The Batting Crown Race

 Godzilla Garcia  is not only threatening to hit .400 but he is actually raising his average as this past week saw his batting line go from .420 to .423.  In last evenings contest he went 3 for 4 against the Neptune’s with a double.  Toledo managed to win 6-1 as their challenger for the batting title, Carl MacNiven went 2 for 4 with his own double to ease his average back up to .389, yet at the same time quieting conversation about whether he might hit .400.

Sourface MacNiven is hitting .107 points above his average for last season and still has a shot at .400.

 

 

If this were a horse race you might hear the announcer using the classic vernacular of the sport  something akin to ‘they are around the far turn’ and you would know that these two batting giants are about to head to the stretch.  But, if you were not paying attention you might miss some activity, say, ‘coming up from the rear’.

Not to be out done,  the face of the GLBL is making his own bid for another batting crown as the two time Lake Superior Award winner and two time Lake Erie Award winner, and seven time all star (aka every year) is preparing for the stretch run with a vengeance.

Shotgun Time!  He was hitting .256 near the end of April but he’s been classic Silas since then and is now batting .375.  So the question is as we head to the stretch, ‘who can go the distance’?

Godzilla at the Plate

When you are 23 years old and playing at the GLBL level you are usually riding the bench hoping for an opportunity for a spot start here and there always with the hope that you impress the manager enough to give you another opportunity, hopefully in the form of a start.  Less likely, but still possible, you might be the benefactor of a long term injury to a player that moves you up the depth chart (Google Wally Pipp).

In the case of Guillermo ‘Godzilla’ Garcia he has already eclipsed the status described above as he is now the starting RF while spending some time in CF.  He’s 4.8 ZR combined.  But, we are not here to talk about his glove, or his arm (7 assists).

It’s the bat that carries his .416 batting average.  89 hits in 214 at bats qualifies him as a legitimate challenger to ‘Sourface’ McNiven of Toledo for the leagues highest batting average in 2021.  And, you don’t want to face this guy in a matinee contest as he hits .445 during the day hours.  In 316 AB’s he hit .341 in 2020.  In the current season he has posted 0 HR’s and 1 triple  and appears to be the classic slap and hit batter who uses his speed to beat out infield hits.  No question, Godzilla is a legit candidate to lead the league in batting for quite some time.

McNiven presses on

After 59 games he was hitting .395.  Having played 106 games Carl is now at .396 and definitely capturing the attention of stat freaks all over the Great Lakes area.  Is the 36 year old second sacker distracted with all the media attention?

Carl had this to say. ” Are you serious?  We’ve got a pennant to win.  Anything else is back seat stuff, mister.”

Showdown Time

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The Toronto Maples seemingly own the Hamilton Mounties by virtue of their 14-8 edge over the season.  The last time the Maples visited Hamilton they dropped the first two games of the series but somehow pulled out a 3-2 win in the finale managing but 2 hits as the Mounties wasted a fine performance by Tate Crosby (8 IP/2 hits/1 BB/8 K’s….but 2 HR’s).   Prior to that contest Hamilton had a 5 game lead over the 37-39 Toronto club.  But, things have flipped since that June afternoon.

Hamilton will have to do without their big bat and 4 time All Star Dave Teague for this series.  Meanwhile, the Maples will do without a bevy of players and not the least their big first baseman Stephen Gilbert (22 HR’s in 116 games).

How close are these teams?  Toronto has a season run differential of +17 while Hamilton one of +19.  The Maples are 28-20 post all star while the Mounties have struggled with a 22-25 record.  The teams are separated by 2.5 games so clearly Hamilton must win at least 2 of 3.

The Mounties have been averaging +37,000 crowds during their 30-24 home season and tickets will be scarce for this set.  The Maples actually play better on the road at 35-29.  Should be a good one!

The Mid Summer Magic Maples

The Toronto Maples are looking every bit like a playoff team for the first time in their history.  After a typical April/May where they played 26-31 ball June ‘changed their tune’ with a 14-9 record and July ‘they let it fly’ (thanks Paul Simon) going 19-10.  This morning their record is 59-51 as they find themselves 5 games back of the league leading Windsor Vigilantes.

The Maples lead the Canadian League in Runs Scored, OBP, and Batting Average.  The Starting Pitching is ranked 3rd.

   Kevin Thomas…just 1 HR but a .343 BA and a .432 OBP means he’s the ultimate table setter.  His 135 hits is only second to one player in the league.

  Hilton Madore, LF, leads both leagues in Hits with 146 and he has 15 HR’s.

  Henri Francois, quite possibly the pitching face of the GLBL has not missed a beat since he defected from the World Champion Milwaukee Eagles as he has a 12-3/ 1.96 ERA line for Toronto.

  Stephen Gilbert 1b in his 3rd season with Toronto gets better and better with the bat as he has turned in a .284/.377/.513 line up to now.

  When it comes to closers, lights out closers, River Guiterrez is the man.  River is practically unhittable as he has allowed 26 hits and 8 walks in 46 innings pitched which translates to a 0.38 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP.  No surprise as this guy has turned in WHIP’s of 0.76 and 0.77 in previous years.  His K/BB ration is 12.9.

The Hamilton Mounties trail Toronto by 4.5 games so the fortune of the Maples could go either way.  Some big Sunday – Tuesday series coming up this week and next as Toronto faces Hamilton next week and Windsor the week after.

 

The curious case of Kevin Boivins ‘D’

hamilton_mounties           Kevin Boivin, Hamilton Mounties…could it be???    mini_gold_glove_out_of_box_1_0

Some of you may remember our discussion in 2017 that revolved around the defense, or lack thereof, of the Milwaukee Eagles.  Kevin Boivin, acquired early in the season from the Traverse City Bears was playing 1B for the Eagles.  Or, trying to play might be a better description.  Boivin committed a whopping 23 errors in 123 games at first for Milwaukee and even added a single error in 3 innings of play in RF.

Well, Milwaukee sought another direction in the off-season and on Oct. 16 Kevin found himself a free agent and he stayed that way until March 9 when the Hamilton Mounties inked him to a one year deal ($8M).

Boivin has given the Mounties the offense they were seeking when they signed him (.264/.384/.488), pretty much his career average from the dish.

What is a bit surprising is that while playing three positions (mostly 1B) he has not committed a single error all year long.  Twenty six games at first and a total of nine games in the OF and Kevin is flawless.

Maybe it was the change of scenery, or could it be he is happier in Canada???; it’s hard to say but he clearly is a player worthy of the ‘past results do not guarantee future performance’.  Could this man actually win a gold glove in what can only be termed a defensive renaissance year for him?  A long way to go but you can’t count him out.

 

Toronto & Kingston

Time for a break.

39 & 39

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This RBI Leader has earned his wings…

    His team won’t make the post-season.  They will finish 2015 with a losing record.  It’s not an exaggeration to say they are buried in the standings and the news.  Anonymity?  The franchise has it, like or not.

But, for those who follow Duluth, and the GLBL in detail, Jean Carlier is not an obscure baseball player.  Lacking the flash of younger players and the press that often accompanies the hot prospects, this classy vet is waging war on USA pitching.  At 39 years, and 39 days, Jean Carlier is leading the USA league in RBI’s with 81.  Actually, he is leading all of the GLBL in RBI’s.  He’s known as the Team Leader by everyone but himself and because of that old school humility, he garners the admiration of fans and teammates alike and is without question the face of the franchise.

Jean Carlier has won the hearts of the entire city and organization in Duluth.  How many games remain in the career of the pride of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario is subject to speculation.   Yet, barring injury or unforeseen circumstances the Sea Gulls faithful expect Jean to return to Sea Gull Stadium again next season fulfilling at least the final year on his contract.   Keep those RBI’s coming Jean!

Use your imagination and….

retail-and-entertainment-complex@2x      chi logo shrunk you never know what you might see.   A few weeks back no one dared imagine….any other reality than a Milwaukee Eagle pennant…..going away.  Just one month ago the Eagles had a comfortable 16 game lead over Chicago with the third place T-Birds 16.5 GB.  Slam Dunk, right?  Play out the season and try and stay away from injuries.

Well, one third of that lead has evaporated and the Chicago Architects are one game away from a single digit deficit in their pursuit of Milwaukee.  They have won 11 of 13.  They have been on a tear, simply put, but beyond the hot streak there is one stat no one in Milwaukee likes to face.  Chicago has a 12-7 advantage in head to  head play.

This might get interesting.