Baseball seasons are made up of a never ending run through hills and valleys. Every time it looks like a player is going to hit .500 and smash 50 home runs, a cold spell will set in and bring things back to the norm. Its why you shouldn't freak out about your ace’s slow start or anoint a young shortstop the next Babe Ruth in April.
The ebbs and flows become a bit less easy to spot when the sample size grows, as even a poor week won't have as drastic an effect as hitting six home runs in the first three games or letting up seven runs in your second start of the campaign.
For former Bearcat Josh Harrison, this past week was a bit frosty. He batted just .167 (3-for-18) and just one of his three hits went for extra bases. He did manage to drive in a pair of runs and went 2-for-3 in last Thursday’s loss to Colorado, but was held hitless far more often than not. But just remember folks, baseball is a game of failure. As has been repeated across airwaves and in clubhouses from Boston to Tacoma, in baseball, if you fail seven out of 10 times, you're a Hall of Famer. Despite a rocky week in June, Harrison is still striking the ball to the tune of a .309 average, which is well above a passing grade. In addition, he now has 27 runs, 68 hits, 15 extra-base knocks and 30 RBI.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t turned into many wins for Pittsburgh, which has lost six if its last 10 and fallen to third in the NL Central. Team cold spells like that are far more dangerous than the occasional three-day slump.
We highlighted Happ’s wonderful approach at the plate and how that has led to numerous free passes a few weeks ago. He has continued to be a walk machine (with nine in the last 10 games). In that time he has also struck out eight times but if you are walking to first more than you are walking to the dugout, you are doing something right. It appears we are not the only ones that have noticed Happ’s on-base tricks which have led to an incredible .398 on-base percentage.
During this past week, he actually only had two walks, but managed to go 5-for-18 at the plate and add in a 3-for-4 game against Fresno yesterday. He now sits at .279/.398/.429 with 19 extra bases hits, 37 RBI and 35 runs for the season.
Play time has fluctuated greatly for Campana this season. Its an unfortunate symptom of a number of things (age and health particularly). He had eight at-bats during the last week and did manage to collect three hits along the way. However, he is still hitting just .167 over the last 10 games and his slash line (.245/.315/.255) is anemic at best. Failing to get on is taking away what should be his greatest skill (speed) but as he continues playing in his age 30 year, that skill will continue to diminish.
The first loss is the deepest. That’s how that goes, right? Walsh suffered his first setback out of the bullpen this past week, as he allowed the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 9-8 loss. Making matter worse, his team (Winstom-Salem Dash) had climbed back from an 8-4 deficit to get to that point. Walsh cleaned up his act with a scoreless outing two days later to bring his ERA to 2.35 for the season. He has now thrown 30 2/3 innings across 18 games this season and is well on his way to eclipsing his career-highs in games (29) and innings (53), both marks he set last year.