Connecticut Team Report | May 15

Team batting seems to be heading in the right direction, team pitching stumbles on the week, and team standing hits rock bottom.

Team Record: 12-19 (2-5 on the week)

Standing: Sixth in the Northern Division

The Defenders started out the week in dramatic fashion, winning a game with a go ahead three-run double by Carlos Sosa to beat New Hampshire. John Bowker had another fantastic week, seemingly putting himself in position to follow in the footsteps of Chris Begg and be the next call-up to Fresno. Travis Ishikawa had his best week of the season. The team welcomed back Eddy Esteve-Martinez to the lineup after missing a week due to injury. As the offense warms up with the weather to potentially aid the so-far stellar Defenders' pitching, the starting pitching goes awry, notching only two quality starts this week for seven games. And with a 2-5 record on the week, the team now finds itself in last place in the Northern Division.

The sad part is; it looks like it is going to get worse before it gets better. With the parent club recently calling up Dan Ortmeier and Fred Lewis, both outfielders, it makes sense to believe that some combination of Bowker, EME and Brian Horwitz could be called up to Triple-A to fill some of those slots. Take away any of those three and the Defenders offense gets dealt a major blow. Take away Bowker and Horwitz and the team average dips from .234 to .212, which would be the league worst by 26 points.

On the pitching side, the starters did struggle this week with Darren Sack getting bombed in both of his outings. The bullpen welcomed back Joe Bateman, who is a strikeout pitcher with a strike out per nine innings ratio of over 9.00 for the Defenders last year. He had been working in extended spring training for the past few weeks to get over a sore right elbow.

Player of the Week: John Bowker

John takes the award for the second week in a row. This week he had .307 batting average, but slugged .692 with three doubles, two triples and a homerun. John is now eighth in the Eastern League in batting average, fourth in the league in slugging percentage, and second in total bases. Manager Dave Machemer must have read this column last week as Bowker did not have to bat in the No 1 or No. 2 holes this week, and instead hit No. 3 the entire week, giving him some stability in an ever-changing Machemer lineup card. Even with all the extra-base hits, he only managed to drive in two runs, which will happen when the team you play on has the worst on-base percentage in the league.

Stat of the Week: 7

This is the number of hits Travis Ishikawa has had in his last six games. He only had nine hits in his first 18 games. At one point this week, his batting average peaked over .200 for the first time in quite awhile.

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