Sunday, September 03, 2006

Games of importance

The thinking in the press box Friday was that Saturday would be rained out, Sunday a doubleheader and Monday would go on as planned with the game having no meaning outside of it being the last game of the the year. Instead, Saturday's game is played and Sunday's is rained out. The only hitch is the Portland Sea Dogs. They lost Saturday at home against New Hampshire, keeping their magic number to clinch the final Eastern Division playoff spot at two. Both Binghamton, who is playing Connecticut, and Portland were rained out today. That means both teams are faced with doubleheaders Monday. If Portland wins one game, they face Trenton starting Wednesday. Same happens if Binghamton loses a game. If Binghamton wins both and Portland loses both to the Fisher Cats, we have ourselves a tie. In that event, both teams will play in one-game playoff at Portland Wednesday.

Who said the Defenders wouldn't be playing meaningful games late in the season?

5 comments:

skip sceery said...

Joe,

In your column today, you quoted Nate as saying Dodd was a "place like no other." I seenm to be a majority of one who dosen't believe the stadium is the problem. Rather I see it as a park where a good hitter who drives the ball should thrive. I attended 51 evente this year and with DH's, probably saw 55/57 games. all of which I scored. My position is these guys couldn't hit period. At this time, I consider TI and EME overrated. Nate, by his own admissiom decided to relax and have fun and then his numbers began to climb.

What am I missing here? Why is this park considered Death Valley? I know you won't see a lot of HR's, but with the expansive OF, you should see a ton of hits. All I saw this year was a ton of K's, weak pop-ups and ground balls. If you can, please enlighten me.

Thanks,
Skip

Joe said...

Skip,

It's interesting, and I wish I had some sort of statistic that could either support or deny claims, but outfeiders I've spoken to from both the Defenders and visting teams, have claimed the air moves differently at Dodd.

Guys who had played here in the past have told them to be prepared for a different environment. A few guys have said recently that becaue of Dodd Stadium, they go on the road and press. Hitting coach Gary Davenport said home run totals were nearly the same but strikeouts were higher on the road because players were forcing the issue at the plate.

The Giants, for their part, agree. That's why we will see the infield pushed back either this offseason or next. Schirholtz, for one, thinks it will make no difference because of the air.

A few guys point to Clay Timpner's numbers once he moved to Triple-A. That's a fair argument.

The picthers love Dodd. Whether it was Floyd, Begg, Petersen, Espineli, Spiehs, Munter or Montero, their eyes light up when they talk about pitching at home.

Nate saying he finally relaxed makes sense for a guy on a team filled with hitters who struggled to adjust to a new and different ballpark.

The rest of the Giants' minor league teams are good offensive squads. If you see good hitters from Augusta and San Jose struggle next year, we may know why. If the guys who are back here struggle, we may know why. But I would excpect that any of the returning hitters should be able to have made adjustments by next season.

I think as a hitter, you may need to level your swing and try to take what the pitcher gives you instead of looking for power numbers at Dodd.

skip sceery said...

The air moves differently? What the heck does that mean? I've followed Timpner and while he's done well in the PCL, he should have been able to hit singles and doubles here too. I know the A teams are doing well, but after this group falling collectively on their butts, I'll take a wait and see attitude next year.

Frankly, it sounds to me like a bunch of prima donnas couldn't handle the EL pitching and took the easy way out by blaming the ballpark.

Joe said...

Skip,

You may be right.

Like I said, I don't have any sort of evidence that points to air currents or any other related issues affecting the play at Dodd Stadium.

Do I think there is something going on that has handcuffed some decent hitters? Yes. But it wouldn't surprise me if it was mental.

Dodd has seen its share of exceptional hitters (Soriano, Johnson, etc.) I don't know if this just means the guys we've seen this year are not as good (too early to say) or having a bigger learning curve.

Right now, I think you will see everyone back from the everyday lineup next year except Ishikawa, Schierholtz and probably Buscher and McMains.

If these guys have big jumps in their production at other levels and the guys still in AA produce the same as this year, we will likely have to come to the conclusion that there is something in the "air" at Dodd.

greg8370 said...

I agree with Skip. It's the hitter and not so much the park. Long fly balls become outs especially in left center but that's about it and that is why pitcher's eyes lifgt up. Horwitz figured it out and Nate got it going; even Buscher had an OK year. I hate the idea of turning it into arena baseball. Looks like the ESPN movie killed that for another year.