Fat Cats hot at the right time

Photo courtesy Freedom Photography

The playoffs are on the horizon and it has been determined that your Ottawa Fat Cats will do battle with the Guelph Royals. This 4-5 match-up was made after the Cats went into their weekend road trip with 2 blowout wins in Hamilton and Toronto.

No disrespect, but with the Cardinals you almost expect to blow them out. They’ve been getting absolutely demolished lately and it’s really because they have nothing to play for (aside from their pride).

We dealt them a 10-2 loss on Tuesday; with Huffman, Hayes and Dietrich each recording 2 RBIs. Hayes wasn’t even in the game for all 9 innings—he finally got some action on the mound for the final 2 innings, dealing 2 strikeouts and just allowing 1 hit. Not a bad outing at all and we may have something going for us there.

This was actually the 2nd time that Hayes has thrown for the Fat Cats. I believe the 1st time was in Brantford last season and he fared poorly. I don’t remember exactly how things transpired, but he didn’t last an inning. Glad to see him get a 2nd chance as he does have potential, shown here throwing 93 mph.

With such a short bench for the final trip of the season, I’m sure you’re wondering who Pat Gagnon (acting manager) saw when he looked down the bench for a Hayes replacement in the outfield. He found Josh Soffer, who was slotted in LF and was walked in his only plate appearance. I don’t remember him ever fielding previous to Tuesday, so he I would say that he did well from what I could tell on pointsteak.

The variation of positions continued for Josh the next day. Soffer, usually a closer, started the rain shortened Toronto game on Wednesday and pitched his way to a complete game* while striking out 3 and only allowing 3 hits in 6 innings pitched. Against a Toronto team that enjoys swinging for the fences at the little league park Christie Pits that is quite impressive.

It wasn’t just those two who showed that they can be versatile ball players. Mombo, Huffman, Sabourin and Gagnon were among others who played out of position and even with the short bench, they helped deliver convincing wins, 10-1 over Toronto and 10-2 over Hamilton

After a victory over the Brantford Red Sox and 2 wins in this fashion, one has to agree that the Fat Cats are on the prowl going into the first round of these playoffs.

Guelph lost the season series to Ottawa 3 games to 1, including the season opener in Guelph and a sweep in Ottawa. It seems like the Royals talented offense is snake bitten against the Fat Cats.

Frankie Hare, who batted .414 this season and quite frankly tore up the league, only managed to hit .307 against Ottawa. Sean Reilly hit .333 when he also is usually in the .400s. Hare and Reilly have a history of performing under their expectations in Ottawa—all you have to do is look back at the sweep of the Baycats in the 2nd round by Ottawa last year, a Barrie team that both Reilly and Hare were members of.

Guelph also has given up an average of 4.5 runs a game when taking on the Fat Cats, while the Cats in the same category vs Guelph score a 3.75.

Point being, the Fat Cats have been able to have more success over Guelph that the Royals have had on us, and our superb pitching staff—which has rebounded nicely after an starting the year poorly—has managed to shut their stars down.

I may be a little biased, but my prediction for this first round series is a Fat Cats victory in 6 games. Who have you got in this series?

    • Pierre
    • July 27th, 2012

    I didn’t even notice that LaDale had pitched. Seems to have done well. Can’t understand why Tim waited this long because as you say, we will probably need him. Last year as I recall, he had some problem, shoulder I think. Plus he had not pitched much. I think throwing during the winter likely helped a lot.

    Here’s my take and predictions on the playoffs, not just Ottawa but all series:

    (1) Brantford Red Sox vs (8) Burlington Twins

    Is there any doubt the Red Sox will win this series? The Twins may be lucky to win just one game. Funny thing about Twins games is that the home team went 27-8, including 16 in a row at one point. The Twins themselves are 10-7 at home but even this anomaly I don’t think will make a difference. Red Sox won all four games against Twins. So Red Sox in four.

    (2) London Majors vs (7) Kitchener Panthers

    The Panthers 17-19 record is not all that bad. There were 9-9 in the second half and 10-11 at home. They had the third best OPS in the league so they can score runs. That was 30 points higher than the Majors. But the Majors have the upper hand in pitching by far. London should win this series but it may not be easy. In games where the run differential was one or two runs, the Majors are 8-6 while the Panthers are 5-4. Kitchener has played the most games where at least one team scored ten or more runs and are 10-7, the Majors are 5-7 (2-4 at home). If they can get better pitching and we know they can hit, the Panthers could win this one and upset London in first round like Ottawa did last year. But I’m going with the Majors in six games.

    (3) Barrie Baycats vs (6) Toronto Maple Leafs

    Toronto has a better record in the second half, by just one more win at 11-7, unless I counted wrong. However, the Baycats have the best home record, 13-5, next to Brantford. They also haven’t lost at home in a month, against the Red Sox no less. The Baycats are better in all offense categories as well as pitching. The Leafs have played much better of late. Barrie won the season series 3-2 and outscored Toronto 40-31. The Baycats won their last four games. The Leafs are much better in close games 6-2 against 2-7. Other than this last point, it appears Barrie should win this series so that’s my call: Baycats in six.

    (4) Guelph Royals vs (5) Ottawa Fat Cats

    Ottawa’s strong suit is pitching and is more than a run better than the Royals. Matt McGovern is back but who knows how well he’ll do after a year off. He’s only pitched two innings. Amelotte was a surprise and could be the difference. Guelph has the upper hand in the offensive categories but good pitching usually stops good hitting. The Fat Cats are 3-1 this season against the Royals. However, all four games were decided by one or two runs. This is a category Ottawa led in and were 8-9 in close games. The Royals played 12 such games winning only five. Ottawa is only 8-8 in second half, Guelph 10-7 and also have the advantage of a 11-7 home record versus 9-7 for the Fat Cats. But Ottawa has played some really tough teams of late and really have been in a bit of a hitting slump until the last two games.

    I’m assuming Huffman starts the first game but with Tim, who knows. Amelotte probably the second and then see how that turns out. With Soffer having pitched that great game against the Leafs, he could be a starter back home for the fifth game. But let’s not forget Hummel. With Soffer, Desclouds McGovern, Hayes and even Coker in the bullpen, if they all play as well as they have in the last few weeks, the Fat Cats could actually sweep.

    But I doubt it. David Hatt is pretty good and is the type to easily hold our guys down. He’s already done so this year. A wildcard is our porous defense. A couple errors leading to runs and we lose a few and the series. Adam Reynolds could do the same and pitch a great game.

    Almost all the Royals can hit, not just Reilly and Hare. I think all games could be close ones. Both teams have pluses and minuses so it’s hard to choose. The Fat Cats can beat the Royals but it might go seven games.

    • Paul J. Hurley
    • July 28th, 2012

    I’m feeling more confident after the final 4 games of the season than after losing the 2-game home-stand against London a few weeks ago. Go Cats!

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