Fieldview: Times are a Changin'

The roster looks different, but the results remain the same. After a .500 roadie, the Chiefs returned to their losing ways upon arriving back in Syracuse. It's been two nights and two one run losses for the Chiefs. Syracuse has dropped the first two in a four game set with the Indianapolis Indians. Today's edition of Fieldview looks at the new roster, MacDonald outing, and more.

I haven't seen the Chiefs play in over a week so tonight's 4-3 loss was my first glimpse at a completely overhauled lineup.

A little tinkering by the skip

Let me start by catching everyone up to speed. A lot has gone on the last few days. With Ryan Roberts up in Toronto, Syracuse has called upon the services of veteran minor leaguer Howie Clark. The aged infielder, who was released by the Pirates in spring training with a hand injury, is hitting in the middle of the order and playing second base. Clark played for Syracuse in 2003 and 2004, has an open stance, and hits from the left side. Quite frankly, I'm shocked to see him hitting in front of John-Ford Griffin, who despite his recent struggles has a ton more power. I presume Clark is a stop-gap until Russ Adams becomes healthy again. Adams, who took batting practice before the game today, was out of the lineup for the second straight day. According to manager Doug Davis he's battling sickness and a hamstring injury.

There's also been a change made at the top of the batting order. Although Jeff Duncan got the day off tonight, he's the new lead-off man. Duncan, who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in April, has seen in his batting average rise sixty points during the span of his twelve-game hitting streak. Speedster Wayne Lydon has moved down to the ninth. Lydon is an aggressive baserunner and a slap-hitter, but he's reverting back to the kind of player we've seen strike out more than 100 times each of the last three seasons. Tonight, he struck out three times and just doesn't look at all comfortable up there. He took a couple of questionable strike three calls, and was way behind on a low 90s fastball that came over at the belt.

Lastly, there's the pitching. As you've probably heard by now Geremi Gonzalez has jumped ship, literally. He's now pitching over in Japan. And as far as I'm concerned reliever Beau Kemp is M.I.A. Kemp is on the suspended list. When I asked Doug Davis what Kemp's deal was, he said he was injured. When I asked him what his injury was, he said that "I'd have to go elsewhere to find that out". Kemp isn't in uniform and isn't with the team. So the replacements are as follows. Mike Venafro was brought in from the Twins organization. Venafro is a lefty submariner who throws high 70s max, but has a wicked looping curve to left-handed bats. He pitched a scoreless 8th tonight and made Indians right fielder Michael Ryan just look silly. You might remember Venafro from his short-lived days with the Oakland A's. The reason why I say that is because he was best friends and roommates with Mark Mulder during his time in the Bay area. Spot starter Jason Scobie was released and Andrew Good will take over his duties. Good was with the Reds and was a starter with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He worked only 2.1 innings in his first start last week.

Not a great day at the dish

The game time temperature was less than 50 degrees and the Chiefs bats were even colder. Syracuse capitalized on the wildness of Indians spot-starter Mark Corey in the first. All nine Chiefs hitters batted, and patience plated Syracuse three runs. Corey couldn't get his curve over for a strike and the Chiefs wisely sat on fast balls or worked walks. Unfortunately the first turned out to be an aberration. Corey left after just three innings, an Eric Kratz single in the 4th would be the only Syracuse hit for the rest of the game. From the fifth inning on, Syracuse went 1-2-3.

Michael MacDonald had one bad inning

Big Mac had the sinker working again tonight. It took until the fourth inning for an Indians batter to hit a ball in the air. He was working quickly and getting ahead in counts. It was very reminiscent of his first start at Triple-A a week ago.

In the 5th, the wheels just came off. MacDonald allowed a lead-off triple to Michael Ryan and struggled with his control throwing seven straight balls at one point. It might be a matter of stamina for the youngster. After the game I saw him on the stationary bike for about a half hour. To his credit he came out and pitched masterfully in the sixth and the seventh. All in all, he had just one bad inning, which for someone making just his third start at this level isn't such a bad thing.

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