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Albuquerque Isotopes see improvement thanks to David Dahl, Tom Murphy

An update on the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Rockies Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League.

Dahl Isotopes
David Dahl
Courtesy of the Albuquerque Isotopes

Over the last few weeks, the Albuquerque Isotopes have experienced low lows and high highs. Still, the team currently sits at 43-56 and last in the Pacific South division. The team that finished June on a 13-game losing streak, which set a new team record, proceeded to win a record-tying nine games in a row. They naturally followed up by losing three in a row. Despite the ups and downs, the offense has been consistently good.

The offense has been led by recent addition David Dahl and catcher Tom Murphy. Dahl was called up to the Isotopes on July 3rd, and since then has had the hottest start at the Triple-A level in recent memory. Through Friday’s games (as all of the stats here are), Dahl is hitting .456/.508/.877 with a 1.385 OPS, five home runs and 16 RBI. In the eight games Tom Murphy has played in the same time frame, he’s raised his average 49 points, his OBP 57 points, and his slugging percentage by 104 points. He is now slashing .296/.320/.640 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI. Murphy also accomplished another impressive feat when he hit for the cycle in a game against the Memphis Redbirds on July 15.

Jordan Patterson continues to perform well for Isotopes, and with Brandon Barnes struggling for the Rockies, it seems that the excuses to leave him in Albuquerque are dwindling. Patterson leads the team in average and is second in runs and RBI. He’s hitting .320/.411/.493 with six home runs and 41 RBI in 78 games. It’s time Patterson got his chance with the Rockies.

Stephen Cardullo is still playing very well for the team, he’s hitting .283/.352/.469 with 49 RBI and 11 home runs. His average is third on the team among qualified hitters behind Patterson and Murphy. At the very least, Cardullo has proven he belongs in affiliated baseball this season.

On the mound, Jeff Hoffman has continued his up and down play. The right-hander is 4-8 in 18 starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. His last two starts have both gone poorly. On July 5, he only managed to last 4⅔ innings while giving up 10 hits and eight runs, walking three and striking out five. Before his second rough start just two days ago, he had a scoreless inning in the Futures Game that included one strikeout. Then came the second rough start in a row. In that game, Hoffman went 3⅔ innings, this time allowing four hits, three earned runs, walking two and striking out three. Manager Glenallen Hill has said that Hoffman is on an innings limit; however, he won’t say what that limit is.

As for Kyle Freeland, he’s still struggling to adjust to the Triple-A level, though he’s beginning to show flashes. In his start Friday night, he went 5⅔ innings, allowing five hits, three runs (two earned) and walking two and striking out seven. It was probably his second best start for the ‘Topes, behind his July 1 game, when he went six innings and only allowed one run. In his five total starts for Albuquerque, Freeland is 1-2 with a 5.10 ERA, with a 1.77 WHIP in 30 innings pitched.

Harrison Musgrave is 5-5 in 11 starts with Albuquerque, recording a 4.80 ERA in 65⅔ innings pitched. He snagged the win in his last start, going six innings while allowing eight hits, six earned runs, walking two and striking out four. Among those eight hits were three home runs. Musgrave will take the hill again Saturday night against Fresno.

Matt Flemer, a 27th-rounder from 2012, has been incredibly valuable for the team this season. As the man designated to take over after a rehabbing Rockies pitcher starts, Flemer, who began the year as a starter, is tasked with saving the bullpen from overuse. On July 14, he went 4⅓ innings in relief of Chris Rusin, allowing six hits and four runs, walking one and striking out four. On paper, it’s not the best outing, but it was exactly what the team needed, as Murphy hit for his cycle and Dahl went 3-for-5 with two home runs in what ended up a 12-8 win. Flemer also managed to help his own cause at the plate, as he hit a three-run home run. Noted slugger Matt Flemer, everyone.

Scott Oberg has been excellent for the team since he the Rockies sent him down, as he was before his call up. In 29⅔ innings for the ‘Topes, he’s 1-0 with a team leading nine saves. He has allowed 16 hits and 8 runs, and struck out 36. His WHIP is 0.91 and in his last outing he threw one inning scoreless with a strike out. Saturday, the Rockies called Oberg up to Denver to replace Chad Qualls, who is now on the DL.

Sam Moll missed over a month with an undisclosed injury, but he returned to the Isotopes after a rehab assignment with Grand Junction. In four outings since his return, he has pitched 4⅓ innings, allowing five hits, three runs (all three runs came in one outing), walking two and striking out two.

Following the conclusion of the Fresno series, which concludes after Monday’s game, the team will return home to face Salt Lake City for a four game series before finishing the month on the road against Tacoma.