May was not very kind to the Yard Goats. After winning 18 of 22 games in the month of April, the Rockies' Double-A affiliate went 12-15 last month. Their anticipated home opener has been put off indefinitely, and they have gone 3-7 on Connecticut soil.
Not all news is bad news, though. Standouts Harrison Musgrave and Tyler Anderson received promotions to Triple-A Albuquerque and RHP Antonio Senzatela has made a triumphant return from the disabled list. And, after all, the Hartford Yard Goats (30-19) remain locked in a battle for first place in the East division, two games back from the Reading Fightin Phils (33-18).
Going 3-3 last week against two of the worst teams in the Eastern League, Bowie (19-30) and Portland (18-32), probably wasn't what the team had in mind. But unlike other leagues, the Eastern League doesn't do first half/second half champions and so there is plenty of time to make a push to the playoffs.
News and Notes, May 24 - June 6
|May 24||v||Bowie (Game 1)||W 3-0||June 1||v||Trenton (Game 1)||2:05 pm|
|May 24||v||Bowie (Game 2)||L 6-8||June 1||v||Trenton (Game 2)||TBD|
|May 26||v||Bowie||PPD||June 2||v||Trenton||11:05 am|
|May 27||@||Portland||W 3-2||June 3||v||Portland||4:05 pm|
|May 28||@||Portland||L 1-2||June 5||v||Portland (Game 1)||2:00 pm|
|May 29||@||Portland||W 6-3||June 5||v||Portland (Game 2)||TBD|
|May 30||@||Portland||L 6-8||June 6||v||Portland||11:05 am|
After making just two starts with a 1.80 ERA (3 runs in 10.1 IP), Tyler Anderson (no. 17 PuRP) was promoted to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the second starting pitcher in as many weeks to get the bump from Hartford to AAABQ. He got his first start there on Friday against Iowa and now has a 2.92 ERA and a 22:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19.2 innings across three levels.
For just the second time this year David Dahl (no. 2 PuRP) has gone more than eight days without a home run and has lost his lead in the Eastern League home run chase. Dahl went 8-for-18 on the week and regained the team lead in hits. Now hitting .295/.372/.585 on the season, don't be surprised if Dahl earns a midseason promotion to Albuquerque. Oh, and he has 13 stolen bases and has only be caught stealing three times.
Ryan McMahon (no. 5 PuRP) had another tough week, managing just four hits in six games with seven strikeouts. Before getting too concerned, though, keep in mind that McMahon is over three years younger than the average player in the Eastern League and has yet to face a pitcher younger than himself.
The preternatural hitting ability of Raimel Tapia (No. 6 PuRP) continues to shine through. He now leads the league in hits (58) and has also managed to reach base safely in 23 of 26 May games. He'll need to do more than just hit the ball to keep things going, though, as his last walk came on May 18 and he has just two extra base hits in that time.
Kyle Freeland (No. 8 PuRP) had a great bounceback start on Saturday against the Portland Sea Dogs. He gave up just two runs in seven innings with four strike outs but he was pounding the strike zone: 60 strikes in 90 pitches.
As mentioned earlier, Antonio Senzatela (no. 9 PuRP) continues to pitch well in his return from the disabled list. He gave up two runs on five hits with no walks (!) in his last outing on Sunday, striking out four in the process. He has a 14/4 K/BB rate in 19.2 innings and leads the active roster with a 1.02 WHIP.
Another starter who was looking for a bounce back outing was German Marquez. After giving up four runs in each of his past two starts, Marquez pitched into the seventh inning on Friday and gave up just two runs. He allowed eight hits and a walk in 6.2 innings of work, but also struck out four. With Musgrave now in Triple-A, Marquez now leads Yard Goats starters with a 2.41 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 52.1 innings.
Matt Carasiti had just two appearances this week, recording two strikeouts against one strikeout and two saves.
Pat Valaika had his best week since the start of the season, going 9-for-25 with two doubles and two home runs since May 23. He's now second on the team with five home runs.
Spotlight On: Secret Baseball
UPDATE: It turns out the perpetrator of the secret baseball game inside Dunkin Donuts Park wasn't just an employee for the contractors but, as Daniel Connolly pointed out in the comments, he was a project manager. Jeremiah Rufini of Bleating Hartford has the details.
Dunkin Donuts Park Update
Countdown to Opening Day: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Last week members of the Hartford Stadium Authority voted unanimously to call the performance bond on the developers. In other words, the project's insurers will now investigate to see if DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan Companies can complete the project, a step taken to insure that the City of Hartford and the Hartford Yard Goats wouldn't have to pay any additional money to complete construction. Unfortunately, this could also result in even more delays to construction, even though the stadium is nearly finished. In short, barring a quick resolution, the Goats could remain Yardless for the rest of the season.
In response to this development, Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon issued the following statement:
"We're extremely disappointed that Centerplan did not deliver the stadium as promised, confirmed and reconfirmed.
We stand behind Mayor Bronin and the Stadium Authority and believe they will do everything in their power to hold the developer accountable and use the contractual agreements in place to provide the funds necessary to complete the ball park so that the team can come home to Hartford and play ball at Dunkin' Donuts Park.
We agree that calling the payment and performance bond is the only course of action available as the developer has shown no ability to meet the agreed upon schedules or effectively manage the project.
The Yard Goats have already lost 54% of their home season and are on the verge of losing the entire 2016 season. This is causing great hardship not just for our team, but for our fans, sponsors and the hundreds of Hartford residents who were counting on jobs at the ballpark."
There is a small chance that the Yard Goats could play games in Hartford starting June 21, when the Short Season-A Connecticut Tigers would move back into Dodd Stadium in Norwich, and a slightly larger chance they could move into DDP come mid-July. But unless the city, the developers, and the insurers can come to an agreement baseball in Hartford may have to wait until 2017.
Looking Ahead, Helpful Links, and Twitter
The Yard Goats will be calling Norwich home for the next seven days. They have two off days this week, but they also have two doubleheaders scheduled so it will still be a very trying week. First comes a three game set--including a doubleheader Wednesday--in Norwich against the Trenton Thunder, who sit a game behind Hartford in the standings. Then they host the Portland Sea Dogs with a day off Saturday and a doubleheader Sunday.
For more Yard Goats news, links, coverage and Twitter, check out the links below. If you have any questions or requests of what you'd like to see in this column, drop me a line in the comments, on Twitter (@playerTBNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hartford Yard Goats