“Only the mediocre are always at their best.” – Jean Giraudoux
When the Drive first ascended into first place a few days ago, their owner popped into the conversation to express gratitude for his team performing so well, while also stating his belief that the Drive would soon return to mediocrity where it has been so comfortable in years past. I decided I should test this claim by looking in the archives for proof. Here is what I found – Tom wasn’t lying (I know, that’s difficult to believe, but I have proof). Here is how the Drive have finished the past 5 years:
What do we learn from this? A few things:
- The Drive have been remarkably consistent, winning between 71-80 games each year except for 2017 when he won 94 games
- His closest finish to first place was 20.8 games behind the leader in 2017
- His team has been getting incrementally better each year, though it hasn’t (at least in the past 5 years) been a threat to win the league
But now we find ourselves facing a Drive team that has decided mediocrity is only fun for so long, and who can blame them? As this crazy 2020 season began, no EFL team wanted to remain in first place for very long. In the month of August we have had 4 different teams in first place, and even those teams have begun to consider that mediocrity might be good enough this season.
Are we witnessing a new age in the EFL, one in which a self-proclaimed mediocre team will demonstrate that attaining mediocrity every single year is actually really difficult to do? There are still 40+ games left to play before we find the answer to this question, but if the Drive continue to perform as they are performing this month, the rest of us just may be tempted to give mediocrity a try.
|Flint Hill Tornadoes||9||8||.554||1.4||91.6||84.6|
|Old Detroit Wolverines||3||14||.174||7.9||52.1||115.0|
Kaline: “L,” 7-7 (53PA; 1IP)
|AVG: 0.319||OBP: 0.396||SLG: 0.596||OPS: 0.992|
|ERA: 0.00||WHIP: 0.000|
Even on a day when it they lost, the Drive added to their lead atop the standings. Aaron Judge, Jesse Winker and WIlmer Flores all homered, and the team earned as many BBs/HBP as they struck out (6 and 6). If they had any amount of pitching, their lead would have grown even more. But Tom is too nice to to make any of us feel too bad about our chances, and for that we are thankful.
Flint Hill: W(-1), L2 (53PA; 4.7IP)
|AVG: 0.157||OBP: 0.189||SLG: 0.333||OPS: 0.522|
|ERA: 1.91||WHIP: 1.702|
What a dreadful day for the Tornadoes. Inspired by the Woeverines, I’ve been trying out some different names for my team for when we have dreadful days. Flint Ill? Tornadon’ts? It is still a work in progress. The two good things from yesterday are that Logan Allen made his Tornado debut and threw very well (we need more good pitching!), and despite a 3 game swing in the wrong direction, we only lost .7 games off first place. That’s it. The rest of yesterday was just Tornawful! (nope, not it…)
Cottage: L, 1-5 (52PA; 3IP)
|AVG: 0.240||OBP: 0.269||SLG: 0.260||OPS: 0.529|
|ERA: 0.00||WHIP: 0.333|
The top three teams in the EFL did nothing yesterday to inspire those below them (unless, of course, playing poorly inspires those below to hold onto hope!). The Cheese had 12 hits, and all but one of them were singles. Add in 2 walks and 13 Ks and you get 1 run scored on the day.
Peshastin: L, 4-8 (35PA; no pitching)
|AVG: 0.192||OBP: 0.400||SLG: 0.231||OPS: 0.631|
The EFL had a rough day yesterday. The Pears did manage to record more BBs than Ks yesterday, which is a rare occurrence this season for any team. But they also recorded more BBs than hits, which is very rare and also not a great formula for winning. Especially when no one pitches.
Pittsburgh: L, 4-6 (40PA; 3IP)
|AVG: 0.270||OBP: 0.325||SLG: 0.459||OPS: 0.784|
|ERA: 0.00||WHIP: 1.000|
This breaks up the string of offensive offensive numbers from EFL teams. The Alleghenys were led by Byron Buxton who went 3 for 4 with a SB. But it wasn’t enough to eke out a win.
DC: W, 0-(-7) (43PA; 18.3IP)
|AVG: 0.189||OBP: 0.286||SLG: 0.216||OPS: 0.502|
|ERA: 1.97||WHIP: 1.093|
It’s true, earlier I said it is not easy to win when you score 1 run. But the Balk showed us it is possible to win even when you score 0 runs. How? Well, in this instance it was on the strength of an excellent pitching performance from the Balk staff. Dylan Bundy threw 7 IP and gave up 0 runs, and Daniel Mengden added 3 IP while giving up 1 run.
Haviland: L, 7-14 (36PA; 7.4IP)
|AVG: 0.310||OBP: 0.444||SLG: 0.483||OPS: 0.927|
|ERA: 13.38||WHIP: 2.297|
I guess the Dragons (Draggins?) really didn’t like being anywhere near first place. Since there time atop the league a few days ago, they have been moving in the other direction at a steady clip. Their offense played well yesterday, led by two role players Raimel Tapia (3 for 4 with a 2B and a SB) and Jed Gyorko (2 for 4 with a HR). But the pitching was not great, headlined by Kevin Ginkel who gave up 4 runs without recording an out.
Canberra: L, 6-10 (53PA; 6.3IP)
|AVG: 0.280||OBP: 0.321||SLG: 0.400||OPS: 0.721|
|ERA: 8.57||WHIP: 1.111|
Another decent offensive day ruined by another bad pitching day in the EFL! The Roos scored 6 runs through the good work of Starling Marte (3 for 5), Alex Bregman (1 for with a HR and 3 BBs), and Manuel Margot (2 for 4 with a 2B). But Touki Toussaint must have been taking pointers from Robbie Ray and Josh James (get it?), because he surrendered 5 runs in 4 innings.
Portland: “W,” 10-11 (55PA; .3IP)
|AVG: 0.375||OBP: 0.455||SLG: 0.688||OPS: 1.142|
|ERA: 60.00||WHIP: 6.667|
I know the EFL is all about camaraderie, but perhaps we are taking it too far when so many teams are sabotaging their good offensive performances with offensive pitching performances. The Rosebuds had an excellent day at the plate, led by Nick Solak (3 for 4) and several hitters (Harper, Shaw, Polanco, Cronenworth, Ozuna and Rendon) who all had two hits. But Blake Taylor and all the other Rosebud pitchers who decided to take the day off did not help matters by giving up 11 runs.
Bellingham: L, 6-9 (22PA; 8.4IP)
|AVG: 0.286||OBP: 0.318||SLG: 0.714||OPS: 1.032|
|ERA: 7.50||WHIP: 1.905|
Stop me if you’ve heard this story – another very good offensive day, ruined by bad pitching. How much do our hitters have to do to get us wins? Turns out, too much. Cascade hitters were led (once again) by Hanser Alberto (2 for 6 with 2 2Bs) and Hunter Pence (2 for 2 with a HR). Their pitchers (Fiers and Gonzalez) were both able to allow several runs, mostly through the long ball (they gave up 4 combined HRs).
Old Detroit: L, 5-7 (39PA; 1IP)
|AVG: 0.294||OBP: 0.324||SLG: 0.559||OPS: 0.883|
|ERA: 0.00||WHIP: 0.000|
Yesterday the Wolverines threatened to be the loudest last place team the EFL has ever known. As I was following MLB games yesterday, I wondered if his proclamation may not come to fruition. Eloy Jimenez hit a 3-run HR in the first inning, and Trea Turner added his own first inning HR. I thought to myself, “The Wolverine prospects are making good on their promise! Ron must be thrilled.” But it turned out to be nothing more than what was the norm yesterday – a good day for the batters and a bad day for the (in this case, replacement) pitchers. And so, for another day, Ron can make good on his promise to be the “cellar yeller.”