Rainout may rejuvenate Owls for playoff run

Jul. 22, 2014 @ 08:12 AM

Rain washed out the Forest City Owls matchup with the Morehead City Marlins Monday night, and that may not be a bad thing. 

The Owls have limped out to a 6-9 record to start the second half of the season, including a current four-game losing streak.

“We are sluggish and not playing real good baseball right now,” Owls manager Andrew Ciencin said. “I think the record shows that. The dog days of summer baseball are starting to get to some guys.”

The bullpen seems to be feeling those effects more than others on the team The Owls have posted a solid .254 batting average on the season while the ERA is third-best in the CPL at 3.34. But the bullpen is one of the weakest in the league with four relievers owning an ERA over 5.00.

“We are still getting hits, six or seven a night, but the bullpen has struggled a bit lately,” Ciencin said. “That’s going to happen at this point in the season though. Arms get tired.”

Mother Nature may have provided just the respite those arms need, however.

“Days off in summer ball are huge,” Ciencin said. “We got Sunday and today (Monday) off and it will give a chance to rest and be ready to go the rest of the season. We need to be focused on each game the rest of the way.”

With exactly two weeks remaining in the CPL season, each game is vital to the Owls’ playoffs hopes.

With 12 games remaining in the season, Forest City sits a full four games back of first place Columbia. If the Owls fail to erase that deficit, they still could qualify for the post season based on their overall record (23-20).

Ciencin seems unconcerned with the playoff picture, however.

“I honestly haven’t looked at the standings,” he said. “I really don’t think the team has either. Our biggest goal right now is just to clean things up and play good baseball down the stretch. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season if we do make the playoffs.”

Forest City will look start that playoff push today as they host rival Gastonia as part of $2.00 Tuesdays. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.