Fisher Cats seeking consistency as May dawns

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats continue to hover around .500 a few weeks into the season. But is that really a problem? Depends on how you look at it.

Taking Chances

It is still April, so there’s still plenty of season left, but with the new split-season playoff format, the games will become more important sooner than in previous years.

So, the fact that the Fisher Cats are beginning to get into a groove is certainly a welcome sight for Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai.

To Mordecai, the key to that recent upward trend comes from building confidence, taking risks and building on the results regardless of the outcome versus staying inside a comfort zone.

For hitters, that means not waiting for the perfect pitch and producing on various counts with whatever pitch comes their way. For hitters, it means building a rhythm on the foundation of the fastball.

“I think the pitchers have been pretty good. When we’re not doing a good job, we’re not commanding the fastball. You got to be able to pitch off your fastball and throw it over the plate” he said. “Every time we’ve gotten into trouble, it usually stems from that. There have been a few times when we’ve been fastball-happy, but I can’t fault them for that because it shows aggression. If you can keep a good fastball, you can pitch.”

That growing tenacity has turned this year’s Fisher Cat squad into one that finds itself in the thick of things most nights. In their first 23 games, only three were losses having a deficit that couldn’t have been erased by a swing of the bat: against Hartford on April 20 (12-4), against Hartford on April 11 (10-5) and against Reading on April 25 (8-1).

Patrick Murphy Can’t Get A Break

The 2018 Florida State League Pitcher of the Year hasn’t gotten off to a terrific start so far in Manchester. However, it’s more nuanced than that.

Sure, going 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, but he deserved better on April 28. There, he allowed just two hits in eight innings of work, but was undone by some brilliant baserunning by Paul Rivas.

He was strong in another no-decision against Reading on April 10, giving up just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but the two starts in between those two gems have defined his luck so far. Those starts, on April 15 and 20, account for over half the earned runs he’s given up in his first five starts.

The good news? He had a slow start in Dunedin last year as well. Then he went on to not allow more than four runs in any appearance after May 1.

Vlad Arrives in

Toronto – Is Cavan Next?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is likely going to be the most notable Fisher Cat of all time after his stint last year. Much has been said about hitting over .400 at the Double-A level, but it was clear that Guerrero was ready for bigger things offensively when he still led the league in RBI after being on the disabled list for multiple weeks.

On Friday, he finally made his regular season Major League debut, service time delays be damned.

Guerrero collected hits in each of the three games during his opening weekend in the big leagues, but he could be joined soon by another key member of last year’s 2018 Eastern League Champion squad. Cavan Biggio is well above .300 in his first 20 plus games in Triple-A, with an OPS hovering around 1.000.

Biggio can only hope that the renaissance of Eric Sogard proves to be fleeting. After Milwaukee designated the one-time Oakland mainstay for assignment last year, Toronto took a chance on Sogard at second and he’s been paying dividends, starting 17 for 41 in his first eight appearances.