The Miners are continuing their winning ways taking nine of their last ten outings. The owners of the best record in the Frontier League are playing some pretty solid baseball right now. They are not only finding ways to win games, but playing to win every single night. Will Block has been a huge piece of this puzzle Mike Pinto spent the offseason putting together and I would argue he has played his best baseball in a Miners uniform to date. Sean Coughlin has been rock solid behind the dish and I’m all about giving credit where credit is due. He is getting back to his ‘play every day’ role and he is playing it well. Offensively he was struggling a bit as of late, but has seemed to regain focus and fill the 3 spot nicely.
I am not sure I can say enough good things about Justin Lord and his battery of starting pitchers. The starting rotation of Brendon Malkowski, Sean Teague, Ryan Zink, David Harden, and Shawn Joy is a force to be reckoned with and so far, the opposing teams have not seemed to be able to stop them….for very long anyway. Losing Joe Augustine early in the season left a seemingly big question mark on who the anchor to this ship was going to be and the reality of the situation is, there isn’t one. I cannot speak for Justin Lord or Mike Pinto, but I can say that from the outings I have witnessed, these five pitchers pitch as a staff without an ace because at 7:05 every night whoever is on the mound is the ace. An outing against Florence today saw Zink retire 19 consecutive batters. Yesterday, Harden was nearly untouchable and did not allow a run until the eighth inning. Even though Malkowski had an uncharacteristic outing in the final game in the River City series, his ability to jump on hitters early and force them to do all the work bodes well for the big righty. He has only issued nine walked in 35.2 innings of work. When you have a lefty like Joy on your staff, who you can always count on to give you six plus innings a game, it gives the bullpen a chance to rest and regroup. Rounding out the starting rotation is Sean Teague. Even though he has a 1-0 record, the Miners are 5-1 when the former Florida Marlin gets the start.
So, the question arises….what does Mike Pinto do when an almost fully recovered Joe Augustine comes off the DL? The Miners could move to a six man rotation which would give each starter another day of rest. The thought of Augustine joining this rotation as opposed to replacing someone on it should be a scary scenario for the opposing team. Only time will tell, but like Sandy Koufax once said, “If there was any magic formula, it was getting to pitch every fourth day.” However, in this case, we can change fourth to sixth and let the rest of the Frontier league figure out how to solve it.
By Ashley Green