Tuesday, August 28, 2018

L.I. Ducks: Flock Will Go As Far As Triumvirate of Starting Pitchers Take Them

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks own 4.5 game lead over Somerset Patriots 
with nineteen games to go.

Long Island Ducks: Weight of Flock's World Falls on Triumvirate of John Brownell, Jake Fisher, and Matt Larkins.

Less than twenty games remain in the regular season, and the Sugar Land Skeeters have thus far proven themselves to be the most balanced team in the circuit, ranking first or second in near every major pitching and offensive category.  With a first-half title already in the books, the Skeeters again lead the Freedom Division by 6.5 games over the second place Lancaster Barnstormers.

For Long Island rooters, that's a race worth monitoring as Lancaster presently tops the Wild Card standings by 2.5 games over the Flock.  As luck would have it, the Barnstormers arrive on Long Island Tuesday night to open a four game series at Bethpage Ballpark.

In the midst of a six-game win streak, the Ducks enter Tuesday with a 4.5 game lead over the Somerset Patriots.  With their head-to-head regular season series complete, the Flock and Patriots do not meet again down the stretch, thus setting the stage for a rather intriguing race to come.

Somerset, like Sugar Land, has already clinched a first-half title.  Therefore if the Ducks are to face off against the Patriots in a fourth straight Liberty Division post-season showdown, it would behoove them to sustain their present standing and capture the second-half flag, or at the very least, outplay the Lancaster Barnstormers and any other Wild Card contenders.

Easier said than done ...

Long Island's final six games of the regular season are against the Skeeters, all at Sugar Land.


Team Average
  • Sugar Land #1;  LONG ISLAND #2;  SOMERSET #5
Team Slugging
  • Sugar Land #1;  LONG ISLAND #2;  SOMERSET #7
Team OPS
  • Sugar Land #1;  LONG ISLAND #2;  SOMERSET #6
  • Sugar Land #1;  LONG ISLAND #2;  SOMERSET #5
Home Runs
  • LONG ISLAND #1; Sugar Land #2; SOMERSET #8
Total Bases
  • LONG ISLAND #1; Sugar Land #2; SOMERSET #6
Team ERA
  • Sugar Land #1; SOMERSET #2; LONG ISLAND #5
Team WHiP
  • Sugar Land #1;  SOMERSET #2;  LONG ISLAND #6
Average Against
  • Sugar Land #1;  SOMERSET #2;  LONG ISLAND #6
  • SOMERSET #1;  Sugar Land #2;  LONG ISLAND #3

Which team wins the Liberty Division's second-half title boils down to a pair of factors: whether Long Island's hitting outlasts Somerset's pitching, and how well the Ducks emerge from their six game series against Sugar Land.

The loss of starter Bennett Parry (contract purchased/Taiwan) earlier this month was clearly a major blow to Long Island's rotation.  They've have also negotiated the last two months without the injured Jair Jurrjens.  The Ducks in turn have relied on Tyler Badamo and Hector Silveste to back fill the rotation with mixed results.  The one time Mets farmhand and former Skeeter himself, Tyler Badamo is 3-2 since coming over to the Flock, with a 3.37 ERA through seven starts.  Silvestre comes to the Flock via the Washington Nationals system, and thus far has struggled through his first seven appearances.  He's 2-0 but with a 6.23 ERA, having surrendered 39 hits, 11 walks, and striking out 16 through 30.1 innings pitched.

It goes without saying, then, the burden of leading Long Island towards future successes or failures now rests in the arms, elbows, and shoulders of veteran Flock starting pitchers John Brownell, Matt Larkins, and Jake Fisher.  I'm sure all three would agree their respective performances haven't exactly been up to snuff.
  • John Brownell: 9-10 with a 4.56 ERA, 1.713 WHiP, and .271 average against.
  • Jake Fisher: 6-6 with a 4.23 ERA, 2.104 WHiP, and .293 average against.
  • Matt Larkins: 7-4 with a 4.23 ERA, 2.12 WHiP, and .307 average against.

Despite some unsightly numbers, they're an experienced lot.  But can they seize the day one last time?

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