Pregame Meal: Thursday, June 27th

By Matt Appel (@mattappel)

Happy Thursday evening ‘Cats fans! You’ve almost made it to the weekend, so as a reward, I’ve prepared an extra special Pregame Meal before the ValleyCats and Spinners wrap up their mini 2-game series tonight at 7:00 pm. Forecast at the start of the day seemed pretty ominous, but luckily the rain has held off (for now) and it appears that we might just get this one in. Here’s everything you need to know before tonight’s first pitch:

-There’s carrying a team to victory, and then there’s what Dan Gulbransen and Ronnie Mitchell have done the last two games. Combined between Tuesday’s victory in Connecticut and last night’s 9-4 victory over the Spinners, those two have gone 9-for-17, with 2 HR and 8 RBI. Not bad. Not bad at all.

-Congrats to James Ramsay for connecting for his first pro home run last night in the 8th inning. Ramsay had been slumping badly coming into last night’s action, but responded nicely with two hits and 3 RBI. I asked Ramsay if he had any intention of correcting his misspelled name on the back of his jersey (Ramsey vs. Ramsay), but he seemed to be okay with it if he kept on hitting like he did last night. Only baseball players….

-Interesting discussion around the batting cages before the game today. Ed Romero was talking to some of his players about running and what counts they should go on. Romero made it very clear that he never ever will instruct a player of his to run on a 2-2 count. However, I was talking to Conrad Gregor afterwards and he said that at Vanderbilt, they ran on 2-2 pitches all the time because they tend to be off-speed. Just something to look out for going forward.

-Thanks to a Hudson Valley loss last night, the ‘Cats now have the best record in the New York-Penn League. If you’ll recall, Tri-City had the best record in the NYPL for virtually all of last year, before losing the lead towards the end of the season to the Renegades. Clearly there is a lot of baseball to played in the 2013 season, but it is certainly encouraging to see the way the team has come together so quickly.

-One roster move of note. Catcher Jake Rodriguez, the 19th overall pick from Oregon State, is officially on the roster now. Rodriguez is known as a defensive wiz. He is joining late because the Beavers were in the College World Series, which Rodriguez said was an unforgettable experience. That’s the thing about the CWS: anyone who played in that will tell you it is the unquestioned highlight of their baseball career.

-Batting Practice Hero: No longballs in BP today, but we’re gonna go ahead and hand out today’s BPH Award to D’Andre Toney. In his first round of BP, Toney broke his bat on his last swing, much to the chagrin and enjoyment of Ed Romero. After his manager got on him for that, Toney nearly hit one out to the deepest part of the ballpark in left center field.

-Evan Grills will take the mound at the start of the game for the ‘Cats, with Kevin Comer on in relief at some point. The ‘Cats are 2-0 this year when those two appear, and up against very tough Lowell hurler Jamie Callahan tonight, it will speak to the toughness of Comer and Grills if the ‘Cats can sweep away the Spinners tonight. Callahan shut down the ValleyCat lineup back on June 21st in Lowell. Callahan, the 2nd round pick of the Sawx in 2012, is just 18 (!!!!) years old.

Lineup

2B Tony Kemp

CF James Ramsay

1B Conrad Gregor

LF Dan Gulbransen

DH Michael Martinez

RF Ronnie Mitchell

3B Ryan Dineen

C Jake Rodriguez

SS Thomas Lindauer

LHP Evan Grills

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