Pelicans surging at the right time despite roster changes

It was baseball guru Yogi Berra who said “It’s like deja vu all over again.” But he also said “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are hoping the latter quote applies to them rather than the former, but a familiar scenario was beginning to play out for the Pelicans, one that happened just last season.

After last year’s squad won the Carolina League Southern Division first-half title, a series of promotions, trades and injuries left the playoff version of the Pelicans a shell of the team that won the first half.

Then, with the 2012 edition of Pelicans competing for the second-half title, it happened again. Ace Cody Buckel was a midseason call-up and slugging outfielder Jake Skoal was placed on the restricted list.

Then came last month’s blockbuster trade that sent replacement ace Kyle Hendricks and leading hitter Christian Villaneuva from the Texas Rangers to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitcher Ryan Dempster.

The cupboard’s not exactly bare, but take a team’s top two pitchers and top two hitters out of the lineup and see what happens. Rather than complain about a lack of food, the Pelicans are cooking with what they have available.

All minor league teams get hurt by big-league roster moves this time of year, but the Pelicans have been decimated the last two seasons. Unlike last year’s squad, these Pelicans are performing in the clutch.

Myrtle Beach has won seven of its last eight games, including a three-game winning streak with a combined score of 28-4. The pitchers are pitching, the hitters are hitting and the shorthanded Pelicans are winning.

Let’s hope it carries over into September. Myrtle Beach has a five-game lead over the Carolina Mudcats with three weeks remaining in the regular season. Their roster may be devastated but their season doesn’t have to be.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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