It’s July 8, here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.
Monday, July 1: New Hampshire 7, Reading 5 (road)
Tuesday, July 2 Game 1: Reading 5, New Hampshire 1 (road, 7 inn.)
Tuesday, July 2 Game 2: Reading 3, New Hampshire 2 (road, 9 inn.)
Wednesday, July 3: Reading 8, New Hampshire 6 (road)
Thursday, July 4: Portland 6, New Hampshire 3 (home)
Friday, July 5: Portland 11, New Hampshire 5 (home)
Saturday, July 6: New Hampshire 10, Portland 8 (home)
Sunday, July 7: New Hampshire 7, Portland 2 (home)
Get Some Sleep!
Rain delays stretched Tuesday’s doubleheader into a marathon that ended around 1 a.m., taxing an already stretched bullpen to the point where infielder Nash Knight was forced to take the mound in the second extra inning of the doubleheader’s second game.
“We had run out of pitching and Nash being one of the older guys on the roster, I felt confident putting on the mound he’d handle it properly,” said Fisher Cats Manager Mike Mordecai. “It’s very tough putting a position player on the mound. My sentiments are similar to those of Felipe Alou when I played for him, that when you put a position player on the mound, you’re waving the white flag.”
New Hampshire had gotten the go-ahead run on the board coming into Knight’s appearance, but the position player only managed to get one out before allowing a walk-off home run to Jose Gomez.
Coming into New Hampshire at 8 a.m. on Wednesday straight off those losses, the Fisher Cats fatigue was apparent early in the Portland series before managing to bounce back over the weekend.
One of the unenviable facts about managing minor league baseball rosters is the fact that the primary purpose for their existence is not winning or losing, but developing players on those rosters for specific roles in the majors.
The Fisher Cats pitching staff this year is a perfect example, with Knight’s appearance notwithstanding.
With the rash of recent injuries to New Hampshire pitchers, the makeup of the rotation remains in doubt, as Jon Harris, Patrick Murphy and Nate Pearson have seen time in opener roles recently with Yennsy Diaz, Hector Perez, Zach Logue, Willy Ortiz and most recently Justin Dillon turning up as either long starters in tandem with the openers or as starters in their own right.
At this point, it’s uncertain if certainty will return any time soon given the unpredictability of injuries here and elsewhere in the Blue Jays organization, plus the need to remove pitchers unexpectedly early from games due to ineffectiveness.
Can We Get Another Seven?
The key moment in New Hampshire’s victory on Saturday was their seven-run seventh inning off Portland righthander Tanner Houck.
Call it luck or put it on the fact that six of the seven Fisher Cats in the lineup that night were lefties (not including the switch-hitting Knight), but the Fisher Cats will need more innings like that upon their return to action on Wednesday.
“Quickly we’re going to find out after the All-Star Break if this team is going to have the wherewithal to make something happen this season,” said Mordecai.
Fisher Cats of the Week
Batting: (tie) Josh Palacios – (7-for-24 (.292), 3 R, 5 RBI, 4 BB), Chad Spanberger – (5-for-24 (.208), 6 R, 3 BB, 2 HR)
Pitching: Jake Fishman – (5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks)