A lot of baseball folks might not consider losing their No. 2 and No. 3 hitters a way to "jump start" a struggling team.
Yet that's exactly what Aeros manager Tim Bogar believes happened to the Aeros when they lost shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and right fielder Brian Barton recently in a week's span.
"This change is exactly what this team needs,'' Bogar said confidently. "We were kind of mumbling and bumbling along, just kind of getting through it. Then all of a sudden Cabrera leaves, a week later Barton leaves, and these guys still here are like 'Hey, what's going on? Maybe I have a chance to move. Maybe I could do some things and get out of here. Now I'm the guy, so I better put some numbers up.''
First baseman/designated hitter Jordan Brown has been putting up numbers all season long, entering Wednesday game batting a team-best .331 (second in the league) and leading the Eastern League in hits with 128. This, despite battling a nagging knee injury that will require off-season surgery.
Center fielder Trevor Crowe has begun to pull his weight, turning his dismal season around the last month to enter Wednesday batting a much more respectable .248.
Now it's time for veteran left fielder Ryan Goleski (.253) to do the same, as well as shortstop Brandon Pinckney (.220) - now that he has the advantage of playing every day with Cabrera gone.
"Right now we got what we got,'' Bogar said. "We'll figure it out. There's plenty of hitters on this team.''
The Aeros' pitching staff needs to share a portion of the burden during this final month as well, as the hitters have carried the team most of the season.
As decent as Wednesday's starter Chuck Lofgren has been at 10-6 with a 4.28 ERA, the left-hander has yet to live up to his pre-season "ace" billing. And as a three-year Double-A veteran, right-hander Jake Dittler needs to do better than the 4.37 ERA he's posted in 19 appearances.