Since joining the Ducks before last season, Adam Bailey has been a staple in the lineup. The outfielder played in a team-high 133 games last season and, entering Friday night's game against the York Revolution, had played in 53 of the team's first 58 games.
In those 53 games, Bailey hit .268 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. Last season, the 26-year old hit .254 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs. His 130 hits were the second most on the team.
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Bailey played college baseball at Nebraska. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 38th round of the 2009 draft, but went back to school for the 2010 season. In the 2010 draft, Bailey was taken by the Houston Astros in the 23rd round. He played three seasons in the Astros organization, seeing action in two Triple-A games in 2012.
The team was four back of Somerset with 12 games to play in the first half at the beginning of the weekend. Do you guys have to play perfectly in the next week to catch them?
Yeah, basically. It seems like every time we lose, Somerset wins. I think we have to play our best ball.
It looks like Somerset will be the ones standing in the way of a second-half title, as well. You guys split a four-game set with them earlier in June. What makes Somerset so dangerous?
It's their starting pitching and their bullpen. That's how you win games, so that's what makes them dangerous.
Entering Friday, the team had won seven of its last nine games and had only lost back-to-back games once since June 1. Why are you guys playing more consistently this month?
We're just learning how to play with each other. I think that's what's going on. It took us a while to get used to [each other]. That's the way this team should be the rest of the year.
What kind of things had to happen for the team to get comfortable with each other?
I think it was just time. You have to get used to the guys in the clubhouse and how everyone plays.
Are their a lot of similarities between this year's team and last year's?
Yeah. We have some big league experience and some guys that know how to play the game. We had that last year. That's always a plus, especially because they know how to win.
Do you think the team is better than it was last year?
No, I think we're just different. It's different pitching and different hitters. Last year, we weren't as good as we could have been.
Since June 15, you've gotten a hit in all but three games (as of Friday), what have you been doing well lately?
I have no idea (laughs). I think I'm just finally figuring out what I'm doing with my own swing. It took me long enough . . . I'm trying not to try so hard. Less is more.
Were you disappointed that you didn't get to face Tracy McGrady last weekend?
Of course. I wanted to see [that ball] from that huge frame of his. I wanted to see the ball come out of his hand. But, it didn't happen.
What did it look like from the dugout?
It looked like a basketball player throwing the ball. It looked like he had a hard time gripping it because his hands are so big.