Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fired-up HarbourCats slay the giant

Bryce Greager finally saw some playing time today
Perhaps it was Saturday night’s three bench-clearing incidents or perhaps it was the rare show of emotion from head coach Bob Miller, but for some reason the HarbourCats were fired up on Sunday afternoon, pummeling the mighty Corvallis Knights in a convincing 19-10 victory (did the Victoria placekicker miss two extra points?). The win not only salvaged the final game of the three-game set for the HarbourCats, but it was also the first-ever franchise win over Corvallis in six tries.

Based on the excessively loud bench jockeying in the top of the first inning, the Knights initially looked like the fired-up team on this day. Andrew Nelson came out of the gate firing, however, and his strikeout of Marc Gallegos in the second at-bat of the game immediately silenced the Corvallis bench. Nelson would go on to retire the Knights 1-2-3 in the first two innings, transforming the Corvallis bench jockeys into men as meek as Ned Flanders for the rest of the day.

There was a lot of good news on this day from the potent Victoria offense. The under-utilized Bryce Greager may have finally forced his way out of Bob Miller’s (questionably-populated) doghouse by driving in five runs just a few hours after hitting a pinch-hit solo homer on Saturday night. Greager went four-for-six on Sunday and he’s now hitting .268 with two homers and 17 RBI on the season.  Although that batting average may not sound impressive, he does have a .377 OBP and an .800 OPS (6th-best on the team). He also has a solid .972 fielding percentage, 3rd-best among HarbourCats infielders, behind only Sean Watkins and Gabe Clark.

Collier's summer has been a head-scratcher 
The other positive development over the last couple of games has been the resurgence of Danny Collier, who had his second consecutive multi-hit game to finally raise his batting average over the Mendoza Line. Collier walked twice in the game and reached base in four of his six plate appearances, but I was most impressed with his double in the 4th inning off of Sean Eberhardt. Collier has been pretty passive at the plate all summer, but instead of relying on his normal slap swing that merely puts the ball in play, Collier actually turned on a pitch and pulled it down the right-field line. Let’s hope that the Freshman All-American from the University of New Mexico has some success the rest of the way to make the best out of a what has been a disappointing season so far.

Hunter Mercado-Hood also had a big day for the HarbourCats, reaching base in five of his six plate appearances and driving in three runs. Mercado-Hood now leads the league with 39 RBI and he’s on pace to knock in 50 and break the all-time WCL record for RBI in a season (48, set by Mitchell Gunsolus of the Wenatchee AppleSox in 2012).

HarbourCatNip
  • The HarbourCats matched their franchise record for runs in a game (19), originally set this year on Canada Day against the Kitsap BlueJackets. They also matched the franchise record for hits (21), set on July 2nd of this year against those same BlueJackets. Given the state of the Kitsap and Corvallis pitching staffs, today’s explosion was far more impressive than the numbers put up against the weak BlueJackets hurlers. The full box score for today's slug-fest can be found on the Pointstreak site.
  • Christian Stewart of ISN has reported that "Sean Watkins, Quintin Torres-Costa, Mark Marinch and Angel Delgado are all heading home on Monday." Wow, our pitching staff just got a heckuva lot weaker. Look for some high pitch counts and more slug-fests down the stretch.
  • Victoria heads to Wenatchee on Tuesday to start a three-game series against the AppleSox. The HarbourCats then return home on Friday for a weekend set against the tough Bellingham Bells.
  • Given the three bench-clearing incidents on Saturday night, it’s no surprise that their was some animosity in the handshake line following Sunday’s series finale. The bloggers have exclusive video of a portion of the verbal exchange and we highly recommend that you check it out.

6 comments:

  1. great game today, although it was so hot you kind of wish Corvallis was the kind of team to just lie down and get beat once in a while! Going to miss those players going home, especially Sean. a few times he's gone from DH or outfielder to pitcher, and done really well. I think last night he was only going to pitch for an innings or 2 at max while waiting for someone else to get warmed up, and now realising he's going home Monday anyway, it kind of makes sense he would be the one to get the payback.

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  2. Part of the reason Bryce Greager has not been playing lately is he has been in a hitting slump since July 9th with only 3 hits in his last 27 at-bats good for a .111 average. During that period his average dropped from .286 to .242. While Greager is certainly the best defensive third baseman on the team, I don’t believe replacing him in the lineup now and again impacts the offense too much. Also it's good to get the other guys out there occasionally.

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    1. Greager is a very good all-around player who still contributes when he doesn't get a hit in a game. He finds a way to get on base (.377 OBP -- 41 points higher than the over-utilized Wyler Smith) and he is easily our best-fielding third baseman. He has been under-used since the season began, so I'm not sure that his cooling off with the bat earlier in July put him in Miller's bad books.... he has been there all season IMHO. But I agree, the cooling off with the bat did play into the reduced time recently.

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  3. Thanks for reading my stuff Gus...yep Watkins leaving was confirmed when I talked with Brooks Knight (Corvallis Head Coach who said his suspension was reduced to one game because he was going home Monday anyway). Also talked with Sean. He really wants to come back here next season. Also talked with Torres-Costa (who I learned on Friday was leaving) and Marinch and wished them well. Did not talk with Delgado but heard from others he is leaving as well.

    Agree that the pitching will be stretched down the road. I did hear rumour that one of the 10-day guys from start of year might be back, but suspect that was just that, rumour. Don't think any of them can help now.

    Was also nice to see Baldwin (Alan! Alan! Al! Al! Alan!) have a good day. I've had some nice chats with him and he seems a great kid. And his new walk-up sound clip has caught on the way "Arrrrrhhhhhaaartttt" did when the Seals were here. Plus it's way funnier!

    Was also interesting to hear Brooksie's take on the whole Saturday night thing. He basically said they did not throw at Clark on purpose (catcher is good friends and teammates with him, etc) and that whole deal was all on HarbourCats and that Bob did not control his team after Clark started yelling at pitcher...I suspect Bob would say the exact same about the Knights and their player control. I did not write anything about it as it is over and done with, but it was interesting to hear it from the Knights perspective.

    Oh and nice Rickroll on the video thing :((

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    1. Haha...you've been rickrolled, sucka!!

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  4. Now about the rickrolling: The HarbourCats and Knights actually displayed great sportsmanship in Sunday's handshake line. Anything for a laugh...

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