Season-so-far: September 1st, 2005

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It’s been a long time coming from the last league update – it’s still September 1st, 2005, and the league is set to come barreling down the stretch run towards the playoffs.  The picture’s become pretty clear for the league-leading Daly City Montis – on the strength of a dominant pitching staff and an all-around good lineup, they’ve cruised to a 104-32 record (.765) and have a magic number of 3 going into September.

You’ve read all about the state of the league, now how have the players of the home team done over the past months of June and August?:

Sam Lau, Catcher: After a resurgent summer swell in June, Sam exploded out of the gate in the month of July, hitting a blistering .402-.479-671.  Lau cooled off quite a bit in August – he posted a .248-.319-.455 line, although he still managed to drive in 20 runs and score 19 himself in Daly City’s high-octane offense.  His currently line of .294-.386-.485 looks to set a career high for Sam Lau, who at just 17 years of age is cementing himself in a league of hard-hitting catchers.

Tina Quach, backup catcher, utility outfielder: Playing well after the all-star break, Quach began playing extremely well in limited duty throughout July – playing only 11 games and garnering 42 plate appearances, the utility player clubbed a .400-429-675 line, driving in 12 RBIs.  The streak led to Quach’s first full time role in August, where she played 24 games, mostly in the various outfield positions, and performed excellently – a .355-.434-.516 line, while driving in and scoring 17 RBI’s & runs.

Derek Lew, 1st baseman: After going out with a horrific fractured knee in mid-May, the star 1st baseman has been making a slow and painful recovery back to the starting line up.  He returned in early July, and picked up a .282-301-.615 pace, although lately Lew has been in a month-long funk that’s resulted in a .254-269-.509 line – league average numbers, considering the extremely low walk percentage.  Despite this, Lew has still been a run machine, bashing in 20 RBIs and scoring 15 Runs in a ¾ July month, and leading the team with 25 RBIs and 23 Runs in August despite fairly pedestrian numbers.

Rudy Puzon, backup 1st baseman: After storming into the league with a huge first rookie month, Puzon suddenly experienced a sudden power and batting eye outage in July and more severely in August.  After slugging at a very impressive .588, .500, .576 in consecutive months, Puzon dipped to .470 in July and an even more concerning .395 in August.  Puzon has also seen a big dip in walks – after getting bases on balls 13, 15, 14 times, Rudy dipped down to 10 and then bottomed out to a scant 4 in August, resulting in an OBP of .299.  The young 1st baseman/DH is just settling down, however, and with a .301-.373-.509 line and 95 RBI’s so far, he looks like a good candidate for rookie of the year.

Cristian Ortiz, 2nd baseman: Ortiz didn’t start out the second half with his best performance –rather than continue his steady hitting pace, Ortiz hit a huge slump in the first half of July, and started to see minimal playing time as minor-league callup Kelvin Chang began to take away some starts (talk about a short hook!).  Faced with the prospect of losing his starting job, Ortiz turned on the guns in the last half of July, bringing back his dismal early numbers to a respectable .288-.319-.394 for July, along with an impressive 12 steals in only 18 games.  Ortiz’s hot streak continued all the way throughout August, where Cristian put up perhaps his best month yet, going .300-.385-.511, while scoring 24 runs and swiping 15 bases.

Henry Nghe, shortstop: The unstoppable “Mr.” Nghe kept chugging on his record-breaking pace throughout this second half.  Continuing on his impressive “rookie” year run, Nghe went on to post a .333-.402-.432 line in July, and then absolutely exploded with a huge .414-.439-.638 August.  With a batting average of .361, he’s #2 in the league, and constantly a threat to chase star third baseman Joey Wong for the batting average title.

Kelvin Chang, backup middle infielder: 
The old (18 years!) utility middle infielder has spent much of his time in AAA, where he had batted .353-.437-.588 in 340 at-bats thus far, scoring 90 runs. With Ortiz and Nghe wearing thin on fatigue, Chang gave a much needed rest and gave a little reinvigoration of his own in July, batting .333-.359-.617.  Chang began to cool off into August, however, and performed as expected – at .217-.217-.261, a part time, passable fill-in for the middle infield positions.

Joey Wong, third baseman: Continuing on his steady pace throughout the season, Wong mashed in a whopping 90 runs+RBIs in July and August, while posting up a .351-.395-.559 July and an amazing .429-.491-.612 line in August.  For the year, he’s on a .367-.427-.566 pace, good although his power numbers are a bit off his career line.  Without big hitters Ho and Tienturier in the lineup, as well as missing powerhouse Lew for a big portion of the year, Wong’s run production has gone down significantly, although he still leads the team with 101 RBI and 102 runs.

Joanna Maung, backup saung-gah-basewoman: Without significant playing time, it’s hard to be consistent, and Maung has been up-and-down all year.  She started out with two great months, batting well over a .300-.400 AVG-OBP, and then dipped to a mediocre .265-.306 in June, only to bounce back with a big .361-.395-.583 July.  She slipped down in August, hitting .238-.333-.238, but on the year she’s posted up a solid .317-.386-.439 line, career highs and encouraging numbers for a possible move into a full-time role next year.

Jonathan Chee, leftfielder: After that abysmal first month, the wunderkind Chee has been nothing short of consistent – he’s posted >.400 OBP in each of the following months, with no small thanks to his knack for getting hit by pitches – his 38 through August have already set a league record, and he’s far and away ahead of the #2 guy.  Chee’s on pace to set career highs in all categories – his line is a somewhat hilarious .296-.425-.389, although his power numbers have improved along the years.

Aubrey Cubilo, leftfielder: After a blazing first half on the basepaths, grabbing the lead-league in steals and serving as the team’s leadoff hitter, Cubilo faltered quite a bit in July, sinking down to a .248-.294-.297, while seeing her steals total dip down to 9 (she had stolen, 14, 22, and 12 the previous months).  She appeared to return to form in August, hitting .308-.327-.423, but went down with a strained hamstring muscle that forced her out for two weeks.  She’s back in the lineup for the stretch run, but she’s dropped back to the bottom of the order after the emergence of some solid hitters at the top, along with a greater emphasis on OBP.

Francis Chen, rightfielder: Ah, Francis, Francis.  Where to begin?  The one-time super-prospect has fallen to greater and greater depths of failure with each passing month – he hit .130-.259-.304 in July, and tallied up only a scant 23 at-bats in 8 games.  He rebounded in August, however, with a .200-.347-.525 line, his best yet, although even this falls a bit short of the potential he was expected to have.  Only time will tell if Chen continues to develop, but with everyone returned from injury, Chen might not see another chance to prove himself until after the off-season shuffle.

Tiffany Ho, outfielder: The rookie outfielder has been plodding along steadily all season, and her .275-.303-.349 is decent, if lacking a little punch.  Ho performed nicely July, going .356-.383-.378, although she dipped down to a more average .256-.273-.372 in August.

Jason Liu, outfielder: After a strong showing throughout the first half, Liu found himself on the dreaded DL in early July, a 5-week pulled anterior cruciate ligament injury.  Despite this, Liu came back roaring in mid-August, busting out 8 homers in only 60 at bats en route to posting an outstanding .350-.379-.767 line.

Nathan Yan, #1 starter: The lights-out ace continued his streak of dominance, going 11-0 so far in the second half, while posting a 1.10 ERA and 0.51 WHIP in July, and an even more impressive 0.68 ERA and 0.53 WHIP in August.  Yan also continues his dominant K-lead, including three straight 15+K games in his last 5 starts

Josiah Leong, #2 starter: The erratic #2 starter has been all-over the map – his WHIP has been as high as 1.58 in June before the break, and he posted a 1.45 WHIP in July immediately after. Despite this, with a lot of luck Leong has somehow managed to keep his ERA to a decent 4.03 in July.  Leong appeared to finally settle down in August, however – he posted a 3.07 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, and went 3-1 in 4 starts.  It remains to be seen whether this consistency can continue into the month of September, and hopefully, the playoffs.

Terrence Zhao, #3 starter: Zhao continued to dominate through the second half – he went 3-2, somewhat unluckily, in July, while posting a dominating 1.66 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.  He followed this up with an amazing 0.42 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 5-0 run in August, a run which garnered him his first pitcher of the month award – he’s now on a 7-game win streak, and through the month of July and August held a 5-game shutout streak.  After a shaky 4.14 ERA rookie year, and a promising 2.94 sophomore follow-up, it seems as if Zhao has finally, and a bit unexpectedly, broken out into one of the best ace starters in the league.

Sean Wade, #4 starter: After the season began amazingly for the rookie starter, Wade has of the late regressed towards the mean – after returning from the all-star break Wade posted a 1-4 record and 5.60 ERA.  His August looked a bit better, with a 4-0 record in 5 starts, albeit with a merely average 3.69 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  The main culprit seems to be a lack of luck on the road– so far Wade’s splits have been 7-3, 1.73 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 10 games at home, and 9-4, 4.01 EA and 0.99 WHIP in 14 road starts.  Still, with a 3.00 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and a current 16-7 record, Wade appears to be a mainstay with the team for years to come.

Samantha Chin, #5 starter: Chin continues her bad-month good-month streak – she’s now posted ERA’s of 7.33, 2.57, 4.44, 2.21, 5.76, although throughout this she’s only lost a single game. Most recently, Chin has struggled with her control – in August she totaled a 1.44 WHIP (overall she’s at 1.15 for the season), while giving up 11 walks, twice her monthly average.  Given that September is an odd-numbered month, Chin might see another good month soon.

Miguel Pardo, #6 starter: The magic had to run out eventually for Daly City’s story of the year, and the enigmatic Pardo finally settled into his old form in the second half – he’s posted 5.50 and 5.06 ERA’s in the two months since, and has been absolutely hammered – his WHIP has been 1.67 and 1.50 those two months, and his record has still been a good 4-2 overall.  With the top starters making a run to stack up their start totals in the last month, Pardo may very well see his starts minimized in September.

Helen Yamamoto, mopup reliever: Coming back from a 6 1/3 inning shutout month in June, Yamamoto posted what is perhaps the worst season on record for a closer – through 5 1/3 innings, Yamamoto posted a 4.69… WHIP.  This in turn led to a 20.25 ERA.  After another bad start in August, where she tallied a 5.40 ERA and 2.10 WHIP in 2 games, Yamamoto was out and demoted down to AAA.  With the expansion of rosters to 40 players in September, she’ll probably see a call-up, although it’s an open question as to how many opportunities she’ll actually get.

Katie Clayton, mopup reliever: Clayton saw an uptick of innings in the mopup role, and this led to an abysmal 5.23 ERA month, although it should be noted that Clayton has not yet passed her 9.00 ERA career average in any month yet, a remarkable improvement over previous years.  Clayton then followed up with an amazing 1.59 ERA August, over 5 2/3 innings – for the season so far she’s at exactly half of her 2003 and 2004 ERAs, posting a 4.50 instead of her usual 9.00.

Angel Poon, middle reliever: Poon was a star reliever throughout the summer months of June and July – she built on her 1st half success with a 2.31 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.  Things started to fall apart for Poon in August however, when her stuff seemed to disappear as she posted a 5.40 ERA and even more atrocious 1.68 WHIP.

Alfred Vong: The rookie long reliever faltered a bit in July, as part of an overall bullpen meltdown – he posted an 8.18 ERA and 1.64 WHIP.  He rebounded back in August, however, with a 2.00 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in an 18-inning month that also included the long reliever’s first career start – with Pardo’s magic fast running out, Vong made a substitute start, pitching a good 8 1/3 inning start, while giving up 3 runs and 8 hits, earning himself a win.

Alvina Chu, setup reliever: After developing a nickname as “the vulture” in the first half, Alvina has backed off a bit of her win-stealing opportunities – she’s registered no wins in the second half, although she lost 2 games in August.  Overall however, she’s remained the most reliable reliever, posting WHIPs of 0.88 and 0.87.

Zubeda Khan, closer: The enigmatic rookie closer has been all over the place – after a May and June of >6.00 ERAs (and >1.70 WHIPs), Khan pitched 7 shutout innings in July, while saving 7 games.  Even more perplexingly, Khan went back to a 4.66 ERA, 1.55 WHIP form, and still managed to save the same 7 saves!  So far in the season, Khan has racked up 26 saves, far short of 2003 Absalon’s 46 saves and 2004 Leong’s 40 saves.

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