It’s July 1, 2019 and here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.
Monday, June 24 – Portland 8, New Hampshire 4 (away)
Tuesday, June 25 – PPD, Rain (away)
Wednesday, June 26 – Game 1: New Hampshire 7, Portland 1 (away)
Wednesday, June 26 – Game 2: Portland 3, New Hampshire 2 (away)
Thursday, June 27 – New Hampshire 4, Trenton 2 (away)
Friday, June 28 – New Hampshire 5, Trenton 2 (away)
Saturday, June 29 – Trenton 5, New Hampshire 2 (away)
Sunday, June 30 – Trenton 7, New Hampshire 5 (away)
The Fisher Cats began the first week of the season’s second half with mixed results, but even in their losses they’ve been staying close through quality pitching and improved hitting.
Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai is telling his squad to focus on manufacturing runs, as big innings often come from a small trickle of offense here and there.
“It’s like a boxing match where you get guys and you keep jabbing and eventually those jabs hurt and eventually, they let their guard down and you can get the knockout blow,” said Mordecai. “When you’re chasing pitching and you have the chance to get one run in here and one run in there, they get very frustrated with that and lose their composure a bit and throw meatballs over the plate.”
Creating a stable rotation in the minors is already a difficult task given the fact that anyone on the roster may be moved up or down at any moment. However, injuries are also playing a role recently when it comes to figuring out who will be starting and the potential impacts to the bullpen from inning limitations.
Patrick Murphy returned for a one inning quasi-rehab start on Friday and former long reliever Willy Ortiz got a chance to start in the first game on Wednesday.
With Nate Pearson returning from the disabled list soon, the Fisher Cats will likely continue using the “opener” concept pioneered in Tampa Bay recently with Ortiz, Yennsy Diaz, Hector Perez, Zach Logue, Justin Dillon, Jon Harris either starting or throwing long relief with Murphy, Pearson possibly “opening” as they continue to recover with possibly more pitching entering into the mix such as the rehabilitating Ryan Borucki or even possibly even early cameos from younger prospects like Nick Allgeyer.
Hey now, you’re an All-Star
Even though Pearson’s health has fluctuated since his significant injury last year, his potential is still enough to merit an invitation to next week’s Futures Game.
Pearson isn’t the only Fisher Cat honored during All-Star week, with four Fisher Cats also getting the nod to the Eastern League All-Star Game in Richmond.
“(Pearson) pretty much comes as advertised, he’s a hard thrower. When you get an invitation like this, you just have to accept it,” said Mordecai. “And of course, our Eastern League All-Stars, I couldn’t be prouder. They’ve grinded away all season and getting the chance to experience an All-Star game, I’m happy for them. “
The Fisher Cats now play a four-game/three-day series in Reading before returning to Manchester for a four-game set leading into the All-Star Break.
“(The Reading series) has the potential to be really good or really bad to be honest,” said Mordecai. “I’d be lying if I wouldn’t be happy splitting this series, playing on the road is tough.”
Fisher Cats of the Week
Batting: Kevin Smith – 7-fo-24 (.291), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R
Pitching: Bryan Baker – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 Sv.