The Spinners clinched their second consecutive Stedler division title last night with a 13-0 thrashing of second place Oneonta. The Spinners have won 11 of their last 14 games and have opened up a 7.5 game lead on Oneonta since entering play on August 22nd tied with the Tigers for first place.
Starter Jose Alvarez (8-3, 1.52) threw a complete game shutout, only allowing five hits and striking out six over his seven innings of work. With the win, Alvarez broke the Spinners record for victories in a season with 8. He also remains atop of the NY-Penn League in ERA (1.52).
The Spinners wasted no time opening up an early lead by scoring six times in the first and five times in the second on their way to an 18 hit output on the night. Every starter had at least one hit, led by Derrik Gibson’s perfect night at the plate. He was 3 for 3 with two walks, reaching base five times. Gibson, in his last four games, is hitting a blistering .667. Chris McGuiness and Ken Roque each had three hits and Michael Almanzar added a double, triple and three RBI’s.
The Spinners also won game two of the twinbill 6-2 as Willie Holmes was 3-3 with a HR and Wilfred Pichardo stole three bases in breaking the Spinners single season record for stolen bases. Pichardo now stands at 31, the record was previously 28, set by Matt Van Der Bosch in 2004. Carson Blair and Doug Wogee made thier Spinner debuts, with Blair going 1 for 2 with a double and Wogee pitching a scoreless inning in relief. Spinners starter Alex Wilson was again dominant in his three inning stint, striking out three and only allowing one hit. The Spinners look to continue their hot streak with the final game of the series tonight in Oneonta. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
The Lowell Spinners inched closer to their second consecutive Stedler Division title with their 8-5 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones Monday night. Yeiper Castillo (6-1, 2.76), pitched a gem going six innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. The Spinners offense exploded in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Brooklyn miscues. Derrik Gibson was hit by a pitch to force in the first run and Chris McGuiness walked with the bases loaded to score the second run of the inning. Two wild pitches by Cyclone relievers scored two more Spinners and finally, an error on a routine groundball by Jordany Valdespin scored McGuiness with the inning’s final run.
The Cyclones did not go away easily, chasing Lowell reliever Jeremiah Bayer from the game with a two-run single, and then going right after Michael Bugary, scoring three more times in the inning on a two-run double and a single up the middle. However, Dennis Neuman came on to strike out the final batter of the inning and tossed a scoreless ninth inning for his team-leading seventh save.
Monday night also saw the retirement of Jim Rice’s number 14 here at LeLacheur Park, and tonight will feature the retirement of Johnny Pesky’s number six. A Spinners win, coupled with an Oneonta loss will clinch the Stedler Division for the second straight year for Lowell. Drake Britton takes the mound tonight to be followed by Ryan Pressly. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
Congratulations to Alex Hassan and Chris McGuiness, who were both promoted to the Greenville Drive after last nights game.
The NY-Penn League All Star teams have been announced and the Spinners will be well represented with five players heading to State College.
Once again congratulations to all of our all stars, we can’t wait to see you represent the Spinners down in State College!
The Lowell Spinners offense continued its coming out party Tuesday night against the Hudson Valley Renegades in a 10-1 drubbing. The Spinners scoring commenced in the first inning as Wilfred Pichardo legged out a bunt single, then promptly stole second, moved to third on a Derrik Gibson hit and then pulled off a rare steal of home.
Joantoni Garcia and Chris McGuiness both added three run homers in the second and third innings respectivley. McGuiness, now with 29 RBI’s, is third in the NY Penn League, 2 behind Sebastian Valle of Williamsport. The Spinners were also the beneficiaries of poor defense by the Renegades, who committed an astounding six errors in the game. Every Spinner starter had a hit and Derrik Gibson continued his recent hot streak with another three hit performance, he is hitting .388 in his last 10 games.
Spinner pitching only allowed four hits, as Alex Wilson continued his dominance in his three innings of work, not allowing a hit and lowering his ERA to .42. Tom Ebert picked up the win striking out four in his two innings of work.
The Spinners look to continue to make a charge towards the top of the Stedler Division tommorow night as Yeiper Castillo takes the mound at 7:05
Welcome to our latest installment of Road to the Show with Chris McGuiness.
Chris McGuiness was drafted by the Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB draft out of the Citadel. McGuiness was the nation’s leader in walks in 2009 with 65, posting a .520 OBP. McGuiness started off as a two way player in college, playing first base as well as pitching. He eventually chose to focus on playing every day and has found success, as shown by his impressive college numbers and his good start in Lowell. McGuiness attended high school in his hometown of James Island, SC, so his trip north to Lowell is something of a change of pace for him. McGuiness prides himself on routine and is a hard worker who passed up his senior year for the chance to play for the Red Sox.
McGuiness took some time to sit down with the Spinners Blog to answer some questions.
Growing up in James Island, South Carolina, you chose to attend The Citadel Military College which was only a 5-minute drive from your house. Did you know all along that you wanted to stay close to home, or was it for another reason such as the school’s connection to the armed forces?
I really had no desire to go into the armed forces, so it was strictly athletics. I had some other offers out of state, a couple in North Carolina, and a bunch more from upstate South Carolina. The Citadel just had so much to offer. I really couldn’t pass it up, from the scholarship they offered to the local connection with friends.
With the Citadel degree being as prestigious as it is, that was definitely another deciding factor too. Their alumni network is amazing once you get of school, so it kind of all fit together and ended up being the best place for me in the end.
You ended up pitching 49.1 innings your freshman year at The Citadel, compared to just 107 at-bats as a 1B. Was this split something you anticipated coming out of high school, or were you somewhat surprised by how your coaches played you initially?
Ironically, I got recruited out of high school a lot more for pitching than I did hitting. The fact that I was left-handed attracted a lot of programs, especially the larger ones. A lot of schools wanted me to come just to pitch, and that was one of the reasons I didn’t go to a larger program. The Citadel was serious about giving me a chance to go both ways.
Having to prepare for two different positions, that must have had some kind of affect on your approach. Was it any tougher for you, either physically or mentally, to be ready for a surprise every day when you read the lineup card?
It definitely put a larger strain on my body than my head. Pitchers know, especially, that if you throw 5 or 6 innings one day, you’ll definitely be feeling it when you wake up the next day. You ice, and everything still gets stiff. Normally pitchers do some light running or throwing on their off days, but I’d have to go out and play 1B.
The first day after I pitched, I always felt like my swing was dragging a little bit because my left hand was my top one. It was just a situation where you had to come in early to get stretched out and find other ways to compensate.
The following season, your role began to change as you pitched just 20.2 innings. Coupled with the major increase in at-bats, how did you feel about this movement towards playing everyday as a position player as opposed to every five days on the mound?
My role changing actually had a lot to do with the guys we came in with my freshman year. We were a lot stronger hitting than we were pitching wise that year, but a lot of people graduated after that season. Some positions opened up, and that gave me a chance to play everyday at first base.
As far as a personal preference, I think the coaches knew that pitching wasn’t too high on my priority list. I was ready for whatever helped the team win, whether they needed me to pitch or swing the bat. I’d go out and do both the best I could, but they knew all along that my choice was to be in the batter’s box. The feeling of hitting a homerun, at least to me, is much more incredible than striking someone out. The game would be boring without homeruns.
By the time your junior season rolled around, you had made a complete transition to first base. Given the chance to play everyday, you bashed 15 homeruns to go along with 59 runs batted in. Was this power something you always had, or was it more of a natural maturation into your frame that you came to school with as a freshman?
A lot of people don’t realize that The Citadel had a work ethic that was second to none. From the amount of time spent in the weight-room to the early morning runs, I don’t think anyone works harder. The preparation was absolutely a huge part of my development as a player.
The military schedule had to have helped out in some way. My body was changing, and I’m sure going back to play summer ball helped me find my stroke. Really, it was a combination of a lot of things coming together at the right time.
In just 59 games played that season, you worked a nation leading 65 walks. With a .520 OBP that year, it would be easy to classify you as a very disciplined hitter. Was this approach in the box helped by your time spent on the mound earlier in your career, or was it something you worked at with extra time in the cage?
I really don’t know where the walks came from, to be honest with you. I would say I have a good eye up at bat, but most of the time the pitchers just weren’t throwing me anything to hit. It was probably just as much their inconsistencies as my selectiveness.
Being a former pitcher never really played to my advantage, mostly because every guy has different stuff out there. If they’re not throwing you strikes, there’s nothing you can do about it. I guess you can chase balls out of the zone, but I was fortunate enough to avoid that.
On the day of the Draft, you were selected in the 13th round (408th overall) by the Boston Red Sox. A contract was agreed upon not long after, and you were immediately assigned to Lowell. Was there ever any doubt during this process, specifically regarding what it would take to make you forego your senior season at The Citadel?
There were absolutely times when I questioned what was going to happen. I had certain guidelines and standards going into the whole draft process, so it was an interesting day. I had a floor for what amount of money it would take to make me leave school, but it wasn’t 100% concrete. There wasn’t necessarily a set round that I was looking at, but I was pretty blunt in letting teams know about the monetary situation.
I wanted to be truthful with every one, so I told them that I’d have no problem going back to school if the right offer never materialized. With the degree being so prestigious, I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time if they couldn’t give me what I wanted. I was pretty straightforward, definitely not one of those kids who used the word ‘might.’
Since arriving in Lowell, you’ve basically batted cleanup everyday while playing first base defensively. How are you adjusting to life up here as a professional, in terms of minimal off days and increased competition?
It’s tough, but I think the most important part is rest. Being from a military school, I was definitely never a big party guy. That whole mindset helped train me to the point I’m at now. After games, there are a lot of players who want to go out, but that’s not even a question for me.
I’m going back to my room, eating, taking a shower, and going straight to bed. Then in the morning, I’ll get up early to eat some breakfast and head right to the park. Sleep is definitely a huge part of being ready on game days. It’s the best way to recover from wear and tear.
Is there any part of your game that you’re hoping to sharpen with the help of the Spinners’ coaching staff?
Right now, I’m struggling with my two-strike approach. I don’t know whether it is something I’ve done differently, or if it’s the increase in competition level. I’m still adjusting become some of the pitchers are more skilled than I’m used to. Once I get comfortable, though, I’m confident that I’ll be able to put it all together.
Overall, I want to be more consistent with my contact and just get the barrel of the bat on the ball every chance I get. Hitting the ball hard is always the key, no matter what situation you’re in.
When the season comes to a close in September, what are your plans as far as going home to see your family or sticking around for more direction from the Red Sox?
I’m not really sure what Boston has in store for the first year players, but I’ll definitely get back into the facilities back at [The Citadel]. We have some great workout plans there, and it’s only a five minute drive from my house. I’m going to hit it hard no matter where I end up, and I’ll be looking forward to starting up organized ball next spring.
Check back soon for our next installment!
A day after getting nipped by State College 1-0, The Spinners managed to win 5-1 Wednesday afternoon to take two out of three from the Spikes. Rehabbing Kason Gabbard, pitched the first three innings allowing one run on five hits. Jose Alvarez followed Gabbard and picked up his fourth win, going six shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.35, good for 6th in the NY Penn League. The Spinners took an early 2-0 advantage in the top of the second inning when Chris McGuiness lead off with his 9th double of the season. McGuiness, with his double, set a Spinners club record for most consecutive games with an extra base hit, six. Ronald Bermudez knocked in McGuiness with a two out single, and would eventually come into score on an error by Spikes shortstop Andy Vazquez.
State College responded quickly in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double by Butch Biela, part of three consecutive Spike hits. The rally was short lived, however, due to Shannon Wilkerson gunning out Miguel Mendez at second, trying to advance on Andy Vazquez’s RBI single. The Spikes were done in by their inability to capitalize with runners on base, hitting into four double plays.
In the 6th, the Spinners widened their lead 4-1 on four consecutive hits by Michael Almanzar, Wilkerson, Bermudez and Sean Killeen. The scoring was capped off by Ryan Westmoreland, who hit his fourth homerun of the season, his second of the series, in the top of the 7th. The Spinners return home for a brief two-game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters beginning Thursday Night at LeLacheur Park. It is Justin Masterson Bobble Head Night, sponsored by Collins Dentistry for Children, and Masterson will be in attendance. LHP Cesar Cabral (0-4, 3.99) gets the start for a 7:05 first pitch.
Ryan Westmoreland was 3-3 with his third homerun, and came a double short of a cycle, driving in the go ahead runs in the top of the 9th, as the Spinners charged past the State College Spikes 8-5. Westmoreland reached base all 5 times he stepped to the plate, Wilfred Pichardo was 3 for 4 and Chris McGuiness and Derrik Gibson added 2 RBI’s to lead the Spinners offense. Alex Wilson went the first three innings, striking out four, but also allowing his first run of the year, on back to back triples by Justin Byler and Pat Irvine. Kyle Rutter picked up his first professional victory in relief and Dennis Neuman pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save. Westmoreland has now reached base safely in all 25 games he has played this season.
The Spinners look to continue their magic tommorow night as they face State College at 7:05. Yeiper Castillo (2-1, 2.64) looks to grab his third win of the season.
The Spinners committed four errors, all of them in the Cross Cutters four run 7th inning, leading to a 8-1 loss on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Pressly the Spinners starter pitched one inning striking out three but allowing three runs on three hits and a walk. Chris McGuiness’ RBI single in the first accounted for the lone Spinner run as Williamsport pitching kept the Spinners in check.
Pressly, a winner in his first three starts, has struggled in his last two, losing both times. Anatanaer Batista, the Spinners player of the game pitched four scoreless innings in relief, only allowing one hit.
The Spinners now travel to State College to begin a three game series against the Spikes. Alex Wilson, still unscored upon this year, will take the mound in game one tommorow night at 7:05.
Michael Almanzar and Chris McGuiness went back to back in the 4th inning and the Spinners took advantage of 5 Lake Monsters errors to win 10-3 on Friday night. Yeiper Castillo pitched another solid game going 6 innings, allowing 1 run and striking out 5. Ryan Westmoreland continued his streak of reaching base in every game this season by lacing his 4th double of the season. Richie Lentz ran into a bit of trouble in his 1.1 innings of work but struck out 4. The Spinners look to continue their hot streak tonight against the Lake Monsters at 7:05. Jose Alvarez takes the mound in search of his second win of the season.