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Rain postpones Fishers' series finale in Portland; NH starts homestand Thursday

Staff Report
June 25. 2014 9:21PM

Rain postponed New Hampshire’s game against Portland Wednesday and the Fisher Cats returned home to open a five-game series beginning Thursday against the Minnesota Twins’ Double-A affiliate New Britain Rock Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The Sea Dogs announced Wednesday that the postponed game against New Hampshire will be made up as a doubleheader on Saturday, July 12, at 5 p.m. at Hadlock Field.

The rain on Wednesday means Portland fans may have seen the last of lefthanded pitcher Henry Owens, who was the scheduled starter against the Fisher Cats.

He is scheduled to participate in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game during the Major League Baseball All-Star break. Owens is expected to be promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket soon this summer.

In 14 games this season Owens is 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA. He has allowed 19 earned runs in 86 innings with 89 strikeouts. He leads the Eastern League in ERA, strikeouts, complete games (three), shutouts (two) and tied in wins.

Only 21 years old, he established a Sea Dogs’ franchise record by tossing 27-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings from May 19 through June 14. He is Boston’s top pitching prospect and No. 2 prospect overall according to Baseball America.

The scheduled pitching match-up for Thursday night’s 7:05 start finds lefthander Jason Wheeler (1-0, 2.84) dueling most likely with Scott Copeland (5-6, 3.81), who was supposed to start for NH Wednesday in Portland.

If that’s the case, righthander Radhames Liz (0-1, 0.47), announced earlier Wednesday by the Fisher Cats as Thursday’s starter, will likely get the starting nod Friday in the first game of a doubleheader beginning at 6:05 p.m.

Saturday’s game start is 7:05 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale against New Britain is 1:35 p.m.

Currently in third place in the Eastern Division entering Wednesday’s action, New Britain (41-33) won 11 straight games before the streak ended Monday against Altoona. It bounced back to win games the last two days including 3-1 Wednesday against the Curve in a day game.

A top prospect to watch for New Britain is first baseman Kennys Vargas, batting .313 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs which is second highest overall in the Eastern League. Vargas will play in the Futures Game.

Local Red Sox fans will get a chance to see outfielder Reynaldo Rodriguez this weekend for the Rock Cats. Before joining the Twins as a Minor League free agent in 2012, Rodriguez was signed by Boston as a Minor League free agent in 2009.

In 2011 with Portland, he batted .253 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 49 games. The following season with the Sea Dogs in 90 games, he hit .257 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs. He was promoted to Pawtucket that season and played in 12 games. This season with the Rock Cats, he’s hitting .301 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs.

Fisher Cats Manchester