Monday, December 8, 2014

BoS Week 2 (National League)


Gio Gonzalez & the rest of the Cavemen rotation: Clubbing the competition.

A round of divisional match-ups in the N.L.


The Hannibal Cavemen will enter Week 3 tied with Holland on top of the N.L. East, after edging Holland 3-2 in their division match-up. All the games were close, in which at one point Holland led the series 2-1. Hannibal can thank their pitching, which from the start of the season has been lights out (2.23 team ERA), while it's bullpen has posted a 1.76 ERA. The ace Gio Gonzalez has looked solid, 2-1, 1.57 ERA & 22 K's in 23 innings -- while Travis Wood (1-0, 1.13 ERA & 9 K's) and Jon Lester (2-0, 1.62 ERA, 10 K's) have looked great in their two starts for the Cavemen. Homer Bailey is no slouch with his 2.35 ERA (still looking for his first win). The lineup is still trying to find it's way, in which after it's top two hitters (Justin Upton & James Loney) is a crap-shoot -- the team's lineup should improve with the likes of Manny Machado, Troy Tulowitzki, Buster Posey & Pablo Sandoval. The team currently has a .220 batting average & .653 OPS.

The Holland Hitchhikers' lineup made a huge splash in Week 1, with their power display of home runs -- the lineup continued to hit, while the HR's took a momentarily side seat. Holland is batting .280 this season, led by rookie Evan Gattis (.304, 6 HR, 13 RBI & 1.121 OPS). Martin Prado continues to get on base, he's batting .302 with a OPS of .950, he leads the league with 12 runs. Eric Hosmer, Josh Reddick (leads N.L. with .367 BA) & Maicer Izturis have also been in the offensive mix, while Bryce Harper (who has had a problem of consistency) disappeared. The team's rotation has not pitched to their capability, Matt Moore (1-0, 1.72 ERA, 10 K's in 15.2 IP) & Jose Fernandez (2-1, 3.91 ERA, 30 K's in 23 IP) have done their part, while Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 6.57 ERA) & Mike Minor (1-0, 5.73 ERA) have floundered. The bullpen has got a lot of work, while looking sharp with a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings.

The Traverse City Panthers edged the defending division champs Urbana, 3-2 in their series. Panthers have looked much better than their 46-win version of last season, but still have a lot of work to do. The club's pitching has not been as good as it could be, with a 3.96 (ranked 6th) and batting a league-worst .210 (8th) -- while the team is in the negative end of score differential (-10). With all that, the team sits slightly below .500 at 5-6. Josh Donaldson & Brandon Belt has been their most consistent hitters the past two weeks, while Giancarlo Stanton has been a huge disappointment. Hunter Pence added 2 HR's and is showing some life, raising his average by a hundred points to .156 this season. Pence had a horrible season last year for Boston & T.C., batting .163, 10 HR & 40 RBI in 398 at-bats! The bullpen for the time being, is the strongest part of their pitching staff with a 2.68 ERA, who are starting to log a lot of innings -- 37 innings, the equivalent of four full games (Panthers have only played 11 games).

The Urbana Locomotives played better against Traverse City than in their opening week, it's hard to say how much better. Their starting pitching was their strong suit last season, this year they knew it would be different with a decreasing pitching grades to their staff, including David Price. They probably would be in tougher shape if they didn't make a trade with Chicago to acquire Jeff Samardzija and Ubaldo Jimenez. Samardzija has looked good in his two outings with a 1-1 start that includes a 2.70 ERA & 12 K's in 13.1 IP, while Price continues to ignore his grade, by going 1-0, 2.76 ERA & 13 K's in 16.1 innings. Urbana's staff has a 4.15 ERA, while the team's lineup is batting .213 (both 7th in N.L.). Adrian Beltre is off to a good start, trying to defend his N.L. MVP title, batting .300, with 2 HR & 8 RBI.

The San Diego Heroes have to love where they sit right now. The team lost a close 3-2 series, with the N.L. West Division Champs Portland, while the team ranks 2nd in batting (.247) & 3rd in pitching (3.16 ERA). The team will tell you that there is work to do, their batting average (although 2nd) is eclipsed by Holland (.280, by 23 points), while Holland is scoring almost a whole run per game (0.9) more than San Diego. San Diego can brag that they lead the entire BoS in HR's (20), led by Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista & Nelson Cruz with 3 a piece. The team's OPS dropped off a bit in the second series, in which instead of 5 players, have only 3 players over a 1.000 OPS in Bautista & Cruz (although Cruz has done it only 23 AB's). Andrew Cashner (1-1, 1.77 ERA & 16 K's) and Tyson Ross (1-0, 2.57 ERA & 19 K's in 14 IP) continue to pitch well for the Heroes. The bullpen has pitched well in 29.1 innings, with a 2.45 ERA, 3 SV & 3-1 record, they do have 3 blown saves though.

The Portland Microbrewers find themselves a half-game back out of first, after taking 3 of 5 from San Diego. Portland currently ranks 4th in both batting & pitching, while among the top teams in fielding at .989 (Traverse City is #1 with a .994 fielding pct). The team's pitching is definitely better than they have shown so far, as the Brew Crew pitchers left their opponents batting a second-worst .216 against them; also a league-low 72 hits allowed. Hisashi Iwakuma seems poised for an all-star season, with 2-0, 2.13 ERA record & 21 strike outs in 25.1 innings. Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.14 ERA & 17 K's) & Bartolo Colon (0-1, 3.29 ERA & 11 K's) have looked pretty good in their two starts, while Anibal Sanchez (4.38 ERA) needs to improve. The team's bullpen has a 2.45 ERA, but only one save (Mark Melancon) in one try. Freddie Freeman (.323, 2 HR & 6 RBI), up to this point, is the team's offensive leader. Portland hosts a tough team in Hannibal next, expect a bunch of pitching duels.

The King Road Kings nearly swept Seattle at home, and find themselves in 3rd, only one game out of first. The team's pitching is 2nd in the league with a 3.06 ERA, despite the fact that Chris Sale (4.05 ERA) has not started rolling yet. Clayton Kershaw has gone up another level with a 0.95 ERA & 17 K's in 19 innings for the Kings, while Ervin Santana (2.19 ERA) has been strong in his two starts. Michael Cuddyer & Daniel Murphy have been the Kings' best hitters; Cuddyer is batting .357 with 2 HR & 11 RBI, while Murphy is batting .333 with a HR & 7 RBI. The Kings just need to get Josh Hamilton going, he is only batting .086 (3-for-35) with a HR & 5 RBI -- his OPS is dragging on the ocean floor at .307.

The Seattle Rainiers are trying to find answers to their many questions -- One of the big questions, what's going on with Max Scherzer? Scherzer is currently 1-2, with a 6.10 ERA, even though he does have 28 K's in 20 innings (also has allowed too many walks, with nine). They do have some things to be happy about: Mike Carp is batting .357, added another HR (3), with 8 RBI,  Wil Myers in limited play (6 games) is batting .429, 1 HR & 7 RBI in only 21 at-bats, while Brett Gardner & Jose Iglesias is batting over .300. Now the bad, the team's ERA is 5.97, while their stars in the lineup are all struggling: Jose Altuve (.194), Yoenis Cespedes (.190), Prince Fielder (.154), Evan Longoria (.150) & Jonathan Lucroy (.118) are among the bottom 6 players on the team in batting average. The possible good news is that some of these guys will turn it around? I mean it can't get worse, can it?


The Traverse City Panthers and Holland Hitchhikers conducted a trade, in which the Panthers acquired left-hand relief pitcher Sean Doolittle in exchange for Traverse City's 2015 3rd Round Draft Pick. The Panthers addressed their need for a lefty, they felt the need to make a deal necessary since they had no on their entire pitching staff. General Manager/Manager Shawn Baier was quoted on saying,"A small oversight on our part. I feel we needed to acquire a lefty before the end of the season, it was already effecting our early series, Sean will fit right in, in fact we may try to acquire another southpaw before too long".

*** This concludes the N.L. Highlights of Week 2 ***

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