It’s Aug. 16, 2021. Here’s what’s been going on lately with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Tuesday, Aug. 10 – New Hampshire 6, Harrisburg 5
Wednesday, Aug. 11 – Harrisburg 2, New Hampshire 0
Thursday, Aug. 12 – New Hampshire 3, Harrisburg 2
Friday, Aug. 13 – New Hampshire 7, Harrisburg 0
Saturday, Aug. 14 – Harrisburg 7, New Hampshire 6
Sunday, Aug. 15 – Harrisburg 11, New Hampshire 5
The story of this week in the baseball world was the Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox at (well, right next to,) the iconic Iowa cornfield-based baseball diamond used in the movie “Field of Dreams.”
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats played six baseball games this week, but none in Iowa, or next to cornfields or on sets of movies as far as anyone knows. Instead, they played six baseball games this week on an island on the Susquehanna River in a stadium next to a soccer stadium where once the New England Revolution’s B team lost in one of the biggest upsets on U.S. Open Cup History.
For the Fisher Cats, it was a series fairly typical of their 2021 season: winning around half of their games, and being close to winning around half of the games they lost if not for one key thing they were missing, usually a lapse from the bullpen.
In Wednesday’s loss it was a lack of timely hitting, as New Hampshire went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. But Saturday and Sunday’s losses were bullpen implosions, with Sean Rackoski’s four-run appearance on Saturday emblematic of the uncertainty on the Fisher Cats’ pitching staff this year. Indeed, one would assume from the seven appearances in July with only two earned runs by Rackoski that he could be a reliable arm moving forward, but it seems like no Fisher Cat is completely immune from hitting slumps unexpectedly.
Fortunately for New Hampshire, other players have arisen to provide hot streaks as well, such as Tanner Kirwer. During the Harrisburg series, Kirwer hit .315 with two home runs and seven RBI and a pair of stolen bases. Fisher Cats Manager Cesar Martin believes that output is no accident.
“Kirwer has been showing some good at-bats and showing some power,” he said. “He’s been working hard and it’s showing for him, he’s avoiding swinging at pitches out of the zone and it’s paying off for him.”
Another item of note this week, Andrew Ellenbest was placed on the 15-day IL. Ellenbest was one of the Fisher Cats best relievers, and has shown flashes of brilliance at times recently as well, but this marks the third time he’s been out with injury this season, with Martin noting that he’s be nursing pain in his arm and knee.
“He’s been dealing with a couple of different injuries which have been tough for him, we’re just going to see what’s happening him in a week or two,” said Martin.
Fisher Cats of the Week
#1. Tanner Kirwer – See above
#2. Maximo Castillo – If not for the limited pitch count that has become a fact of life in professional baseball in this day and age, on Friday Castillo had a chance of earning the Fisher Cats’ first shutout since May 14, 2019 by Yennsy Diaz.
#3. Vinny Capra – Like Kirwer, Capra contributed two home runs, also adding two doubles and two singles during the series.
The Fisher Cats begin a six-game series in Hartford on Tuesday before returning home to face the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.