Glance at Sunday’s starting lineup. Then check out the opening-day lineup of the Salt Lake Bees, which included three players not in Triple-A baseball when the season began.
There is not a more dramatic way to explain their mercurial month of May as well as the last few days, including Sunday’s fourth consecutive loss, 8-3 to Las Vegas inside crisp and sometimes damp Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Four of the first five batters featured in Salt Lake’s opening-day lineup are with the Los Angeles Angels. The fifth, catcher Hank Conger, has spent nearly a month on the injured list.
“Its Triple-A baseball,” Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said. “Our record, our month are going to go according to the health of our major league team. ... We’re going to lose the guys who have done well for us, and rightfully so.”
The personnel changes impacted the offense. The Bees were hitting a collective .210 in the 10 games previous to Sunday.
The Bees opened May in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They proceeded to lose two more and seven of their next eight.
Since opening the season 14-6, Salt Lake is 9-19.
Yet, the Bees also enjoyed a stretch of winning 10 of 13 before their current stretch.
As far as who is missing since opening day, let’s begin with Mike Trout. The 20-year-old phenom set the PCL ablaze, and not only with his hefty .400 batting average. He displayed same five-tool skill set that has helped light a fire under the parent Angels.
Only Ed Lucas and Doug Deeds, batting eighth and ninth, respectively, Sunday, were in the same spot April 5. Luis Jimenez and Efren Navarro were also in the opening day lineup but batted down in the order.
Sunday’s leadoff hitter, Drew Heid, was playing Single-A; Matt Long, hitting second, began the season at Double-A. Paul McAnulty and Robinzon Diaz were on the bench and Cory Aldridge was playing in Mexico.
“It is up to us as a group to try and do our best to try and make those downward turns as short as possible,” Johnson said. “They’re going to come. In the meantime, we have to try to be as consistent as we can.”
51s 8, Bees 3
R Salt Lake catcher Robinzon Diaz drives in two runs, both with two outs.
• Las Vegas catcher Travis d’Arnaud hits a two-run homer and drives in four.
• The Bees leave five runners in scoring position with two out.