Sunday, August 8, 2010

Seals step back from the abyss

The Victoria Seals came close to letting the season slip away this afternoon at RAP, but a hard-fought double-header sweep has them back in the race for the second-half crown.

Rios' big hit in Sunday's first game may
be the turning point of the second half
The Seals took the first game of the double-header 4-3, thanks to a clutch Brian Rios single in the bottom of the ninth inning. The hit scored Wilver Perez from second base after Perez swiped his 51st base of the year to tie the GBL record for stolen bases in a season. Tim Rodriguez hit a pair of solo homers and Terrence McClain also hit a solo shot in the first game.

Victoria took the second game by a 5-3 score, in large part due to another stellar effort by starter Jino Gonzalez. Gonzalez pitched a 7-inning complete game and struck out 10 batters to collect his sixth consecutive win of the season. After being on the losing end of his first four decisions of the season, Gonzalez now has a 6-4 record and a 3.92 ERA.

But the biggest news of the day was that the Seals have released Chris Van Rossum and activated Charlie Strandlund. The decision was at least partially motivated by the short-term injury to Josh Arhart. With Arhart sitting out Sunday's game, the Seals were without a catcher to backup Matt Kavanaugh.

Personally, I think it was a bit of a surprise that Van Rossum lasted so long into the 2010 season with the Seals. Although he has always played stellar defensively, he hit only .184 and had a horrible .233 on-base percentage in 51 games with the team. Van Rossum also struck out 37 times in only 136 at-bats. Strandlund has the versatility to play all nine positions, which is quite valuable with the small 22-man rosters in the GBL.

With Van Rossum no longer on the team, the Seals are without an obvious fourth outfielder. If I were running the club, I'd be on the lookout for a good-hitting backup outfielder (Mike Mooney, perhaps?). I'd also like to see Dale Swinford back out there as the starting second baseman. After seven games with the Seals, Jerry Madueno has a .160 batting average, a .160 on-base percentage and a .160 slugging percentage. His defense is good, but it's not good enough to justify the playing time he has received in the last week.