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After 44 regular season games, the Cape League playoffs begin on Friday night. Chatham won its first East Division Regular Season title since 2013 and will host Harwich in Game 1 of the East Divisional Series at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field.
The Mariners clinched their playoff spot with a 6-0 win against Brewster on Tuesday, eliminating the Whitecaps, who had been chasing them for three weeks in the standings. While they had an off day on Thursday to prepare, Chatham lost to Orleans in a game with zero implications for either team.
Chatham and Harwich met in the EDS last season, when Chatham won a two-game sweep, 8-3 and 8-6, to advance to the East Division Championship Series.
Daniel Federman (Miami) will start for Chatham. The right-hander has been mainly a reliever in his two years at school, but has operated as a starter all summer. Federman was roughed up in his most recent outing, but in the three starts before he tossed 15 innings and allowed just five runs. He has struck out 24 and walked seven in 25 innings pitched.
Connor McCullough (Kansas State) is the projected starter for Harwich. The A’s have seen him twice, and have yet to successfully hit off him. The righty has thrown 25.2 innings and allowed four earned runs with 29 strikeouts. Also, McCullough has thrown 12.1 innings vs. Chatham without allowing an earned run.
Kaden Polcovich (Oklahoma State) has been Chatham’s most-consistent hitter all season. He hit a three-run, game tying double that helped clinch first for the A’s on Wednesday and has delivered in key moments all season long. He’s played six different positions too, helping fill holes and play innings wherever needed. Polcovich is slashing .305/.426/.473 with four HRs and 28 RBIs.
Chris Lanzilli (Wake Forest) has been the best hitter in the Harwich lineup over the last two weeks. He’s led the Mariners resurgence as he’s 17-for-32 in his last 10 games. Lanzilli registered a 4-for-4 night off the A’s on July 29, then homered three times against Orleans the next day. He’s slashing .293/.365/.467 for the season.
The Anglers have not had much success at the plate against the Harwich pitching staff this season. Chatham has slashed just .169/.269/.230 against the Mariners, more than 30 points lower in batting average than against any other opponent.
The A’s have also been shutout twice by Harwich, and shut them out once.
Chatham and Harwich split their season series at three. The teams first met in the opening week of the season, when the Anglers won 5-0 for one of their two shutouts this season. The A’s won the second meeting, 3-2, but have lost three of the last four to end the season.
In the last meeting, Harwich pounded the A’s 11-0 on July 29, scoring two runs in the second and third and four more in the sixth to defeat Chatham.