It’s July 15, here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.
Game Score Recap
Thursday, July 11 – New Hampshire 13, Hartford 8 (road)
Friday, July 12 – New Hampshire 4, Hartford 2 (road)
Saturday, July 13 – Hartford 11, New Hampshire 9 (road)
Sunday, Jul 14 – Hartford 6, New Hampshire 4 (road)
Who Wants to See Some Dingers?
If there was one defining trait of the first series after the All-Star Game, it was home runs. The Fisher Cats ended the series with 11 homers in total, equaling their overall total from last week’s series against Portland on Thursday alone.
Of course, they gave up seven home runs, so that impressive tally couldn’t result in a series win even if it gave the fans their money’s worth.
Can this output be repeated moving forward? It may depend on wind.
Fisher Cats Manager Mike Moredcai believes that wind pushing balls toward the short right field fence at Dunkin’ Donuts Park helped raise that total.
Indeed, the wind at first pitch in all four games was blowing toward the outfield and was approximately twice as strong on average compared to the average over the Fisher Cats’ last four-game series In Hartford back in May, where they ended with only two home runs for the series.
Fisher Cats fans can only hope that the winds pick up off the Merrimack River soon if that’s the case, since the right field fence at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is about as far as the fence in Hartford.
That, or they can hope that Fisher Cats batters are finally following Mordecai’s directive that ideal pitches for hits are not going to come on a regular basis in Double-A and an aggressive approach is essential at this level given the quality of play.
Pitching Health Update
The starting rotation’s health remains a topic of concern, as Zach Logue went to the DL on Thursday (he was the only pitcher selected to the All-Star Game not to enter the game). Meanwhile, Hector Perez returned from the disabled list on Thursday, but could only get through four innings on 84 pitches on Thursday against Hartford.
Mordecai believes that Perez, Jon Harris and the recently injured Patrick Murphy, have shown great improvement after their recent injuries, and Logue will likely return soon/
Nate Pearson also may be seeing an increased pitch count soon as well. Since his serious arm injury last year, Pearson has been limited to his starts fluctuating between “long” (60 to 80pitches) and “truncated” (around 20 to 40 pitches), excluding his most recent starts after returning off the disabled list again in early July.
As the rotation begins to re-stabilize, the flexibility of Yennsy Diaz and Willy Ortiz will be crucial just in case a starter needs to turn into an “opener” once again.
Critical Series Coming Up
New Hampshire now sits in the Eastern Division basement with a record of 9-15, 6 ½ games behind division-leading Reading. The ‘Cats will get a shot at Reading again this weekend after another series at home against Portland.
With that tough series in Reading as well as a subsequent series at home against a Harrisburg team that trounced the Fisher Cats earlier this season, Mordecai stresses the importance of this upcoming series against the Sea Dogs.
“My attitude is we have to win all three games against Portland,” he said. “We don’t need a split series, we need to dominate these series coming up.”
Fisher Cats of the Week
Batting: Kevin Smith – 6-for-15 (.400), 6 R, 7 RBI, 2 HR, 1 BB
Pitching: Jackson McClelland – 2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB