Salt Lake Bees June Report

Despite losing key parts to the lineup, including Nathan Haynes who was leading the Pacific Coast League in batting, Salt Lake sits atop the Northern Division.

After going 5-5 over their last 10 games, the Salt Lake Bees have a 2.5-game advantage over Colorado Springs. Can they keep it up without their top hitter?

Although Kasey Olenberger has surrendered 11 homers – tying him for second most in the league – the right-hander has a 6-2 record and 3.79 ERA. Seven of balls that have left the park have been solo shots and six came over a four-game span – where he went 2-1. Olenberger leads the team in one important category, inducing 11 double play grounders. He has allowed four runs or more in just three starts.

At the back end of the ballgame, Marcus Gwyn has been a steady force, earning seven saves in as many chances. The right-hander has allowed runs in five of the 23 games he has appeared in and is sporting a healthy 1.61 ERA. In the 13 games he has appeared in the ninth inning, Gwyn has surrendered just one run.

Jason Bulger has provided a valuable role in middle relief and has won each of the last two games he has appeared in. Bulger has gone 12 innings without allowing an earned run, giving up seven hits while striking out 20. He has fanned the side two times this year and has yielded runs in five of his 19 appearances. Sixty-three percent of his pitches have been strikes.

Pacing the club offensively is Terry Evans and his .323 batting average. The outfielder clubbed 14 doubles in May and collected 21 RBIs. While he hasn't walked much and is striking out once every four at bats, Evans' 70 hits rank fourth in the PCL, he is second in the league in extra base hits and is tied atop the circuit in doubles with 20. He also leads the team in every major offensive category – among current players. The only category he does not lead in is walks and runs scored. His 10 stolen bases also tops the club.

The only other player on the current roster to have an average that tops .290 is Tommy Murphy's 312 mark through 16 games. The outfielder hit just .176 with the Angels after beginning the year with the big league club but has regained his form in Salt Lake, notching a hit in all but two of his games and registering six multi-hit contests and five multi-RBI games. Murphy had an 11-game hitting streak snapped on Monday. He is hitting .556 when he bats third in the order.

Once considered the catcher of the future who many believed would not relinquish his post once he got to the Angels, Jeff Mathis has struggled with the stick. He is hitting .236 and has grounded into seven double plays, tying him for the team lead in the dubious category. He is in a 9-for-53 slump that has dropped his average from .264 to .236.

While his hitting has suffered, Mathis has been dynamite behind the plate in catching would be thieves. He has thrown out 19-of-46 baserunners attempting to steal – good for 41.3 percent. He has, however, committed six errors and been charged with four passed balls. Only one other catcher in the league has committed more errors.

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