Ups and Downs: Fat Cats sweep Guelph, shockingly drop series to Cardinals
Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts lately due to high school exams coming up soon. Don’t worry though, you guys will get to experience the full effect of my blogging powers (sorry, that was extremely lame) after the 6-game road trip in mid-June.
Back to baseball, we have a lot to talk about today! The Fat Cats proved that they can hang with the big boys when they beat Guelph 2 weekends ago. Ottawa has beat Guelph more than any other team in the league at this point. We’ve handed Guelph 3 of their 5 losses.
However, the very next weekend (this past one), we managed to eek out a couple losses to the Hamilton Cardinals and lose that series. I guess that goes to show you how close the teams in this league are, but I think that both losses to Hamilton could’ve been easily avoided. I’ll get to that in a bit.
The Guelph series provided the Fat Cats faithful with some great baseball. I just have to say it again; Brandon Huffman is simply amazing on the mound. He pitched another 10 Ks in game one of this series and now leads the league with 44 of them. It says something when the man who’s second in strikeouts, Marek Deska of Toronto, only has 22. Huffman also leads the league in ERA (1.67). The guy is easily the best pitcher in the league. I’ve got more on him later as well.
Josh Soffer also had a good showing and earned a well-deserved save for game one. I must say that the pitching has really improved from the weeks prior. Guys, like Soffer, are getting back in the groove of things and pitching some great ball games. For the first time of the season, the pitching won a game for the Fat Cats.
Completing the sweep the next day was something that I was very content with. It feels great to watch your team win a series against a very capable team in the Guelph Royals.
These two games were actually the first 2 games that I saw this season and things went great. Once again, it was a great atmosphere at the park and the stadium had around 3,000 fans by the looks of it for both games.
The Hamilton series didn’t go the way I wanted it to, as I was hoping for a sweep which at the time seemed fairly realistic. The Cats were hot going in to the series, so I was hoping for a sweep so that our record was padded for the tough Toronto-Barrie series which is coming up soon.
Hamilton came out in the first game of the series with some fine pitching from Tim Black. Black, along with fairly solid relief did the job for Hamilton in game 1. It was definitely a much more deserved win than their second one.
Surprisingly, we didn’t see the best performance from Huffman. For the most part he’s dynamite, but something tells me he gets rattled easily. I’ve seen him slam his bat after striking or flying out at the plate. He’s been cool on the mound up until now, however we haven’t really seen him off his game. If he ever gets in a slump, I’m afraid he won’t be able to get out of it or have a tough time with it.
Ottawa had a couple chances to win the game late, loading the bases on 2 different occasions, but Mike Fortuna was able to shut down the Cats and conserve the win for Hamilton.
The problem here is finish. There have been a couple episodes now where the Fat Cats get the sacks packed or force extras but can’t get the job done. We need more patience at the plate in situations like that. I’m getting pretty tired of seeing Hayes or Maoz take a hack at the first pitch they see and fly out to the 2nd basemen to end an inning and leave guys stranded.
Game 2 of this series was a good one. I got home earlier than I expected from Quebec this weekend and almost made my way out to the game. Decided to lay low instead, but aside from the rain it seemed to be the most fun game of the season based on the vibes I got from my radio dial (by the way, Howard Bloom and Jason Ilacqua do a great job in the booth). I should’ve headed over.. I’ll know for next time, I guess!
Anyways, things really clicked for the team on Sunday. Wade Wilson had an absolutely unheard of 5 RBIs and every other batter had at least 1 RBI aside from Cody Mombourquette, and even Mombo managed to go 2-5. It was definitely an offensive afternoon with a total of 13 runs being put up.
Pitching didn’t really help Hamilton’s cause, as VanPelt and Swartz were brutal for them. They combined for 10 earned runs against and just 1 strikeout. Even if they did play into Ottawa’s offense, it’s good to see our roster explode for some hits. Hopefully that can help build some confidence.
Onto today’s game..
I have to give the Fat Cats a bit of credit; at least they built up a 6-1 lead.
Huffman, Mombo and Coker had a good day at the plate and Hummel held Hamilton off by putting up 5 Ks and keeping a goose egg on the stat sheet under the earned runs category. A lot of positives to go forward with from this game and I hope we can build off of it.
On the other hand, you will see that Hamilton managed to put up 5 runs in the 8th inning, tie the game and win it in 13.
While Zach Pearson was great on the mound and got the win for the Cardinals, we can’t keep letting teams back into games. This time around it was because of bad relief pitching from Tyler Durward.
Durward rarely sees action for the Fat Cats, so up 6-1 late in the game vs one of the worst teams in the league, Nelson decided to give him a shot at closing it out. I get that, and while I wouldn’t have tried it, I can see why he did.
However when you look at the box score, you will see Josh Soffer’s name in for the loss. Soffer was in the game for the unfortunate game-winning RBI from Chris Redfern, but it wasn’t him that let the Cardinals back into the game, that was Durward.
I am blasting Durward pretty badly for someone who’s only pitched once 5 years ago (I got pulled quickly too), but if you’re playing in the IBL, you’ve gotta do some good for your team and I haven’t seen him do that yet.
So, with the series loss to the Cardinals the Fat Cats are now 5-7 on the season and 4 games behind going into next weekend, where we’ll take on Toronto and then Barrie. It should be a good weekend with both Toronto and Ottawa fighting for a playoff spot. Expect the Fat Cats to give Barrie a run for their money as well, as the Baycats seem to have a tough time with Ottawa. Also, you never know what could happen to Barrie’s infield.. as we saw in the playoffs last year (Loooooogaaaaaan).