Pregame Meal: Monday, July 22nd
By Matt Appel (@mattappel)
Hey ‘Cats fans! Hope your Monday is going well. It’s Capital Region Baseball Heritage Night here at The Joe, as the first 1500 fans in attendance received Mariano Rivera bobbleheads! Mo played for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994. This is the second installment of the Heritage Bobblehead Series, with Derek Jeter being last year’s giveaway.
-A night after getting burned in the seventh, the ‘Cats responded with a huge seventh inning of their own last night. Great to see Ronnie Mitchell back in the lineup, a left-handed run producer in the middle of the order. Mitchell, who is still a few days away from playing in the field, went 3-for-4 yesterday with 3 RBI.
-Tonight will go along way in the perception of this homestand the rest of the year. If the ‘Cats can knock off the Renegades for the second straight night, they’ll finish the six-game swing at 4-2, and everything is peachy. Should they lose, they’ll split the homestand 3-3, and accomplished nothing but shaving six games off the schedule, which granted, isn’t the worst outcome. The goal, obviously, is to win series though. The ‘Cats have a four-game lead on Lowell entering tonight.
-Came across a stat today that is very, very telling of the ValleyCats success so far. In 23 of their 34 games this year, Tri-City starters have gone at least four innings with no more than one earned run allowed. Not surprisingly, the ValleyCats have 23 wins on the season. While they haven’t won every single of the aforementioned starts, you’re going to find yourself on the right side of the scoreboard more often than not when your starters continuously throw zero’s on the board.
-Michael Martinez homered for the second straight night last night, becoming only the second ValleyCats player to have a “homer streak” this season, joining James Ramsay on June 26th-27th. Martinez has truly found a home in that cleanup role, as he is leading the club in both longballs and runs driven in.
-Conrad Gregor is in left again tonight. I would imagine he will be out there every night until Ronnie Mitchell is able to play the field again. With the way Martinez is hitting right now, you have to play him, and first base is the place to do so while Ronnie is forced to DH. To his credit, Gregor hasn’t look overwhelmed in the outfield so far in the two games he’s been there.
-Tanner Bushue starts tonight for the ‘Cats, and might be the second best pitcher on the squad this year after Michael Feliz. Bushue has been in the Astros system for longer than most of the guys on this roster, and something seems to have finally clicked this year. Bushue’s control so far has been impeccable, shown in the fact that he’s leading the league in WHIP. We’ll also see Adrian Houser tonight, who has been solid as well.
-Let’s all take a second and be thankful that tonight wasn’t Ryan Braun bobblehead night.