If it's stats that matter, Dragons have the edge
By Marc Katz
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
DAYTON — Stats don't lie, but what's going on here?
The Dragons first-round best-of-three playoff series with Lansing features the Midwest League's best team ERA (Lansing, 3.05) vs. the league's worst (Dayton, 4.19).
Yet in each of the three games, the scheduled starter for the Dragons has a better record and ERA than his Lugnuts counterpart.
Game 1 Wednesday, Sept. 3, has Dayton's Jeremy Horst (8-2, 2.38 ERA) going against Marc Rzepczynski (7-6, 2.83), with the second game featuring Dayton's Enerio Del Rosario (5-2, 1.16) vs. Luis Perez (5-12, 3.60). If a third game is needed Friday, Dayton's starter is Luis Montano (12-8, 4.02) vs. Brian Letko (4-4, 4.14).
All three of Lansing's starters are lefties. Horst is the only lefty starter for the Dragons.
"When it comes to the playoffs, I don't care about stats," Dragons manager Donnie Scott said. "None of that matters anymore."
Of course, he doesn't mind having the stats on his side.
Stats certainly were on Scott's mind whenMonday's game began for the Dragons. He wanted two of his better hitters to reach milestones.
Shortstop Zack Cozart, who began the season in a slump but was hitting .362 over his previous 14 games, was hitting .278 at game time and Scott wanted him to finish at .280. He put Cozart in his customary No. 2 slot in the batting order, but as a designated hitter. When Cozart doubled in the first inning, his average went to .2799, or .280, and he was lifted for Frankie Meade.
Third baseman Brandon Waring entered the game at .267, and Scott wanted to get him to .270. Waring doubled in two runs in his first-inning at-bat, but that lifted his average to .2687. Waring struck out in the second, but when he singled in the third, his average went to .2698, enough for Scott.
"I also wanted to see how high Neftali Soto could climb," Scott said. Soto, a 19-year old who began the season at rookie Billings, Mont., was hitting .324 at game time. He had two hits in five at-bats to lift his average to .326.
Matt Klinker, who began this season with the Dragons before being promoted to Sarasota, watched the final game. He lives in West Chester.