Monday, July 31, 2023

Baseball Review // Bristol Greeners, Record-Journal Expos, // Rainbow Graphics, 2 Record-Journal Expos, 0 July 28th, 2023 at Ceppa Field, Meriden CT (GHTBL)

Additional photos can be found here :::

Official box scores :::

Everything that has happened since the games at Dunkin Donuts Park has felt like a blur.  The games I was trying to go to after that were mostly rained out, from that Friday up until the following Friday (July 14th-21st) there was a lot of rain.   We went on the 21st to Ceppa, as the day had predicted rain but seemed sunny, and sat in our car at 6:10pm as the rain came down a little bit, then heavier, then the thunder came and then the game was called.  

Then this past week there was an incident at McKenna Field which had me leaving after two innings or so and then everything after that was just rained out, including us once again on the drive only this time to Manchester.  It was nice enough in Meriden but as we got towards Hartford it got dark and the rain came.  As we got closer to Manchester, the rain came down even harder and we saw the lightning.  I knew there wasn't going to be a game by the time we got onto 84, but that has been the story of these past few weeks.

One of the last times I feel like I actually saw a full Expos game was at Dunkin Donuts Park and that game went down in similar style as the first game in this doubleheader against the Bristol Greeners.   I didn't write about that game and I'm hesitant to say much about this game because every time I want to write about the Greeners it just feels like I'm bullying them, even if it's just stating the facts.   The Greeners, who will likely end this season with only one win, just feel like that team that has that carrot of hope dangled in front of them on a string only for it to be quickly snatched away each and every time.

If nothing else, I think the Bristol Greeners should be appreciated for being able to lose in spectacular fashion.   This game, for example, started with a throwing error by the Expos catcher in the second inning which cleared the bases and put the Greeners up 2-0 early on.   In the fourth inning, AJ Lorenzetti got on base with a single and then Matt Fusco hit a beautiful double.  A sac fly to right field by Trevor Mays would bring in Lorenzetti and then on a wild pitch Matt Fusco would score as well, putting the Greeners in a comfortable 4-0 lead.  

The bottom of the fifth inning saw Lou Delgado robbed of a double (these umps have got to get it together) and then Brandon Hernandez walked on.   Hernandez stole second and then both Jon Remillard and Javon Malone were walked to load the bases.  Jason Sullivan hit a huge double to dead center and cleared the bases to make it a 4-3 ball game.  Mike Gulino would follow up with a huge double of his own to right field to score Sullivan and just like that, in five innings, the game was tied 4-4.

I felt like the double by Jason Sullivan went off the scoreboard- I thought I heard it hit the scoreboard because I was watching because that ball looked like it was long gone, but that should've been ruled a homerun then, right?  Regardless, it wouldn't be the first time we were robbed of a grandslam at Ceppa this year, so it is what it is.

The sixth inning began with a leadoff double by Will Kszywanos.  Luis Delgado walked on and a bunt by Brandon Hernandez loaded the bases.   Now this is something that if I told this to someone about any other game and any other team they wouldn't believe me, but when you're talking about the Greeners it isn't even questioned: Jon Remillard was hit by pitch to put the Expos up 5-4.   

How in all of the teams-that-play-against-the-Harlem-Globetrotters do you give up the winning run on a HBP??  But, for the Greeners, this just seems normal.  And, again, I feel bad about typing this.   But it's not mean spirited it's just a statement of fact.  And I also am kind of impressed in the ways which the Greeners can find to lose a game, especially with two innings left and being up 4-0.

Javon Malone singled in another run and then Jason Sullivan would sac fly in the final run for the 7-4 ball game.  One thing I haven't mentioned yet but I wanted it to carry over into both games is the pitching of Brendan O'Connell and the closing by Max Giacco.   During these two games we saw some great pitching by three different Expos pitchers.   You have to think that on top of that, the Expos have at least two other solid pitchers and so when the playoffs come later on this week, that will definitely be an asset and what could have them going farther than they did in years past.

The story of the second game was fairly simple as it was a pitcher's duel.  In the second inning, a deep shot to center field by Dan Steiner drove in one run and a deep to left/center field in the second by Tyler Repoli brought in the second and only other run of the game.   John Griffin just pitched a gem of a game, but Charlie Hesseltine also pitched really well.   Giving up two runs shouldn't be the end of the world but I think the fatigue of the previous game coupled with the pitching of Griffin was just too much for the Expos to overcome.

This was a unique doubleheader because it was against different teams.  When the playoffs come, the Expos will be able to take it one game at a time and not have to worry about playing a second game right after- there will be a longer rest period.  If they can deliver the offense like they did in the first game coupled with the pitching from both games then they might become unstoppable.  

But I also have to admit that I've been very impressed with Rainbow Graphics this season.  They've always been a bottom of the standings team- for as long as I've been watching the GHTBL- and to see them on the top of the standings now is just fun.   They just have this way of connecting to produce hits but more so they manage to hit the ball wherever the defense isn't.   You can't really plan for something like that.  There's no way to defend against it.  So, I hope the Rainbow Graphics continue to play the way they have all season as they could be a threat in the playoffs as well.

Before the playoffs start on Friday though, there are still a number of make up games to be played.   Over the weekend the Orioles lost to the Jets twice which pushed the Orioles (who were on a huge winning streak) down to second place.   The Graphics are in third with the Expos in fourth, the Jets in fifth and the Expos will play a double header tonight against the first place M&T Bank.  Though, for the record, the Expos are 13-7 while M&T is 13-6 so none of these teams are that far apart in terms of their wins and losses.  It's going to be an interesting and hopefully exciting end of the season in these next few days and I'm ready for it.

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