2022 American Association First Half Recap: Gary SouthShore RailCats
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Rob Pannier takes a look back at the first half of the 2022 American Association season for the Gary SouthShore RailCats including who is their MVP and top pitcher, and discusses the prognosis heading forward.
A Look at the First Half for the Gary SouthShore RailCats
(Ranking in American Association listed in parenthesis)
Overall Record: 21-32 (4th in East, 10th Overall)
Home Record: 9-20 (10th)
Away Record: 12-12 (4th)
Last 10: 1-9
Average: .238 (12)
Homeruns: 38 (12)
Runs Scored: 215 (12)
Slugging %: .367 (12)
On-Base %: .319 (12)
Stolen Bases: 58 (T-4)
ERA: 4.93 (7)
Saves: 11 (T-5)
Walks: 245 (12)
Strikeouts: 442 (5)
Opponent Average: .262 (7)
Fielding %: .981 (3)
Errors: 36 (3)
First Half Recap
The Gary SouthShore RailCats looked like the surprise team in the American Association about two weeks ago. As All-Star rosters were named, this club looked like they were going to be a serious playoff contender. They were just one game under .500 and were riding high behind a pitching staff that was one of the top groups in the league.
However, the last two weeks have been a real challenge for this team as they went 1-9 in the final 10 games heading into the All-Star break. The RailCats pitching staff, who was one second in the league in ERA, has an 8.02 mark in July, and that has been a primary reason why this team has struggled. The offense has not helped. Gary ranks near the bottom in virtually all major offensive categories, and they are going to need to add a couple of big bats to this lineup if they are going to compete.
What Went Right?
For about six weeks, the pitching staff was as good as it gets. The tandem of Josh Vincent, Jack Eisenbarger, John Sheaks, Harrison Francis, Adam Heidenfelder, and Chris Erwin had become almost lights out. They were putting up fantastic numbers. However, in the last two weeks Eisenbarger, Francis, and the other pitcher named to the All-Star team, Nick Garcia, have fallen on hard times. Eisenbargar is still pitching well, but the other two are getting shelled. There is still a great deal of talent with this group, they just need to get themselves refocused and ready to go.
What Went Wrong?
The collapse of the pitching staff over the last two weeks has been the biggest story, but the problem with the RailCats is a lack of production. It is hard for a pitching staff to go out there and battle night after night knowing they are only going to get three or four runs of offense at most. This team needs of premier bat or two if they are going to compete. The pitching staff needs that at the very least.
Top Pitcher: Josh Vincent, RHP
Vincent has quickly established himself as one of the best relief pitchers in the American Association. The right-hander is 5-2 with a save and a 2.56 ERA in 16 appearances. He has only allowed 22 hits in 31.2 innings, but has walked 21 batters. He needs to get better command of his stuff, but he has the talent to lead this club down the stretch.
Top Hitter: Daniel Lingua, IF
Daniel Lingua is really rounding into one of the better all-around hitters in the American Association. He enters the break with a .302 batting average, scoring 29 runs and adding 29 RBI in 53 games. The offense is being carried by Lingua right now, who could use a little help.
Where Will Gary SouthShore RailCats Be on September 5?
The RailCats are putting up some solid numbers offensively in terms of homeruns, at least. They are on pace for 75, which would be the most this club has hit since joining the American Association. However, they are not getting production in other areas, and they are not going to be able to stay in this postseason chase if the offense doesn’t pick up the slack.
Because of the limited amount of pitching available out there, a team has to expect to win by scoring five or six runs a night. Gary simply can’t do that, and that will likely mean they miss the postseason.
By Robert Pannier