Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Florida State League playoff primer

The Bradenton Marauders are headed back to the Florida State League playoffs, clinching the South Division title Tuesday with a 6-3 win over Palm Beach.
Here is a quick look at what to expect when the postseason begins next week.

THE OPPONENT: The Marauders face the St. Lucie Mets, who won the South Division during the first half, in the best-of-3 South Division Championship Series.
THE DATE: Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday 7 p.m. at McKechnie Field. Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3, will be played in Port St. Lucie.
LAST YEAR: The Marauders fell to the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Division Series. Bradenton took Game 1 at McKechnie Field before the Stone Crabs won Games 2 and 3 when the series shifted back to Charlotte Sports Park. Charlotte lost to the Tampa Yankees in the championship series.
TO THE WINNER...: The South Division champion advances to the play the champion from the North in a best-of-5 League Championship Series.
THE NORTH: The Daytona Cubs won the North Division during the first half and doesn't yet know their postseason opponent. The Dunedin Blue Jays are currently in first place, but are just 1 game up on the Clearwater Threshers and 1 1/2 up on the Tampa Yankees heading into the final week of the regular season.
THE PAST: Tampa has won the last two Florida State League championships, while Daytona won in 2008 and Clearwater took the crown in '07. The last South Division team to win the FSL title was St. Lucie, which swept Dunedin in '06.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marauders up big, Cardinals lose

Good news, Marauders fans: the Marauders lead the St. Lucie Mets 11-3 in the eighth inning here at steamy McKechnie Field.

Better news, Marauders fans: the Palm Beach Cardinals lost 3-0 to Jupiter, which means barring a big collapse, the Marauders can clinch the South Division with a win Tuesday night in Palm Beach.

Gonzalez, Grossman make FSL Postseason All-Star Team

Third baseman Elevys Gonzalez and outfielder Robbie Grossman have been selected to the Florida State League's Postseason All-Star Team, which was announced Monday.

Grossman is batting .297 with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs and 140 hits, including 32 doubles. Grossman has scored 123 runs and drawn 104 walks, making him the first minor-league since Nick Swisher (2004) to score 100 runs and walk 100 times in the same season. Grossman leads the league in runs, walks and on-base percentage (.424).

Gonzalez is hitting .318 with 79 RBIs in 120 games for Bradenton. He also has 32 doubles and six triples, and is slugging .455.

The Marauders are 38-23 and 3 1/2 games up on second-place Palm Beach in the FSL South Divsion. Their magic number to clinch a second straight South Division title is 4.

The Marauders host St. Lucie, which won the division during the first half, 7 p.m. tonight for Budweiser Buy Out Night.

Tickets are compliments of Budweiser and can be picked up at the McKechnie Field box office.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting to know Victor Black...

Victor Black, a reliever from the Pirates' low Single-A team in West Virginia, has been optioned to Bradenton. He will take the place of reliever Duke Welker, who was promoted to Double-A Altoona early Saturday.

Black, 23, hails from Amarillo, Tex. He was a 41st-round pick of the New York Mets in 2006 but did not sign. He attended Dallas Baptist University before the Pirates took him in the compensation round of the 2009 draft with their 49th overall pick.

Black went 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 13 games, seven starts, with the Pirates' short-season New York-Penn League in State College, Pa., in 2009, before injuries limited him to just two starts in 2010.

He has spent all of this season coming out of the bullpen for the Power, appearing in 22 games, and is 2-1 with a 5.28 ERA and one save. He has struck out 23 and walked 16 while allowing 30 hits 29 innings.

Welker, 25, went 3-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 36 relief apperances with the Marauders. He struck out 41 and walked 25 in 56 innings while allowing just 33 hits.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jeff Locke promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis


Jeff Locke, a former Bradenton Marauder, has been promoted to the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate in Indianpolis, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.

Locke, a pitcher, is 7-8 with a 4.03 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) with Pittsburgh's Double-A team in Altoona, Pa. Locke went 9-3 with a 3.54 with the high Single-A Marauders last summer before he was promoted to Double-A.

A second-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2006, Locke was dealt to Pittsburgh in '09 as part of the trade that sent outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Robbie Grossman's MVP campaign gets a Facebook page

(photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie)

The Bradenton Marauders have created a Facebook page pushing for outfielder Robbie Grossman to be named Most Valuable Player of the Florida State League.

The page includes pictures of Grossman, along with a biography, his current stats and links to stories about him.

Grossman entered Tuesday leading the league in runs (104) and walks (94), and is second in on-base percentage (.422). He is tied for sixth in the league in hits (118) and tied for fifth in doubles (26), and it may help his cause that the Marauders began play Tuesday with a three-game lead in the FSL's South Division.

Grossman's season could be a historic one - he needs six walks to become the first minor-leaguer since Nick Swisher (2004) to score 100 runs and draw 100 walks in a single season.

Grossman, who turns 22 in September, was a sixth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008.

The FSL MVP award is voted on by the league's managers, broadcasters and official scorers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wrapping it up: Marauders 4, Hammerheads 1.

THE STORY: Nathan Baker (above) allowed one run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings, and Ramon Cabrera and Carlos Paulino homered as the Marauders beat the Jupiter Hammerheads for their franchise-best ninth-straight win in front of 5,256 fans at McKechnie Field.

It was floridacentral Credit Union Complementary Ticket Night.

David Rubinstein drove in a run and Adalberto Santos had three hits for the Marauders.

Zach Foster, Diego Moreno and Duke Welker teamed for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, with Welker pitching a perfect ninth for his sixth save, tying Ryan Beckman for the team lead.

THE STAR OF THE GAME: Baker. He struck out six and walked two, upping his record to 7-7 and lowering his ERA to 3.77. Baker shares the team lead in wins with Brett Lorin.

THE RECORD: The Marauders are 28-16 in the second half and 58-56 overall.

Nine outs from ninth-straight win...

The Bradenton Marauders lead the Jupiter Hammerheads 3-0 after six innings in front of a large at floridacentral Credit Union Complementary Ticket Night at McKechnie Field.

The Marauders struck first in the fourth, taking a 1-0 lead when Adalberto Santos scored on David Rubinstein's fielder's choice.

An inning later, a fly ball off the bat of Ramon Cabrera bounced off the fence in right field and ricocheted off the Bradenton sign for a two-run home run.

Pitcher Nate Baker has made it stand up, limiting to Hammerheads to one hit while striking out six.

Lineups: Hammerheads vs. Marauders

The Marauders are looking for a franchise-best ninth straight win tonight at McKechnie Field. Tickets are complements of the floridacentral Credit Union, so a big crowd is expected.

Here are the lineups:


Alfredo Lopez, 3b

Chase Austin, lf

Danny Pertusati, cf

Kyle Jensen, rf

J.L. Ortiz, 1b

Taylor Krick, c

Dallas Poulk, 2b

Gregg Glime, dh

Jose Torres, ss

Matt Montgomery, p


Robbie Grossman, rf

Chase d'Arnaud ss

Ramon Cabrera, dh

Evan Chambers, cf

Elevys Gonzalez, 3b

Carlos Paulino, c

Adalberto Santos, 2b

Cole White, 1b

David Rubinstein, lf

Nathan Baker, p

Elevys Gonzalez named FSL Player of the Week


Marauders third baseman Elevys Gonzalez has been named the Florida State League's Player of the Week for the week ending Aug. 7th.

Gonzalez went 12-for-20 (.600) during that stretch with two home runs, eight RBI and a pair of four-hit games.

Gonzalez, 21, is batting .314 in 102 games with the Marauders, with 68 RBI. He is second in the FSL with 30 doubles.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Series preview: Hammerheads at Marauders

The surging Marauders, winners of six straight, begin a three-game series 7 p.m. tonight against the Jupiter Hammerheads at McKechnie Field. Bradenton has won 35 home games this season, second in the Florida State League to Daytona (36).

Here is a quick glance at the series with Jupiter.


Record: 17-24, fifth place, 8 GB; 49-62 overall.

Last 10: 4-6.

Players to watch: OF Kyle Jensen (.315 batting average, 21 HR, 64 RBI, 202 total bases); SS Jeff Dominguez (103 hits, 22 stolen bases); closer Alejandro Ramos (20 saves, 2.06 ERA, 54 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings).


Record: 25-16, first place, 2 games up; 55-56 overall.

Last 10: 7-3.

Players to watch: OF Evan Chambers (83 hits, 44 RBI, 17 stolen bases); OF Robbie Grossman (.425 on-base percentage, 114 hits, 103 runs, 23 stolen bases); P Brett Lorin (7-5, 2.59 ERA, 88 strikeouts, 16 walks in 97 1/3 innings).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wrapping it up: Marauders 5, Miracle 4

THE STORY: Elevys Gonzalez's run-scoring single with one out in the eighth proved to be the difference as the Marauders beat Fort Myers 5-4 on Wednesday at McKechnie Field. Coupled with Charlotte's loss to Palm Beach, the Marauders (23-16 in the second half) move into sole possession of first place in the Florida State League's South Division.

Carlos Paulino and Adalberto Santos homered for the Marauders, and Tyler Waldron pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.

Duke Welker pitched a perfect ninth to record his fourth save.

THE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Santos (above). His home run in the sixth tied the score at 4, and he also singled and scored during the Marauders' two-run first inning.

THE RECORD: The Marauders are 23-16 in the second half and 53-56 overall.

4-4, top 7

It's hot and humid here at McKechnie Field, and the wind is blowing out.

Consequently, the Marauders and Miracle have teamed for four home runs, and the score is 4-4 after six innings.

The Marauders struck first in the first when Ramon Cabrera's groundout scored Robbie Grossman, and an Evan Chambers' sacrifice fly plated Adalberto Santos.

Fort Myers, however, tied the score in the second on a home run by Josmil Pinto.

Bradenton reclaimed the lead in fourth on Carlos Paulino's home run - only to see the Miracle reclaim the lead in the fifth thanks to another two-run homer, this one off the bat of Angel Morales.

But Santos squared things in the sixth with a home run of his own.

Lineups: Marauders vs. Miracle

This is John Lembo, coming to live from McKechnie Field where the Marauders, tied for first in the Florida State League's South Division, host the Fort Myers Miracle. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Here are the lineups:

Angel Morales, lf
James Beresford, ss
Aaron Hicks, cf
Oswaldo Arcia, rf
Dan Rohlfing, 1b
Josmil Pinto, c
Nick Romero, 3b
Danny Rams, dh
Estarlin De Los Santos, 2b
Pat Dean, p

Robbie Grossman, rf
Adalberto Santos, lf
Ramon Cabrera, c
Evan Chambers, cf
Elevys Gonzalez, 3b
Carlos Paulino, dh
Kelson Brown, 2b
Cole White, 1b
Bengie Gonzalez, ss
Nathan Baker, p

Fryer sent down; Baker a hit in Keys' debut

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that catcher and former Marauder Eric Fryer has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for Ryan Doumit, who was reinstated from the disabled list.

Fryer was the first Marauder to make the Pirates roster and batted .269 in 10 games with Pittsburgh.

Speaking of former Marauders, first baseman Aaron Baker made a splash Tuesday during his first game as a Frederick Key. Baker went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in leading the Keys to a 7-4 win over Lynchburg, helping Frederick (25-12) maintain its four-game lead in the Carolina League's Northern Division.

The Keys are a Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Baker was dealt to Baltimore last Saturday in exchange for first baseman Derrek Lee.

As for the current crop of Marauders, they host the Fort Myers Miracle 7 p.m. tonight at McKechnie Field.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Series preview: Miracle at Marauders

The Marauders return to McKechnie Field on Wednesday to open a three-game series with the Fort Myers Miracle at 7 p.m. It also marks Bradenton's first game against a Florida State League South Division foe since a July 7 game against Palm Beach.
Here is a closer look at the series with Fort Myers:

RECORD: 15-23, sixth place, 7 GB; 49-59 overall.
LAST 10: 1-9
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2B James Beresford (102 hits, hitting .366 over last 10 games); DH Anderson Hidalgo (.283 batting average, .405 slugging percentage); P Logan Darnell (8-2, 3.39 ERA).

RECORD: 22-16, tied for first place, 0 GB; 52-56 overall.
LAST 10: 6-4
PLAYERS TO WATCH: OF Robbie Grossman (.290 batting average, 23 steals, 101 runs, 94 walks, looking to become first minor-leaguer since Nick Swisher in '04 to have 100 runs and 100 walks in the same season;) 3B Elevys Gonzalez (103 hits, .298 batting average); P Duke Welker (2.39 ERA, .194 opponents' batting average in 32 relief appearances).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cole White takes Baker's place on roster


The Marauders announced Monday that first baseman/outfielder Cole White will take Aaron Baker's spot on the roster.

White, 26, began the year in Bradenton before being sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates' low Single-A affiliate in West Virginia. He batted .288 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 35 games with the Power, and .206 in 19 games with the Marauders.

He was a 42-round pick by the Pirates in 2008.

Baker, a first baseman, was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles late Saturday night in exchange for Derrek Lee. Baker will report to the Orioles' Single-A affiliate in Frederick, Md.

The Marauders are 22-16 and in first place in the Florida State League's South Division, a half-game up on Charlotte. They finish their series tonight in Brevard County against the Manatees, are off Tuesday and and return to McKechnie Field on Wednesday to host the Fort Myers Miracle.