Sunday, August 2, 2015

Thoughts on August 2nd: Starlyn Suriel and Dawel Lugo

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Pitcher Starlyn Suriel, photograph by Kyle Castle
Starlyn Suriel has not had a consistent season. In three of his starts, he has not made it through the fifth inning. In three other starts, he's pitched seven innings. In the first game of this road trip, last Tuesday at Lake County, he walked six Captains. In the final game of the road trip, today, he gave up a run following back-to-back walks to open the game, and then didn't give up any more walks or runs the rest of the day.
Perhaps you'd like to credit the Bowling Green Hot Rods for Starlyn's success. He's had a peculiar hold over their terrific lineup recently: six scoreless innings on June 16th; seven innings, two runs (one earned), on July 22nd; seven innings, one run, today, August 2nd.
Instead, I'd like to credit something more specific than the charm of a particular opposing uniform. On July 22nd, Starlyn Suriel had his swing-and-miss stuff working, whiffing six Hot Rods. He didn't do that today; he struck out only one batter. He also coaxed 12 ground outs, highly unlike his usual self, entering the game generating far more fly balls than ground balls. If Suriel keeps getting grounders, he'll keep meeting success -- especially if he rediscovers that swing-and-miss stuff, too.
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Lugo 640
Shortstop Dawel Lugo, courtesy of Kyle Castle
Dawel Lugo started this season in Dunedin. He batted .219 in 67 games while Richard Ureña was simultaneously scaring Midwest League pitchers with 12 home runs. Up went Ureña, down came Lugo. Everyone adjusted their prospect rankings accordingly.
Dawel got off to a fine start with Lansing: three hits in his first game, two hits in his second. But then he started slipping back down again, going hitless in three of his next four games. A 14-game hitting streak followed, but it was not the most inspiring stretch -- exactly one hit in eight straight games during the streak, and only two extra-base hits.
Things have now changed, thanks to an adjustment in approach (changing Lugo's stride and how he uses his lower body). The results:
  • 7/28 at Lake County: 5 at-bats, 2 singles, .292 batting average
  • 7/29 at Lake County: 5 at-bats, 1 double, .287 average
  • 7/30 at Lake County: 3 at-bats, 1 single, 1 home run, .299 average
  • 7/31 at Bowling Green: 4 at-bats, 3 singles, .317 average
  • 8/1 at Bowling Green: 4 at-bats, 1 single, 1 double, .324 average
  • 8/2 at Bowling Green: 4 at-bats, 1 single, 1 double, .330 average
All told, Lugo went 12-for-25 with four extra-base hits and seven runs batted in during the trip, lifting his batting average 44 points and his slugging percentage 120 points.
Adjust accordingly.
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Fun to know: Lugnuts reliever Dusty Isaacs is an Uber driver around the Lansing/East Lansing/Okemos area.

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