The Buffalo Bisons will attempt to put the brakes on a two-game losing streak when they open the 2012 home schedule today (2 p.m., Radio 1520) against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Coca-Cola Field.
The Herd (3-3) comes home after Tuesday afternoon's 5-3 loss to the Red Wings at Frontier Field in Rochester. Brian Dinkelman's three-run homer in the sixth inning won it for the Wings.
Buffalo fans will see a matchup of big-name right-handed prospects in today's opener as Jeurys Familia (0-0) pitches for the Herd against Scranton's Dellin Betances (0-0), a 6-foot-8, 260-pounder.
Chris Schwinden (1-0), Buffalo's most valuable pitcher last season, faces Scranton's Manny Banuelos (0-1) Thursday at 1:05. Banuelos, a 21-year-old left-hander, was chosen as the top prospect in the Yankees' system by MLB.com.
Familia, 22, is the hard-throwing Dominican at the top of the Buffalo rotation along with former Mets No. 1 draft pick Matt Harvey. He got a no-decision Friday at Pawtucket, allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
Betances and Banuelos are the marquee pitching prospects in the Yankees system.
Betances was born in New York City, 22 days before Coca-Cola Field opened on April 14, 1988. A life-long Yankees fan who often sat in the old Yankee Stadium bleachers, Betances was raised in Manhattan and Brooklyn before the Bronx Bombers made him an eighth-round draft pick in 2006.
Betances got a no-decision in his first start, a 6-5 loss Friday at Lehigh Valley. He threw five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and just one walk. He topped out at 95 mph with his fastball. Betances was 8-1 at Class A Tampa in 2010 but just 4-9 last year between Scranton and Double-A Trenton. He entered this season with career minor-league totals of 497 strikeouts in just 431 innings.
Banuelos, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, was 6-7 last year between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 125 in 129 innings. He lost his first start at Lehigh Valley, giving up four runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Valentino Pascucci's third homer of the season gave the Bisons a 2-0 lead in the first. Dinkelman's homer off reliever Jeff Stevens (0-1) with two out in the seventh erased a 3-2 Buffalo lead.