Haymakers manager Davey Johnson smiles from his desk after pitcher Kevin Millwood pitches the team's first complete game shutout ever. "Millwood was great today," he says sarcastically, "He has been getting shelled in his last five starts. I told him I would have all the coaches and I shave our heads if he pitched a shutout, I never though he would actually do it!" Jokes aren't the only thing keeping the Haymakers smiling, they have played at a tremendous pace; winning 22 of 31 games at home in June and July.
"We've done it thanks to timely hits and our team speed," says Troy star Carl Crawford, "we don't need to hit homeruns to win. How many games have we won recently where someone gets on late, steals second or takes that extra base on a single then someone else drives them home on another single?" To be exact, the Haymakers have won 7 in the last two months on their last at bat and only one of them was a walk-off homerun. "Gotta love those walk-off singles," laughs Conor Jackson.
Troy's bunch of speedsters and slap hitters are not the only reason for the hot streak; they have won fifteen games by 3 or less in the homestand and five in extra innings. B.J. Ryan, Huston Street, and Brain Fuentes has shot down the opposition late in the game. Street's ERA has gone from 5.84 to 2.72 and Ryan's ERA went from 4.19 to 2.25 during the homestand while only allowing 1 run. "Brian really has been the guy," says closer Ryan, "I don't think he's given a run up all season." It's close to being true. Brian Fuentes is 6-1 and his ERA is a minuscule 0.53.
The recent hot-streak has placed the Haymakers in contention for the wild-card. "There is still a lot of time left in the season," says GM Ken Anderson, "We have played great recently, but we need to keep focused and play hard the rest of the way. I like our chances if we do that, and pick up a starter or two." Will the Haymakers be buyers at the trading deadline? "We will if we are in contention at the end of this block," said Ken Anderson.