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 September 2, 2012 12:09 am - Updated September 2, 2012 12:10 am

GreenJackets Gameday: 'We're better than this'

Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) vs. Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees)

WHEN: today, 5:35 p.m.
WHERE: Lake Olmstead Stadium: directions
WEATHER: Isolated thunderstorms and 86 degrees at game time with a 30 percent chance of rain: forecast
PROMOTION: Kids Eat Free Sundays. Children 12-and-under receive a free small drink, chips and hot dog with the price of admission.
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 37-31, 69-68 (3rd SAL Southern); Charleston 32-35, 71-63 (4th SAL Southern)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Charleston leads the season series 9-7 and the current series 2-0.
PROBABLE STARTERS: GreenJackets RHP Kevin Couture (2-6, 2.73) vs. RiverDogs RHP Brett Gerritse (4-5, 4.03).


It was hard not to assume. The GreenJackets were eliminated from playoff contention Friday night. On Saturday, they appeared to mail it in. The bullpen walked and wild pitched its way to seven runs allowed over the final two innings. On a team with the second-best staff ERA in the league, this was just flat out ugly.


Manager Lipso Nava didn't attack his team's heart, effort or motivation. He said he didn't question it at all, but he was still frustrated with the outcome. He stressed the importance of finishing a season strong, even when the games no longer matter. How you finish, basically, sets the tone for what kind of offseason you'll have.


This team is facing a bit of an uphill battle this weekend after all-star outfielder Shawn Payne, starting catcher Jeff Arnold and league strikeouts leader Clayton Blackburn were shipped to San Jose Saturday morning. Augusta did get infielder Travious Relaford from the Arizona Rookie League, but that still leaves just 23 players on the active roster.

If the team needs something to play for, try this. Since the GreenJackets became a San Francisco Giants affiliate in 2005, the team has posted a winning record every year. That streak is now in jeopardy. With two games left, the team needs one win to guarantee an eighth consecutive winning season.

During the bullpen implosion last night, Nava told me that backup catcher Myles Schroder was warming up and would have come into pitch had Neff not been able to get out of the ninth inning. Schroder wasn't used in the game, but he may get the call today or Monday. If Kevin Couture gets into trouble today, the bullpen isn't exactly fresh enough to take over six or seven innings.