The Down East Wood Ducks have not gotten off to a fast start in the second half of the Carolina League as they fell to 6-7 following a 4-0 loss to the Salem Red Sox on Tuesday.
The team went 18-11 in May to put itself in a position to compete for a first-half division title, but struggled to a 5-12 first-half stretch to finish the half 35-35. June was brutal with a 9-18 finish, worst in the Carolina League.
“Well…it wasn’t fun,” DEWD manager Spike Owen said. “We didn’t play good baseball, but that’s kind of stating the obvious. We had a lot of guys struggling, offensively. It happens, unfortunately. It happens in the game at all levels. The effort is there, everything is there, but sometimes you go in a little bit of a funk. That was really kind of what June was for us.”
July started out promising, and aside from the first three losses after the All-Star break, the Wood Ducks have a winning record. The Wood Ducks may have been affected by losing some top pitching prospects in Jonathan Hernandez, CD Pelham, and Edgar Arredondo.
“Those certainly are nice guys to have on the club, and they were throwing the ball really well, but good for them that they got to move on to Double-A and we have to move on,” Owen said.
The Wood Ducks' formula has been when they score five or more and allow 5 or less they win games. Since the All-Star break, the Woodies have done that six times. They are 5-1 in those games. The Wood Ducks have not won a game in the second half when they’ve allowed more than 5 runs, and they’re also 3-7 when they score 5 or less runs.
“That’s just part of the game,” Owen said. “Those nights where the pitching is really good, the hitting is really good, the defense is really good, it’s something you would love to have every night, but that’s just not possible, that’s not the way it works.”
A consistent team effort seems key for the Wood Ducks if they want to turn it around from their cold start. A nine-game road trip is on the horizon, and Down East is 12-24 on the road and 23-12 at home.
Kai Jones can be contacted via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 252-559-1078. You can follow him on twitter @MMJKaiJones as well. You can also add him on Facebook at Kai Jones.