Monday, July 12, 2010 – LeLacheur Park, Lowell
Spinners 3, Cyclones 2
With the Red Sox off for the All-Star break, I got a chance to go see the short-season Single-A Lowell Spinners. Jed Lowrie had just begun his rehab with the team, as he worked his way back after coming down with mono in Spring Training. (Triple-A catcher Dusty Brown was also listed on the roster as being there on a rehab assignment, but we didn’t see him.) The only other players I knew of were third baseman Kolbrin Vitek and right fielder Bryce Brentz, who were the Red Sox’ top two picks in last month’s draft. I also recognized Spinners hitting coach George Lombard, the former major leaguer who had been with the Red Sox in Spring Training of 2005 and played for the Triple-A PawSox that year.
Keith Couch was the starting pitcher for the Spinners, and after allowing singles to the first two batters, he got out of the inning unscathed and then cruised through the second. In the third, there was a little trouble again. The Brooklyn Cyclones (an affiliate of the Mets) had runners at the corners with two outs, when the runner on third, Rylan Sandoval, tried to steal home. Couch threw to catcher Chia-Chu Chen in time to tag him out at the plate and end the inning. There was another play at the plate in the following inning, when left fielder Brandon Jacobs and shortstop James Kang teamed up to throw out a runner attempting to score from first on a double. The Spinners’ good defense helped keep the game scoreless through the first five innings.
It was a well-played game which was entertaining in its own right, but being the low minors, the Spinners feel compelled to do some kind of goofy gimmick in between every half-inning. Besides the usual wrestling matches between kids in oversized Sumo costumes and “dizzy bat” races, tonight we were subjected to Chicken Man USA. It was a guy with a bunch of chickens who was set up in the concourse right behind our seats, so we could hear the roosters crowing beginning in the National Anthem and continuing throughout the game. One of the chickens was perched on a step ladder to watch the game. Between innings, Chicken Man was announced on the field, and one of his chickens rode around in a remote control truck in front of the dugout.
Jed Lowrie’s first two plate appearances will show up as routine outs in the box score, but both were long drives deep to the warning track which were caught by the centerfielder just in front of the wall. As Lowrie returned to the dugout, his expression seemed to say, “What do I have to do to get it out of here?” (Lowrie was wearing Spinners uniform #7, but I noticed he had his Red Sox batting helmet with his customary #12 on the back and the Boston “B” on the front.) His next at-bat came in the sixth, with one out and runners at first and second. He grounded out to first, but both runners were able to move up, setting up a 2-run single by Bryce Brentz which gave the Spinners the lead.
The Cyclones chipped away with a run in the seventh, but Lowell got the run back in the bottom of the inning when second baseman Nick Robinson singled after two batters ahead of him had walked. In the eighth, the Spinners made an announcement that David Ortiz had progressed to the semi-final round of the Home Run Derby that was taking place in Anaheim that night.
Brooklyn scored a run in the ninth on three straight singles, but Tyler Lockwood was able to get Sandoval to ground out to end the game. I listened to the end of the Home Run Derby on the radio in the car on the way home (if you think it’s hard to watch 3 hours of homers and outs on TV, it’s even lamer on the radio!) and Big Papi had just wrapped up his victory when I got home.