|Four strong innings from Schneider on Sunday|
He matched that Sunday, going four scoreless innings giving up only 3 hits and walking none. Problem is, he trotted back out for a fifth inning. It didn't end as well as it started for Schneider, as he gave up a lead-off home run, two singles, and a double in the next two-thirds of an inning, and left trailing 3-0. Ryan Keller got the final out of the 5th, then imploded in the sixth giving up 3 hits - including 2 home runs and walked two while only recording a single out. Tim Peabody allowed a run to score, and by the time the dust cleared, it was 8-0 Bellingham. The score would hold the rest of the way as both teams failed to mount any further offence. Peabody had a serviceable rest of the game, giving up no more runs on only 2 hits - but keeping it interesting by walking 4 more. Bellingham starter Seth Martinez was lights-out all day, giving up only 3 hits in six innings. He moves to 5-0 on the season, lowering his ERA to 2.35 in the process.
However it's not as much about Sunday's game as it was about the entire weekend. Taking two of three from the Bells is no small feat - this is only the third time this season that Bellingham has lost a series, and they have never been swept, so a win Sunday was a long shot to begin with.
This weekend proved that the HarbourCats are not far away from being a contending team in this league. Friday and Saturday's games were perfect examples of what the right lineup can do behind some solid pitching. For maybe the first time this year, the Cats got the clutch hit each time they needed one, and made the outs when they mattered most. Injuries gave way to a solid lineup that - from top to bottom - was good enough to be a constant threat. Sunday showed the opposite. Shaky pitching - or more precisely pitching stretched beyond it's means - is the downfall of this year's HarbourCats team. When Schneider completed four strong, there wasn't a group of 1-2 inning guys capable of getting the game past the mid innings. They all left last week - Angel Delgado instagram'ed a beautiful picture of the pool at the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo San Lucas this morning, he could have given a couple solid innings. Torrres-Costa, Watkins? They could have helped if they were still around...
But you can't get too down on what you saw this weekend. A textbook 4-2 win Friday, a last-bat walk off win Saturday, and a tired pitching staff outgunned by a solid Bells starter on Sunday. You couldn't ask for much more.
Except for maybe a deeper bullpen.
Six precious games left in the HarbourCat season. Three at home starting next Friday night - be there!
- Cats owner John McLean shared an interesting tidbit about the Bells... The team's home stadium is no longer available to them this year. They will finish the year on the road, and come playoff time, will have to play all games in the opposing park. This is due to a major renovation going on to their home park, Joe Martin field. The park is known for it's lack of drainage and poor field condition, and is getting a complete overhaul that includes an artificial surface. Timing isn't great, but I suspect they need all the time they can get at the end of summer before it starts to rain to do the field prep. The Bells will certainly have to be road warriors to take the WCL crown this year.
- There was an expectation that Mikey Wright would be on the mound today. The starter had a setback in Wenatchee back on July 29 and hasn't been seen since. Injury or doghouse is anyone's guess.
- It's clear that Preston Ryan needs another start. He has had three solid appearances in a row and his six innings of work Saturday show he's got some stamina. How about having him start, and moving Andrew Nelson to the pen? Nelson has shown he's good for 2 innings - once through the order - before he sets himself on fire. Seems like a logical swap to me.
- In 32.2 innings of work this year, Peabody has allowed 70 batters to reach base, 38 by the walk.
- If you follow us on instagram (and if not, why don't you!), you saw the comment about Aaron Barnett. He's the consummate great teammate - at the end of every inning, where he's usually hustled down the line to first to back up the throw, he walks back onto the field to his pitcher and gives him a glove-bump, an 'ata-boy, and walks back to the dugout beside his hurler. I don't care who you are on the mound, that has to pump you up knowing that guy is in your corner. Catchers everywhere could learn a thing or two from Mr. Barnett.
- And not to "pump up his tires" too much - has Barnett thrown a runner out stealing second all year? Don't they have "arms day" at Pepperdine?