The Fisher Cats have completed their first homestand and the indicators still point to this being a good season for the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate.
It’s April 20, here’s the state of things on the path 400 miles to Toronto and beyond.
Three quick takeaways from New Hampshire’s five home games against Hartford and Binghamton this week.
#1. There Should Have Been Seven Games: It’s still April. As any Granite Stater knows, the warmth comes in fits and spurts this early in the year. Still, cold weather is generally not a baseball player’s friend. So, if the Fisher Cats are performing this well under these biting and windy conditions, just imagine what will happen when things get milder.
After two days off, Fisher Cats manager John Schneider was proud of his squad bouncing back into action on Tuesday despite the frigid temperatures.
“Tough conditions to hit in, but the at-bats were good. Similar with the pitching with the long layoff,” he said.
#2. Tebow Time: He’s a media sensation and is a decent enough baseball player as well, even though he still needs plenty of development to advance further in the Mets organization.
Tebow had three hits during his three games in New Hampshire, including a pair of doubles and a key eighth inning assist on Tuesday.
“I’ve seen him for two years now and he’s made some adjustments,” said Schneider. “I’ve got a lot of respect for that dude. Me personally and us as a team, the way he goes about his business. It’s nice to see him make some adjustments along the way.”
#3. Don’t Call It a Comeback: If there’s one common thread throughout almost every single Fisher Cat game this season, it’s that their opponents’ leads are never, ever safe. In their two losses during the homestand, New Hampshire came from behind to tie up those games a combined four times, a number that could have been larger.
In the three games they won, they never trailed, and broke all ties within an inning.
“That’s kind of the nature of this lineup,” said Schneider. “They’re very well aware that they’re never really out of a game, they can score a lot and they can score quickly.”
Fisher Cats of the Week
Batter: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – A case could be made for giving Vladimir Guerrero Jr. this prize for the second week in a row, but it’s hard to overlook his Platinum Sombrero on Tuesday.
Gurriel was the only Fisher Cat with at least one hit in all five games, ranging from a 1-for-5 day on Friday to a 2-for-4 day with a homer on Thursday.
Along with Gurriel and Guerrero, an honorable mention goes out to Max Pentecost, who had five hits over four appearances during the homestand, including a homer and a triple.
Starting Pitching: Jordan Romano – An easy decision here, Romano was dominant on Wednesday, allowing just two hits and three walks in a seven inning masterpiece.
Sean Reid-Foley also had a strong performance, looking like he’s fully rebounded from last year’s disappointment. Reid-Foley gave up a pair of runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Relief Pitching: Conor Fisk – Fisk grabbed his second save of the year in relief of Reid-Foley on Saturday, going 2 2/3 innings with just one hit and one walk allowed to Hartford’s lineup.
Around the Horn
No transactions just yet so far this year, but the lineup is beginning to solidify. Jonathan “JD” Davis held the leadoff spot in four of the five games during the homestand, with Andrew Guillotte’s hot bat giving him a rest on Thursday.
Guillotte got a shot in every game, as did Guerrero and Gurriel, but the only positional constant has been Guerrero at third.
As the Fisher Cats head to the road, they’ll get another chance against Tebow and the Rumble Ponies, but first comes a three game set against the Reading Fightin’ Phils. The Fisher Cats return to Manchester on Friday, April 27 with a three-game set against Trenton.