Live From Rochester: Wings Win Fifth Straight

In this edition of Live From Rochester, the Wings go on to win their fifth straight contests, and move back into first place in the International League North standings. With Scott Baker scheduled to start on Friday, the Wings have a good chance at making it six in a row, just as long as the bats continue to stay hot.

The revolving door continues to spin for the Red Wings. This week it was say goodbye to Matt Garza, Boof Bonser and now Lew Ford. However, we also said hello to Dave Gassner and New Britain reliever Levale Speigner. So far in 2006, there have been 62 transactions involving the Twins and Red Wings, with 38 of them coming since June 1st. Ford was recalled after Thursday nights' game when it was learned that Rondell White may have to go on the DL again.

Somehow though, the Wings have managed to keep winning. Last night they jumped out to a 6-0 lead against the Buffalo Bisons, thanks to home runs by Gilbert Velazquez and Garrett Jones, and then hung on as the Bisons battled back, only to fall one run short. With the victory, Rochester moves 18 games over .500 for the second time this season (69-51), and coupled with Scranton's extra inning loss to Pawtucket, have now taken over sole possession of first place again in the International League North. Additionally, they are now 5.5 games ahead of Ottawa and Toledo for the Wild Card spot with only 24 games to play. Putting their playoff chances in perspective, if the Red Wings split those final 24 games, either Toledo or Ottawa would have to go 18-6 over their final 24 games to overtake the Wings, and that would be quite a challenge.

For Velazquez, last night marked his first start at shortstop since June 25, and his three-run home run was his first at AAA. Garrett Jones' two-run blast was his team leading 17th. He now has 77 RBI.

Speigner contributed immediately for the Wings, as he took over for the struggling Pete Munro in the fifth inning with two outs and the team leading by only two runs. He allowed only one run in 3.1innings of relief, and stranded the tying run at third in the eighth to pick up his first AAA victory. A fine Thursday night crowd of 8,204 looked on as the Wings won their fifth game in a row, giving them their second five-game winning streak of the season. They improved to 20-13 in one run games.

Wings Notes:

  • Curt Motton and PJ Forbes will be inducted into the Red Wings Hall of Fame tonight. Motton played for the Wings in 1966-67. In 1967 he led the IL in RBI with 70, while hitting 18 home runs and batting .323 in 113 games. PJ Forbes, an enormously popular player with the Wings in the ‘90's is best remembered for his running, diving catch of Homer Bush's bunt in the ninth inning of the final game of the Governor's Cup Finals against Columbus. Matt Howard followed with a fly out and the Wings won the game 4-3 and the IL title.

  • It's official. JD Durbin is done for the year, as expected. He has neuropathy, and the recovery time is anywhere from 3 to 9 months. Durbin was having a good year for the Wings, with a 4-3 record and 2.33 ERA when he was sidelined on July 5th.

  • No surprise to me: Pitcher Mike Smith was named Topps International League Player of the Month of July, as selected by filed managers (and, ahem, myself!). And Tommy Watkins was honored as Red Wings Player of the Month at a luncheon at the Genesee Valley Club sponsored by Morgan Stanley. Watkins hit .337 with 2 HR's and 14 RBI in July.

    Tonight's pitching matchup pits Wings Scott Baker (4-2 2.86) versus Buffalo's Brian Slocum (5-2 3.27) Deck: In this edition of Live From Rochester, the Wings go on to win their fifth straight contests, and move back into first place in the International League North standings. With Scott Baker scheduled to start on Friday, the Wings have a good chance at making it six in a row, just as long as the bats continue to stay hot.


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