Lava Flow for August

In August play the Volcanoes matched their July record, reposting a 1- win month.  The Volcanoes were dominant against the Titans (5-0 record), very good against West Atlanta (4-1 record) and took series victories against Destin and East Cobb (3-2 against each).  A significant improvement for the Volcanoes in August play was their record against left-handed starters.  From March through July, the Volcanoes posted a record of 13-11 against lefties.  After adding Justin Turner, Charlie Blackmon and Rhys Hoskins at the trade deadline the Volcanoes were a sparkling 6-1 against lefty starters in August play.  Batting stars in August play were Justin Turner (.352 avg, 15 RBIs), Chris Taylor (5 HR’s, 16 RBIs) and Kris Bryant (.436 OBP, 18 runs scored).  Stepping down to #2 in the batting order (with Kris Bryant now manning the leadoff slot), Joey Votto led the Volcanoes in August with 18 RBIs.  The starting pitching was strong in August play, with Ervin Santana, Andrew Cashner and Michael Fulmer each posting 3-1 records, and Brandon McCarthy returning from a 3-month vacation to post a 4-0 record.  For the season, McCarthy has allowed 30 runs in 66 IP – with 10 runs allowed in one disastrous April start against the Hypnotoads (that team again!).

Emphasizing the “team” nature of this season, for a team that leads the league in home runs and runs, the Volcanoes do not have a player in the top 5 in either home runs or runs batted in, and for a team that leads the league in fewest runs allowed and wins, the Volcanoes do not have a pitcher in the top 5 in either ERA or in wins.

In September play, the Volcanoes face three road series, visiting Bushwood, Applegate and Dyersville while the Bombers of Bismarck make their first visit of the season to Margaritaville.  The Volcanoes are 10-10 in 2018 play against these teams, taking 3-2 series victories against Dyersville and Bismarck while posting 2-3 series losses against Applegate and Bushwood.

Clip Files for August

Applegate went 13-7 in August to push its record to 75-45, outscoring its opponents 111-77 and outhomering them 35-21. … At 75-45, the Clips’ win percentage is exactly what it would be predicted by Bill James’ wins predicted formula, based on its runs scored and runs allowed. … In August Applegate had the same number of homers as it did doubles. Aaron Judge smacked seven homers, scored 17 runs and drove in 15 while hitting just .187. Willson Contreras also drove in 15 runs, but he did it in 44 at-bats compared to Judge’s 75. Josh Donaldson chipped in with six homers in 41 at-bats, including three in one game. Neil Walker hit .390 on the month and leads the Clips’ regulars in batting at .309 on the season. He hit .400 vs. Savannah and .455 vs. Destin. … Ken Giles and Luis Garcia were bullpen workhorses, with each hurling 17 1/3 innings. … A five-game sweep of New New York keyed the profitable month; in that series the Clips outscored the Hypnotoads 43-19 and outhomered them 13-5 while hitting .315. … But against South Grand Prairie, which presents matchup problems for the Clips, Applegate scored just 14 runs on 33 hits (.191) as the Warriors took a 3-2 series win. The two wins came in Game One on a 12th-inning walkoff homer by Brian Dozier, and in Game Three thanks to some late lightning off Max Scherzer by Judge, Donaldson and Dozier. … The Clips improved their stunning record against lefties to 24-4 (.857). … Judge is now up to 32 homers on the year but needs 20 homers in the last two months to tie his real-life 52 for the Yankees last year.  Judge is slugging just .454 (was .627 for the Yankees) and Strat calculates his WAR at 3.4; it was 9.5 for the Yankees. … Every one of the Clips’ starting pitchers has an impressive record: Drew Pomeranz (8-3), Jhoulys Chacin (8-2), Stephen Strasburg (10-4), Jimmy Nelson (9-3) and Kyle Hendricks (8-5), but the Clips’ vaunted bullpen has an unexplainable 23 losses, second-most in the league behind New New York (26). Lefty ace Andrew Miller and closer Blake Parker are tied for the team high in losses with five each. … Chacin is 8-2 but lugging a 5.21 ERA, as his ERA has never recovered from a 15-run beatdown at the hands of Savannah in May. He has only one loss since then, coming this month to South Grand Prairie. … Applegate’s team ERA of 3.94 leads the league through 120 games, just a smidge better than Margaritavlle at 3.95. Applegate has given up the fewest homers in the league at 126. Meanwhile, offensively the Clips have bashed 200 homers, trailing only Margaritaville in that category (at 201). … As a team, Applegate has drawn 543 walks, which is 66 more than the second-place Volcanoes.

Worse Than the ’62 Mets? Hypnotoads Practically a Lock

After a 3-17 August, the New New York Hypnotoads are on pace to post a 160-game record for futility that will eclipse that of the 1962 New York Mets, considered the worst team of the Modern Era.

Those Mets went 40-120 (.250) and finished 60 1/2 games out of first place.

The Hyp-no-wins stand 26-94 (.217), and already have been eliminated from divisional championship consideration at 42 games behind. They need to go 15-25 in order to finish ahead of the Mets, which seems extraordinarily unlikely considering they haven’t won more than five games in a month all year.

The top of the Southbound Division remains infinitely more interesting, as the reluctant Scorpions keep winning games despite the efforts of their front office to dismantle the team. Savannah and South Grand Prairie are deadlocked at 68-52 with 40 games to play. That tandem also holds down the third and final wild-card position at this point.

At 81-39 and with a 17-game lead, Margaritaville is making a mockery of the Northbound Division “race.” After limping to a four-win August, last-place Tatooine carries a “tragic” number of 2 into September play — any combination of Margaritaville wins or Tatooine losses adding up to 2 will eliminate the Rebels from the divisional title race. And if you’re curious, Margaritaville needs to go 35-5 to attain 116 wins and match baseball’s regular-season record, held by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners.

Then there’s the Westbound Division, where Applegate has posted double-digit win totals each month this season and Superior weathered a winless series against Margaritaville in August to cling to a three-game deficit behind the Paperclips. But in September it’s the Clips’ turn to likely get bludgeoned by the Volcanorpions. Superior does hold down the first wild-card spot, followed by division mate Satellite Beach.

Last-place Boulder is a whopping 35 games back of Applegate but did post a 10-win August to leap from 30 wins to 40 wins — although four of those wins came at the expense of New New Yuck.

WILD-CARD STANDINGS

 

DIVISION LEADERS W L Pct. GB
MARGARITAVILLE 81 39 .675
APPLEGATE 75 45 .625
SAVANNAH 68 52 .567
S. GRAND PRAIRIE 68 52 .567
WILD-CARD RACE W L Pct. GB
SUPERIOR 72 48 .600 +4
SATELLITE BEACH 69 51 .575 +1
SAV/SGP 68 52 .567
BUSHWOOD 64 56 .533 -4
DESTIN 63 57 .525 -5
DYT/WATL 61 59 .508 -7