We’re now midway into March, and 2018 has been a nightmare for El Diamante Baseball. Along with their dismal 2-7 record, the Miners have been bad in almost every single phase of the game. They’re losing to teams that they should have destroyed, and barely sputtering out a run or two against better schools that they should be expected to hang with. The start to 2018 for El D doesn’t seem real, nor did it seem possible, but it has been nothing short of disastrous.
It’s hard to choose one reason why the Miners have not been able to get it going throughout the first month of the season. It’s hard to choose one because, quite frankly, there are a million to choose from. A good place to start would be how the Miners are hitting .234 as a team. They have a combined On Base Percentage of .319 and have given up 19 more runs than they’ve scored. To piggyback off of the lack of offense, the pitching staff has put together a massively inflamed ERA of 3.94. The Miners have only three pitchers on the whole staff with an ERA below 3.00, and the staff has a combined strike percentage in the mid 50s. So far we have no run production complemented by pitchers who don’t throw enough strikes and always put hitters in good hitters counts.
The last factor is probably the most terrifying. The team defense has been horrendous. Through just 9 games into the season, the Miners have tallied an alarming total of 32 total errors. 32 errors through 9 games. 32 errors in one SEASON is bad enough, let alone the first 9 games of the year. Basic math will tell you the Miners are giving up 3 and a half errors a game and are on pace for a season total of 98 errors.
Saying all this pains me. Everytime I walk out to the field I see a group of guys who don’t suck at baseball. I don’t feel bad saying that the Miners are filled with guys who are capable of playing a very high level. One of the few times we’ve seen the Miners play their game was at Edison, when the El D scratched and clawed their way to a key win. So the question shouldn’t be whether or not the Miners are capable of winning games. I think the real question is what team we’ll see every time they take the field. Will we get the team that put up 10 runs and fought their tails off against Edison, or will we see the team that came out flat and couldn’t hit the ball to save their lives, which equated in them being upset by Sunnyside and Dinuba.
Those two losses have been the story of their season. Two bad losses to Dinuba and Sunnyside, teams the Miners should have beaten pretty convincingly. Those two faceplants we’ve seen from the Miners has been a prime example of their “Jekyll and Hyde” year that has dug them in a gaping hole as we charge into April. I still don’t think it’s time to panic, everyone that puts on the Miner jersey is more than aware they can get hot and go on a tear just as easily as their stumble out of the gates. But the biggest blessing this team has is time. League play doesn’t start for another few weeks, and another hefty tournament schedule has given them 7 games to right the ship. Just like the annual Coca-Cola classic the Miners recently wrapped up, the Miners will be playing some very good baseball teams. But like I said before, even though they’re 2-7, this still is a team that fears nobody and has no problem taking any kind of challenge head on. So I guess the only thing to do is wait and see what goes down.
If we see the same type of performance from the Miners as we have through the first nine games, then it’s going to be a long season. But if the Miners show up ready to go to war and play to their capability, then it’d be fair to expect some very different outcomes.