Rave review from boss
Blue Crabs second-year manager Patrick Osborn noted before the season that the team’s talent on paper was the best in its five years of existence. Osborn was the team’s starting third basemen for its first three seasons before taking the managerial job.
Through the first six games this young season, the Blue Crabs have only confirmed Osborn’s high praise with a 4-2 record, tied for tops in the Atlantic League, entering Thursday’s contest that finished too late for inclusion into this edition.
The Blue Crabs would have been perfect through their opening six games if not for two failed ninth-inning saves, accounting for their two losses as of Wednesday.
“The starting pitching has been unbelievable. The offense is … I like what I’ve seen and it’s going to get better as guys start to heat up,” Osborn said Wednesday night. “I’m really excited about this group. It’s the best team we’ve seen here, top to bottom. It’s a fun team to just watch. It makes me very comfortable.”
Harrison thrives in Regency
Outfielder Ben Harrison, who was taken in the expansion draft by Sugar Land from the Blue Crabs during the offseason, wasted little time in making noise upon his return to Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium where he called home the last two years.
After smacking the first home run in Sugar Land history on opening night April 26, Harrison connected for his second long ball of the season Tuesday in the series opener against the Blue Crabs.
Harrison finished 3 for 4 in the game with a double, two RBIs and a run scored in addition to his long-ball. His RBI double in the second gave Sugar Land an early 1-0 lead Tuesday, and his solo homer again put his team in front, 2-1, in the fifth before the Blue Crabs came back to pull off the 8-3 victory.
Wednesday saw Harrison continue to produce against the Blue Crabs with another hit and a walk in three at-bats.
Harrison follows the individual success enjoyed by another pair of Blue Crabs coming back to Southern Maryland in the opening series of the season.
Lancaster’s Adam Godwin and Kody Kirkland both made impacts last weekend. Godwin, formerly the Blue Crabs leadoff hitter last year, went 7 for 16 in the series, while Kirkland hit a homer against his old teammates of the last two years.
During his two seasons with the Blue Crabs, Harrison was arguably the most flamboyant personality in the clubhouse. He was a University of Florida teammate of Osborn in college and both are still close friends. Harrison has also continued his tight ties with many of the current Blue Crabs.
“Ben is a good friend of mine,” Osborn said of Harrison. “I’ve been around this game and seems like players always seem to play well [against their former team], I don’ t know what it is. I don’t know if their focus is a little better, but they always seem to do well. I’ve seen it time and time again.
“I know Ben’s a good player and he had a good year for us last year.”
Despite the individual outbursts by the former Blue Crabs, their teams were just 2-4 in Southern Maryland as of Wednesday.
Harrison said after Wednesday’s game, “It’s good to see everyone [from the Blue Crabs]. I’ve never been part of a team where I know basically every single person on the other team. It’s fun, good to see them, but once you get on the field you want to beat them just as bad. It’s been good to see them but they’ve gotten the first two games. We need to get on them tomorrow.”
Barton in, Hunt out
To make financial room on the roster for the signing of slugging outfielder Brian Barton on Wednesday, the Blue Crabs traded reserve infielder Bridger Hunt to the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League for a player to be named later.
Barton, a former major leaguer with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008 when he batted .268 with a couple of homers and 13 RBIs in 82 games, is a big-time bat for the Blue Crabs lineup.
Last year in 87 games with the Blue Crabs after arriving to the team in early June, he batted .304 with 12 homers, 42 RBIs and 17 stolen bases as a weapon in the middle of the lineup.
In 2010, Barton boasted a league-leading .348 average while playing for Newark, which has since moved to the Can-Am League.
Hunt saw time in three games this season for the Blue Crabs before getting shipped out, going hitless in nine plate appearances with a walk.
As impressive as the Blue Crabs starting rotation has been through the first six games yielding no more than two runs in any outing while each pitcher has lasted at least five innings it is yet to be at full strength.
The fifth member of the rotation in righty Michael Schlact has not thrown a pitch this season due to being “a little dinged up,” according to Osborn. Schlact is dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder and his spot in the rotation will be handled by righty Rayner Oliveros, slated to start in Saturday’s game at Somerset.
“No, I don’t think so,” Osborn said about Schlact having a major injury. “He’s just trying to build up some strength in his shoulder.”
Last year, Schlact enjoyed a solid season for the Blue Crabs with a 6-4 mark and a 4.61 ERA 14th best in the league. His insertion into the rotation has the potential of making an already stellar starting staff even more dominant.
Osborn did not give a timetable on Schlact’s return from injury.