The Crushers Notebook: 6/11/13 to 6/17/2013
It was another roller coaster of a week for Lake Erie with flashes of greatness followed quickly behind by struggles as the Crushers went 2-4 over the stretch.
It's no secret now, the Crushers' pitching has been the biggest disappointment to the team all season long. With several moves made by the organization shipping pitchers out and bringing new guys in, the team is at a loss.
Saturday was a debacle for the team as three twice in the game the offense put Lake Erie in a position to win and the pitching fell apart. All 18 runs that crossed the plate on Saturday were earned runs with two blown opportunities in the ninth and 13th inning.
Adding firepower early in the week with ex-Crushers' outfielder, who transitioned to pitcher, Ben Klafczyski, the team got some much needed depth in the bullpen while Mickey Jannis back with the team. So far, in a combined 7.2 innings of work combined, neither Jannis or Klafczyski has allowed a run.
Closer Dale Dickerson has been some what of a question mark, as he has worked late in ball games, but not for save chances, yet struggled. Dickerson's 3.38 ERA has risen in the past week with less than three innings of work and allowing a pair of runs.
So while the bullpen has its ups and downs, Lake Erie's starters too are wondering what's in the water. In six starts this week, three starters didn't make it past the third inning with long relief innings pitched by an already pleated bullpen.
Hitting not there yet
While the Crushers maintain the highest team batting average, like they have for most of the season, the runs still aren't coming.
Veteran Andrew Davis has been red hot of late by hitting safely in 17 straight games. In the crushing 18-17 loss on Saturday, Davis rocked a pair of home runs to keep Lake Erie in the game at the time.
A part of manager Jeff Isom's strategy has been a constantly changing lineup. In order to keep opposing pitchers at bay, Isom has moved guys around on an almost nightly basis.
Max Casper has batted in almost every spot imaginable and the youngster has responded well to it by keeping up his batting average while rising the ranks in runs. Casper has proven to be on of the biggest surprises this season with his glove and his bat.
Utility infielder Anderson Hidalgo's bat woke up this past weekend as he went from no home runs and a few RBIs to two straight games with 2-run home runs on Saturday and Sunday. Hidalgo had been getting on and scoring runs for the team, but this new duel threat could be just who the team needs.
Center fielder Gauntlett Eldemire has been all over the map by missing left and right. One stretch of games he'll start and be taken out by the fifth and occasionally not play an entire home stand.
Eldemire's inconsistency is the apparent answer to why, but his bat will be needed in this lineup as soon as possible.
The road ahead
Lake Erie is 7.5 games out of first place and in last place in the east currently with the toughest stretch of baseball coming up this week.
With Normal (17-10) and Schaumburg (17-11) coming up this week, the Crushers will face two of the toughest teams the west has to offer. Each series will be new to the team this season as the team looks to right the ship in so many different places.