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Anglers clinch a playoff spot

by Anthony Dabbundo
Saturday, July 27, 2019

Anglers clinch a playoff spot

After Orleans’ win over Brewster in game one of a Saturday doubleheader between the two teams, the Chatham Anglers have officially clinched their spot in the 2019 Cape League playoffs. 

Chatham became the first team in the Cape’s East Division to clinch its spot, as the Anglers needed just 37 games to secure the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Now, the Anglers will focus on seeding and rest in their final seven regular season games.

Four of the five teams from the East Division will advance to the postseason, and it’s now mathematically impossible for Brewster to pass Chatham as the Whitecaps trail by 15 points with just seven games remaining on their schedule. The A’s will play in a first-round best two-out-of-three series with one of the other divisional foes, beginning on Aug. 2.

Now, Chatham will focus on clinching the top seed and home field advantage throughout the divisional playoffs. The A’s currently sit five points above Yarmouth-Dennis and seven points in front of Orleans. Chatham needs four more wins to clinch the No. 1 seed in the East, potentially fewer if the Firebirds or Red Sox lose any games down the final stretch.

Anglers manager Tom Holliday said that winning divisional games was most important this season, and with the playoffs looming, Chatham has maintained its dominance over its divisional foes. The Anglers are 13-3-2 against the East, and 11-1-1 against the three other teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended on Saturday.

Chatham’s pitching staff has carried an up-and-down offense the entire season, as the Anglers now have the league’s best team ERA at 3.24. No matter who the A’s have trotted out, they’ve been consistently good the entire summer. Chatham pitching has allowed the fewest home runs, the second-lowest slugging percentage and its bullpen has been dominant on the backend.

And even after the A’s worst stretch of the season, three shutout losses and four defeats in five games, a shutdown outing from Daniel Federman (Miami) earned the Anglers a tie and turned the losing streak around.

Since that tie, Chatham is 8-1 and is pitching as well as it has all season, allowing just 17 runs in those eight wins. 

“If you can pitch and play good defense, you can win in this league,” Holliday said.

The A’s will look to ride their pitching and recently improved defense — Chatham now has the fourth fewest errors on the Cape — into the playoffs on Aug. 2.