Power loss contributing to tough times for 51s


Pitching has been the primary problem this season for the 51s, who entered Tuesday's game at Fresno with the highest ERA (5.36) in the Pacific Coast League.

But manager Lorenzo Bundy said he is more concerned with the lack of power in his lineup, which has been depleted by a series of promotions to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We've lost a lot of offensive sock," Bundy said. "You see other teams with a high ERA, but they're scoring runs and that's what this league is all about. We still have to be able to score and that's where it might be a little bit tougher for us now. We may not be able to go out and slug like we used to."

With Mitch Jones, who hit 19 home runs for the 51s, now playing in Japan, Delwyn Young is the new team leader with 12 homers. Sergio Garcia has seven homers for Las Vegas, but no other active player has more than four.

"Delwyn Young and John Lindsey -- when he's got it going pretty good -- are pretty much our only home run threats," Bundy said. "We have to find a way to manufacture runs and do the little things to put some runs on the board."

Lindsey has homered four times in 14 games with Las Vegas, including a two-run shot Tuesday in the fifth inning of the 51s' 5-4 road victory over Fresno. Ben Davis provided the winning run with a pinch-hit homer in the ninth.

Third baseman Andy LaRoche was expected to provide some pop, but he has just three homers in 35 games and is on the disabled list with a strained shoulder. Bundy said he could return this weekend.

The 51s, who host defending PCL and Triple-A champion Tucson tonight, entered Tuesday third in the 16-team league in runs scored (425), fifth in hitting (.285) and ninth in home runs (70).

Bundy served as hitting instructor for Tucson the past three years and guided the Sidewinders to the highest batting average (.289) in the PCL last season.

"I have mixed emotions, especially about their hitters, because I spent so much time working with them and now I'm trying to get them out," he said. "That's the tough part, but the bottom line is I want to beat them."

Bundy, who also managed his Mexican League team to a title last winter, said it has been difficult to deal with a losing record this season.

"It's always frustrating when you lose, but I've pretty much been spoiled," he said. "I went through back-to-back seasons playing like .700 (winning percentage) baseball.

"Our aspirations were very high this year with this club, but with change in the roster and things like that, it's not going the way we wanted it to go."

NOTE -- 51s reliever Matt White left the team to play in Japan. White led the PCL with 40 appearances and went 2-4 with a 3.83 ERA.

 

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