The Louisville Bats are off today and have seven games remaining in the 2012 season. So far, this season has been marked by the Bats’ ability (or inability, whichever you decide) to find ways to lose games. The Bats sit at 51-86 on the season and are in danger of becoming the worst team, record-wise, in franchise history. We will delve into that and talk about some players who are doing well in this special edition of YOUR Bats Sunday (Off Day) Notebook.
This edition of Notebook is kind of like a good news/bad news deal, so we’ll start with the bad news and finish on a high note. At 51-86, the Bats have guaranteed themselves to finish with the second-highest losing total in modern franchise history (since 1982). Only the 1991 Redbirds finished with more losses (51-92). The Bats will have to lose all of their remaining games to finish with more losses, so that’s not likely to happen. Those 1991 Redbirds finished a franchise record 30 games back in the division; this year’s Bats currently sit 30.5 games back.
Also, with three road games at Columbus remaining, the Bats still have a chance to set the record for most road losses in a season. The current record is 49 set by the 1997 Redbirds. The Bats are currently 22-48 on the road, meaning they’ll have to sweep to avoid tying the ’97 ‘Birds. The Bats are 2-11 in their last 13 road games.
The Bats have also guaranteed themselves they will finish last in the division for the first time since 2005.
Walk this way
A big part of the Bats’ struggles this season has been the incredible walk total of their pitching staff. So far, the Bats have walked 546 batters, or about four per game. With seven games left, they still have a chance to set the franchise record for most walks in a season, 586, set by the 1999 Redbirds. That 1999 team finished 63-81, the last team to lose 80 games before this season.
Perez up to .300
Ok, now that all the bad news is out of the way, it’s time to get to the good news. On May 15, Feliex Perez was batting a horrendous .156. Since then, he has been on a tear. Going into play Sunday, Perez’ batting average was up to .302. He went 0-for-3 in the game, so his batting average has dipped to .299 heading into the off day. Since the beginning of June, Perez has hit safely in 50 of 67 games and is hitting .333 with three homers, 20 doubles, one triple, and 24 RBIs in that time. He also has 22 multi-hit games in that time. His .299 average and 112 hits lead the team and he is second on the team with 24 doubles. Last season, Jeremy Hermida was the only Bat with at least 100 games played to finish the season above the .300 mark.
Soto staying hot
The man trailing just behind Perez in hits is Neftali Soto. Soto has 108 hits on the season and leads the team in doubles (28), homers (14), RBIs (57) and multi-hit games (29). Soto is hitting .307 in August after hitting a lowly .217 in July. In August, Soto has hit safely in 17 of 24 games and has eight multi-hit games to his credit, including four straight Aug. 7-10. Soto currently sits at .245 on the season and is definitely looking to finish about .250.
On August 19, Sean Gallgher pitched five innings against the Columbus Clippers giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits. The Bats won the game 9-8 and Gallagher was credited with the win, his tenth of the season. Gallagher (10-9, 4.92 ERA) became the first ten-win pitcher for the Bats since Matt Maloney (10-7) did it in 2010. Gallagher will likely get two more starts before the end of the year, giving him a chance to become the first Bats pitcher to win more than ten games since Justin Lehr won 13 between Lehigh Valley and Louisville. Gallagher would also become the first pitcher to win ten games solely with the Bats since Adam Pettyjohn won 15 and Maloney won 11 in 2008.
On August 23, right hand pitcher J.J. Hoover was promoted to the Cincinnati Reds for the second time this season. This season with the Bats, Hoover has been every bit of dominant. In 30 games with the Bats, Hoover posted a 4-0 record with a 1.22 ERA and 13 saves. In 37 innings pitched, he struck out 55 batters and walked just 12. Earlier this month, Hoover was named the 2012 Mary E. Barney Award, which recognizes Louisville’s Most Valuable Player. Since his promotion, Hoover has pitched three scoreless innings for the Reds, lowering his ERA to 2.57 in 19 games with the Reds this season.
The Road Ahead
The Bats have seven games remaining in the 2012 season, including four at home. They host Columbus for two games beginning on Tuesday before heading to Columbus for three Thursday through Saturday. They then return home to host the Indianapolis Indians Sunday and Labor Day Monday. There are still plenty of tickets available for all four remaining home games. Fans can purchase tickets at the Bats’ box office, by calling (502) 212-2287, or by going to batsbaseball.com.