Modesto Nuts: 5 things to watch

04/09/2014 6:58 PM

04/09/2014 6:59 PM

1. The pitching. The Nuts pitchers really can’t be this ineffective all season, can they? Of course not. The league record for highest staff earned run average for an entire season is 6.77, set by the 1996 Bakersfield Blaze. But there’s no sugar-coating that the Nuts’ pitchers are off to an historically poor start.

2. The hitting. Modesto already is bucking a long-time trend by hitting the ball well at the start of the season, slapping it around at a .266 clip through six games. Heaven help us all if the Nuts put the fans through a repeat of the 2013 offensive season, in which Modesto struck out a league-record 1,372 times.

3. The attendance. Between 2077-11 the Nuts sent a franchise attendance record each season, topping out at 180,785 in 2011. The last two years rank No. 3 and No. 4 all-time in crowd count, but one of the goals of first-year general manager Tyler Richardson is to begin another run of records at the gate.

4. Player movement. Nine players on the opening day roster saw action in Modesto in 2013, which is a particularly high number of returnees. The Colorado Rockies generally are slow to promote players during the season, but we’ll see how quick players like Trevor Story and Will Swanner can play their way to Tulsa.

5. Mascot mania. Al Almond and Wally Walnut will be joined this season by a yet-to-be named female pistachio. The effect of a female in the mix will be interesting to see, but at the very least it should result in one of the veteran mascots coming out of his shell.

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