Hartford gets New Hampshire’s (yard) goat

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It’s May 27, 2019. Here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.

400 Miles to Toronto: New Hampsire Fisher Cats Column

Vs. Altoona (Home)

Tuesday, May 21 – New Hampshire 5, Altoona 0

Wednesday, May 22 – New Hampshire 2, Altoona 1

Thursday, May 23 – New Hampshire 7, Altoona 2

Vs. Hartford (Home)

Friday, May 24 – Hartford 4, New Hampshire 2

Saturday, May 25 – Hartford 5, New Hampshire 4

Sunday, May 26 – Hartford 5, New Hampshire 4

Monday, May 27 – New Hampshire 9, Hartford 2

Welcome Mr. Kivlehan

The current Fisher Cats roster has exactly one man with major league experience and that man is certainly making his case to get back to the show.

Patrick Kivlehan now has hits in eight of his 11 games with the Fisher Cats since joining the team on May 14, becoming the first New Hampshire player with a 5-for-5 game since April 2015.

After May 27, Kivlehan is batting .421 in Eastern League play, with nine RBI and three home runs, roughly equivalent to his output at Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the year in less than half as many games.

State of the Offense

Despite Kivelhan, the offensive continued to struggle overall. Still, there were some other strong individual performances from Forrest Wall (12-for-26, 5 RBI and a home run), Nash Knight (5-for-12 with an RBI) and Riley Adams (10-for-20, 6 RBI and home runs on May 25 and 26.)

Throughout the season, New Hampshire manager Mike Mordecai has stressed the need for his players to be more aggressive at the plate, and it is coming even if the progress isn’t quite what it should be.

“It’s baby steps. Some guys are trying to make adjustments, it takes some time to do that,” said Mordecai. “There’s so much information these guys are getting, so much information about themselves. Sometimes that takes time to process.”

Hurt-Ford

The Fisher Cats don’t face the Hartford Yard Goats again until July 11, and despite closing out their final home series against the Yard Goats this year with a win, the Fisher Cats won’t be eager to face them again.

This week, Hartford clinched their first-ever Plymouth Rock Assurance Cup, a trophy awarded the winner of the season series between Hartford and New Hampshire.

The Yard Goats leave New Hampshire 14-5 so far against the Fisher Cats, using their dominance against New Hampshire as fuel in what is becoming a tight four-way race atop the Eastern League’s Eastern Division first-half playoff hunt.

“They’re obviously better than us because they hand it to just about every time we play them,” said Mordecai. “We battle them, we don’t give up. But we make too many mistakes against them and when they make mistakes, we don’t capitalize on it. If we make a mistake, they capitalize on it, and that’s a sign of a good ballclub.”

Fortunately for New Hampshire, Monday’s win keeps Hartford without a series sweep against the Fisher Cats since moving from New Britain after the 2015 season.

Roster Moves

This week pitchers William Ouellette and Jonathan Cheshire went onto the disabled list, with Vinny Nittoli joining the pitching staff after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization earlier this month.

Prior to being assigned to New Hampshire following the signing, Nitolli appeared in five games this year for the Triple-A Reno Aces. There, he went 0-4 with a 9.50 ERA.

Following the Memorial Day contest against Hartford, Brandon Grudzielanek was released by the Fisher Cats. He had not seen action since May 2, finishing with a .182 batting average.

Fisher Cats of the Week

Batting: Patrick Kivlehan – (12-for-20, 2 HR,, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 2 R)

Pitching: Hector Perez – (2-0, 11 2/3 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 9 Ks)

On Deck

The Altoona Curve must wait until 2020 for another chance for a victory inside New Hampshire, but they can get a win against New Hampshire this weekend as they host a three-game series against the Fisher Cats following New Hampshire’s three-game mid-week series against the Harrisburg Senators.

The Fisher Cats return to New Hampshire on June 4 for a six-game homestand against Bowie and Richmond, facing both of those teams on the road a week later.