Starting on April 29th and ending on May 7th, the Corpus Christi Hooks went on a nine-game losing streak. I was baffled. How could a team with that much talent be losing this badly? Was it the hitting? The pitching? Were the opposing pitchers simply that dominant? It turns out the answers are yes, yes and in a couple of cases, yes.
I knew, at a glance, as I wrote the daily recaps for my site that the hitting was off. In six of those nine games, the Hooks were only able to scrape together five or fewer hits. In two of the games, there were zero extra base hits. Did the entire team suddenly forget how to hit? Almost. See below for batting averages before the losing streak (BTS), during the streak (DTS) and since the streak (STS). All calculations are through Monday's suspended game.
Austin Wates - .352 BTS .147 DTS .321 STS
Jake Goebbert - .294 BTS .161 DTS .286 STS
Jon Singleton - .368 BTS .095 DTS .222 STS
Brandon Barnes - .372 BTS .161 DTS .333 STS
Kody Hinze - .281 BTS .111 DTS .143 STS
Jose Martinez - .271 BTS .357 DTS .292 STS
Jonathan Villar - .200 BTS .318 DTS .238 STS
Andy Simunic - .359 BTS .200 DTS .235 STS
Catcher (Combined) - .100 DTS
The overall batting average for all players for all nine games was .180. In addition, they drew only 20 walks to 75 strikeouts. As you can see, only Jose Martinez and Jonathan Villar were hitting well during the losing streak. Thankfully, most players have bounced back or are starting to bounce back.
So, was the opposing pitching that good? There were a couple of tough pitchers that they had to face during that stretch, but definitely not all of them. Frisco's Barrett Loux owns Corpus Christi; he already has three wins against the Hooks this season. Midland's A.J. Griffin was good enough that he's since been promoted to AAA. And it was the first time this season that the Hooks had faced San Antonio's Robbie Erlin who came in to the game with a 2.66 ERA. Of the others, Corpus Christi had already won a game against three of them and played well against a fourth. And, although it was the Hooks' first time seeing the remaining two pitchers, they each came in to the game with very high ERA's -- one at 8.46 and one at 10.98. In other words, six out of the nine pitchers were definitely beatable on any given day.
Well, was our pitching that bad during that stretch? Except for Wes Musick and Jarred Cosart, the starting pitching was that bad. Overall, the starting pitching had a 7.27 ERA during the losing streak. If you back out Musick's and Cosart's good starts, that rises to 9.68. The bullpen ERA was much better at 4.45. Opposing teams hit a collective .305 against the Hooks during that nine game span. The Hooks issued 45 walks while striking out 63.
Since then, the starting pitching has done considerably better with the exception of Jose Cisnero who continues to struggle. In the six games since the losing streak, Hooks' starting pitching has a 1.93 ERA with nine walks and 16 strikeouts. The bullpen's results have been mixed during that period.
I think it was a little bit of everything that contributed to the losing streak. All but a couple of regulars forgot how to hit. All but a couple of starters forgot how to pitch. There was some bad fielding in there with four errors in one game. There were a couple of very tough opposing pitchers. Six of the games were on the road. I think it was just a confluence of factors unlikely to recur on a team with this much talent. At least I hope so.