It wasn't all that long ago that Falmouth was the only team with a better than .500 record in the West. Now the Commodores are a lot closer to the bottom spot than they are to first place in the division. Cotuit has won 11 of their last 13 games while Falmouth has dropped 7 straight and 11 of 13. The Kettleers lead Falmouth by 10 points. Wareham is tied with Falmouth and the Gatemen have played one less game. Hyannis sits just 2 points in back of Falmouth and Bourne is 2 points behind the Harbor Hawks. Bourne also has a game in-hand on Falmouth and Hyannis. In the East, Harwich has 40 pts., Yarmouth-Dennis has 38 pts. and Orleans has 36 pts. Chatham broke a 5 game losing streak with their 4-2 win over Orleans last night. Brewster trails the Anglers by 6 pts. for the last playoff spot. The Whitecaps have played one less game than everyone else in the East.
Chatham has been inconsistent from the beginning of the season. There have been nights when they have looked real good, other nights not so much. In fairness, losing Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) and his 25 RBI through 21 games, and pitchers Nick Burdi (Louisville), Scott Frazier (Pepperdine), and Brian McIlhenny (Pepperdine) has not helped the Anglers cause.
Harwich is also going to have to keep their strong season going without a couple of All Stars. Rightfielder Austin Wilson (Stanford) was injured at the game in Orleans last Friday. Wilson was batting .312 with 6 HR and 20 RBI at the time. RHP Grant Gordon (Missouri State) worked 4 perfect innings of relief in the Mariners 13 inning win over Bourne last Thursday. The next day - the same day that the All Star squads were announced - he boarded a plane and headed home. In 18 innings of work, Gordon amassed some very impressive numbers: a 1-0 record with a 0.50 ERA, a 26/4 K/BB ratio, while holding opponents to a .224 avg.
There were some surprisingly smallish crowds at a couple of the games I was at last weekend. On Friday, when Orleans hosted Harwich, there was plenty of space on the berm. Very surprising given that it was a beautiful evening with two very good teams - and the visiting team coming from just a few miles down the road. (For whatever it's worth, the announced attendance was 1,351). The next night, when the Mariners went a few miles in the other direction to take on Chatham, a number of folks were commenting on how sparse the crowd on the center/rightfield hill was. The announced attendance that night was 2,876 but even some Anglers officials were saying that anything over 1,500 was including the people who went to the game disguised as empty seats. It was just surprising to see such relatively small crowds at those two venues on a Friday and Saturday night.
Even after being held to 4 hits by a trio of Cotuit pitchers in yesterday's 8-4 loss, Yarmouth-Dennis continues to lead the league in hitting with a .313 team avg. At the other end of the spectrum, Chatham is batting .220.
The Orleans pitching staff's 3.50 ERA remains the league's best. Firebirds pitchers also have a league best .240 OBA.
Cotuit has taken all 3 games from Y-D. The teams meet again in Cotuit on Sunday to close out their regular season series.
Falmouth and Brewster have been shutout 3 times.
Wareham is now 4-11 at Spillane Field.
Cotuit is 5-0 in one-run games. Orleans has won 8 games by a single run.
I've had a number of people ask about a meet-up at the All Star Game on Saturday. As much as I love the Cape Cod League, and baseball in general, the ASG doesn't do anything for me. The last ASG I attended was in Falmouth in 2001. It's not that I don't like the game or the atmosphere. It's just that I think all the hoopla surrounding one game is a bit over the top. I do think a pitcher can help his stock if he blows away batters for a 1-2-3 inning. But, if a player goes 0-for-3 in the game, should he be written off as a prospect? Conversely, if a player goes 3-for-3, does that mean he should move to the top of a scout's report? The example I sometimes use is that any one of us could step into the batters box against Justin Verlander with a blindfold on, and there is a chance we could take one swing and hit one out of the park. Now, we know that's probably not going to happen (OK, in my case, it's never going to happen), but there is always that chance. If Verlander keeps pitching and I keep swinging for the rest of my life, ain't no way I'm ever gonna do that again. In fact, I feel pretty safe in saying I'm probably not going to hit a foul ball off him. That's a long way of saying that I just don't get all the importance attached to one game. Some scouts have told me they go to the game because they are assigned to go, but that they get a lot more out of watching a player perform night after night for a week or two than they get out of watching the ASG. Makes sense to me. If it isn't about the stats that show up in the ASG boxscore, is someone going to say they can make decisions on a player by judging his stance, stride, hands, etc. based on this one game? I get a lot more out of going to 35-40 regular season and playoff games than I would by attending the ASG in terms of trying to figure out which of those players will be the "stars of tomorrow." I also have to laugh at how some college baseball writers come out of the woodwork for this one game then disappear, not to be seen at a CCBL game again until the next July. Also - and this is not meant as a game being played on Cape Cod vs. Fenway Park statement - but if you go, you better plan to leave the beach early to get to Whitehouse Field in order to actually see the game. Whitehouse Field is a great little ballpark, but there just isn't that much good seating. Good views can be had from most of the bleacher area and for those folks who set up chairs beyond both dugouts toward the outfield fence. Other than that, you will be hanging over the outfield fence 300'-400' away from the action, or standing 4-5 deep behind those people in their chairs. There will probably be at least 6,000 people at the game who disagree with me. By no means am I trying to dampen the spirits of those who look forward to going to the game. Go. Have a great time, let your kids collect some autographs, buy a couple hotdogs and some merchandise. Just don't attach too much importance to what happens on the field.