It isn't that the team has no talent, and it's not that the guys don't hustle and work hard. But it is that the Edinburg Roadrunners have fallen into the cellar in the North American League's South Division. After Sunday's home doubleheader against McAllen, the Runners were 24-40 and on a 7-game losing streak. For most of the summer, the Roadrunners have done well against McAllen, with a 14-10 mark coming into the series.

James Giulietti (0-5) took the loss in Game One as the offense managed six hits in a 7-1 defeat. Then, the Thunder pounded Edinburg 13-5 in the nightcap, before a crowd of 1,100.

One reason the club has not performed up to expectations is offense, where the average is .269; that is not by itself a deal-breaker, but 519 strikeouts (8.1 per game) means that the 然unners are not getting a ton of base hits, often because of the propensity to fan.

The 然unners can run, as evidenced by their league-best 119 steals. But in order to swipe a bag, one must get on base, and for the free-swinging home side, that has not been happening nearly enough. They are neck and neck with San Angelo in strikeouts, but dead last in average; the Colts whiff a bunch but when they don't, they are getting steady base knocks; RGV leads the league with a hefty .319 average with the Colts third at .314.

The most recent foe, McAllen, is hitting .290 collectively, with 53 homers and 70 steals, having made 83 errors. This leads to another downer for Manager Steve Maddock's nine, defense: it's committed 117 errors this summer, including 22 by second baseman Brandon Wilkerson, who is hitting just .208.

Saturday night the club gave up three runs in the third inning thanks to some less than stellar moments in the field, and ended up losing to the Thunder 11-2. Inability to make the routine plays creates extra outs, and in a league that is decidedly a hitter's paradise, you're asking for trouble if you give these sticks a cheap chance. By contrast, RGV has just 72 boots all summer, 45 fewer than Edinburg.

The stat woes continue. As the heat has risen, so has the team ERA, and it was up to 6.02 over the weekend, the highest it's been all season. Only one starter is below 5, Aaron Guerra, and his number has ballooned to 4.31 after a couple of bad starts. The staff has allowed a whopping 681 hits in 545 innings, when the ideal mark is 1-to-1 for hits to innings pitched. The success opposing hitters have had against Edinburg arms sort of cancels out the staff strength, which is power (454 K's as a team).

The bullpen has been solid, with veteran Julio Castro (2-0, 11 saves with a 1.21 ERA) and Mike Schurz (2.57, 34 K's in 28 IP as the set-up man), but Edinburg can't seem to get the quality starts it had early in the season. This means that the late pen does not come into play much.

DOMINATION

The home series against San Angelo did not turn out well at all last week, as the 然unners were swept in four straight, marking 10 losses in a row to the Colts this summer. Overall, Edinburg has struggled mightily against the division leaders, winning four of 16 games and being outscored 150 to 72 in the process.

Though they outhit the visitor 12-9 in the opener Tuesday, the 然unners lost it 8-6, in a competitive showing. Outfielder Robert Matlock, slowed somewhat by an injury this year, got three hits that night and his average has hovered in the .290s as of late.

Wednesday San Angelo pounded out an 11-4 win against Toro Trevino (4-4), who fanned nine but gave up eight runs. The midweek crowds were modest, with 1,032 at the Stadium and then just 948 the next evening.

On Thirsty Thursday, Edinburg allowed eight runs in the second as Aaron Guerra continued to have his troubles. The Colts blasted four homers in a 13-6 victory, including No. 25 by ex 然unner Daryl Jones, who is flat tearing up the league this summer. Newly acquired D.J. Dixon knocked out a pair of hits in the defeat, and Matlock contributed three more, but the squad's pitching was just not there all week.

Friday SA completed the sweep with a rain-shortened 5-1 capper to ruin Tim Haines' homecoming start. Thus, after having split their first two series with the Colts (May 29-June 1 and June 15-18), the 然unners dropped to 24-37 and were just 5-15 in their last 20 tries.

NOTES: Cory Goudeau recorded the longest relief outing for an Edinburg hurler this year, going six innings after replacing Guerra Thursday. The hard-throwing righty struck out six in the ball game.

Gabe Memmert (.289) and Stantrel Smith (.299), who have led the way offensively this season, are both having down months, with their averages dipping down below the .300 mark last week. By Sunday, Memmert was 2 for his last 20 and Smith was 3 for 18. R.J. Harris meanwhile, has been knocking the cover off the ball and was at .296 after the doubleheader, with Matlock (.298) also rising fast.

The 然unners were to finish up the Thunder series Tuesday and then play three at Harlingen against the Wings Aug. 4-6. After that, it's McAllen at home Aug. 8-11 and another try against the dreaded Colts, at the Stadium Aug. 12-15. The team is second in the South in attendance (2,284), narrowly trailing San Angelo.