To many on Cape Cod July 4th is the arbitrary half way line in the Cape League season. Around this time most teams have played close to half their games so this makes sense, but it also is the dividing line between the first half of the season, where rosters are in flux, players are missing, and teams generally get an excuse for being off the pace, and the second half where the slog of the long short season that is Cape League baseball truly begins and you know which teams are going to be competitive and which will not be. Teams like the defending champion Wareham Gatemen, and last years East Division Champion Chatham Anglers have proved to be competitive, and unless something drastic happens down the stretch in the last 20 games of the year, both teams will be around come playoff time. The same cannot be said for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, who, now 25 games into their season have a record of 5-19-1 (a full nine points behind the Bourne Braves for fourth place in the West), seem more and more destined to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. As we cross this midway line and celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States, its hard to see a way that the Harbor Hawks will be competitive down the stretch.
However, the battle for the final playoff spot in the East is much more interesting. The Brewster Whitecaps and the Harwich Mariners, fourth and fifth place respectively, are separated by just one point, 25 for Brewster and 24 for Harwich. The East in general this year has been a much more interesting race as not only is the battle for the final playoff spot close the entire division top to bottom is only separate by 7 points, less than 4 games. Meaning, while it may be unlikely, it is entirely possible that the Anglers could lose four straight games and find themselves in the battle for the final few playoff spots. One of the glories of the Cape League is that it is a long short season, and a win here or a loss there can add up in the end and deeply affect your playoff chances. As I type this the Anglers are already on a two game losing streak, and the YD Red Sox behind them by just two points in second are also on a multi game losing streak. If those streaks continue to five or six the playoff map in the East may get rewritten, and instead of the East Division crowing going through Chatham or YD, as has been the case in the last few years, the East Division Champion may find themselves going through Orleans or Brewster. This week will prove to an interesting and critical one for many teams throughout the league with great impact on the playoff chase, and I look forward to watching the action ensue.
Codball Players of the Week
This weeks Codball Batter of the week comes from the struggling Hyannis Harbor Hawks, as their new arrival, shortstop Jordan Westburg (Mississippi State) came on the scene and quickly became the best hitter on the team. Starting with a two home run game in his first appearance with the Hawks, and followed up with another home run the next day and going 5-6 in a double header against Bourne, Westburg has taken the league by storm, and would be a big part of any turn around by the Harbor Hawks.
The Codball Pitcher of the Week Honors belong to Harwich’s Jacob Palisch (Stanford) who accomplished one of the more illusive feats in Cape League baseball, a complete game. Pitching against the Wareham Gatemen Palisch struck out 10 and walked none while pitching a complete game in the first game of a double header, and putting up one of the best pitchers performances on the Cape this season in the process.
The Week Ahead
For the next week ahead I’ve got my eye on East Division games as the top two teams in the East, Chatham and Y-D, take each other on this Friday July 12th in Yarmouth in what could be a chance to stop both teams losing streaks. I’ve also got my eye on a double header between Falmouth and Wareham on July 19th. Falmouth, the hottest team on the Cape at the moment going 7-3 in their last 10 games, will take on the Gatemen in what could be a preview of the West Division playoffs. This week is also the last week before the Cape League All Star Game in Oreans on July 21st. All Star rosters should be announced soon and the next few days may be players last chances to make an impression and find their way onto the All Star roster.
That will do it for another week, as by the time you next hear from me we will likely have our All Star rosters to break down, and perhaps more drama in the East as we get closer and closer to playoff time here on Cape Cod. If you have any stories we missed or something you’d like to share with us send an email to Harrison@codball.com or tweet at us @codball.
Until next week,