Fisher Cats keep it in high gear as playoffs approach

It’s been a near certainty for weeks, but now the Eastern League playoffs are an absolute certainty this fall in Manchester. The regular season’s almost over, here’s a look back at recent events in the world of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Now it’s official …

With Saturday’s come-from-behind win coupled with a loss earlier in the evening by Reading, the Fisher Cats finally punched their ticket to the Eastern League playoffs, a near certainty for weeks that is now a reality for the first time since 2011.

Fisher Cats manager John Schneider says it will still be business as usual moving forward, but he also finds satisfaction on his squad’s performance so far this season.

“It’s awesome for the guys, it’s awesome for us as a staff. Playing postseason baseball is something you don’t take for granted and you try to enjoy it,” says Schneider. “For a season like this that isn’t split up into halves that you have to kind of grind through it and know you’re going to play in the playoffs is cool.

The Fisher Cats will face the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern Division Championship Series, with home field advantage yet to be decided.

It will be a rematch of sorts for several players on both teams, who faced each other in last year in Florida State League Playoffs as members of the Dunedin Blue Jays and Tampa Yankees.

Who’s pitching?

Although he didn’t enter to close out Friday’s close contest, Schneider says that Travis Bergin is still firmly cemented as the Fisher Cats’ closer. However, other roles may shift around depending on need as well as other factors.

“A lot of it is going to be dictated by who’s available that night, how each guy is going and game situations,” he said. And in the minor leagues, even at this level, you can probably count on two hands the games you can really match up the way before the game.”

Schneider believes that how things play out depends largely on that day’s starting pitcher, although developmental directives from Toronto will also play a role in certain situations.

Record Watch

With just under 100 walks so far, Cavan Biggio has shattered the prior single season franchise record of 79, set by Ryan Schimpf in 2013. Biggio is also still just one dinger short of the single season franchise home run record (27, set by Chip Cannon in 2006 and again by Eric Thames in 2010) as well as Thames’ 104 RBI mark, which Biggio can surpass with another six RBI in New Hampshire’s final eight games.

Harold Ramirez also has a legitimate shot at surpassing the Travis d’Arnaud’s .311 average set in 2011. After Sunday, he leads the Eastern League at .311 with Bowie’s Corban Joseph nipping at his heels with a .309 average.