MYRTLE BEACH, SC - With a first place standing well into the second half of the season, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are still counting on what helped them win the first half - five solid arms that go out every night to pitch. Yet for manager Jason Wood, that's not necessarily a surprise.
"(You can) attribute a lot of that success to what the Rangers do as far as going out and taking advantage of the draft when they have to," Wood said. "They go after pitching. The Rangers are known for pitching. It starts at the top with Nolan Ryan. He's a Hall of Famer."
That success was highlighted as recently as last year. Nick Tepesch began 2012 in the Pelicans rotation, but has now found a home as the Rangers' fifth starter. But this year's starting five has a unique bond that has helped them earn the lowest ERA (3.63) in the Carolina League.
"It is just in simple things like conditioning," said starter Jerad Eickhoff. "We push each other, and on the mound, in the outings, we say 'yeah, let's go a couple more outs than this guy, let's go a little more than this guy' and that just kind of helps the team overall."
The main goal for all Pelicans players is to elevate their game up the minor league ranks. But that won't happen without a strong second half push in the South Division.
"There's always room for improvement," Eickhoff said. "You just have to go every game for five days, put your best foot forward, and that's the best you can do."
"My job, and our job as a staff is to develop them (the players) and get them to the next level," said Wood. "Yes, it is tough to see some of these guys leave, but all in all you're pretty happy to see them advance."