Let me go ahead and air out the bad so that I can focus on the good: as a team, we finished the first half with the worst team ERA in the Midwest League, which therefore helped to produce the worst record in the Midwest League. But all is not lost. We opened the first half on Thursday and are currently sitting in first place after an extra-innings win, which took 4 hours and 45 minutes to play.
Although the core of the team will remain the same, we did get a lot of fresh faces in the clubhouse. You are more than capable to read about the moves on the Dragons website, so there is really no need for me to harp on them. However, it was nice to see Brandon Menchaca back with us. After a rough start to the season with the Dragons, he was sent to extended for about a month. Since we already had four outfielders on the roster, a lot of the guys assumed he would be making the trip to Billings (a second trip to Billings for a college guy, probably not the best thing in terms of career development). It was a relief to some of the guys close to him when we got the word he was rejoining us.
On the personal side of things, I feel I had a slightly better than average half. Of the starters who finished the first half in Dayton, I was tops in ERA, second in WHIP and BA against. (On a side-note, I think these are the three most important stats for any pitcher. I am sure there are arguments for different, but as a player, those are my key indicators of success.) Going into my last outing of the half I was tops in all three categories, but had the worst outing of my professional career and really inflated my numbers. My key to a successful second half is to be more consistent and get my walks back under control. In my last three starts, covering 14 1/3 innings, I walked 11 batters. That’s unbelievable considering in the previous 46 1/3 innings I only allowed 9 base-on-balls.
The three-day break was much needed. Hopefully everyone had time to re-charge their batteries so we can make a run for the playoffs. Considering four of the six teams from the East division make the playoffs, I will be very disappointed if the Dragons fail in doing so.