After beginning the second half of the season with a 5-0 win against Falmouth on Thursday night, the Chatham Anglers (12-11) will take a ten-minute drive to Whitehouse Field to take on the Harwich Mariners (16-7). The two teams have split their two matchups this season with the Anglers winning 5-3 on July 6 and falling 4-3 on July 7. With Thursday's victory, Chatham now sits in the middle of the Eastern Division with 24 points. Still fresh from back-to-back off-days, the Anglers are eager to make a run.
"It's a good start to the second half," said catcher, first baseman, and designated hitter Andrew Knapp
(California). "We want to start to push a little bit to get ahead of the pack."
San Diego right-hander Michael Wagner
(2-1, 1.06 ERA) will be on the bump for Chatham. The six-foot four sophomore had his best outing of the season in his last start against Orleans on July 4, allowing no earned runs in five and two thirds innings while striking out seven batters. In 17 innings pitched this summer, Wagner has fanned 17 hitters. Wagner's two earned runs this season came in his start against Bourne on June 28. The Las Vegas native will face a Mariner lineup that leads the league in home runs with 38 and is hitting .244 as a team. Harwich outfielder Phil Ervin
(Samford) still leads the league in home runs with eight and his teammate, third baseman Eric Jagielo
(Notre Dame), is second with seven.
The Mariners will send Elon's David Whitehead
(3-1, 2.29 ERA) to the mound against the Anglers. Whitehead received a loss in his last start on July 6 against Chatham, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits in four innings pitched. In each of his four starts this season, Whitehead has recorded two strikeouts. Whitehead has the most wins for a staff that has allowed twelve earned runs in the last three games and is fourth in the league with a 4.02 team ERA.
As of Friday, Chatham is batting .227 collectively and leads the Cape League in walks with 91, nine more than Orleans, who has the second highest total. The Anglers' Knapp leads the team with a .300 batting average, is first on the club in home runs with four and is second in RBI with 13. Knapp also has five hits in his last two games and is the only player on the team with 20 or more hits (24). Virginia Tech third baseman and designated hitter Chad Pinder
is second in the Cape League in RBI with 21 and Louisville center fielder Adam Engel
is tied with Cotuit's Jacob May
(Coastal Carolina) for the lead in stolen bases with 12.
Halfway through the season, Chatham's players have totally bought into manager John Schiffner's
quarter system. With four of their next six games on the road, the Anglers are approaching each game individually and are working hard to avoid getting ahead of themselves.
"Once you start playing so many games like this, it's easy to look ahead," said Knapp. "But, we're doing a good job of not trying to do too much each day."
For live coverage of Friday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline