The final month of the regular season is underway, otherwise, known as the “dog days of summer.” With an All-Star game in Staten Island thrown in, there is still lot’s going on as the New York Penn League heads toward the finish line.
For some teams, help could be on the way as the playoffs near. One such team is the Batavia Muckdogs (29-21). OF J.J. Bleday could find himself in a Batavia uniform real soon. The fourth overall pick in this past June draft signed a $6.67 million dollar contract with the Miami Marlins back on July 12. Bleday could be a real boost to a team that at the moment, would make the playoffs if the season were to end today. The Muckdogs have a four and a half-game lead in their division.
Another team that may be getting some late-season help in the New York Penn League is the State College Spikes. At a game under .500 (25-26), the Spikes can use all the help they can get for the final playoff push. In the case of State College, pitching could be where the help is coming from, both in the starting rotation and in the closer spot. Michael YaSenka made his Penn League debut this past Sunday in Lowell. He went 6.2 IP and gave up 2 ER, 3 H, no walks, and 4 SO. YaSenka was promoted from Johnson City where he posted a 2-1 record with a 0.56 ERA. In 32 innings pitched, Michael had a strikeout to walk ratio of 37 to 6, with opponents hitting only .184. He posted one ten strikeout game back on July 24. Jack Ralston has been the Spikes closer this season. He has done a terrific job in that role and is unscored upon in 17.1 innings through nine appearances. He also has two saves to his credit with the last one coming on Sunday night. It was a five-out save as State College took the series in Lowell. Jack has 18 strikeouts and only two walks in his innings pitched.
Spinners fans may be a little nervous these days as the team has lost four in a row and their lead has been cut to six games over the Tigers. Still, at (30-20) Lowell is in good shape and with plenty of home games on the way, they will have home cooking to fix their problems. One player who may not need much fixing is Gilberto Jimenez who is having an All-Star type season for the Spinners. Jimenez leads the team in batting average at .336, runs scored at 21, and in stolen bases with seven. He had a 13-game hitting streak snapped in Monday night’s loss at Tri-City.
The Aberdeen IronBirds have been solid with their starting pitching this year. Two guys of note are Ryan Conway and Leonard Rodriguez. Conway is fifth in the league with four wins and does have a complete game on his resume. He has gone at least five innings in eight of his last ten start while posting a ERA of 2.30, which is top ten in the league. Rodriguez leads in Whip at 0.85 and has 65 strikeouts in 53 innings. He does have a ten punch-out game to his credit versus Brooklyn on July 4.
Check back with us next week for more on the New York Penn League.