The Rogues are coming to RAP for a three game set, and ye best beware. Are you familiar with the Rogues? Well according to the wisest scholar in the land (Mr. G. Oogle), a rogue is "a dishonest or unprincipled man". A scoundrel, miscreant, reprobate, rascal, good for nothing ne'er-do-well. Better lock up your women and children, and leave your valuables at home.
Are we inviting these kind of men to our park? Yes we are. They arrive not by bus, but by a grey and green-hulled schooner that pays no heed to hipster kayakers in the inner harbour, dropping anchors through the bows of nearby harbour ferries and pretentious American-visitor pleasure craft. From there they come ashore and pillage their way to the park, gathering wenches and specialty wines along the way.
They arrive at the park singing songs of the sea, brandishing swords bloodied and worn from hard skirmishes with street fowl. They take up camp on the third base side where they sit in the sun, regaling each other of past conquests in nearby taverns and night clubs.
Actually that's not all true. The team name comes not from the quality of men who have joined the team on their journey to Victoria this week, but from the part of Oregon Medford is the center of - Rogue Valley. In the early 1800's when the white-folk were expanding west, the Valley was the site of many bloody battles between the settlers and the three Native American tribes that inhabited the land. The valley was named such by early fur traders for the difficulties that ensued trying to navigate the valley.
The Rogues had a fabulous "first season" in the WCL, finishing second in the South division, losing in two games to the eventual champion Corvallis Knights. The Rogues finished 30-24, including going 5-1 against the HarbourCats. The one win Victoria had last year was probably the most exciting game of the season though - a 12-11 comeback victory at RAP when Victoria scored 5 runs in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Bo Cornish, including a 2-out double by Dylan Lavelle to score Alex Real and Chris Lewis to win the game.
Unfortunately, Cornish is no longer part of the Rogue's crew for this voyage...
The Rogues are pretty much right where they were last year, in second place in their division, a game and a half back of both Corvalis and Bend. After a good start, they have had a tough July, going 3-7 over their last 10 thanks to a 1-5 set against the Knights. Overall, Medford routinely beats the teams it should, and has trouble with the top teams in the league.
Medford is led by stud 1B Victor Garcia. Garcia's hitting .329 with 23 RBI, and a league-leading 6 home runs. Designated Hitter Nathan Etheridge is also tearing up WCL pitching, sitting fourth in league average at .363. The Rogues have a solid core group, with six starters and eight players in total hitting over .300. Their team batting average of .282 leads the entire WCL.
On the mound, the Rogues have three 3-game winners, and we should see two of them in David Peterson and Jeff Hardy. Past that, the Rogues are fairly evenly balanced with some solid relief pitchers, and some "throw gas on the fire" guys.
The Rogues carry a few of "friendlies" as well - relievers Ivan Dilda and Mat Snider from Pepperdine will enjoy taking a shot at All-American freshman Aaron Barnett, and Trent Shelton from Gabe Clark's Oregon State Beavers will like the same. There's another Wave, and a couple of UNM Lobo's on the Rogues as well (including 1B Chris "The Red Hercules" Devito, who's favourite food is hot dogs). That's hard hitting journalism right there folks...
The Tale of the Tape
Victoria 12-15, 7-3 in their last 10. Medford 15-12, 3-7 in their last 10.
Victoria .265 team average, Medford .282
Victoria 4.09 team ERA, Medford 3.86
All things point to a Rogue domination of this series. Coming off a sweeping at the hands of the Pippens, the HarbourCats will need to regroup in the friendly confines of RAP and come out swinging. They need to get into the heart of a fairly suspect relief core to do some middle-inning damage before the lights-out guys come out of the pen. Given that the Rogues can out-hit any team in the league, and the HarbourCats have not yet proven to be able to stay with a heavy hitting team like Medford, it's going to be a long weekend for Cats fans at RAP. I'm calling a sweep in the wrong direction, but hoping for another 9th inning comeback to get us all out of our seats. Better stay 'till the end folks...