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.
I figured I’d go out and watch the in-state rivals battle it out on a Sunday afternoon game in which the Pirates were looking to sweep. Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett made his first start since leaving Pittsburgh and received a video tribute as he ran out to the mound.
Philadelphia came in struggling and looking up at the rest of the teams in the NL East. With that being said, they got out to an early lead when Marlon Byrd singled in Jimmy Rollins in the first inning. Rollins reached on Pedro Alvarez’s 18th error of the season, a throwing error to first base. The Phils took an early 1-0 lead, but the Pirates answered in the bottom half when Russell Martin doubled off of the right field wall that scored Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker, giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead after one.
The Pirates added to their lead in the third inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a triple and scored on Walker sacrifice fly two batters later. The Phillies got that run back in the seventh when Marlon Byrd crushed a changeup over the left field fence. In the bottom of the eighth, the Pirates added some insurance to their lead. McCutchen hit an umpire reviewed fan interference triple that scored Harrison. A few batters later, Starling Marte scored McCutchen on a single and Jordy Mercer then scored Russell Martin on a sacrifice fly. Jared Hughes came in to finish off the game and give Pittsburgh a 6-2 victory.
McCutchen was the only Pirate to garner two hits, as he went 2-4 with 1 RBI and 2 runs. Jeff Locke was outstanding for Pittsburgh as he only gave up 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts in eight innings of work. Philadelphia was only able to muster up four hits on the afternoon. Marlon Byrd kept them in the game by going 2-4 with a homer and both RBI. A.J. Burnet pitched well going seven innings and giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. The Pirates pulled off the sweep of their in-state rivals.