The Scrapperbook: 7/26/2013 to 8/8/2013
By Hayden Grove
August 9, 2013
Well, after a dreadful stretch of 12 straight losses essentially ruined their season, the Scrappers have come back with a vengeance.
In 20 games since the streak, the Scrappers have managed to put together a 13-7 record and a 5-5 record since the last Scrapperbook.
As the record has shown, things have just been so-so for this Scrappers team in the last 10 days. That's part of the problem as the season winds down and the Scrappers are well out of the race, nothing seems to stand out.
While the flash hasn't been there lately, the Scrappers did put together one particularly special afternoon on July 28 and had a transaction for the ages.
Down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, NYPL All-Star Nellie Rodriguez delivered a 6-4 walk-off victory over the Williamsport Crosscutters.
A full count with two outs gave Rodriguez the opportunity to see a slider out over the plate and he absolutely drilled it. As manager Ted Kubiak remembered, "I heard it, and I knew it was one of his big hits." Sure enough, Kubiak was exactly right.
The smash got down into the gap in left-center, scored two runs, and induced a mobbing at second base for the hero of the day and of the season, Mr. Rodriguez.
After the wonderful day from Rodriguez, the Scrappers had a difficult situation through which they had to endure in Aberdeen, Maryland.
In the midst of Major League "trade" season, Ted Kubiak got a call from the Indians front office; Juan Herrera had been traded.
Herrera, the Scrappers' everyday shortstop for the majority of the season, was moved to St. Louis for lefty-reliever Mark Rzepczynski. Of course, the goodbyes were tough as Herrera was a big part of the Mahoning Valley family, but these guys more than anyone understand that baseball is a business after all.
While the transaction didn't affect the ballclub in Aberdeen, the weather, on the other hand, did. The Scrappers -- in their lone trip to Aberdeen and the house that Cal Ripken built -- were rained out of their final game of the series.
The weather has been problematic for the Scrappers as they can't seem to catch a break from mother nature. Thus far in August, the Scrappers have been rained out twice, once at home and once on the road, in just seven games so far. While these will not be made up, the Scrappers made up rainouts four separate times in the month of July.
With a little less than a month to go, the Scrappers are well out of the playoff chase and will therefore set their sights on nothing more than taking it day-by-day and development.
Coaches will be watching to see which players can improve during this grueling stretch with nothing to play for and which players will fall by the way-side. In the past ten days, however, there have been a few that have stood out -- for good or bad -- above the rest.
Joel Mejia, OF
7 G, .297 BA (19-64), .357 OBP, .328 SLG, .685 OPS, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Mejia was a late addition to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers but he's certainly made his presence felt. Now the leadoff hitter, Mejia has shot his way up the Scrappers offensive charts, as his .297 batting average is now second on the team behind Rodriguez. Mejia embodies the spirit of the Scrappers -- he's a "scrappy" player -- and has impressed just about everyone in the Mahoning Valley organization with his combination of great speed, contact-hitting ability, and overall enjoyment of the game of baseball.
Look for more of Mejia before the year is over.
Rob Whitenack, P
3-4, 3.86 ERA, 44.1 IP, 55 H, 29 R, 19 ER, 14 BB, 28 K
After a miserable start to his Scrappers career, Whitenack quickly got things right and excelled on his way back to High-A Carolina.
Beginning the year with the Aeros, Whitenack pitched his way down to Mahoning Valley and seemed as if he was on his way out of the system when suddenly things clicked.
The highlight for Whitenack was on July 14, when he pitched five innings and allowed just two runs on just five hits as the Scrappers eventually fell to the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Matt Whitehouse, P
3-0, 0.39 ERA, 23.1 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 17 K
Maybe one of the most overlooked Scrappers in 2013, Whitehouse has been absolutely brilliant in his time with Mahoning Valley.
Just look at that statline, it's unbelievable. Only two walks and one earned run in 23 innings? It would seem as if these stats are fake, but instead they're a testament to how great the small lefty has been.
Whitehouse has come in mostly in relief, but no matter his role, he has blanked his opponents. Since an appearance on June 21, Whitehouse has not allowed a single run and has held his opponents to a .261 ERA.
We'll see how long Whitehouse remains with the Scrappers, as the Mudcats could certainly use a lefty in their bullpen for their playoff run.
(2-1) 8.27 ERA, 16.1 IP, 13 H, 18 R, 19 BB, 21 K
Guerrero has been one of the primary relievers for the Scrappers this season and has contributed as much as anyone to their less-than-stellar record.
Since June 29, Guerrero has allowed 17 of his 18 runs and walked 17 of his 19 batters, posting an 11.45 ERA.
His worst two outings this season came against Batavia and Brooklyn respectively.
In the Brooklyn outing, Guerrero posted a 54.00 ERA after allowing 5 runs and 3 hits in just .1 innings, as the Scrappers lost 7-5.
His Batavia appearance may have been worse, as Guerrero walked four straight batters -- the only four he faced -- and was credited with four earned runs before the inning was all said and done.
With his awful performances thus far, it remains to be seen if Guerrero will be in as active a role for the final month of the year.
By the Numbers
6: the number of Joel Mejia, the scrappy new Scrapper.
11: the number of errors from Juan Herrera, the newest St. Louis Cardinal
26: the number of games left in the Scrappers 2013 season.
Next Ten Games
8/9 7:05 Hudson Valley Renegades
8/10 7:05 Hudson Valley Renegades
8/11 5:05 Hudson Valley Renegades
8/14 7:05 @State College Spikes
8/15 7:05 @State College Spikes
8/16 7:05 @Auburn Doubledays
8/17 7:05 @Auburn Doubledays
8/18 5:05 @Williamsport Crosscutters
8/19 7:05 @Williamsport Crosscutters
8/20 7:05 Jamestown Jammers