Pre Game Meal: Wednesday, August 1st

By Matt Appel (@mattappel)

Hey ValleyCats fans! Today we are excited to unveil the newest ‘Cats Corner feature: Pre Game Meal. I’ll bring you all the pre-game and batting practice tidbits I can uncover, as well as going through the ValleyCats starting lineup for each game.

-Through hard work and hours of extensive research, we have found that the ValleyCats, at .714 have the highest winning percentage in all of Minor League Baseball. Pretty impressive, huh? The ‘Cats enter tonight’s ballgame against the Batavia Muckdogs at 30-12, and have a 10 game lead in the Stedler Division. In fact, Tri-City is the only team in the Stedler with a record above .500

-42 games into this season, the ValleyCats leader in RBI’s is…….Joe Sclafani. You read that right, folks. The ‘Cats shortstop has surpassed Jesse Wierzbicki, Jobduan Morales, and Dan Gulbransen, all who have 24 ribbies, with 26 of his own. I asked Joe what he thought about leading the team, and he gave a pretty good answer. “It’s pretty easy to lead the team in RBI’s when every time you come up, there are guys on 2nd and 3rd.”

-Emilio King slugged his first home runs of the year while the team was on the road in Auburn. When I asked him how that long ball felt, he put on a huge grin, and simply said “Good” with a chuckle. I’m sure Stubby & Co. would love to see King, who has struggled at points this year, start to show some power.

-Behind the cage today, Chris Sale, the left-handed fire throwing stud for the Chicago White Sox, was brought up in conversation. ‘Cats outfielder Dan Gulbransen, upon hearing Sale’s name, interjected with his own experience facing Sale. The at-bat came when Sale was a junior at Florida Gulf Coast. According to Gulbransen, “I fouled one ball off of him, and that was about it.”

-Batting Practice Hero: Today’s Batting Practice Hero award goes to none other than Jarrod McKinney. During his final round of batting practice, on what was I believe his final swing, McKinney went down on one knee to reach for a pitch from Stubby, and lined it over the left-field wall for a home run. McKinney’s homer was lauded as being “Adrian Beltre’d” as the Rangers third basemen is known for hitting dingers in a similar manner.

-Conflicting reports out of the ValleyCats clubhouse about what happened yesterday on a fishing trip between Jarrod McKinney and Catfish Elkins. According to McKinney, after Elkins caught, get this, a catfish 5 minutes into their adventure, the ‘Cats 2nd basemen told McKinney he did not properly know how to unhook the fish. McKinney’s gripe with Catfish was “if you’re name is Catfish, you should know how to unhook one.” Elkins defense was that before they went out fishing, he had alerted Jarrod that he would need his assistance, and then from the first catch on, he would be good to go on his own. Catfish also noted, something McKinney failed to mention, that the catfish he caught was the only catch between the two of them the entire day. More to follow.

Tonight’s lineup:

Sclafani SS

Elkins 2B

Aplin CF

Wierzbick 1B

Heineman C

Tucker RF

McKinney DH

Gulbransen LF

Johnson 3B

RHP-Vincent Velasquez


M.P. Cokinos gets some batting tips from Houston Astros instructor Ty Van Burkleo

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