BRISTOL - The Blues are out to a solid start to the 2018 season. They are 6-1 in their first seven games entering Thursday and sit at the top of the Futures League standings.
Much of that success has been due to the pitching staff.
In all but one game, the starting pitcher has gone at least five innings. The bullpen has been even stronger, with a combined ERA of 1.86. As a whole, the staff has a 2.14 ERA and has struck out 63 batters so far.
Seton Hill’s Neal McDermott has emerged as the team’s closer, picking up all four of the Blues’ saves and has yet to give up a base hit, while striking out five.
The pitching has been particularly important with the offensive struggling at times in the early part of the Futures League season. Bristol hitters have combined to strike out 58 times this season, an average of 8.28 strikeouts per game. However, the Blues have still found a way to get runners on base with 38 walks.
HITTING WHEN IT MATTERS
Despite the struggles, the Blues have gotten the job done offensively when it counts the most. They’ve won three games as a result of late rallies in the seventh inning or later. They also won the second game of a double-header on June 3 on a walk-off single by Ian Ostberg in the bottom of the seventh inning.
CRITICAL PIECES EARLY
Central Connecticut’s Peyton Stephens and Emory’s Richard Brereton, both right-handers, have been crucial to the team’s performance. Both have had strong seasons both on the mound and at the plate.
Stephens has appeared in one game on the mound, striking out two. He also picked up hits in each of the first five games and is hitting .360, the best among the team’s everyday hitters. He also has three extra-base hits and three RBI in the early going.
Brereton has pitched in two games out of the bullpen, striking out eight batters in four innings. Brereton has also picked up hits in five games and is hitting .348.
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org