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The Full Count is five weekly observations and analysis about the Chatham Anglers, published each Monday.
SOUTH YARMOUTH — There was no better encapsulation of the last week of baseball than Saturday’s game against Yarmouth-Dennis. Within 15 minutes of the Anglers’ team bus arriving at Red Wilson Field, lightning was spotted in the vicinity. Instead of continuing to warm up, the A’s were sent back to their buses to wait out the 30-minute delay.
When they returned, both managers agreed to begin at 4:45 p.m. in case of rain and darkness. Two pitches thrown to Kaden Polcovich (Northwest Florida State), and the downpour returned. Then the lightning, again. 30 more minutes wasted.
After the 30 minutes, the game restarted at 5:15 p.m. The sun was shining and six full innings were played. But in the top of the seventh, another storm cell rolled through. This one brought it all. Thunder, lightning, downpours and hail. The game was called after six innings. For the third time in four days, the Anglers couldn’t get through nine innings.
In the midst of the absurd weather week, Chatham had three cancellations and two early finishes.
1. Manager Tom Holliday isn’t the only one who’s frustrated by the scheduling and weather issues that have plagued most of the first two weeks of the season. The numbers are staggering. More than 20 games have been postponed league-wide and a handful more ended early, including two of Chatham’s games this week. Because of the doubleheaders and bad weather, the A’s have still not played a nine-inning regulation game since Saturday, June 15.
For a league that tries to pinch a 44-game regular season into 51 days, the rain has caused a scheduling crisis down the road. Weather permitting, Chatham will have played 16 games in 16 days by July 8 — with its lone off day being Fenway Park practice on Thursday.
“Quite frankly, I don’t like it either. Everybody that’s here is here to play baseball. What better happen is somebody better wake up and start moving these games into time slots so we can get them in,” manager Tom Holliday said. “We’re getting so far behind we’re going to have no off days.”
Pitchers are left unsure of when they’ll pitch next too. Luke Bartnicki (Georgia Tech) went nine days in between appearances. Cole Ayers (State College of Florida) and Zarion Sharpe (UNC Wilmington) had innings wiped away by fog, but their arms don’t know that.
2. But perhaps no one has been more impacted by the weather than A’s lefty Burl Carraway (Dallas Baptist). Carraway arrived in Chatham two weeks ago after he pitched in the NCAA Regionals. After he was shut down for a week, he worked his way back to throwing. The plan was to give Carraway a few one-inning relief appearances, prior to Carraway traveling for his Team USA tryout invite.
Because of the cancellations and rainouts, Carraway only got one chance to pitch: Sunday in game one of a doubleheader against Bourne. He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two. He’s leaving Tuesday, and Holliday would like to get him another outing Monday night against Cotuit, but he may not get the chance.
“I took a week down, didn’t touch a baseball. Last Saturday or Sunday was going to be my first outing,” Carraway said. “It’s tough, obviously mentally, but physically tough trying to keep my arm in shape and just trying to play catch to the point where I’ll be good for the next day.”
3. Ty Madden (Texas) needed just 35 pitches and faced the minimum 10 batters in his 3.1 innings of relief on Saturday. Madden’s fastball touched 95 mph Saturday on the radar gun and he pounded the ball low in the zone to keep the ball off the Y-D hitters’ barrels. Since allowing two earned runs on opening night in Hyannis, Madden has been dominant in two consecutive outings against the Red Sox.
The A’s pitching has continued to impress through 11 games, and Ty Madden is one of the standouts with his effective sinking fastball and curveball.
“Ty threw it down and threw it down, and pounded the strike zone. He and Kubichek are starting to pitch like it’s fun,” Holliday said. “You’ll see the kids who get a roll going and they take off.”
4. Jamal O’Guinn had shown no signs of slowing down. His .333 average ranks fifth in the entire league and his 1.038 OPS is second. While 13 strikeouts stick out as a potential indicator that his numbers may regress, O’Guinn leads all qualified A’s hitters in average, on-base percentage, and slugging.
On Sunday, when Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) was walked intentionally to load the bases, O’Guinn smashed his second home run, this one a grand slam. With Torkelson and O’Guinn back-to-back in the order, the A’s have one of the best, if not the best, 1-2 punches in the Cape League.
5. Ben Ramirez’s (USC) home run trot around the bases on Saturday took just 18 seconds. Ramirez was a little bit fortunate on his first home run in almost 18 months, but given his start to the season, he was due for a turnaround in hitting luck. Ramirez has consistently hit the ball pretty hard, and has just four strikeouts in 34 at-bats.
Prior to the home run, the A’s shortstop was in the midst of a 2-for-18 stretch, despite just one strikeout. Since that home run, the USC shortstop is 3-for-6 and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is creeping up again, now .367. If he can see more pitches, as Holliday mentioned during batting practice, Ramirez’s experience and trusted glove will remain the everyday shortstop for the Anglers.