Vibes Start Second Half of Season in First Place

Local Fans Could See Postseason Baseball Action

Trevor Phipps

When the Rocky Mountain Vibes kicked off their 2023 season, the players and team executives were quite optimistic about their winning and even playoff prospects.

 In fact, they went as far as proclaiming that they had the best team in the league due to the large number of heavy hitters on their roster.

But instead, many fans experienced  a repeat of last year.  Just like their inaugural 2022 year, the Vibes got off to a terrible start and hovered around last place in their Pioneer League.

This jolted the expectations of many local baseball fans, who were promised better winning times on the baseball diamond for a change.

Expectations were high because the Vibes had revamped their contract with the Mexican Baseball League team, Acereros de Monclova, so that they could attract a wider array of players. After they were able to get more competitive players on the field, the team drastically improved at the end of the 2022 season.

Then during the offseason, the team’s executive staff worked hard on finding talent. They hired a new coach with MLB experience and they acquired many players through trades with other teams in the league.

The team looked good straight out of the dugout, but once the season commenced, they were riddled by injuries. But after they entered the season’s halfway point, things started to turn around for the better.

For the first half of the season, the Vibes fell into sixth place in the Pioneer League with a 20-27 record. But currently in the second half of the season, the Vibes are in second place in the league and first place in their South Division with a 10-6 record.

In fact, the team currently has stayed right around the .500 mark for the entire season with a 30-33 overall record at the end of last week. The Vibes started the second half of the season with key wins in series against the Northern Colorado Owlz and the Grand Junction Jackalopes.

Last week, the Vibes started off their series against the Ogden Raptors with an 18-15 win on Tuesday and a 4-2 win on Wednesday. But then they lost to the Raptors 9-6 on Thursday and 6-5 on Friday.

Currently, though, one of the Vibes’ players is sitting in second place in the entire league when it comes to hitting. Infielder Jake McMurray has played in 24 games and he sports an impressive batting average of .482. He has racked up 40 hits, 19 runs and 19 RBIs during the season.

Utility Player Stephen Wilmer sits in 13th place in the league with a .394 batting average, 26 hits, 25 runs, 23 RBIs and 7 homeruns. Brett Carson is next best on the team with a .386 batting average, 28 runs, 27 hits, 18 RBIs and two homeruns.

Pitching Woes Continue

But as the team’s coach said at the beginning of the season, the Vibes have struggled when it comes to their pitching lineup. Despite the coach’s extensive pitching experience, the Vibes continue to have a rough time when on the mound.

For example, Vibes pitcher Jackson Cunningham leads the league in appearances with 29, but he has a 2-2 record and a 7.30 ERA. Pitcher Chris Macca has experienced the second most time on the mound with 23 appearances, but he has a 0-4 record and a 6.25 ERA.

Vibes’ fans can expect to continue to see the team’s heavy hitters carry them through matches. But, on the other hand, if their pitching cannot improve, their playoff hopes may start to dwindle.

Basically, the Vibes need to keep winning so that they can stay on top in their South Division. If they can keep the top spot secured, there is a chance the Vibes could see a wild card game this postseason.

The Vibes hit the road to play the Ogden Raptors this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They come back to battle the Raptors on their home turf on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Next week, the Vibes play three home games and then three away games against the Grand Junction Jackalopes.