‘Cats Look to Put Clamp on Stedler Division

by: Gabe Cassillo

As the Tri-City ValleyCats wrap up their six game road-trip through Williamsport and Jamestown this afternoon with a doubleheader against the Jammers, the focus will soon be on the ‘Cats upcoming homestand and week of games

The short of the matter is this. The ‘Cats will open tomorrow with no worse than a three-game lead in the Stedler Division over second place Vermont. Depending on the results of tonight’s NY-Penn League action, Tri-City could very well be five games ahead when they arrive home in Troy early tomorrow morning. Connecticut enters the day 9.5 back and Lowell is even further behind (12.5 behind) and with the fewest wins in the entire league.

Suffice to say, the ValleyCats have a nice cushion on their division opponents and don’t appear to be in danger of losing that lead anytime soon. This is what makes the next week of games all the more important.

Starting tomorrow, Tri-City will play eight straight games against the Stedler Division, with only two of those games coming away from home. After two with Lowell on Tuesday and Wednesday, a home-and-home four game series against Vermont followed with two against Connecticut can most assuredly give them a lock down on the division title….in July.

Now I understand baseball is a game of attrition. We’ve all heard the motto that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but with a successful stretch in these next few games, Tri-City could very well be heading into the last week of July with a 6 or 7 game lead over Vermont. With the way the schedule works, Tri-City would not play their division opponents again until the last two weeks of the season, making it hard for their opponents to gain a large amount of ground in a short period of time.

The time is now for the ‘Cats who already are in the midst of the most successful starts in team history. This group certainly has the talent and apparent chemistry to continue their strong play through the summer, but this next week will largely determine just how much pressure will be on through the “dog days” of late July and August as they push toward a hopeful playoff appearance.

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