Pre-Game Meal: 9/4/12

I apologize that I have not had the chance to continue this feature of our blog, but I simply have not had time. I worked hard last night to make sure that I could fit this in because I honestly enjoy writing it.

Today’s game comes with a threat of inclement weather (some of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac). I am not a meteorologist in any fashion, but according to my understanding of it looks like the game will start on time. As for whether we finish it, that I cannot say. Let’s hope the rain stays away.

As for some of the tidbits from today:

1.) The team is on their worst losing streak this season, the worst since a five-game stretch last year spanning from July 30-August 3. As a coach there are a couple of ways to try and motivate your team to maybe jump-start them. Some might be harsh, but Manager Stubby Clapp, Hitting Coach Mark Bailey, and Pitching Coach Rick Aponte have decided to keep it light. In his speech with the pitchers today, Aponte reminded the group how could they are and have been this entire season. Clapp gave some guys extra rips in the cage to try and relax everyone.

2.) Some people use vaseline to break in their baseball gloves and keep the leather “healthy” and soft. M.P. Cokinos uses Barbasol shaving cream (insert advertisement here). He told me it is a trick he learned from his dad years ago, and considers it another part of his ritual (much like putting the bats in the freezer).

3.) The ValleyCats have struggled to score during this losing-streak. In these five games the league’s best offense is averaging only 1.8 runs per game. Hitting with runners in scoring position has clearly been the biggest problem. During this stretch, the ‘Cats are 1-40 with RISP (.025), by far their worst stretch. They are still ranked third in the New York-Penn League in that category.

4.) Brian Holmes has simply dominated the Hudson Valley Renegades this year. In two appearances the former-Demon Deacon has pitched 14 scoreless innings, has allowed one hit and one walk, while fanning 13. He has a 0.14 WHIP against the ‘Gades. Is it too soon to send him back out there?

5.) Hitting Coach Mark Bailey took time to congratulate Tyler Heineman for winning the NYPL Batting Title. Even though there are two games to go, Heineman holds a firm 21-point lead over Auburn’s Shawn Pleffner. Unless Tyler goes 0-25 in the next two games, he is going to win that distinguished honor. Heineman shrugged off the compliment by simply saying, “I need to be a better catcher.” Last ValleyCats player to lead the league in batting? J.D. Martinez (.326)

Here is tonight’s lineup:

Sclafani – SS

Elkins – 2B

Tucker – RF

Wierzbicki – 1B

Heineman – C

MP Cokinos – DH

Dineen – 3B

Johnson – CF

Gulbransen – LF

P – Minaya (1-2, 4.99 ERA)

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