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The Sea Dog Days of Summer

Saturday, July 10, 2010 – Hadlock Field, Portland

Rock Cats 7, Sea Dogs 6

The Red Sox were playing their final series before the All-Star break on the road in Toronto, and I hit the road for my annual trip to see the Sea Dogs.  It seems every time I go to Portland it rains, and this year was no exception.  It poured all the way up, as I listened to a terrible Red Sox loss on the radio in the car.  When I got to Portland for the 6:05 game, it was down to a drizzle, but we had to wait through an hour-and-a-half rain delay before finally getting started.

With top prospect Casey Kelly scheduled to pitch the next day, it was Kyle Weiland’s turn in the rotation for this game.  He was one of the prospects I saw at the PawSox Hot Stove Party in January.  I was also familiar with the top four batters in the lineup – centerfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, second baseman Nate Spears, shortstop Yamaico Navarro, and catcher Luis Exposito – from Spring Training.

Kyle Weiland started the game for the Sea Dogs.

Kyle Weiland started the game for the Sea Dogs.

Weiland may have altered his pre-game routine because of the rain delay, or he may be one of those guys who has trouble settling in for the first inning, but whatever the reason, he struggled out of the gate.  The first four batters all had hits, and after a double play, the next five batters also reached safely.  There was even a wild pitch and a balk thrown in for good measure.  The tally at the end of the inning: 5 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 3 LOB.

There was no rain during the game, and we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

There was no rain during the game, and we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the "Maine Monster".

Weiland made quick work of the New Britain Rock Cats (a Twins affiliate) in the second, retiring the side in order on just 7 pitches.  In fact, he stayed in through the fifth, and didn’t allow any baserunners after the first.  And while he was keeping the Rock Cats from any further scoring, his teammates were busy taking him off the hook.

Che-Hsuan Lin had two hits for the Sea Dogs.

Leadoff hitter Che-Hsuan Lin had two hits for the Sea Dogs.

Nate Spears hit a 2-run homer in the third inning to get the Sea Dogs on the board.  Matt Sheely followed Ray Chang’s double with an RBI triple in the fourth.  In the fifth, first baseman Anthony Rizzo came to the plate with a runner on and the Sea Dogs trailing by two.  He drilled a long fly down the right field line.  It had home run distance but was ruled foul.  No problem – he hit the next pitch he saw even deeper, and kept it fair this time, tying the game.

DH Luis Segovia warms up in the on-deck circle.  He reached on an error and scored the Sea Dogs' first run.

DH Luis Segovia warms up in the on-deck circle. He reached on an error and scored the Sea Dogs' first run.

Eammon Portice came on to relieve Weiland in the sixth and struck out the side.  In the bottom of the inning, Yamaico Navarro launched a home run into the screen over the left field wall, giving the Sea Dogs a 6-5 lead.  It was all good until Portice reached his third inning of work, when he gave up a 2-run homer and the lead.  The Sea Dogs had a chance for one last comeback in the bottom of the ninth, with runners at first and second and one out.  But Navarro struck out, and cleanup hitter Luis Exposito, who already had 3 hits and a walk, popped up to end the game.

Even though the home team ended up falling short, it was a nice night foe baseball at Portland's Hadlock Field.

Even though the home team ended up falling short, it was a nice night for baseball at Portland's Hadlock Field.

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