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Shipwrights win Nine of Ten; Increase Division Lead

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KMcBride
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Shipwrights win Nine of Ten; Increase Division Lead

Post by KMcBride on January 7th 2013, 12:41 pm

Portland Press Herald
June 10, 2020

Following a series at home where the Shipwrights took 2 of 3 against Mississauga, and a 3-game sweep in Boston, the Shipwrights returned home to take the first two games of the series against Hartford. They began this stretch with a slim 2 game lead over Boston in the Big East - Patriot Division. Their division lead is now 5 games -- the largest lead for any team in the division this season.

"There has been some really inspired play," said GM Keith McBride, "particularly from (second baseman Mark) Hopewell, and from (starting pitcher, Raul) Avila."

Hopewell earned Big East Player of the Week honors for his performance last week, when he hit .542 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. His hot-hitting has continued into this week, where in three games he has hit .455 with 2 more RBI. Avila, for his part, is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.19 in his last five starts.

"We never asked nor expected Raul to be an ace or anchor on this pitching staff," said McBride. "But that's what he's been. It's been awesome to watch. He's really only had one bad start, and we still went on to win that game." McBride was referring to Avila's start on May 4 against Hartford, where he gave up 5 runs in 2.2 innings, but the team managed to pull out the game 13-10 thanks to some late-inning offensive firepower provided by Hopewell, Cristian Lopez, Caleb Lord and Jose Hernandez.

Smaller contributions have also been an important part of the team's success as-of late. After slumping to begin the season, Caleb Lord has brought his batting average up 75 points, and after short visits to the disabled list, Curt Brushett and Victor Guerra returned and continued to be offensive catalysts.

But perhaps the most important contribution to the team's win streak has been the improved play of the bullpen. Prior to last night's ninth-inning blow-up, which nearly put the Shipwrights' 11-run lead in jeopardy, the bullpen had not given up a run in the previous 6 games (with 11.2 innings pitched) and had a WHIP of 0.82. But, as last night's performance indicates, it remains to be inconsistent. The likelihood that Maine will maintain it's division lead could very well rise and fall with the play of the bullpen.

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