Though he probably has no idea why, St. Paul’s Jeff Eure is my new favorite professional baseball player.
Every night before the last half-inning, I go down to sit on the third base side, so when the game is over I can hope over the wall and wait to talk to players as they’re coming off the field. I went down there Thursday night when the Wingnuts were playing St. Paul, and after catching the last out of the game Eure tossed the ball into the stands. Except that there were no people near where Eure tossed the ball, so it went over a few rows of seats and came right to me. I caught it near my right foot and have been holding onto the precious memento ever since.
So Jeff, Eure a really nice guy.
What’s wrong with the Wingnuts lately? Apparently a lot. They’ve started the second half of the American Association season losing six of their first seven games and have lost 9 of 12 overall. The slide began after the Wingnuts clinched the first-half title with a win over St. Paul 15 days ago. Since, Wichita has played 13 games and its numbers in just about every aspect of the game have fallen off:
Runs scoredSeason: 283 (5.1 per game)First 42 games: 240 (5.7 per game)Last 13 games: 40 (3.1 per game)
Runs allowedSeason: 223 (4.1 per game)First 42 games: 166 (3.9 per game)Last 13 games: 57 (4.4 per game)
Home runsSeason: 48 (.88 per game)First 42 games: 42 (1 per game)Last 13 games: 6 (.47 per game)
Wichita is still hitting the ball fairly well, leading the league with a .294 overall average. But they’re not scoring because they’re leaving too many men on base — because they’re not hitting many home runs. The pitching hasn’t been as solid, either. That’s mostly due to a shaky bullpen, but the starters haven’t been as sharp as usual, either. Then again, it would be difficult to keep up the pace they established during the first half.
The Wingnuts are also 1-8 against teams from the South Division, though all those games have been played on the road.
I don’t think a team managed by Kevin Hooper could NOT get this figured out, so I’d look for the Wingnuts to turn it around soon. Even if they don’t, they’re still in the playoffs. I know they’re not looking at it that way, though, and I doubt they’ll want to have to flip the switch when the postseason begins in September. They’ll want to be playing well going into the playoffs, obviously.
Nothing more for today, but I’ll write more tomorrow.