14 July 2006

A's try to find winning form

The Chatham A's appear to be in free-fall as they struggled to a 1-4 record last week to secure themselves a place in the Eastern Division cellar, a far cry from last year's appearance in the divisional finals.

Despite boasting the league's second best hitter and on-base percentage leader in Winthrop College's Chris Carrara (.346, .507 on-base), the A's only managed to score four runs in five games and were shutout twice, once to the league's best team in Cotuit and Falmouth.

The A's troubles started with a pair of losses to the Orleans last week and quickly went downhill from there. They followed those losses to Orleans with a 4-3 loss to Wareham and a 4-2 loss to Harwich.

After a 1-0 loss to Cotuit raised their losing streak to five games, the A's came home where they were swept in a double-header to Falmouth, losing 10-1 then 1-0 in the night cap.

Chatham finally managed to put one in the win column on Monday and break their seven-game losing streak thanks to a stellar pitching performance by Robert Woodard.

Woodard was nearly unhittable as he pitched a complete-game one-hitter to pick up his first win of the year.

The Met's only hit was a single off the bat of Brian Juhl in the second inning. After that Woodard bore down, striking out eight Hyannis batters and walking only two while lowering his ERA to 1.23.

Led by Ricky Hargrove's 0.36 ERA, Chatham has the second best pitching staff in the league with a team ERA of 2.37. Starter Chris Wiman has also been solid on the mound for the A's, with a 1.90 ERA in four starts.

Despite only being fifth in the league with a .220 team batting average, the A's boast some of the cape's best hitters.

Along with Carrara, Chatham has the RBI leader in Matt Rizzotti (18) and the second best homerun hitter in Allan Dykstra, who has four round-trippers.

Chatham's Aaron Reza, from Oklahoma, is on the verge of cracking the top ten in batting but is still short at-bats in order to qualify. He has 53 at-bats and needs more than 59 to qualify.

Rezas' currently batting .358, which would put him in first place ahead of Orleans' Matt Wieters' .351 average.

The A's hit the road tonight to face Bourne at 5 p.m. and will host Wareham tomorrow afternoon at Veteran's Field, at 3:30 p.m.

By Matt Rice/ mrice@cnc.com