NEW BRITAIN - Not much has gone well for the New Britain Bees so far this season. Theyâ€™re out to just a 3-8 start through their first 11 games, largely due to an offense that has been unable to get anything going.
In those 11 games, New Britain has only managed to put 37 runs on the board. That number puts the team last in the Atlantic League. They Bees also rank last in hits (82), RBI (32), total bases (114) and average (.228), and also tied for last in home runs (3).
â€śWe just havenâ€™t been able to score those runs and get a lead, especially early in the game,â€ť New Britain manager Wally Backman said.
One of the lone bright spots of the Beesâ€™ order so far this season has been outfielder Ozney Guillen. The 26-year-old started the year primarily on the bench the first week, which he admitted put a chip on his shoulder. But he quickly earned a spot in the starting lineup with his play in the field. He is one of just three New Britain hitters hitting .300 or higher and consistently gives the team good at-bats.
Despite the Beesâ€™ early struggles, Guillen is confident the rest of the team will catch up and start hitting, even with the group being at bit behind so far this spring.
â€śI think with time, we will be fine,â€ť Guillen said. â€śItâ€™s not to use it as an excuse, but our spring training was pretty short. The rain in Connecticut forced us inside. So it was a lot more cages. Then we went right to Texas and people started panicking because we went 0-6.â€ť
Guillen also believes the lack of success is due in part to the quality of pitching they have faced so far this season, a sentiment Backman shared as well. Guillen specifically highlighted Sugar Land Skeeters reliever Paco Rodriguez, whose contract was purchased by the Minnesota Twins after picking up two saves against the Bees in the first two games of the year.
Still, Guillen is hopeful that a lineup with plenty of major league experience will find a way to get the bats going more consistently.
â€śI think, up and down, we have guys that have hit,â€ť Guillen said. â€śDarren Ford leading off, heâ€™s hit .300 everywhere. Romero has hit .300 everywhere. We have guys like Reid Brignac and Darrell [Ceciliani]. I think once the season gets going, guys will get into it and we can pull it all together. I have faith in all of these and I think we really do have a great team.â€ť
Backman shared the same confidence, but he also knows the team has to start winning games. He is clearly not afraid to do what it takes for the team to turn it around.
â€śI still feel like we are going to catch up,â€ť Backman said. â€śThe guys that arenâ€™t hitting have a good track record. So weâ€™re waiting, hoping for that to come around. And if it doesnâ€™t, then we have to make changes.â€ť
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org