Loons Offensive Struggles Continue

The Great Lakes Loon's offense has been like one of those American idol rejects where Simon Cowell, in his British-accented arrogance, says, "That is bloody horrible." Even though I do not watch the show, it seems to be the appropriate metaphor for the team's lack of offensive production as of late.

On Tuesday, the Loons faced a pitcher whose ERA was as high as Einstein's IQ and they could only manage one run the entire game.

Last night, it was more of the same; they scored only once before the lineup became deafly silent.

Scoring one run is great if your pitcher ends up throwing a shutout. Outside of that scenario, it does not really help you all that much.

I'm certainly confused, manager Juan Bustabad is beginning to show his frustration, and hitting coach Garey Ingram must be shaking his head. It is not so much that Loons hitters are not getting their hits but very few of them are coming with runners in scoring position.

"Our weakness all year has been our offense," Bustabad said. "You can't win if you score one run or two runs, you have to do more than that."

Jamie Ortiz who has been sidelined with an injury the last few weeks is expected to return in the next day or so, according to Bustabad.

Even though he is only hitting .206, he will provide much needed power for a lineup that has only gone deep 21 times this year. In 63 at bats, Ortiz has gone yard six times.

Meanwhile, Alfredo Silverio has been consistent with the stick since his call up from extended spring training in Vero Beach, already with 5 RBI's in his first 25 at bats.

Many in the Dodger's organization liken Silverio to Los Angeles Angel's outfielder Vladmir Guerrero, especially with his strong and accurate throwing arm from the outfield.

Fortunately for the Great Lakes Loons, the pitching has been able to pick up the slack for the MIA offense.

Steven Johnson, who struggled with the Loon's last year, is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA while Justin Miller is 2-2 with a 2.12 ERA.

Miguel Sanfler, whose control problems draw a comparison with Wild Thing Ricky Vaughn, seems to be finding the plate on a more regular basis. If Sanfler can manage to improve his control, there is no reason why he would not be one of the Dodger's best pitching prospects.

Nevertheless, if the offense can rise from the dead, the Loon's should be one of the best teams in the Midwest League before all is said and done. And it should also be noted that the Midwest League is not known for its lofty offensive numbers.

Only five of the fourteen teams have a team batting average of .250 or better while twelve of them have pitching staffs (including the Loons) with ERA's under 4.00.

Furthermore, many of the Loon's have recently been drafted out of high school or college and the transition to wood bats is certainly not easy.

In the meantime, Ingram believes the key is patience and posits that eventually the Loons bats will do what their supposed to.

And with the offensive talent on this club, he will probably be right.

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