Fat Cats take 3 of 5, impress during lengthy road trip

Chris Chambers can’t believe that he was called out at home during the London-Ottawa game on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Lori and Wayne Brown)

Road trips are usually the toughest part of the season for any sports team. However, no team in the IBL experiences the adversity thrown at them through the schedule like the Fat Cats do.

Last week, they traveled to—deep breath—Toronto, Barrie, Brantford, Burlington and London in a span of 4 days. It supposed to be even worse, as their Sunday game against Kitchener was cancelled due to rain.

Obviously this is due to the Cats being situated so far from the other teams in the IBL. If you look at a map of the teams in the league you see how far we really are, and it’s a lot further than you would think.  It’s unfortunate, but until the league does expand east, we’ll have to deal with it. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

It seemed as though the Fat Cats knew that they had to deal with it as well, because there was no downgrade in the quality of baseball from the players even though some of them were playing out of their natural positions for the week and to top it off, were completely gassed.

Brett Sabourin, for example, played first base for 2 of the 5 games filling in the absence left by Matt McGovern. McGovern would return, but not before Sabourin put up 3 hits on 6 at bats, plus a walk, making it a solid week at the plate for the pitcher.

Speaking of Gov, he’s slowly regaining his form. All year he has been nursing a shoulder injury, but you can see that he’s starting to get his groove back. His batting average—while still bad—is improving and he’s almost back in the .200s. Hopefully the positive strides continue for him and that we’ll see him back in his element soon.

On the downside, it appears that Wade Wilson is sliding his way back down to reality at the plate. He went .143, mustering just 3 hits through all 5 games. He struck out numerous times as well (12 times in the 5 games) and visibly showed his frustrations at the plate.

I personally think that Wilson is feeling the pressure of having his role in the Fat Cats offense being advanced. He’s been moved up from the 9slot in the order all the way up to the 5th. Is it just a slump? Hopefully, but maybe he just doesn’t feel comfortable in this slot and would rather be back at the bottom of the order.

I’m likely thinking a little too much into this, but I would still be very interested in seeing him in the 8 or 9 slot again to see how he reacts and if we see the WW from a few weeks ago once again. It’s not out of the question either, as Nelson likes to shake things up in the batting order every now and then.

Despite Wilson’s recent unfortunate struggles, there were obviously other guys in the Cats lineup that got the job done this week. If not for guys like Mombo, Hayes and Coker—he made an AMAZING play on Saturday night to help kill the London rally—we definitely wouldn’t have come out of the weekend with a 10-11 record.

Power was another curious thing that I noticed from the road trip. The Cats mustered up 2 HRs against the Baycats, one from Hayes and one from Coker.

It’s one thing to see jacks from the Fat Cats at a park like Christie Pits, whose furthest dimensions are barely 350, but Schmidt and Shaw Stadium is not a small ballpark. The dimensions are 325-400-325, which are very similar to Ottawa Stadium’s dimensions of 325-404-325. Considering that we saw 2 Fat Cats go deep in Barrie, could we see an end to the Cats home run drought at home? To refresh the ticker, we’re now at 395 days without a homer at the old Jetform Park.

There were obviously some other obstacles that Ottawa failed to climb over, as there always is in a lengthy road trip, like the surprising Burlington Twins. I’m sure many fans were wondering what the hell happened at Nelson Park on the eventful Saturday. A 5-0 loss to the Twins isn’t something you see very often, but you also don’t often see a pitcher as hot as Matt St. Kitts was very often. He limited the Fat Cats to just 1 hit all game. Not much you can do when a pitcher catches that much fire.

Ottawa recognized that in a big way and they were able to regroup for the evening game, snatching a win from London in an offensive explosion 11-4, including a 6-spot 9th.

Says a lot about a team and the way that it can deal with adversity when you can bounce back from getting shut out with an 11-4 win on the same day in a different city. Oh man, I could go on and on about how awesome that London game was.

One of the only things that wasn’t right about the game was that for the entire time that Josh Soffer was in, the RTV London crew kept mistaking him for Marc-Andre Major.

I mean, this is in no way Rogers’ fault, but you would think that Soffer’s number change for the road trip would have been noted in on the roster. Anyways, I’m just nitpicking at this point. Should probably just shut up.

Ottawa hosts Burlington this weekend in the first games of the summer. Should be a very interesting series considering what transpired between the Fat Cats and Twins on that Saturday afternoon. Game times are as follows: Saturday night at 7:05, Sunday DH at 1:05. Hope to see you at the park.

In the next few days/weeks (I really don’t have a schedule in the summer), I’ll be working on a few other posts not directly related to Fat Cats game results… stay tuned to the blog for those.

    • Pierre
    • June 22nd, 2012

    Wilson had a poor road trip, no question. Sometimes, my favourite tool, secondary average, can be an indication of something. I said in a previous comment that it was low, mainly it appeared due to his low number of walks. Well, he did not walk once during the trip and as you said, he struck out 11 times, at least twice in each game. He’s just not patient which means he’s prone to slumps like he was in the whole trip.

    The home runs will happen at times. I’m just not convinced they will happen much this year and even less in Ottawa. There weren’t many extra base hits as well. Only six doubles and the three homers in 41 hits in five games is not too good.

    About mistaking one player for another, you’ve been up in the press box. The roster sheet we’re given is not always correct. So no, you can’t blame them for that.

    • Yung p
    • June 25th, 2012

    No love for ET? The kid bats .400

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