No member of the Capitales de Québec appreciated this division title as much as manager Patrick Scalabrini. It was a deliverance, nothing less.
Again Sunday, with the Ottawa Titans leading 3-2 in the top of the ninth inning, he inevitably felt the sword of Damocles hanging over his head.
Over the past week, the usually teaser 46-year-old felt like he didn’t do his homework as the team suffered a default loss for non-compliance. regulations. Worse still, he felt he had failed his men. It’s the most excruciating feeling a coach can have.
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“I’m very proud of what I’m doing,” Scalabrini said Sunday night after his team’s 4-3 victory that won the regular season championship. Dropping a game for the guys hurt me.
“Everyone makes mistakes and we weren’t mad at Pat,” reliever Frank Moscatiello said. We had to support him, as he has done for us all season.
If some comments from fans did not fly on social networks, the one who has been the manager of the Capitals since 2010 has never hidden: he assumed the error made by using Greg Bird at first base, on August 31, at the Canac Stadium. . The rule, which prevented Bird from playing anywhere other than the outfield defensively, due to his acquisition made after the trade deadline to replace outfielder Marc-Antoine Lebreux, was known. The misinterpretation belonged to Scalabrini and the Capitals. If the rule is unique to the Frontier League, there was no one else to blame for this important withdrawn victory.
Marcel Tremblay / QMI Agency
“Pat is able to take it on a personal level, but I think his discomfort came from the players and the fans,” Capitals general manager Charles Demers said Monday. It was necessary, in a way, that the players protect it by obtaining victories. They responded well and it shows the strength of the Capitals’ team spirit. We won Sunday’s game and we erase this error.
“We knew Pat was feeling bad and the guys reacted in the right way,” noted Lebreux, injured for the rest of the season. From what I know, all the guys like it. »
A fair return
The response of the players will have been a just reward for the one who, also wearing the caps of recruiter and senior director of baseball operations, does not count his hours to find new players for the Capitals.
“Pat is doing an incredible job, he is able to pick up important elements at the right time,” boasted Demers, recalling in passing the team’s poor start to the season. In particular, there was the arrival of (Ruben) Castro at the beginning of June, which changed the portrait of the season.
Another fact remains: the Capitals have suffered 34 other defeats during this 2023 season, including seven in nine games at the start of the campaign. Scalabrini will have done much more to straighten the bar than to capsize the boat.
free the conscience
By winning on Sunday, the Capitals not only won the division title, but they also got the benefits that come with it. The fact of avoiding the match without tomorrow makes it possible in particular to keep the best pitchers for the semi-finals. It also allows you to rest for a few days.
In the end, the Quebec club approaches the playoffs as if the default defeat had never happened. It’s a ton of bricks on Scalabrini’s shoulders.
Otherwise, the different scenarios would have continued to weigh on the leader’s conscience. Even after an eventual victory in a suicide game that required the use of a better pitcher, a loss to the Capitals in the semifinals, for example, would have been a burden for Scalabrini to bear.
Six championships as a coach
With Sunday’s victory, the Sword of Damocles is completely gone. If ever Quebec were to lose in the semi-finals or in the final, it would not be because of an indirect consequence of the defeat by default. Scalabrini knows this better than anyone.
“As my girlfriend tells me every day, I’m not perfect,” concluded the manager, with the humor that we know him, after breathing a good sigh of relief after Sunday’s victory.
Such a mistake in 13 years, among six championships won as an instructor (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2022), is easily forgivable. In these circumstances, he now deserves never to hear about it again.
– With the collaboration of Richard Boutin
In the notebook
- The work of the relievers too often remains in the shadows. In the capitals, Frank Moscatiello He is, however, one of the team’s most valuable players in 2023. On Sunday, he was also voted Frontier League reliever of the year.
- Valentine lovers! Capitals fans fell in love with Jesmuel Valentine, Sunday night at Stade Canac, after his important hit of the victory. A former Philadelphia Phillies player, he is also the son of former Major League Baseball glory Jose Valentin, who notably had five consecutive seasons of 25 or more home runs with the Chicago White Sox from 2000 to 2004.
- Greg Bird could do the Capitals a big favor in the playoffs. In the final two series of the season, the former Yankees had eight hits on 22 at-bats, hitting a home run in the process.
- Former Expos receiver chris wigger is the Director of Miners for Sus___ County. His team won its last seven games of the regular season to advance to Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Jackals.
- Beware the power of the Jackals! They have six players who hit more than 20 homers during the regular season, including the league leaders. Keon Barnum and James Nelsoneach with 30 long balls.
- In addition to having started the first two games of the semi-final, the Panamanians Steven Fuentes And Adbiel Saldana could return to play an important role in the Grand Finals, should the Capitals qualify.