Team Record: 24-35 (5-1 on the week); Sixth in the Northern Division
With the rotation now five solid starters strong, the Defenders managed to reel of a five game winning streak this week as all five starters threw quality starts. The most quality of all those starts may have been David McKae's performance on Saturday which was nullified by a Brian Anderson implosion in the ninth. This started a wave of commotion amongst Defenders' fans on why McKae was not left in to pitch the ninth after he had only thrown 92 pitches. This just goes to remind everyone that a farm club is always at the mercy of their parent clubs, and winning ballgames does not always take precedent over the health of young players. While having a set pitch count for all starting pitchers may not be the best way to do it, parent clubs should monitor this on a case by case basis to eliminate the chances of a minor league manager burning out their players.
Just to keep everyone updated on what Eugenio Velez has done since he joined the leadoff spot in the order 19 games ago. He has hit .347 with five extra base hits and has gone 13 for 15 in stolen bases. He had a 17 game on base streak to start of his Defenders career. His only real weakness appears to be taking the walk, as his strikeout to walk ratio is currently 12. As long as he continues to hit .350 no one will question his faults.
With Velez setting the table and the middle of the lineup continuing to hit, there is no reason why the Defenders can not keep up their current hot streak. The Defenders start of the coming week by playing a four game set against Trenton, who has been their daddy throughout the 2007 season. The Defenders could have asked for no better time to take on the Thunder with all their cogs turning in perfect order. Unfortunately the team does play two with Trenton on Tuesday which means Ben Cox will probably have to make a spot start.
Simon Klink made his return to the team this week going getting one hit in five tries during three appearances. He also returned to the field at third, which means Trey Webb's playing time will decrease. Recently recalled Alex Requena was placed on the DL, and Webb was actually seen playing the outfield in his place a little this week too, giving him added versatility. It was thought Jake Wald would see DL time too, but given a few days his hamstring responded well and he was back in the lineup towards the end of the week.
Player of the Week: David McKae
Two weeks on the Defenders' roster, two appearances on the player of the week award podium. McKae was denied his second Double-A win, but pitched eight innings, allowing only four hits, striking out seven and walking none. He retired the last 15 batters he faced before yielding to Brian Anderson in the ninth. After two Double-A starts, McKae's ERA stands at .60. He has walked 0 batters in his first 15 innings, displaying excellent control, which is a necessity for someone who sits around 85-87 with their fastball.
Stat of the Week: 1.57
This is team closer Brian Anderson's WHIP. It is quite high for a closer, and to put it in perspective, it is the highest WHIP for any reliever who has registered at least four saves in Eastern league play. That fraternity of pitchers is 13 deep. Anderson is living on the edge, and putting one and a half runners on base during every closing opportunity will come back to bite you. It did on Saturday, and that will not be the last time. Anderson's 24 hits in 23 innings is not a huge problem but adding the 12 walks on just amplifies the problem.
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