In running multiple stats over this six game road trip, here are some observations:
- Errors are atrocious with Victoria committing 14 and opponents committing only six
- Victoria was outscored 35-14 while only being outhit 55-46 and leaving a staggering 55 runners on base. Clutch hits are in as much demand as an A-Rod hit right now!
- The 'Cats have struck out 52 times - almost once an inning, compared to opponents 36
- Victoria pitchers have given up 23 bases on balls while the batsmen have taken 31 free passes
- In tracking pitches and strikes, it is fairly even and I have learned that on average (at least over this span) pitching strikes 62% of the time is about average (tonight that number was 57%)
The HarbourCats next opponent, the Kelowna Falcons, are also coming off six straight games on the road with both teams not exactly "soaring" into RAP on Friday. They share identical 1-5 records over that span and are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. This is the third series between these two clubs and Victoria has won five of the first six meetings, suffering only one loss - Kelowna's first win of the season - which came in K-town. The 'Cats have been stumbling as of late and a dose of Falcon might be just what the doctor ordered to get them back on track, ahead of a key series coming up with Walla Walla. The fact that it is home cooking also bodes well for the 'Cats, as they are 7-2 in the friendly confines of RAP this year while the Falcons are a dismal 2-10 on the road.
The Falcons limp into town having given up a total of 48 runs in the past six games. On the flip side, the 'Cats have surrendered 35. Victoria's anemic offense has only generated 14 in this same span while Kelowna's "Jeckll and Hyde" bats have manufactured 34, with 26 of those coming in two games. I guess this means they are capable of hitting, but only when conditions are ideal. All that said, this is a tough one to predict.
Tale of the Tape
Victoria HarbourCats: 11-9 (3rd place in North), .238 team batting average (second last...only by 1 percentage point), 4.02 team ERA (6th)
Kelowna Falcons: 6-18 (securely in last place in North), .261 team batting average (4th), 5.13 team ERA (last in the league by far)
HarbourCats – Who’s Hot
- Alex Real continues to bat well, with a .349 average, good enough for fifth in the league
- Chris Lewis is silently putting up very nice numbers and continues to be among league leaders in RBI
- David Schucknecht is hitting the ball well right now and sits at a lofty .912 OPS
- Despite a bit of a rocky start, Bryan Conant has been pitched well since joining the team collecting two wins and brandishing a 1.13 WHIP. Look for him to have a good outing in this homestand.
Alex Degoti continues to swing a hot bat and feasted on Kelowna pitching in the first two series, going eight for 20 (.400). He has been the model of consistency at the plate, staying within 20 points of .300 since June 15 and now sits at .308 with a .969 OPS. Expect this hitting machine to crank out a couple of multiple hit games at the RAP this weekend as he climbs higher into the .300's.
Falcons – Who’s Hot
- Nanaimo boy Cody Andreychuk has hit safely in 11 of his past 14 games and was riding a six game hitting streak heading into today's contest. Note to 'Cats pitchers, he has only walked once this year!!
- Catcher Nolan Johnson leads the team with a .899 OPS and holds a .394 average. While he is not exactly "hot" right now, there are not many other Falcon hitters to call out here
- Relief pitcher Tyler Dunnington sported a very impressive .075 ERA and 1.08 WHIP (prior to today's game) appearing in eight games and is one of the few Falcons pitchers not to be lit up in the last little while. He did get in a jam today, facing just three batters, all who got on base and eventually scored, thanks to the "help" behind him in the bullpen
Falcons Player to Watch
Outfielder Grayson Porter has struggled at the plate the last few games but is still hitting a very respectable .317. Look for him to start contributing again once back on Canadian soil.
Key to the Series
First and foremost, Victoria has to stop the bleeding in the field and cut down on errors. When and if the coaching staff settles on "permanent" infield positions, this should help. As well, they need to get some more clutch hits which will generate these things called "runs". During this road funk, they have only been outhit 55-46 and have left about he same number of men on base as their opponents, but they just can't seem to get the big hit when they need it.
On the Kelowna side, they will need better pitching because the 'Cats are very capable of generating hits and will feast on sub-standard pitching. Consistency at the plate is also important as the Falcons cannot afford to go to sleep there every few games or they will exit this series with a broom on their butts.
Sifting through all the stats, who knows exactly what will happen - Victoria needs runs and the Falcons need to give up less of them. My take is that Victoria will slowly start to gain its stride with this series but will slip up at least once, possibly because they are looking too hard at Kelowna's record. I predict 'Cats drop one game and win the series 2-1. Still, the boyz are back in town, the weather is amazing and there is NOTHING like the crack of a wooden bat...'cept maybe the Indy 500 (hidden and cleaned up movie quote here).
There's no place like home. There's no place like home.