The Senators and Reading Fightin Phils play a doubleheader Tuesday night in games two and three of a five game series. Game two is a make-up for the April 27 game between the two teams that was postponed due to weather. Reading took the series opener 5-3, highlighted by Mitch Walding’s go-ahead two run home run in the seventh inning. The Senators are 2-6 in doubleheaders this season, while the Fightins are 4-2 in twin bills. Reading captured both games between them and the Senators earlier this season on April 24 and 26. The two clubs play a total of 14 times in 2017, with seven games at each ballpark.
RAUDY BATTING CLEAN UP
Raudy Read is six for his last 14 at the plate with two home runs and eight RBI and he has recorded a hit in 16 of his previous 19 games overall. The 23-year-old has hit cleanup each of his past two games and he is 11 for 24 with two home runs and 11 RBI in six games in that spot the order this season.
Wirkin Estevez starts game one of the twin bill for the Senators. The right-hander won each of his first two starts as a Senator, including limiting New Hampshire to just one run on three hits in his last start on June 21. Derek Self makes a spot start in game two. The right-hander starts his second game of his career, after starting his first game on June 3 against Erie as part of a doubleheader where he allowed three runs in three innings.
The Fightins counter with starter Drew Anderson in game one. The right-hander is making his first start against the Senators this season and is the 21st ranked prospect in the Phillies organization by MLB.com. John Richy gets the call in game two. The former 3rd round pick of the Dodgers has started four games this season in seven total appearances with Reading. Richy was added to the roster prior to the series opener after a brief stint in Triple-A.
After the first three innings on Monday night, the Harrisburg Senators looked ready to mark another game in the win column. But the Reading Fightin’ Phils proved you need to play nine innings, even with an hour-plus rain delay, before you can make it official.
The Senators jumped out to an early lead with a three-run inning fueled by a pair of home runs from Alec Keller and Raudy Read. And with Harrisburg starter Matthew Crownover in cruise control, the game appeared well in hand against the Phils. Crownover made easy work of the Reading lineup the first time through the order as the southpaw retired the first nine batters he faced on only 26 pitches. But the Phils would answer the Senators’ three-run third with two of their own in the next half-inning to pull within one.
“I think what’s really been getting him is the shutdown inning,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “They’re not necessarily tying it back up, but they’re getting back in the ballgame. It keeps them too close.”
Both teams traded zeroes until the seventh inning when Crownover walked the leadoff hitter Jiandido Tromp and then hung a full-count slider to Mitch Walding who deposited it over the fence to give the Phils a lead they would never relinquish.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” LeCroy said of Crownover. “He just got into trouble with the walks. Up here they come back to get you.”
“To his credit, he goes out and battles. He’s not afraid of contact, I think he just thinks he needs to be perfect. When you try to be perfect, you run deep counts.”
Read had yet another monster night at the plate as the catcher slugged his seventh homer of the season along with two singles. Since being moved to the cleanup spot in the batting order after Neftali Soto’s promotion to Syracuse, all Read has done is go 6-for-10 with two home runs and eight RBI in three games.
“He’s staying in his legs a lot better,” LeCroy said. “Early on he was really struggling with the slider because he was coming up and out of his legs and not in a good position. But now he’s staying in it more and not missing that pitch they’re giving him.”
Keller’s home run that started the scoring for Harrisburg came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Reading starter Ranfi Casimiro…Harrisburg had runners thrown out at home in both the fifth and seventh innings…the Senators outhit Reading 9-6 but left nine men on base in the loss.
The Senators return home to play the Reading Fightin Phils for a five game series beginning Monday night. The Senators have won three consecutive series after finishing their road trip 4-2 against both New Hampshire and Portland. The Fightins arrives Harrisburg following a 4-2 homestand that included a three game series win against first place Trenton. Reading captured both games between them and the Senators earlier this season on April 24 and 26, with the scheduled second game of the series postponed due to rain. The two clubs play a total of 14 times in 2017, with seven games at each ballpark.
The Senators offense is tied for fourth in the Eastern League in runs scored (319) and is averaging 4.36 runs per game. The offensive numbers have spiked over the past 16 games, where the Senators have scored 84 runs and are averaging 5.25 runs each ballgame. The Senators offense scored double digit runs just three times the first 62 games of the season, while the Senators have reached that mark three times over the past 11 contests.
Matthew Crownover starts the homestand opener for the Senators. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA across four starts with the Senators since being promoted from Potomac. Crownover surrendered six runs in six innings in his previous start on June 20 against New Hampshire. The 24-year-old limited the opposition to three runs in each of his first three starts before facing the Fisher Cats.
The Fightins counter with starter Ranfi Casimiro. The right-hander is making just his second appearance and first start with Reading after being added to the roster from Advanced-A Clearwater on June 22. Casimiro pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his lone other appearance for Reading on June 22.
Monday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 5:30 p.m.
- Military Monday presented by WHP580. To say ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done serving our country, we’re offering all current members and veterans of the military a free box seat ticket to the game. Their families are welcome to half-price box seat tickets. Ticket promotion is only valid at the box office.
Tuesday, June 27, doubleheader at 6:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 5:00 p.m.
- Karns Max Saver Tuesday presented by Karns! Bring your Karns receipt to the box office for buy 1, get 1 free tickets for that night’s game! Tickets must be purchased at the box office. Ticket offer excludes Club seats. Max four tickets per receipt.
- Tasty Tuesday! An $8 ticket add-on is available for purchase which includes a hot dog, popcorn, nachos, soda, and a mighty mini ice cream sandwich! Tasty Tuesday add-ons are available online, over the phone, or at the FNB Field box office!
Wednesday, June 28, at 12:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 11:00 a.m.
- Wet-Nose Wednesday presented by Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center. Your favorite four-legged friend is invited to the park with you every Wednesday!
- Winning Wednesday! If the Senators win the game, your ticket is good for a free Ollie’s or LB Smith Ford Lincoln Value seat for the Friday, July 7 game against the Erie SeaWolves! Plus, one fan wins a Pennsylvania Lottery / Harrisburg Senators Prize Pack!
Thursday, June 29, at 7:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 6:00 p.m.
- Diamond Dig presented by Mountz Jewelers! All women 18 & older are invited post-game to dig for a diamond pendant on the infield dirt! One lucky lady will win a beautiful diamond pendant courtesy of Mountz Jewelers!
- Thirsty Thursday presented by Coors Light and 105.7 The X. Enjoy $2 Coors Light drafts on the boardwalk!
- Community Aid Free Parking presented by Community Aid. Bring a full bag of clothes to donate and park for free! Donations will be accepted at City Island as you are parking.
- Throwback Thursday– Diva Edition! It’s time for another Throwback Thursday, this time saluting the best divas in music. We’ll have a night filled with Diana, Whitney, Mariah, Celine, and so many more!
The Senators box office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available via telephone during the same hours as the box office hours. Tickets are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, online at www.senatorsbaseball.com. You can find the Senators on Facebook at facebook.com/senatorsbaseball or @hbgsenators on Twitter.
With a little peace of mind for his mind, Andrew Robinson is on the forefront of wearable pitcher protection
Since being assigned to the Harrisburg Senators from Extended Spring Training on May 16, reliever Andrew Robinson has picked up right where he left off from last year. The 29-year-old right-hander is still striking out over 10 batters per nine innings and is once again a reliable arm in the bullpen for manager Matt LeCroy. Saturday night in Portland, Robinson pocketed his second save of the season when he worked a perfect ninth to secure the one-run victory over the Sea Dogs.
Although Robinson has looked like the same pitcher he did in 2016, that’s not entirely true. All season he has taken the mound with a piece of molded carbon fiber and Kevlar tucked inside the brim of his cap above his right ear to potentially protect him from fierce comebackers.
It’s the latest evolution, three years in development, to come up with something both protective and functional for pitchers to wear. Recent years have seen a handful of pitchers try out an oversized foam hat or the half-helmet during parts of spring training, but this is definitely much less cumbersome and imperceptible to the human eye than those attempts.
Robinson was turned onto the product from his off-season workout partner, Houston Astros’ pitcher Collin McHugh, who wears one and is big advocate for the inner hat head protection created and sold by SaferSports Technologies.
“This year when I was down in Florida I started wearing it to just get comfortable with it,” Robinson said. “The first time I wore it after about ten minutes I forgot I had it on. I don’t notice it on the mound. The only thing is I used to take my hat off a lot. If you do that, it will slide around.”
SaferSports Technologies and founder Matt Meier put the guards through a very comprehensive set of tests on a dummy head with pitches ranging from 49 to 93 MPH. They determined that using the guards and the way it disperses energy on impact cut the level of force in half when compared to being hit without the guard.
Robinson knows the guard still leaves him vulnerable to head injuries off of batted balls, but he also knows it will reduce the damage. “It’s still going to hurt, but it may save your life,” the reliever said. “For me, it’s a little peace of mind.”
Professional pitchers only have about one-third of a second to react to a batted ball, but youth pitchers throwing at a shorter distance may have even less. With skull fractures occurring at an exit velocity of only 58 miles per hour, Robinson sees the benefits not just for himself and his teammates but also for making baseball safer for the younger set.
Earlier this season, he went on social media praising the product in hopes of raising awareness of its existence. “That’s why I posted it on Instagram for whatever kids are following me to say if you or your parents are looking for something along those lines where you don’t look goofy, check it out.”
“It’s a really cool thing. You can’t even tell I’m wearing it.”
The Senators and Portland Sea Dogs play the rubber match of the three game series Sunday afternoon. The Senators evened the series with their come-from-behind 6-5 victory in game two, propelled by Raudy Read’s go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning. The Senators look to win their third consecutive series and secure a winning road trip. The two teams play seven games total this season, three in Portland and four at FNB field.
SATURDAY NIGHT HEROICS
Raudy Read’s go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game led the Senators to their third win this season when trailing after eight innings, the most in the Eastern League. Read became just the fourth Senators player to record four or more RBI in a game and the four RBI tied a career-high, marking the first time he’s accomplished the feat since August 10, 2014 when he played for Auburn.
Taylor Hill gets the call in the rubber match for the Senators. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in six games and five starts with the Senators this season. Hill made a spot start with Triple-A Syracuse in his last outing, allowing six runs in four and two thirds innings against Scranton Wilkes-Barre on June 20. The 28-year-old last pitched for the Senators on June 14 against Akron and surrendered seven runs across five and two-thirds frames.
The Sea Dogs counter with starter Elih Villanueva. The right-hander is making his fourth start of the season after being signed by Boston as a minor league free agent on June 4. Villanueva is 1-02 with a 10.67 ERA, and has allowed 18 runs in 14.1 innings. The 30-year-old is in his ninth minor league season and has one Major League appearance with the Marlins in 2011.
The Senators continue their road trip with a three game series against the Portland Sea Dogs. The Senators have now played every team in the Eastern League at least once this season. The Senators look to even the series after Portland took the series opener 9-2. The two teams play seven games total this season, three in Portland and four at FNB field. The Senators come into the series having won each of their last two series.
NEFTALI TO TRIPLE-A
Infielder Neftali Soto was added to triple-A Syracuse prior to Friday night’s game. Soto was on a 12 game hitting streak prior to being promoted, his third hitting streak this year of 11 games or more, including his Eastern League high 16-game streak from May 10 to May 29. The 28-year-old reached safely on either a hit or a walk in 63 of the 67 games he played this season and leads the team with 23 multi-hit games. Soto is second in the Eastern League in batting average (.329) and fourth in hits (83).
KELLER IN JUNE
Alec Keller has 23 hits in the month of June which leads all current Senators players. The 25-year-old is also second on the club with a .324 batting average during the month.
Derek Eitel makes the game two start for the Senators. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA across seven games and five starts. Eitel began his career with the Senators in the starting rotation before moving to the bullpen earlier this month and he has not allowed a run in two appearances and five and a third innings of relief. The 29-year-old last started a game on June 9 against Binghamton, and he surrendered five runs across three and a third innings.
The Sea Dogs counter with starter Teddy Stankiewicz. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA across 12 starts this season. Stankiewicz allowed four runs in two and two-thirds innings in his last start on June 19 against Erie. The 23-year-old is in his second season with Portland after spending all of 2016 with the Sea Dogs. Stankiewicz is the 24th rated prospect in the Red Sox organization according to MLB.com.
The Senators continue their road trip with a three game series against the Portland Sea Dogs. After the series, the Senators will have played every team in the Eastern League at least once this season. The Senators are coming off a series win over New Hampshire, following their 10-1 win in the rubber match Thursday night. The Sea Dogs also won two out of three in their prior series against Erie. The two teams play seven games total this season, three in Portland and four at FNB field.
The 10 runs scored by the Senators in the series finale against New Hampshire was the most scored by the club in exactly one month when they scored 14 runs against versus Erie on May 22. Eight of the nine Senators batters recorded at least a hit and the club recorded five doubles, one shy of their season high in a game.
The Senators send Kyle McGowin to the mound in the series opener at Portland. The right-hander took the loss in his first start for the Senators on June 18 against Richmond, allowing five runs in five innings. McGowin spent the first portion of the season with Triple-A Syracuse where he went 1-6 with a 6.31 ERA in nine starts. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Angels on December 10, 2016 in exchange for Danny Espinosa.
Kevin McAvoy takes the bump for the Sea Dogs opposite McGowin. The right-hander is 1-5 with a 5.95 ERA across 11 starts this season. McAvoy took the loss in his most recent start against Akron on June 17 after surrendering six runs in four innings. The 23-year-old is in his second season with the Sea Dogs as he spent all of the 2016 campaign with Portland. McAvoy was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 draft from Bryant University.
The following transactions have taken place today affecting the roster of the Harrisburg Senators:
Neftali Soto was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. The 28-year-old was batting .329, second in the entire Eastern League, with 10 home runs, 19 doubles, 44 runs driven in.
The corresponding move was activating Isaac Ballou off the disabled list. Ballou is hitting .232 in 36 games with the Senators in 2017.
The Senators and Fisher Cats play the rubber match of the three game series Thursday night at FNB Field. The Senators evened the series with their 2-1 game two victory, back of six strong innings from starter Wirkin Estevez. The Senators look to win their second series in a row after capturing their last set against Richmond. The Fisher Cats took two out of three, including sweeping a doubleheader against the Senators on the only other series of the season between the two from May 31 to June 1.
The Senators bullpen has not allowed an earned run over its last 13.1 innings pitched dating back to the ninth inning of the June 16 game against Richmond. Reliever Phillips Valdez has not allowed a run over his past eight appearances, limiting opponents to just five hits and four walks while striking out six.
Alec Keller went 2-4 in game two against New Hampshire, his fourth multi-hit night over his past seven games. Since June 3, the 25-year-old is hitting .355 with five three-hit games,.
John Simms starts game three of the series for the Senators. The right-hander is 2-4 with a 3.68 ERA over 13 starts this season. Simms is the only pitcher remaining from the original starting rotation that started the season. Simms took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his last start against Richmond on June 17, and became the second Senators starting pitcher this year to throw a one-hitter through at least five innings pitched.
The Fisher Cats counter with starter Shane Dawson. The left-hander is 1-6 with a 5.43 ERA over 12 games and 11 starts. Dawson allowed four runs in five innings in his last start on June 16 at Bowie. The 23-year-old took the loss in his previous start against the Senators on June 1, despite allowing just one run and two hits across five innings. Dawson was originally drafted in the 17th round of the 2012 draft out of Lethridge College in Alberta, Canada.