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After 0-6 Start, Yard Goats Are Back On Track

After beginning the season with six straight losses, the Yard Goats are finally getting back on track. The MiLB club based out of Hartford, CT began Eastern League (AA) play with a series of four games against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in which they were swept and destroyed, and further lost two more to the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

They took the last game against Richmond by a score of 3-1, and then began another series against New Hampshire. Early on, it was apparent that the team’s main issue was on the offensive side of the game. Hartford was sitting at the bottom of the league in terms of team batting average, which was a surprise considering how many top prospects they have.

With bats like Garrett Hampson, Yonathan Daza, and Brendan Rodgers, nobody would’ve expected their slow start. However, something clicked and the Yard Goats are now 3rd in the Eastern League in terms of batting average with a .248 mark after originally holding the lowest.

Rodgers’ bat has come alive, and he’s belted four home runs on the year with 15 runs batted in. He leads the team in average at .286, and Hampson sits right behind him at .284. Hampson has also swiped 12 bases so far and scored 14 times.

On paper, the pitching staff appears one of the league’s best. Statistically, they are slacking and sit with the third worst team ERA overall (4.03). Their arms haven’t quite lived up to expectations, additionally holding the title for worst WHIP at 1.45. Early on these numbers were much worse though and have seemingly improved, which can be taken as a testament to their recent victories.

On the bright side, young gun Ryan Castellani has been very impressive. Castellani holds a 2.05 ERA and leads the team in innings at 26.1 in 5 starts. Second in the rotation, Peter Lambert has also done very well so far. With a 2.11 ERA and 1 win, he’s proved his abilities. Hartford’s bullpen has also shown somewhat promising signs, as non-starters hold an overall 3.66 ERA.

After the first 10 games, the Goat’s record was 2-8. Now at 12-11 as May begins, they have won 10 of their last 13 games, and are tied for 3rd in the standings with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Trailing just a game behind the Trenton Thunder and three from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, making the playoffs seem like a reality again.

Hartford is set to finish their series with the Harrisburg Senators and then begin another with the Portland Sea Dogs. Portland currently is in last place, so the Goats should have no problem handling them.

After that, superstar Tim Tebow and the Rumble Ponies come to town for three games. Those games will prove to be very important in terms of league standings. As long as Hartford continues to steadily improve, they will be all set. Offensively, there no longer seem to be any glaring issues. If the Yard Goats want to take the top seed or even remain in the top three, having an efficient pitching staff that knows how to win is necessary.

The progress shown following their awful start has been remarkable, and it reveals the true talent they have. Without a doubt Hartford has the star power to make a deep postseason run and even win a championship, but they just need to continue utilizing it in order to get there.

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