One Proud Papa–AA Son goes 5 for 5 to help Team Win;

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, August 8.

It sounds like a baseball script no Hollywood writer would take.  It’s every father’s dream and for a father who is a friend of mine the dream came true for a night at least. In a AA game in Mobile, Alabama the visiting Montgomery Biscuits (Rays) beat the home standing Mobile Bay Bears (Angels) 8-7 in 11 innings. In the game Nick Ciuffo (Pronounced ShoeFoe) of Montgomery had 5 hits in 5 tries including a double, scored 3 runs and knocked in a pair. In so doing he made his dad, my friend Tony Ciuffo a very proud man. Nick is 22 and not so far removed from being taken in round 1 of the draft by the Rays. He was taken straight from high school in 2013.  His dad Tony broadcast games for College of Charleston in both basketball and baseball.  With the baseball Cougars Tony broadcast the miraculous antics of Brett Gardner, the man who briefly put College of Charleston on the map. Nick has struggled this year which is hardly surprising for such a young man at such a high level.  He has hovered around the .200 mark On the 28th he was at .225.  With recent good performances and last night’s coup de gras he now carries a .245 average and minor league players are glad of every point their average goes up. Nick’s 5 hits were part of a 13-hit attack that culminated in a home run by Brandon Lowe in the visiting half of the 11th inning.  Lowe hadn’t hit a home run in AA until then, and as Bob Murphy would say “What a spot to hit it.”Ciuffo’s 2-run 2-bagger came in the second inning off Bears’ starter Jesus Castillo. The Biscuits had as much as a 7-4 lead before the home team came back to tie with two in the 6th and a run in the 9th. Montgomery is 62-52 all told and 25-19 in the second half.  Most minor league teams split their season to compensate for players being promoted.

Four minor league games will be played in daylight around the country. At the major league level all games are at night. The Yankees who have won their last two go with CC Sabathia as they play in Toronto tonight. He’s coming off a terrible outing against the Tigers and has a 7.62 ERA in 3 starts against the Jays. It doesn’t help that J.A. Happ is pitching for the Jays, considering he struck out 10 men his last time out of the gate. The Rays pin their hopes on their outstanding rookie Austin Pruitt.

He faces the Red Sox’ Chris Sale who finally looked human against the Indians in last week’s amazing bordering on surreal  12-10 Red Sox walk-off win. The Rockies face Corey Kluber in Cleveland.  Kluber has struck out 10 or more men in 10 of his last 12 outings. The Phillies recently swept a 4-game series from the Braves but have barely won since, so they should be glad to see the Braves again tonight in Atlanta. The Dodgers hope for a tougher challenge when they face the D-Backs tonight in Phoenix.  The Mets looked like a AA team getting swept by the Dodgers on their home field. The Mariners face Oakland, the O’s meet the Angels and the Cubs meet the Giants in the latest games of the night. The Giants are still disbelieving that the Cubs’ Javier Baez hit an inside-the-park home run against them in the Cubs’ win last night.

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