The Mud Hens closed the 2013 season on Labor Day, finishing with a 61-83 record. Here are a few stats and notes from the season -- some funny, some sad, and some that may help explain why the Hens struggled so much.
- First, a look at the raw team numbers show that the Hens struggled in all three phases of the game. The most obvious struggles were on offense, where Toledo ranked near the bottom of the International League in batting average (.252, 11th), run scored (599, ninth) and home runs (111, 7th). The Hens also struggled to steal bases, swiping just 78 (13th in the 14-team league).
The pitching staff posted a team ERA of 3.68, third-best in the IL, but that was misleading. The Mud Hens allowed 80 unearned runs, which meant the pitching staff wasn't charged for some of the runs it allowed. The defense also absorbs some of the blame there, although it also fared well in IL stats, finishing fourth with a .981 fielding percentage. A team that is third in ERA and fourth in fielding percentage shouldn't allow the third-most unearned runs in the league, which the Hens did.
- The Mud Hens stumbled out of the gates in April, losing seven of their first eight and 11 of their first 14 to post a 7-20 record. Much of the responsibility for that slow start falls on the offense, which hit just .213 that month and produced just 83 runs (3.1 runs per game). Eight of Toledo's 13 position players hit .217 or lower, so the problems were lineup-wide. The pitching staff posted a 3.15 ERA, but the Hens suffered with 19 unearned runs.
Offensive MVP: 1B Jordan Lennerton hit .277 for the month, the best average on the team, and also led the Hens with 12 RBIs and 11 runs scored. Pitching MVP: LHP Jose Alvarez had a deceiving 1-2 record. He posted a 1.61 ERA in five starts, striking out 24 in 28 innings.
- The Mud Hens got a little more offense in May, but the pitching took a step back and the result was an 11-18 record. The offense posted a .259 batting average and 4.3 runs per game, but the pitching staff's ERA for the month ballooned to 4.28. The Hens allowed more than five runs per game in the month, which is too much for any offense to overcome.
Offensive MVP: 1B-OF Danny Dorn hit .252 for the month but led the team with 23 RBI and tied for the team high with seven homers. Close behind was 1B Jordan Lennerton (.387-7-19). Pitching MVP: RHP Bruce Rondon was nearly unhittable, converting all seven save attempts with a 0.75 ERA while fanning 13 in 12 innings. LHP Jose Alvarez also pitched well, going 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six starts.
- The Mud Hens started to turn things around in June, posting a 16-13 record thanks to a 13-3 start. Toledo batted .281 as a team for the month and had a solid .351 on-base percentage, which helped the Hens average 5.4 runs per game in the month. That helped the team overcome a pitching staff which posted a 4.33 ERA, and 20 unearned runs allowed in the month.
Offensive MVP: OF Ben Guez hit .324 that month and had a team-high six home runs and 24 RBIs along with 20 runs scored, tied for second-most on the team. Close behind was 1B-OF Danny Dorn (.280-4-24) and IF Argenis Diaz (.323-2-15 and 20 runs). Pitching MVP: RHP Derek Hankins took advantage of an opportunity to start for the Hens by posting a 2-0 record and 2.20 ERA in five starts. Close behind was RHP Robbie Weinhardt, who was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 21.2 innings.
- The Mud Hens put together strong efforts to start the month and coming out of the All-Star Break, but a 2-6 finished gave them a 14-14 record for the month. There were struggles on offense, as the team averaged 4.1 runs per game. But the pitching staff posted a strong 3.29 ERA while the defense was much more solid, allowing just eight unearned runs in 28 games.
Offensive MVP: Although he played in just 22 games, OF Avisail Garcia dominated IL pitching, posting a .337 batting average with four homers runs, 17 RBIs and 18 runs scored. Close behind was OF-1B Danny Dorn, who batted .288 with six homers and 15 RBIs. Pitching MVP: LHP Blaine Hardy split time behind the bullpen and the rotation but was effective in both areas, going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Close behind was LHP Jose Alvarez, who was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
- The Mud Hens never seemed to get things rolling in the final month of the season, finishing 13-16 in August before losing both games in September. The problem again was on offense as Toledo hit just .242 as a team and scored just 3.8 runs per game in August. While the pitching staff threw well, posting a 3.24 ERA, and the defense allowed just eight unearned runs, there wasn't enough offense to consistently win games.
Offensive MVP: OF Nick Castellanos hit .266 but was very productive, finishing with team highs of five home runs and 17 RBIs. Pitching MVP: LHP Blaine Hardy continues his impressive pitching, posting a 2-1 record and 1.67 ERA in six starts. Close behind was LHP Kyle Lobstein, who was 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA in six starts.
- There was a tight race in the Mud Hens "Hot Dog Derby," the team's almost-daily scoreboard race. Relish narrowly defeated Ketchup for "top dog" -- or is that "top condiment?" -- with 23 victories to Ketchup's 21, with Mustard finishing with 19. A hat tip to Mud Hens PA "voice" Ryan Carlson for those numbers.
- A close game seemed to be bad news for the Mud Hens this season. Toledo was 17-36 in one-run games, and that was the fewest wins, the most losses and worst winning percentage (.321) in the International League. The Hens were 10-15 in two-run games, meaning the numbers rose only slightly to 27-51 (.346) in games decided by two or one runs.
- Jim Flealand "ran away" from the competition in the Mud Hens' "Racing With the Stars" promotion. Flealand won 18 of the 36 races, with Kitty Holmes second with 10 victories and Jamie Farmadillo third with eight wins. Credit to Carlson for these numbers as well.
- There were a few highlights during the home season. Toledo had six walk-off victories, meaning six games that the Hens won in their final at-bat (which obviously can only happen at home). Three that I remember were the game-ending triple play in the final home game of the season -- one of only three triple plays in the IL this season -- Avisail Garcia hitting for the cycle on July 7 against Indianapolis, and Blaine Hardy throwing a complete-game one-hitter to beat Gwinnett on Aug. 19.
Click here to read an overview of the Mud Hens 2013 season.
Agree? Disagree? Go to the "Post a Comment" space below and let everyone know. Have a favorite memory of this season? Please share those as well!