The All-Star Break
We’re at the all-star break for both major league baseball and for AAA minor-league baseball. And, for the first time in my seven seasons of datacasting, there is some reason for optimism for the Tides in the post-all-star-break. In 2009, the Tides rode a host of young stars to an outstanding first half, but we knew that the second half would be a struggle. Players like Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold, and pitchers like Chris Tillman, David Hernandez, Brad Bergesen, and Jason Berken had already been promoted to Baltimore and weren’t going to return.
This season has been different. At first, it seemed like more of the same as the Tides got off to a 5-12 start. To their credit, they didn’t throw in the towel, and since June 14 have gone 18-7, getting above .500 at 47-45. They’ve closed to within three games of the International League South Division lead and within four games of the International League wild card. It hasn’t been a fluke, either — the Tides have scored 369 runs while allowing 360, and with that runs scored/runs allowed ratio they should be expected to have a 47-45 record.
And there’s no real reason to expect them to stop playing well. The Tides have already used 63 players on the season, as Baltimore has called up players to fill in on the major league team, signed recently-released veterans on the chance they can help, and moved players up and down to ensure that the Tides could field a team. Twenty-one pitchers have started at least one game, and eleven pitchers have recorded at least one save. As a consequence of all this roster shuffling, only four players — outfielder Jamie Hoffman and relief pitchers Pat Neshek, Miguel Socolovich, and Oscar Villarreal — have been on the Tides for the entire season.
So, unlike 2009, there’s no real reason to expect the Tides to fall off after the break. And unlike the other years I’ve been a datacaster, the Tides are not a dreary, many-games-below-.500 collection of non-prospects lifelessly playing out the string. I’m looking forward to going to Harbor Park with the possibility of seeing a game that means something to the Tides.