Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chico Outlaws series preview

The Chico Outlaws, the first-half champions in the North Division, make their first of two trips to Victoria this summer with a three-game series beginning on Monday night. The Outlaws are the best-hitting team in the GBL and they feature six former major-leaguers and an 18-year-old female Japanese knuckleball pitcher. However, Chico will be playing without the leading hitter in the GBL, Blake Gailen (.426 BA). Gailen has been out for the last month after suffering a concussion running down a fly ball against the Edmonton Capitals. Even without him, the Outlaws will be fielding a team with a ton of firepower.

If you want to impress the person seated beside you at RAP this week, you’ll need to know that the six former big-leaguers on the Chico squad are:
  • Pitcher Matt Perisho (8 seasons, 3 with the Texas Rangers)
  • Pitcher Wayne Franklin (7 seasons, 2 with the Milwaukee Brewers)
  • Second baseman Bobby Hill (4 seasons, 3 with the Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Catcher Mike Rose (3 seasons, most appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • Shortstop Alex Prieto (2 seasons, Minnesota Twins)
  • Chico manager Garry Templeton back in the day
  • Pitcher Mark McLemore (1 season, Houston Astros)
Then of course, you’ll want to mention that Chico’s manager, Garry “Jumpsteady” Templeton, spent 16 seasons playing shortstop for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.

Needless to say, the next three games at Royal Athletic Park should be very entertaining.

Tale of the Tape

Victoria 6-4 (3rd place), 28-27 .509 (overall), .280 team BA (8th), 4.88 team ERA (5th)
Chico 4-6 (4th place), 37-18 .673 (overall), .307 team BA (1st), 3.43 team ERA (2nd)

Chico – Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Cuban defector Maikel Jova is swinging a hot stick right now, but the Chico right fielder is mainly a singles hitter in spite of the fact he bats in the cleanup spot. Mike Rose is also hitting the ball well and he's eighth in the GBL in home runs. Kris Honel (6-2, 2.86 ERA) is one of the top starting pitchers in the league, but he pitched Sunday night and won't take to the mound against the Seals. Chico's bullpen has been a force to reckon with this year -- relievers Justin Segal, Matt Perisho, Josh Dew and Rusty Jones all have ERA’s of 1.88 or lower.

On the negative side, Eri Yoshida has been rocked in her last two starts (10 earned runs in her last 6 1/3 innings pitched), but she doesn’t have the worst ERA on the Outlaws. That title belongs to David Dinelli and his 8.44 ERA.

Victoria – Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

As for which Seals hitters are hot, it's quicker to just talk about who's not. The Seals have scored 65 runs in their last 8 games, so most of them are swinging a hot bat. Colin Moro and Brian Rios have cooled off of late, but the biggest area of concern is newcomer Tim Rodriguez who is only hitting .167 with an anemic .189 on-base percentage in the nine games since he was acquired from Yuma. T-Rod hit .349 with 6 homers and 51 RBIs in the first half with the Scorpions, so we're expecting big things from him in the remainder of the season.

As for the pitchers, Brandon Villafuerte hasn't given up a run in his last 13 appearances (13 1/3 innings) and his 10 saves is tied for second-most in the GBL. P.J. Bevis has settled down after a rough start with the Seals and has pitched six consecutive scoreless innings of relief. Chris Bodisbaugh has a 2.45 ERA in his last six appearances out of the pen (11 innings).

Not Your Regular Night at the Park

If all goes well, Wilver Perez will break the GBL record for stolen bases in a season against Chico.  He’s only five away from setting a new mark, so come on out and cheer him on.

On Tuesday night, The Knuckle Princess, Eri Yoshida takes to the hill. The 5’ 1” 114-pound pitcher will make her first start on the road after making her first five starts at home, so it will be interesting to see how she reacts. Then again, Victoria is a pretty friendly city, so I’m not expecting her to get a hostile reception from the baseball fans of Victoria.

Keys to the Series

The big question is whether or not the Seals pitchers can shut down the best offense in the league.  The likely starters for Victoria are Andrew Arreola, Jino Gonzalez and Jeff Duda and they'll have their work cut out for them.

Another important factor is how well the Outlaws catcher Mike Rose can keep the “Go Go Seals” in check. Victoria has 108 steals on the season and with 35 games remaining they are well on their way to smashing the GBL record for team stolen bases in a season (131). If Rose can’t keep Victoria base runners at bay then Wilver Perez will break the single-season stolen base record on his watch and Victoria will be well on their way to a series victory.


This will be a hard-fought series but I'm picking the Seals to win two out of three.