2019 Fly-By-Night Team Article Archive


BATON ROUGE NOTES - 3-23

The Bullets finished the first round of games at 5-15 -- one of the worst starts in Bullet history. This is after playing all three of what Ed says are horrible AL teams. We get to play the good and great teams in the next round -- oh joy. Team batting average -- .230. Team ERA -- 5.11. We have hit 8 home runs, given up 24. What I thought would be my two best starters -- Roark and Lucchesi -- have ERAs of 6.5 and 12.0 after 4 starts. The team has scored a TOTAL of 0 runs in Roark's 4 starts. The worst ever Bullet season of 51 wins is in serious jeopardy.

 

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89ER NOTES - 3-26

Report Card for block one from the School Yard.
After starting the block with 2 wins against Norwich we went on a 5 game losing streak losing the last 2 to Norwich and the first three against Taxachusetts. We snapped the losing streak with winning game 4 at Taxachusetts and wining the first game against Klee's. We lost two of the next three against Klee's to fall to 5-7. Next up was Burlington. We were lucky to take game one in 10 innings 7-6. Game two was another one run victory 6-5. We took the last two games to sweep Burlington and be on a 4 game winning streak heading into our series with New England. In game four in the 4th inning Robinson Cano connected for a single. That was Cano's 2300th hit.

At New England game one saw the team hit 6 homeruns to take game one 9-4. In game two after blowing a 3 run lead we bounced back in the top of the 9th to win another 1 run game, 7-6. Game 3 we were down 4-1 to the 7th when with two outs the team scored 5 runs capped off by Jose Ramirez' 3-R homerun. We took game 4 4-2 to end the block on an eight game winning streak. Both Eddie Rosario and Josh Reddick had 6 game hitting streaks stop in this series. Also, a strange note, New England played the entire series without a BPHR chance.

Player and team Stats:
After being out homered 15-10 in the first two series the team has recover and now is leading with 34 HR's to 28. The power has come from Jose Ramierz and Josh Reddick, both with 6 HR's. Ramierz also leads the team with 14 runs scored. Jose Iglesias after a slow start (.143 after 8 games) leads the team with 6 doubles and is now hitting .263. He had a 5 game hitting streak snapped in game 1 with Burlington. A.J. Pollock leads the team with 15 RBI followed by Josh Reddick at 14. Eddie Rosario leads the team with a .385 average. Right on his heals is Josh Reddick at .379. Currently, J.D Martinez is on a 7 game hitting streak. The team’s longest this season.

Treavor Bauer 4-0 with a 3.72 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 29 innings leads the starters. Jhoulys Chacin 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 28 innings is next. He's followed by rookie Fernando Romero 2-1 with a 4.70 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 23 innings. Keone Kela heads up the bullpen. He's 0-1-5 and has done a nice job after going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA against Norwich. He has converted on his next 5 save opportunities and he has lower his ERA to 3.86. Rookie Reyes Moronta and free agent signee, Taylor Williams lead the team with 9 appearances each.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 3-30

After finishing 2 years in a row in 6th place and missing the playoffs 5 years in a row, CT management needed to make some significant changes. What was noticed was that the Top 5 teams in pitching the last 2 years in both leagues all made the playoffs . . except one team - Connecticut. The Blue Devils team ERA was in the Top 5 the last 2 years but that wasn't good enough to make the playoffs while all other 9 teams in the Top 5 made the playoffs. That clearly indicated the Blue Devil offense needed improvement. During the offseason, CT acquired 3 veterans - Freddie Freemen, Nelson Cruz and Carlos Gonzalez to hopefully give a jolt to the offense which was sorely lacking power production. Along with hopefully rebound years from Trevor Story, Stephen Piscotty and Rougned Odor, the Blue Devils should pack more punch than they've had in recent years. Coming back from a 2 or 3 run deficit shouldn't be as daunting a task this season.

The plan looked great so far as the 2019 season opened up. The Blue Devils went 10-2 in their first 3 series batting .290 as a team with 16 HR's and scoring 80 runs. Nelson Cruz showed no signs of aging batting .361 with 3 HR's and 11 RBI to lead the team. Freeman was his usual self - batting .341 and Story got off to a decent start with 3 HR's and 8 RBI. The pitching staff was solid with a 2.63 ERA and veteran Jake Arrieta, also acquired during the off season, showed his ability allowing just 2 runs in his first 2 starts just 9 hits, 2 walks and 14 K's.

Flying high, Connecticut then hosted Burlington and the balloon popped in a dismal netplay series. The Bucs scored 6 runs in the first inning of the first game and it was downhill from there. Burlington blasted HR's all over the place while the Blue Devils could not hit one HR despite 8 or 9 ballpark HR opportunities. Burlington outscored CT 24-8 in sweeping the series. Amazingly, there were actually 2 one run games that CT had opportunities to win late but couldn't get a big hit. And the final insult was getting 1 hit in the last game losing 4-0.

Despite the sweep, standing at 10-6 is a pretty solid start so CT management can't be too disappointed. One series left in Block 1 vs. the NE Angels . . . .

 

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89ER NOTES REPORT CARD- 4-15

News from the School Yard.
After 119 years West Broad Street School was closed on March 31st. This was a sad day for Pawcatuck residents and for the 89'ER fans. The 89'ERS are hoping that they will be able to continue to use the School Yard as their home field but that may not be the case. The sand lot in the back of the school where we played hard ball has already been paved over. The only area that is the same when we played there is the softball area.

As I remember back to the "good old days", the early '60's, we were not always allowed to play on the school grounds. We would get run off the playground by Principal Dixon during the school year and sometimes during the summer by the Stonington police. Back in those days the police station is on Liberty Street in Pawcatuck. Our parents were told that we made too much noise while we were playing baseball! Wow, just think, I guess we should have been trying to break into cars or doing some other good deeds like stealing stuff! But, those were different times. A school principal was the extreme ruler of the land. What he said was LAW. It wasn't until the 90's that Principal Dixon had a change of heart and started to let kids enjoy the playground. About ten years ago he saw my mom one day at the grocery store and started to tell her how wonderful things were at WBSS when he was principal. He had different memories then my mom. She said to him, "What do you mean? You kicked my son and his friends off the school grounds a number of times and you also called the police to have the kids removed from the ball field." I have to give it to my mom, she wasn't going to let him get away with anything. I wish I could have seen his face.

12 games into block 2
We split a tough series at home with Illinois winning game one 6-2 as Sabathia improved to (3-2). We lost game two as Sale pitched a great game for Illinois K'ing 9 in the 3-1 win for Illinois. We bounced back to win game 3 with 4 runs in the 8th in a 4-1 win. Game 4 was a tough loss as Illinois got a two out HR to tie the game in the 9th and in the 12th a two out single and RBI double did us in.

Next we got results from Maine, going 3-1. Sabathia seems to struggling in every other start as he got bombed in our only loss at Maine.

USJ then visited the School Yard. All 4 weather rolls were for Great weather! That made it 13 out of 16 games with Great weather! I'm whining to Bill and Harry that it had to be over 90 to 95 percent of my home games have been great weather (1-7 roll). Normally the yard should be 5-5, (8-19 roll) but with great weather it's 10-8. (Boy, I sure sounded like Roland, whining! "My season is over! This team sucks!" But, after doing the math it's only 81%. It just seems like 95%! LOL

We took game one 4-3, with a run in the bottom of the 9th. That was after blowing a 3-0 lead in the 8th. Crawford hit a tying 3-R BPHR (8 rolled). Dam the Great Weather. LOL. USJ came back in game two and pounded Sabathia and the pen 11-6. That's two bad starts in a row for CC. We did come back to win game 3, 7-5 after being down 3-0 after the 1st inning. Game 4 was a see-saw battle. Down 7-4 after three and down 8-7 after 6 we came back to score two in the 8th to go on to win, 9-8. Oh yeah, remember me complaining about the Great Weather? Well in the 8th Austin Wynns batting .067, 1-15, gets a BPHR chance with two outs and a man on base who had just doubled in front of him. Yep, lady luck. 8 was rolled for the ago ahead 2-R HR. Things seem to even themselves out in this game. The team improved to 21-11.

Who's Hot:
Eddie Rosario .465, 6D, 1HR, 11RBI.
AJ Pollock .326, 6R, 3HR, 8RBI
Trevor Bauer 1-0, 2.35ERA, 19K in 15.1 innings.
Keone Kela 1-0-4, 1.50ERA, 11K in 6 innings.

Who's Not:
Jose Iglesias from .295 to .233. He's only 7 for his last 42 at bats .167. "Hey, that's better than Chris Davis of the Orioles!"
CC Sabathia last two starts. 0-2, 10.80 ERA. 8.1 innings, 15H, 11R 10ER, 0HR, 6BB, 8K.
I asked our pitching coach, Al Jackson what could be CC's problem. "I think CC's problem is he can't get it up. He's just limp," said Jackson. I said All we are talking about his pitching right? "Sure we are. He's not throwing the hard lately. It's been all soft. "I'm not going to touch that, I'll just let what Al said speak for itself."

Next up:
"At" Connecticut as Dave does his three town travel trip to play us, USJ and Wall Street all on Tuesday the 16. We follow that with a home series with Hazardville on Thursday the 18th. Final series in block two with Wall Street TBA.

 

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JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 4-28

USJ 2018 Team ERA 7.62
USJ 2019 Team ERA 3.57

The Jarheads started the 2019 campaign with the same sad sack starting rotation that helped produce a 41 win season in 2018. We expected some improvement, just because you couldn't possibly be that Bad again. But some of the improvement is astounding.
'18 Clayton Richard 9-21, 8.86
'19 Clayton Richard 3- 4, 3.54 His last 2 Starts vs NN & NE 2-0, 15.1 IP, 8 hits, 1 run.

Matt Harvey from 11.28 to 5.17
Rick Porcello from 7.10 to 4.66
Wade Miley from 8.27 to 3.79

The Bullpen was fortifide through the draft with the additions of
Victor Arano 3.06 7 saves
Ryan Brasier 1-1, 1.00
Yoshi Hirano 6-1, 0.78
Ryne Stanek 1-0, 1.08
Tyler Cole 0-1, 3.06

The Team ERA is less than half of what it was last year.

But the offense is the same story again. Last year's .239 BA is matched by this years feeble effort of .238. What offense we have has been produced by the first overall pick:
Ronald Acuna .350 12d, t, 11hr, 32 rbi and
Mike Trout .303 8d, 15 hr, 31 rbi and 40 walks.

The rest of the team is doing next to nothing.
Justin Turner with 60/40 OBA card is batting.189.
AJ Ellis 49/45 OBA is batting .170
Grandal .206
Edwin E .213
Goldschmidt .250
Granderson .182
N Walker .160
J McNeil .260 on a .329 card.

The Jarheads started the season 9-11, but rebounded in the 2nd block going 16-8. Who knows how long the pitching can hold up, but if it does and the hitting can warm up a little, the Jarheads could be in the hunt for a playoff spot after a 121 loss season!

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 5-1

Connecticut finished a very successful 2nd block of the season including a sweep of Norwich, winning 3 games against Allyn Street, Illinois & Jarheads and splitting vs. Wall Street and Hazardville to go 17-7 and now sit at 28-16. However, optimism needs to be tempered as the Blue Devils were 27-17 last year at this point but struggled the rest of the season ultimately finishing in 6th place at 84-78.

Similar to last year, the pitching has been tremendous so far holding teams to 3.50 runs/game. In the last block, Blue Devil pitching allowed 2 or less runs in 13 games out of 24 and 3 runs or less in 17 out of 24 games! Zach Eflin has made major strides in his 2nd season as a starter going 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA and Mike Minor has made a successful transition from closer last year to starter this year going 4-1 3.28. Alex Wood leads the team with 5 wins and if you take away one brutal outing (10 runs in 3 innings), he would have a 2.68 ERA. Steve Cishek has taken over most of the closer duties with 10 saves. The only disappointment has been Jake Arrieta at 2-5 4.97. If he can round into form as expected - will be a tough group of starters. As a staff, the Blue Devils are approaching almost a 4 to 1 ratio of strikeouts to walks with 321 K's to just 87 walks.

Offensively, CT has been led by Trevor Story. Despite just a .242 BA, Story has been productive with 13 HR's, scoring 26 runs with 28 RBI. Stephen Piscotty has been similarly productive. Batting just .221, Piscotty has still scored 21 runs with 9 HR's and 27 RBI. Newly acquired Freddie Freeman has been just as advertised batting .333 with a team leading .412 on base%. Finally, veteran acquisitions Nelson Cruz and Carlos Gonzalez have both contributed. Cruz has provided the punch hoped for with 7 HR's and 18 RBI while "Cargo" is batting .306 and playing flawless outfield.

Connecticut heads into inter-league play with some momentum and confidence but having to play some tough teams like Milford, Lake Wobegon and California will be a challenge.

 

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REPORT CARD FROM THE SCHOOL YARD- 5-15

Last ten games the 89'ERS went 6-4. The team average went from .268 to .270. The team score an average of 6.2 runs and hit 16 homers. The pitching ERA went up from 4.01 to 4.06 as we gave up 5.2 runs per game. We gave up 12 homers in the 10 games. Grade C+

JD Martinez had a 10 game hitting streak snapped against Hotlanta this morning. He was 14 for 35 for a .400 average. He hit 4 homers during the streak. The 10 game streak is the longest so far this season but right behind is Eddie Rosario. Rosario has hit in 9 streak games going into the series tomorrow night with Arsenal. Rosario is 14 for 37, .378. He has also hit in 47 of the 53 games that he's played in for a .385 average.

Career Notes:
Robinson Cano is 22 hits shy of tying Fred McGriff for the All-Time team lead at 2346.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 6-1

Connecticut finished their first AL block at a solid 10-5 winning 4 series and splitting 2 series to end at 38-21 heading back into NL play in 1st place by a game over the 89ers. This is a 5 game improvement from last year at this time when the team was 33-26. The Blue Devils will head right away into some challenging series as they open Block 4 against the 2nd thru 5th place teams facing Allyn Street, Hazardville, Jarheads and Barons.

The pitching staff continues to be excellent with a team ERA now down to 3.25. 5 pitchers have ERA's under 3.00 and 12 out of the 14 pitchers who have appeared this season have ERA's under 4.25. Lefty starters Alex Wood and Mike Minor have combined to go 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA. Back end starters Zach Eflin and Robbie Erlin have been even better combing to go 7-2 2.27!! Veteran Jake Arrieta has surprisingly struggled the most but has still been OK with a 4.26 ERA. The bullpen has also been outstanding as the top 5 relievers have combined for a 12-5 record with 19 saves and a 2.28 ERA. No big names among Cishek, Fry, Ramos, Floro and McFarland but have done a consistently good job.

Offensively, the "story" of the season has been the improved power supply as the Blue Devils are on a pace to hit 211 HR's – the team hasn't hit over 200 HR's since 2007 and only hit 153 HR's last year. A big rebound year from Trevor Story has been the main source of power with 18 HR's and 48 RBI. Stephen Piscotty has also had a rebound year with 12 HR's and 38 RBI. After that, the whole roster has pretty much chipped in with 8 more players between 4 to 9 HR's. 4 players are also batting over .300 including rookies Alan Hanson and Jake Cave – both at .322 combining for 11 HR's and 32 RBI's in 180 AB's. The defense has also been solid – on a pace for just 71 errors which would be the 3rd lowest total in team history.

The next 2 blocks of NL play will certainly show if the Blue Devils are serious contenders or just pretenders who got off to a good start. We'll see . . .

 

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REPORT CARD FROM THE SCHOOL YARD, BLOCK 4- 6-21

Going into our final series of Block 4 the team is 16-4 and moved 4 games into first place. I asked our manager, Casey Stengel how he is doing it. "Well, we have a tale of the good and the bad", said Casey. I asked Casey, "How about the ugly?" All Casey said was "What???"

Ok, here is the Good - We have is 7 batters batting over .300 lead by J.D. Martinez at .396. That's not good, that's great, right? But now the bad (or ugly), we have 6 batters batting below .200. The closest of the 6 to .200 is David Freese at .198. He only got to .198 after a two game hitting streak of 2 for 4. The baddest of the bad is Jose Ramirez at .109. He dropped his average form .261 to .233 during the down hill streak. The team average during the block is .242. That reduced the season average from .276 to .269. So, how are we 16-4 during this block? Its been timely hitting yes but it has been mostly great pitching.

The pitching went from an ERA of 4.18 to 3.73. The ERA during the 20 games of block 4 has been 3.13. C.C. Sabathia is 5-0 in 31 innings with a 1.74 ERA. That's a turn around from 4-4 with an ERA of 6.51. Right behind C.C. is Jhoulys Chacin at 4-0 with an ERA of also 1.74. Chacin was 3-2 with an ERA of 4.56 going into block 4. Then there is Trevor Bauer at 3-1 in 27 innings with 32K's. His ERA in block 4 of 0.33 is outstanding. Bauer improved to 11-1, 2.00ERA. The pen has be sterling too lead by Keone Kela with 6 saves. The entire pen is 1-0-9 during the block.

I asked Casey "What do you think about our chances?" "What? I don't think. Thinking can hurt ya", said Casey.

 

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BATON ROUGE NOTES - 6-27

23-64 Not an unexpected mid-season record after trading away many of our "stars" and losing almost our entire starting pitching staff to injury. Still, a mid-season home record of 9-34 speaks of some bad luck as well. It looks like we will be in the Guerrero sweepstakes for at least a while longer. Our 2019 second round pick - Joey Lucchesi - has been our sweepstakes poster boy. In 12 starts to date he has an ERA of 7.48 and has a record of 0-9. The team is 0-12 in his starts. Our team ERA has topped 5 in the past round of games and the team batting average is down to .224 and dropping.

Next season is however looking up. Perhaps it's too early to have high expectations but we have no place to go but up. Rizzo and Domingo Santana are having great starts. Lucchesi and Trevor Richards are pretty good starters so far. Willie Calhoun and Francisco Mejia are up and hitting. Robles and Baez have been great out of the pen. The draft will fill more holes with 2 #1s, 2 #2s and 3 #3s. Bring on 2020.

 

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HOGWASH - 7-11

It's been a bit of an odd year. Got off to an amazing 27-5 start and have been up and down since then. The offense has struggled. However, I can't complain about the overall results.

Have had some interesting performances. Most of my best hitters are under performing, but the pitching has been great. Got the combined no hitter started by Flaherty. My bull pen has been amazing. Ryan Dull has pitched 20 innings (mostly mop up) and amazingly given up zero runs. He only has 8 innings left...watch him get clobbered. Closer Sean Doolittle didn't give up a run the entire first half spanning 25 games. Then he gave up six runs in his next two games including 5 with two outs in the 9th vs LV to lose a game. Josh Fields has been untouchable...1 earned run in 39 innings. Watson has also been great with a 1.15 ERA in 55 innings.

The unfortunate side effect of the great pen performance and struggling offense is that I've has several long extra-inning games. So for in 103 games I've had 58.1 extra innings. At the current pace I will crush my all-time record for innings. Not a good thing as my pen and some key position players are getting severely over used.

Since my record is so good I figure I should be able to finish 2nd or 3rd even if I start losing games because I have to rest over used players. Luckily for the NL I will be resting guys in my upcoming block. Also, the final block of the year could get ugly for the Hogs. It's been a fun year though...lots of close games. I don't think anyone can beat Milford, but hopefully I get a shot at him...just not in round 1 please!

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 7-14

Connecticut has been treading water a bit lately going 22-18 in their last 40 games. Still solid enough to remain in the battle for one of the top 3 playoff spots in the NL but not quite as good as they started the season. The offense has struggled recently losing a series to Illinois 1-3 batting just .134 and scoring just 7 runs. Larry thinks that was the best pitching performance ever for his team in a 4 game series.

Despite the recent struggles, the Blue Devils continue to hit more HR's than they have in many years. They are on a pace to hit 211 HR's for the season - the most since hitting 224 in 2007. 6 players have 10 or more HR's with Trevor Story (23) and Stephen Piscotty (20) leading the way. Freddie Freeman has been a bit disappointing with only 9 HR's but he is batting .312 with 22 doubles, 56 runs scored and 45 RBI so he has been good all-around as expected. Similar to the trend in MLB, strikeouts are way up for the Blue Devils. Connecticut is on a pace to strike out 1,363 times - which would shatter the franchise record of 1,247 K's in 2007.

The pitching staff has remained solid although the team ERA has started to climb from a low of 3.25 - now up to 3.66. Robbie Ray, who had a great year last year (13-5 3.36) has run into trouble this year battling injuries and ineffectiveness going 2-3 6.83 in 11 starts. He still has a high strikeout rate but has given up 12 HR's in 56 innings which is brutal. The bullpen continues to shine as the main relievers have a combined record of 23-10 with a 2.82 ERA with 35 saves. The bullpen has been used quite a bit so management completed a trade with Hotlanta acquiring Dellin Betances to bolster the pen down the stretch and hopefully into the playoffs.

The Blue Devils have one more series vs. the Klub to close out the NL block before interleague play again . . .

 

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BANDITS BANTER - 8-9

Louisville management has made a series of trades to try and bolster the offense and relievers, by adding Familia as a RH reliever, Tim Anderson at SS, Joc Pederson as a big LH bat in LF, Gorkys Hernandez in CF, and returning to the Bandits to finish out his career Joe Mauer at 1B. Bandits hope by adding these bats and arms they can keep a firm hold on the 5th and final playoff spot and hold off the Whippets and Gunners. These trades also will help for the 2020 season as Louisville has had a flux of OF'ers DFA during the season and one yet to make an appearance in 2019.

The rotation has steadied itself with Wheeler, Archer and Odorizzi the main three and Shane "Not Justin" Bieber as a solid 4th. Management has tried to solidify a strong bullpen over the season with three draft choices Jose Castillo and Caleb Ferguson as LH closers and adding Yonny Chirinos as a long man out of the pen with an R5 and adding Jeurys Familia as a RH closer, Yusmeiro Petit as Mr. Everything out of the pen and Robert Gsellman as set up.

Bandits Management has also acquired Fernando Rodney for help with relief innings but mainly for his age and wisdom for the young Bandits as they try and make the playoffs for the first time in many years.

Looking forward to the challenges ahead as the last couple series will be against the Gunners and Whippets who are hot on the Bandits heals for the 5th and final spot for the playoffs. As we get closer the rotation and lineups will be adjusted to try and get the best match ups going into these series.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 8-14

The Blue Devils head back into NL play in 2nd place - one game behind the 89ers. Connecticut had a great chance to tie or take over 1st place in their last series vs. a struggling Baton Rouge team but the Blue Devils laid an egg losing 2 out of 3 at home. Blue Devils also lost 2 out of 3 at home to another struggling team in Urpaign . . . lost opportunities. But at 71-47, the team is 7 games better than they were last year at this time so fans and management are pleased and hopeful to return to the playoffs after a 5 year absence.

Although it has been a successful season so far, the Blue Devils don't have any players that are having great career type years statistically. Trevor Story (23 HR 72 RBI) and Stephen Piscotty (22 HR 77 RBI) lead the offense but are only hitting at .260. Solid but not spectacular . . . Freddie Freeman has brought over his .300 batting average but his production is down with only 11 HR's and 52 RBI. Nelson Cruz has certainly added needed power to the lineup with 21 HR's and 52 RBI - again - solid but not great.

The pitching staff, especially the bullpen, continues to be consistent and solid with an overall team ERA of 3.68. The team has allowed just 982 hits in 1070 innings and only 104 HR's. CT is on pace to allow just 143 HR's - their lowest amount allowed since 2015. 3rd Rd draft pick Robbie Erlin has been the biggest surprise this season. In 15 starts, he is 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a WHIP just under 1.00. He has allowed only 7 HR's. The team is 13-2 in his starts. Jake Arrieta, on the other hand, continues to struggle at 7-10 5.16 but the team continues to roll him out there figuring he is due for a good stretch.

The final 44 games should be intense and competitive in the NL with teams vying for playoff position hoping to avoid the Wild Card game.

 

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YORKTOWN'S DRY DOCK NEWS - 8-17

Things did not start out well for interim manager, Pete Rose. In his first series back managing a major league club the Admirals lost to New Hampshire 3-1. It was a good game as the teams were tied at 1 after 7 innings. Game 2 went no better as Jaime Barria gave up 4 runs in the first and the team never got it going as they lost 7-1. Game 3 was 1-0 to the ninth when the Hogs scored 2 to put it away 3-0. Rose was upset that the team only could mustard three hits. He took them out for extra batting practice and showed them how he used to hit. Figure the major league hits leader should know something about hitting, right? In game 4 the offense did come alive and the Admirals put the Hogs away 5-1.

Next up was California. In game 1 the Admirals scored 3 in the first and had a 3-0 lead to the 6th. That's when the Dreamers tied the score at 3. The Dreamers took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the 9th. Smoak hit his 2nd HR of the game but it wasn't enough as the Dreamers held on for the 5-4 win. Even with the close score Rose was not happy as the team only had 5 hits. In game 2 it was all Dreamers in a 5-1 game. The team only had 4 hits so Rose took the team out for extra batting practice. In game 3 the team had 6 hits, the most since game 4 with the Hogs. It was a 5-3 win. Rose was happy with the win but still was questioning the poor hitting. In game 4 they matched the most hits at 7 but lost the game 6-1.

Rose was 2-6 after two series and fiery manager was not a happy camper.

In the final home series for Block 7 Baton Rouge was the opponent. Baton Rouge won game 1 6-1. The Ad's continued to struggle with only 3 hits. After the game Rose tore into the team telling them that no one was safe. He'd bench them all if he had to and that he would bat in all 9 slots himself to show them how it should be done. He would only use them as pinch runners for himself so he could bat again. I gave him full approval to do so in writing because we would do the same on the sand lot when we didn't have enough players. So, it became a playground rule. :-)

In game 2 the team came alive with 7 hits and 5 runs beating Baton Rouge 5-3. Rose was seen with a smile on his face after the game but once he noticed the TV camera on him he changed the smile to a frown. "Yeah, we won the game that's great. But, we only had 7 hits. We need to do better to compete in the American League playoff race", said Rose.

In game 3 Rose was beaming as the team put together 17 hits and won 7-4. "Now that's what I call hitting", said Rose. This reporter asked Rose. "Could the team make it 3 in a row?" All Rose would do was smile.

Game 4 was a sea-saw battle. The Admirals scored in the 2nd for a 1-0 lead. The Silver Bullets tied the score in the 3rd and took the lead in the 4th, 2-1. The Admirals tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the 4th. The Admirals added runs in the 6th and 7th and held on to win 4-1.

After the final out as Rose was on the field congratulating the team on the win Justin Smoak along with Rhys Hoskins carried out the Gatorade jug and poured it all over Rose soaking him to the bone. Rose smiled and as the players carried him off the field on their shoulders Rose tipped his cap to the hometown fans as the sellout crowd roared in approval.

The team is now 5-7 under Rose waiting on away game results. Rose has had a good time returning to managing but he said that he will be very happy to return the team to Merk when he is ready to come back. "The team needs it's true leader", said a smiling Pete Rose.

 

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NAVIGATORS LOG - 9-4

WHERE'S THE BAILER?
The ship for the 2019 voyage has been gaining water since the first block, and is about to sink. I can't even put my finger totally on it, except that the team just isn't all that good, and for the few key guys needed to over-perform to under-perform, well, yuk!

Looks like we will get a decent draft position for next season, and a few rookies should help with the bats, including JD Davis and Victor Reyes. Of course, losing Miguel Andujar for next season is a killer, and it looks like Danny Salazar and Johnny Cueto will never throw a full season again. Ew.Bottom line- it looks like another sad rebuild year, with pitching, pitching, pitching being the need. We should have some veteran bats for sale, including Ryan Braun, Y. Puig, A. Eaton and perhaps Moustakas. Others are for sale, but I don't think anyone would want them, lol. I'll talk youth for youth, if you have a guy who's a fave for a guy I like, but we won't be interested in veteran/short term upside guys, we're a few years away at this point.

We play playoff-competing teams in 6 of our final 9 series, so pain is in the forecast, lol!

 

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 9-7

Going into the last 20 games we have Who's Hot. Jose Iglesias and JD Martinez with eleven game hitting streaks on the line. Iglesias is 18 for 37 .486, with 1 HR during the streak. He raised his seasonal average to .236 from .257. Martinez is 18 for 45, an even .400 over the 11 games with 2 HR. Martinez has also hit in 15 of his last 16 games. During the streak he raised his average from .308 to .325.

Who's Cold. Marwin Gonzalez 1 for 31, .032. His only hit was a HR at Wall Street. AJ Pollock 1 for 18, .056, His one hit was a HR at Illinois.

Team All-Time List
JD Martinez (164) HR, one behind 5th place Lance Berkman (165).
Robinson Cano (35) Triples, one behind Orlando Merced and Alfonso Soriano (36) for 7th All-Time.

Allyn Street hit team number 5,400th homerun. It was hit by Josh Reddick at Illinois in Block 7. Allyn Street won its 3,000th game. It was at Burlington, game two of series 23. A 6-5 win.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 10-1

The Blue Devils completed the 2019 season at 95-67 - good for 3rd place in the NL. Connecticut is back in the playoffs after a 5 year drought - the longest stretch in franchise history. In fact, the Blue Devils had never gone longer than 2 seasons missing the playoffs up until the stretch from 2014 thru 2018. This will be Connecticut's 17th post season appearance in 33 seasons.

After missing the playoffs the last two seasons despite being in the Top 5 for pitching, management set out to improve the offense and add some punch. Freddie Freeman was acquired to add some on base ability along with some pop. Freeman hit .294 with a .370 on base % with 40 doubles and 16 HR's. Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz was added and provided the extra thump needed with 31 HR's and 74 RBI. Another veteran Carlos Gonzalez stabilized the LF position hitting a solid .275 with 33 doubles and14 HR's. But the biggest difference in the offense was the huge rebound years from Trevor Story and Stephen Piscotty. Last year, the two combined for only 18 HR's and 83 RBI as they battled injuries. This year, the two combined for 68 HR's and 221 RBI!! Trevor Story was the Team MVP (and league MVP candidate) leading the team in several categories including Runs (106), Doubles (46), HR's(36), RBI (111) and Stolen Bases (20) while batting a respectable .271. Piscotty wasn't too far behind with 41 doubles, 32 HR's and 110 RBI. These were all career highs for both men.

Team-wise, the Blue Devils scored 785 runs - their highest total since 2011 (822) and hit 216 HR's - the most since 2007 (224) which was the last time they hit over 200 HR's. On the negative side, the team set a franchise record for K's striking out 1,343 times easily eclipsing the franchise record of 1,247 in 2007. The new way baseball is played!

The pitching staff, without having a true ace, was very successful finishing with a 3.72 team ERA. You have to go back over 25 years to 1993 when the team had a better ERA at 3.18. Connecticut's only World Champion team in 1995 had a 3.76 team ERA. Mike Minor led the team in wins at 14-9 3.96. Rookie Robbie Erlin had the lowest ERA for starters at 3.23 going 10-6. Every starting pitcher had a .500 or better record. The bullpen as a whole was extremely effective going a combined 29-19 with 55 saves and a 2.87 ERA with over 450 appearances. All 10 relief pitchers that finished the year with CT had an ERA of 3.35 or under. Steve Cishek was the main closer before Dellin Betances was acquired. Cishek was 6-5 with 29 saves 2.75 ERA allowing just 53 hits with 80K's in 72 innings. Rookies Dylan Floro and Paul Fry were solid combining for a 12-3 record and 3.07 ERA while Edubray Ramos backed up Cishek with 9 saves allowing just 28 hits in 47 IP. As a team, the pitching staff set a franchise record with the 55 saves besting the previous mark of 52 saves all the way back to 1990.

Looking to the playoffs, Connecticut avoided the Wild Card series but must face their rival and nemesis this season - the New England Angels. The Blue Devils were 4-8 vs. the Angels - this will be the first meeting ever for the long-time rivals in the post season. Good Luck to all the playoff teams - Have Fun!

 

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 10-5

Resurrection! . . . or at least, Close to a Miracle.

From 41-121 in 2018 to a playoff bound, 4th place, 93 win season. Probably 3 of the biggest reason for the turnaround are:

NL MVP Candidate Mike Trout hit .306 and led the league in several categories including 46 HR, 128 RBI, 119 Runs and 120 BB. And he played literally perfect defense in CF.

NL ROY Candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. surpassed expectations. He led the Jarheads in batting with a .316 BA, and blasted 35 HR with 111 RBI.

Edwin "The Big E" Encarnacion continued to crush the ball with 36 HR and 110 RBI. Over the last 7 years Edwin is averaging 40 HR and 108 RBI, with a high of 55 in 2017.

The Pitching staff was bolstered over the winter meetings when GM Harry acquired SS1 Brandon Crawford from Baton Rouge. Not only was he brilliant in the field, but offensively as well. Crawford hit .271 with a team leading 37 doubles, 19 HR with 77 RBI.(card .254, 28D, 14HR). But his biggest contributions were those double plays!

Unable to draft a starting pitcher, the Jarheads strategy was to bolster the bullpen. Victor Arano 3-5-15 2.72, Ryan Brasier 4-2 1.51, Tyler Cole 4-2 2.25, Y Hirano 8-3-3 1.84 were the biggest contributors acquired in the draft. But as usual, Manager Jeff Kent went about burning through the BP. GM Harry got on the case and acquired reliever Colin McHugh, calling on BR again. McHugh stepped in and carried the load posting a 3-0-8 2.03 over the 2nd half.

Only one Jarhead starter reached double digits in victories. Matt Harvey finished 11-11 5.14. One of USJ's better SP was waiver wire selection Doug Fister. In 13 starts Fister was 7-3 3.75. Steven Wright DNP last year but returned with a solid 7-3 3.38. With a possible playoff berth on the line, help was definitely needed in the rotation. So late in the season, GM Harry went shopping again. After several tries and "no deals" he finally connected with The Bucs, acquiring *SP Miles Mikolas. In 10 starts Miles was 7-2 3.58. He replaced Clayton Richard 4-10 4.77. In the same deal with BB, USJ defense was bolsterd with Daniel Robertson moving in at 2b2 to help spell Jeff McNeil. McNeil acquirred with the 1st pick of the 2nd round was red hot in the 2nd half and ended with a .360 BA.

The Jarheads now head into the 2019 Playoffs, hosting The Wild Card Series vs The Hazardville Powder Kegs. .Manager Jeff Kent when asked about the teams playoff expectations, "I hope we go far enough so that 2018 will seem, 'Like it never even happened'."

 

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 11-6

Mike Trout had an All Time MVP worthy season in 2019, and Ronald Acuna put up ROY numbers, yet incredibly they were both even better in the Post Season. In The Jarheads 20 game playoff run to the World Series title:

Mike Trout .363 69AB 21R 25H 2D, 2T 9HR 18RBI 19BB .511OBA .841SLG 1.352 OPS
Ronald Acuna Jr. .358 78AB 12R 28H 6D 6HR 22RBI

Another Big Time Playoff contributor:
Paul Goldschmidt .297 84AB 20R 25H 5D 1T 6HR 13RBI

A pair of platoon players also helped carry the offensive load:
Jeff McNeil hit .377 with a pair of HRs &
Chad Pinder hit .333 with 3D and a HR

The Jarheads opened the playoffs scoring 9 runs in the first game and 8 in the 2nd; and the bats stayed hot and clutch for pretty much the whole playoffs. The Jarheads out homered our opponents 40-16. USJ had 77 BB to Opp 52 and out scored opponents 111 to 73.

The Jarhead playoff pitching staff was anchored by SP Miles Mikolas 5-1, 3.44. Between regular season and playoffs Mikolas was 12-3, 3.52 for USJ. #2 Starter Rick Porcello 3-0, was the only other Jarhead Starter to record a win in the playoffs. Four inning SP Brandon Woodruff made 2 playoff starts vs NE & NH, 0-0 1.13 8ip 1r 5h 1bb 9k. The Jarheads won both of his starts, including the game 6, World Series clincher. In game 6 Woodruff started and pitched 4 scoreless innings and left the game with the Jarheads up 7-0.

But the bullpen more than picked up the slack from the starters, going 8-2-9 including 2 wins each for McHugh, Stanek and Hirano. Jordan Lyles and X Cedeno each had 1 win and Arano had 6 saves.

AJ ELLIS NAMED AS BENCH COACH FOR 2020 SEASON

AJ Ellis has ended his playing career and announced his retirement following the Jarheads World Series win. Drafted in 2011, AJ played his entire career with the US Jarheads. A .242 hitter in his 9 year career, Ellis will always be remembered for the most famous pinch hit in US Jarhead's history. The 2014 National League Championship series vs the Wall Street Barons was tied 3-3. In the game 7 finale the Jarheads trailed 1-0 with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th inning. Mariano Rivera was on the mound and with the tying run at 2B Ellis came in to PH...and he delivered … a 3-5 single** to tie the game 1-1. Mike Trout would double in the winning run in the 10th sending USJ to their first World Series appearance... but it was AJ Ellis who kept the Jarheads hopes alive with his incredible hit.

Coach Ellis will join Mgr Jeff Kent on the bench for the 2020 campaign.

 

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