Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Skeleton crew sours the Sweets

Alex Fagalde mowed 'em down tonight
Alex Fagalde extended his scoreless innings streak to nineteen and a third before giving up one in the third inning tonight, as the HarbourCats beat up on the Walla Walla Sweets 9-1, all but eliminating the Sweets from their quest for a wildcard spot this year. Fagalde pitched seven solid innings scattering six hits and striking out nine while walking only two. In Fagalde's three starts this year - all wins - he has given up only one earned run in twenty and two thirds innings of work while striking out twenty two and walking seven. His WHIP over this stretch is a very good 1.06 - not too shabby for a late season starter.

More importantly, just like newcomer Riley Edmonds did last night, Fagalde pitched deep into the game consuming important innings and giving respite to the depleted pitching staff. I find it disconcerting that all of a sudden so many Victoria players are having to leave the team due to "academic" items they must take care of or "injuries" that dictate that they leave the team. Were all these issues really a surprise to them and could they not have somehow been managed remotely? Would the same thing be happening if the 'Cats were in a playoff hunt? I think not. Players would figure it out and play through some of these injuries and the 'Cats would still be fielding close to a full squad.

I'm sure it is disappointing for the team - management included - to have to deal with this issue. They are still coming to the ballpark every day and honouring their commitment to the team. This makes tonight's win over a pretty decent team even more impressive, given that morale must not exactly be soaring.

I'm sure some of the reasons are certainly valid and understandable, but I don't remember such a mass exodus last year. And it seems more than coincidental that since Victoria was essentially eliminated from the playoff race they have had seven players jump ship for various reasons. Hats off to players like Gabe Clark, Nathan Lukes, Hunter Mercodo-Hood et al who all have nothing to prove by playing more innings up here in Canada. For all the players who are sticking around to see out the season, I tip my hat to you fine young men and the integrity that you bring to the yard every day. All other things being equal in life, these are the character traits that will set you apart from others in whatever you choose to do.

And a big THANK YOU to the Eagles players for helping out their hometown squad. These guys will be hungry and fired up to show what they can do, so here's to hoping they all see some action - especially at home in the series finale against Kitsap in front of their friends and family.

That aside, Hunter Mercado-Hood had another (ho hum) three hit night with an RBI to lead the HarbourCat attack, putting his consistency on display yet again. Games that matter, games that don't matter, HMH is there for you like your mother after your first break-up. Ted Boeke had a nice night as well, collecting a trifecta of hits himself. Only the number nine hitter, John Grimsley, was left out of the Victoria hit parade as the other eight lads smashed out fifteen hits on the night, beating up four different not-so-Sweet pitchers.

The Series finale goes tomorrow with Alex "Put On Your Cardigan Mr." Rogers dueling his Walla Walla foe Spencer "Hob Nob" Hobson.

  • Alex Fagalde threw 106 pitches on Wednesday night, marking the tenth time that a HarbourCats pitcher has thrown over 100 pitches in a game. The ten outings of over 100 pitches this season are:
    • August 6 - Alex Fagalde, 106 pitches
    • August 1 - Logan Lombana, 109 pitches
    • July 30 - Alex Fagalde, 126 pitches
    • July 14 - Mikey Wright, 106 pitches
    • July 9 - Tim Peabody, 112 pitches
    • July 7 - Mikey Wright, 104 pitches
    • July 7 - Preston Ryan, 109 pitches (relief)
    • June 24 - Logan Lombana, 104 pitches
    • June 17 - Andrew Nelson, 104 pitches
    • June 13 - Alex Garcia, 102 pitches


  1. The number of players leaving early last year was even higher, actually. The rats jumped off the sinking 22-32 ship with an even higher frequency. Here is a list of all players "released" by the HarbourCats from mid-July onward in 2013 and 2014:

    08/10/13 Provencher, Ty released
    08/09/13 Blaskovich, Daryl released
    08/09/13 Rutckyj, Nick released
    08/09/13 Cuneo, Cameron released
    07/30/13 Record, Joe released
    07/24/13 Kiest, Tanner released
    07/24/13 Darr, Mike released
    07/19/13 Nesovic, Robby released
    07/19/13 Burba, Justin released

    08/04/14 Keller, Ryan released
    07/28/14 Watkins, Sean released
    07/28/14 Torres-Costa, Quintin released
    07/28/14 Marinch, Mark released
    07/28/14 Delgado, Angel released
    07/14/14 Carter, Devin released
    07/14/14 Garcia, Alex released

    By comparison, here is a list of the Corvallis Knights released from mid-July onward in 2013:
    08/09/13 Heck, Seth released
    07/31/13 Keyes, Kavin signed
    07/29/13 Hecht, Dylan released

    ... and here is a list of the Corvallis Knights released from mid-July onward this season:
    Zilch. Zippo. Nada. Nothing.

    Funny how winning changes everything...

  2. ... of course a pitching coach who keeps his pitchers free from injury also helps. 'Nuff said.

  3. If guys like Wright, Torres-Costa, Marinch, Carter, Delgado want to leave and go vacationing to Cabo San Lucas rather than working on their baseball skills…then let them go. It has given guys like John Grimsley, Noah Cummings, Alan Baldwin, Kelly Norris-Jones, Ted Boeke, and Danny Collier a chance to play. They have been patiently waiting all season long without any complaints.

  4. Hey Annie - I agree, that is the positive side of these guys leaving...I'm just not excited about the commitment it shows. Teams like Corvallis have developed a winning culture somehow and it would be great to foster something like that here in Victown. They don't do anything special, their players are not miles above everyone else but they just keep winning year, after year, after year...

  5. Excellent points, Darth and Annie. Wenatchee is another team that has a winning culture. They are one game behind Bend in the wildcard race... if the AppleSox don't catch the Elks it will mark the FIRST TIME IN WCL HISTORY that Wenatchee has not made the playoffs. Unbelievable.

  6. I agree with you Darth, when I was a kid playing little league my father would never have allowed me to quit in the middle of the season just because the team was losing. I was there until the bitter end and I always believed in the team and that we could win every game. Obviously some of these HarbourCat players were not brought up the same way. I would be curious if Kelowna, Kitsap, Cowlitz & Klamath Falls have experienced the same problem?

  7. Annie,

    Kelowna, Kitsap, Cowlitz & Klamath Falls have released a combined total of 8 players since mid-July. Victoria on their own has released 7 this year and 9 last year.