The New Milford Blazers finished a successful chapter one campaign at 20-8, five whole games in first place over Granite State. The winning chapter was a record 29th consecutive winning chapter. The +60 margin was tops in the BDBL.
Hitter of the Chapter was Shin Soo Choo, who leads the BDBL with 30 RBI. His 8 HR and 319/394/619 line pace a Blazer line up which average 5.3 runs per game, tops it the OL. The 277/347/441 team line is second in the OL to Las Vegas.
3B Kelly Johnson performed well in a part time role with a 1.134 OPS and 4 HR, 11 R and 8 RBI. Lead off man Matt Carpenter batted .330 with 22 R and 19 RBI while CF Mookie Betts led the team with 23 R and 4 steals. “The top 3 in our line up were lethal,” boasts GM Anthony Peburn. “We had nice balance.”
On the pitching end, Masahiro Tanaka, with a 3-0, 0.71 ERA in 6 games (3 starts) was Pitcher of the Chapter. Ace Clayton Kershaw led the team with 4 wins (4-2) followed by Tanaka (3-0), Anderson (3-2), and Iwakuma (3-1). Jose Quintana had an impressive 2-0, 2.84 ERA. The team 2.78 ERA was second in the OL to Los Altos. “When you score an average of 2.5 runs a game more than you give up, you win lots of ball games,” explains Peburn. “The scary thing is our closer blew 3 saves. We could have been 23-5.”
New Milford started the season running in place splitting the first two series against Western Kansas and Granite State, but then went off on a 16-4 run, taking 3 of 4 from Kansas City, Salem, Las Vegas and Los Altos before finishing the chapter with a convincing 4 game sweep of New York. “It was a great start. Better than we were hoping for. Unfortunately we don’t have as many cupcakes on the chapter 2 schedule.”
New Milford is set to face tough Ravenswood and Flagstaff squads in Chapter 2 as well as an upstart Bear Country team and a rematch at home with Granite State.
Chapter 1 Transactions:
Released: Aaron Barrett and his 9.95 ERA and 15 baserunners in 6.1 IP and farm hand
Gavin Cecchini. “Aaron wore out his welcome with his poor showing in the pen. Gavin was a numbers game at AAA.”
Acquired: SS Greg Garcia, who will report to AAA and take Cecchini’s roster spot for the Illuminati. The Blazers also reacquired OF Tyler Collins. “Tyler may take the 25th man spot on the big club for some series as a left handed power bench bat and spot OF starter. He will be on the shuttle frequently,” said Peburn
-New Milford was 14-2 at home in chapter 1, tops in the BDBL. “Time to change the rules again,” quipped Peburn.
–Matt Thornton a 1 M investment last year had a 0.71 ERA in 38 IP and started 2016 with a 0.00 ERA in 8.2 IP. Not bad for a 1 M investment.
–Matt Albers threw 9 IP in Chapter 1 and gave up 1 hit, his only baserunner of the chapter. So close to a no hitter (spread out over 11 games)
-New Milford’s sub par 6-6 road record was a better winning percentage than 7 other OL teams had for the entire chapter.