I’ve been away for a while, so what have I missed the last couple of weeks with the Biloxi Shuckers? Turns out, not much! In the last 17 games, the Shuckers have an underwhelming 6-11 record, including a God-awful home field MGM Park record of 2-8. They sit one game off the bottom of the Southern League standings, thanks only to the more God-awful Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and to Biloxi’s first back-to-back wins since the start of the season.
[And my guess is that the Jumbo Shrimp aren’t all that upset over their start, seeing how they are the darlings of Minor League Baseball with their new, even-more-cutesy-than-“Shuckers” branding, and are making tons of money off their Jumbo Shrimp branded merchandise.]
I took a closer look at the box scores of the games, as well as accounts from Chris Harris, The SunHerald, and WLOX, to see what has been going on – or hasn’t been going – to see what’s gotten us to this point.
Oh my Lord, it is blindingly obvious. Where the heck is Shuckers hitting? In these past 17 games, in which we have gone 6-11, we scored 3 or fewer runs in 12 of those games. We sit at the very bottom of Southern League team batting, ranking dead last in batting average (.205), runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, slugging percentage, and RBI’s. We are second to last for OBP. Game after game I see where we produced nothing with runners in scoring position. Victor Roache, Johnny Davis and, most shockingly, Jacob Nottingham are all hitting below .200. And MGM Park seems to provide no advantage at all to this team, so far. [Average attendance through the ten games has been 2771, which is not that bad considering school is still going, and the team has not been giving the fans much to cheer about.]
The pitching has been better, if not stellar. The Shuckers are in the middle of the pack as far as team ERA goes, at a respectable 3.03. A bright spot on the staff has been starter Jorge Lopez, who has a top ten ERA of 1.73, and is third in the league in strikeouts. What we really need, though, is another left-handed reliever – to augment the Nick Ramirez experiment – and a LH starter or two. [Yeah, I know, they grow out back in the garden. Excuse me a minute while I go pick a couple off the tree…] I can’t help but think a couple / three more southpaws on the squad would give us a few more wins.
What we really need, though, is for our bats to finally awaken. You know this has to have the Brewers organization’s attention. Victor Roache is hitting 50 points below his career average. Johnny Davis is hitting 80 points below his career average. And Jacob Nottingham is inexplicably hitting 50 to 100 points below his career numbers. If these guys, along with the rest of our bats, can just get back to where they have been in the past, then the team will start getting more W’s. I hate to go there, but is having the manager’s brother on staff as the hitting coach not working out any more? Perhaps as they get their second look at opposing pitching?
If our batting remains absent, this could be a long, long season.