The Biscuits are hovering around the .500 mark for the second half, which would be good for first place in the other division. But alas, the North Division is less forgiving and playing even ball only gets the Skitz to third place.
The second half is easily defined for Montgomery - playoffs only require beating two teams. If Montgomery can edge the Smokies and Generals they can make the postseason.
With the Lookouts having clinched the first half and the Barons firmly entrenched in the basement, only the Gens and Smokies are left between the Biscuits and a third straight playoff opportunity.
It's certainly not an impossible task for this talented squad.
The Big Club finally sent help for the Biscuits, particularly the rotation. With injuries to an already short pitching staff, new hurlers had to be gotten. Fifteen different pitchers have started games for Montgomery already this season.
HEY NEW GUY(S)!
There are several new Biscuits on the roster. New guys pitching are Genesis Cabrera, Mike Broadway, Hunter Adkins and Logan Darnell. On the batting side, Dalton Kelly has arrived.
|Rhp Mike Broadway|
Mike Broadway is a veteran reliever to help bolster the back end of the bullpen. Pitching for the Giants organization the past few years, Broadway has 25 MLB games under his belt and should be pitching in triple-A.
When Broadway comes in to pitch, the stadium organist plays "New York New York".
|RHP Hunter Adkins|
Hunter Adkins is no stranger, having pitched against Montgomery as a member of the Jacksonville Suns last year. He brings a career era of 4.83 and a 7w-19L record to the Biscuits staff.
In his three starts for Montgomery he has held the opposition to just one one run twice, reaching the fifth inning just once. What he does provide is innings, having tallied over 100 IP in each of his last two seasons, which the Biscuits sorely need help with.
Logan Darnell is having a great time in the Southern League. Signed out of indie ball to lighten the workload and provide aforementioned innings, Darnell has two wins in his three starts, sandwiched around one clunker. Darnell has started in over 130 minor league games and sports a nice 3.79 career ERA.
Darnell offers Montgomery a quality arm, Montgomery offers Darnell a second chance to make the big leagues. Logan made four starts and a few bullpen appearances for the Twins in 2014.
Also fairly new to the team is starting pitcher Genesis Cabrera.
I was screaming for this kid to get promoted earlier this season, so far he has made four starts and won three. Pitching at least six innings in each effort, the young lefthander has a bright future and is showing he belongs in the Rays plans long term.
Dalton Kelly is the new first baseman, slugging a cool .699 in his first twenty games. Kelly earned his promotion from the Stone Crabs and hasn't missed a beat since joining the Biscuits.
Kellys arrival pushes the versatile Joe McCarthy into left field.
Justin O'Conner hasn't appeared in a game since June 30th. Is he on the DL? Probably, but the League and team websites don't show it.
Granden Goetzman hasn't appeared in a game since June 14th. During the last homestand I asked him how he was progressing but he felt he wasn't quite ready to ramp up his activity yet. Hopefully he is feeling better by the time the team gets home mid-week.
Greg Harris and Benton Moss might also be on the DL, but again, the internet doesn't know it. However the Biscuits have added players, so a roster spot has to be open somehow. Harris and Moss's injuries don't seem to be major, usual mid-season soreness, but enough to keep them from pitching for a few weeks and necessitating a series of moves to shore up the staff.
FRANCO INNINGS MATCHED
As predicted, Mike Franco has issues with the second half and has hit the DL. The Skitz most dependable starter in the first half, his 71.1 Innings Pitched for Montgomery is exactly the number he tossed in all of last year.
Going into the season I asked about his innings limit and team coaches were skeptical that it would be a problem, but after one quick stint in Durham he was returned to Montgomery and was placed on the disabled list.
WHAT WE ALL THINK ABOUT DURHAM
How bout those D-Bulls I asked.
"They have six starters and like, eleven relievers in Durham," I was told. "That's why we have never won the first half!"
Usually thats the kind of thing I hear from fans at the park, disgruntled over the Biscuits being left short handed. Sometimes its from a team employee, an usher or vendor who has as much blood and sweat and tears invested in the Biscuits as anyone. Occasionally its from a well placed source, a media member or executive type, someone who can't be named but shares the same frustrations from watching every game.
But this time it was coming from a Biscuits player. He was honestly annoyed the team was in first place with ten games left in the first half but left shorthanded and ultimately missed an early playoff spot.
It's no secret that the Bulls get any individual Biscuit who has success, particularly pitchers. The Rays pride themselves on their pitching and like to see guys move up quickly. However, leaving the Biscuits club to rot on the vine has left everyone wondering what logic is behind letting Montgomery suffer without a full roster when they have a chance to succeed as a team.
That this club is still treading water is a testament to their fortitude. However playing shorthanded all summer has left Bradys Boys wondering if the reinforcements are too little, too late.