July 8 – San Diego Padres @ Philadelphia Phillies
July 10 – Golf at Royal Manchester Golf Links
July 12 – Golf at Bulle Rock & Lynchburg Hillcats @ Wilmington Blue Rocks
July 13 – Rome Braves @ Lakewood Blue Claws (POSTPONED) & Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
July 14 – Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
San Diego Padres @ Philadelphia Phillies – July 8, 2017
It was a great day for baseball in Philly. After checking out the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Reading Terminal Market downtown, we made our way over to Citizens Bank Park for an afternoon matchup between the Padres and Phillies. The game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the game, but Philly’s Maikel Franco decided to finally put some runs on the board in the 5th inning when he took Jhoulys Chacin deep into the left-field bleachers. The blast gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Aaron Nola was dominant for Philadelphia, but ran into some trouble in the 7th inning. Hunter Renfroe led off the inning with a double to right. After retiring the next two batters, Nola gave up an RBI triple to deep center off the bat of Carlos Asuaje. Austin Hedges then came up and poked a base hit to right to give San Diego the 2-1 lead. After threatening in the 8th and 9th innings, the Padres were ultimately able to shut down the Phillies and take the 2-1 victory. The teams combined for only nine hits on the day and struck out 18 times. Chacin got the win after going 6 1/3 giving up only 3 hits and a run while allowing 2 walks and striking out 6. Nola pitched well, but took the loss after going 8 innings and giving up 2 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.
Golf at Royal Manchester Golf Links in Mount Wolf, PA – July 10, 2017
The course was incredible. This was the first links-style course I’ve played and it did not disappoint. The course was open, but a lot of very narrow fairways with two-foot tall fescue waiting outside of them. This was the 2016 Golf Advisor #1 Course in Pennsylvania and #42 Best Course in America. It had everything. In addition to the fescue, it had lakes, tons of bunkers and lots of long holes. It was very challenging up also incredibly fun, as there was something different to look for on each hole. The 9th and 18th holes come back to the clubhouse which gives a very picturesque view of the surrounding wilderness. The 18th, especially, gives a great view with a small rock formation waterfall that slides into a lake just in front of the green. It’s a great finishing hole after a long day on the course. I hit the ball well, but didn’t score as well as I would’ve hoped for. I shot a 95 overall. A few bad holes hurt me and the water on the course wasn’t very kind.
Golf at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, MD – July 12, 2017
Bulle Rock might be my favorite course that I have played. It ranks as the #52 Public Course in America by 2017-18 Golf Digest. The pro shop was large and had a wide variety of items. The staff was extremely nice and helpful. While we were in the pro shop before our round, one of the staff members said the Vijay Singh just golfed there on Monday and Ron Jaworski played it last week. If those guys are playing this course, it’s got to be very well-known and kept up. It didn’t disappoint. We started our round on Hole 10 due to a in-house tournament that started in the morning. We came up to the starter and he was very helpful. Having never played there before, he went through some rules and tips of the course. The course had a ton of bunkers and also had some water holes. It was very challenging yet very unique and friendly to the average golfer. The course featured a lot of long holes, as well as some major doglegs. The rough was thick and most holes had fescue just off of the rough as well. I hit the ball pretty well, but did have some rough holes. I ultimately shot a 93 and even birdied Hole 6. I hit a decent tee shot into the first cut on the left side. My second shot was put up onto the ridge of the left side of the green about 30-35 feet from the hole. Playing a big break, I was able to sink the putt to card a three on the Par 4.
Lynchburg Hillcats @ Wilmington Blue Rocks – July 12, 2017
We finished our round of golf at Bulle Rock and then hopped in the car to head up to Wilmington. This was a Class A-Advanced matchup between the Hillcats (Indians) and Blue Rocks (Royals). It started out with a lot of hitting a scoring through the first few innings. Lynchburg got the scoring started in the first when Sicnarf Loopstok homered deep to left field to give Lynchburg the 1-0 lead. Wilmington matched that in the bottom half when Chris DeVito hit an RBI single and then surpassed it when Roman Collins singled later in the inning. The Blue Rocks held the lead 2-1 after one. They then added to it in the 2nd when Nick Heath singled in Jodd Carter to give the Blue Rocks a 3-1 lead. Lynchburg tied the game in the top of the 3rd on a Gavin Collins RBI double followed by a Connor Marabell RBI single. The score stayed tied until th 8th when Jodd Carter homered to give Lynchburg a 4-3 lead. Down to their last inning, Wilmington tied it at 4-4 when D.J. Burt hit a sac fly scoring Roman Collins. The game made it all the way to the 13th. With two outs, Carlos Diaz walked. He then took 2nd on defensive indifference and then 3rd on a wild pitch. A couple of pitches later, he scored on another wild pitch to give the Blue Rocks a 5-4 walk-off win. Lynchburg’s Willi Castro finished 3-6 with a walk and three others had two hits. Wilmington’s Roman Collins finished 3-5 with a 3B, walk, run and RBI.
Rome Braves @ Lakewood Blue Claws – July 13, 2017
We got to the stadium around 5:45 for the 7:05 game. As soon as we pulled up, we noticed there were some dark clouds rolling in as well as some pretty major lightning strikes pretty close to us. We got our tickets from Will Call and just then it started to rain. It was Maikel Franco Bobblehead Night, so we were able to get into the stadium just in time for two reasons: the rain and the fact there was only one box of bobbleheads left! We got our things from the Pro Shop and then waited around and checked out the stadium a little bit. The concourse was pretty crowded since everyone was packed up there waiting for the rain to stop. It was announced around 6:15 that the game would start in a delay, but around 7:00, the game was ultimately postponed. We didn’t get to see the game, but at least got to see the stadium and grab some goodies before heading out.
Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs – July 13, 2017
After getting rained out in Lakewood, we made the two hour drive back to Allentown. We noticed on the way back that the IronPigs game was being delayed and was in line for an 8:45 start. Knowing we’d be making it back around 9:00, we figured why not make it over there and catch some of the game? We made it right after the first inning. The main draw was Bartolo Colon pitching for Rochester. His first start of any kind after being released by the Braves and picked up by the Twins. We missed the Pigs scoring once in the bottom of the first, so it was 1-0 as we were walking into the gates. J.P. Crawford took Colon deep to right in the 3rd to give Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead. Andrew Pullin added to it in the 4th when he doubled home Dylan Cozens and Pedro Florimon to give the Pigs a 4-0 lead against Bartolo Colon and the Red Wings. We left in the top of the 7th knowing we were heading back to the game the next night. The Red Wings scored later in the inning on a bases-loaded walk and then Lehigh Valley scored two in the 8th. Lehigh Valley got the 6-1 victory. Colon only finished 3 2/3 innings giving up 4 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Mitch Garver was the only Red Wing with multiple hits (2-4, 1 BB). Ben Lively was brilliant for the IronPigs. He went 6 strong innings only giving up 4 hits and 2 walks with no runs and 8 strikeouts. Crawford (2-4, 1 HR, 2 R) and Rhys Hoskins (2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R) were the two Pigs with multiple hits.
Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs – July 14, 2017
We were back for night two of the Red Wings and IronPigs. It was “Molten Friday Night,” a theme the IronPigs use on Friday nights where they were their black jerseys with orange lettering. It was actually a “Color Rush” night as well, in which Rochester wore their red jerseys. It was primed to be a good pitching matchup as Justin Haley started for Rochester and Zach Eflin started for Lehigh Valley. The scoring got started in the 3rd. After allowing a single and a walk, with two outs and men on 1st and 3rd, Eflin threw a wild pitch that allowed Bengie Gonzalez to score from 3rd and give Rochester a 1-0 lead. They added to it in the 5th when Gonzalez scored Edgar Corcino on a sacrifice fly and made it 2-0. Corcino then reached on an error in the 7th by Rhys Hoskins at first which scored Matt Hague and ByungHo Park. The Red Wings now led 4-0. Lehigh Valley threatened in the 9th in hopes of winning or sending it to extras. Jorge Alfaro poked an RBI single to right to score Herlis Rodriguez and make it 4-1. After a walk to Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins came up as the tying run, but went down swinging to end the game. Hoskins struggled on the night going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. Justin Haley got the win for Rochester going 5 innings giving up only 3 hits while striking out 2. Eflin took the loss going 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. J.B. Shuck had two of Rochester’s five hits, while Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro each added two hits for the IronPigs.
It was now time to hit Citizens Bank Park, one I had yet to hit, but the closest one to where I am now at in Allentown. So with my girlfriend being a Phillies fan and me being a Braves fan, it was only right to make it to the NL East rivalry when they came to town. It was a hot, mid-90s day for a 1:07 start.
Tyrell Jenkins started for the Braves. He had been up for a couple weeks working out of the bullpen, but this was his first Major League start. He pitched well, only giving up a run on 4 hits with a walk and a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings. The only damage coming in the 5th when he gave up an RBI double to Odubel Herrera. He limited the damage before being pulled later in the inning. The score was 1-1 after five.
Adonis Garcia broke the tie in the 6th when he doubled to right to score Jeff Francoeur and make it a 2-1 Braves lead. Maikel Franco got the run back with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning. Garcia, though, was back at it in the 8th with another RBI double, once again scoring Francoeur to make it a 3-2 game. Arodys Vizcaino came in to hold the lead in the bottom half, but was unable to do so as he gave up a 2-run homer to right off the bat of Freddy Galvis. The Phillies pulled out the victory, 4-3.
This was the first time I had seen the Braves lose in person. A pretty sad day. Garcia was clearly the bright spot for Atlanta, collecting three of the team’s seven hits. Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for Philly as he went 6 innings allowing 2 runs (1 ER) on 4 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Herrera, Galvis and Cesar Hernandez each had two hits on the afternoon.
This was our first time in Baltimore for an Orioles game. About four hours before game time, the skies opened up and it absolutely started to pour. It stopped some as we got to the stadium, but started back up again within the hour leading up to first pitch. The game began in a delay, but luckily the rain stopped and it only lasted about 40 minutes.
Runs and hits were not hard to come by on this night as Luis Perdomo and Tyler Wilson started the game. Matt Kemp got things started early with an RBI single in the 1st to give San Diego a 1-0 lead. Things stayed that way until the bottom of the 3rd. After getting the first two batters out, Perdomo then walked Francisco Pena to bring up Adam Jones, who doubled him in to tie the game 1-1. Next batter, Hyun Soo Kim singled to right scoring Jones and making it 2-1 Orioles. The Padres got those runs back in the 4th on a solo homer from Derek Norris and an RBI single by Wil Myers. San Diego was back on top 3-2. The bottom of the 4th rolled around and the lead continued to exchange hands when Pedro Alvarez hit a 2-run homer giving Baltimore the 4-3 lead. Alvarez hit another 2-run homer in the 5th making it a 6-3 Orioles lead.
The game finally went a few half innings with no runs before the Padres decided to tack on four runs in the 7th on an RBI single, bases-loaded walk, wild pitch, and RBI groundout. San Diego added to their lead in the 9th by scoring three more runs. Alexei Ramirez had an RBI single, Travis Jankowski had an RBI sac bunt and Matt Kemp finished off his 4-6 day at the plate with an RBI single. He added two doubles in addition to his two RBI singles. Pedro Alvarez got one run back for Baltimore in the bottom of the 9th on an RBI single, but that’s all they could muster up as the Padres held on for a 10-7 win.
Every player for the Padres recorded a hit except for Ryan Schimpf, although he did walk twice in the game. Yangervis Solarte, Melvin Upton, Chirstian Bethancourt and Alexei Ramirez all added two hits with Kemp recording his four. The Orioles managed ten hits on the night with Alvarez doing the most damage (3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R).
We actually made it back to the game the next night as well (June 22), but only grabbed a cheap ticket and stayed for a couple innings to meet up with some friends. The game was tied 1-1 in the 3rd when we left and the Orioles went on to win 7-2.
On the second leg of the New York trip, we set out to Queens to see the Mets take on the visiting Dodgers. It began the weekend in which the Mets would honor the 1986 team by wearing throwback jerseys and giving away replica 1986 jersey t-shirts. Not only was it going to be a great matchup of top NL teams, but the Dodgers announced that 19-year old top prospect Julio Urias would take the bump for his Major League Debut. He would oppose one of the best in Jacob deGrom.
Urias got off to a quick start when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open up the game and his Major League career. It was anything but quick after that. He gave up a double and a wild pitch before getting David Wright to strike out and walking Yoenis Cespedes. Neil Walker then came up and doubled to score Asdrubal Cabrera and then Juan Lagares hit a rope off of the glove of Corey Seager that found its way into center field. That hit scored two more runs to make it a 3-0 lead in favor of the home team.
Anytime that Chase Utley came to the plate, the fans let him know how much he was, and still is, hated when he was in Philadelphia. The entire stadium chanted “Utley sucks” each time he stepped to the plate. After walking in the first, he came up again in the 3rd and hit a sacrifice fly to get the Dodgers on the board. Urias had some trouble again in the bottom half of the 3rd. After getting the first two batters out, albeit on three-ball counts, he gave up a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. The 19-year old was done after just 2 2/3 innings having already thrown 81 pitches. Chris Hatcher came in and got deGrom to strike out and end the threat.
The Mets added to their run total in both the 4th and 5th innings. David Wright homered to center in the 4th Lagares homered to right in the 5th to increase the Mets lead to 5-1. The score stayed the same heading into the 9th. Even though it wasn’t a save situation, the Mets decided to bring on closer Jeurys Familia to finish off the Dodgers. After allowing three of the first four batters to reach on singles, he then walked Yasmani Grandal with the bases loaded to make it a 5-2 game. Familia then struck out pinch-hitter Trayce Thompson for the second out of the inning. The fans once again let you know who was coming to the plate, as Chase Utley stepped into the box. And with it being so fitting, he launched the first pitch into the right-center field gap to plate all three runners and tie the ballgame 5-5.
As we headed to the bottom of the ninth with a tied score, Pedro Baez came on for LA. I had never witnessed a walk-off home run before…until now! Curtis Granderson hit Baez’s second pitch just over the right-field fence and just inside the foul pole to give the Mets a dramatic 6-5 victory. What was left of the crowd of 43,462 went crazy!
Before Granderson’s homer, he had walked and struck out three times in his previous four at bats. Juan Lagares finished 3-4 with 3 RBI and Neil Walker went 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Jacob deGrom was brilliant going 7 innings giving up a run on 3 hits with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Familia blew the chance for him to get the win. Julio Urias’ debut was one to forget. He only lasted 2 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. Utley finished 1-2 with 2 walks and 4 RBI, while Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez both garnered two hits.
My girlfriend and I decided to take a short two-day trip to New York to catch a Yankees game and then a Mets game. First stop was Yankee Stadium and the Yankees hosting the Blue Jays. With the Blue Jays stout offense, we thought their could be the possibility of lots of runs scored, but the pitching matchup of CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ gave us a different outcome.
The Yankees got the scoring started early when Starlin Castro belted his sixth home run of the season off of Happ in the bottom of the 1st. But after that home run, Happ settled down. He finished the next 6 1/3 innings only giving up two more hits. In the meantime, the Blue Jays needed to score a few runs and they did just that. In the top of the 3rd, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-out single to score Devon Travis and Jose Bautista to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. The pitching was on point for most of the rest of the game. Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the 9th for the Yankees. He alternated strike outs with singles to the first four batters. Devon Travis then came up and lined a single to right scoring Justin Smoak and increasing the lead to 3-1. Roberto Osuna closed it out in the 9th for Toronto and conserved the 3-1 win.
Happ finished the game with 7 innings pitched giving up 3 hits 1 run with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts improving to 6-2 on the season. Bautista finished 2-4 with a run scored and four other Blue Jays garnered a single hit. For the Yankees, CC Sabathia finished 7 innings giving up only 2 hits and 2 unearned runs with a walk and 7 strikeouts. New York pitching finished with 11 strikeouts. Only four Yankees had a single hit. Carlos Beltran finished 0-4 with four strikeouts and Alex Rodriguez went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
It was our bye week since it was Fourth of July weekend, so figured we’d take a long weekend vacation in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the Giants weren’t in town, but lucky for us the team across the Bay was. Our last day there we drove over to Oakland and saw the A’s take on the Mariners.
There wasn’t much scoring in this one, but seeing a new stadium and a couple teams I’ve never seen before is always a great time! Sam Fuld got the scoring started in the bottom of the third when he hit a hard liner that cleared the right field fence to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead. The score stayed the same until the top of the sixth inning. Chris Bassitt was pitching well for Oakland, but stumbled a bit late in the sixth. After getting the first two batters out, Bassitt hit Robinson Cano and then yielded a double to Nelson Cruz before Seth Smith singled to center scoring both of them. That 2-1 score would stay the same the remainder of the game as the Mariners took the victory.
Mike Montgomery pitched well for Seattle going 5 2/3 innings giving up one run on 6 hits with a walk and 2 strikeouts. The Mariners only managed five hits on the day, but Seth Smith’s (1-2) only hit of the day scored the two runs that gave them the win. Dustin Ackley finished 2-3, Cruz 1-4, and Cano 0-3. Chris Bassitt pitched well until he ran into some trouble in the sixth. He was pulled after giving up the hit to Smith, finishing off his line at 5 2/3 innings yielding 2 runs on 5 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts. The three relievers after him didn’t allow a runner to reach base in 3 1/3, but the offense couldn’t get anymore runs. Ben Zobrist finished 2-4 as the only Oakland player with multiple hits. Six Athletics players got one hit on the afternoon.