When a baseball club has churned through 16 starting pitchers and used 11 guys to close games, continuity is not in the team dictionary.
Yet despite the turnover, quality pitching has been the biggest reason the Round Rock Express reached the Triple-A All-Star break in contention for the division title, rather than bringing up the rear as they did last year.
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Comparing the 2013 Express at the All-Star break to the 2012 version. (Note: PCL rankings in parentheses.)
54-44 (3, tie);Record;39-52 (13)
32-19 (1);Home;21-22 (12)
22-25 (11, tie);Road;18-30 (13)
4.8 (10);Scoring;5.0 (7)
.268 (11);Batting;.274 (7)
4.3 (2);Runs allowed;5.2 (11)
4.04 (4);ERA;5.00 (12)
Key remaining series for the Express:
July 26-29, vs. Memphis: Sure, the Redbirds are hovering around .500, but they could show up at the Dell with a dazzling array of talent, including CF Oscar Taveras, 2B Kolten Wong and starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez.
Aug. 12-15, vs. Tacoma: The first-place Rainiers are loaded with possibly the top collection of arms in the minors. Taijuan Walker, MLB.com’s No. 4 overall prospect, was just called up from Double-A and is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA. Danny Hultzen (4-1, 2.20) is No. 15 overall on Baseball America’s list. James Paxton and Brandon Maurer also are highly regarded.
Aug. 21-25, vs. Oklahoma City: The Astros are starting to call up stars from their terrific Corpus Christi club, and more will be on the way. The prospect of facing the potent bats of Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Jonathan Villar and others will be a challenge to the Express staff.
Aug. 26-29, at Albuquerque: The Isotopes are done visiting the Dell, so this series, which starts the final week of the season, is Round Rock’s last shot at the current division leader. The teams have split a dozen games, including four in New Mexico.