Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Don't give up on Hens too quickly

The Mud Hens dug a hole so deep last night that not even their prodigious, fearless, fence-clearing Parrishioners could save them.

One thing about the Hens, though.

Nothing keeps these guys from their appointed swings.

You can bet your bottom dollar manager Larry Parrish's Hens will shake off last night's 10-4 loss to Rochester in Game 3 of the Governors' Cup at Fifth Third Field the way a dog shakes off fleas.

Needing a win tonight to stave off elimination, the Hens will come out playing long-ball.

They'll swing from their collective heels and rack up their share of whiffs.

Speaking of strikeouts ...

The Hens fanned and missed so often last night - including an incredible seven consecutive strikeouts midway through the game - fans taking in the pleasant evening weather were cooled by several gusts of Louisville Slugger-created wind.

The Hens get their money's worth at the plate. They don't worry about swinging and missing, because they know sooner or later they're going to connect, and the ball is going to leave the ballpark.

If the Hens were a football team, they'd throw a bomb on every play.

If the Hens were a basketball team, they'd shoot so often and so quickly they wouldn't need a shot clock.

The Hens are fun to watch.

They're also dangerous to Parrish's health.

Toledo carried a 5-2 playoff record into last night's game despite a .182 team batting average and 82 strikeouts. They added 10 more strikeouts last night.

Despite averaging more than 10 strikeouts per game in the postseason, the Hens can still win their second consecutive International League championship because of the mere threat of the long ball.

The Hens have now blasted 14 homers this postseason. Prior to last night, their total of 13 homers was five more than the other playoff teams combined. Last year the four playoff teams hit a total of 15 homers.

Parrish has a theory about the Hens' all-or-nothing offensive philosophy.

"We've got a lot of guys who are big swingers,'' Parrish said.

"This club is unique. We don't have many guys hitting and running, moving the guy over. We don't really have any of those guys in our lineup. I think that produces a lot of home runs throughout our batting order, but also we're more susceptible to striking out.''

Woe unto the Hens when their bats are dormant. Last night was an exercise in offensive frustration and defensive futility for Toledo.

The Hens collected three extra-base hits, including Josh Phelps' two-run homer in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.

Extra-base hits are essential for the Hens because they're not a small-ball team capable of manufacturing runs. Last night the Hens were out of their element.

Making it worse for the Hens was the inability of starting pitcher Eulogio De La Cruz to hold the lead. De La Cruz was replaced after yielding five runs and eight hits in four innings, but the damage was done.

For once, the Hens' bats couldn't bail them out.

It was a bad game for the Hens, but it was only one game.

Watch out when the Hens' bats are sizzling hot. They're a scoreboard-stuffing, base-clearing sight to behold.

All is not lost for the Hens as long as they have three outs per inning and some of the most dangerous long-ball hitters in the International League.

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