Made it to three games over the weekend. Here are some observations... I said it a few weeks ago and nothing has happened since then to change my mind. If the Harwich Mariners get solid starting pitching, they will be a team to watch out for come playoff time. The Mariners have beaten East leader Brewster in 3 of their 4 meetings. The Mariners team batting average (.233) places them fourth in the league and the back end of their bullpen looks solid. As is often the case, it will all come down to what they get from their starters.
That was a very strange linescore from Saturday's Brewster - Harwich game. Harwich had 3 runs, 3 hits, 2 errors. Brewster had 2 runs, 1 hit, no errors. For the Whitecaps, the second batter of the game, Danny Oh, singled for their only basehit. Oh's hit followed a walk to leadoff batter Drew Martinez. Martinez eventually scored on a wild pitch and that was the extent of Brewster's offense. Harwich's Joe Holtmeyer (Nebraska-Omaha) went 7 innings and struckout 8, but did not factor in the decision. Brewster's Mike Palazzone (Georgia) went 6.2 innings and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits.
Whitehouse Field used to be one of the nicer looking playing surfaces in the league. Most of that surface is still nice, but what used to be a warning track is now a mix of sand, gravel and weeds. A small animal could get lost in the grass growing against the outfield fence.
Before going to the Whitecaps - Mariners game, I went to the Chatham -Yarmouth-Dennis game. Harwich and Chatham are going in opposite directions. While Harwich has won 10 of 13 games, Chatham has dropped 11 of their last 12. Chatham now sits in last place with 25 pts., 7 behind third place Harwich and 3 in back of Orleans.
I have seen Brewster and Chatham play a number of times this year and as the season moves along, I think it is becoming easier to see why one team is in first place and the other has dropped into the basement. Using this past Saturday as an example, I can tell you that Brewster is on a mission. They are playing to win. In the bottom of the ninth inning of a 2-2 game with Harwich, the Mariners had a runner on third with one out. Whitecaps coach Tom Myers pulled his centerfielder into the infield and went with 5 infielders. Not an uncommon thing to do, but I’m betting that not too many coaches in the league would do this. He then proceeded to intentionally walk the next two Harwich batters to load the bases. OK, that one is an obvious move. Then Myers decided to remove leftfielder Martinez from the game and replace him with Cohl Walla, apparently feeling that Walla has the stronger throwing arm. Even though the moves did not pay dividends because reliever Colton Murray walked in the winning run, it was very obvious to everyone in attendance that Myers is keeping his foot on the pedal and has his Whitecaps playing to win.
On the other hand, Chatham is playing like they have circled August 4 on their calendars. I think the coaching deserves some criticism too. In their game with Y-D on Saturday afternoon, the Anglers were down, 3-2, when they came up to bat in the eighth inning. With a runner on first and two out, the Chatham coaching staff (manager John Schiffner was serving a suspension) left righthanded batter Jacob Stallings in to bat against Y-D righty Anthony Desclafani, even though they had a couple of lefthanded options on the bench. Four pitches later, Stallings struckout and, for all intents and purposes, the game was over. Stallings finished the day 0 for 3 and is now batting .100. It’s admirable to be loyal to your players, but it’s also OK to make a move or two to try to win a game. The only recent addition to the Anglers roster is USC’s Joe DePinto who is batting .133 with one RBI in 30 at-bats since arriving in Chatham. Other teams have been able to go out and bring in players who have contributed. I understand Chatham did not have a lot of room to tinker with their roster since they didn’t have anyone invited to the Team USA trials, but that leads to another potential problem. For two years in a row, Chatham has gotten off to a good start. They were 7-2-1 at one point this year. In each of the last two years, Chatham has gotten off to strong starts while they had pretty much their full roster and other teams’ rosters were in flux. Then, when the other teams permanent players arrive and those teams make other moves, Chatham remains stagnant and soon they are being passed by, and are looking up at those other teams in the standings.
The West is still a jumbled mess. Bourne (32 pts.) has a two point lead over Cotuit. With Falmouth's win over Wareham tonight, the Commodores have 26 pts. and the Gatemen have 25 pts. Hyannis has gone 3-8 in their last 11 games and they now find themselves in last place with 24 pts. Things change every day in the West.
Falmouth and Cotuit have completed their season series with the Kettleers coming out on top, 4-2.
Brewster swept their series with Bourne, 4-0; and the Whitecaps lead Orleans, 4-0, with two games to be played between those teams.
Harwich took 5 of the 6 meetings with Chatham.
The 259 strikeouts by Falmouth's pitching staff is tops in the league. Their 3.86 team ERA is last in the league.
Brewster has a league-best 1.99 ERA. With Anthony Ranaudo having left the Whitecaps, it will be interesting to see if their staff can bring a championship to Brewster. They still have five solid starters in Austin Lubinsky (1.59 ERA), Jake Floethe (1.65), Mike Palazzone (1.67), Andrew Gagnon (1.69) and Matt Crouse (2.00).
Falmouth and Y-D are tied for the league lead in homeruns with 12. They are closely followed by Orleans, Cotuit and Wareham, all with 11.
Chatham has been shutout 6 times. The Anglers have yet to pitch a shutout.
When Harwich beat Brewster on Saturday, it was the Whitecaps first one-run loss this year. They had won their previous 8 one-run games.
Amazingly, there has been only one game that has not gone 9 innings this year - other than the scheduled 7-inning doubleheader games. Wareham beat Chatham, 4-1, in a game called after 6 innings due to rain on July 13.
Hard to believe there are only two more weekends of regular-season games left on the schedule.