A single objective for the Capitals: the championship
The table is set for a short battle between the provincial and federal capitals! After a successful regular season, the Capitales de Québec will begin the Frontier League baseball playoffs against the Titans on Friday night in Ottawa.
According to the format in place, the first game of this 2 of 3 series will take place at RCGT Park in Ottawa, while the confrontation will move to Canac Stadium on Saturday. If a third and final meeting becomes necessary on Sunday, it will also be played in Quebec.
“We greatly prefer to finish at home to be in front of our supporters for the decisive matches, even if the first part is also very, very important, commented the manager of the Capitals, Patrick Scalabrini. In Quebec, our fans are so loud and intense. To have the chance to play these games to end a series at home, it is not calculable how much of an advantage it is.
« You have to win the series, regardless of the order of the games that are played at home or away, » said Quebec pitcher Miguel Cienfuegos, who will also be the starter for the Capitals in Ottawa. .
An intimidating factor
The challenge remains great for Scalabrini’s squad against the Titans who, after going 56-39 in the season, won the Eastern Division playoff game against the New York Boulders on Wednesday night. The Ottawa team also concluded the regular schedule, from September 2 to 4, with two wins in three games against the Capitals in Quebec. During these games, however, the Titans did not have to face Cienfuegos.
“We placed our rotation to have our two best starters for the first two games,” noted Scalabrini.
About Cienfuegos, the manager is full of praise. For good reason, the 25-year-old player who grew up in Laval has just had a dream season. In 21 starts, he set a new record in Capitals history with a 1.79 ERA. Obtaining a 10-2 record, Cienfuegos was also voted the pitcher of the year in the Frontier League.
Photo QMI Agency, Marcel Tremblay
« He takes pressure from an ace in the rotation, giving quality innings, » Scalabrini boasted. It obviously offers a very high chance of winning every game. Beyond that, it’s an intimidating factor. Both teams were playing the suicide duel for the honor of facing Miguel Cienfuegos to start a series 2 of 3. It’s intimidating.
Cienfuegos and… Paiva
Another advantage for the Capitals to consider: the Titans had to use a quality pitcher, Zac Westcott, during Wednesday’s playoff game in New York State against the Boulders. It would thus be surprising to see him on the hill in the coming days.
“The important thing in the playoffs is to come back healthy and on a good streak,” added Scalabrini, noting that Ottawa has now won 10 of its last 11 games. Anything can happen in a short 2 of 3 series like this. Starting with Miguel [Cienfuegos] and Codie Paiva in games 1 and 2, however, we expect them firmly.
Miguel Cienfuegos interests professional clubs
Ace of the Quebec Capitals rotation to start the playoffs, Quebecer Miguel Cienfuegos is of interest to several professional organizations.
“I am 100% convinced that Miguel will not wear the Capitals outfit next year, but for very good reasons”, comes to decide the manager of the Quebec club, Patrick Scalabrini.
PHOTO COURTESY Capitals of Quebec
Elected pitcher of the year in the Frontier League of baseball, Cienfuegos could very well have left the Capitals in recent weeks. The interest is there, but a visa issue has notably hurt his chances of joining a club wanting immediate help.
“There is a lot of interest, I am in communication with his agent [Blake Corosky]. There are several interested organizations, adds Scalabrini. If Miguel had been American, he would have already left, it’s been a long time… When the season is over, not only will he have an offer, but there should be several clubs wanting him.
Aged 25, Cienfuegos obviously dreams of having the chance to end up in a club affiliated with major league baseball.
“That was and still is the goal. We feel that there is interest … At the start of the season, I told myself that I wanted, mentally, to concentrate where I am currently, comments the one who grew up in Laval. The rest will come when it comes. The goal now is to finish the season with a ring on your finger and from there, we will move on to the next step.
The President’s record
With an extraordinary ERA of 1.79 in 131 innings pitched this season, Cienfuegos surpassed the former Capitals mark which had belonged since 1999 to club president Michel Laplante (2.06). If ever Cienfuegos is not back in Quebec next year, it will not be because the big boss has been touched in his pride. The good performances of the young Quebec left-hander explain why his future may lie elsewhere.
“A unique season, beyond my expectations, agrees Cienfuegos. I had prepared myself to do well, but I didn’t expect it to be like this. It’s still something good at the individual level to move on to the next stage, but again, the ultimate goal is for the club to win the championship.
A hole to fill in the relievers
The Quebec Capitales rely on several good relievers, but the loss of Nick Horvath at the dawn of the playoffs remains a blow. The Florida gunner actually signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels organization earlier this week.
“Nick received this good news a few days ago. He left to pass his medical tests and should launch in one of the clubs affiliated with the organization of the Angels, indicated the manager Patrick Scalabrini, all in all happy for the athlete. It’s more than deserved and it’s also a beacon of hope for many of our other players. »
“Obviously, the Capitals would have liked the Angels to leave Nick for another 10 days or two weeks… It’s difficult to replace, especially with Samuel Adames who is trying to come back from an injury. We’re going to need our other relievers to get up and get the job done late in the game. »
Ian Codina, Frank Moscatiello and Franklin Parra are in particular likely to be involved.
“We had a great season as a team, but also with certain individual statistics of certain players, noted Scalabrini, mentioning in passing the earned run average of 1.76 in 45 appearances on the mound of Horvath. Not being asked for guys in affiliate baseball during the season was a bit worrying… Now, after Nick, I could bet my house that a few more will follow in the offseason. »
Schedule of the series between the Capitals and the Titans
Friday, September 9
Quebec to Ottawa (6:30 p.m. – RCGT Park)
Saturday September 10
Ottawa v. Quebec City (7:05 p.m. – Canac Stadium)
Sunday September 11*
Ottawa v. Quebec City (5:05 p.m. – Canac Stadium)