The Lake Elsinore Storm return home on Wednesday after a seven-game road trip that started off a little rough.
They suffered two losses, had a three-game win streak, and ended with another two losses.
The first three contests were against the Lancaster Jethawks, and as expected, showcased a lot of offense, while the last four were in Visalia.
The Storm’ bats have started to heat up and no one has had a hotter bat than Austin Allen, who recorded hits in six of the seven games (including four home runs). He drove in 14 runs and only struck out four times. Outfielder Taylor Kohlwey seems to be hitting his stride as well, with a slash line of .350/.372/.525 in his last 10 games, while Michael Gettys has also been heating up despite missing some time lately. He is hitting .333/.400/.444 over his last 10.
The Storm has seen some recent changes in their highly touted pitching staff.
Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, and Cal Quantrill have been promoted to Double-A San Antonio and reliever Trevor Frank was moved to Triple-A El Paso. These highly anticipated moves made room for some new pitchers to begin their progression through the Cal League.
As expected, the team ERA has grown a little with the infusion of these younger prospects. Padres number 16 prospect Logan Allen (20) has made two starts for the Storm, pitching 12.2 innings and allowing only two earned runs for an ERA of 1.42, while number six prospect Jacob Nix (21) has begun his Storm career with a 4.10 ERA in his first eight games, which includes a rough outing in Lancaster where he surrendered five earned runs in 4.1 innings. These new pitchers are both at least a year younger than the hurlers they replaced and should progress as the season winds down.
Another pitcher the Storm is counting on to fill the vacancies is Jesse Scholtens (23). Scholtens has begun his time at Lake Elsinore with a 4.70 ERA in 10 games.
So far the turnover on the roster has led to a bit of a rough second half start. The Storm is 8-11 since the all-star break, where they finished the first half with an even .500 record. I expect this to improve as the new, young pitchers get more comfortable at this level. There has also been a recent uptick in offense by Allen, Gettys, Kohlwey, and even Javier Guerra, who has only struck out six times in his last 45 at bats while recording 13 base hits. The timing of this offensive improvement could not have been better, as first baseman Josh Naylor, who was leading the team in batting average and on base percentage, while trailing only Austin Allen in slugging percentage, was also promoted to Double-A San Antonio, and missed time to play in the MLB Futures game in Miami.
This homestand will feature four games against Lancaster and three with San Jose, who are making their first and only visit to Lake Elsinore this season. The Storm has also lowered the cost of their outfield seats to $7.00 for the rest of the season. If you would like to see some good baseball played by some future MLB players, then the Lake Elsinore Diamond is a great option.