The Turks (24-12) have made excellent pitching their bread and butter this summer, and they’ve followed it up with adequate hitting at the plate. But just how dominant has the pitching been inside the confines of Veterans Memorial Park? And how might the batting numbers of the past predict a successful formula for the Turks in the upcoming Valley League playoffs?
As most fans know, baseball is a game of statistics. So today, we take a closer look at the Harrisonburg Turks– by the numbers.
Starting with pitching, the Turks lineup as a whole has combined for a 3.67 ERA after 36 games, the best average in the league. The Harrisonburg pitching crew has been especially hot in July, allowing a mean run total of just 2.38 in eight wins this month. Overall, the team’s average runs allowed (ARA) numbers fall to 5.31 in 24 wins and 5.75 in 12 losses. The tight grouping of the averages suggest that, regardless of the game outcome, the Turks pitching has been highly consistent throughout the season. It also helps when you hold you opponents’ batting average to .238, another first place mark in the Valley.
With an aggregate ARA near 5.5, a statistical analysis of Harrisonburg’s team suggests that six runs might be the magic amount of offense to fully support the pitching rotation on any given night; sure enough, the Turks are 20-0 when scoring 6 runs or more. (Conversely, the team is 4-12 when scoring 5 runs or less.) In fact, the team seems to score in bunches, rarely registering just one run per inning when a score is recorded and opting instead to score 3 or 4 runs at a time. The offense in spurts methodology is a double-edged sword though. Harrisonburg averages over 7 runs a game in their 24 wins, but they manage only 2.67 runs in their 12 losses.
Not to be undervalued is the impact of Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial park. The Turks home ballpark is quite a bit larger than most other field in the Valley, and its impact is subtly hidden away in some telling statistics. Harrisonburg has totaled 209 runs on the season, almost 50 fewer than the Waynesboro Generals, the team whom the Turks are numerically tied with atop the VBL South entering the final full week of regular season play. However, that same disservice becomes a defensive advantage when high-octane teams visit the Turks when combined with such a strong pitching assembly. Harrisonburg has allowed a League-best 147 runs thus far, 42 runs less than the next closest team– the league-leading Winchester Royals.
Harrisonburg will continue to lean on their strong pitching and cluster-hitting strategy to force their way deep into the postseason. Their ability to get run support in key plays will ultimately determine how far they can travel in the postseason.