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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Minor League Report: Bowie Baysox Pushing for Playoffs

Earlier today, Lou Montanez hit his first major league home run with the Baltimore Orioles. What is so miraculous about it is that he jumped from Double-A baseball to the majors. Today was his second game with the Orioles, he was in Bowie for the Bowie Baysox Double-A game against the New York Mets’ farm team from Binghamton, the Binghamton Mets.

I attended game one of Bowie’s three-game series with the Mets on Monday, at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, MD. The game didn’t end until the Baysox committed two errors in the top half of the 12 inning, and gave up three runs. The Mets ended up winning by the score of 6-3. Matt Wieters, the Orioles’ top draft pick in last year’s draft, hit his seventh home run with the ‘Sox. The 6-5, 230-pound catcher is expected to be the next guy called up to the majors this year, although Montanez, and Wieters aren’t the only double-A ballplayers to impress. In 23 starts, hard-throwing righty, Chris Tillman, has a record of 7-3, with an ERA of 3.63, and 112 strikeouts, second-most on the team. Tillman’s numbers aren’t what have impressed me, though his .700 winning percentage is third-highest on Bowie’s roster. Tillman has a 94 MPH fastball, which has fooled many double-A hitters. Tillman didn’t earn the win, but he went six strong innings, allowing 4 hits, and two earned runs on Monday. He also struck out an amazing 11 Mets. I expect Tillman to be called up within the next few weeks.Bowie dropped two of three against Binghamton, but are still alive in the playoff hunt. They are currently just two games behind the first-place Akron Aeros in the Eastern League’s Southern Division, with a 68-51 record. Unfortunately, we will not get to witness another series between Bowie, and Akron. But, expect lots of excitement in the last 23 games of the season.

Third Baseman Jeff Nettles leads Bowie in homeruns with 22, and RBI’s with 68. But, Nettles also leads the team in at bats (427), and has a very low batting average of .248. So, despite his power, Nettles won’t be called up anytime soon. Binghamton’s 6-2, 238-pound right fielder Caleb Stewart impressed during the three-game series. Stewart went 6 for 12 with 2 HR’s, and 5 RBI’s in those three games.

Manager Brad Komminsk looks to have a great stretch ahead of him. Don’t worry, Bowie will be in the playoffs come September.

Bowie will start a four-game series with the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins Double-A team) tomorrow at Prince George’s Stadium. First pitch will be 7:05 PM ET.

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