West Michigan MLN: Starting the Second Half

The West Michigan Whitecaps needed to start the second half of the season on a high note, after their first half put them in last place in the division. Unfortunately, when you're second half begins with a three game series against the first half champion Lake County Captains, the task becomes a bit more challenging.

The 'Caps could not live up to the challenge.

The team was outscored by Lake County 15-1 in a three game series in which only one game even saw the Whitecaps in contention to win.

The statistics show an even worse trend for the Whitecaps, offensively. Going in to Tuesday, the team has went 29 straight innings without scoring a run in the midst of this four game losing skid.

Despite this and the loss of RHP Jacob Turner to Lakeland, the pitching staff has been relatively exceptional the second half of the season, as LHP Giovanny Soto (5-5, 2.00) continues to be virtually lights out on the mound, although his record does not indicate it.

RHP Nate Newman (0-3, 3.77) also looked great in his first start of the season against South Bend last night, giving up one run in four innings while striking out four.

Offensively, the damage of losing 1B Jordan Lennerton to the Flying Tigers may be taking its toll on the 'Caps during the second half. While CF Jamie Johnson is still playing fairly consistent baseball—he still has an average over .300—there hasn't been one particular guy who has filled in the void left by Lennerton. 3B Wade Gaynor seems to be giving the team a power-hitting option that they have failed to have all season, as well as a guy who can drive in runs, although his average is, well, average, at best.

Former University of Alabama star and Detroit Tigers 2010 draft pick 1B Clay Jones seems to be the guy that 'Caps manager Joe DePastino has chosen to pick up where Lennerton left off. While he has yet to drive in a run in the few games he has been in so far, look for Jones to possibly heat up before the end of the season, as he has proven from his collegiate days that he can hit the ball very well. The 'Caps also picked up 1B Tony Plagman and C Robert Brantly through the draft.

The West Michigan Whitecaps continue their road trip with two more games against the South Bend Silver Hawks before heading up to Lake County for a three game series against the Captains. The team returns home on July 4 for a three game series against Dayton.

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