Clubhouse chatter

You can't always count on numbers

You can't always count on numbers

June 04, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

The first half of the South Atlantic League season has quickly become an experience the Hagerstown Suns haven't been able to count on.

The way things are going, the Suns are probably not playing the lottery, staying away from Bingo games and avoiding multiplication tables like the plague.

Anything that uses numbers has to be giving the Suns a nervous twitch these days. The numbers and statistics of the first half of the season hasn't had all the rewards the young Hagerstown team had hoped for.

"Obviously, I expected and was hopeful to get a better record," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said. "Knowing we were going to be inexperienced player-wise, we were counting on being pitching dominant. That way we could stay in games and have things turn with one swing of the bat. But we lost some players and then had some injuries and we started to get some guys who were being groomed for middle relief in starting roles."


No matter the reasons, Hagerstown has a difficult task because of the young roster. Granted, the Suns are young with an average age of 21.4 years old, including eight players who are 20 or under, so the first half is being chalked up as a learning experience.

Still, the trends are there to look at and so are the numbers. Consider:

The Suns have lost 16 of their last 19 games.

They are last in the South Atlantic League in stolen bases (33) and team earned run average (4.67), second to last in batting average (.234), walks allowed (219) and 11th of 16 teams in home runs (28).

In the last 16 games, the Suns pitching staff has a 6.63 ERA with the bullpen carrying a 7.56 ERA on their own. The bullpen has been forced to pitch at least four innings in seven of their games.

The Suns are 6-24 in games when the opponents have scored first. They are 8-22 in games decided by two or more runs.

The Suns have been successful on 33 of 63 steal attempts, a 52 percent success rate.

The Suns have scored an average of 3.88 runs a game while opponents have put up 5.27 per game.

"We're inexperienced, but that's not an excuse," Cacciatore said. "We have to get back to fundamental baseball and be basic."

Suns spots

Hagerstown has only been successful on eight of 19 save opportunities.

Former Suns outfielders Ambiorix Concepcion and Corey Coles; catcher Jesus Flores; pitchers Carlos Muniz and Mike Devaney have been named to the East team for the Florida State League All-Star Game.

This weekend's series with Lexington was supposed to be Suns fans' only chance to see Koby Clemens play. The third baseman, and eldest son of Astros pitcher Roger Clemens, has been on the disabled list for the last six weeks with a broken finger. The younger Clemens is working with his father, trying to be ready to play on Tuesday, when the Rocket is scheduled to make his training appearance by pitching for the Legends at Applebee's Park.

A look ahead

The Suns remain in perpetual motion this week.

After finishing the four-game series with Lexington today, they hit the road for a two-game set at West Virginia (Brewers) before bringing the Power home for a pair of games on Wednesday and Thursday. They finish the week with a trip to the shore for a three-game set at Delmarva (Orioles).

Today is the Dog Days of Summer (bring your dog to the park) promotion. On Wednesday, it will be Boonsboro Bobblehead night, featuring the giveaway likeness of Dwight Scott while Thirsty Thursday will be highlighted by the Hot Dog's 100th birthday with weenies being sold for $1 all night.

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

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