Gopher Holes for March

Martin Prado

In going 8-12, Bushwood lost Game 1 of all four series, which made it seem like they were playing catch-up all month long. … In Game 1 against Springfield, the Topes set the tone by putting up five first-inning runs against Verlander in an eventual 6-5 loss. More misery followed as Springfield won the next three games by narrow margins before the Gophers averted the sweep with a 9-1 victory against lefty Dallas Keuchel. … Both of Bushwood’s victories against Dyersville came in extra innings, with the go-ahead runs in each scoring on a squeeze bunt by Kevin Kiermaier. In the series against the Treblemakers, the Gophers hit .196 and failed to homer. … Verlander got two starts against Applegate, but Bushwood lost both games. The Gophers’ other victory over a lefty came in a 12-2 game against the Clips’ Drew Pomeranz. … After Ian Kennedy dropped the opener against SGP, the Gophers prevailed in three of the next four games, all tight contests … Martin Prado hit an even .500 for the month (21 for 42) … Albert Pujols hit just .200 but provided 7 homers and 14 RBIs. … Third-round pick Jeremy Hellickson went 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four solid starts.

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Gopher Holes for March

A staple of league newsletters in the 1980s and ’90s, team notes are back! If you have team notes you’d like to submit for your club each month, e-mail Gary.

GOPHER HOLES:  The Gophers had plenty of heroes in March en route to a 15-5 record, but let’s give the nod to slick-fielding 3B Scott Rolen as team MVP for the month.  Rolen hit .356 with a team-high 7 homers and 14 RBIs.  His OBP was .441 and his slugging was .831 … With 5 homers and 14 walks in 26 ABs, DH Jim Thome actually trumped Rolen in average (.385), OBP (.600) and slugging (1.044) in part-time duty … RF Delmon Young collected 11 doubles on the month to grab the league lead … Top pick Buster Posey debuted with a disappointing .220 average … With a league-low 3.43 team ERA, the Gophers’ new-look pitching staff passed its first test.  The set-up tandem of Brandon Lyon (14.1 IP) and Rafael Soriano (6.1 IP) combined to toss 20.2 innings without allowing an earned run … And long reliever Justin Masterson logged 19 innings with an impressive 1.89 ERA … Top starter Tim Hudson (4-1, 2.81 ERA) and Mat Latos (3-0, 2.22 ERA) worked 6 or more innings in all nine of their starts … In a 5-0 sweep of Detroit, the Gophers outscored the Dogs 37-9.  Utility guy Emilio Bonafacio went 5-for-5 in one game against the Dogs, catapulting him to a .538 month (7-for-13) … The Gophers’ April schedule includes early showdowns against Superior (16-4) and Margaritaville (14-6).  The Gophers will make one small roster adjustment for April, replacing lefty Travis Wood (1-2, 7.80 ERA) with righty Rick Porcello as No. 5 starter.