September 15, 2007 September 15, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
11-game winner Ferrari unlikely for playoff start (Photo: Ashmore)
Hooray For Meaningless Baseball!: Well, maybe. Dwight Maness might argue that the first pitch of last night’s game, thrown high and tight by Scott Wiggins, wasn’t all that meaningless.
But still, the Camden Riversharks are in Somerset for three games, the first of which was won by Camden, 7-5, ending Somerset’s six-game winning streak.
I asked Camden manager Joe Ferguson about if he’ll be managing this series any differently considering it’s against their first round playoff opponent.
“We’ve got to manage the pitchers, that’s what we have to try to do,” Ferguson said.
“Hopefully we can give the position players a couple of days off, but once the game starts, you always manage to win until that situation doesn’t present itself. But it’s more managing the pitching staff than anything else.”
So, it doesn’t really sound like this will be a true playoff preview.
“It’s never a playoff until it’s a playoff, it’s just not the same,” Ferguson said.
“But you still have to play with energy and you still have to play with desire. Hitters want to keep their timing and they want to do well, and pitchers want to make good pitches. But they do what they always do, and they let me manage them.”
Ferguson’s current playoff rotation of Matt Beech, Rolando Viera and “probably” Greg Powell is an interesting one, but that may change after 11-game winner Anthony Ferrari was scratched from his scheduled start tonight, instead coming out of the bullpen last night.
“He’s going to pitch out of the ‘pen, but how I use him will be determined by the score of the game and situation,” said Ferguson of his decision to not start the former Expo.
“He’s a reliever, that’s what he’s been before. His starts have always been short starts, they’re usually only five innings. So I think at this point, based on the innings he’s pitched, he’s going to be more effective out of the pen. He’s going to be well rested, and short stints are going to be better for him.”
In 21 starts this season, Ferrari has averaged less than six innings per outing, and his longest start is seven innings, achieved four separate times.
But Beech (who has made zero starts for Camden) and Viera (who has made one) will lead the Riversharks into the playoffs, where Ferguson and company will be up against the Patriots.
“They’ve got a pretty good ballclub, and they’ve had a pretty good ballclub all year long, there’s no doubt about it,” Ferguson said.
“Obviously, they had to play the second half with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of desire because they wanted to be in the playoffs. Our second half has had some injuries that have hurt us with not being able to replace some players. I’m trying to get these guys well rested. To be perfectly honest, in the first half, they were pretty much burned out even then. We’ve had no people come in to replace these players, we’ve had to play with the ten guys that we’ve got all year long. So it’s not like they’ve had a chance to catch their breath.”
Despite many people not giving his Riversharks much of a chance against Somerset, Camden catcher Randy McGarvey thinks this will be a hard-fought, competitive series.
“You can’t ever say that a team’s out of the picture. When you do that, that can be dangerous,” he said.
“Somerset has a great team, and we always…I don’t want to say there’s bad blood, but it’s very competitive. We’re two competitive teams that like to get after each other, and that’s good. It’s good for baseball, you look at the Yankees and Boston, and they get after each other, and that’s the way we are with Somerset. I think that’s what it’s all about, just getting after it and playing as hard as you can.”
McGarvey Watch Has Happy Ending: After being short of the required plate appearances for what’s seemed like the entire season, Camden’s Randy McGarvey has finally made his way onto the league leaderboard in batting average, entering last night’s game in second place.
At this time of the season, a lot of players might try to tell you that individual awards aren’t important, and that they haven’t been thinking about it. Instead, the former Astros farmhand was honest with his thoughts…
“Anybody saying it’s not important, that’s kind of crazy, or they’re lying,” said McGarvey, who has hit as high as .404 this season, and was hitting .400 as late as August 3rd.
“Just like a pitcher — they all want to win a Cy Young — it’s a great achievement to win a batting title. In any league, it’s a great achievement, especially in this league with the players that are in this league. It’s definitely important, it’s not the whole big picture, but for an individual thing, it’s definitely important. My teammates want me to win it, and it’s something they talk about. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, there’s nothing I can look back on and say I wish I could have done this or that better. It’s been a great year.”
Despite being locked in the tight batting race, McGarvey says he can’t approach his final few plate appearances of the regular season any differently.
“I’m not going to change much, I’m just going to go at it the same way I’ve been going at it all year,” he said.
“If they fall, great. If they don’t, that’s baseball. This has been a great year so far, I have no complaints. I’m just going to go at it 100 percent like I do every game, and hopefully I’ll get a couple more.”
Despite it being late in the season, it looks like McGarvey’s going to play all the games in the final series.
“He’s going to hit, we’re going to let him hit,” said Camden manager Joe Ferguson.
“In the Sunday game, he’ll probably DH. Randy’s done a remarkable job of catching for this ballclub and replacing Ben Davis. He’s done an outstanding job offensively as well. He’s going to get his at-bats, we want to keep him sharp. He finally qualified (to be amongst the league leaders) so we’ll see what happens for this series.”
McGarvey (.357) is currently seven points back of Newark’s Victor Rodriguez, who is hitting .364 and won the Atlantic League batting crown in 2004 after hitting .371 for Somerset.
“The guy is a great hitter. The numbers he’s putting up this year, you have to applaud him, I have nothing but respect for him,” McGarvey said.
“He’s doing some outstanding things this year, so to be right underneath him…hopefully I can make it interesting at the end of the year.”
If there were an Atlantic League award given out for Most Improved Player, McGarvey would seem to be a lock to win it. He hit just .234 with no home runs and 11 RBI last season, albeit in limited playing time behind John Pachot, who was the Riversharks everyday backstop last season.
This year though, McGarvey seems to have put his name on the map for affiliated teams looking for catching.
“Hopefully, there are some teams out there that are looking for catching that will see those numbers and see what I’ve done at this level and give me a shot,” McGarvey said.
“I can’t jump in somebody’s brain and make them make decisions, it’s up to them, but you look at a lot of the organizations out there, and a lot of them do need catching. So hopefully it’s something where I’ll get a shot to prove myself at that level again. Being with Houston and getting a taste of affiliated ball, that’s something I really want to try and do again.” – Mike Ashmore