The Sounds of Silence: Loon's Struggle

Let's face it. The Great Lakes Loons have a better team than they did last year under new manager Juan Bustabad. But one thing has been seriously AWOL as of late: offense. The team enters their game today against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers with a team batting average of ... let's say it is not good.

Of course, all of this is surprising considering the load of offensive talent that the Great Lakes Loons have on the club this year.

The 19 year old rookie phenom Andrew Lambo leads the club with a .260 average but is certainly capable of better numbers, considering the start he had at the beginning of the season.

Brian Matthews is certainly better than his .198 batting average would indicate while Midwest League veterans Preston Mattingly and Scott Van Slyke are hitting a combined .188 so far in 2008.

Hitting coach Garey Ingram believes that the offensive struggles for the team are merely temporary. "We gotta do the little things," Ingram said after Saturday night's game. "But we're just going through a little funk right now. I'm not too concerned."

Of course, at this time last year, the Great Lakes Loons were encountering the same hurdles as far as being able to put up the hits and runs on the scoreboard.

Their big offensive gun, third baseman Josh Bell who is currently at Inland Empire, certainly was not happy with his performance at the beginning of the season but, when it was said and done, put together a fine year.

Could we see the bats come around in May and throughout the rest of the season? Certainly, but sooner rather than later.

"As long as these guys don't get down on each other," Ingram said, "and continue picking each other up, I think that we will be fine."

I hate to sound like Peter Gammons (who I respect very much), but what the Loons need desperately is to cut down on their strikeouts.

Both Lambo and Mattingly are racking up the K's about once in every three at bats.

Leadoff hitter Jovanny Rosario has already whiffed 26 times in 115 trips to the plate. If the Loons can get Rosario to be more patient during his at bats, he might be the catalyst that jumpstarts the team's offense. Of course, Rosario did start the season with a 15 game hitting streak and has been mired by an offensive slump as of late.

"[Rosario] was hot at the beginning of the season. Of course, at some point you have to cool off," Ingram smiled. "He's one of those kids who could start another 15 game hitting streak tomorrow."

Ingram believes in the necessity of being patient at a time like this and there is certainly no offense in baseball who is immune from the ups and downs a team may encounter during a long season.

"If it were the end of the season, I might be worried," Ingram remarked. "But you haven't seen the best of these guys, yet."

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