Series preview – Kitsap BlueJackets

Kitsap 400x400The HarbourCats swing by the Kitsap Fairgrounds this afternoon to start a three game series against the BlueJackets. Just two weeks ago in a midweek series at Royal Athletic, Victoria took 2 of 3 from Kitsap – the only blemish came from a 9th inning comeback and extra innings win by the Jackets.

Much like this past weekend’s Cowlitz series, Kitsap is in for a bit of a surprise this week, as the new-look HarbourCats file off the bus into the dugout. As mentioned in yesterday’s recap post, the new additions bring a significant offensive and defensive upgrade with them. Leaders for the club at this point are:

  • Three HarbourCats are hitting over the Ted Williams line: Michael Gretler (.455), Kevin Collard (.429), and Jake Pries (.429). Gretler hasn’t had enough at-bats yet to be recognized as the WCL leader – that honour currently belongs to Collard.
  • Alex Rogers, who will start Wednesday’s game 2 is going for his league-leading fourth win of the season. His 0.47 ERA through three games is second among all WCL starters.
  • PJ Floyd leads the ‘Cats with 12 RBI, one ahead of Collard and Jackson Thoreson. Floyd also leads with 3 home runs on the season.
Kitsap will have to contend with newcomers like Pikai Winchester

Kitsap will see newcomer Pikai Winchester

Team wise, the HarbourCats hold a lead in almost every offensive category over the light-hitting BlueJackets, including runs scored (82 to 45), hits (124 to 108), home runs (10 to 1). Interestingly, Kitsap holds a team batting average of .259 – 15 points higher than Victoria’s .244.

Kitsap isn’t without a new face in their offence as well. New 2B Jordan Peabody had a stellar first week with the club, going 8/14 (.533) in 4 starts. Also watch for Brett Bautista (.378), who hit 5/11 against Victoria in the first series.

Defensively we see a much different story. Kitsap pitchers are working a combined 3.40 ERA compared to Victoria’s 4.81. They also give up fewer home runs (5 to 10), hits (103 to 163), walks (53 to 65), and wild pitches (11 to 21). The most alarming difference is in runs allowed. Victoria has given up 92, Kitsap only 57.

The 24-5 loss in Bend doesn’t help all of these stats, but it isn’t the entire problem either. We have talked about pitching being the Achilles heel of the HarbourCats so far this season, and if it’s going to turn around, this may be the series to do that given Kitsap’s anemic offence.

Rogers2

Alex Rogers goes for a perfect 4-0

  • New addition Austin Dondanville gets the start Tuesday, his second appearance for the club after he pitched three in relief Friday night against Cowlitz that consisted of two brilliant innings and a wild middle inning.
  • As mentioned earlier, Wednesday sees Alex Rogers on the hill, and Thursday’s starter is currently listed as newcomer in Matt Blais. Matt worked twice in relief this past weekend, giving up 2 hits and a run in 1.1 innings of work.
  • Kitsap has not announced their starters for the series, but look for another new face in Adam Cline. Cline has pitched near perfection in his two starts since joining the club, and sports a WCL best 0.00 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched. He last pitched on Saturday and is due for another start. Nate Simmons will also be a candidate to start given his 5 scoreless innings pitched against Victoria in the extra-inning game.

In addition to the usual relief core, the HarbourCats will be joined by RHP Henry Omana, fresh from the 2015 CWS. Omana is a WCL veteran, playing the last two seasons with Cowlitz. He brings his consistent short relief game to the bullpen, where he should be good for one or two innings a game. A workhorse, he made 43 appearances for the bears in the past two seasons.

Prediction? I still have my rosy glasses on, so I’ll say Victoria takes 2 of 3 with Rogers getting a win, an a bullpen hold for the second. Let us know what you think below!

Random Blogger Musings

Couple bucksTonight in Kitsap is one of the cornerstones of minor league baseball that we just can’t imagine up here in Canada. It’s $2 Tuesday. That means general admission tickets, hot dogs, and domestic beers are – you guessed it – $2. Imagine going to a ball game with a twenty in your pocket and coming home (in a cab) full, happy, and hammered. Probably still with change in your pocket…

But hey, we have free healthcare!

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About Brian

Avid baseball blogger since June 2012. Blogger, photographer, and graphics designer for both the defunct Victoria Seals Baseball Blog, and the first edition of the Victoria HarbourCats blog.
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