Born in Ohio and raised in the South, I'm a diehard Cleveland sports fan. I pass on NASCAR, play any sport but soccer and can't understand why the NFL is so undervalued in the Southeast. My favorite sport is basketball. I was a sports writer at the Columbia County News-Times from 2005 to 2007 before becoming Minor League Sports Writer at the Augusta Chronicle in December 2007.
Posted June 26, 2012 01:30 am - Updated June 26, 2012 03:19 pm

GreenJackets Gameday: Lucky dogs

Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) vs. Asheville Tourists (Rockies)

WHEN: today, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Lake Olmstead Stadium: directions
WEATHER: Partly cloudy and 83 degrees at game time with a 20 percent chance of rain: forecast
PROMOTION: Two for Tuesdays. Drinks are two for the price of one.
TICKETS: Start at $7. Call the box office at (706) 922-WINS or visit
IN-GAME UPDATES: On Twitter (@BillyByler) or receive text alerts on your phone.
STANDINGS: Augusta 4-1, 36-38 (t1st SAL Southern); Asheville 1-4, 48-27 (t6th SAL Southern)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Asheville leads the season series 4-1. Augusta leads the current series 1-0.
PROBABLE STARTERS: GreenJackets RHP Paul Davis (3-2, 4.20) vs. Tourists RHP Ben Alsup (7-3, 4.94).


It appears that the GreenJackets have a mascot. She's a lucky dog, and this team, which has won four of five second-half games all by one run each, has a little luck going its way as well.


Check the photo above to see the sweet little dog who wandered into the stadium earlier this week and befriended the groundskeepers. She's a timid, quiet dog and, according to head groundskeeper Zack Baker, is in need of a new home. Shoot me an e-mail at if you're interested in taking her in. The GreenJackets haven't lost since she showed up, so she's clearly a better pet than a fish with the exception that a fish won't leave a present in shallow right field during batting practice. Oops.


I know I keep emphasizing the increase in quality starting pitching, which continued Monday night with seven innings from Edwin Escobar. So I'll stick to the offensive side for a bit. Brett Krill - 2 for 4 Monday with an RBI - is now 11 for 16 through the five games since the all-star break. San Francisco Giants coordinator of minor league instruction Shane Turner is in town and has been working with Krill and the other hitters. The GreenJackets have gone from the worst hitting team in the league earlier this year to posting the league's second-best batting average (.278) in June.


Defensively, catcher Joe Staley took some groundballs at first base during batting practice Monday. Tommy Joseph, a second-round draft pick and GreenJackets catcher in 2010, did the same thing when he was here. It's no surprise for young catching prospects to be encouraged to refine their skills at first base in an organization that has a 25-year-old catcher solidified in its big league lineup. Call it the Buster Posey effect. Manager Lipso Nava said Staley may see some time at first base this year, but don't expect him to make a permanent move away from catching.


On the mound, Paul Davis gets the start tonight. He's a reliever who was supposed to make a one-time spot start last week, but it appears he may be staying in the starting rotation a little longer. The GreenJackets are currently using a six-man rotation even though many other teams use just five. I think the young age of the starters has something to do with that. Clayton Blackburn (19-years-old), Kyle Crick (19), Adalberto Mejia (19) and Edwin Escobar (20) all have strong but young arms that certainly don't need to be overworked so early in their careers. So Davis, who is an impressive middle reliever, will get the start today. I don't expect to see him last six or seven innings like the other starters have. He's still used to coming out of the bullpen and in this new summer heat wave, Nava will probably be pleased with four or five quality innings.