Bisons show winning form in first homestand
by Andrew Kulyk (@akulykUSRT) - posted 8:08 pm, April 21, 2010
Don’t look now, but the Buffalo Bisons are actually putting together a winning attitude around the clubhouse and on the field, and if the first homestand is any indication, fans coming to Coca Cola Field this summer will be entertained by their home team and should have a competitive team to root for.
The Bisons faced Pawtucket and Scranton Wilkes-Barre in the first seven home games of the 2010 campaign. One game was wiped out due to fog, but Buffalo managed to post a 4-2 record on the week, including a satisfying offensive show before a huge Opening Day crowd, a win over the Daisuke Matsuzaka led PawSox, with Dice-K appearing here on a rehabilitation start, and a 2-2 split with the Yankees.
So how are the Bisons doing it? “It’s a combination of a few things,” said Manager Ken Oberkfell. “Good pitching, coming up with the big inning, and a veteran presence with guys who can do damage at the plate.”
Indeed, the veteran Mike Hessman has lived up to his billing and more since joining the Bisons. A longtime star and former MVP in the International League, Hessman has amassed a .359 average, has belted 4 home runs, and has driven in 13 runs, good for second place in the league.
Hessman has made the move from third base to first base, with the callup of prospect Ike Davis to the New York Mets, a move that wasn’t expected to happen until July at the earliest. “I’m real happy for Ike,” said Oberkfell. “He’s done well for us here in that short time and he’s earned that opportunity.”
The Bisons made that “big inning” count in a special way at the sun drenched opener. Buffalo put together a 3 run second inning, then a 4 run sixth, enroute to an 8-2 victory. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched the complete game for the Bisons, and was phenomenal.
In fact, the entire Bisons pitching staff has been spot on this season, taking first place in the league in team pitching. So it was sort of out of character watching the bullpen blow up on Monday against Scranton, as the Bisons gave up five walks and five runs in the top of the 9th inning, losing the game 7-2 and wasting another great starting outing by Dickey. “These guys are only human, these things are bound to happen from time to time,” replied Oberkfell, unfazed by the rare flaw by his pitchers.
The Bisons have drawn some great crowds for mostly day baseball on the first homestand. The team is in Rochester, then Pawtucket, before returning home to face the Durham Bulls starting next Tuesday, with a week of 6;05PM starts, including the popular Fridaynightbash with postgame fireworks.