Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mo-Skitz, Two-Lukes & How to win a game without throwing a pitch


 

The Biscuits fell to the Stars on Saturday to even the series at two games apiece. The "best team in the Southern league" has been less than bulletproof in Montgomery.

The rubber game on Sunday could prove interesting, as the Stars are not used to having to press to win series and the Biscuits have had no problem hitting the Huntsville bullpen. The Huntsville team has the talent, but the fiesty Skitz have been unwilling to roll over.


If that is the hallmark of Brady Williams management style, I like it. This team doesn't know the meaning of the word Quit.

They do know the meaning of the word Run.

This may be the year of the GoGo Skitz, but the numbers don't exactly reflect what we see between the chalk.


RUNNING THE NUMBERS
This year the Biscuits are running wild, stealing bases and executing the hit-and-run often. With nearly 40 stolen bases already, this team stands to blow past last years steal total of 88.

But everyone in the league is running more, the Skitz will likely drop from 6th in stolen bases last year to seventh in spite of the extra steals.

However only one team has been caught stealing less than us, a category we led the league in last year. All in all I would say that we have been better at choosing our spots for steals, optimizing our opportunities. Also that there are no catchers who can throw out baserunners raises the stolen base totals for everyone!


MO-SKITZ FACE TIME

Putting the Mo in Mo-Skitz, the Biscuits have enjoyed a nice run at "Moustache May" and have some very good facial appendages working.


Williams

The coaching staff leads the way, though if Brady Williams keeps his lip sweater all year he will need to do a new opening announcement video or it will look like we fired our manager mid-season and hired a new one with a mustache.




Among the other face hair growing guys - Matt Lollis is well on his way to the intimidating closer 'stache. Taylor Motter has a blonde shock of tough scruff that isn't apparent from a distance but seems to grow longer the closer he gets.

The catchers Maile and Bailey have both got the look of classic era players and have impressed me in many ways - more on that below!

Several other guys have great facial hair working, its a pleasant change from the clean cut/shaved head look. I find it makes it easier to root for a guy when I can recognize him and its great to see the team encourage a little individuality!


TWO-LUKES
We miss Casali's bat in the lineup, but his Durham departure has allowed us to enjoy seeing the two-Luke catching tandem.

Mustachioed battery Matt Lollis and Luke Bailey
I mean of course, Bailey and Maile, who have been in the squat for the Skitz since Curts callup.

Both these guys follow the play to first base, running in foul territory behind the runner in case of an overthrow.


Its a small thing, but when I see a catcher actually come down the line more than a few steps it tells me they have a respect for their game and a drive to win.

Most catchers don't get twenty five feet down the line, yet we see Bailey and Maile chasing the action as far as 75 or 80 feet down the first base line. Already this year they have pulled in errant throws and prevented runners from advancing on potential errors.


Also they are great at blocking balls in the dirt. They aren't afraid of using their body to block a pitch on the bounce and keep the play in front of them. Both are probably black and blue from ankle to neck from knocking down balls that hit in front of the plate. As any Biscuits fan knows, we often see our balls in the dirt, so its great to have a couple guys who can really reach down and dig them out.


WANT MORE?
How about their hitting - the two-Luke catching tandem is the best hitting catcher pair we have had maybe ever. Hitting a combined .290 with 19rbi, the pair also lead the squad in Line Drive %. Both are in the top half of the team in OPS. Yes, Casali was excellent, but as a pair we could certainly have worse than two-Lukes!




COMING UP....
JVILLE STEALS OUR GAME!
The Biscuits hit the road for a series in Jacksonville, Florida against the Suns. If you check the schedule online you would see that its become a SIX game series instead of the usual five. The May 9th Friday night rainout at Riverwalk was changed to a road game in order to get it played in the first half.

Just another example of the league office giving us the shaft - this is where we can point the finger when prices go up and low attendance is cited as the issue. Here's hoping we sweep and thumb our noses at them on the way out!

The Biscuits return on Saturday May 31st against the Ms.Braves, including a guest appearance by "Mountain Man" from Duck Dynasty. Mountain Man has come down from the hills of popular TV to make appearances at quite a few minor league parks already this season. Its a ten game homestand, after the Braves we welcome the Wahoos for the last home games before the Southern League AllStar Game.

Will Cameron Seitzer get a chance to defend his Home Run Derby title? I think so!
Cameron taking a mid-at-bat break on his way to winning the HR Derby


HISTORY LESSON -

MONTGOMERY'S MEMORIAL DAY CONNECTION TO MAJOR LEAGUE VETERANS


MAY 24, 1918  
RALPH SHARMAN DROWNS 

Ralph with A's 1917
Ralph Sharman, drowned on May 24 while swimming in the Alabama River at Montgomery near Camp Sheridan. Sharman was only 23 years old and had temporarily left a promising big league career with the Philadelphia Athletics to join the Army. He was captain of the Camp Sheridan team.
Ralph Sharman


Sharman is one of just five major leaguers who are killed in service during World War One, and is the only one to die in the United States. The others were killed overseas and include Alex Burr, Eddie Grant, Bun Troy and Larry Chappell.

Sharman signed and appeared with the A's in 1917, playing in just 13 games. He collected 11 hits, a pair of RBI and stole a base. He is buried in his home state of Ohio.


MAY 24th, 1941
SELMA PITCHER WINS GAME WITHOUT THROWING A PITCH

Selma Cloverleafs (Southeastern League) 

Toenes
Leafs pitcher Hal Toenes relieves in the top of the ninth inning against the Jackson Mississippians with a runner on 1B and two out.  

Without throwing a pitch to the batter, he picks the runner off at first base. The Selma Cloverleafs, four runs down in the 9th inning, score six runs in the bottom of the ninth to give Hal Toenes the pitchless win. 
(from "baseballlibrary/chronology/1941MAY")



see you at the park!

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