Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers move up the ladder in wins

Hoppers move up the ladder in wins
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at….

The 2014 Hoppers have put together the best season ever for the franchise since it moved into its new park 10 years ago.

After finishing a six-game road trip, the Hoppers return home with an overall record of 82-51. That breaks the regular-season mark of 80 wins, set in 2012 by the first team David Berg managed here. There are still seven games remaining — three at home against Delmarva, starting Tuesday, and four to close the season at Kannapolis — so more wins will be added to that total.

This team could finish as high as third for the all-time Greensboro record (at least, since 1950, which is where the records at stop). The all-time best is a phenomenal 98 wins set by the Hornets in 1981. The next year, the Hornets put up 96 victories.

The third-best total, one this team can match or surpass, is 85, accomplished by the G-Yanks in 1963 and the Hornets in 1993. Rounding out the top 10 are: (5) 84 wins by the G-Yanks in 1960; (6) 82 wins by the Hornets in 1980 and the 2014 team; (8) 80 wins by the 2012 Hoppers; (9) 79 wins by the 2011 Hoppers and the 1954 Patriots.

PLAYOFFS: The field is all but officially set. The Hoppers, of course, are in by virtue of winning the first half of the Northern Division. Hagerstown is in first place in the second half and, since it doesn’t matter where Greensboro finishes, the only team the Suns have to worry about is Hickory. And the “elimination number” for the Crawdads is two — meaning any combination of Hagerstown wins and Hickory losses totaling two will clinch the playoffs for the Suns.

In the Southern Division, things are wrapped up. First-half winner Savannah and second-half leading Asheville have both qualified and will meet in the first round.

It has been an odd season in the SAL. There are only five teams with overall winning records — Greensboro, Hagerstown, Hickory, Asheville and Savannah. The other nine below .500, ranging from one game (Charleston) to 30 games (Lakewood). Most managers heading into the playoffs would like some good competition to keep their teams sharp. This season, there just hasn’t been much.

NOTES: Catcher Chad Wallach and pitcher Sean Townsley were activated from the disabled list and infielder Hiram Martinez was promoted (for the third time) from Batavia. Outfielder Coco Johnson and pitcher Cody Crabaugh were sent to Jupiter and catcher Joel Jimenez to Batavia … Former Hopper Colin Moran, traded by the Marlins to the Astros last month, has played 21 games with Double-A Corpus Christi and is hitting .295 with two homers and 16 RBIs. That shows a remarkable consistency — Moran hit .299 in 42 games with Greensboro in 2013 and .294 in 89 games with Jupiter this year before the trade.