Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
AUGUST 2012

It is intended that this page will maintain a historical record of previous news published on this site. From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages. It may interest some people to read the developments in chronological order right here.

ARCHIVED NEWS FROM AUGUST 2012 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
AUGUST
2012

To make things easier for our loyal subscribers we will adopt a new format of
providing news involving
AUSTRALIAN Players in yellow text, while 
news about former AMLB IMPORT Players will be in white text.

  31 AUGUST 2012 - BLACKLEY WINS No.5 v INDIANS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley
















David Ross

Australian left hander TRAVIS BLACKLEY was back in harness for his fifth win of the season when he threw a quality start of 5.2ip 3h 2er 2bb 5k to anchor the Oakland Athletics to a 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. This 92 pitch effort took his season record to a healthy 5-3, 3.50ERA with Oakland as he continues to re-establish his big league career.
BOT1: Travis started the games strong when he struck out the Tribe's first two batters, Jason Kipnis swinging and Asdrubal Cabrera looking... the latter resulting in the ejection of Cabrera who clearly didn't like the full count strike call. Shin-Soo Choo grounded out one pitch later to end the frame.
BOT2: Carlos Santana lead off the inning by reaching on an infield single, yet he advanced no further than first base as Blackley fired out the next three batters on fly balls.
BOT3: The first pitch of the inning disappeared over the centre field fence courtesy of Jason Donald and the next pitch wasn't far from the same fate when Ezequiel Carrera tripled to deep centre. Carrera scored on a ground out RBI from Kipnis, but Blackley avoided further damage even after Choo milked a two out walk on a full count. he was suddenly trailing 0-2 in the game.
BOT4: After his team mates struck back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the inning, 'Trav' did exactly what was required by consolidating with a scoreless inning that saw one runner on base when Matt LaPorta was hit by a pitch with two out.
BOT5: Travis again started strong with Carrera struck out swinging and Kipnis struck out looking before he locked down another three up and three down inning.
BOT6: Travis made Shin-Soo Choo his fifth punch put victim to lead off the inning before a two out walk to Michael Brantley saw him relieved by Pat Neshek.
Travis Blackley was well and truly worthy of the win once again!


Like he so often does when he gets a chance to start, Atlanta Braves backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) made a strong contribution with the bat via 2-3 (.271) in their 2-8 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Padres. Ross clocked his seventh home run of the season to supply half of the runs posted by the Braves and he also walked during the game.

The first import player of the new ABL era to reach the US major leagues, BRANDON BARNES (Sydney Blue Sox 2012), earned his keep again as the starting centre fielder with 1-4 (.174) including a RBI for the Houston Astros who fell 4-6 to the San Francisco Giants.

  29 AUGUST 2012 - HENDRIKS BRILLIANT DESPITE ANOTHER LOSS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Liam Hendriks




























Grant Balfour

With any luck, and he really hasn't had much at the major league level so far, Australia's most recent new big leaguer LIAM HENDRIKS may have enjoyed a turning point in his career. Although he is a dominant force at 'AAA' level, Liam has been largely unable to find the key to consistent success against big league hitters and he hasn't had much go his way either. That is until yesterday when the young Aussie stood tall for a brilliant complete nine inning game effort as he went toe to toe with Seattle's recent "Perfect Game" superstar 'King Felix' Hernandez. While he was desperately unlucky to come out on the losing side of a 0-1 ballgame, Liam can be extremely proud of the fact that he more than matched perhaps the best pitcher in the game right now. Hendriks allowed just three hits with six strike outs from 103 total pitches to compare favourably with Hernandez' tallies of five hits, 5K's and 100 pitches. His 9.0ip 3h 1er 3bb 6k was damaged by just one solo home run from a pretty decent pitch as his team could not muster any run support despite threatening on a few occasions. His record is now 0-7, 6.02ERA.
TOP1: Franklin Gutierrez poked a one out single to left and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher while stealing second. Kyle Seager walked to place runners at the corners but, in perhaps a game changing moment, Hendriks was off the hook after inducing a terrific inning ending double play.
TOP2: Liam posted a tidy 1-2-3 inning that he finished with a strike out of Eric Thames.
TOP3: Just eight pitches required to blast out the back end of the Mariners' lineup.
TOP4: A strike out, a pop out and a ground ball took care of another blank inning.
TOP5: John Jaso walked to lead off the inning, but Liam hit back to strike out both Justin Smoak and Eric Thames. A walk to Trayvon Robinson did not threaten when he got Brandon Ryan to pop up on his first pitch to end the frame.
TOP6: Gutierrez was on board again with one out when he was hit by a pitch after crowding the plate. However, Hendriks again summoned an inning ending double play.
TOP7: Another three up and three down as he fanned Justin Smoak again to end the inning.
TOP8: The baseball gods arrived at just the wrong moment when Eric Thames, who had struck out twice, found lightning in a bottle with a second pitch home run that just barely cleared the left field fence. Liam sat down the next three batters, but Hernandez had the 1-0 lead that was all he would need.
TOP9: An uncharacteristic four pitch walk to Gutierrez put the
lead runner on base but Hendriks completed the game with Kyle Seager struck out swinging, Jesus Montero flying out to centre and Gutierrez thrown out trying to tag and advance on the throw.
By any measure it was a quite brilliant performance from our young Aussie star and one that should give him confidence to build upon. Surely a major league win is just around the corner for Liam Hendriks!

Hard throwing Aussie GRANT BALFOUR remains on a positive roll with his 15th save of the season coming after he pitched a decisive 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 3k (2.54ERA) to lock down the Oakland Athletics' 3-0 victory shutout win over the Cleveland Indians. Balfour threw 12 of 19 pitches to scythe through the bottom of the ninth as his part of the combined shutout. He began the inning in hot fashion by fanning both Jason Donald and Shin-Soo Choo before Carlos Santana waited him out for a full count walk after being 0-2 in the hole. Santana was allowed to take second base on defensive indifference and, as the phrase suggests, it made little difference when Michael Brantley was called out on strikes after looking at all three pitches he faced!

  27 AUGUST 2012 - BALFOUR SAVES 13th AND 14th!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour









Vernon Wells
Combative Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR took his 14th save of the season when he put a neat lid on the Oakland Athletics' 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb1k (2.58ERA).
Grant needed only seven pitches, with just one ball, to lock down the bottom of the ninth in rapid-fire fashion. Two pitches saw Ben Zobrist ground out to the short stop, three more had Luke Scott punched out swinging and two more had Carlos Pena fly out to centre field. Our man could hardly have been more convincing in a situation that was not without pressure.


The previous day BALFOUR recorded save No.13 after pitching 1.0ip 1h 1er 1bb 0k in Oakland's tight 5-4 win over Tampa Bay. This outing wasn't nearly as convincing or trouble free as he took over for the bottom of the ninth with a 5-3 lead and he saw the lead halved before he secured an out. Problems of this kind often start with, you guessed it, a leadoff walk issued to Ryan Roberts from just five pitches. The base runner was promptly cashed in via Luke Scott's double to deep left field. With a pinch runner camped threateningly in scoring position on second base 'Balf' held firm to preserve the save for himself and the win for his team. He got Desmond Jennings to ground out to the pitcher, B.J Upton to ground out to third and Matt Joyce to ground out to short.


New ABL import BRANDON BARNES (Sydney Blue Sox 2012) batted 1-2 (.200) plus a walk for the Houston Astros who were defeated 1-3 by the New York Mets.

Making another start behind the dish, DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) batted 1-5 (.262) as a minor contribution to the Atlanta Braves 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Veteran outfielder VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) is enjoying a late career resurgence since returning to the Los Angeles Angels' lineup. He continued his hot hitting form with 2-4 (.230) in their 3-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
  24 AUGUST 2012 - HENDRIKS RETURNS FOR 6TH LOSS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Liam Hendriks


David Ross

Young Aussie starting pitcher LIAM HENDRIKS has forced his way back into the baseball big time but unfortunately, while he battled manfully, he was consigned to his sixth loss in the majors this year when his Minnesota Twins fell 1-5 to the surging Oakland Athletics. Liam pitched 5.0ip 6h 4er 3bb 2k as he laboured through 97 pitches to take his season record to 0-6, 7.06ERA.
BOT1: The game started in annoying fashion for Hendriks when Coco Crisp milked a leadoff walk from a full count and he then advanced on a wild pitch. Crisp promptly scored the opening run of the game when Josh Reddick shot a RBI single into right field. A fly ball and a ground ball ovoided further damage.
BOT2: A neat 13 pitch inning saw three up and three down as he appeared to settle well.
BOT3: A Cliff Pennington leadoff double and a Coco Crisp single spelled trouble that only became worse when Crisp stole second and Stephen Drew walked to load the bases. With one out Yoenis Cespedes delivered a two RBI single to left centre as Oakland took a decisive 3-1 lead in the game.
BOT4: Hendriks was in immediate trouble again when Josh Donaldson ripped a leadoff double to deep left and he later scored on Coco Crisp's two out RBI double to deep right.
BOT5: Liam worked a round a leadoff walk to Josh Reddick when he struck out Cespedes and Reddick was caught stealing before the inning ended with a fly ball out. That proved to be all for Liam Hendriks on this occasion as he still yearns for his first major league victory.


Highly effective backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) contributed 1-3(.264) with a RBI to help the Atlanta Braves to post a significant 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

  22 AUGUST 2012 - BLACKLEY STRONG v TWINS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley




Albeit in a losing cause, Australian lefty TRAVIS BLACKLEY enjoyed another splendid personal outing when he pitched 5.2ip 5h 1er 1bb 1k (3.52ERA) for the Oakland Athletics who were already destined to a
2-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Travis was called from the bullpen in the top of the fourth inning with two on and only one out after Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy had handed the Twins a 6-2 stranglehold on the contest. Not only did he shut down that inning without further damage, but he navigated the rest of the game to give his team an outside chance of a comeback and, perhaps more importantly, he saved the rest of the A's bullpen from additional workload.  TOP 5: Only a two out, full count walk to Pedro Florimon spoiled a clean inning.  TOP 6: Three up and three down as he fired out the meat of the Minnesota lineup. TOP 7: Three ground balls produced another tidy scoreless inning.  TOP 8: After Florimon poked a one out single to right and Ben Revere advanced him to third with another single to right, it set the table for Darin Mastroianni to lift a sacrifice fly for a RBI. It was the only run allowed by Blackley for the game.
TOP 9: A leadoff single by Justin Morneau was erased via a ground ball double play to ensure that Trevor Plouffe's single later in the inning had little effect. It was another fine effort by Blackley in a season where he has re-established himself as a bona fide major league pitcher... and a very versatile one!

Journeyman starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) set his Seattle Mariners on the path to a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians, yet he took another no decision after pitching a stout 6.0ip 5h 3er 3bb 0k (4.29ERA).

  20 AUGUST 2012 - BALFOUR SAVES 11th - BRANDON BARNES #1!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour



Brandon Barnes

Hard throwing Aussie GRANT BALFOUR threw six successive strikes to polish off the Oakland Athletics latest 8-5 win over the Cleveland Indians. By retiring the last batter of the game with 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (2.56ERA) Grant registered his 11th save of the 2012 season. Balfour was asked to get the final out with a runner on first and two out, which he did by pounding the strike zone to get Ezequiel Carrera struck out swinging on his sixth straight strike! It was a somewhat trademark outing for our seasoned right hander.

The previous day BALFOUR also enjoyed his recent return to the closer's role when he posted his tenth save to preserve Oakland's 6-4 win over the Indians with a sturdy 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k. In this game 'Balf' took over to shut down the top of the ninth and he did so in convincing fashion, starting with the strike out of leadoff hitter Shelley Duncan who was called out on strikes after five pitches. He then took care of pinch hitters Casey Kotchman, who popped out to third, and Jack Hannahan, who grounded out to the short stop.

It was Balfour's third save over three days.


Finally, our apologies that we were slowish to recognise that Sydney Blue Sox 2012 import outfielder BRANDON BARNES has recently become the first import player of the new ABL era to reach the US major leagues. Barnes, who made his big league debut with the Houston Astros in the past couple of weeks, has already homered and he featured on ESPN's popular Web Gems over the weekend. Playing at centre field for the Astros, Barnes was nominated for his running, diving and sprawling catch as he raced back to the warning track at Houston's Minute Maid Park. He snared the catch at full stretch just before reaching that controversial centre field "hill" that is thankfully unique to this stadium.

  16 AUGUST 2012 - BALFOUR SAVES 9th!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour

Aussie relief ace GRANT BALFOUR nailed down his ninth save by throwing 11 of 16 pitches for strikes when he closed out the Oakland Athletics' 3-0 win over the hosting Kansas City Royals. Grant's effort of 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (2.62ERA) began with leadoff hitter Salvador Perez who lined out to centre field after battling for an eight pitch at bat. He then got Mike Moustakas to foul out to the catcher and Jeff Francouer to line out to the short stop to end the contest.

The perennial "horse" of major league starting pitching KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997 lived up to his billing again with a typically workmanlike 7.0ip 8h 2er 1bb 8k (4.28ERA) as he helped the Seattle Mariners to edge past the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. 'Big Kev' was on the hook for the loss after giving up Tampa's only two runs in the top of the first inning, but he was taken off the hook for a no-decision when the Mariners rallied late for two game winning runs in the bottom of the ninth!

  12 AUGUST 2012 - BLACKLEY BATTLES & BALFOUR SAVES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley


Grant Balfour

Back in the starting rotation for the Oakland Athletics, Australia's TRAVIS BLACKLEY continued to ride the roller coaster of big league pitching with a rugged 5.0ip 6h 5er 1bb 6k (3.66ERA), even though his team still recorded a 9-7 win over the Chicago White Sox. At the other end of the game his compatriot and team mate GRANT BALFOUR chimed in to close the game with his eighth save of the season after firing 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (2.67ERA).  BOT1: Only a two out walk to Adam Dunn punctuated a clean inning.
BOT2: The trouble started for Travis with a leadoff single by A.J Pierzynski and a double by Alexei Ramirez to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Pierzynski scored on a ground out to short and Ramirez scored on a Tyler Flowers double to right field. After flinging a wild pitch Blackley steadied to get the next two outs without addition to the score.  BOT3: After his team rallied for a 5-2 lead Travis pitched a very tidy 1-2-3 inning with Youkilis and Dunn both struck out swinging to start the frame.  BOT4: After snaring a couple of outs, Dayan Viciedo doubled to left field and Tyler Flowers pounced again with a RBI single to right.  BOT5: After putting the leadoff batter, Alejandro De Aza, aboard with a hit by pitch, the inevitable followed when Kevin Youkilis pounded a two run home over centre field to narrow the lead to 6-5. That was all for Blackley on this day and he was consigned to a no-decision when the White Sox briefly took the lead in later innings.
By the time that Balfour was called from the bullpen for the bottom of the ninth Oakland was back on top leading 9-7 and he kept it that way. He began by getting some retribution for Blackley by "plunking" Kevin Youkilis to put the leadoff batter aboard, but he made sure that things got no closer by getting Adam Dunn to fly out to left, Alex Rios to strike out swinging and A.J Pierzynski to line out to the short stop.
However you look at it the Aussie duo finally came out on the winning side of the ledger.

  9 AUG 2012 - BALFOUR TAKEN DEEP IN A's WIN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

In a high scoring game Aussie GRANT BALFOUR was unable to escape unscathed when he pitched another inning of late relief for the Oakland Athletics who scraped home 9-8 over the visiting Los Angeles Angels at the Oakland Coliseum. Grant was customarily tidy with 13 of his 18 pitches thrown for strikes, but a home run ball left him with the pitching line of 1.0ip 1h 1er 0bb 2k (2.72ERA).
'Balf' took over to hurl the top of the seventh with his A's leading handily 9-5 but he had the daunting task of pitching to the power bats in the Angels lineup. He cleared the first major hurdle with future first ballot Hall Of Famer Albert Pujols struck out swinging but the equally powerful Mark Trumbo took him deep for a solo homer over left centre on a 2-1 count. There was no further addition to the score when Kendrys Morales was called out on strikes with a full count and Albert Callaspo lined out to the first baseman to end the inning. In truth he didn't do much wrong apart from the one pitch that left the yard.

  8 AUGUST 2012 - BLACKLEY BATTLES IN BIG WIN FOR A's!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley

Australia's TRAVIS BLACKLEY has enjoyed terrific success, mainly as a starting pitcher, since joining the Oakland Athletics this season, but he picked a pretty good time to have a rare struggle in relief.
Travis pitched a relatively shaky 2.0ip 3h 3er 1bb 2k (3.30ERA) for the A's who were already steaming toward a runaway 10-4 win over the visiting Los Angeles Angels. Blackley was already staked to a 10-1 lead in the game when he took over from Oakland starter Bartolo Colon for the eighth inning.
His third pitch saw Angels' rookie sensation Mike Trout spank a booming home run over straight-away centre field. He then steadied to get veteran Vernon Wells to fly out to centre field, Peter Bourjos struck out swinging and Mark Trombo to pop out to the second baseman. Back for the top of the ninth with a lead of 10-2, 'Trav' got leadoff batter Kendrys Morales to fly out to centre field before causing himself a problem by issuing Alberto Callaspo a five pitch walk. As they often do, the walk came back to haunt him when Erick Aybar followed with a two run homer over left field. Maicer Izturis flied out to left for the second out, then Bobby Wilson poked a single into shallow left field. Blackley's day concluded on a positive note when he extracted a bit of revenge from Mike Trout who followed his previous long ball by striking out swinging on three pitches to end the game. It's never nice to give up runs in any situation, yet the big lead called for Travis to pound the strike zone and, in context, he did his job reasonably well.

  5 AUGUST 2012 - BLACKLEY WINS & BALFOUR HOLDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley


Grant Balfour



Kevin Millwood

It was not the fault of Aussie reliever GRANT BALFOUR that his Oakland Athletics were overrun and beaten in extra innings with a 1-3 defeat by the Toronto Blue Jays after eleven frames. In fact, Grant was on hand to register his 15th hold of the season with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (2.60ERA) when he preserved the A's 1-0 lead at the time. Balfour was entrusted with the top of the eighth and he did the job most efficiently with a tidy three up, three down inning of work. He got Adeiny Hechavarria to pop out to the short stop, Yunel Escobar to fly out to right field and Kelly Johnson to ground out to the first baseman. Unfortunately for him and his team David Cooper's solo home run tied the game in the top of the ninth to snatch the win from under the nose of his Oakland team.

The previous day BALFOUR recorded his 14th hold and TRAVIS BLACKLEY swooped for his fourth win when the Oakland Athletics outlasted the Toronto Blue Jays in a 15 inning epic. Our Aussies contributed five scoreless innings between them as genuine keys to the team success. Grant pitched 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k (2.63ERA) while Travis closed out the victory with 3.0ip 1h 0er 2bb 2k to take his record to 4-3, 3.01ERA. Balfour relieved Oakland's starter for the top of the seventh which ended quickly with Rajai Davis grounding out to the third baseman, Jeff Mathis grounding out to the mound and Anthony Gose struck out swinging. He also hurled a rapid-fire eighth with Omar Vizquel lining out to centre, followed by Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion who were both struck out swinging. Blackley took over to finish the game from the top of the 13th and he had to deal with an immediate base runner when Yunel Escobar singled into left field. There was no real threat when Yan Gomes popped out to the first baseman, Rajai Davis grounded into a fielder's choice to the short stop and was then picked off on the very next pitch. Back for the 14th, 'Trav' made short work of the inning with Jeff Mathis grounding out to short, Anthony Gose grounding out to first and veteran Omar Vizquel called out on strikes. There was some concern in the top of the 15th when Aaron Loup grounded out to short ahead of Edwin Encarnacion milking a five pitch one out walk. Encarnacion stole second base, but Kelly Johnson made the second out when he was struck out looking. Blackley then issued an intentional walk to Yunel Escobar that proved to be a good strategy when he escaped the inning with Yan Gomes grounding into a fielder's choice to the short stop. He scooped the win when Oakland scored the walkoff winner in the bottom of the 15th.

Evergreen former ABL import KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) took another loss with 6.0ip 9h 4er 1bb 3k for the Seattle Mariners who were doubled 3-6 by the New York Yankees. His record fell to 4-9, 4.01ERA.

  2 AUG 2012 - BALFOUR STRONG IN LOSS TO RAYS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

Live arm Aussie GRANT BALFOUR was back in the role of closer for the Oakland Athletics, but perhaps not in the way it was intended when he was originally set to be the shut-down man at the end of a winning game. On this occasion Grant was asked to handle the last inning of a game that was already headed for the loss column with the Tampa Bay Rays leading by what proved to be the final score of 4-1.
Balfour was strong enough in the top of the ninth with 12 of 16 pitches thrown for strikes for his line of 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 2k (2.76ERA). After disposing of leadoff batter Elliot Johnson, who grounded out to short stop, Balfour was faced with a runner in scoring position with one out when Desmond Jennings rifled a double to right centre field. Grant then turned up the heat to have B.J Upton struck out swinging on three pitches and Ben Zobrist called out on strikes after four pitches. He had made fairly light work of the top of the Rays lineup to give his team a chance to rally in the last.

 

If anyone takes the trouble to contact us with any reasonably substantiated news of interest to AMLB supporters, we will publish this news on this site! Click these to contact Adrian Dunn or Peter Flintoff.