Saturday, May 12, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 12

2000: Andre Savage scores his third game-winner of the playoffs, finalizing a 5-4 victory at the Civic Center and giving Providence a 2-1 upper hand in the Eastern Conference finals against Hartford.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 11

2001: The P-Bruins improve to 6-0 when facing elimination in the Calder Cup playoffs, averting a four-game sweep out of the Eastern Conference Finals with an assertive 4-1, Game 4 victory over the Saint John Flames at the Civic Center. The Flames would throw the KO punch the following night and proceed to win the Calder Cup. Future Boston Bruin Steve Begin claimed the Jack Butterfield Trophy as tournament MVP.

2005: Co-captain Brent Thompson’s goal is the eventual decider in a 4-1, Game 3 victory at Lowell, giving Providence a 2-1 series lead in the Atlantic Division finals.

2009: A balanced attack with 11 out of 18 skaters recording one point (no more, no less) helps the P-Bruins take a 5-3 win at The Dunk and a 3-2 edge in the Atlantic Division finals over Worcester.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Post-game pop-ups: PawSox 7, Red Wings 6

Swift summation
The Pawtucket Red Sox bailed Brandon Duckworth out of what may have been his first losing decision in 2012, deleting a 5-3 deficit in the bottom of the fifth right before Alex Wilson stepped on in relief of the 4-0 starter.

One pitching change and another deficit later, Will Inman did enough to keep the PawSox within one run of the Rochester Red Wings, who would spill their lead for good in the bottom half of the eighth.

Lars Anderson reached first base and advanced to second on former Sox infielder Joe Thurston’s throwing error, nudging Jose Iglesias to third base on the process. Mauro Gomez would step up next and double to the right-center wall, authorizing the tying and winning run in a 7-6 final at McCoy Stadium Thursday afternoon.

Inman, who garnered credit for the victory, would leave with one out remaining after letting Rochester runners reach the corners in the ninth. But Mark Melancon got his lone adversary, Pedro Florimon, to whiff on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Getting Florimon out when he easily could have restored the visitor’s lead at the last minute was a rather symbolic suppression of one of Rochester’s most radiant batters of late.

Florimon, whose career with the Red Wings is only as old as this series, wasted little time raising the initial upper hand for the visitors. The No. 2-slotted batter belted a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall in the first inning for his second solo homer of the series.

After Rochester starter Luke French threw seven of his 10 first-inning pitches for strikes, the PawSox patience reaped rapid rewards in the second as they took 13 of 21 offerings for balls. The result was four unanswered baserunners on a pattern of double-walk-double-walk.

Nate Spears drew a 1-1 knot with a one-out double that scored Josh Kroeger to second and nudged Alex Hassan to third. Mike Rivera drew a walk to load the bases and a subsequent balk with Tony Thomas at the plate scored Hassan.

Thomas proceeded to hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Spears for a 3-1 advantage, though it also led to Rivera being nabbed at third base to end the inning.

Regrettably for the Sox, Duckworth emulated French’s faultiness and handed the lead back to the Wings before there a single out in the third. J.R. Towles doubled to score leadoff man Joe Thurston, moved to third on the same play, then constituted the equalizer ahead of Ben Revere’s single to left-center.

Revere flew home courtesy of Matt Carson’s double to the left-center wall, cracking open a 4-3 lead for the visitors.

After a scoreless fourth inning, a two-out double in the fifth from Clete Thomas scored Matt Carson all the way from first and augmented that lead to 5-3. But Tony Thomas retorted in the bottom half with a one-out triple that scored Spears from second, then drew a 5-5 knot with the help of Che-Hsuan Lin’s sacrifice fly to deep center.

Revere restored Rochester’s lead to 6-5 in the seventh when bunted his way on board, stole second then finished the trip in one lap ahead of Florimon’s single.

But the PawSox perked up as soon as they were down to their final four outs, beginning with Iglesias’ two-out single in the eighth.

PawSox pluses
A perfect 3-for-3 on the day at the plate, Spears accounted for 37.5 percent of Pawtucket’s eight hits and doubled in each of two encounters with French, ultimately scoring from second base on both occasions.

Sox stains
The greatest testament to Duckworth’s shortage of command on Thursday was likely in the top of the fifth, when he was one strike away from what could have been his only 1-2-3 shift. He ended up walking Carson on four unanswered balls, then worked Clete Thomas to his own 0-2 count, only to let him double Carson home on a 2-2 delivery.

Red Wings notes
Left fielder and top batter Darin Mastroianni was called up to the parent Minnesota Twins Thursday morning. He was joined on the journey to The Show by starting pitcher P.J. Walters.

Designated hitter J.R. Tosoni was the only batter on either side not to reach base in any fashion Thursday afternoon, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

Florimon hit safely at least once in all four installments of this series, hitting 6-for-17 overall with three runs batted in.

Reliever Esmerling Vasquez was credited with his second hold of the season, allowing one run on two hits while working the entire seventh inning and two-thirds of the eighth.

Rochester made two pitching changes within the bottom of the eighth with Anderson being Tyler Robertson’s only challenger before Robertson gave way to Anthony Slama, who yielded Gomez’s winning hit.

Melancon garnered his third save of the season while Robertson was tagged for his second loss in as many decisions.

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 10

1995: For the second time in as many nights, Scott Bailey submits a shutout while Grigori Panteleev and Jeff Serowrik submit a multipoint performance to help the P-Bruins prolong their playoff series against Albany. The River Rats eventually regroup to claim Game 6 and knock off Providence one day before their parent New Jersey Devils abolish Boston. From there, both teams pull off the rare feat of bringing a Calder Cup and Stanley Cup to the same organization in the same year.

1999: Randy Robitaille breaks the ice early, then sets up Jeremy Brown for the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at the Hartford Civic Center. The win gives Providence a four-game sweep of the Wolf Pack and moves them to the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 9

1995: Behind an identical 1-2-3 scoring log via Grigori Panteleev and Sergei Zholtok, along with a 30-save shutout by Scott Bailey, the P-Bruins stave off elimination with a 5-0 Game 4 home victory over the Albany River Rats.

1997: Derek Herlofsky survives the better part of a 19-shot onslaught in the first period, then keeps everything out of his net for the latter 40 minutes while the P-Bruins whittle off two goals for a 2-1 win over Springfield, forcing a fifth game in the New England Division Finals. Barry Richter is credited with his third game-winning goal of the playoffs

2000: With John Grahame back in the cage after recovering from the flu, the P-Bruins convert on two power plays and pace themselves to a 4-1 win in Hartford, drawing a 1-1 knot with the Wolf Pack in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 8

1999: John Spoltore converts in overtime for the second time in the series and notches his third straight game winner to sculpt a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Wolf Pack. Eric Nickulas, Joel Prpic, Randy Robitaille and Spoltore all tune the mesh in regulation before Spoltore finalizes the 5-4 upshot at 7:54 of sudden death.

2007: With only 90 seconds remaining in regulation, T.J. Trevelyan converts on a power play to ultimately finalize a 2-1 win at The Dunk and give Providence a 2-1 edge in its conference semifinal series with Manchester.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 7

1999: John Spoltore scores the decider for the second time in as many games and joins Randy Robitaille in the night’s multipoint club as part of a 5-3 Game 2 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack in the New England Division finals.

Starting Nine: 9 Notable Facts Entering the PawSox-Red Wings Series

One day after getting the better of a rehabbing adversary in Andy Pettite, the PawSox will present the presumptive finale of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s buildup back to Boston as they commence their homestand Monday night versus the Rochester Red Wings.

The Sox shall entertain Rochester and the Columbus Clippers for four nights apiece before venturing to a pair of Southern Division cities. 

Here are nine other pregame pop-ups worth noting ahead of Pawtucket’s Monday night matchup with the 13-16 Red Wings.

·         Now in his sixth season with the Red Sox, Matsuzaka has previous made eight starts in Pawtucket, the last occurring on April 21, 2010 against Lehigh Valley. The pricey Japanese import holds a 3-1 lifetime record at the Triple-A level.

·         Matsuzaka faced the Red Wings in his last appearance at McCoy Stadium, shutting them out through five innings en route to a winning decision on April 10, 2010.

·         Slugger Lars Anderson will presumably put in his first appearance before Pawtucket’s home crowd since April 21, before he was recalled to Boston for nine days. In four games since rejoining the PawSox midway through their road trip, Anderson has exponentially elevated his daily hit count with zero on Wednesday, one on Friday after an off day, two Saturday and three on Sunday.

·         First-year PawSox outfielder Josh Kroeger bookended the 10-game road trip with a pair of homers, belting his second of the season in Sunday’s 7-5 triumph over the Empire State Yankees. He has yet to leave the yard at McCoy.

·         The Wings vacated their home at Frontier Field for Sunday’s Sox-Yankees bout as the Pinstripes top farm team carries on through its year without a home in Scranton. The Yanks will play in Rochester for the next eight days while the Red Wings are engaged in their visits to the PawSox and the Syracuse Chiefs.

·         Pitcher Scott Diamond, originally slated to start in Thursday afternoon’s series finale, was called up by the parent Minnesota Twins on Sunday, as was shortstop Brian Dozier. Diamond is 4-1 in six Triple-A starts to date this season, including a victorious outing versus the Sox on April 11.

·         Concomitant with four consecutive wins for the team, top Rochester batter Darin Mastroianni is riding a four-game hitting streak and has hit 12-for-31 in his last nine outings. He drove in four runs as part of a 5-0 triumph over the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday, finishing a sweep of a double-header.

·         Rochester’s collective pitching staff has allowed the fewest hits (220) to date in the International League, although they have also pitched the fewest innings (245.2).

·         Rochester’s offense is last on the league leaderboard with 79 runs batted in and tied with the Durham Bulls for last with 10 home runs apiece.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Date In Providence Bruins History: May 6

2000: With John Grahame sidelined due to influenza, Kay Whitmore confronts his former teammates in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The P-Bruins fall short, 2-1, to the host Hartford Wolf Pack.

2005: The host Lowell Lock Monsters pull even three times after initially trailing 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3. But on the strength of Keith Aucoin’s playmaker hat trick as well as multipoint nights for Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes, the P-Bruins take Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals, 5-4, at Tsongas Arena. Boyes sets up David Gove for the final go-ahead strike with a mere 68 seconds to spare in regulation.

2009: The Atlantic Division finals finally resume after an eight-day hiatus due to the presence of the Barnum and Bailey Circus at The Dunk and a rodeo event at the DCU Center. The P-Bruins pace themselves to a 4-2 victory in Worcester and a 2-0 advantage in the series.