Checking in with the 'Birds after this season's halfway mark [Commentary]

As we are just past the halfway point of the New York-Penn League's 2013 season, I wanted to do a "state of the campaign" address and look at some of the IronBirds' more notable numbers, facts, figures, what have you, that have popped up thus far. In all, compared with previous seasons, this one has been pretty good, with the 'Birds sitting directly at the .500 mark (20-20) as I write this, and having been near the top of the McNamara Division since digging their way back from a dreadful 0-5 start.

Here's the list, taking into account all the games played through Monday night:

Aberdeen is 6-2 in extra-inning games: Playing the remaining 4-1/2 innings of a previously postponed game with Staten Island on Sunday, the IronBirds erased a four-run deficit, forced the contest into extra innings and eventually came out on top with an 11-8 victory, which put them at 6-2 when their matchups go beyond nine. I know there isn't a metric that can rate how resourceful, or clutch, a team is (though the stat nerds out there would probably just tell me to shut up and look at the team's Pythagorean, deserved win-loss record), but winning extra-inning ball games, in my opinion, points to a hard-nosed ball club. Aberdeen skipper Matt Merullo pointed his team's extra-inning record when I asked him to give me some positives following an IronBirds loss, and he thinks about the IronBirds more than anyone one the planet, probably, so take that for what it's worth.

Also, in keeping with the extra-inning theme for a bit more, Aberdeen has absolutely pummeled opponents when the game goes to extras, outscoring them 13-2 in all innings played beyond the ninth so far this year. That's a lopsided figure any way you look it, but even more so when you consider that teams are often just scratching for one or two runs in extra innings.

Two very tall drinks of water: Because the minor league baseball system in this country is so sprawling, it's tough to figure out if this is totally correct, but I don't think I'm spinning a falsehood when I say that the IronBirds have two of the tallest players in professional baseball on their team right now. Now, I know this is more of an oddity than one of the "interesting statistics" I promised at the beginning, but I love stuff like this: Aberdeen relief pitchers Dylan Rheault and Augey Bill are both listed at 6-foot-9, which is pretty darn rangy, even for pitchers, who generally don't get anywhere in pro ball if they're under six feet tall (a possibly apocryphal story I heard a long time ago has Pedro Martinez, who at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds was just a little bigger than me during his playing days, being written off by a scout, who said, "he'll never do anything but bullpen work. He's not big enough to be a starter.") Rheault, the 19th-round pick of this year's draft, and Bill, the 39th-round selection, have not seen a ton of service thus far, but I'm curious to see how they progress as the season moves along. As I just pointed out with the Pedro Martinez anecdote, it doesn't really matter how tall you are, but when you're blessed with the physical size of a power forward, you do have an advantage.

More pitching: Three IronBird hurlers have ERAs under 2.00 and have pitched more than 10 innings so far. Closer Jimmy Yacabonis leads the pack at 0.48 through 18-2/3 innings, reliever Donnie Hart is close behind at 0.75 over 12 innings and starter Steven Brault sits at 1.14 through 23-2/3 innings. Eric Green (0.00) and the previously mentioned Augey Bill (1.69) do not count, as they have only tossed 3 and 5-1/3 innings, respectively.

That is all for now, folks, but there is more to come, as I have some offensive numbers I want to throw out.

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