Manchester Ink Link is simulating the entire 2020 New Hampshire Fisher Cats season as we wait for the real baseball to return.
Today we enter Week 21, the final week of the season.
In case you missed it, here’s are our previous stories on the Fisher Cats’ simulated season so far.
- Week 1 (end-of-week record: 2-4)
- Week 2 (end-of-week record: 5-8)
- Week 3 (end-of-week record: 9-11)
- Week 4 (end-of-week record: 11-17)
- Week 5 (end-of-week record: 13-22)
- Week 6 (end-of-week record: 16-24)
- Week 7 (end-of-week record: 19-27)
- Week 8 (end-of-week record: 21-33)
- Week 9 (end-of-week record: 23-36)
- Week 10 (end-of-week record: 24-40)
- Week 11 (end-of-week record: 28-45)
- Week 12 (end-of-week record: 31-49)
- Week 13 (end-of-week record: 33-53)
- Week 14 (end-of-week record: 37-55)
- Week 15 (end-of-week record: 39-60)
- Week 16 (end-of-week record: 43-63)
- Week 17 (end-of-week record: 47-65)
- Week 18 (end-of-week record: 48-70)
- Week 19 (end-of-week record: 51-73)
- Week 20 (end-of-week record: 55-78)
Monday, Aug. 31 – New Hampshire 9, Trenton 7 (11 inn.)
TRENTON, N.J. – Despite trailing 7-0 after four innings, the Fisher Cats rallied to kick off the final week of their season with a win in extra innings.
The comeback began with two runs in the fifth, and a Josh Palacios grand slam in the seventh. Riley Adams’ solo homer in the eighth tied things up and Adams’ bases-loaded walk brought Alejandro Kirk home for what would be the winning run. Kirk and Adams walked three times each.
Trenton and New Hampshire batters combined to strikeout an astonishing 38 times, also leaving an equally amazing 25 men on base.
New Hampshire starting pitcher Thomas Hatch was ejected after a bench clearing brawl in the first that ensued after he hit David Metzgar with his 23rd pitch of the inning. The win eventually went to Chandler Shepherd for his work over the 10th and 11th. Shepherd is now 5-5 on the year.
Following the game, the Eastern League announced that Hatch will be suspended for six games, potentially ending his season since the Fisher Cats have just seven games remaining and he is unlikely to be placed on Toronto’s 40-man roster in time for September call ups.
The Fisher Cats now will get one last chance to finish a month above .500, after concluding August with a 14-15 record.
Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Trenton 9, New Hampshire 3
TRENTON, N.J. – The Thunder climbed to .500 on the year, evening things up against New Hampshire after Monday’s shocker.
Although a home run from Alejandro Kirk and an RBI single from Riley Adams brought the Fisher Cats level at 2-2 in the fourth, Trenton responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth to regain their lead and grasp momentum that would not release.
The Thunder solidified their claim at victory with five runs in the eighth, anchored by a three-run double off the bat of Angel Aguilar.
Kirk went 3-for-4 and Cullen Large went 2-for-4 with a double in the first appearance of his third stint this season with the Fisher Cats.
Prior to Tuesday’s contest, the Fisher Cats’ roster saw a series of changes in addition to the return of Large. Starting pitcher Hector Perez joined the club from Advanced-A Dunedin, returning after 26 appearances with New Hampshire last year.
Graham Spraker deserved a better fate for his efforts, giving up two runs off eight hits and no walks, striking out four Trenton batters in seven innings of work. However, two unearned runs came due to his error in the first. Spraker is now 1-4 on the year.
The Fisher Cats bid farewell to pitcher T.J. Zeuch, infielder Kevin Smith, and outfielder Roemon Fields and Forrest Wall, all four of which were sent up to Triple-A Buffalo.
Wednesday, Sept. 2 – New Hampshire 6, Trenton 4
TRENTON, N.J. – Brock Lundquist set the stage with a two-run first-inning double and the Fisher Cats went from there, earning a victory before a light rain transformed into a deluge over the Garden State’s capital.
Cullen Large added another two-run double in the third and Christian Williams gave New Hampshire another run in the fourth as Ben Ruta bobbled a Deiferson Barreto base hit in the fifth.
New Hampshire added an insurance run in the ninth, as Large added another RBI single in response to Trenton’s four-run eighth.
Barreto had three hits in the win, with adding a walk to his two hits and Alejandro Kirk also adding two hits and two walks.
On the mound, Hector Perez christened his Fisher Cat return with a 6 1/3 inning start, allowing three runs off seven hits and a walk, striking out five Trenton batters. Brett Cecil earned his 15th save after retiring the side in the ninth.
Thursday, Sept. 3 – New Hampshire 6, Trenton 0
TRENTON, N.J. – Thomas Pannone came up just two outs short of a complete game shutout, giving the Fisher Cats a victory on their way out of New Jersey.
Pannone (7-9) threw 116 pitches before making way for Chandler Shepherd, giving up five hits and no walks over his appearance while striking out nine Trenton batters.
The outing was Pannone’s longest appearance of the year and his second triple-digit pitch appearance this year following throwing 100 against Harrisburg on July 22. His previous personal record was 104 pitches, which occurred on Aug. 23, 2017 against Binghamton.
Pannone’s gem overshadowed a decent showing from New Hampshire’s bats. Josh Palacios went 2-for-5 with a double, as did Dieferson Barreto and Riley Adams. Cullen Large went 3-for-5 with a double and joined Adams and Alejandro Kirk in going deep for the ‘Cats.
Friday, Sept. 4 – Portland 6, New Hampshire 2
PORTLAND, MAINE – Anthony Kay just can’t catch a break.
Kay began the year with a 3-0 record, but he finishes it at 5-12 with Friday’s loss to Portland. Kay lasted five innings, giving up a solo homer to Joe DeCarlo and three other runs off seven total hits and three walks. He also struck out eight Portland batters, with Curtis Taylor handing the other three innings on the mound for the Fisher Cats.
New Hampshire collected nine hits in the loss, with Riley Adams and Cullen Large each grabbing two. Large and Chavez Young both hit doubles.
Saturday, Sept. 5 – New Hampshire 5, Portland 4
PORTLAND, MAINE – Alfredo Silverio returned from a six-day break with style slapping an RBI ground ball single in the ninth to break a 4-4 tie and even up the Fisher Cats’ final series of the year.
Silverio has struggled with a strained quad since early August, but he seemed healthy on Saturday, collecting another hit in addition to what became the game-winner.
Josh Palacios and Chavez Young also had two-hit days for New Hampshire, with Young going deep in the eighth inning.
Andrew Sopko lasted six innings in his start for the Fisher Cats, allowing three runs off eight hits and three walks, striking out three Portland batters.
The win went to Kyle Regnault, who faced just one batter, a first-pitch pop-up by Luke Tendler to retire the Sea Dogs in the eighth. Regnault is 3-1 on the year and Brett Cecil shut the door in the ninth to grab his 16th save of the year.
Sunday, Sept. 6 – Portland 4, New Hampshire 3
PORTLAND, MAINE – A pair of New Hampshire runs in the top of the seventh wrenched back a lead lost an inning earlier, but three Portland runs in the bottom of the seventh spoiled thoughts of a Fisher Cat win.
Graham Spraker had a strong start for the Fisher Cats, but couldn’t find the last out in the seventh, allowing a pair of two-out base runners before getting the hook for Louis Head.
Head walked the next four batters before earning that final out, giving Portland a lead it would not relinquish.
Spraker was responsible for three runs off five hits and a walk in his appearance, Head was on the hook for the other run, falling to 0-1 on the season.
At the plate, Alfredo Silverio went 3-for-4 and Alejandro went 2-for-3 with a walk. Riley Adams also contributed a double, giving him at least one hit over six of his last seven games.
Monday, Sept. 7 – New Hampshire 10, Portland 7
PORTLAND, MAINE – The Fisher Cats avoided setting a franchise record for losses or fewest wins in a season, securing their season-ending win with four ninth-inning runs.
New Hampshire also took four runs in the fifth, three of which came off Riley Adams’ homer over the Maine Monster in left, and the ‘Cats added another two runs in the seventh to take back the lead for good.
Josh Palacios, Deiferson Barreto, Alejandro Kirk and Alfredo Silverio each ended with a pair of hits in the win.
Six pitchers took the rubber for New Hampshire, with James Dykstra getting the win. Dykstra (3-2) recorded seven outs in relief, allowing one run off three hits and a walk. Kyle Regnault earned his fifth save of the year after recording the final two outs of the contest.
The Fisher Cats ended the year with 262 doubles, with Palacios and Kirk getting two-baggers and Silverio adding a pair of doubles. Kirk’s 39 doubles on the year came up just short of the league lead, held by Reading’s Alec Bohm.
New Hampshire didn’t have a single batter lead the league in any offensive category, but Thomas Pannone did manage to end the season leading the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.7.
The 59 wins and 81 losses recorded by the Fisher Cats tied franchise lows, with the former coming before in 2017 and the latter coming before in 2008 and 2012. However, the 2020 team ends with the worst winning percentage in franchise history at .421, a half game behind Gary Allenson’s 59-80 squad in 2017.
New Hampshire tied the Bowie Bay Sox for the worst record in the Eastern League this year and finished 30 games behind Reading in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.
Louis Head was sent down to Advanced-A Dunedin earlier in the day to help with their Florida State League post-season play beginning next week.
Batter of the Week: Alejandro Kirk – In the first full week since returning from the injured list, Kirk went 11-for-24 (.458), with three home runs, five RBI, seven walks, three doubles and eight runs scored.
Pitcher of the Week: Thomas Pannone – Pannone was just a handful of pitches away from getting the first shutout for a Fisher Cat pitcher since Yennsy Diaz did it in May 2019. Over the final 12 starts of the year, his ERA dropped from just over six runs a game to just under five, recording a 7-2 record during that span.