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The Crushers Notebook: 7/1/13 to 7/7/2013

The Crushers Notebook: 7/1/13 to 7/7/2013
July 8, 2013
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It’s hard to be upset with a 4-2 week, but the Crushers have to be disappointed that they lost their weekend series with the Aviators after starting the week by sweeping the ThunderBolts.

The sweep of the Bolts featured all aspects of the game finally coming together for the Crushers. The three starters in the series, Matt Rein, Alex Kaminsky, and Dave Middendorf, combined to pitch 24 innings, allowing just one run on nine hits, striking out 15 batters. The bullpen only had to pitch three innings, but Mickey Jannis and Dale Dickerson both shut down the Bolts lineup in the late innings.

The offense feasted on Bolts’ starter Matt Wickswat in the first game, scoring 11 runs. They didn’t enjoy quite as much success in the final two games, but they did enough to give the starters a comfortable cushion to work with.

All of that went away in the series against the Aviators. After winning game one on a walk-off homerun from Daniel Bowman, the Crushers dropped the next two, falling to 2-4 against the Frontier League’s worst team and to 21-23 overall as they failed to pull themselves above the .500 mark. The week may have ended on a sour note, but there’s certainly a lot to look back on.

Who’s Crushing it

Anderson Hidalgo
6 G, 10-24, .417 BA, .875 OPS, 1 2B, 7 RBI

Since Hidalgo, the Crushers regular designated hitter, isn’t a big fan of the position, manager Jeff Isom decided to let him get some time in the field at third base. Hidalgo hasn’t disappointed, playing sound defense at the hot corner. His bat has been just as hot as the position he’s playing, as he easily led the team in hits over the past week, and accounted for 25 percent of the team’s RBIs.

Matt Rein
15 IP, 1-1, 1.20 ERA, 2 R, 7 H, 8 K, 1 CG

Rein started the first and last games of the week for the Crushers. His first start was a masterful complete-game shutout of the ThunderBolts in which he allowed just two hits. He turned in another quality start on Sunday, giving up just two runs on 5 hits over six innings, but took the loss as the Crushers managed just one run in the game. He has developed into the Crushers ace, and the rest of the rotation is feeding off his dominance.

Juan Sanchez
6 G, 6-20, .300 BA, .783 OPS, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 2 SB

Sanchez isn’t on this team for his bat, but over the last week the Crushers short stop was their second leading hitter. He was the player of the game on Wednesday, as he went 3-3 with an RBI. He probably won’t continue to hit .300 for long, but if he can keep his average up, it makes the bottom of the Crushers order that much better.

Who’s Getting Crushed

Russ Moldenhauer
6 G, 4-21, .190 BA, .642 OPS, 4 K, 1 DP

Moldenhauer’s struggles can be masked by the fact that he is second on the team in home runs and RBIs. He had another big home run in Thursday’s win, and he benefits from the successes of those around him such as Davis, Bowman, and Hidalgo. The Crusher lineup is already deep, but will be even better when Moldenhauer gets it going again.

Max Casper
5 G, 4-20, .200 BA, .554 OPS, 3 K

After rising to the top of the Crushes lineup, Casper has seen himself fall back to the number nine spot much in the same way that Kevin Berard did. It may just be a bad week for Casper, but with a new addition at the top of the lineup for the Crushers, he’ll have plenty of time to figure it out while hitting lower in the order.

Emmanuel Quiles
4 G, 3-14, .214 BA, .553 OPS, 1 K, 1 ejection

Quiles only played in four games, but he also only had three hits. The Crushers catcher has been fairly consistent at the plate, so it should be a short stay in this part of the column. Quiles also suffered because of an ejection in Friday night’s game. While nobody wants to see players forced to leave the game, it’s good to see some emotional sparks every so often.

Comings and Goings via I-90

Hello, Craig Hertler. Just acquired from Schaumberg for a player to be named later, the infielder/outfielder is a dynamic player whom Isom can put at the top of lineup with confidence. He finds ways to get on base, and uses his speed once he’s there. In his first three games with the Crushers, he had an OBP of .429, and already accumulated a triple, a stolen base, and two runs scored.

Good-bye, Ricardo Lizcano. Lizcano was never able to completely get things going at the plate this season, and with the addition of Hertler he became expendable. He was traded to Evansville for a player to be named later.

Locally, Guantlett Eldemire was placed on the disabled list, and Brad Duffy made his way from the bullpen to the starting rotation, as the Crushers continue to search for their fifth starter.

Notable Numbers

.170 - The difference between Andrew Davis’ batting average and on base percentage for the week. The difference can be attributed to the attention Davis is now placing on waiting out pitchers and drawing walks, which Isom has been preaching to all his players. Davis walked six times this week, and appears to taking the message to heart.

.091 - Mickey Jannis’ ERA this week. Jannis continues to pitch brilliantly out of the pen, and was one of those considered for the start on Saturday which ultimately went to Duffy. If Jannis continues to pitch like this, it shouldn’t be long until he is the Crushers fifth starter.

6 - The number of representatives the Crushers will send to the all-star game. Max Casper, Emmanuel Quiles, Andrew Davis, Daniel Bowman, Matt Rein, and Dave Middendorf were all named to the East Divison All-Star team. The six players are the most for any team in the East.

What’s Next

The Crushers are on the road for a week day series for the first time since June 4th-6th when they played in Traverse City. They will be taking on the Washington WildThings, before returning home to square off against the Frontier Greys for the second time this season.

User Comments

July 9, 2013 - 8:13 AM EDT
Rucinski named Frontier League All-Star

07/08/2013 11:51 AM -
LOVES PARK, Ill. - Rockford starting pitcher Drew Rucinski has been selected to play in the 2013 Frontier League All-Star Game, presented by 84 Lumber.

At the time of voting, Rucinski held a three win, five loss record and an ERA of 2.54 through ten starts. Rucinski has also racked up a league-best 69 strike outs.

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