With the Aeros off to a 2-0 start, the most surprising aspect of the 2007 team has been it's bullpen. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect after the starting five (a solid group anchored by the likes of Chuck Lofgren, J.D. Martin and Scott Lewis) departed on any given game night early in the season.
Not only are there a handful of newcomers in the bullpen mix, but several pitchers are starters being converted to relievers such as Jake Dittler and Jensen Lewis. And the team's closer, Bubbie Buzachero, while a veteran, brings baggage from last season (we'll get back to this soon).
That being said, even though it's only been two games, I've been pleasently surprised by the consistency of the team's relievers so far. In Monday's season-opening win over the Altoona Curve, the relief corps combined for four innings of no-hit ball. Then they did it again against the rival Curve in Tuesday's victory, squashing any thought of a comeback attempt after the host scored eight runs in the third inning.
"I don't think we've had a hiccup yet,'' Aeros second-year manager Tim Bogar said after his squad cruised to a 9-0 win Tuesday night. "It's pretty impressive in this type of weather, as well as with all the other circumstances (snow postponing the first four games of the season) surrounding us.''
One look at the Aeros roster last week before the season began and it appeared the bullpen could be the team's weak link early on. Instead, it's been just as strong as the offense (which has produced 15 runs in two games), the defense and the starting pitchers (Lofgren and Martin have allowed just one run between them).