Another week, another road trip. It’s Monday, May 13, 2019 and here’s what’s been going on lately on the path 400 miles to Toronto.
Vs. Portland (Road)
Tuesday, May 7 – Portland 4, New Hampshire 2
Wednesday, May 8 – Portland 3, New Hampshire 1
Thursday, May 9 – New Hampshire 11, Portland 1
Vs. Binghamton (Road)
Friday, May 10 – New Hampshire 10, Binghamton 5
Saturday, May 11 – New Hampshire 6, Binghamton 4
Sunday, May 11 – Postponed: Inclement Weather
Here come the runs
Dustin Pedroia helped the last-place Portland Sea Dogs to a win against the Fisher Cats on Wednesday but even he couldn’t turn the tide on Thursday as the Fisher Cats finally found their offense.
Thursday’s 11-1 broke a five-game losing streak and also set a high mark for runs in a game this season. Heck, it was more runs than they had during the entire losing streak combined, plus the game before that they won.
Then they scored 10 the next night in Binghamton.
Is this beginning of a renaissance for a lineup that has generally been in the bottom half in most offensive categories? Possibly.
“We’re starting to swing the bat a little better, as the weather improves, everybody is getting a little more comfortable,” said Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai.
The big question moving forward if this uptick can hold: will the Fisher Cats be able to hold onto their league lead in walks and stolen bases? Only time will tell there.
Son of a…..
There is one area where the offensive upswing hasn’t reached, and it’s a place that proved to be a strength to last year’s team: members of the roster who have family members in the majors.
Brandon Grudzielanek, nephew of Gold Glove winner Mark Grudzielanek, is currently on the seven-day disabled list, but likely won’t be making a regular appearance in the lineup even after he returns. That’s in part to the growth of Nash Knight at the hot corner as well as the fact that Brandon’s strikeout total is almost three times higher than hit total as of Mother’s Day.
Kacy Clemens, son of seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, is just as firmly behind Chad Spanberger at first base as Gruzielanek is at third base on the Fisher Cats’ depth chart.
Clemens has a .145/.247/.416 slash line so far this year and was 0-for-6 during two games over the most recent road trip.
“They might need some minor mechanical adjustments they can make to square around the ball more,” said Mordecai. “They get good pitches and they foul them off. They’re late to the pitch or maybe it’s something they have to do mechanically. But they’re working at it, so they’ll get better at that.”
New Faces and Better Luck
Nate Pearson joined the Fisher Cats last week after going 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA in six starts in Advanced-A Dunedin. He didn’t allow a run in his debut on May 7 against Portland, and it looks like he’ll be joining a packed starting rotation.
Even the poor starts of Patrick Murphy and Hector Perez are beginning to correct themselves, with both hurlers getting wins over the road trip.
“The guys have been keeping well, they’ve been keeping us in ballgames,” said Mordecai. “And getting Nate Pearson here, he’s got a really good arm. He’s got some velocity. Then Murphy, Yennsy Diaz, all of these guys are doing a really good job…they all have good fastballs and when they use them, good things happen.”
This week also marked the retirement of catcher Ryan Hissey. Appearing in 49 games in three years for the Fisher Cats, Hissey was batting .225 this season and served as backup to Alberto Mineo. The Fisher Cats also recently brought up Riley Adams, who provided the game-winning homer against Binghamton on May 11.
Fisher Cats of the Week
Batting: Santiago Espinal (9-for-23, 2 R, 7 RBI, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 SB)
Pitching: Patrick Murphy (1-0, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks)