Ottawa downed by Stephens & Company, trail in Championship Final 0-2
The Brantford Red Sox would certainly like to erase their last 9 games of the 2011 regular season. They lost all of them. However, when the playoffs started the Sox definitely made the world know that they’ve put those endeavours behind them.
They shoved aside the Kitchener Panthers in 5 games, a team that was one of the highest scoring teams in the league. In the second round, they faced a more difficult challenge, as they took on Toronto. The Leafs would take Brantford to the brink, leading the series 3-2 at one point, however, the 3-time defending champs would beat the odds, and the 2nd-seed Leafs to advance to the championship final.
In my previous post on this blog, I said that I would rather face the Red Sox than the Leafs. Now, I have to congratulate the Sox for making me eat my words. Ottawa did OK against Brantford this season, even managing to win a couple games at Cockshutt Park toward the end of the season. Keeping the unbelievable ride that the Fat Cats were on going into this final series in mind, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Ottawa would at least have a split going home.
Game 1 was anybody’s game from the first pitch. It was 0-0 for the entire time, with Matt McGovern pitching yet another gem. In extras, the Fat Cats started to get into some trouble. For some reason, the Fat Cats pitchers kept walking batters. I understand that there are some heavy hitters in this league, but if I had to choose between walking a guy to load the bases and taking a chance on him, i’d take the chance every day.
Relief Pitcher Danny Desclouds walked Tyler Patzalek to load the bases in the bottom of the 11th. Up to the plate came Al Stephens, who cranked a Grand Slam over LaDale Hayes and the “silver monster” to end the game.
Losing a scoreless game in the 11th inning takes a lot out of you, so I’m not surprised that we lost game 2, however what I was surprised about was the way that we played. It was brutal. The dropped pop-up behind home plate was terrible. Sorry, Rick, but that should have been caught. There were also a bunch of thrown away balls that could’ve translated into outs. All in all, the first 8 innings were very hard to watch. I’m glad that the 9th inning went the way that it did, and that we didn’t go down without a fight. If the final score was 8-3, and we went 3 up, 3 down in the 9th, I would be a lot more worried about the rest of the series right now.
I, for one, hope the game 2 performance from our D was a one-time thing, but I’m not losing faith just yet. I think that it was just a result of the draining loss the night before. Now that we’ll have 5 days to recover and get back on track, I think that game 3 will be a victory.
That being said; if we want to win the rest of the games in this series, plus game 3 isn’t a lock as it is; some changes need to be made. The most prominent one for me is a change in the starting rotation for the home stand. Tim Nelson may have mixed it up already, but I think that it should be McGovern starting game 3 and William Sebastian or Josh Soffer starting game 4, instead of Brett Sabourin.
Brett is a good pitcher, but he hasn’t been on the ball lately. I found this in the Barrie series as well. I think that a change in scenery is needed for game 4. Nelson, in my opinion, should start someone else. Give Brett a rest, and then go back to him later in the series. Mitch Goldenberg, host of Fat Chat, also brought this up in his show, and showed his support for the move.
This weekend the Fat Cats will be playing the Red Sox on Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 2, before headed back to Brantford for game 5.
Fans, just because we are down in this series does not mean that we are out of it. I want to see us top the record-setting 4,108 tickets sold from game 3 of the Barrie series. There are plenty of reasons to head out to the park on a beautiful Labour Day weekend and cheer on our team… you better be there!