May 31, 2011

Thunder 6, Sea Dogs 4: A lead, and then the bullpen

Again, the relievers provide little relief as the Sea Dogs drop to 14-34 while having the worst month in franchise history.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Have you heard this one before?

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Vladimir Frias, the shortstop for the Portland Sea Dogs, gets an opportunity to show off his arm Monday while making a leaping throw to first base during the Memorial Day game against the Trenton Thunder at Hadlock Field. Trenton rallied for a 6-4 victory.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Alex Wilson, the starter for the Portland Sea Dogs, left after throwing 87 pitches over five innings Monday against the Trenton Thunder. He has allowed three or fewer runs in his last five starts but is 0-2 during that span.

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WHO: Sea Dogs (Miguel Gonzalez 0-2 and TBA) at New Britain Rock Cats (Brett Jacobson 1-0 and TBA)

WHEN: 5 p.m.

Portland Sea Dogs starter does well. But the bullpen can't hold the lead.

A day after the Sea Dogs wasted Michael Lee's shutout performance, Portland couldn't take advantage of Alex Wilson's effort.

Wilson left after five innings and a 3-2 lead, but the Trenton Thunder rallied for a 6-4 victory Monday before 5,279 at Hadlock Field.

Wilson, 24, wasn't dominant – the Thunder got at least one hit in every inning – but he managed the game well, scattering eight hits, allowing only two to score. He struck out two and walked only one, but his pitch count hit 87.

"He had real good stuff today," Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. A fastball with velocity (up to 96 mph) and a feel for his slider. But they worked the count on him."

In the past five games, Wilson has allowed three or fewer runs but is 0-2 in that span. His overall ERA is 2.92.

The Sea Dogs backed Wilson by getting three runs off Trenton ace Dellin Betances, the most earned runs he has allowed all year.

Ryan Lavarnway hit his 11th home run of the year, a two-run shot to left-center in the first inning.

In the third, Jon Hee doubled and scored on Tim Federowicz's RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Federowicz had three singles in the game.

Trenton scored in the fourth – Cody Johnson's third home run of the season – and in the fifth on three singles.

Sea Dogs reliever Kyle Fernandes (0-2) got out of a two-walk jam in the sixth but couldn't escape the seventh. Trenton loaded the bases with one out on a double, single and walk.

Johnson came up and nearly got the slam. He launched a two-run double to the right-field wall for a 4-3 lead. Jose Gil followed with a two-run double.

Fernandes had been one of Portland's more reliable relievers with a 1.29 ERA before Monday.

"He just had a lack of command today, missing pitches up in the zone," Boles said.

Portland got one run back on Vladimir Frias' double in the seventh.

The Sea Dogs put runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth, but Oscar Tejeda struck out.

Portland dropped to 14-34. Trenton is 31-19.


NOTES: Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was out of the lineup a day after taking a hard bouncer off his right hand. Tests revealed no fractures and Middlebrooks expects to be back in action soon. New pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller worked out with the team before Monday's game but hasn't been added to the roster. That could happen today when the Sea Dogs play a doubleheader in New Britain.

Portland embarks on a seven-game, six-day trip starting today. The Sea Dogs will bus to New Britain, Conn., then to Altoona, Pa. After a day off next Monday, they will resume home games June 7. Portland is 6-23 in May, already setting a record for the worst month in franchise history. The Sea Dogs wore their camouflage hats in honor of Memorial Day.

Most of the Sea Dogs were sporting freshly shaven faces now that their "Mustache May" promotion is winding down. The players were helping to raise money with pledges for the Maine Children's Cancer Program. To donate, find the Strike Out Cancer in Kids page under the community section at


Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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Additional Photos

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Ryan Lavarnway of the Sea Dogs is welcomed by teammates after hitting a two-run homer in the first inning off Trenton starter Dellin Betances.


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