August 22, 2017

York to Test Brett Jodie’s Latest Work

September 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Since it may boil down to a classic example of hitting vs. pitching when the Atlantic League playoffs begin Wednesday, certain logic has to point to the two-time defending champion Somerset Patriots having the upper hand when they square off with the York Revolution to decide the Freedom Division’s representative in the league’s championship series.

York has the home field advantage by hosting Games 1, 2 and 5 in the best-of-five set, and Andy Etchebarren’s first-half champions have broken some key league offensive records and have challenged the all-time mark for team batting average.  Still, the Revolution have struggled in the second half (27-40) and have scrambled to get their pitching staff ready for the postseason while Somerset’s staff has meshed, especially in establishing a deep bullpen.

York enters the final weekend of the regular season which it will spend visiting playoff-bound Southern Maryland with the best hit total in the 13 years of the Atlantic League, 1,467, which will end up being about 100 ahead of the mark shared by Somerset and Camden at 1,397 safeties in 2005.  The Revolution also have smashed the doubles record with 320, and their .300 team batting average is only three points below the all-time best set by Newark two years ago.

On the other side, Somerset has captured the second half at 38-29, and is an exceptional 26-8 since it really solidified its current bullpen.  Mr. Fix It—better known as Brett Jodie—deserves much of the credit.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Manager Sparky Lyle praised of the 33-year-old Jodie, who doubles as pitching coach and director of player procurement.  Lyle’s own pitching credentials are unquestioned since he was major league baseball’s all-time saves leader for much of the ‘70s, but when Jodie was handed the pitching coach reigns in 2006 Lyle told him “I give the pitchers entirely to you”.

“He’s good at fixing guys”, Lyle continued outside the clubhouse in Bridgeport one recent day, but the 6-foot-4 right-hander who saw brief time with San Diego and the New York Yankees in 2001 and was 12-5 for the Patriots in ’03 when they won the third of their five Atlantic League titles, also brought in key pitchers to re-build this year’s bullpen after it struggled for a good chunk of the first half.

Bridgeport Draws Praise From Rival Manager

Long Island Manager Dave LaPoint threw praise toward Bridgeport and skipper Willie Upshaw recently, days ahead of the test the Bluefish face when they challenge ’09 Atlantic League runner-up Southern Maryland in the other playoff series.

“Bridgeport is well organized,” said LaPoint.  “Willie knows what he wants to do.  They believe in themselves”.  Ironically, it was LaPoint who took Bridgeport to its last playoff in 2006, when the Bluefish lost in the championship round to Lancaster.

* * * *WANT MORE INDEPENDENT BASEBALL COVERAGE?  Check out                  www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com * * * *

Barton Blisters Way Toward Batting Title

Talk about a change of scenery doing wonders, Brian Barton has been so hot at Newark it appears he is going to win the Atlantic League batting title.  The 28-year-old outfielder has jumped to the top with a .347 average, six points better than York’s Ramon Castro.

Barton has 19 hits in his last 10 games (36 at-bats) for a blistering .528 pace with three homers and 11 runs batted in to lift his Newark average to .375 in 74 games.  It is somewhat unbelievable he has not struck out in the last seven games, because the right-hander, who was relegated to spotty duty early in the year at Bridgeport, fanned in 34 of his 91 official at-bats for the Bluefish, hitting .264.

(These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook, with more information found at www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com. Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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