I had fun with this tonight, but it's far too frantic for me to do it on any kind of regular basis. I'll let you guys know a few days in advance next time I plan to do one. We're going to try to make it more interactive(and we're going to make it so it doesn't completely eat up the front page space), and if anyone has any suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them here.
As for a final word on actual performances, well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow.
Cesar Suarez led off with a 4-pitch walk, but got wiped out on a Bowers double play. John Matulia, the Biscuits last hope, popped out to the 2nd baseman, and the Biscuits lose a wild one, 7-6. Back in a few minutes with my final thoughts.
And Morlan walks Triunfel to load up the bases. Chris Mason coming in out of the bullpen to try to save it.
The first pitch from Mason is taken through a hole to score two. Diamond Jaxx have the lead back, 7-6. Mason comes back to strike out Adam Moore and Thomas Hubbard.
It'll be Cesar Suarez, Jason Bowers, and John Matulia in the bottom of the 9th.
Morlan got a tapper back to the mound for one quick out, but then walked the next two batters. Ezequiel Carrera laced an RBI single to cut it to 6-5. 1st and 3rd still only 1 out.
Eddie Morlan coming in for the save after Chip Cannon struck out to end the Biscuits 8th. I'll have one more update(hopefully) with how the 9th goes and a wrap-up,
Eldridge just walked on 4 pitches. 5 walks and the Biscuits have the lead back, 5-4.
And now Mumba Rivera hits Rhyne Hughes. Make it 6-4.
Josh Fields had trouble throwing strikes, loading up the bases on walks while also striking out two. Desmond Jennings(who else?) the batter.
Jennings works the count to 3-1 and... ball four. And we're tied in Montgomery, 4-4. They can take the lead, Rashad Eldridge coming up. West Tenn going to the bullpen.
In our last remaining game, Mariners 2008 1st round pick Josh Fields has just entered the game for West Tenn and immediately walked Cesar Suarez on four pitches.
Shawn O'Malley strikes out, game over. Fort Myers defeats Charlotte 9-4.
Wlodarczyk, meanwhile, walked the first batter he faced before inducing an inning-ending double play. Its 4-3 West Tenn heading to the bottom of the 8th.
It's been a nightmare innings for Neal Frontz: Three runs have scored on 1 hit and 3 walks with an error mixed in. Mike Wlodarczyk has come in for him with 2 on and 1 out, the Biscuits now trailing 4-3.
Charlotte in their last at-bat, still down 9-4. B.J. Upton, 0-1 with two walks, a HBP, and two steals, popped out in his final time up to make it 0-2 on the night.
milb.com updated their box score for the Stone Crabs, and apparently Alex Cobb only pitched 4 innings, not 5. Probably a pitch-count issue, I'm guessing. The Crabs went quietly in the 8th and head to the 9th trailing 9-4.
Neal Frontz is pitching for Montgomery in the 8th and has allowed the first two batters to reach base.
Fort Myers broke through in the 8th off of Craig James(who just couldn't get the third out) and now lead Charlotte 9-4. The Miracle still have the bases loaded with a new pitcher coming in.
In Montgomery, John Matulia hit a solo home run in the 6th to put the Biscuits up 3-0, but West Tenn answered back with an Adam Moore home run off of Calvin Medlock. It's currently 3-1 in the 7th inning.
Alright, catching up with the Durham and Bowling Green box scores:
Durham: Only 4 hits from the offense. Reid Brignac went 1-3 with a walk, while Weber, Jaso, and Nowak collected the other 3 hits. Mitch Talbot threw 5 shutout innings, not allowing a run on just 3 hits. He struck out 4 and didn't walk any. Childers, Depaula, Choate, and Abreu pitched in relief before Dale Thayer got the save.
Bowling Green: Tim Beckham went 2-5 with a HR and 3 RBIs. Mike McCormick also went deep, his only hit of the night. Mike Sheridan collected 2 hits including a double, while Jason Corder also doubled and threw out a runner at home. Matt Moore went 3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits. He walked 6 and struck out 4. Chris Andujar pitched 4 innings in relief and Jamie Bagley got the final 6 outs.
Back with some much-needed food.
Montgomery finally struck for some runs in the 5th, scoring two on a Cesar Suarez double and a Jason Bowers single. Hellickson is out after 5 for Calvin Medlock, so I have to believe that clubs were told that 5 innings was the max for our pitchers in their first start.
In Port Charlotte, it's still 4-4 after 7.
A ground ball to Mike Sheridan was the final out as the Bowling Green Hot Rods win 8-3 in their first-ever game. The stream and box score were a little wacky, so I'll wrap everything in Bowling Green up in a little bit.
Hellickson has worked 5 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk and striking out 3.
Alex Cobb was taken out after 5 innings, and Fort Myers didn't waste any time getting on reliever Justin Garcia, tying the game at 4 on two doubles and a home run.
Chris Andujar pitched 4 really solid innings in relief, but again, he did allow two inherited runners to score. Still, 6 strikeouts and just 1 walk and 1 hit in 4 innings is pretty impressive. Jamie Bagley pitched a scoreless 8th for the Hot Rods and is back out for the 9th.
Jeremy Hellickson and Robert Rohrbaugh traded zeros again, scoreless through 4 in Montgomery.
Dale Thayer is in for save for the Bulls. Oscar Salazar led off with a triple, but he got Nolan Reimold to fly out, he struck out Scott Moore, and then got Donnie Murphy to pop out to Reid Brignac. So three straight outs with the tying run on 3rd base, very impressive by Thayer as the Bulls begin the season with a win.
One other note, I wonder if the organizational mandate was for starters to pitch at most 5 innings today. Both Talbot and Cobb seemed to be cruising and were taken out after 5 innings. We'll see if Hellickson follows suit.
Chris Andujar actually posted a very nice line in relief of Matt Moore, although he did of course allow his two inherited runners to score: 3 ip 1 h 1 er 1 bb 5 so. Still 7-3 Hot Rods.
The Biscuits had 2nd and 3rd with nobody out and couldn't push a run across. Still 0-0 after 3 innings in Montgomery.
Winston Abreu pitched the 8th for Durham. He allowed a 2-out single but struck out Matt Wieters to end the inning. We'll likely see Dale Thayer in the 9th to close it for the Bulls.
Alex Cobb has now finished 5 innings: 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts. Great showing so far from Cobb.
Biscuits broadcaster. Jon Laaser mentions that Hellickson's fastball velocity has been around 90. Not his best, but again, it's the first start so it's not like guys will be at top velocity(Thanks, Jon!).
Hellickson, in the meantime, has quickly retired the first two hitters in the 4th.
DePaula and Randy Choate combined to get through the 7th inning. The Bulls are currently batting in the 7th.
Jennings just got the Biscuits first hit, a clean single. Rashad Eldridge followed with a walk, so two speedy guys on base with no outs(and just as I say that a successful double steal). Hellickson threw a 1-2-3 3rd inning and seems to be pitching pretty well.
B.J. Upton drew a 2-out walk for the Crabs but wound up getting picked off the 2nd base. Alex Cobb threw a scoreless 4th inning, allowing his first walk but striking out two more.
Okay, the Hot Rods game just got straight nutty. The Hot Rods tied the game 3-3 after the Crawdads committed 4 errors in the 5th inning. Chris Andujar struck out the side in the bottom of the 5th. In the top of the 6th, Mike McCormick hit a 2-run HR. The bases are currently loaded with 2 outs and Tim Beckham up. The score is (apparently) 7-3 Hot Rods. Don't ask me how because I'm honestly not sure.
Alex Cobb is really impressive for Port Charlotte so far: 3 ip 3 h 1 er 0 bb 5 so. He's doing a great job of attacking the strike zone.
Jeremy Hellickson worked out of some trouble in the 2nd inning, including his first strikeout of the season. The Biscuits are currently hitting in the 2nd.
Julio DePaula came in for Durham and allowed a solo HR to Nolan Reimold that cut the Bulls lead to 2-1.
Okay, Tim Beckham flew out with the bases loaded. After 5 and a half, it's 7-3 Hot Rods. We think.
Charlotte put 4 on the board on the 2nd inning as Tyler Robertson struggled. Fields, Luna, Upton, and O'Malley had RBIs, Upton's coming on a bases-loaded walk.
Montgomery got two on via a walk and HBP but couldn't push across a 1st-inning run. Hellickson's back out for the 2nd and has allowed a single and a walk so far as the Diamond Jaxx are threatening.
Jason Childers allowed two baserunners but got out of the 6th inning with no damage done thanks to a double play.
Quick first inning for Jeremy Hellickson. No baserunners, throwing strikes. Desmond Jennings will lead things off for the Biscuits.
Talbot tossed a scoreless 5th inning and is now out, Jason Childers in. The Bulls stranded a 1-out double from Jon Weber in their half of the 5th.
Final line for Talbot: 5 ip 3 h 0 r 0 bb 4 so. Really good job from him his first time out.
Jennings hit a rocket in his first at-bat, but the Diamond Jaxx centerfielder ran it down on the warning track.
Port Charlotte and Bowling Green box scores seem to updating slowly.
Port Charlotte got a home run from Matt Fields to tie it up, and then an RBI infield single from Omar Luna after a triple from Ryan Royster. They're still hitting in the 2nd.
Chris Andujar couldn't save Matt Moore, allowing both inherited runners to score along with one of his own. 3-1 Hickory after 4. Final line on Moore: 3.0 ip 2 h 2 er 6 bb 4 so. Obviously the walks are a big problem, but it's the first start of the year and he's at a new level, so we'll give him somewhat of a pass.
Gameday for Durham is going batty so I'm relying just on Badler's updates. It's 2-0 after 4, and Bergeson just struck out the side including Jaso. Talbot through 4: 4 ip 3 h 0 er 0 bb 4 so.
Montgomery coming onto the field now, first pitch coming soon.
Matt Moore's done after the first two runners reach in the 4th. Chris Andujar will come in in relief and try to save his line. Not a bad start for his first outing of the year. He struggled with his control(5 or 6 walks) and threw a lot of pitches, but the stuff was there(4 strikeouts). Updates from Bowling Green will be less frequent now that Moore's out, but I'll make sure to get his final line when this inning ends.
Durham took a 2-0 lead on an RBI groundout by Chris Richard. Matt Wieters hit a line drive that Adam Kennedy speared in the 4th inning. Sounds like a pretty solid outing so far from Mitch Talbot. Ben Badler's laptop is running low on juice, but he says he'll try to get to the press box soon to finish up the game.
Things didn't go as smoothly for Alex Cobb in his second inning of work, allowing an RBI double. After 1 and a half, it's 1-0 Fort Myers.
In Montgomery, first pitch is about 5 minutes away. It's at Riverwalk Stadium, so Hellickson will be on the mound first.
Tim Beckham just hit a monster home run over everything in left field to give the Hod Rods a 1-0 lead. Matt Moore got a double play to escape a jam in the 3rd inning, but he's continued to struggle with his command. The stuff definitely appears to be there, though.
Reid Brignac just drew a walk(yay!) to load up the bases in Durham with 1 out for Justin Ruggiano.
As I was typing this, Ruggiano grounded to 3rd base, but the Tides' 3B couldn't handle it and a run scored.
Solid first inning for Alex Cobb. He struck out two and was pounding the strike zone, getting a good number of swinging strikes. Two players reached base, but they came on an error by Fields and a bloop single.
Hot Rods went down 1-2-3 again in the 3rd and haven't had a baserunner their first time through the order.
It looks like Montgomery will have Gameday this year. You can already access the link here.
In Durham, Brignac turned a nifty double play to end the inning for the Bulls and help keep Talbot scoreless through 3. John Jaso and Chris Nowak have singled to start to the Bulls 3rd inning
B.J. Upton coming to bat for the Crabs... grounded out to 2nd base.
Interesting 2nd inning for Matt Moore: He walked the first batter, then got a ground ball back to him for a possible double play, but threw too high to 2nd base and everyone was safe. He struck out the next two batters before a groundball found a hole to right field. Jason Corder came up throwing and nailed the runner at home to keep the game scoreless through 2 innings.
Hot Rods radio guy Tom Gauthier says Moore is just missing on a few pitches. He also says Moore has a good curveball working, it's breaking a ton.
Talbot threw a scoreless 2nd inning in Durham including his second strikeout. Durham had a runner reach on error in their half but were unable to get anything going, and they're also scoreless heading to the 3rd inning.
First pitch in Charlotte Stone Crabs history: Alex Cobb facing Ben Revere. Strike one.
Alright, the Hod Rods are working through some trouble on their stream, but Matt Moore struck out 2 in the first inning, but he did allow two baserunners on walks and is struggling a little bit with his control(he just walked the leadoff hitter in the 2nd). The Hot Rods went quietly again in the top of the 2nd.
In Durham, Reid Brignac reached on a single in his first at-bat but was immediately wiped out by Wieters when he tried to steal 2nd. Ben Badler has some velocity readings on Talbot: Fastball at 91-92, changeup at 82-83. He's currently working in the 2nd inning.
One interesting note in the Bowling Green lineup: Mike McCormick got the start at catcher over Jake Jefferies, who is DHing. Just thought that was a little curious.
The Charlotte Stone Crabs are set to get underway in just a few minutes.
We're underway and I have a working Bowling Green stream. The announcer says that the radar gun in the stadium is broken, so no MPH readings on Matt Moore tonight. The Hot Rods went quietly in the top of the 1st, including a strikeout by Tim Beckham.
Meanwhile in Durham, Mitch Talbot worked a scoreless 1st inning including a strikeout of Wieters on a foul tip.
Naturally, I can't get either the Bulls or Hot Rods radio stream to work. The Bulls one just refuses to play in WMP while the Hot Rods link directs me to the radio station but I can't find a Listen Live option. I'll try to get these things worked out, but for now I'll just be tracking Gameday and the box scores.
Alright, the Rays survived Troy Percival and brought home a series win in Fenway this afternoon, now it's time for the minor leaguers to take the stage. I'll be here all night following the games and updating as we go, and hopefully I'll be able to get some reports on how guys looked throughout the night. First pitch for Durham and Bowling Green is about a half hour away. A few notes:
*Ben Badler will be liveblogging from Durham for BaseballAmerica.
*Stacy Long has lineups for the Montgomery Biscuits opener. Desmond Jennings is leading off and playing centerfield.
*The milb.com GameDay link for Norfolk-Durham is up, and you can get a look at the lineups. Reid Brignac is hitting 2nd for the Bulls, who will face Brad Bergesen. Uberprospect Matt Wieters is hitting 3rd for the Tides.
I'll be checking in throughout the night.