Rochester Red Wings Report: A Tale of Two Weeks
The first two series of the season were an utter disaster for the Rochester Red Wings. After losing their opening two games of the season, they traveled to Syracuse to face the Mets' AAA affiliate.
The first two series of the season were an utter disaster for the Rochester Red Wings. After losing their opening two games of the season, they traveled to Syracuse to face the Mets' AAA affiliate... and they lost. A lot.
They went 1-5 in Syracuse, getting outscored 33-14. Moreover, 11 of those 14 runs for the Red Wings came in an 11-4 win on Wednesday. So, outside of one game, the Red Wings had a hideous series.
They then lost their first game against Buffalo (Toronto affiliate) to 1-8. The feeling was grim. An unpublished version of a blog post I had that never went up said the following:
Thankfully for the Red Wings, this poor start does not necessarily mean doom for the season. Beyond the obvious fact that it's a long season, it is now also a split season. The team with the best record in the first half will play the best record in the second half for a league title. So even if the Red Wings have a truly atrocious first half, they may well end up in the playoffs if they do well in the second. Since it's possible that they will have some of the top prospects currently in AA, such as a (presumably healthy) Robert Hassell or Jackson Rutledge, may be on the Red Wings by that point
I guess time will tell.
That was last Tuesday. Since then, the Red Wings have gone 4-2 on a four-game winning streak before losing two relatively close games to Buffalo and the series opener. While 5-10 is hardly the record of a worldbeater, it is miles better than 1-8.
So, what has changed? It's hard to tell, but one possibility is the arrival of infielder Jake Alu back from the injured list. He was mighty impressive during his time with Rochester last year, and he's continued to be so since arriving back: he's hitting .400 at AAA this year with two doubles and three RBI since arriving back last week. I'm not the only one thinking this: Manager Matthew LeCroy said that Alu provides a “spark” for the offense.
Whether that spark was Alu or not, it also hit Darren Baker. The second baseman was hitting .208 before the Buffalo series but is now hitting .333 on the year, even after an 0-for-5 night on Tuesday against Norfolk. Far too many people, when they think of Baker at first, think of his famous father, which is understandable, but that will soon change if he hits as he did against Buffalo against the rest of AAA pitching.
Of course, there is that question: was it just Buffalo? Perhaps Buffalo has a particularly bad team, or the Wings got unusually lucky? What team is the real 2023 Rochester Red Wings: the ones that went 1-6 against Syracuse or the ones that went 4-2 against Buffalo?
What to expect from the Red Wings Report
Hello, and welcome to the second year of the Red Wings Report. Every week (or sometimes two, depending on the Red Wings schedule and my own day job), you'll get the latest from the Nationals AAA affiliate. Sometimes it will be about the team in general; other times, it'll be about current prospects; and still other times, it may be about the oddities of minor league baseball. You can follow me at The Baseball Continuum, see Red Wings game stories by myself and other fine writers at Pickin' Splinters, and follow me on Twitter at @DanJGlickman.