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Richards isn't living in a field of daydreams

July 31, 2005|By Bob Parasiliti

Gene Richards isn't much for daydreaming.

The Hagerstown Suns manager doesn't allow himself the time to gaze into crystal balls or visualize the future. Nor does he think about Never Neverland.

It's all about the here and now for Richards, who is worried about making the Suns a better team and each individual a better player.

But, it's getting to be about time for Richards to change. The playoffs are six weeks away. The Suns are lanquishing in last place in the second half, but their ticket is already punched for the postseason by virtue of winning the South Atlantic League's first-half championship.

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"You are way ahead of me," Richards said Monday. "I don't even know who we are playing next week, but maybe I should start playing more attention.

"I think more about each guy and trying to get them better. We have been trying to put a lineup out that can be cohesive and play well that day."

It's been tough.

Six of the major components of the Suns' title run have been promoted after the playoff berth was in hand. The Mets organization has moved players around on the Single-A level, trying to see how each responds to the different competition.

What has been good for the individuals had been tough on the Suns' overall record.

Hagerstown is 11-19 in the second half and 53-47 overall. The Suns are 9-16 since defeating Lexington on June 25 in the one-game playoff for the title.

The Suns' biggest problem in the span has been consistency.

"I don't think our lineup has been detemental," Richards said. "It's been the way we play. We have been walking a lot of batters, hitting a lot of batters and making a lot of errors."

In the first half, the Suns had wiggle room for shoddy play. Now there is nowhere to wiggle.

"We need for someone to step up every game," Richards said. "We have lost a lot of the complimetary players. Now we have to scratch for runs. Guys stepped up for us today ... We need guys to step up for us tomorrow. Someone has to do it every day."

And you wonder why Richards isn't thinking about the playoffs?

Say, weren't you a Sun?

Hagerstown Suns baseball is like a confused Canadian goose.

It has headed south for the summer.

Suns' fortunes have been as different as day and night between the halves. That's probably because the majority of Hagerstown's production has been sent south with the St. Lucie Mets.

You can't fault players for wanting to play a higher grade of baseball in a nicer climate, but fans have been spoiled by their production while they have been here.

For example, five hitters - Dante Brinkley, Grant Psomas, Aaron Hathaway, Wilson Batista and Tyler Davidson - are now major parts of the St. Lucie team, one that floundered in the Florida State League's first half. In all, 12 players have been either promoted to St. Lucie or sent to half-season Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League.

The missing Suns hit .303 while in Hagerstown while the rest of the team is carrying a .229 batting average. The misplaced Suns have accounted for 39 percent of the runs Hagerstown has scored this season, 24 percent of the doubles, 38 percent of the triples, 60 percent of the home runs and 34 percent of the RBI.

Here are the before and after numbers for the displaced Suns.

Hitting


GABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAvg.

Aaron Hathaway

Suns (4-7 to 6-28)

39139183680113832.259

St. Lucie (6-28 to 7-28)

1131511300536.355

Wilson Batista

Suns (4-7 to 6-29)

6826541631137282446.238

St. Lucie (6-29 to 7-28)

2610818356238716.324

Grant Psomas

Suns (4-7 tp 7-21)

88311579322217485669.299

St. Lucie (7-21 to 7-28)

82538100214.320

Dante Brinkley

Suns (4-7 to 6-29)

61214487817410413857.364

St. Lucie (6-29 to 7-28)

26931425402111330.269

Tyler Davidson

Suns (4-7 to 6-2)

2378121640213527.205

St. Lucie (6-2 to 7-28)

18617142015418.230

Tony Piazza

Suns (4-7 to 7-27)

52013100119.150

St. Lucie (4-22 to 7-28)

24607123003717.200

Jesus Gamero

Suns (4-7 to 5-2)

165589200249.164

Brooklyn (6-21 to 7-28)

2810182301114614.228

Pitching


WLERAGIPHR ERBBSO

G. Hernandez

Suns (4-7 to 7-11)

612.431892.25929253099

St. Lucie (7-11 to 7-28)

215.65314.1189947

Tim Worthington

Suns (4-7 to 7-25)

221.521541.1351072346

St. Lucie (5-29 to 7-28)

201.54611.263229

Carlos Muniz

Suns (4-7 to 7-11)

344.783037.23722201943

St. Lucie (7-22 to 7-28)

0027.0021.134422

Jeff Landing

Suns (4-7 to 6-21)

554.401475.27441373445

Brooklyn (6-21 to 7-28)

243.07844.03520151436

Aristides Almenar

Suns (6-10 to 6-21)

009.8223.214452

Brooklyn (6-21 to 7-28)

022.551217.21265713

Suns spots


The Suns are 5-8 in extra innings this season.

The Suns are 15-21 in one-run games this season

Birthdays - Pitcher Mike Devaney turns 23 today.

The week ahead


The Suns start one of their final three homestands on Tuesday after playing Kannapolis (White Sox) today and taking Monday off.

The Suns spend four games in Hagerstown with two games against Lake County (Indians) followed by two with Lexington (Astros), beginning Thursday.

Tuesday and Thursday's games are Merchant Nights. Thursday will also be Thirsty Thursday and 70s night.

Wednesday's game will be an 11:05 a.m. start for Kids' Camp Day. Friday will be another fireworks night.

The Suns end the week by starting an eight-game roadtrip with four games in Lexington.

Bob Parasiliti covers the Suns for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com

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