The Eugene Emeralds won four out of six over the Vancouver Canadians at Ron Tonkin Field this week. The offense bounced back from an ugly showing in its last two series, while the pitching staff fell back to Earth in terms of strikeouts but still kept enough runs off the board in the four wins.
The Emeralds are yet to lose a series this year, and head into the second series of June as a first-place team.
Logan Wyatt is heating up
After recording three consecutive multi-hit games in the first week of the season, the Giants’ No. 17 prospect fell into an ugly skid that saw his average fall below .200 and OPS below .600. However, he started to get back into a groove this week, going 6-for-18 with eight walks compared to only six strikeouts.
First-rounder Patrick Bailey, who has seen mixed results in his first professional season, started to show some signs of life as well, with a .385 OBP in the series. He also only struck out five times, despite punching out over 30% of the time this season.
The offense as a whole, which started the season red-hot and then went cold, fell somewhere in the middle this week. The team batted .228 with a .703 OPS, a fairly pedestrian mark.
The pitching staff fell back to Earth
For the first month of the season, the main storyline was the mind-boggling strikeout numbers the pitching staff was putting up, as they had a mark of over 13 K/9 as a team. They finally let up a bit this week, striking out only 49 in 53 innings.
They did still post a 3.57 ERA, which is how they were able to squeak out a series win. They also boast a 12.13 K/9 for the season, which is still extremely impressive.
Walks have occasionally been an issue though, especially for Giants No. 5 prospect Seth Corry, who has walked more than a batter per inning. The Emeralds will need to keep the strikeouts up while limiting the walks for their success to be sustainable, but they did the job this week.
The team took hold of first place
The Emeralds had been battling all season with the Canadians and the Everett AquaSox for first place in the High-A West, with the teams often finding themselves in a three-way tie. But they finally took charge this week, grasping a 1.5-game lead over the AquaSox, and a two-game lead over this week’s opponent.
The AquaSox do still boast a +79 run differential, 50 runs higher than the Emeralds’ +29. The Canadians, meanwhile, saw their run differential fall to an even zero.
The three-team race will now head into the thick of the summer, as the Emeralds experience their first year as a full-season baseball team.
Up next, they’ll travel to Everett to play their first series of the season against the rival AquaSox, with Game 1 on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.