Kannapolis to the Majors: 93 and counting

This week, outfielder Jose Martinez made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals as a pinch-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He is the 93rd player to go from Kannapolis to the Major Leagues and the eighth this season.

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Jose Martinez played for the Intimidators in 2008 (photo by Ray Marsden).

From the Intimidators press release:

Martinez, 28, pinch-hit for St. Louis against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his MLB debut. He played for Kannapolis in 2008, batting .306 (44-144) in 39 games. The outfielder and first baseman reached Triple-A Omaha as a member of the Kansas City Royals system in 2015, hitting .384 (131-341) to win the Pacific Coast League batting title. The Royals traded Martinez to St. Louis on May 25, 2016, where he appeared in 87 games for the Memphis Redbirds before earning a promotion to the Major Leagues on Tuesday following the conclusion of the Minor League season.

Martinez was called up on Tuesday along with two others Cardinals minor leaguers.

Here are the former Intimidators that have reached the Major Leagues in 2016:

Intimidators player — year in KAN — MLB debut team
1. Chris Devenski — 2012 — Houston
2. Kevan Smith — 2012 — White Sox
3. J.B. Wendelken — 2013 — Oakland
4. Jason Coats — 2013 — White Sox
5. Tyler Danish — 2013-14 — White Sox
6. Tim Anderson — 2013 — White Sox
7. Omar Narvaez — 2014 — White Sox
8. Jose Martinez — 2008 — St. Louis

Martinez making his MLB debut, By The Numbers:

1st – Martinez is the first player to go from Kannapolis to the Major Leagues and make his MLB debut with St. Louis. Other teams in which the Intimidators have seen just one MLB debut include (italics played in Phillies/Boll Weevils era, 1995-2000):

New Orleans Saints (Ricky Williams)
Anaheim/Los Angeles-AL (Derrick Turnbow)
Tampa Bay (Franklin Nunez)
Boston (Andy Dominique)
Washington (Jorge Padilla)
Cincinnati (Joe Valentine)
Baltimore (Miguel Socolovich)
Kansas City (Paulo Orlando)

11  – players from the 2008 Intimidators team, including Martinez, to reach the Major Leagues. The others are Eduardo Escobar, Brent Morel, Gordon Beckham, Jordan Danks, Miguel Socolovich, Hector Santiago, Nate Jones, Gregory Infante, and Charlie Lensman.

39 – games Martinez played for Kannapolis in 2008

69 – players that have gone from Kannapolis to the Major Leagues since the Intimidators became a White Sox affiliate in 2001.

93 – players that have gone fro Kannapolis to the Major Leagues since the franchise came to town in 1995 (including Piedmont Phillies and Piedmont Boll Weevils days).

To see the complete list of players that have gone from Kannapolis to the Major Leagues since 1995, click here.

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Good luck in the Major Leagues, Jose! (photo by Ray Marsden)

Glass shattering fun in Lakewood

Throughout the course of a 140 game season you will have your fair share of close calls with foul balls. Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System lost a window during the 2016 season, but it was on the final night in Lakewood, Thursday, September 1, that we encountered the most dramatic foul ball of the season. BlueClaws infielder Damek Tomscha, leading off in the bottom of the fourth inning , put a foul ball through a window on the right side of the press box at FirstEnergy Park. The glass shattering news could be be heard on the Intimidators radio network by broadcast/ media relations assistant Erik Oas.

Game Notes 9/5/16: Easterling start, Speed thrills, Daily passes Zangari & the Swan song of the 2016 season

Kannapolis Intimidators at Delmarva Shorebirds
KAN: 34-35 Second Half (58-81) – Chicago White Sox
DEL: 30-39 Second Half (72-66) – Baltimore Orioles
Sunday, September 4, 2016 – 2:05 p.m.
Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (opened 1996) – Salisbury, MD
Game #140 of 140
RH Brannon Easterling (7-3, 1.95) vs. RH Brian Gonzalez (10-8, 2.55)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) will play final game of the 2016 season with the Shorebirds (A, Orioles). Kannapolis has a chance to finish the second half with a 500 record, 35-35 with a win today. A win would also tie the season series at 11 game apiece.

 

Intimidating Starter: Brannon Easterling, 26, makes his 34th appearance and 18th start of the year for Kannapolis. Easterling faced the Shorebird twice when working out of the Intimidators bullpen early in the year and has also made a pair of starts against Delmarva. In his time facing the Shorebirds, Easterling is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA (3 ER/ 13.2 IP). The righty comes into the final start of the season as the number one pitcher in the South Atlantic League, based on ERA, sporting a 1.95 ERA and has not allowed a run, earned or unearned, in his last two starts. His current streak of scoreless innings sits a 12 innings.

 

Shorebirds Starter: Brian Gonzalez, 20, makes his 27th appearance and start of the season for the Shorebirds. The lefty will make his first start since earning Left-handed South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year honors. Despite his success, Gonzalez has struggled in five previous starts against the Intimidators this season, he is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA (13 ER/ 26 IP) against the Northern Division rival. Look for Gonzalez to work in one of the league’s most developed changeups. As a pitcher growing up in Florida,  Gonzalez was not allowed to throw a curveball or slider until reaching high school forcing the lefty to rely on a fastball changeup mix that has translated to success in 2016.

 

About Last Night: The Kannapolis Intimidators collected 10 hits for the 42nd time this season in a 6-2 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Sunday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. The Intimidators (34-35 Second Half, 58-81) bullpen shut out the Shorebirds (30-39 Second Half, 72-66) over the final six innings to preserve the win. Four Intimidators -Alex Call, Tyler Sullivan, Cody Daily and Micker Adolfo- each collected two hits. Cedric Mullins continued to pace the Shorebirds offense. In the bottom of the first inning, Mullins singled against Intimidators starter Jimmy Lambert to lead-off the inning and scored three batters later on an Alex Murphy RBI single. Despite Lambert giving up three hits in the inning, the righty struck out the side on his way to fanning five over his three innings of work, to match a career high in strikeouts.

 

Speed thrills: The Intimidators were one of the most stagnant teams on the base paths in the first half of the season, but have been far more aggressive as of late. Two steals by Kannapolis during Sunday’s win brought the Intimidators to the century mark in stolen bases. It was Tyler Sullivan’s, the team leader in steals with 28, stolen base in the third inning that registered as the team’s 100th steal of the year.

 

Swan song: A win for the Intimidators on the final day of the 2016 season would give Kannapolis a 500 record in the second half, 35-35, would even the season series with the Shorebirds, 11-11, and also snap a string of two straight loses on the final day of the season. Kannapolis last won the final contest of the year in 2013 when they outlasted the Hagerstown Suns, 4-3, in ten innings.

 

Double double: Kannapolis 6-2 win Sunday night was marked by contributions all over the starting lineup. First, the batters collected 10 hits for the 42nd time this season. Not to be out done, Intimidators pitching registered 11 strikeouts for the 24th time this season Intimidators pitching has had 10 or more strikeouts in a game.

 

One more for the road: Four Intimidators had a multi-hit game during Sunday’s win, Tyler Sullivan, Cody Daily, Micker Adolfo, and Alex Call. It was Sullivan’s 37th time he has collected two or more hits in a game, the most by an Intimidator this season.

 

Overtaken at last: Corey Zangari has not played for the Kannapolis Intimidators since June 9th, yet it was not until Friday night’s Cody Daily start at first that Daily passed Zangari for the most appearances at first base by an Intimidator this season.

 

Call it a double: Alex Call continues to produce atop the Intimidators lineup. The outfielder began the road trip with back-to-back two double performances against Lakewood and added his fifth double of the road trip in the third inning of Sunday’s win over Delmarva.

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 1914, en route to tossing a 9-0 shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs, 19 year-old Babe Ruth of the AAA Providence Grays hits the first home run in his professional career. The site of the ‘Sultan of Swat’s’ only minor-league homer, Hanlan’s Point Stadium, which was located on Lake Ontario’s Toronto Islands near the city’s mainland, is being promoted as a historical landmark by Jerry Amernic, author of Gift of the Bambino.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 9/4/16: Lambert start, Sullivan on the leader boards, Remillard’s big night & Adolfo’s numbers on the road

Kannapolis Intimidators at Delmarva Shorebirds
KAN: 33-35 Second Half (57-81) – Chicago White Sox
DEL: 30-38 Second Half (72-65) – Baltimore Orioles
Sunday, September 4, 2016 – 5:05 p.m.
Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (opened 1996) – Salisbury, MD
Game #139 of 140
RH Jimmy Lambert (0-5, 3.84) vs. RH Ofelky Peralta (8-5, 4.01)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) will play the third game of a four-game set with the Shorebirds (A, Orioles). Kannapolis snapped the Shorebirds nine-game winning streak with Saturday night’s 4-2 win. The Intimidators have a chance to even the season series at 11 games with back-t0-back wins to close out the season.

 

Intimidating Starter: Jimmy Lambert, 21, makes his 11th start and appearance of the year, and his second against Delmarva. Lambert has an innings limit after logging nearly 100 innings, 97.2 IP, for the Fresno State Bulldogs this season. This season he has not made it past the third inning and has also not thrown more than 63 pitches as a professional. Lambert may be tiring down the stretch as he has given up three runs or more over him last four starts. His 0-5 record is explained by Lambert working exclusively as a starter and not making through the fifth inning of a game to qualify for the win. His younger brother, Peter Lambert, is enjoying a strong season with the Asheville Tourists in the Southern division of the South Atlantic League.

 

Shorebirds Starter: Cristian Alvarado, 21, makes his 27th appearance and start of the season for the Shorebirds. This will be Alvarado’s third start of the season against the Kannapolis, he is 0-1 with 2.45 ERA (3 ER/ 11 IP) against the Intimidators. This will be his first start against Kannapolis at home with his previous meetings coming at Intimidators Stadium. The righty earned Pitcher of the Week honors for the South Atlantic League, June 27-July 3, for his only start during the week a seven inning complete game shutout against the Greensboro Grasshoppers while allowing just one hit, one walk and striking out eight. The Venezuelan native had one of the best month by a pitcher in the Sally League in June, posting a record of 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA (5 ER/ 35 IP) in six starts.

 

About Last Night: Zach Remillard set a career high for doubles, two, and was driven in both times by Kannapolis Intimidators lead-off man Alex Call in a 4-2 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Saturday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Remillard went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two doubles and a stolen base with Call turning in a 1-for-4 night at the plate with two RBI.  Kannapolis (33-35 Second Half, 56-82) pushed across the first run of the night in the top of the third inning. Remillard set the Intimidators up with his first double of the night, a double to center field, and was driven home two batters later on an Alex Call RBI single.

 

A Career Best: Zach Remillard paced the offense for the Intimidators during their 4-2 win Saturday night with a 3-for-4 evening at the plate. A 2016 pick by the Chicago White Sox, Remillard is in his first professional season after contributing to a Coastal Carolina College World Series Championship in June. His two doubles was the first time in his brief pro career that he has tallied a pair of two baggers in a game.

 

Playing like they’re double parked: The final road trip of the season for Kannapolis has been one marked by speed baseball, knock on wood. Over the first five games of the trip the longest game Kannapolis has played was a 2 hours and 35 minutes game in Lakewood on night one of the road trip.

 

Power on the Road: It is well known that Intimidators second basemen Bradley Strong has seen nearly all of his power come at home, all five of his home runs and both of his triples have been collected at Intimidators Stadium, but teammate Micker Adolfo has proved to be the antithesis with four of his five home runs coming on the road while driving in 13 of his 20 runs away from home.

 

Sullivan back on the leader board: This week has seen Intimidators outfielder Tyler Sullivan reappear on the South Atlantic League Leader boards. Entering Sunday’s game, Sullivan ranks third in game splayed (128), fourth in at-bats (502) and fifth in walks (57).

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 2012, an unofficial rain delay occurs in Toronto when the retractable roof of the Rogers Centre closes so slowly that the fans have to run for cover as the stands and field get soaked with rain that begins to fall during the middle of the sixth inning. Surprisingly, there have been six official rain delays in the Rogers Centre, formerly known as the Skydome.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 9/3/16: Martinez leading the league, the Daily routine, Strong with speed & inside the park homers

Kannapolis Intimidators at Delmarva Shorebirds
KAN: 32-35 Second Half (56-81) – Chicago White Sox
DEL: 30-37 Second Half (72-64) – Baltimore Orioles
Saturday, September 3, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (opened 1996) – Salisbury, MD
Game #138 of 140
RH Luis Martinez (7-9, 3.84) vs. RH Ofelky Peralta (8-5, 4.01)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) will play the second game of a four-game set with the Shorebirds (A, Orioles). Back-to-back home runs from the Shorebirds, including an inside-the-park home run, proved to be the difference in a 3-2 loss. Delmarva now leads the season series 11 games to 8. It was the 10th time this year the two teams have played one run games with each team taking five of the 10 affairs.

 

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his sally league leading 28th start of the season for Kannapolis. The Intimidators opening day starter has taken the ball every fifth day for Kannapolis. Martinez has faced the Shorebirds three times this season and is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA (5 ER/ 12.2 IP). The Shorebirds will join the Lakewood BlueClaws and Greensboro Grasshoppers as the team that Martinez has faced the most this season, four times. The Venezuelan native was signed by the White Sox for $250,000 in 2012 as the first international signee by Marco Paddy Martinez had his pro debut postponed due to injury, missing an entire season due to Tommy John surgery.

 

Shorebirds Starter: Ofelky Peralta, 19, makes his 24th appearance and start of the season for the Shorebirds. This will be Peralta’s fifth start against the Intimidators, the most starts he has made against an opponent this year. He is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA (7 ER/ 17.1 IP) against Kannapolis. The Domincan native enjoyed his best month of the season in July, going 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA (6 ER/ 21 IP) earning him Baltimore Orioles Pitcher of the Month honors. The month was highlighted by Peralta throwing just the second no-hitter in Shorebirds history on July 8 vs. Hagerstown. The game was a rain shortened five inning affair in which Peralta struck out eight and walked one. MLB.com ranked Peralta as the 13th best prospect in the Orioles organization before the season. The no-hitter was thrown at home where Peralta has enjoyed most of his success. His record at home is 6-2 with a 2.88 ERA (19 ER/ 59.1 IP) compared to a 2-3 mark with a 5.52 ERA (27 ER/ 44 IP) on the road.

 

About Last Night: Back-to-back home runs by Drew Turbin and Cedric Mullins of the Delmarva Shorebirds were enough to hand the Kannapolis Intimidators a 3-2 loss on Friday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.  Cody Daily extended his streak of reaching base safely to 25 games with a single in the top of the fourth inning. The streak is longest by an Intimidator since Michael Suiter also reached safely in 25 games during the second half of the 2015 season. The Shorebirds plated all three of their runs and collected all three of their hits in the bottom of the third inning. Max Beatty pitched himself into trouble by issuing a leadoff walk to Gerrion Grim that was followed three pitches later by a Drew Turbin two-run homer to right. The next batter, Cedric Mullins then lifted a fly ball to right center field that neither Tyler Sullivan or Micker Adolfo called and dropped safely on the warning track. Mullins tore around the bases for an inside-the-park homerun sliding in safely at home just ahead of a tag from Intimidators catcher Seby Zavala.

 

A home run, the hard way: Last night’s inside-the-park home run by Cedric Mullins was the second one allowed this season. Greenville’s Luis Alexander circled the bases in Greenville on August 16th off of Brannon Easterling for the first unconventional homer of the season.

 

Playing like they’re double parked: Last night’s game was played in a timely two hours and four minutes. It was the fastest game splayed by the Intimidators, in nine innings, since April of this year. On April 20th against the West Virginia Power the Intimidators played a nine inning affair that lasted just one hour and 40 minutes.

 

Strong with speed: Bradley Strong stole second base in the fourth inning of Friday night’s game, his 10th steal of the season. Strong is currently on a stretch where has swiped five bags over his last seven games.

 

Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily’s base hit Friday night extended his team-best on-base streak to 25 games since August 7.  This is the longest on-base streak by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter reached in 25 straight during the Second Half of 2015. Daily hit safely in a career long 14 straight games August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored. In his last 22 games, Daily is batting .342 (26-76) with five doubles, five RBI, and eight runs scored.

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 1961, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris become the first teammates to each hit fifty home runs in the same season when ‘the Mick’ goes deep twice, including a round-tripper in the ninth to tie the score, in the Yankees’ 8-5 walk-off victory over Detroit at the Bronx ballpark. Roger Maris, who also blasted a pair of homers against the Tigers yesterday, has hit 53 homers in his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s single season mark of 60.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 9/2/16: Beatty start, the Daily routine, and a look at 1-hitters and shutouts

Kannapolis Intimidators at Delmarva Shorebirds
KAN: 32-34 Second Half (56-80) – Chicago White Sox
DEL: 29-37 Second Half (71-64) – Baltimore Orioles
Friday, September 2, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (opened 1996) – Salisbury, MD
Game #137 of 140
RH Max Beatty (4-5, 3.43) vs. RH Francisco Jimenez (8-9, 4.40)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) begin the final series of the year with a four-game set with the Shorebirds (A, Orioles). The Intimidators are coming off a shutout in which they were one-hit by the Lakewood BlueClaws. Delmarva is the hottest team in the South Atlantic League bringing in an eight-game winnings streak.

 

Intimidating Starter: Max Beatty, 25, makes his 14th start and appearance of the season with Kannapolis. Beatty is known as a quick worker who throws a wide variety of pitched from different arm angles. Pitching coach Brian Drahman has described him as “a guy who will throw the kitchen sink at you.” The righty was signed by the White Sox in June after a year spent in the Independent leagues. Originally drafted and signed by the San Diego Padres out of college, Beatty overcame a cancer diagnosis to be drafted in 2012 to revive his baseball career.

 

Shorebirds Starter: Francisco Jimenez, 21, makes his 26th appearance and 19th start of the season for Delmarva. This will be his third start against Kannapolis, he is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA (6 ER/10.1 IP) in his outings against the Intimidators. The Dominican native began the season in the Shorebirds starting rotation, but since making his first bullpen appearance on June 27th has yo-yoed between a starter and reliever. August 10th was the last time he made an appearance out of the bullpen. The splits for Jimenez show more success as a reliever, 1-0 2.53 ERA (6 ER/ 21.1 IP) than a starter 7-9 4.80 ERA (54 ER/ 101.1 IP).

 

About Last Night: Antonio Rodriguez one-out single to right in the fifth inning of Thursday night’s game at FirstEnergy Park was the only hit by the Kannapolis Intimidators in a 2-0 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws. Cody Daily extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games with a hit-by-pitch in the top of the second inning. Alec Hansen, the second round (49th overall) pick by the Chicago White Sox in this year’s draft, made his second start of the season for Kannapolis (32-33 Second Half, 56-80) and pitched effectively in his six inning outing. The only blemish came in the bottom of the fifth when Lakewood (41-25 Second Half, 70-65) plated their only runs of the night. The inning began with Edgar Cabral and Emmanuel Marrero reaching on leadoff singles. Matt Larid was then asked to bunt the runners to second and third, but reached when Hansen fielded the bunt and threw the ball down the right field line to bring home the first run of the inning. Marrero latter scored on a wild pitch for innings second run.

 

Milestone Start: Tyler Sullivan returned to the starting lineup for the Intimidators on Thursday following a rare day off on Wednesday night. The Intimidators regular center fielder and leadoff man made his 100th start of the season in centerfield and will be the only Intimidators to reach  100 starts at a position this year.

 

Losses Looming: The Intimidators lost its 80th game on Thursday, the team’s highest loss total since the 2006 season and the third-most losses in franchise history. Kannapolis dropped a franchise record 94 games in 2006, and the second-most losses in franchise history came in 2003 when Kannapolis went 55-82.  The Intimidators last winning season came in 2011 when the team went 76-62.

 

That’s all … 1 hit: The Intimidators bats were held silent in Thursday’s loss to Lakewood. It was just the second time this season they were shutout on the road. The offense was limited to just one hit against a combination of three BlueClaws pitchers. It was the second time Kannapolis was held to just one hit when the Charleston Riverdogs behind Daris Vargas and Anyelo one-hit the Intimidators on June 2nd of this year. Kannapolis won the game however, 1-0.

 

Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily’s HBP on Thursday extended his team-best on-base streak to 24 games since August 7.  This is the longest on-base streak by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter reached in 25 straight during the Second Half of 2015. Daily hit safely in a career long 14 straight games August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored. In his last 22 games, Daily is batting .342 (26-76) with five doubles, five RBI, and eight runs scored.

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 1920, William G. Harding, who will be elected as the next president of the United States, throws three pitches for the Kerrigan Tailors, a semi-pro team, in an exhibition game played against the Cubs. The contest, in which the Giants, Reds, and Indians declined to be participants, was arranged in the presidential candidate’s hometown to make him more appealing to the masses.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 9/1/16: Hansen makes road debut, the Daily routine, and like a lot of doubles

Kannapolis Intimidators at Lakewood BlueClaws
KAN: 32-33 Second Half (56-79) – Chicago White Sox
LWD: 40-25 Second Half (69-65) – Philadelphia Philies
Thursday, September 1, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park (opened 2001) – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #136 of 140
RH Alec Hansen (0-0, 5.40) vs. RH Alberto Tirado (6-1, 3.58)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) take the field against the first place BlueClaws (A, Phillies) this season. The Intimidators snapped a 3-game losing streak and 5-game road losing streak with Wednesday night’s 6-1 win. A win tonight and the Intimidators will end the season series with Lakewood having split their 18 games, with nine apiece.

 

Intimidating Starter: Alec Hansen, 21, makes his second start and appearance of the season with Kannapolis. The 2016 2nd round pick of the Chicago White Sox took the loss in his debut with the Intimidators turning in five innings against the Columbia Fireflies while allowing three runs on five hits with two walks while striking out six. Hansen led the Sooners of Oklahoma University in strikeouts this year and easily has the fastest fastball on the pitching staff reaching as high as 98 or 99 MPH from his 6’7” frame. The tall righty earned his promotion to Kannapolis with a dominate sting in Rookie Level Great Falls of the Pioneer League. In his seven starts with the Voyageurs, Hansen went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA (5 ER/ 36.2 IP) while striking out 59 and walking 12.

 

BlueClaws Starter: Alberto Tirado, 21, makes his 20th appearance and 11th start of the season for Lakewood. This be his second time out against Kannapolis. In his previous outing versus the Intimidators, Tirado earned the win in Kannapolis with six innings of work while giving up one run on three hits without allowing a walk and striking out nine. In his last outing, against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Tirado set a new career high for strikeouts with 11 while also earning the win. The righty brings in a five game winning streak to this assignment. The former reliever, was not moved into the starting rotation until June 28th after returning to the BlueClaws following a brief stint at Advanced A with the Clearwater Thrashers.  Tirado has been far more successful as a starter this season posting a record of 6-1 with a 2.47 ERA (13 ER/ 47.1 IP) compared to a 0-0 record with a 10.13 ERA (9 ER/ 8 IP) as a reliever.

 

About Last Night: Brannon Easterling lowered his South Atlantic League-best ERA with seven scoreless innings to pitch the Intimidators past the Lakewood BlueClaws, 6-1, on Wednesday at FirstEnergy Park. Easterling (7-3) earned the win while dropping his ERA to 1.95 with five games left in the regular season.  Alex Call doubled twice for the second straight game, going 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored while Cody Daily extended his team-best on-base streak to 23 games with a pair of hits. Kannapolis (32-33 Second Half, 56-79) rallied with two outs in the third for a 2-0 lead over Lakewood. After BlueClaws starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert retired the first eight batters he faced, Jake Fincher singled with two outs in the third and stole second base, setting up the rally. Call and Grant Massey followed with back-to-back RBI-doubles to break the scoreless tie.

 

Doubling down: The Intimidators began the road trip with four doubles against Lakewood Tuesday night, their first four hits of the game, and continued the theme of two baggers with another four in Wednesday night’s win. Alex Call has been leading the charge with three of the doubles, two in game one of the series.

 

Milestone Start: Tyler Sullivan received a rare day off Wednesday night. The Intimidators regular center fielder and leadoff man will make his 100th start of the season in centerfield  with another start in center.

 

Losses Looming: The Intimidators lost its 79th game on Tuesday, the team’s highest loss total since the 2006 season and the third-most losses in franchise history. Kannapolis dropped a franchise record 94 games in 2006, and the second-most losses in franchise history came in 2003 when Kannapolis went 55-82.  The Intimidators last winning season came in 2011 when the team went 76-62.

 

Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily’s base hit on Wednesday extended his team-best on-base streak to 23 games since August 7.  This is the longest on-base streak by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter reached in 25 straight during the Second Half of 2015. Daily hit safely in a career long 14 straight games August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored. In his last 22 games, Daily is batting .342 (26-76) with five doubles, five RBI, and eight runs scored.

 

This Date in Baseball History: For the third time in four days, Bronx Bomber first baseman Lou Gehrig hits a grand slam. The ‘Iron Horse’s’ third-inning base-loaded home run off Ed Morris proves to be the difference in New York’s 5-1 victory over Boston at Yankee Stadium.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/31/16: Easterling on the mound, the Daily routine, and road woes

Kannapolis Intimidators at Lakewood BlueClaws
KAN: 31-33 Second Half (55-79) – Chicago White Sox
LWD: 40-24 Second Half (69-64) – Philadelphia Philies
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park (opened 2001) – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #135 of 140
RH Bannon Easterling (6-3, 2.01) vs. LH Tyler Gilbert (7-8, 3.68)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) take the field looking to snap a three-game losing skid as they face the first place BlueClaws (A, Phillies) in the second game of this series. Lakewood has lowered its magic number to four with six games left in the 2016 regular season and can clinch as early as Thursday, while Kannapolis looks to play spoiler during this series. Right-hander Brannon Easterling toes the rubber today in hopes of maintaining his spot as the South Atlantic League ERA leader with two starts left in his campaign. Lakewood will counter with left-hander Tyler Gilbert.

Brannon Easterling

Kannapolis Intimidators relief pitcher Brannon Easterling (38) in action against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium on April 23, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The Shorebirds defeated the Intimidators 4-2. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Intimidating Starter: Brannon Easterling, 26, makes his 17th start and 33rd appearance as he faces Lakewood for the fourth time. He is 0-1 with a 2.19 ERA (3 ER/12.1 IP) and nine strikeouts in three games (two starts) against the BlueClaws. The SAL’s ERA leader is coming off 5.0 scoreless innings in a no decision at Rome on August 25 in which he struck out one and allowed two hits. Since the All-Star Break, Easterling is 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA (13 ER/67.0 IP) and 40 strikeouts in 13 starts for Kannapolis. He struck out a career-high seven batters on August 16 at Greenville, and matched his career-high with 7.0 innings pitch on July 31 against Greensboro. Easterling opened this season in the bullpen, going 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA (7 ER/35.1 IP) in 16 relief appearances, and he is 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA (19 ER/77.2 IP) in 16 starts since. The White Sox selected Easterling in the 20th round of the June 2014 draft out of St. Edwards where he led the nation with 14 complete games and tied for the lead with 14 wins.

BlueClaws Starter: Tyler Gilbert, 22, makes his 23rd start and fourth against Kannapolis this season. He is 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA (8 ER/15.2 IP) and 12 strikeouts in three starts against the Intimidators, and Kannapolis is batting .308 (20-65) against him. He is coming off a home win over Greensboro on Aug. 24 where he spun 5.0 shutout innings and struck out six. His most recent loss came against Kannapolis on Aug. 12 when he surrendered six runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings. He is better at home than on the road with a 4-4 record and 3.25 ERA in 12 starts at FirstEnergy Park compared to 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in 10 starts on the road. In his professional debut in 2015 with Short-Season Williamsport, going 4-3 with a 2.79 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 42.0 IP in 10 games (eight starts). The Phillies selected Gilbert in the sixth round in June 2015 out of USC where he was a teammate of former Intimidator Dante Flores.

About Last Night: Alex Call doubled twice and scored twice, but the BlueClaws used a 3-run third to beat the Intimidators, 3-2, on Tuesday.  Call finished 2-for-4, joining Bradley Strong who also had two hits to pace Kannapolis. Call led off the game with a double and scored on Seby Zavala’s double for a 1-0 lead. The BlueClaws used a 3-run third for a 3-1 lead.  Lakewood loaded the bases against Jimmy Lambert to chase him from the game.  Wilson Garcia singled off Danny Dopico to drive in two runs for a 2-1 BlueClaws lead, and Deivi Grullon followed with an RBI-base hit.  Harold Arauz (5-6) spun 6.0 innings for the BlueClaws to earn the win, limiting Kannapolis to two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking none.  Arauz lost his first two starts against Kannapolis — both at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System — but used the home field to his advantage while improving 5-0 at FirstEnergy Park in 2016.  In the sixth, Call led off with a double, and Danny Mendick drove him in with an RBI-groundout.  Lambert (0-5) took the loss, allowing three runs in 2 and 2/3 innings.  Lakewood’s Sutter McLoughlin spun a scoreless ninth for the save (12) following two shutout frames from BlueClaws reliever Grant Dyer.

Road Woes: Kannapolis dropped its fifth straight road game on Tuesday in Lakewood, the longest skid this season. The Intimidators had lost four straight road games three times in 2016: April 16-19, June 13-16, June 18-July 1. Kannapolis last won on the road on August 17 at Greenville, a 9-2 win that saw the Intimidators score seven in the 14th inning. The Intimidators dropped that series finale and was then swept at Rome in three games August 23-25 before losing the series opener in Lakewood.

Losses Looming: The Intimidators lost its 79th game on Tuesday, the team’s highest loss total since the 2006 season and the third-most losses in franchise history. Kannapolis dropped a franchise record 94 games in 2006, and the second-most losses in franchise history came in 2003 when Kannapolis went 55-82. The Intimidators last winning season came in 2011 when the team went 76-62.

Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily’s base hit on Tuesday extended his team-best on-base streak to 22 games since August 7. This is the longest on-base streak by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter reached in 25 straight during the Second Half of 2015. Daily hit safely in a career long 14 straight games August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored. In his last 22 games, Daily is batting .342 (26-76) with five doubles, five RBI, and eight runs scored.

Eyes on ERA Race: While Kannapois starting pitcher Brannon Easterling leads the SAL with a 2.01 ERA in more than the requisite 112 IP to qualify over a 140 game season, Augusta’s Jake McCasland has the chance to catch Easterling before the end of the season if he logs enough innings to quality. The GreenJackets right-hander has a 1.57 ERA (18 ER/103.1 IP), and Augusta will only play 139 games in 2016 as their August 7 contest at Asheville was cancelled due to rain. As a result, McCasland needs to reach 111.1 IP before the season ends while maintaining a lower ERA than Easterling to steal the SAL ERA title. McCasland and Easterling are both scheduled to start today and would both be able to pitch on the final day of 2016 on normal rest, giving McCasland two starts to pitch 8.0 more innings. The last Intimidators pitcher to lead the SAL in ERA was Corwin Malone in 2001.

Game Notes 8/30/16: Lambert in Lakewood, taking your time, and the Daily routine

Kannapolis Intimidators (31-32, 55-78) at Lakewood BlueClaws (39-24, 68-64)
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park (opened 2001) – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #134 of 140
RH Jimmy Lambert (0-4, 5.25) vs. RH Harold Arauz (4-6, 3.45)

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MiLB_082016_1184_BWToday’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) embark on their final road trip of the 2016 season by opening a 3-game series at FirstEnergy Park against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) on Tuesday. Kannapolis trails in the season-series, 7-8, including a 2-5 mark in Lakewood during the 2016 campaign. The Intimidators enter this series following a league-wide off day Monday, prior to which Kannapolis was eliminated from post-season contention on Sunday thanks to a loss to Columbia, 8-6, combined with a BlueClaws win in West Virginia, 4-3 in 13 innings.

Intimidating Starter: Jimmy Lambert, 21, makes his 10th start for Kannapolis and his second appearance against Lakewood. The BlueClaws tagged him with a loss on August 13, as he gave up three runs on six hits in 2.1 innings. Lambert, the White Sox fifth round pick in this June’s draft, has lost his last three starts, a streak dating back to his first date with Lakewood. In his first six starts with Kannapolis, he posted a 1.62 ERA but has a 13.51 ERA in three starts since. The White Sox selected Lambert 146th overall out of Fresno State, where he went 10-2 with a 3.13 ERA (34 ER/97.2 IP) and 78 strikeouts in 15 games (15 starts) in 2016 to help the Bulldogs secure their first Mountain West Conference regular season championship. Fresno State went 36-22 in 2016, amassing its highest win total since 2011, and Lambert earned Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year honors.

BlueClaw on the Bump: Harold Arauz, 21, makes his 18th start and third against Kannapolis in 2016. He is 0-2 with a 8.53 ERA (6 ER/6.1 IP) and four strikeouts compared to five walks in his two outings against the Intimidators, both in Kannapolis. Arauz has pitched well in August, posting a 1.25 ERA (3 ER/21.2 IP) in four starts. In his last outing, he struck out seven and walked none in a home win over Greensboro, allowing a run on four hits in 6.0 innings. The win was Arauz’s first since June 14. He did not pitch for Lakewood in July, serving a rehab assignment with the GCL Phillies instead. A native of Chiriqui, Panana, the Phillies acquired Arauz from the Astros in Dec. 2015 as part of a seven-player deal. Philadelphia set SS Jonathan Arauz and RHP Ken Giles to Houston for LHP Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz, RHP Mark Appel, RHP Tom Eshelman, and RHP Vince Velasquez. Last season with Tri City in the NYP League, he went 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA (33 ER/51.2 IP) and 52 strikeouts in 15 games (10 starts).

About Last Night: The Intimidators fell to the Columbia Fireflies, 8-6, in the regular season home finale, officially eliminating Kannapolis from post-season contention. With the game tied 6-6, Columbia’s Dash Winningham doubled in a pair of runs in the top of the eighth for a two-run lead. Craig Missigman (3-4) spun 2.0 scoreless frames for the Fireflies to earn the win, and Jimmy Duff worked around trouble in the ninth for the save (6). Jack Charleston (2-6) took the loss, allowing two runs on four hits in 3.0 innings.  He fanned two and walked none. Kannapolis jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings aided by a 4-run second, but the Fireflies bounced back with six runs in the sixth off reliever Ben Wright to take the lead.  Mazeika even the game, 5-5, with a 3-run double before scoring the go-ahead run on a Joe Tuschak sacrifice-fly. Trailing 6-5, Antonio Rodriguez tied the game by leading off the bottom of the sixth with a home run.

Take Your Time: Kannapolis and Columbia needed 3:42 to play Sunday’s game, the longest 9-inning game the Intimidators and Fireflies played this season. The last time the Intimidators took at least 3:40 to complete nine innings came June 19, 2014, in a 10-7 loss at Charleston in 3:45 in a nationally televised game.

Longest 9-inning games since 2005:
T.O.G.        Date            Opponent                     Location                                         Result
3:45           6/19/14      Charleston                    Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park                   L, 7-10
3:42           8/28/16      Columbia                     Intimidators Stadium                     L, 6-8
3:38           8/3/15        Asheville                      Intimidators Stadium                        L, 3-23

Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily singled in the seventh on Sunday to extend his team-best on-base streak to 21 games, passing Danny Mendick’s 20-game streak from April 11-May 21. This is the longest on-base streak by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter reached in 25 straight during the Second Half of 2015. Daily hit safely in a career long 14 straight games August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored.

3 (bases) for Dale: Grant Massey and Danny Mendick each tripled on Sunday, the Intimidators’ fifth game this season with two triples and the second of the series against Columbia. Kannapolis last hit two triples in a game on Friday against the Fireflies.

Ain’t It Grand: Kannapolis pitching has amassed exactly 1,000 strikeouts entering Tuesday’s game in Lakewood, the team’s highest total since 2013 when Intimidators arms fanned 1,163. Kannapolis ranks 10th in the SAL in total strikeouts.

Easterling at the Top: League ERA leader Brannon Easterling has posted a 2.07 ERA in 113.0 innings this season, which is now enough to qualify for the South Atlantic League ERA title in a 140 game season (.8 IP/team game). The right-hander has possibly two more starts left in 2016, on Wednesday in Lakewood then on Monday in the season finale at Delmarva. Easterling could become the first Intimidators pitcher to lead the SAL in ERA since Corwin Malone in 2001.

Game Notes 8/28/16: Last home game of the season, can’t hold anything back

Kannapolis Intimidators (31-31, 55-77) vs. Columbia Fireflies (26-36, 62-70)
Saturday, August 27, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #133 of 140
RH Luis Martinez (7-9, 3.90) vs. RH Gaby Almonte (3-5, 5.22)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) host their final regular season home game in 2016 as they face the Columbia Fireflies (A, Mets) in the rubber match of this 3-game series. The South Atlantic League leader in games started, Luis Martinez, makes his 27th start on the mound for Kannapolis against Columbia’s Gaby Almonte in the home finale at Intimidators Stadium. In the SAL Northern Division standings, Kannapolis is now fifth, 7.0 games back of Lakewood with eight games left in the regular season. The Intimidators elimination number sits at 2.

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his 27th start of the season and first against a Mets affiliate in his career. The lanky right-hander did not see Columbia in the First Half nor did he face Savannah in 2015. He is coming off a road loss at Rome, allowing four runs on five hits over 5.2 innings, only his second loss since June 29. Martinez, who is two starts removed from a career-high nine strikeouts over 5.0 scoreless innings at Greenville on August 18, has been solid in the second half, going 5-3 with a 2.84 ERA (20 ER/63.1 IP) in 12 starts since the break. His 132 strikeouts rank fifth in the league, and he is fifth among starters in highest strikeouts/9 IP ratio at 9.19 (132 SO/129.1 IP). This is Martinez’s second season with Kannapolis. In 2015, he went 4-14 with a 5.38 ERA in 24 games.

For the Fireflies: Gaby Almonte, 24, makes his 13th start of the season and his first career start against a White Sox affiliate. The right-hander is coming off a home win over Augusta in which he allowed four runs on seven hits over 6.0 innings while striking out none and walking one. He has given up three earned runs or more in eight of his 12 starts with the ‘Flies and four earned or more in six of those starts. Almonte spent the bulk of 2015 with Short-Season Brooklyn, going 6-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 games (14 starts) before making on appearance with Savannah. He made his professional debut in 2011 with the DSL Mets and made his domestic debut in 2013.

About Last Night: Columbia scored seven runs in the third inning to pull away for a 10-6 win over Kannapolis. The Intimidators out-hit the Fireflies, 11-10, with Micker Adolfo finishing 3-4 with a double, a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored while Seby Zavala was also 3-4. Chase Ingram earned the win for the ‘Flies, working around six runs (four earned) on 11 hits over 5.1 innings while Max Beatty (4-6) took the loss, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits in 2.2 innings. Kannapolis struck out 13 Columbia batters on the night.

Baker’s Dozen: Five Intimidators pitchers combined to strike out 13 batters on Saturday, led by reliever Danny Dopico’s five strikeouts, one shy of his career-high. Max Beatty fanned four, and Johnathan Frebis fanned three over 2.0 relief innings. Ian Hamilton added one in the eighth. The Intimidators have struck out double-digit batters 22 times this season.

Break in the Daily Routine: First baseman Cody Daily went 0-3 on Saturday to see his team-best 14-game hitting streak come to an end. He had hit safely from August 12-26, batting .370 (17-46) with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored. The 14-game hitting streak, which is tied for the seventh-longest in the SAL this season, is the longest by an Intimidators player since Michael Suiter hit safely in 23 straight games last season Daily did draw a walk on Saturday to extend his on-base streak to 20 games, which ties Danny Mendick (April 11-May 21) for the longest on-base streak for Kannapolis in 2016.

Healthy Dose of Adolfo: Micker Adolfo finished a home run shy of the cycle on Saturday, with a single, a double, and a triple at the plate while finishing 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He grounded out to third base in his one at-bat with a chance at completing the feat. Adolfo, who came off the Disabled List on Saturday to return to the lineup, now has four games with at least three hits for the Intimidators in 2016, including a career-high 4-hit game July 26 at Delmarva.

Frebis on Fire: Johnathan Frebis has not allowed a run in his last four games (two starts), a span of 13.1 innings of scoreless ball. Dating back to his August 9 win at Hagerstown when he gave up one run in 5.2 innings, he has posted a 0.47 ERA (1 ER/19.0 IP) in five games (three starts).

Easterling at the Top: League ERA leader Brannon Easterling has posted a 2.07 ERA in 113.0 innings this season, which is now enough to qualify for the South Atlantic League ERA title in a 140 game season (.8 IP/team game). The right-hander has possibly two more starts left in 2016, on Wednesday in Lakewood then on Monday in the season finale at Delmarva. Easterling could become the first Intimidators pitcher to lead the SAL in ERA since Corwin Malone in 2001.

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.