The Beavers went 4-and-3 on the week, evening their season record at 9-and-9. The team is two games behind division leaders Salt Lake.
Although the club's .262 average is middle of the pack and their 76 walks and 22 homeruns are each good for second, the team has plated just 90 runs, putting them in the bottom third for the league. Justin Leone continues to lead the league in many offensive categories, including all three triple-crown stats, slugging and on-base percentage, and runs scored. No other hitter is among league leaders.
The pitching staff continue to sport the worst ERA in the league, although they have shaved almost a full run off in the last week and brought it down to 5.46. Aquilino Lopez remains the only Beaver on the league leader boards, with nine appearances and five home runs.
Names of note: Paul McAnulty, who has hit in eight straight, has jumped his average 103 points in the week. He was 14-for-29 over the stretch and hit his first homer of the year among five extra-base hits. He continues to show good plate discipline with 12 walks against only eight strikeouts. … Jon Adkins returned to Portland after a six day stint with the Padres. Brian Sikorski filled in as the closer in his absence and earned the save in three consecutive appearances. … Manny Alexander finally arrived in Portland after a short stint in Arizona to get in game shape. With his arrival, Ricky Gutierrez was released.
After dropping six of eight games, the BayBears now sit at the bottom of the Southern League's South division with a 7-12 record. The team lost three of four to both Chattanooga and Huntsville.
It's easy to understand how they got to the cellar. The team' 3.97 ERA is at the bottom of the 10-team league and their anemic .220 average is the second-worst.
At the plate, the team's 169 strikeouts are the worst in the league, as are their four stolen bases. Drew Macias and Steve Baker lead the team with a .290 average, well off the league's leaders. George Kottaras, with three homers, and Brett Bonvechio and his 10 RBIs pace the club in those categories. Six members of the team have struck out at least 15 times already.
Although there have been several better individual performers on the mound, the team's 3.96 ERA is dead last in the Southern League. Starter Jared Wells has 24 strikeouts, good for third overall and also sports one of three complete games thus far. Closer Dale Thayer has yielded a .333 average against but nonetheless is second in the league with four saves.
Names of note: Roger Deago, who has a 2.03 ERA on the year, had a successful transition to the rotation this week, yielding only two hits and one run in five innings. … Bubba Nelson's move wasn't as successful. The righty who had a 2.70 ERA in relief, gave up five earned runs over just 3.1 innings on Sunday. … Macias was 11-for-32 on the week with five doubles to raise his slugging percentage to .429. Kottaras, at .564, is the only BayBear over .500.
The Storm went 3-4 on the week while facing the top two teams in the league. While they split four games with Rancho Cucamonga, they were blanked in back-to-back games by San Jose and were able to win only the series finale. The squad is now 9-8, tied with Inland Empire two games behind the division-leading Quakes.
The strength of the team thus far has been the pitching staff, which leads the league with a 2.93 ERA. They are the only team with a sub-three total. Mike Ekstrom and Cesar Ramos, at 1.69 each, and Evan Meek at 2.16 all rank in the league's top 10. Ekstrom's team-leading 23 strikeouts is also in the top five. On the flip-side, Evan Meek's 15 free passes is tied for the league lead.
At the plate, only the hapless Stockton Ports have been less effective. The Storm have hit just .239 and scored only four runs a game. Their seven home runs are last on the circuit as are their nine stolen bases.
Colt Morton remains among league-leaders in extra-base hits, doubles, on-base percentage and runs scored. No other member of the team ranks among league leaders.
Names of note: Five of the team's nine stolen bases belong to players on the shelf with injuries. Josh Howard, out with a hand injury, has swiped three while Yordany Ramirez has a pair. … Chase Headley was 8-for-26 on the week, up from the .216 average he had previously. Four of his five extra-base hits have come from the left side, where he is hitting .286. Against lefties, he is hitting .095. … Headley is one of seven Storm players who have recorded more strikeouts than hits on the year. … Centerfielder Javis Diaz joined the club to replace Howard, who was put on the DL. Although his defense in center is still a question mark, he adds speed to a roster otherwise significantly lacking it.
The Wizards were four and four over the last week, splitting a pair of four-game series against Burlington and Cedar Rapids. With a 10-7 record, they now sit in third place in the Eastern Division, two games behind the Lansing Lugnuts.
Fort Wayne leads the league with a .270 team average and 74 walks, helping them to second place with 97 runs scored. The attack has been a very balanced one, with six different players on the league leader boards.
Seth Johnston, is first in the league with a .373 average and 28 hits, and moved into a tie for second with 15 RBI. Will Venable is also in the top five for both average (.348) and on-base percentage (.426). The boppers are also doing their fair share with Daryl Jones still tied for second with three homers, Kyle Blanks on the board for doubles, extra-base hits and slugging percentage, and Mike Baxter tied for third with a pair of triples. Josh Alley is also second in the circuit with six stolen bases even though he has just seven hits.
On the mound, the team's pitchers have struggled to match the offense's success, posting a 3.83 ERA, nearly a run and a half behind Lansing. Grant Varnell, whose 2.61 ERA far-and-away leads the Wizard starters, is more than a run off the top 10. The back end of the bullpen – Alfredo Fernandez, Brandon Higelin, John Link and John Madden – has surrendered only a 1.74 ERA through 41.1 innings of work.
Names of note: Righty Joel Santo, who started 27 games for the Wizards last year, has struggled in his return to the team. In his first three outings from the pen, Santo has allowed 10 earned runs in just 5.1 innings of work. … At the other end of the spectrum, John Madden has allowed just five runners and no runs in 8.2 innings of work, and has converted both save opportunities since Neil Jamison was promoted. … Nic Crosta returned to the club this week after a late-spring ankle injury. The slugger has knocked three of his six hits for extra bases. … Josh Alley, who has only a .163 average on the year has drawn 15 walks to vault his on-base percentage to .379. He is one of four players on the squad whose on-base percentage is above his slugging percentage.