5 things to watch in the Generals playoff series
Aug. 9, 2010 at 3:09 a.m.
The top-seeded Victoria Generals open their first-round playoff series Tuesday against their regional rival, the Texas Tomcats, on Tuesday. While on paper, it's the TCL's best versus it's lowest seed, it could be a mismatch for the Generals. Here's what to watch for in the series:
KEEPING Hebert IN ONE PLACE
Brock Hebert has been giving catchers fits all season, stealing a TCL best 39 bases, 17 more than second place.
And it will be difficult to keep him off the bases too. Hebert hit a shade under .300, is second in the TCL with 41 hits and a .366 on-base percentage this season.
The Generals catchers - Abel Baker and Kyle Arnsberg - will have to play it careful. It could affect the pitching staff as well, which led the league with 20 passed balls this season.
Translating regular season pitching success
During the regular season, the Generals pitching staff led the TCL with a 2.55 team ERA. The same performance that made them great in the regular season will be needed against the league's top hitting team.
Likely starters for the Generals include Joseph Dvorsky, who threw a no-hitter earlier this year, Blake Payne and Michael Oros. All three had an ERAs of under 3 and gave their team a chance to win every time out.
Dvorsky has been the ace, holding opponents to a .175 batting average and walking only nine batters this season.
SLAMMING THE DOOR
Victoria relievers Roman Madrid and Kolt Browder have been shortening games all season. Madrid set up Browder for most of the season, but has been serving as the teams designated hitter lately, had three saves, going 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .151 average.
Browder had an identical record, saved four games and held opposing batters to a minuscule .079 average and had an ERA of 0.65.
With the TCL's best starting staff in front of Browder and Madrid, the Tomcats may be in for a long couple of games at the plate.
There's a reason why pitching and defense wins championships.
Aside from the passed ball problem, the Generals defense was great this season, leading the TCL with a .919 fielding percentage and accumulating the second-fewest errors in the league.
The Tomcats were the opposite of that, ranking at the bottom of the TCL with a .844 fielding percentage.
The Generals ability to take advantage of potential Tomcat fielding mistakes may be a difference in the best-of-three game series.
Men on in front of the big bats
This year, center fielder Mark Hudson batted a team best .340 and had 20 RBIs, while second baseman Conner Mach batted .295 and led the team with 30 RBIs, making for a great combination at the heart of the Victoria lineup. Both have home run power.
When opponents got to the bottom of the lineup, Jeramie Marek did a lot of damage, hitting .328 with 28 RBIs.
Brendan McGaheran and Lawton Langford, who often hit 1-2 in the lineup, need to be on base often. Langford had an OBP of .476 with 40 walks.