July 13, 2011

Five Sea Dogs get their day

Portland's talent shines through despite its record as five players are named league All-Stars.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

They are 16 1/2 games out of first place in the Eastern League East Division, but the Portland Sea Dogs will be well represented in the league's annual All-Star game at 7 tonight at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, N.H.

click image to enlarge

Starting pitcher Stephen Fife (10-3, 3.59 ERA) was one of five Sea Dogs named to the Eastern League All-Star game.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

EL ALL-STAR GAME

WHEN: 7:05 p.m. today

WHERE: Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, Manchester, N.H.

SEA DOGS SELECTED: Pitchers Stephen Fife and Alex Wilson; outfielders Chih-Hsien Chiang and Alex Hassan, and infielder Will Middlebrooks

Portland will have five players in uniform, second only to host New Hampshire's six players on the East team.

The five Sea Dogs reflect a theme that Manager Kevin Boles has reiterated. His team has a lousy record, but a roster with solid players.

"We've had some real good stories here," Boles said.

Pitchers Alex Wilson and Stephen Fife, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang and Alex Hassan will play for the East.

Chiang leads the league in OPS (1.008) and is fourth in batting (.323). Hassan leads in on-base percentage (.434) and is fifth in OPS (.906). Middlebrooks is sixth in batting (.315) and 12th in OPS (.857).

Fife (10-3, 3.59 ERA) is tied for first in wins, while Wilson (8-4, 2.85 ERA) is seventh in ERA.

In the past, the Red Sox have been reluctant to let their starting pitchers participate in the game. Fife was named to last year's All-Star game but did not pitch, although reliever Jason Rice pitched an inning.

The last Sea Dogs starter to appear in the game was Chris Smith in 2006.

In 2005, when the game was held in Portland, the Red Sox did not allow Jon Lester to participate, which was understandable since he pitched two days before.

Fife last pitched on Sunday, throwing seven innings.

Wilson has not pitched since last Friday.

Mike Hazen, the Red Sox director of player development, said it will be up to East Manager Sal Fasano whether Fife and Wilson make it to the mound.

 

SOME OTHER TOP pitchers that will be at the game, but not participating, include the league's top pitcher, Harrisburg right-hander Brad Peacock (10-2, 2.01 ERA and 129 strikeouts).

He pitched an inning in All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in Phoenix.

Peacock was recently ranked 42nd among Baseball America's midseason list of the top 50 prospects in the minor leagues.

Four other Eastern League All-Stars were on that list – Erie pitcher Jacob Turner (11th), Trenton pitchers Manny Banuelos (13th) and Dellin Betances (26th) and New Hampshire catcher Travis d'Arnaud (29th).

 

THE HOME RUN DERBY will both precede and interrupt the game.

The early rounds of the derby will take place at 5 p.m.

The final will be held in the middle of the second inning. New Hampshire used the same format when it hosted the game in 2008.

It guarantees a big crowd for the final, although it certainly disrupts the flow of the game.

None of the six derby participants are from Portland. The six are New Hampshire's Mike McDade (14 home runs this year) and Moises Sierra (13), Reading's Matt Rizzotti (17), Harrisburg's Tyler Moore (18) and Archie Gilbert (10), and Erie's Francisco Martinez (seven).

McDade, a switch-hitter, and the left-handed Rizzotti are the favorites, given the short right field in Manchester – 306 feet down the line.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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