American Association All-Star Break Review: Lincoln Saltdogs
In American Association Daily, this is the unofficial All-Star break in the American Association, so Robert Pannier takes a look at Lincoln Saltdogs and how they have performed to this point in the season and what to expect down the final stretch of the American Association season.
A Look at the Lincoln Saltdogs: Summary
Record: 30-29, Fourth (13.5 Out in South Division)
Team Batting: Avg: .273 (6th), HR: 65 (1st), R: 309 (5th), SB: 21 (12th)
Team Pitching: ERA: 5.00 (11th), Saves: 13 (10th), WHIP: 1.54 (10th)
Batting: Randolph Oduber (.367)
Home Runs: Curt Smith (12)
RBI: Curt Smith (49)
Runs Scored: Christian Ibarra (42)
Stolen Bases: Chad Hinshaw (4)
Wins: Derek Gordon (5)
ERA: José José (1.68)
Saves: José José (7)
IP: Michael Tamburino (75.0)
The Lincoln Saltdogs Highlights
It has been the summer of power in Lincoln, as the Saltdogs have been a home run hitting machine. Three players on this team have as many as 10, and they are nine ahead of the second-place team. It has truly been an awesome homerun display, but one that has curtailed over the last 20 games.
The bullpen for Lincoln has been a bright spot. Left-hander José José has done an excellent job since taking over the closer’s role, and the addition of Cortland Cox has given the team a dependable set up guy. Derek Gordon has flourished since moving to the bullpen and this is a team that is finally starting to feel confident that if they can take a lead into the seventh, their bullpen is going to hold it for them.
The Lincoln Saltdogs Low-Lights
The starting staff has struggled mightily this season beyond Michael Tamburino and Kyle Kinman, and both of them are starting to show the effects of a long season. The addition of Joe Bircher has been a shot in the arm for the staff, but the other two starters have ERAs well over five and there simply needs to be someone who steps up as the ace of the staff.
Top Player – Curt Smith
Curt Smith could very well be top player on this team even if he didn’t put up potent numbers. The veteran has an infectious personality that brings out the best in those around him, and has been the face of the Lincoln franchise for the last four seasons. This season, Smith has not lost a step, hitting .305 and leading the team with 12 homers and 49 RBI. He also leads in doubles with 13 and in total extra-base hits with 28. It is amazing the kinds of numbers that Smith puts up every season.
Top Pitcher – Michael Tamburino
While the ERA has gone up over the last month, there is no disputing that this team would be in a lot of trouble if it not been for the performance of Michael Tamburino. He began the season by tossing six no-hit innings and leads the team in starts and innings pitched. The right-hander is doing everything right this season, walking just 16 in 75 innings while striking out 65, and has an ERA of 3.77.
If the Lincoln Saltdogs are going to make a move, they have a golden opportunity right off as they have three with Kansas City followed by four with Sioux City. If they are able to take six of those seven games, they will quickly find themselves right back in this race, maybe even for the division title itself. It is true that 13.5 games is a lot to recover from, but shaving five or six off that deficit right off is the only way this team is getting back in the hunt. We are going to have a very clear picture of where Lincoln stands seven days from now.
By Robert Pannier