It’s Aug. 18, 2019. Here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.
Tuesday, Aug. 13 Game 1 – Binghamton 2, New Hampshire 0 (road – 7 inn.)
Tuesday, Aug. 13 Game 2 – New Hampshire 3, Binghamton 1 (road – 7 inn.)
Wednesday, Aug. 14 – New Hampshire 1, Binghamton 0 (road)
Thursday, Aug. 15 – New Hampshire 1, Binghamton 0 (road)
Friday, Aug. 16 – New Hampshire 4, Portland 2 (home)
Saturday, Aug. 17 – Portland 2, New Hampshire 1 (home)
Sunday, Aug. 18 – New Hampshire 10, Portland 1 (home)
Five Wins and Two Hard Losses
This easily could have been a perfect week for New Hampshire, and really should have been given the strong pitching against Binghamton and Portland.
It takes a pretty poor offensive performance to lose when a pitching staff allows just six hits, let alone one hit, but that’s what happened on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.
This isn’t to say that New Hampshire doesn’t have sluggers. Kevin Smith is in the Eastern League’s Top 10 in home runs and RBI. Forrest Wall is in the Top 10 for hits and doubles.
But consistency, the confidence that a New Hampshire hitter will come through when needed on any given night, has just not been there.
Fisher Cats Manager Mike Mordecai attributes that in largely to life in the minors: partly from the inexperience that often goes hand in hand with players in their early 20s and partly from a requirement for development over winning in many situations, such as Kevin Smith not swinging away in the ninth on Saturday to help develop his ability to advance runners. Smith was out on a foul tip and New Hampshire’s final chance turned into a teachable moment.
Still, in what’s been an often-difficult season, the moments where everything clicks at the plate, such as Sunday’s game, serve as a spotlight for growth among New Hampshire’s batters.
“We missed some opportunities earlier in the season, and I don’t think thought process was quite where it needed to be.” Said Mordecai. “It seems like lately, the thought process has been getting better.”
Pearson Finally Wins
Nate Pearson is the most touted pitching prospect in the Blue Jays organization right now, serious injuries in last year’s campaign have limited his success and pitch count in what has been a difficult season of recovery in Advanced-A and Double-A.
After 16 starts, Pearson finally got his first Double-A win.
In perhaps a testament to New Hampshire’s offensive struggles this year, Pearson was strong despite his poor record, putting up a 2.05 ERA and allowing opposing batters just a .171 average over 105 1/3 innings between New Hampshire and Dunedin.
On Saturday, Pearson got the call to Triple-A Buffalo.
The Fisher Cats have just four series left in their regular season, and their playoff hopes are theoretically alive, but could be snuffed out with five Reading wins even if New Hampshire wins every remaining game.
They’ll return next weekend for a set with Binghamton following their last trip to Trenton, which begins on Monday night.