Tuesday, August 10, 2010

St. George Roadrunners series preview

The  St. George (Utah) Roadrunners are aptly named, since they'll spend the remainder of the 2010 season on the road after their owner (Will Joyce) walked away from his financial obligations and the league stepped in to run the team. They bring their travelling road show into Royal Athletic Park for a three-game series starting on Wednesday night and then they return for another three games on August 20-22. The GBL office had to do some scrambling to rearrange the league schedule and the results weren't pretty -- the Roadrunners haven't played since their final game of the year at Bruce Hurst Stadium on July 31st.

This series was to provide Victoria fans with their first chance to come out and see ex-manager Darrel Evans since he was relieved of his duties as manager of the Seals. However, the league terminated the contracts of Evans and his coaching staff on August 3rd after taking control of the team. Also let go was assistant coach Dan DiPace and pitching coach Travis Wade.

Fans will still have a chance to see Wilver Perez set the GBL record for stolen bases in a season. He tied the record on Sunday with his 51st steal and he is very likely to break the record against the Roadrunners on Wednesday night.

Tale of the Tape

Victoria 12-11 (2nd place), 34-34 .500 (overall), .280 team BA (8th), 4.88 team ERA (6th)
St. George 6-10 (5th place), 21-40 .344 (overall), .293 team BA (5th), 6.08 team ERA (9th)

St. George – Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who's Hot? It's more like Who's Left. The GBL seems to have conducted a fire sale of the St. George roster since taking control of the team -- likely to help pay for their travel costs for the rest of the year. The best hitter on St. George, Jermy Acey, was shipped off to Maui on August 3rd. One of their other top hitters, Yosvany Almario (.357 average), opted to retire on August 4th -- which might mean that he refused a move to another team. Meanwhile, ex-Seal Brett Flowers (.270 6 HR 34 RBI) was sent across the continent to an Atlantic League team.

The Roadrunners also sent pitcher Raymar Diaz (3.49 ERA) and outfielder Victor Butler (.353 average) to a Northern League team. Starting pitcher Reed Dickert (6th in the GBL in strikeouts) was sent to the Chico Outlaws, while relievers Monte Mansfield (3.21 ERA) and Robert Naegele (3.31 ERA) were moved to the Calgary Vipers.

Third baseman Henry Calderon (.308) and catcher Scott Clement (.301) are the only two remaining batters with averages over the .300 mark (unless they too were sold off and we just haven't heard). Reliever Jose Obispo is the sole pitcher left on the staff with a decent ERA (3.38). Expect to see a number of freshly-recruited players wearing the St. George jersey. Heck, we might even see Chris Van Rossum or Phil Ortez in a Roadrunners uniform.

Victoria – Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

The Seals have only scored 13 runs in their last five games, but Terrence McClain and Colin Moro have been more than pulling their own weight offensively. T-Mac has hits in 18 of his last 21 games and has a .378 average with 7 homers and 23 RBIs in that span. C-Mo is currently on a five-game hitting streak and he's hitting .348 over the last week. Aaron Easton hasn't allowed an earned run in his last seven games, but the hottest pitcher right now is probably Jeff Duda. Duda has a 2.64 ERA in his last 13 appearances (30 2/3 innings pitched). Jino Gonzalez has also been very good of late, but he is unlikely to take to the mound in the series.

Two of the Seals starters have really fallen on hard times of late. Andrew Arreola has a 10.13 ERA in his last four starts, while Anthony Pluta has a 7.58 ERA in his last five games. Mike Koons has struggled mightily since his acquisition from Orange County and he has been tagged for a 15.45 ERA in three relief appearances. On the hitting side, Jerry Madueno is hitting a paltry .160 in his first seven games with the Seals and Matt Edgecombe is only hitting .217 in his last ten games.

Keys to the Series

This series will all come down to how much talent takes to the field for St. George. Their roster has been gutted, so it will be interesting to see who the league has signed to replace the quality players that have been shipped out. 


It's not easy to predict the outcome when you don't know much about the opponents, but I'm guessing that the Roadrunners will feature a bunch of players who are eager to play professional baseball and will play for a low salary (by GBL standards). The pressure is on for me to keep up with Bubba, who correctly predicted a split between Tucson and Victoria in his preview of their four-game series. I'll go out on a limb and predict a series sweep for the Seals over the Roadrunners.