07/29/2012 3:59 PM -
NEWS AND NOTES
On Kansas City’s five-run fifth inning in Saturday night’s 6-5 win over Grand Prairie in the second game of the series:
“I think it’s a combination of getting runners on base, their guy making some mistakes and us being able to get a timely hit. Even if you can’t always hit hard, you’ve got to find holes in that situation. When you score a couple, you feel confident, and that’s how you get the big innings. For me personally, my goal as well as the team’s goal is trying to find a way to manufacture a run or two every inning or at least have runners in scoring position every inning. I would prefer to have the pressure on them and keep scoring every couple innings.”
On putting reliever Steve Kent in Saturday’s game four batters into the ninth inning for a struggling Mike Mehlich:
“Well, it's not typically what you see. Most guys in that situation are going to stick with their closer and sink and swim with him. When you put that many guys on base by walking them, I thought the matchup was a little better with Kent. And with the amount of pitches Mehlich had thrown up to that point, and he really didn't have any confidence that he could get ahead of hitters, I felt like the matchup was there for Kent.”
On what he is expecting when the T-Bones go for the series sweep tonight, which would give them an 8-2 record against the AirHogs this season:
“A lot of the same. We need to come out and eliminate the mistakes and eliminate them scoring early and then maybe have us come in and take the lead in the first or second inning. We’ve been trailing from the get-go the last few games. I think it’s important for us to have a good start and jump out to an early lead and let [tonight’s starting pitcher Brian] Grening go to work.”
T-Bones acquire infielder De La Garza; Milner announces retirement
The T-Bones announced earlier today that they acquired Adam De La Garza, a 5-foot-9 180-pound infielder, from Abilene of the North American League in exchange for cash. De La Garza, who’s in his third season of professional baseball, has played in 57 games this season for Abilene, and has 57 hits, including nine doubles, and a .252 batting average. He’s played the majority of his games this season (36) at second base, which is where he’s expected to see most of his action for the T-Bones.
“De La Garza gives us a switch-hitting middle infielder who can play outfield if needed,” said Kansas City manager Kenny Hook. “He gives us some more experience at second base than we’ve had there. Before playing for Abilene, he spent two seasons with Amarillo and he played well there. I think he’ll make an immediate impact for us.”
De La Garza is expected to be in uniform tonight as Kansas City takes on Grand Prairie in the finale of the three-game series.
A roster spot was open for De La Garza when outfielder Gus Milner announced his retirement this weekend.
“Gus has done a lot for us as an every day center fielder and leadoff guy most of the year,” said Hook. “But he’s been battling injuries, especially his wrist, which he didn’t feel was getting much better. I don’t believe he felt he could offer the team the same type of quality play he’s been accustomed to. On a personal side, I’ll say Gus is a great guy on and off the field. He was an awesome teammate and clubhouse guy for our team. I appreciate his efforts and all that he’s done for us.”
Anderson continues success against Grand Prairie
Going into last night’s game, left-hander Devin Anderson had not give up a run in 12 2/3 innings pitched against the AirHogs. Though he did not shut Grand Prairie on Saturday, he did hold the AirHogs to three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings while striking out five. Three of Anderson’s five wins have come against Grand Prairie.
On May 24 in Grand Prairie, the T-Bones won 8-0 after Anderson allowed four hits over six innings while striking out five. When Kansas City played there again on July 23, the T-Bones secured a 7-0 victory as Anderson pitched 6 2/3 innings while allowing four hits, walking five and striking out three.
Simon returns to Kansas City
Keanon Simon is no stranger to CommunityAmerica Ballpark, having played for the T-Bones in 2010 and 2011. Now with the Grand Prairie AirHogs, the center fielder is back and facing his former team this weekend. On Friday night he went zero for four against Kansas City, and on Saturday he went three for five with two RBIs.
Stuck on 200
Ray Sadler, one of the most feared hitters in the Kansas City lineup, has hit a home run dry spell. Sadler hasn’t hit a homer since Wednesday, July 11, at Wichita. That home run to left-center 13 games ago against Andrew Aizenstadt – who has just been bought by the Philadelphia Phillies organization – marked Sadler’s 10th of the season, his 55th as a member of the T-Bones and the 200th of his professional career.
Kansas City eyes playoffs
With the season past its halfway point, the T-Bones are one and a half games behind Wichita in the Central Division, as the Wingnuts are 4-6 in their last 10 games while Kansas City is 6-4 in its last 10.
If the T-Bones can’t overtake Wichita, which has struggled since losing several of its best players to Mexican League teams, they still have a shot at getting to the playoffs with the Wild Card berth.
In the Wild Card race, Kansas City is in second place, three games behind Winnipeg.
Kansas City Playoff History
Kansas City finished the regular season with a 48-48 record. Schaumburg eliminated the T-Bones in the first round, taking the best-of-five series 3-2. Eddie Pearson paced the T-Bones on the season, capturing the league’s MVP award.
The T-Bones celebrated a Northern League championship after defeating Gary SouthShore three games to one in the championship series. Kansas City (46-50) pulled the upset of the playoffs in the semifinals, when it swept one-seed Fargo-Moorhead after sneaking in the playoffs with a 46-50 record and being the last team to make the playoffs.
Gary SouthShore bounced the defending league champ Kansas City in the first round. The T-Bones qualified as the four seed, posting an identical regular season record as the previous year, 46-50.
Despite leading the Northern League throughout the 2010 season, a late-season fade found the T-Bones as the second seed in the playoffs. After Kansas City dispatched the Joliet Jackhammers in the semifinals, Fargo-Moorhead swept the T-Bones in the championship series.
Grand Prairie Again
The AirHogs came to Kansas City with a record of 40-25 and a 5.5-game lead over Amarillo in the South Division. While Grand Prairie has the second-best record in the league, the AirHogs have lost seven out of their last 10 games.
Grand Prairie has multiple players on the league leaderboard. Starting pitcher Nick DeBarr is tied for the most wins with 10 on the season, while fellow starter John Brownell is in a tie for third with seven wins. Brownell is also third in the league with 73 strikeouts.
AirHogs designated hitter Brian Myrow’s .343 average is the fourth-best in the American Association. First baseman Andres Rodriguez and Myrow lead the team with 48 RBIs each. Three AirHogs have launched 10 homers on the season, as Chris McMurray, Trent Lockwood and Rodriguez all share the team lead for home runs. Five AirHogs have posted a batting average above .300 so far on the season.
Grand Prairie and Kansas City recently split a four-game series in Grand Prairie. On the first road trip of the season, Kansas City swept the AirHogs. As the season series between the two teams wraps up tonight, Kansas City has a 7-2 record against Grand Prairie.
One Year Ago Today …
On July 29, 2011, the T-Bones saw an early five-run lead evaporate, but a walk-off single by center fielder Keanon Simon secured a 9-8 victory over the Wichita Wingnuts in front of 5,526 fans at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Kansas City opened up a 5-0 lead against Nick Singleton after four innings, chasing the right-hander after three-plus innings with six hits and six walks.
Devin Anderson – who still pitches for the T-Bones - held Wichita scoreless through five innings before allowing the first six batters in the sixth to reach safely on three hits, a walk and two hit batters. After a walk to Josh Workman reloaded the bases for the Wingnuts, Drew Graham surrendered a sacrifice fly before inducing an inning-ending double play groundout. Wichita scored four runs in the frame to pull within one, 5-4.
The T-Bones responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, collecting five hits in the frame while extending their lead to 8-4. Wichita answered quickly in the top of the seventh, loading the bases against Graham before Steven Stewart entered the contest. A double by Brent Clevlen and RBI groundout from Juan Richardson cut the deficit to one, 8-7.
Stewart remained in the game in the eighth and surrendered a leadoff single. After a groundout moved him to second, the Wingnuts’ catcher advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Robbins to tie the game at eight. Following another single, Kyle Dahman took over for Kansas City and Clevlen to flied out, which ended the inning.
Dahman held Wichita scoreless in the top of the ninth keep the teams even entering the bottom of the frame. Kendy Batista remained in the game for the Wingnuts after a scoreless eighth and got a quick out before hitting the next two batters. Following a strikeout, Simon connected for his game-winning single giving the T-Bones a 9-8 victory.