Connecticut Team Report | May 29

Could Alexander Hinshaw in the rotation and Eugenio Velez back from injury propel the Defenders out of the basement of the Northern Division?

In a word: No.

Alexander Hinshaw in the rotation has worked, to date, with two solid starts to his credit thus far. Eugenio Velez has been a sparkplug for the offense, taking control of the leadoff spot and batting over .300 since his return. He has not shown the power he displayed in Single-A quite yet, but he has shown the speed with eight steals in nine games. Neither has aided enough to get the Defenders on the winning path as they managed to win only one game this week, including three shutout losses to Trenton, who Connecticut has gone 1-9 against.

Nothing seems to be going right for this team. Just as starters Garrett Broshuis and Geno Espinelli get hot, Nick Pereira and Darren Sack go cold. Sack has been cold for pretty much the whole year, and it is surprising Hinshaw did not take his spot in the rotation.

When the offense gets back a healthy Velez, third baseman Simon Klink goes on the disabled list for a shoulder injury, Travis Ishikawa leaves the team for family issues, and Eddy Martinez-Esteve leaves the lineup for undisclosed reasons (and as of this writing, Velez has apparently been injured on a steal attempt).

The "12th man" is also not helping the team, as the fan turnout for the Defenders has been among the lowest in the league.

The only solution for manager Dave Machemer is to keep plugging these guys in the lineup and for the Defenders to try and play their way out of this mini-slump which has seen them go 2-8 in their last 10.

With seven games against divisional foe Portland in the coming week, hopefully the squad can pick up some games in the standings, even though a seven-game sweep of Portland would bring Connecticut closer and, at best, in fourth place.

Team Record: 16-29 (1-6 on the week)

Standing: Sixth in the Northern Division

When your team is consistently failing to win games, it is hard to congratulate the positive efforts and instead you dwell on the negative, and try to think why the team can possibly be playing this bad.

This week's theory is consistency. Whether it is position consistency or lineup consistency, there just has not been any.

Jake Wald has seen time at most infield positions and center field, and has batted anywhere from leadoff to seventh in the order. Mark Minicozzi, Carlos Sosa, and pretty much the rest of the team have shuffled everywhere imaginable on the field and in the lineup.

As much as the players shrug things like this off and say they're fine with whatever the manager does, there is a comfort level that comes with knowing you are going to hit third every game as the designated hitter. As a middle infielder, a player would like to develop a good relationship with their double play partner in order to develop a trust factor on balls up the middle and on holding runners. This is not strictly the manager's problem as the team has been riddled with injuries, but it is just another theory as to why this team continues to struggle.

Player of the Week: Carlos Sosa

Sosa's playing time has spiked with the promotion of Brian Horwitz to Triple-A, and he has responded just like many thought he would. He hit .481 on the week, including going 8-for-13 in the Binghamton series. He had five doubles on the week, which puts him as the team leader with 12. He also led the team in RBI on the week with six. He is in the Top 10 in the league in both doubles and batting average.

Stat of the Week: 17

The number of scoreless innings Nick Pereira had pitched when Todd Jennings had been his catcher. After throwing one gem this week Pereira reverted back to his recent bad mechanics and was knocked around.


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