The Lions Roar  

The Plaza Lions finished off the 2001 season with a 100-62 record.   Since their move to Plaza 3 years ago, this has been their best season topping the 96 wins last year.  The franchise record is 110 wins when the team was located in Richmond.   The Lions off-season signings have paid off and they will be entering the wild card round of the play-offs with an excellent chance of advancing deeper into the play-offs than last years first round loss to eventual Brassball champions, Box City Parcelmen.  The Lion’s ownership knows that this is this is the year to make a run at the title since many of the team leaders are in the last year of their contracts and this small market club is looking to trim payroll at the end of the season.   

A few team records were broken this year by the Lions.  Louis Gonzalez had 151 RBI’s breaking the record held by Eric Karros who had 141 in 1996.  Louis Castillo broke 3 records this year as he batted .361 breaking Gonzalez’s .352 record from last year, he stole 90 bases to shatter his own record from last year of 54 and he scored 138 runs to surpass the 130 runs that Tim Salmon scored in 1996.  Armando Benitez saved 36 games this year to break the record of 32 saves set by Troy Percival in 1996.   

The Lions batted .311 and scored 1079 runs this year. Both of these totals broke franchise records.  Also, the Lions were the only team this year to not get shutout during the season.  Many offensive players either had career years or close to career years. Louis Castillo had career highs in hits with 202, runs with 138, stolen bases with 90 and batting average with .361.  Jeff Kent who was signed in the off-season to provide some offensive punch did just that.   Jeff led the team with 213 hits and finished tied as the leader with homeruns with 39.  He was 2nd in batting with a .351 batting average, runs with 122 and RBI’s with 140.  Louis Gonzalez put up solid all around numbers with 199 hits, 114 runs, 48 doubles, 33 homeruns, and 151 RBI’s.  Mark Grace led the team with 49 doubles and he batted .302 and scored 102 runs.  Steve Finley also tied for the team lead with 39 home runs and he scored 114 runs and had 105 RBI’s while batting .284.   

The pitching staff had their ups and downs during the year.  The staff ended up with an ERA of 4.75.  Tom Glavine and David Wells led the team with 19 wins but had ERA’s of 4.70 and 5.06 respectively.  Wells did lead the staff with 5 complete games and 2 shutouts.  Gil Heredia led the team with a 4.36 ERA and he had 12 wins.  Paul Abbott had 15 wins and Woody Williams had 12 wins to round out the Lion’s rotation.  The bullpen struggled during the season, other than Benitez.  As the playoffs get ready to start the pitching staff is obviously the biggest concern.   If the Lions are going to make a real run at the title, the pitching needs to improve.