December 1, 2021

Pitching Helps Optimism for Both Early Second-Half Leaders

July 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A head-to-head series between Lancaster and Bridgeport presented an ideal opportunity to check the pulse of these second-half division leaders.     Both managers, Tom Herr of the Barnstormers and Willie Upshaw of the host Bluefish, believe their starting pitching has gotten better as the 140-game season has progressed, and that fact alone could keep them alive as they try to join first-half winners York and Southern Maryland in the playoffs.

      Upshaw may have had to bite his upper lip just a trifle to show overall confidence since Bridgeport had just lost two of its key offensive pieces to one of the league’s best run-producing machines.  All-Star outfielder Charlton Jimerson, the defending Atlantic League batting champion (.335 for Newark) and even better this year (10-43-.345 in 48 games), had his contract purchased by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and designated hitter Wily Mo Pena (8-34-.310) is headed off to the San Diego Padres organization.          

      Upshaw and General Manager Bob Goughan, who work as a team in finding players, have two familiar faces as impressive replacements although they will not make up offensively for anything close to the 18 home runs and 77 RBI produced by Jimerson and Pena.  Veteran outfielder Tike Redman, fresh off hitting .355 with a brilliant .462 on-base percentage in the Mexican League, is expected back in uniform as early as Wednesday, when the two teams play a day doubleheader to make up for Monday’s rainout.  Left-handed starter Paul Oseguera, just released out of the Oakland farm system, has returned already and probably will start on Saturday.            

      “If we stay healthy, we should stay in every game,” Upshaw said.  “Our starters have been much better.  If we get the lead we feel pretty good about our chances.”  The manager said “we will have to run a little more (to maintain the scoring)”.

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      “Our starting pitching is better now,” Tom Herr said.  “And, we are playing better at home (than early in the season).”  The Lancaster boss said the improvement started with about 25 games remaining in the first-half, with the Barnstormers going 15-10 in that stretch and now 7-3 to open the second half.

      “Our bullpen has been good all year,” Herr added.  He hopes to find a “multi-position” player to help the thin bench. 

This ‘n That

      Cory Aldridge (Newark) was optioned to Salt Lake City after getting only 13 at-bats (one hit) in five games for the parent Los Angeles Angels… It seemed more like normal for two-time champion but struggling Somerset when veterans Jeff Nettles and Josh Pressley both homered before 6,059 home fans as the Patriots topped York 6-1 in a matinee Tuesday.

      (These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook.  Subscriptions to the full Notebook are available via or  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, 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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