Crushing the Numbers: 7/30/13 to 8/5/2013
It may have been a short week, but it was a successful one for the Crushers. Because of a rain out of their game against the WildThings on Friday night, the Crushers only played five games in seven days. They were a perfect 5-0.
The Crushers have been carried by their sound pitching and defense so far in the second half, and that’s the way this team was built to succeed. While the offense has struggled to blow games open, it has done enough to put the team in position to win with contributions from everybody one through nine. It will be key for that to continue, as the Crushers find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt.
And so, without further ado, let’s Crush the Numbers:
Who’s Crushing it:
4 G, 7-14, .500 BA, 1.198 OPS, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 2B, 3 R
Despite missing one game with back tightness, Granger made his presence felt this week, especially in the series sweep of the Beach Bums. Granger had two RBIs in the sweep-clinching game three, and he hit one of the Crushers two home runs for the week in Sunday’s game two victory. Some contemporary baseball thinkers suggest it is smartest for a team to bat their best hitter second in the lineup: for the past two weeks, that’s where Granger has been for the Crushers
5 G, 8-20, .400 BA, .850 OPS, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 SB
The short stop known for his defense is making himself heard with his bat. As the Crushers contend for a playoff sport, they’ll need production out of the entire lineup. Sanchez has been providing a lift to the bottom of the order this week. He enjoyed a 6-6 stretch in the Traverse City series, and has boosted his batting average to .228 on the season. That may not look good, but considering where Sanchez has been, it shows there has been much progress of late.
1 GS, 9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 4 K, 0 BB, .133 BAA
The Crushers really haven’t had a true ace all season long, but a few pitchers have held the role of best starter. Right now it’s Dave Middendorf’s turn in the spot light. He mowed down the WildThings last Thursday, turning in his second straight complete game win. Middendorf couldn’t buy a complete game victory earlier in the season, but now it seems he’s on a different level. The big lefty will be heavily counted on as the regular season winds down and the playoff chase heats up. It appears he is up to the challenge.
Who’s Getting Crushed:
3 G, 1-10, .100 BA, .250 OBP, .100 SLG%, .350 OPS
In fairness to Quiles, he has been battling injury for the last two weeks, but he is just not hitting well right now. For the week, he was out performed by his backup, David Roney, who only managed a batting average of .167. Quiles’ .350 OPS is the lowest on the team, and he has been moved into the bottom third of the lineup. Luckily for the Crushers catcher, his one hit was a big two-run single in a win over the WildThings, so the week wasn’t a total failure.
3 G, 1-10, .100 BA, .182 OBP, .200 SLG%, .382 OPS, 1 DP
Another Crushers’ all-star who has been struggling of late, Casper no longer has an everyday spot in the lineup. He and Quiles put up very similar numbers this week, although Casper’s OPS his slightly higher. It’s possible that Casper is just wearing down in his first professional season, but he isn’t the type of player to make excuses. He’ll still have opportunities to play, but he’ll need to do better than he did this week if he wants consistent playing time down the stretch.
5 G, 2-19, .105 BA, .190 OBP, .211 SLG%, .401 OPS, 4 K
Hidalgo wasn’t an all-star, but he was the Crushers best hitter for a good part of the first half. For whatever reason, his performance has also dropped off since the break. After a 2-19 week, Hidalgo’s average on the season has dropped to .274. That number is still good, but it is no longer good enough for the team lead. Unlike other struggling players, it doesn’t appear that Hidalgo is in any danger of losing playing time. His 19 at bats were third most of any player this week.
1: The number most etched in Brandon Smith’s stat line this week. He set down 16 of 18 batters (both hits were singles), which is good for an opposing BA of .111, OBP of .111, and SLG% of .111. He also had one win.
2: The number of errors Juan Sanchez had this week. Manager Jeff Isom put to rest any worry about Sanchez’s glove early in the season, but it is certainly noteworthy that he now has 15 errors on the year. That’s the most on the team, and it is tied for third most in the Frontier League.
3: The number of relievers who earned a save this week. Dale Dickerson, Jordan Wellander, and Brandon Smith all closed out games for the Crushers. The primary closer is still Dale Dickerson, but it is vital that Isom has multiple relievers that he can turn to with confidence late in games.
Comings and Goings via I-90:
I-90 runs from east to west, but the Crushers have been making their way north. After sweeping the Beach Bums, the Crushers now find themselves just a game and a half out of first as they continue to climb their way up the standings. The Crushers are also now only a half game out of the last wild card spot.
Seth Granger’s home run on Sunday was his first of the season and his professional career.
Brandon Smith’s earned both his first victory and first save this week.
Kevin Beard made a home run robbing catch in left field in Monday’s game. According to his personal twitter, it is the first time he has made such a catch in his baseball career.
The Crushers head south to face off with the Florence Freedom in yet another big intra-division series. Florence is in fourth place in the East Division, just half game behind the Crushers.