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July 04. 2014 9:12PM

Fisher Cats gear up for key series


The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are hoping to make hay while — or if — the sun shines.

The Fisher Cats and Trenton Thunder were rained out Friday night and will play the game as part of a single admission doubleheader on Monday, July 21. The Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza will be held Saturday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium following the end of the 7:05 game between the Fisher Cats and Thunder.

New Hampshire’s game with Trenton tonight will be the first of a seven-game homestand over the next six days, with Trenton in town for a Sunday 1:35 p.m. game and then New Britain coming to call Monday for a doubleheader and single games Tuesday through Thursday.

Both series are key to the Fisher Cats (39-45) since both the Thunder (40-47) and Rock Cats (42-40) are the teams below and above New Hampshire, respectively, in the Eastern League Eastern Division standings.

Posting a couple of wins over Trenton could widen the half-game lead the Fisher Cats have over the the Thunder and a strong showing in the series against New Britain could take a significant bite out of (or even overcome altogether) the Rock Cats’ four-game lead on New Hampshire.

And the timing could be right for the Fisher Cats. Both the Thunder and Rock Cats have struggled recently.

Trenton had a miserable month of June, going 8-18 and losing six in a row at one point. New Britain was 17-10 in June, but six of those losses came in succession in the final week of the month.

The Fisher Cats, meanwhile, are 8-2 in their last 10 and went 17-10 in June. New Hampshire has won 21 out of its last 32 games and has completely turned around a season that started off 11-12 in April and then turned into a dismal month of May in which the team went 10-22, including an 11-game losing streak.

The rainy weather, which also caused New Hampshire’s game at Reading on Thursday to be postponed, has shuffled the starting rotation, but Matt Boyd (0-2) is expected to start for the Fisher Cats today against Zach Nuding (3-2).

Casey Lawrence (4-4), who came within one out of throwing a seven-inning perfect game as part of a doubleheader a week ago, was the scheduled starter Friday night.

Called up from Dunedin last month, Daniel Norris should be getting a start soon. Rated the No. 3 prospect in the Toronto organization and a second round draft pick in 2011, Norris earned his first Double-A win against Portland on June 24.

Following the current homestand, the Fisher Cats will play five games at division-leading Portland from July 11-14 heading into the all-star break. Portland (56-29) entered the weekend with a 16½-game lead on New Hampshire and a 5½-game lead on second-place Binghamton (50-34).

The Sea Dogs will visit New Hampshire for four games from July 17-20.

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