Friday, June 12, 2009

David Versus Goliath at RAP

Well it certainly looks like a mismatch on paper. Thankfully, baseball games are played on grass and dirt and not paper. The 6-13 Seals are set to face the 12-6 Calgary Vipers this weekend at RAP.

In their three-game series in Cow Town earlier in the year, the Vipers scored 40 runs against Victoria. Yikes. The first-place Vipers have continued to roll ever since. They are averaging 8.8 runs per game this season. That's right -- AVERAGING -- 8.8 runs per game. They have FIVE regulars batting .375 or better. Their lead-off hitter, Fehlandt Lentini, is hitting .476 in 82 at-bats. But surprisingly, he's only walked five times.

It's hard not to be impressed by Calgary after looking at their hitting statistics. The only shred of a slightly negative statistic is the fact that they have the second-most strikeouts in the league (124 through games of June 9th) and only the 5th highest number of walks (63). Victoria on the other hand, has walked 101 times and struck out on 114 occasions.

This, in fact, may be something that Victoria can use to their advantage. The Seals pitchers would be wise to nibble at the corners as much as possible and waste a few pitches in the hope that the free-swinging Vipers chase some bad balls. Calgary's cleanup hitter, Mark Okano, is a case in point. He has slammed 10 doubles, 2 homers and 21 RBIs in his 69 at-bats, but he has only walked three times. With this version of Murderer's Row, any pitch in the middle of the strike zone is likely to get crushed on the weekend.

Obviously, Isaac Hess is in for a real test on Friday night. He's a gamer, so I expect him to dig deep and rise to the challenge.

Seal Blubber Bits:

  • Lost in the shuffle Wednesday night was Travis Wade's best start of the season. He gave up one earned run in five innings to lower his ERA to 5.49. He's still win less with an 0-3 record.
  • Lima Time: Jose Lima now has a 1-1 record and a 1.44 ERA through his first three starts. Sadly, Lima's Long Beach Armada don't have any remaining regular-season games scheduled in Victoria.
  • Seals SS Bret LeVier's 21-year-old little brother, Mitch, played for the Vancouver Canadians last season. He has moved up to the Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League (full season "A" ball), but he's currently on the disabled list.
  • The Long Beach Armada finally get to play a home game on Friday night. Their home opener will take place after some teams have played a total of 19 games. With their 13-game road trip now complete, the Armada must be relieved to finally play in front of a friendly crowd. Surprisingly, they are only two games out of the South Division lead.
  • The Golden League (via now provides totals of the individual stats for each team on their web site. Hey, are they reading this blog too? :-) Not as much need for my Excel skills, I guess. But they still haven't figured out how to total batting averages and slugging percentages...