Pregame Meal: Monday, August 6th

Good morning, ValleyCats fans! Your “Pregame Meal” today should be breakfast, as the ‘Cats and Scrappers will get underway at 11am, for this year’s second Camp Day here at “The Joe.” Tri-City will look to sweep Mahoning Valley here today, and improve to 5-1 on this home stand before the team hits the road. This will actually be the ‘Cats last home game until August 15th, as the upcoming road trip is a prelude to the All-Star break. The game itself is August 14th at Mahoning Valley.

-The ValleyCats came from behind last night to knock off the Scrappers 5-4, in what was truly a wacky game. Luis Morel, the starter for Mahoning Valley, had one of the oddest starts I’ve ever seen. After a nightmare start in which he walked 4 of the first 5 hitters he faced, resulting in a 2-0 lead for the ‘Cats, Morel instantly flipped the switch. On Superhero Night at the ballpark, Morel went into the phone booth and came out as Superman for the next 9 hitters. However, Morel then ran into more trouble in the 4th, and his night was done. It was as much of a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” start, if I’ve ever seen one.

-The most amazing thing from the game last night? The ValleyCats, who lead the league in home runs and slugging percentage, had 9 hits, all of them for singles. Over the previous two games, the team had 10 extra base hits. That’s why you can’t predict baseball, even in the slightest.

-Going through some notes on the players before the game, I came across a little factoid: Andrew Aplin was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Yankees. I asked Aplin about that and he said, “It really made me think. I just really wanted to go play at Arizona State though.” He added that mostly, his choice to enter the draft was more or less to see where he’d be picked. I’d say his decision has turned out pretty well, and the time he spent at ASU increased his draft status by a mere 28 rounds.

-Brady Rodgers starts today for the ‘Cats, in search of his 5th win of the season. Now go back a few weeks, folks, to the last 11am game. Who started in that game for the team? I’ll give you a few seconds…..that’s right, Brady Rodgers. In that game, Rodgers got the win in his longest start of the year as he went 7 strong against Connecticut. For the ValleyCats sake, let’s hope Brady is a morning person for the second time in a row.

-I feel like I write about him every day, but Tyler Heineman is just on another planet right now. In his last 14 games, the ‘Cats catcher has 8 multi hit games, and has boosted his average all the way up to a stunning .373. He still doesn’t have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, but when he does, Andrew Aplin might have some competition.

-Like I mentioned earlier, the NYPL All-Star game is a week from tomorrow. You could easily make a case for at least 7 ValleyCats to make the NL affiliates roster. Aplin, Elkins, and West I’d say are the locks. In addition, I think one of the trio of Holmes-Rodgers-Velasquez will make the team, and so probably will Blake Ford, who leads the league in saves. I’d say its a good bet for at least 5 ‘Cats to make the roster, if not possibly more.

-No BP today, because who in their right mind would want to take batting practice at 9 in the morning. So, without further ado, here is the ValleyCats lineup for today’s action:

Sclafani SS

Elkins 2B

Aplin CF

Wierzbicki 1B

Heineman C

Tucker RF

Dineen 3B

Morales DH

Gulbransen LF

Brady Rodgers RHP

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