Season-so-far: September 1, 2008

Team Review

The second half of the season has been a regression back to the mean for the Montis. They’ve seen their .840 record tumble, mostly on the pitching staff falling back to earth – the 2.25 team ERA mark at the midway point is now 2.45, and the Montis stumbled to an 8-5 record in their first 13 games out of the All-Star Break. Since then however, they’ve been spectacular, going a spectacular 39-2 (.951) and locking up the division championship in early-August (they stand at 46 games ahead of the second-place Apple Septic Tanks, the only other team in the league above .500).

The Lineup

Alan Wong, Catcher: .321-.372-.613 in 339PA | 8.53 RC/27 | 39HR 99RBI 107R 7SB

Solid as he was in the first half, Wong has kicked things into overdrive, hitting .355-.417-.677 at a consistent clip. Wong was also Daly City’s best slugger in the past two months, mashing 18 homeruns to give him 39 on the season, just 4 behind LF Ted Kwong. Interestingly for a hitter of his talents, Wong procured more Runs than RBIs in both months and now stands at 107 Runs to 99 RBIs despite hitting from the #5 spot for most of the season, perhaps an effect of Lew and Kwong clearing the bases ahead of him, and surprising production out of the #6-8 spots. Wong’s got a decent shot at the Monti’s rookie HR record, needing just 9 more to tie Kwong’s record of 48 set last season.

Tina “Experimental ErRR!!” Quach, Backup Catcher: .328-.406-.439 in 471PA | 7.446RC/27 | 6HR 48RBI 71R 9SB

Quach has remained stable for the second half, batting .316-.396-.431 to mostly mirror her season averages as she locks down the C spot in the better defensive alignment that sees her behind the plate, Wong at 3B, and Salgu Wissmath sliding over to SS to take over for the struggling Henry Nghe. At a .406 OBP she’s seen her ebb between her normal spot at the bottom of the lineup at the #2 position. With a good last month, she’s in striking position of her career-high totals from 2006, needing just 23 more hits, 5 doubles, 1 homerun, 18 RBIs, 13 runs, and 13 walks, in addition to being on pace for a career high across her batting line.

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: .279-.334-.463 in 164PA | 5.24 RC/27 | 6HR 27RBI 18R 1SB

After one of the most abysmal halves ever to begin the season, many regarded Marco as finished, and indeed his July numbers were also piddling, hitting .286-.310-.357 in 28 at-bats without a single homer. Paz exploded back into form during August however, mashing .373-.449-.644 with 4HR and 15RBIs in his 17 games. While there’s not enough playing time left to sniff anywhere close to his 2007 counting totals as a starter, Paz may yet match or even exceed his rate numbers, a remarkable feat given the abysmal first half he had.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: .335-.373-.674 in 619PA | 9.29 RC/27 | 34HR 136RBI 110R 7SB

July saw Derek plunge back to earth, with Lew putting up an anemic .255-.295-.509 line for the month, although he somehow still managed a staggering 25 RBIs out of that. However he jumped right back into form in August, hitting .379-.419-.766 and adding in another 36 RBIs. Overall he’s stroked in an incredible 61 RBIs in two months to build up toward 136 on the season – within striking distance of his career high (164 in 2006) and perhaps even the team record (166, by LF Norman Ho in 2004).

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: .315-.370-.578 in 589PA | 8.50 RC/27 | 30HR 103RBI 131R 106SB

Many thought that Ortiz’s race for another SB record would be dashed after his two-week stint on the DL from receiving a HBP in May. But undeterred, Ortiz built himself up steadily with 26 steals in 26 July games, and then obliterated records with 31 steals in 28 August games – all on a middling .359 OBP! His wizardry on the basepaths seems to have helped in run production as well – he crossed home plate 67 times (including 37 in August alone). Ortiz also seems to have refound his power stroke, knocking out 17 homers in the past two months. Just 6 steals behind the record 112 he set last year, he’s all but set to obliterate that number despite the missed playing time.

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Backup Shortstop: .297-.361-.435 in 267PA | 6.25 RC/27 | 6HR 36RBI 46R 6SB

What once seemed like the start of a new Renaissance may be looked upon as a final swan song in the career of Mr. Nghe, who has hit .262-.297-.328 since July and has been just abysmal unproductive all around. Overall his season numbers still don’t look bad, but with the rise of Salgu Wissmath it looks like his days at Daly City’s major league level are done.

Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Shortstop: .330-.382-.490 in 482PA | 7.69 RC/27 | 13HR 88RBI 82R 24SB

Wissmath has continued her streak of hot hitting, going .331-.399-.461 in the second half, proving her across-the-board rise in the first half wasn’t a fluke. She’s batted her way into both a permanent starting spot at SS and oftentimes into the #2 position, an opportunity which might see her eek her way into the 100-100 club (she’s at 88 RBIs and 82 Runs currently, having averaged 16 RBIs and 17.5 Runs in the last two months).

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah Basewoman: .163-.255-.184 in 55PA | 1.60 RC/27 | 0HR 3RBI 4R 0SB

Maung’s second-half stats are perhaps not even worth mentioning – in 4 games she’s managed 12 plate appearances, walking once and going hitless the other 11 times, for a depressing second-half line of .000-.083-.000. Failing to hit at even an A-ball level, it’s doubtful Maung may see anymore than a farewell pinch-hit appearance in her last month, and she’s liable to see her finish out with perhaps the worst hitting season in Daly City history (her main rival being Marco Paz’s .139-.160-.228 in 106 PA’s in 2006).

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: .342-.418-.671 in 610PA | 11.07 RC/27 | 43HR 128RBI 123R 26SB

Lights-out, perhaps the only way that Kwong’s numbers can be described. He’s hit .360-.420-.707 in the second half, winning the August Batter of the Month award with 13 RBIs and 37 RBIs. He’s leading the team in HR by a comfortable amount, although despite the monster numbers he still lags behind 1B Lew in RBI, perhaps a victim of cleaning up behind him. With a decent half-month, he’s on pace to best last season’s totals in HR, RBI, and hits, although he’ll need a continued push to match the gaudy rate stats that won him MVP in 2007.

Tiffany Ho, Centerfielder: .330-.372-.465 in 382PA | 6.39 RC/27 | 6HR 49RBI 52R 6SB

Ho continued on her explosive June as she’s continued to make contact and even add a bit of power to her batting – she’s hit .353-.404-.516 in the second half. She’s taken starts from all around the outfield, especially in Chen’s RF absence, but at this point has mostly settled into CF after wresting that away from the soft-hitting Kuo.

Jessica Kuo, Backup Centerfielder: .296-.316-.338 in 370PA | 4.14 RC/27 | 2HR 37RBI 51R 59SB

The speedy CF hasn’t batted poorly in the second half, but she’s had to fight for playing time with OF Tiffany Ho and saw just 27 games in July and August. Gathering barely any walks or extra base hits, her ability to get on-base and drive in runs has been tied almost purely to her contact, which just hasn’t seen the stratospheric heights she achieved in her rookie year. She’s managed to maintain her running clip, swiping 20 bags in those 27 games, but she’d need a miracle of playtime and a month for the ages to make up the 31 steals needed to match her career high.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: .253-.370-.595 in 465PA | 7.99 RC/27 | 36HR 92RBI 86R 16SB

Chen missed a huge amount of games in June and July from his broken finger, but man oh man has he made up for lost time. Despite his absence for the entire first half of July, he leads the team in second-half homeruns, having knocked out 21 (vs Kwong’s 20, Wong’s 18, Ortiz’s 17, and Lew’s 13). With a .287-.385-.758 second-half line, Chen is also batting like a complete superstar hitter for the first time in his career.


Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: .310-.341-.525 in 334PA | 6.68 RC/27 | 13HR 50RBI 48R 0SB

Reid has boomed in the second half of the season, putting up a .359-379-.594 line after a quiet first half to the season, and bringing up his rate stats from the bottom tier of the team back into the middle. He’d do well to insist on staying in his RHP platoon role, where he’s hitting .319-.342-.553, as compared to his anemic .271-.338.407 against lefties.

The Bullpen

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: .095-.122-.190 in 346+1/3IP | 0.88ERA 0.39WHIP | 37-1 719K 18SHO

The spectacular workhorse season for Yan has continued unabated, recording 5 shutouts out of 8 starts in July, and in his 34th start, breaking the 9-inning strikeout record with 25 K’s against the European Cricketeers (it also ties the overall single-game record, set in a marathon 11-inning complete game shutout start on July 1 2006). The increased load doesn’t seem to have slowed down Nathan one bit – by mid-August he had registered 34 starts (the number he made last year), having thrown an even 300 innings and a staggering 628 K’s, 31 complete games and 16 shutouts, all improvements on his 2007 run.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: .222-.264-.323 in 181IP | 3.03ERA 1.04WHIP 11.4K/9| 16-5 230K 3SHO

The tenacious flamethrower continued a solid if unspectacular second-half, going 6-2 in 74 innings with a 2.92 ERA and notching 5 complete games in that span. She’s second on the team in wins, though just barely at 16 over Chin and Vong’s 14 in significantly fewer innnings.

Terrence Zhao, Starting Pitcher #3: .209-.288-.296 in 92IP | 1.86 ERA 1.14WHIP 10.0K/9 | 11-0 102K 3SHO

Zhao made his dramatic return from his two-month DL stint with a ruptured tricep tendon, but it looks like it will still take some time to return to his amazing form that saw him throw nearly 4 consecutive May shutouts. He gutted out 3ER on 8+1/3 innings in a win on his return on August 13 against the Mozilla Firefoxes, and just barely made quality starts in his next two outings against the Apple Septic Tanks and US Patriots (3ER on 6+2/3 and 6IP, respectively). Zhao’s torrid control issues also persist, having given up a staggering 12 walks in the three starts (5.1 BB/9). Nonetheless, he was a perfect 3-0 in his August return, and remains a 12/12 in quality starts with an 11-0 record.

Samantha Chin, #4 Starting Pitcher: .228-.298-.335 in 168IP | 2.84ERA 1.10WHIP 9.4K/9 | 14-3 176K 2SHO

Chin has been rolling in the second half of the season, despite dropping to the fourth option as a result of Zhao’s return. She pitched particularly brilliantly in August, winning 3 of 4 games with a 1.80 ERA and notching her second shutout of the season, an 11-K masterpiece against the European Cricketeers. She’s unlikely to reach the lofty heights of her 2007 season, but is on pace to set a career high in strikeouts (33 K’s behind).

Alfred Vong, Starting Pitcher #5: .231-.264-.377 in 137IP | 3.22ERA 0.99WHIP 7.4K/9| 14-3 112K 1SHO

Perhaps no one in the rotation has done more with less playing time than Vong this season – he’s tied for 3rd on the team in wins with 14 (a career high!) in just 19 starts and 137 innings – far fewer than fellow starters Chin and Esguerra. He finished off the month of August particularly brilliantly, throwing 3 complete games and 1 shutout in 4 starts, recording a 1.85 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 34 innings.

Sean Wade, Starting Pitcher #6: .272-.318-.396 in 90IP | 5.20ERA 1.29WHIP 7.2K/9 | 7-3 72K 2SHO

The wheels have definitely fallen off the Wade wagon in August, when he notched one of the worst months in Daly City pitching history – 18 ER in 3 starts and 13+2/3 innings, for an 11.85 ERA and 2.05 WHIP. With Zhao’s return to fill out the 6-man rotation, Wade may be getting just one or two more starts in to salvage his career.

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: .228-.302-.350 in 62IP | 2.90ERA 1.26WHIP 7.5K/9 | 5-0 0HLD 0SV 52K

Continuing to fill in for the injured Terrence Zhao, Cox has mostly been held in reserve, making just 5 relief appearances in the second half. She has been nothing short of brilliant in her spot starts however – making her 2nd start of the season on July 24th, throwing a career-high 138 pitches and holding the Asia Giants to a single run in her first ever complete game start, striking out a career-high 9 in the process, and followed that up in an even more brilliant second start – 9 innings, 1ER, and 10 strikeouts in a win. Overall, she’s 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in her 3 starts this season.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: .239-.291-.319 in 36IP | 2.25ERA 1.17WHIP 7.5K/9 | 4-2 6HLD 2SV 30K

Dugtong continues as the most effective rate reliever in the bullpen, amassing a 2.08 ERA in Jul-Aug, although she seems to be losing most of the high-leverage opportunities to Connie Chen, amassing just 9 save opportunities compared to Chen’s 25.

Katie Clayton, Setup Reliever: .195-.229-.286 in 22IP | 3.27ERA 0.86WHIP 7.0K/9 | 1-0 17K 6HLD 0SV

Clayton has been a solid part of the bullpen committee, putting up 15 innings in July-August on a 3.00 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. Although she’ll have a half-season of limited innings, her performance looks like a career year compared to her first stint with the Montis in 2003-2005.

Connie Chen, Setup Reliever: .259-.326-.386 in 41IP | 3.51ERA 1.39WHIP 6.6K/9 | 2-1 30K 21HLD 1SV

Things have been hot and cold for Chen, who has alternated between spectacular months (1.29, 2.16, and 1.04 ERA’s in Apr/Jun/Jul) and complete stinkers (6.23ERA in May and 6.48 in August). Overall she continues a brilliant campaign, and may be considered the team’s setup reliever with a staggering 22 holds, already setting a new Montis record (the previous had been just 13, set by Angel Poon in the inaugural 2003 season). She’s 2nd in the league in that stat as well, trailing Mozilla Firefox reliever Gary Lawrence by just 1.

Josiah Leong, Closer: .174-.265-.262 in 50IP | 2.16ERA 1.00WHIP 13.0K/9 | 4-2 0HLD 30SV 72K

After a slow start to the saves season (just 13 in the first half), Leong has been a save machine. Josiah picked up a whopping 10 saves in the month of July, including a stretch of 5 appearances and saves on 5 consecutive days from July 19-23. He’s now challenging for the league Saves lead, and might have an outside chance of topping his career high of 40, set in his first year as closer in 2004.

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