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Game 9 Preview: Chatham at Yarmouth-Dennis

by Graham Dietz
Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Game 9 Preview: Chatham at Yarmouth-Dennis
If there is one person who can revive Chatham after getting blown out by Bourne, it’s probably Matt “Tugboat” Wilkinson.

Wilkinson is slated to make his first start of the season for the Anglers. In his first appearance, the six-foot-one, 275-pounder came in as a relief pitcher for the final five innings of Chatham’s 2–0 shutout of Orleans on June, 13. The starter of that game was Brody Brecht, who recorded seven strikeouts in four innings Monday against the Braves.

After fanning eight batters against the Firebirds, Wilkinson showed his emotion by letting out ferocious roars while striding back to the dugout. His confidence is just what the A’s need after a two-game home stand in which they lost both affairs.

Here is what you need to know before Chatham (2–5–1 East) visits the leaders of the East division, the Red Sox (5–2–1 East), for the second time this season.

Probable Starters

Matt Wilkinson (Central Arizona): Wilkinson is a four-ball pitcher, meaning he is able to execute four different types of pitches to equal strength. Each type hangs in the mid-to-high 80’s in velocity. Wilkinson went all five innings without conceding a hit or walking a batter in his first outing against Orleans. Brecht described his pitching style and his nickname as “just perfect.”

Finnegan Wall (California Irvine): In his first appearance facing Brewster on June 12, Finnegan slumped, allowing three runners to score in four innings. His opponent on-base percentage is .333 after one start, however, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 3–1. The right-handed thrower is a new look for Chatham’s offense, who are used to suiting up against lefty starters because of its mostly left-handed batting lineup.

Chatham Players to Watch

Hudson White (Texas Tech): White, a sophomore catcher out of Keller, Texas, made his first stop behind the plate in the Anglers’ 11–1 loss. White struckout once in the contest en route to an 0–4 showing in the batter’s box. When it comes to all the new players filtering into the Anglers’ roster this past week, Chatham manager Tom Holliday has harped on this—taking a day or two to get used to the differences in the swing. And everytime, the hitter has proven that this adjustment period actually works. Monday night, newcomers Aidan Meola, Chris Maldonado, and Nolan Schubart all registered a hit, respectively, after all going hitless in their first starts on the Cape this season.

Lyle Miller-Green (Austin Peay): Miller-Green continues to boast the best batting numbers on Chatham’s roster. The six-foot-five, 230-pound Burke, Va. native showcases a .400 batting average this summer in 20 at-bats, including one home run. His sole home run of the season also came at Y-D’s “Red” Wilson Field, which features the shortest dimensions of any field in the Cape League.

Yarmouth-Dennis Players to Watch

Max Viera (Seton Hall): There is no other player that is hotter in the batter’s box than Viera right now. Viera leads the Cape League in at-bats and batting average at 36 and a .472, respectively, and went 4–5 in the Red Sox’s win over Orleans on Monday. Between Wilkinson and Viera, it’ll be a showdown of Cape League “giants.”

Hunter Hines (Mississippi State): Hines is more of a freak athlete in comparison to Viera. At six-foot-four, 220 pounds, Hines can take full advantage of Y-D’s short field dimensions, and he has done it. Hines’ two home runs lead the Red Sox, and his .364 batting average is good for second on the team.

Number to Know: 52

While Chatham’s run differential of -21 is not the worst in the Cape League—Orleans RDIFF is a few ticks below at -25—the Anglers’ mark of 52 runs against is. The next closest team is Orleans, which has garnered 44 runs against this season, but it’s almost a difference of double digits. Wilkinson’s pitching today will hopefully help Chatham mitigate this statistic.

Last Time They Played

The A’s lost to Y-D on June 14 by a final score of 5–3. Eric Hammond’s three earned runs in the first three innings of the contest were enough for the Red Sox to take full advantage of Chatham’s lineup, besting it in hits 13–7. Lyle Miller-Green’s solo home run wasn’t the only feat of his day, as the righty batter notched a hit and a walk in addition.