Baseball: Slammers banking on newcomer Jose Garcia to help offense
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media June 2, 2014 7:52PM
Russell Moldenhauer, of the Joliet Slammers | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 4, 2014 6:23AM
Fifteen games into the Frontier League season, it’s not a mystery why the Joliet Slammers are 3-9 in their past 12 contests.
“We’re not hitting the ball and we’re not making quality pitches when we have to,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said.
Help could be on the way at the plate.
Jose Garcia, a former Triple-A infielder Isom signed in the offseason, is expected to make his Slammers debut Wednesday on the road against the Southern Illinois Miners.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, the 25-year-old Garcia has yet to play for Joliet because of visa issues, according to the team.
“He’ll have a couple of games under his belt before we get home,’’ Isom said. “That will change a lot of things around in our lineup. Move some guys down in the lineup where they probably should be.’’
Garcia hit .320 last season with two teams in the American Association. He reached Triple A with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008 and has played 280 games in Double A or higher.
The Slammers (6-9) are back at Silver Cross Field on Friday night to start a six-game homestand, against the River City Rascals (10-5) and Traverse City Beach Bums (7-8).
“We’re seeing some holes we’ve got to get fixed,’’ Isom said. “No. 1, we’ve got to get Garcia in the lineup. That will alleviate some things.’’
As for the pitching, the starting rotation has yet to record a victory.
“The stuff is there, but we need to see them start executing and making better pitches,’’ Isom said. “We’ve got to get our starters to give us a little more depth.
“There isn’t a whole lot of pressure. If we can get six innings and three runs or less, we’ve got a good opportunity because our bullpen is our strength.’’
Here’s a sampling of the Slammers’ early statistics:
Joliet is hitting .235 as a team, 11th among the 14 clubs, compared with a league-best .280 for River City, which has the fewest strikeouts.
The pitching staff’s 4.34 ERA ranks 12th while Gateway is at the top (2.71). Only five clubs have a team ERA of 4.00 or higher. Defending league champion Schaumburg also is struggling on the mound (4.31 ERA).
On the bright side for Joliet, Adam Giacalone (.345) is hitting among the top 10 in the league. Grant DeBruin (.333) and Marquis Riley (.328) have been tough outs and Russell Moldenhauer has a team-high 10 RBI.
Mark the calendar
The Slammers will play the Dutch National Fast-Pitch softball team in a Battle of the Sexes softball game July 14 at Silver Cross Field.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the Slammers and Will County,’’ general manager Chris Franklin said.
Two softball camps will be held in the afternoon.