Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports Columnists

August 5, 2013

Chris Dobrowolski: Bums division lead is far from safe

There are five weeks to go in the Frontier League’s regular season, and if you’re feeling comfortable about the Beach Bums two-game lead over Southern Illinois in the East Division, you have a tad more faith than I do.

Not that I don’t believe the Beach Bums can hang on and maintain the top spot in the division. The bottom line is there are just too many games left on the schedule, the lead they have is only one cold streak away from vanishing completely and I’m pretty sure Southern Illinois — or for that matter Florence and Lake Erie — aren’t going anywhere in the next month. Only three-and-a-half games separate first from fourth place.

Traverse City does have plenty going for it in the stretch run of the season, first and foremost being the best starting pitcher in the Frontier League in Scott Dunn, who may be the league’s MVP when all is said and done. Dunn is a nice luxury for Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn to have trot out to the mound every fifth game. Out of his 14 starts this season, three times he’s halted three-game losing streaks and two more times he’s snapped a three-game skid.

Out of the bullpen Nick Capito has been as good as any closer in the league. The lefty has 10 saves, but just as importantly, has only allowed three runs in 44.2 innings this season and has almost three times as many strikeouts as walks.

The Beach Bums have been able to rely on first baseman Chase Burch to produce runs at a nice clip, DH Zach Kometani appears to have broken out of his slump and is right there with Burch among the league leaders in RBIs. Carlo Testa has been a productive hitter since he joined the team early in the season and Jose Vargas — while not having a year similar to his 2012 MVP numbers — remains tied for the team lead in homers (10) and is third in RBIs (39).

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