To say the Fort Myers Miracle have been struggling lately would be an understatement, as they have lost 16 of their last 20 games. In that span, the team has endured a nine-game losing streak, mostly due to their inability to get anything going at the plate. The team does not have a single batter hitting over .300 this season, and they are currently last in the Florida State League in team batting with a horrid .224 team mark. The second to last team has a .252 clip. The pitching has been great though, ranking sixth in the league in team earned run average, and they are pretty much the only reason why the team has even won a game.
There has been some bats that have come alive recently, including infielders Juan Portes, and Steven Tolleson. Portes has looked like a completely different player at the plate during the last ten games, and he is batting at a .351 clip over that span. Tolleson is batting .297 during the last nine games, and has really been decent all year long from the leadoff spot in the order. Aside from these two, no other Miracle batter is hitting over .225 over the last ten games. During the last five games, Matthew Betsill and Jeff Christy are both batting .429, and Christy also has a home run. This team needs to get some serious production quickly.
It seems like any pitcher the Miracle trots out to toe the bump does well, though a handful of prospects are really grooving right now. Closer Eduardo Morlan has struck out an amazing 11 batters in his last five innings of work, and has allowed only one hit. He has also picked up two saves. Ryan Mullins has been one of the best starting pitchers in the Florida State League this season, and is currently tenth in the FSL in ERA. In his last 11 innings of work, Mullins has allowed only one earned run, and has struck out 15 along the way. Oswaldo Sosa has also been great, allowing one earned through his last 13.2 innings. He has struck out nine in that span, walking three, and allowing seven hits. David Shinskie has thrown donuts through his last four outings, a span of 7.1 innings.
Throw a dart at the Miracle lineup and you'll likely find a prospect who is struggling right now. Aside from maybe three guys, the Miracle just aren't hitting. One surprise has been Whitney Robbins over the past ten games. The young slugger is batting .156 during that time, with only one run scored, and no home runs. He has only driven in three. Edward Ovalle has also been inconsistent lately, batting only .143 over the team's last ten games. The outfielder does have a home run, but he has scored only twice, and has drive in only two runs. Toby Gardenhire has seen his time being cut short with the arrival of Luis Ugueto, and both prospects are struggling. The two infielders are batting .077 and .176 respectively in their team's last ten games.
The Miracle have been getting great pitching from nearly everyone on their staff lately, though a couple of guys have had a pretty rough week or so. Kyle Aselton has allowed seven earned runs during his last 2.2 innings of work, a span of three games. He has walked four in the process, and struck out three. Angel Garcia has been pretty much lights out all year for Fort Myers, but he ran into a rough patch this past week. He allowed six earned runs in his four appearances, mostly because he walked seven batters. He's one of the key relievers on the Miracle staff, so he'll definitely get it going again soon. Amazingly, no other Miracle pitcher has allowed more than three earned runs in the last ten team games.
What We Know
If the bats don't start to come around soon, then the Miracle may dig themselves into a hole that they can't get out of. They have some serious bats in their lineup, and one thing is for sure, the Florida State League is definitely a pitcher friendly league. Still, the fact that not one player is batting .300 or better is alarming, and the pitching staff can only win you so many games. If Robbins can get going again, and some of the other hitters get more consistent, then the offense should be able to climb out of the cellar. One guy who is much better than his stat line indicates is Zach Ward, who leads the league in losses. He has been such a hard luck pitcher this season, and he has really pitched bad on maybe one occasion. If the offense continues to struggle, look for Danny Valencia to be making his FSL debut very soon.