Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Mid-Season Report
Place: 3rd in the North Division (2 GB), 3rd in the Wild Card (1.5 GB)
Team Pitching (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): ERA: 3.71 (2), Strikeouts: 467 (5), WHIP: 1.36 (4)
Team Batting (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): Average: .239 (11), Home Runs: 50 (7), Slugging: .650 (8), Stolen Bases: 40 (9)
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks First Half Recap
With everyone talking about Winnipeg and St. Paul, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have crept back into the North Division race, trailing Winnipeg by just two games following the All-Star break. The RedHawks have found a way to stay competitive in this division, despite having an offensively challenge team for the vast majority of the season.
Fargo-Moorhead got off to a quick start, taking three of four from Texas before sweeping both Cleburne and Salina. They would drop the last two games of the month, but left May with a record of 9-3, the best in the division.
June would prove to be a lean month, however, as the team would win just 12 of their 30 ballgames. The RedHawks simply could not hit, wasting incredible outings by their staff, including a 2-0 loss to Lincoln on June 13, a 2-1 loss to Kansas City on June 21, and falling 2-0 to Sioux Falls on June 28.
It looked like season was over for Fargo-Moorhead, especially after dropping six of nine games to start the month of July. However, since falling to the Saints on July 14, the RedHawks have gone on an eight-game winning streak, including an unbelievable 17-15 extra inning victory over St. Paul on July 15 that started the streak.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks pitching staff has been as good as any team in the league. They are first in the league in shutouts (6) and second overall in ERA. They have the most number of complete games, the second most saves, and are fourth in WHIP. The starting staff has been especially brilliant, as Tyler Alexander is among the league leaders in ERA and strikeouts despite a 2-5 record which is more indicative of the team’s lack of hitting. Tyler Herron (3.17) and Will Solomon (3.41) combined with Alexander to give the team the best 1-2-3 group starters in the league.
When a team is struggling to produce runs, one way they can turn that around is by stealing bases or doing other similar things to manufacture runs. This has not been the case in Fargo-Moorhead as they entered the All-Star break ninth in stolen bases and were ninth in the league in total runs scored.
The offense has been nothing short of disappointing. Ranked 11th in average, the RedHawks simply aren’t hitting, and haven’t seemed to have found the right combination to get this offense on track. While Chris Grayson has been brilliant, the next best average in the lineup is KD Kang’s .273. That simply can’t get it done.
1st Half Most Valuable Player: Chris Grayson
With so many players in this lineup having down years, Grayson has been a huge bright spot for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. In 22 games, he is hitting .341 with 14 runs scored, 22 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. He entered the break in a bit of a slump, with only two hits in his last four games, but prior to that he had a six-game winning streak where he was 10-26.
1st Half Top Pitcher: Tyler Alexander
Alexander has been the best pitcher on the staff for the last few seasons, and this year is no exception. In 13 starts he has two complete games, a 2.97 ERA, and 87 strikeouts in 87.2 innings pitched. Forget the fact that his record is 2-5, he was chosen to the All-Star team and with good reason. The left-hander is simply dominating, and it is disappointing that he isn’t given an opportunity to return to affiliate ball.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks entered the All-Star break as the hottest team in the league, and there is no reason to believe that this team can’t continue to deliver. Jose Almarante returned to the team’s rotation, and the addition of Brandon Tierney could be a solid bat that could really help to get this offense an extra run or two a game. If Josh Mazzola starts to hit, look out!
By Robert Pannier