Onward to August

by: Gabe Cassillo

With the calendar turning from July to August, the action in the NY-Penn League is about to get a bit more intense. With 42 games down, Tri-City holds a beautiful 30-12 record, good for first place in both the Stedler Division and the entire league. What more, the ‘Cats currently hold a ten-game lead over second-place Vermont with 34 games remaining.

While it may be a bit early, the ‘Cats magic number for clinching a Division title is 25….yes, I said it. Superstitions aside, the numbers do not lie. With such a large lead and frankly dominant play thus far, there’s no reason Tri-City won’t be headed to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

As a refresher, the magic number is a combination of the first place team’s wins (Tri-City), added to the number of losses of the second place team (at this point, Vermont). So let’s take an educated look at the schedule in August.

The ‘Cats will be home to start the month, taking on Pickney Division members Batavia and Mahoning Valley. Following the six-game homestand, Tri-City will make their way south to take on Aberdeen and Staten Island for three games apiece. After breaking for the All-Star game, Tri-City will take on Brooklyn, Staten Island and Brooklyn, again, before returning to Stedler Division play the final week of August.

Given their schedule, even if Tri-City regresses from their current winning percentage of .714, to just above .500 for the month of August and put forward a record of (15-14), and Vermont plays WAY above their current .476 mark at say 19-10, the ‘Cats will still clinch by the time August turns to September. (For the record, I do not expect Vermont to play WAY above their current 20-22 mark, because, well frankly, they haven’t shown signs of being able to. Similarly, I don’t expect the ‘Cats to fall down in a heap, for the same reason, coupled with their strong starting pitching that stops any losing streak cold, and their ability to win in SO MANY different ways).

Now I know some will stay away from the “p-word” like they’re allergic, but I’m proud to say that I’m looking forward to the opening round of the 2012 NY-Penn League Playoffs, confident that the ValleyCats will not just be there, but will be ready for big things….But until then, let’s enjoy the ride.

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