A few thoughts on the past week in the CCBL after giving props to Greg and Andrew on the All Star game coverage that they provided. Nice job gentlemen! Orleans is the only sure-thing for the playoffs right now. The Cardinals have 46 points, while third place Brewster has 32, fourth place Chatham has 30 and last place Y-D has 29. In losing their last three games, Harwich (38 pts.) has left the door open for those three teams to challenge for the East's second playoff spot.
In the West, anything is possible. Falmouth leads the way with 37 pts., closely followed by Hyannis (36), Bourne (34) and Cotuit (33). A five game winning streak by Wareham provided a glimmer of hope for them to get in the playoff hunt but at 29 pts., and having played one more game than the rest of the teams in the West, the Gatemen are a longshot. Hyannis, Bourne and Cotuit are all 3-7 in their last ten games.
The only games I was able to attend last week, were Harwich-Falmouth and Orleans-Wareham, both on Friday. It was a tale of two games. Harwich and Falmouth completed their game in 2:10. It was a well played, errorless game. The Orleans-Wareham game took 3:36 to play nine innings. This was also a well-played game with only one error. There were numerous pitching changes and the pitchers went to many deep counts which partly explains the length of the game. I thought the only games that took that long to play nine innings were Red Sox-Yankees games. The first inning took 35 minutes to play. One of the beauties of baseball is that there is no clock involved. This game called for the baseball equivalent of basketball's shot clock.
Rich Poythress' (Georgia) parents flew into Boston Friday afternoon and arrived at Spillane Field in time to see their son strike out twice before being removed for a pinch-hitter. Fortunately for mom and dad, Rich made it a worthwhile trip when he homered in the All Star game the next day.
During the long game on Friday, I had ample time to ponder a lot of topics. One question kept coming back to me. What takes longer? The time it takes Max Perlman (Harvard) to make a pitch; or the time it takes Gatemen manager Cooper Farris to go between the third base coach's box and the dugout? Answer to be provided when I bring a sundial to the next Wareham game.
Falmouth's Trevor Coleman (Missouri) had quite a day on Friday. At bat, he was 3 for 4 with a homerun. I was even more impressed defensively. He handled himself very well behind the plate and threw out all three runners who attempted to steal.
Last week, I noted the absence of distance markers on the outfield fence at Y-D's Wilson Field. There are no distance markers at Spillane Field either.
The Harwich bench was a little miffed at some of the umpiring calls. Coaches and players were rather vocal in their complaints. This had been going on for a few innings. A funny line developed out of the situation when Falmouth's first base coach was made to put on a batting helmet after the first pitch in the seventh inning. During the brief delay, Falmouth's third base coach came toward the Harwich dugout and proposed that the umpires should be the ones wearing helmets because "They're the ones who usually aren't paying attention and they're the least athletic people on the field." Sorry, coach. Hopefully the umpires don't read CodBall.
Falmouth is 11-4 at home this year. The Commodores have won 8 of their last 9 at Fuller Field.
Falmouth (.273) has taken over the top spot in team batting from Y-D (.272). The possible imminent departure of Jimmy Cesario (Houston) will have a big impact on the Commodores lineup. In addition to his .387 average, Cesario leads the league with 30 RBI and hits with 53.
I've mentioned before that I am surprised that Y-D is next-to-last in homeruns with 12 since they play half of their games at Wilson Field. A franchise that usually puts up some decent power numbers in a hitter-friendly ballpark, Y-D is leading the league in stolen bases with 61. The next closest team, Orleans, has 43 steals. Speaking of stolen bases, it seems Mike Roberts still hasn't been able to get the running game going in Cotuit. Roberts, known to prefer the small-ball style of play, has seen his Kettleer team successfully steal only 31 bases while being caught 26 times.
The first place team in the East and the second place team in the West are ninth and tenth in team batting average. Orleans is hitting .232, while Hyannis is batting .225.
The Harwich pitching staff has been ringing up the K's recently. The Mariners now lead the league with 319 strikeouts, eight more than Chatham.
Hyannis' pitching has kept the Mets in the playoff picture. They have joined Orleans as the only two teams with a team ERA below 3.00. The Mets ERA is 2.97. Meanwhile, in addition to being last in team batting average, the Mets are also last in runs scored with 117.
Orleans has given up the fewest hits (260) and the fewest walks (111). I guess that will go a long way toward explaining their league-leading 2.82 ERA.
There are a lot of good catchers in the East. Tony Sanchez (Y-D; Boston College) and Mark Fleury (Harwich; UNC) were the All Stars. In addition to them, Tommy Medica (Harwich; Santa Clara), Yan Gomes (Chatham; Tennessee) and Yasmani Grandal (Brewster; Miami) have also impressed. I also can't omit Ryan Ortiz (Oregon State) who made the All Star team as an outfielder. He has shared time behind the plate with Sanchez and performed well.
Harwich is now 5-0 against Chatham. Chatham is 5-0 against Brewster. The A's are 1-12 against the rest of the East. Brewster doesn't appear to have enough pitching to make a serious run at Harwich but the Whitecaps do play the Mariners three more times so, to a certain extent, they control their playoff destiny.
This is the time of year when people associated with the CCBL team up with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce to pray for good weather. If the weather doesn't cooperate, there aren't many open dates left. Of course, as I'm writing this, I'm finding out that today's Harwich-Cotuit and Bourne-Hyannis games were rained out.
Enjoy the least week and a half of the regular season everybody!