playoff win over Bradenton.

The best-of-3 Florida State League series is tied 1-1 with the finale scheduled for Thursday.

Joe Cruz, the FSL's regular-season wins leader, worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs for the victory.

Durham digs hole, loses opener at Louisville

Mike Costanzo hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning and finished with four RBIs to lead the Louisville Bats in an 8-4 win over Durham tonight in Game 1 of an International League playoff series.

Leslie Anderson knocked in three runs to lead the Bulls, including a two-run homer in the seventh. Joe Dillon scored three times.

Richard De Los Santos, the IL regular-season wins leader, surrendered seven runs in five-plus innings. De Los Santos was 14-5 with a 3.52 ERA in the regular season.

Game 2 is Thursday at Louisville.

Cobb's Durham debut in Game 3 of playoffs

Alex Cobb will make his Triple-A debut Friday for Durham in the third game of the Bulls' playoff series with Louisville.

It's Richard De Los Santos in tonight's opener followed by Aneury Rodriguez, Cobb, Bobby Livingston and Paul Phillips.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Crabs fall in playoff opener

Charlotte's Matt Moore took a one-hit shutout into the seventh before Bradenton scored four times on its way to a 5-0 win over the Stone Crabs. It was the opener of a best-of-5 playoff series. Game 2 is Wednesday.

Shields is Tampa Bay's Clemente nominee

Former Biscuits pitcher James Shields is Tampa Bay's nominee for this year's Roberto Clemente Award. The award recognizes a major league player's community service. Shields started his Big Game James Club this year for two organizations in the Tampa Bay area that assist foster children. He's worked with both groups for four years.

Fans can participate in the award by voting at www.chevy.com/clemente. There's a seven-voter panel that includes Roberto Clemente's widow, Vera. The fan winner will count as an eighth vote.

Hellickson named Baseball America player of year

jeremy Hellickson, formerly of the Biscuits, was named Baseball America's minor league player of the year today.

Hellickson was 12-3 with an International League-best 2.45 ERA this year at Triple-A Durham.

Bass back in bigs with Pirates

Montgomery's Brian Bass is back with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who promoted him and seven others from Triple-A Indianapolis after Indy's season ended.

Burnside takes Pioneer League honor for week

Montgomery native Paul Burnside won his final two starts for the Rookie-level Great Falls Voyagers and also carried home the Pioneer League's final pitcher of the week award.

Burnside threw six shutout innings Wednesday and allowed three runs over five innings Monday. He finished 7-3 with a 4.14 ERA.

West Tenn's Scott Savastano was the Southern League's top hitter. He had nine RBIs in his last five games, including five Sunday.

Mobile left-hander Wade Miley was the SL's top pitcher after throwing five shutout innings Aug. 31 and an unearned run in five innings Sunday. He finished 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA.

Richard, Vogt win league's final weekly hitting honors

Durham's Chris Richard was the final International League hitter of the week and Charlotte's Stephen Vogt won the Florida State League's award. Vogt was 13-for-23 in Charlotte's final seven games. Richard had 15 RBIs in Durham's last eight games.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Gorgen, Torres league kings in saves, Ks

Montgomery pitchers Matt Gorgen and Alex Torres each were first in two Southern League categories this season. Torres was the league's strikeout king with 150 Ks but also its top traffic cop with 70 walks. Gorgen tied with Birmingham's Anthony Carter with 22 saves and was first with 37 games finished.

Also, former Carolina outfielder Dave Sappelt wins the batting title. He was six plate appearances shy of the season minimum to qualify, but there is a provision in the rules (see rule 10:22 (a)) where he can be charged with those needed at-bats. That drops his .361 to .354, which is still good enough for a 10-point lead on Tennessee's Brandon Guyer. Sappelt won the league's most valuable player award last week.

And I'll share that Brett Lawrie's 16 triples for Huntsville were the most in the league since Huntsville's Luis Polonia hit 18 in 1985. The record is 19 set by 1977 Montgomery Rebels infielder Alan Trammell.

7 Biscuits head off to Durham

While the Biscuits ended their season today, seven players are headed to Durham for the International League playoffs.

Pitcher Paul Phillips left before Montgomery's loss at Jacksonville and will be on the Bulls' active roster.

It's unknown whether the other six -- catchers Craig Albernaz and Matt Spring, infielder Drew Anderson, outfielder Rashad Eldridge and pitchers Dane De La Rosa and Alex Cobb -- will be active.

Biscuits cap season with loss, finish 72-66

Montgomery's 7-6 season-ending loss at Jacksonville today gave the Biscuits a 72-66 overall record. The Biscuits now sport an overall 488-484 record.

We've added a countdown to Opening Day 2011 link to the right.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

AU's Shuman jumps from Rods to Crabs

Pitcher Scott Shuman, formerly of Auburn U., and catcher Mark Thomas have been promoted from Bowling Green to Charlotte. That makes them eligible for the Stone Crabs' playoff run.

Vogt wins batting title in a landslide

Charlotte's Stephen Vogt was 2-for-3 in today's season finale and finished with a .345 average, easily the best in the Florida State League. The Stone Crabs beat Bradenton 4-1 for their league-best 80th win. Charlotte runs Matt Moore to the mound Tuesday in the opener of a best-of-3 semifinal playoff series at Bradenton.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Crabs make victory speech for Vogt's batting title

Stephen Vogt, after a three-hit Friday left him with a .342 average, has "essentially clinched" the Florida State League batting crown, the Charlotte Stone Crabs say.

Vogt has a 20-point lead over Brevard County's Erik Komatsu with two games to play.

So, a batting champ, a wins leader (Joe Cruz) and a strikeout maestro (Matt Moore) are due to be Biscuits in 2011.

Crabs make victory speech for Vogt's batting title

Stephen Vogt, after a three-hit Friday left him with a .342 average, has "essentially clinched" the Florida State League batting crown, the Charlotte Stone Crabs say.

Vogt has a 20-point lead over Brevard County's Erik Komatsu with two games to play.

So, a batting champ, a wins leader (Joe Cruz) and a strikeout maestro (Matt Moore) are due to be Biscuits in 2011.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Biscuits just short of 270K in attendance

By the way, the Biscuits finished with an announced attendance total of 269,840 this season, which will be third in the Southern League.

2010 -- 269,840 in 67 dates (4,027 average)
2009 -- 266,818 in 66 (4,043)
2008 -- 292,181 in 65 (4,495)
2007 -- 311,872 in 68 (4,586)
2006 -- 313,795 in 68 (4,615)
2005 -- 303,054 in 67 (4,523)
2004 -- 322,946 in 67 (4,820)
Overall -- 2,080,506 in 468 dates (4,446 average)

Montgomery's playoff possibilities

The Biscuits are in a tricky situation if they want to make the playoffs. They need to win this weekend at Jacksonville, but not too much.

Jacksonville won the South Division first-half title. The Suns are also leading the second half by a game over Mobile. If Jacksonville wins both halves, the South Division team with the second-best overall record qualifies for the playoffs.

In that department, the Biscuits trail.

So, the Biscuits need to win to catch Mobile in overall record, but any win by the Biscuits helps Mobile in the second-half race.

Current standings ...
Second half
Jacksonville 38-28, .576
Mobile 36-28, .563
Montgomery eliminated

Mobile 72-60, .545
Montgomery 71-63, .530

The Biscuits and Suns start a four-game series tonight. Mobile finishes the season with five games at Huntsville -- there's a doubleheader Saturday.

Your scenarios ...
If the Biscuits sweep and Mobile wins twice, Mobile passes Jacksonville for the second-half title (Mobile will have a .551 second-half winning percentage and Jacksonville will be at .543). Montgomery goes home.

If the Biscuits win three games and Mobile wins twice, Jacksonville wins the second half and Mobile has the next best record. (Mobile will have a .540 overall winning percentage. Montgomery will be at .536).

If the Biscuits win three and Mobile wins just one, Jacksonville wins the second half and Montgomery goes to the playoffs (Montgomery .536 overall, Mobile .533).

If the Biscuits and Suns split and Mobile wins just one, Jacksonville wins the second half and Mobile goes to the playoffs (Mobile .533, Montgomery .529).

If the Biscuits and Suns split and Mobile gets swept, Jacksonville wins the second half and Montgomery goes to the playoffs (Montgomery .529, Mobile .526).

There is no way Montgomery can lose the series at Jacksonville and pass Mobile on overall record.

Mobile has to win two more games than Jacksonville to win the second half. Montgomery has to win two more games than Mobile to have a better overall record.

Oh, if Montgomery does squirm into the playoffs with the second-best South Division record, the Biscuits will host just one game of a best-of-5 series with Jacksonville. That home game would be Sept. 11 -- a Saturday, aka the second week of college football.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lobstein puts nice polish on season finale

Kyle Lobstein threw six shutout innings in his final start to lead Bowling Green in a 5-1 win at Dayton. Lobstein (9-8) gave up two hits and struck out seven. He finishes with a 4.14 ERA.

Biscuits, Rays staying together

The Biscuits and Tampa Bay Rays have renewed their vows, agreeing to a four-year extension to run through 2014.

The Biscuits announced it before their home finale tonight. The player development contract that bound the two was set to expire at the end of this season.

Montgomery has been a Tampa Bay affiliate since the Biscuits started play in 2004. With Desmond Jennings' debut Wednesday with the Rays, there have been 45 former Biscuits who have reached the majors.

The Biscuits-Rays' move leaves one Southern League team without formal arrangements for 2011: the Huntsville Stars.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Huntsville's parent club since 1999, are likely to seek other affiliation. Arkansas (currently Angels), San Antonio (Padres), Erie (Tigers) and Richmond (Giants) are the other Double-A teams whose 2011 affiliation is unsettled.

More end-of-year awards

Jacksonville had the best trainer and groundskeeper, while Mississippi sported the best visiting clubhouse attendant, according to more Southern League awards announced today. Dustin Luepker is the trainer and is in his second year with the Suns. Ed Attalla is the groundskeeper and he's now a six-time SL award winner. Destin Smith has now won the clubbie award for two straight years.

Dancy wins SL manager of year award

Tennessee's Bill Dancy, whose team won both North Division halves this season, has won the Southern League manager of the year award. The Smokies are 83-51 entering tonight, which is the best record in Double-A. The .619 winning percentage ranks third of all full-season teams (Triple-A Durham is at .623 and low-Class A Great Lakes at .642).

Auburn-Alabama game at Riverwalk on March 15

Not sure if this has already been out there, but the third annual Auburn-Alabama game at Riverwalk Stadium will be March 15, 2011. Auburn released its schedule today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

'Special announcement' Thursday

The Biscuits are promising a "special announcement" before Thursday's home finale.

Cruz in control for Crabs

Joe Cruz went six innings in Charlotte's 6-0 win at Jupiter, improved to 13-6 and all but sealed the Florida State League wins title tonight.

Cruz, who allowed three hits and struck out 10, has a two-win lead in the victory department. Last year, current Biscuit Jeremy Hall had a league-high 14 wins for the Stone Crabs.

Sappelt MVP, Koehler top pitcher in Southern League

Carolina outfielder Dave Sappelt, the Southern League's leading hitter, won its most valuable player award and Jacksonville's Tom Koehler was named the top pitcher today.

Sappelt enters today with a .361 average and 62 RBIs in 89 games. His average is 26 points ahead of second place.

Koehler is 16-2 with a 2.71 ERA and has one start left. He's already the league's first 16-game winner since Dave Borkowski in 1998. and the league hasn't had someone hit 17 since a 19-game winner in 1989.

If Sappelt holds his current average, he'll have the highest since Jason LaRue's .365 in 1998.

Colome sent from Hot Rods to Stone Crabs

Pitcher Alex Colome, one of Tampa Bay's top prospects, has been promoted from low-Class A Bowling Green to high-A Charlotte.

The Hot Rods also sent Wilking Rodriguez to Hudson Valley and added Shane Minks and C.J. Riefenhauser from Princeton. Riefenhauser starts tonight.

Colome was 6-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 22 starts this year. He was Tampa Bay's No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, before the season after compiling a 1.66 ERA in 15 starts at Hudson Valley last year.

Moore first in minors to reach 200 Ks since 2002

Matt Moore's 200-strikeout season is not only the first in the Florida State League since 1971. It's the first in the entire minor leagues since 2002, according to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Also, the Crabs broke the FSL team record for whiffs on Tuesday. They have 1,137 to eclipse the record held by the 2001 Tampa Yankees.

Gorgen only Biscuit on Southern League team

Right-hander Matt Gorgen was named the Southern League's top reliever today when the league released its end-of-season All-Star team.

Gorgen, after a save Tuesday, is 3-2 with a 1.72 ERA and 20 saves. He's allowed 33 hits in 47 innings.

C: Robinson Chirinos, Tennessee
1B: Johan Limonta, West Tenn
2B: Brett Lawrie, Huntsville
3B: Matt Dominguez, Jacksonville
SS: Osvaldo Martinez, Jacksonville
OF: Tony Campana, Tennessee
OF: Collin Cowgill, Mobile
OF: Brandon Guyer, Tennessee
OF: Dave Sappelt, Carolina
DH: Corey Smith, Chattanooga
Utility: Vinny Rottino, Jacksonville
Best hustler: Tony Campana, Tennessee
RHP: Elih Villanueva, Jacksonville
LHP: Tom Cochran, Carolina
Reliever: Matt Gorgen, Montgomery