The Montis are out to their best start in team history, compiling a 68-13 (.840) record at the halfway point on the back of an insane-sounding 2.25 team ERA on the strength of ace starter Nathan Yan’s dominating 0.85 ERA at 202IP, pacing the second-place leader by a staggering 50 innings and accounting for a full 27.3% of the team’s innings. The team has been hit with two significant injuries however, taking out arguably their 2nd-hottest pitcher, SP4 Terrence Zhao and RF slugger Francis Chen.
Alan Wong, Catcher: .297-.342-.569 in 339PA | 7.00 RC/27 | 21HR 57RBI 59R 3SB
The rookie catcher has actually spent more time at 3B than C, as incumbent third basewoman Wissmath has slid over to the middle infield for 44 games this season. He’s now at 363 innings (41 games) played at 3B and 327+2/3 (40 games) innings at C. Despite the defensive juggling, Wong has been about as consistent as they come, hitting a combined .297-.344-.575 in May and June to mostly match his April numbers (.297-.342-.554). He’s tied for 2nd on the team with 21 homeruns, and ranks 3rd with 57 RBI’s, and Daly City appears to have finally found a new long-term starter at one of the C or 3B position. Wong also makes up one of the FIVE Daly City position players named to the All-Star team!
Tina “Experimental ErRR!!” Quach, Backup Catcher: .336-.414-.445 in 274PA | 7.76RC/27 | 4HR 36RBI 41R 4SB
Worried about her playing time at the beginning of the season, Quach has hit her way into the lineup and stayed there – with incumbent backup Paz hitting atrociously, and original starting C Wong taking over most of the 3B duties, Quach has managed 33 games at catcher, and split another 21 games between 3B, LF, and RF. After the hot start in April, Quach barely let up – she hit .326-.415-.424, and a torrid June saw her move up to the #2 slot (just behind Ortiz and ahead of Lew), where she racked up a team-leading 25 runs for the month. Her AVG (.336) and OBP (.414) both place 2nd on the team (barely behind Lew and Kwong, respectively), and the 5th year veteran is looking at a career year across most categories if she keeps up her pace.
Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: .183-.227-.333 in 66PA | 1.86 RC/27 | 2HR 10RBI 4R 0SB
Paz has continued to struggle, though he’s managed to punctuate those cold streaks with dramatic homeruns. On June 7th against the Asia Giants, Paz launched a 412 foot grand slam for his 2nd homer of the year. Alas, he’s still hitting just .183-227-.333 on the year, and is seeing his play time marginalized with the great successes of Quach and Wong at Catcher.
Derek Lew, First Baseman: .344-.380-.691 in 371PA | 10.08 RC/27 | 21HR 75RBI 69R 5SB
The veteran’s career year continues, as he hit .333-.373-.671 over May-June, and is now .344-.380-.691 overall on the season, with a 1.071 OPS, 10.08 RC/27 and 88.9 RC so far. Those numbers all rank in the top-3 in the league, and he’s within striking distance of the all-time Daly City marks (1.149 OPS by Ted Kwong in 2007, 10.95 RC/27 by Norman Ho in 2003, and 165.53 RC by Ho in 2003). Lew’s also hit FIFTY (50!) doubles so far this season – the mark leads the UL by a huge margin (2nd-place Boba Fett has just 30), and would obliterate the record of 78 set just last year by Lew. Needless to say, the 6th-year veteran topped the All-Star voting for the 1B position.
Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: .316-.373-.564 in 322PA | 8.14 RC/27 | 13HR 51RBI 64R 49SB
Ortiz was on a hot pace through May, hitting .337-372-.673 (along with 17 more steals) from the leadoff spot. On May 26th, though, he suffered an errant pitch to the head, which left him for out for two weeks with blurry vision. Returning in the second half of June, Ortiz hit .309-.377-.515 with 12 more steals, putting him at 49 at the halfway mark. He leads the league by a wide margin, but after the missed injury time breaking last year’s record (he’s 63 away) seems a momentous task. Ortiz’s offensive capabilities at 2B earned him his 2nd straight nod for the All-Star game.
Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: .309-.384-.472 in 204PA | 7.27 RC/27 | 6HR 31RBI 41R 6SB
The elder has seen a resurgence of late – after seeing himself played out after a not bad yet not amazing May (.297-.366-.378), Nghe has exploded in June, going .361-.440-.639 in a performance reminiscent of prime 2005 Nghe. At .309-.384-.472, Nghe is surprisingly 3rd on the team in OBP, and #3 in walks despite ranking 2nd-to-last in plate appearances among starters.
Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Third Basewoman: .330-.374-.510 in 281PA | 7.82 RC/27 | 9HR 56RBI 47R 12SB
It’s been an impressive two months for Swissmath, who’s been shuffling all across the infield during stints of ineffectiveness by Nghe and Ortiz’s eye injury. To date she’s logged 30 games at SS, 25 games at 3B, and 14 games at 2B. While handling those defensive duties gracefully, she’s kicked up her hitting abilities to an all-new Ortiz-like level. From May-June she hit .345-.386-.552, and has already eclipsed last year’s power totals in just 2/3 of the games. Surprisingly she ranks 4th on the team in RBIs, after she piled up 30 in June, including 10 in a 2-game span on June 12-13 that earned her Batter of the Week honors (she went .429-.448-.821 with 13 RBI’s in all that week). The late surge has lifted Wissmath into her first ever All-Star appearance.
Joanna Maung, Saung-gah Basewoman: .211-.286-.237 in 42PA | 2.29 RC/27 | 0HR 2RBI 3R 0SB
Batting an abysmal .211-.286-.237, Maung seems to have been all but forgotten as an element in Daly City’s lineup – she had 10 plate appearances in May, and 9 in June, and her 42PA put her on track for the lowest batter usage since 2004.
Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: .329-.416-.645 in 365PA | 10.50 RC/27 | 23HR 75RBI 76R 19SB
It hasn’t been the soaring heights of his rookie season, but Ted has trucked along splendidly, going .328-.424-.623 in May-June. He’s neck-and-neck with 1B Lew in the HR and RBI categories, leading the team with 23 homeruns and tying with Lew for the RBI-lead with 75. Disappointingly, Kwong’s HR rate (once per 13.6 AB’s) hasn’t kept up with his prodigious rookie season (once per 11.8 AB’s) – he’ll need to dial it up in the 2nd half if he hopes to hit the 50 HR mark he just barely missed out on last season.
Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: .286-.302-.336 in 268PA | 3.92 RC/27 | 2HR 25RBI 32R 39SB
For a moment in May, the talented Kuo seemed to have turned a corner in the stolen base race – she set a new single-game record with six stolen bases on 2008 May 7, running wild on sophomore Asia Giants backup catcher Eugene Beasley. On May 13, she put up a 3-steal performance against the Europen Cricketeers to tie Ortiz at 30 steals (giving her 17 steals in just 12 games), and she finally pushed ahead of him with a steal each on May 14 and 15. Her reign wouldn’t last long, however – hampered by a terrible OBP performance, Kuo found the steal opportunities few-and-far between, compiling only a .219 OBP in 8 games through the rest of May, with just 1 more steal (against 2 caught stealing attempts). June saw a further decline in Kuo’s OBP (.273 for the month), and she managed just 6 steals while playing in 2/3 of the team’s games. For the season she’s batting .286-.302-.336- the OBP and SLG are by far the lowest on the team of those with regular playing time (everyone aside from Paz and Maung).
Francis Chen, Rightfielder: .229-.363-.485 in 281PA | 6.56 RC/27 | 15HR 49RBI 49R 12SB
After a strong start to April, Chen faltered mightily in May, as he his .219-.342-.396, with only 5 home runs. His stroke got even colder in June, as he hit .171-.341-.371. Perhaps mercifully, on June 15 Chen broke his finger while diving for the 27th out (he made the catch) – the injury will set him on the DL for 4 weeks, though the type of injury will mean that Chen won’t get much training time in between. He’s batting .229-.363-.485 so far, which would be a career-high OBP, but significant regression in power compared tohis breakthrough 2007 campaign.
Tiffany Ho, Backup Outfielder: .312-.347-.426 in 216PA | 5.40 RC/27 | 4HR 26RBI 29R 4SB
After a sluggish start to the season, Ho seems to be hitting like her normal self these days, rejuvenated by a .365-.394-.448 June that brought her overall line up to .312-.347-.426. With two more HR this season, Ho has set a career high of 4 and DOUBLED her career total in just half a sesaon, although a lack of doubles and triples has put her SLG in line with last year’s. Ho also carried a career-high 20 game hitting streak from May 23 – June 15. With a floundering Kuo and injured Chen, Ho has presently secured a starting role between the two positions (8 games in LF, 19 games in CF, and 23 games in RF).
Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: .277-.318-.479 in 201PA | 5.29 RC/27 | 6HR 22RBI 23R 0SB
Reid hit a solid .288-.322-.511 in May-June, good enough to reclaim the majority of DH starts after losing his starting role after a tough April. With just the 8th-best OPS and 9th-best OBP on the team, though, his hold is tenuous at best.
Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: .091-.119-.174 in 202IP | 0.85ERA 0.38WHIP | 21-1 412K 10SHO
Through the first half of the season, Yan has put forth staggering counting stats – after 23 starts he sits at 21-1, with 202 innings pitched (8.78 per inning), 21 complete games, 10 shutouts, and a staggering 412 strikeouts. Despite the heavy workload (he’s pitched 27.3% of the team’s innings thus far), Yan’s rate stats have held up – his 0.85 ERA would be the 2nd-best of his career, and his 0.38 WHIP and 18.4 K/9 are career-bests if he can maintain them. Yan also threw his 3rd no-hitter on the season on May 15, a 0-walk, 0-HBP affair that was AGAIN broken up by a fielding error.
Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: .237-.283-.344 in 107IP | 3.11ERA 1.12WHIP | 10-3 135K 1SHO
In a season of struggle, Esguerra finally notched her first (and so far only) shutout of the season on May 20, but outside of that performance she’s been rocky – she’s pitched a quality start only 73.3% of the time, compared to her stellar 93.3% mark last season. Despite that, she’s still 2nd on the team in wins and strikeouts (and 3rd in the league behind Kroger), with a 10-3 record and 135 K’s (a career-best 11.4 K’s/9).
Samantha Chin, #3 Starting Pitcher: .204-.283-.298 in 104IP | 2.60ERA 1.02WHIP 10.0K/9 | 9-2 116K 1SHO
Chin stumbled out of the gate, giving up 6 runs in 2+1/3 innings in her first May start. She’s settled down ever since, throwing 8 straight quality starts and notching her first shutout of the season on June 17 against the Mozilla Firefoxes and continuing to throw fire with a 10.0 K/9 mark, the 4th best in the league.
Terrence Zhao, Starting Pitcher #4: .197-.266-.291 in 71IP | 1.27 ERA 1.03WHIP 10.5K/9 | 8-0 83K 3SHO
After a good start in April, Zhao was absolutely untouchable in May, throwing three straight shutouts to start the month, including a 4-hit, 1-walk, 13-K beauty on May 25 against the Microsoft Longhorns. He was well on his way to a 4th consecutive shutout on May 30 against the US Patriots, throwing 6+2/3 innings before a rain delay shut down the game for 63 minutes. Tragically Zhao seemed to have cooled down too much during the downtown – he returned after the delay and immediately ruptured his tricep tendon, and injury which will put him out for the next 8-9 weeks. Fortunately with Yan pitching on 3 days rest this season, the 5-man rotation was able to pick up most of the slack in June, ceding just 1 start to long reliever Kelley Cox, so the rotation looks to be alright until Zhao’s return in August.
Alfred Vong, Starting Pitcher #5: .244-.284-.405 in 77IP | 3.74ERA 1.10WHIP 6.8K/9| 7-2 58K 0SHO
Vong struggled for most of May-June, giving up at least 3 runs and not making it out of the 7th in all but 1 of his 8 starts. That one start was a beauty however, a 1-run, complete-game effort against the Mozilla Firefoxes – and he got the win this time. Vong’s fundamental numbers are just about in line with last year’s, as the Montis will look for one of their back-of-rotation starters to make a leap forward to replace the injured #4 Zhao.
Sean Wade, Starting Pitcher #6: .258-.306-.362 in 57+1/3IP | 3.92ERA 1.17WHIP 7.1K/9 | 5-2 45K 2SHO
Pressed into the #5 starting role after Zhao’s tricep injury, Wade has perhaps flashed the hottest and coldest of any pitcher in the rotation. Despite making just 8 starts, Wade is in fact 3rd on the team with 3CG and 2SHO on the season – he’s blanked the European Cricketeers twice on May 13 and June 22. Sandwiched between those starts, however, has been a couple of ugly outings in which he gave up 7 runs each to the Apple Septic Tanks and the Cricketeers. Overall his marks – 3.92ERA, 1.17 WHIP – have been decent, certainly an improvement over the 2007 campaign that lost him his starting job.
Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: .181-.262-.252 in 35IP | 1.54ERA 1.06WHIP 6.9K/9 | 2-0 0HLD 0SV 27K
Cox has pitched masterfully and blossomed into Daly City’s most reliable reliever. She ended May going into a 10+1/3 inning scoreless stretch. That combined with her endurance has led her into the #6 spot starting role after Zhao’s injury, in which she performed masterfully, giving up just a single earned run in 7 innings, though she was thwarted by 2 unearned runs off of fielding errors by Nghe and Wissmath. Overall she worked a heavy 26+2/3 innings over May-June, achieving a 1.35ERA. With the All-Star Break she likely won’t see another start until late-July, but if she performs well she might be a prime candidate to leapfrog Vong and Wade intot he #4 slot.
Connie Chen, Middle Reliever: .258-.314-.366 in 24IP | 3.38ERA 1.33WHIP 7.1K/9 | 1-1 19K 10HLD 1SV
Connie had a rough go in May, putting up a 6.23ERA in 8+2/3 innings, including an ugly 4-run apperance on May 1st, which saw her temporarily lose the setup role. She rebounded in June, throwing 8+1/3 innings at a 2.16ERA clip.
Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: .233-.289-.333 in 23IP | 2.35ERA 1.17WHIP 7.4K/9 | 1-0 1HLD 2SV 19K
Dugtong was the May workhorse, throwing 11 brilliant innings with just a single run given up (0.82 ERA). She also earned herself both a clutch win and a 3-inning save in that span! Unfortunately that magic was to run out in June, where she threw just 5+2/3 innings with a 4.77 ERA.
Katie Clayton, Setup Reliever: .200-.222-.320 in 7IP | 3.86ERA 0.86WHIP 10.3K/9 | 0-0 8K 3HLD 0SV
Called up in early June to shore up the bullpen after the Zhao injury and Cox’s subsequent move into the rotation, the old veteran – one of the original 2003 squad – has mostly pitched brilliantly, starting off her revival with 5 PERFECT innings in her first 5 appearances. Unfortunately that magic ran out at a critical time in an ugly June 19th appearance relieving Esguerra, in which she failed to clear inherited runners or get out of the inning, giving up 3 fateful runs in what was eventually a 4-6 loss (credited to Esguerra). Still with Cox lost to the rotation for 6 more weeks and the rest of the bullpen performing inconsistently, the Montis will rely heavily on her veteran presence down the stretch.
Josiah Leong, Closer: .167-.228-.272 in 33IP | 2.18ERA 0.82WHIP 13.6K/9 | 4-2 0HLD 13SV 50K
Leong has begun to lock things down, allowing just 3 runs and 14 baserunners in 19+2/3 innings (1.37ERA, 0.71WHIP), while securing 8 saves and a win. He did take one loss in that span, in a Herculean effort against Mozilla on May 24th – entering in the 10th after 9 innings of 1-run baseball by Samantha Chin, Leong held off the Firefoxes for 6+2/3 innings and 84 pitches while Mozilla swapped in 5 different relievers from their bullpen, eventually ceding a run in the 16th for the loss. Overall Leong is shattering the fundamental marks over his previous season, finally controlling his walks (just 2.2BB/9, down from 4.7 last season) and ratcheting up his strikeout rate (13.6K/9). He’s at just 13 saves on the season and isn’t likely to touch his high-water mark of 40, but that’s more a product of Daly City’s dominant .840 record and blowouts.