New manager Rick Renteria had his moments, and when his team was healthy it displayed some of the best baseball seen in Portland. The Dogs were winning with clutch hitting and had numerous dramatic come-from-behind victories. The Sea Dogs even won 11 straight games in April.

Cesar Crespo was the Eastern League player of the month for April, batting .397 with four home runs and 13 RBI. Crespo also became the first Sea Dog player to hit for the cycle.

The Dogs put on a tremendous finishing kick, going 13-1 to wind up with their first winning record since 1997, but in between they were 45-65. Twenty games under .500.

Injuries had a lot to do with that. Speedy center fielder Quincy Foster strained his hamstring in early May and didn’t return healthy until late July.

Right fielder Abraham Nunez was bothered by a muscle tear below his throwing shoulder and didn’t play a full game in the field until the final weekend of the season.

Outfielder Jaime Jones played only 50 games before getting hit with a pitch that broke his hand. Infielder Joe Funaro made it through only 26 before departing with a broken toe. Catcher Brandon Harper underwent thumb surgery after only four games and didn’t return until late July.

The Sea Dogs finished second in the EL in team batting average (.269) and no team scored more runs. Only two staffs had a higher ERA, however, those of cellar-dwelling Erie and New Britain.

Brandon Leese posted a 12-9 record with one save and a 3.47 ERA for Portland while Bobby Rodgers was 3-5 with 22 saves and a 3.25 ERA.

The average game attendance of 5,533 – the smallest since the inaugural season, before Hadlock’s seating expansion – still put the Sea Dogs among the Eastern League elite. The team ranked fifth for the third consecutive season and doubled the attendance of the EL North’s two playoff teams, Binghamton and New Haven.

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