BRISTOL - Through the first 20 games of the Futures League season, the Bristol Blues are in second place with a 13-7 record.
A new face in the lineup has played a key role in the Blues’ recent success and some starting pitchers have shined on the mound early this summer.
Malloy’s sparking the offense
The Blues rank fourth in runs scored out of the seven teams in the league with 89. In the past four games, Bristol has scored 31 runs.
Justyn-Henry Malloy’s arrival has played an important part in the offensive surge. Malloy just got to Bristol last week and has delivered big time performances in the four games he has played.
Malloy is batting a team-leading .375 with five RBI and three doubles.
“Now we have a little more athleticism and a little more pop in the middle of the order with Justyn showing up,” Palmer said. “That’s certainly helped. He has the gap-to-gap power and the ability to hit the ball out of the yard at any time. That’s really helped the offense. When you insert a guy like Justyn the lineup gets a little bit deeper. So now you can move a Matt Bonvicini down a spot and things of that nature and I think that’s what’s really helped our offense.”
Strong starting pitching
Offense isn’t the only reason Bristol is in second place.
While the Blues are in the bottom half of the Futures League in earned runs allowed with 77, five starting pitchers have particularly stood out this season.
Emmet Sheehan, Jason Hebner, Michael Genaro, Nick Rascati and Jared Kollar have put together strong starts to the summer.
Genaro has started three games for Bristol and has a 2.64 ERA in 17 innings pitched.
Sheehan has a 1.45 ERA in 12 1/3 innings pitched and has flashed dominant strikeout ability with 16 K’s against six walks.
Hebner also has a sub-2.00 ERA. In 12 2/3 innings Hebner owns a 1.42 ERA and has 12 strikeouts. He has pitched in relief his last two outings.
Rascati has been as consistent as it gets with command of his pitches. In 14 2/3 innings, he has walked two batters. Rascati may not be a strikeout machine but he’s proven more than capable of limiting opposing offenses to low run totals. In two of his starts he’s allowed just one earned run.
Kollar is another arm that’s been impressive for Bristol this year. He has 14 strikeouts in 14 innings to go with a 3.21 ERA.