JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Having a 10-game home stand before the all-star break is a great way to close out the first half of the Southern League schedule.
Losing the first three games of that home stand is not a great start.
According to manager Randy Ready, his Jumbo Shrimp team is just "ham and egging" around these past couple of weeks leading up to the Southern League all-star break. With the South Division leaders Biloxi already taking the first series of the home stand and the North Division leaders Jackson coming in town next, the time is now according to Ready.
"Biloxi is a hot club, they are fighting for the first half," said Ready. "We have some work to do and I expect better things down the road. Right now it is nice to be playing at home going into the break and unfortunately we are playing a really hot club. That is the nature of the beast with a five-game series."
Talent has not been the issue for the Jumbo Shrimp in the first half of the season. Despite a 25-36 record going into Monday night's game against Biloxi, the team has had five different players win Southern League Player of the Week honors. The latest is second baseman Isan Diaz. Diaz hit safely in all seven games last week, hitting .565 which was the highest batting average in Double-A baseball and the fourth-highest in all of Minor League Baseball for that time period. During his hitting streak, Diaz drove in seven runs, collected four doubles, drew six walks, stole three bases, and scored five runs.
"It would be nice if we could get five of them together and win it the same week," Ready joked. "That would probably help generate some more runs on the board and some shutouts but that's the way it is right now but I really truly believe we will come together before the season is out."
According to Diaz, the key is not how they play going into the all-star break, the key is to think that there is no all-star break at all.
"We have to treat is as if there is no all-star break," said Diaz. "I think we have to go out and compete, continue to try to win ball games and not give games away. We have come close, losing one-run ball games, winning then losing at the end. We have to try and find something that we can stay consistent with."
The Jumbo Shrimp play Biloxi tonight at 7:05 before closing out the five-game series with a business persons special at 12:05 Tuesday afternoon.