JULY 19th SYRACUSE (45-52) at PAWTUCKET (54-45) 12:05 pm
Syracuse Chiefs RHP Tanner Roark (4-12, 5.54) vs.Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Zach Stewart (1-1, 3.74)
Triple Figures – The Pawtucket Red Sox – who had their 3-game winning streak snapped last night – play Game #100 of the season this afternoon against the Syracuse Chiefs at 12:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. The PawSox are 54-45 after 99 games this season. Last year they were 56-44 after 100 games (July 22) and in 2nd-place, -1 GB.
Matinee Baseball – The PawSox – who have won 5 of their last 9 games following 4-16 tailspin – look to win a series outright when they play the finale of their 4-game set against Syracuse this afternoon. Today marks the first of two weekday afternoon home affairs on what is hailed as Park & Recreation Day at McCoy (the other in three weeks on Thursday, August 9 at 12:05 pm also vs. Syracuse). The PawSox have won 7 games in the month of July (going 7-9 thus far) and 4 of those have been against Syracuse in 5 tries. Syracuse was the last team to visit McCoy this season when they came to town for a 2-game series (July 7 & 8) – swept by the PawSox by scores of 3-2 and 4-1. The Chiefs returned to Pawtucket on Monday and so far Pawtucket has a 2 games to 1 lead…beating the Chiefs, 8-5 and 8-3 before Syracuse got on the board with a 5-1 victory last night.
Sweep Dreams – The PawSox and Syracuse have met for three different series this season and all three ended in sweeps, although this one will not. Pawtucket swept a 4-game set in Syracuse from April 16-19, the Chiefs returned the favor when they swept 4-games in Syracuse from June 18-21, and the PawSox most recently swept a 2-game set at McCoy on July 7 & 8. The Sox are up 2-1 in this current 4-game series. After this series the clubs will meet for one more 2-game set on August 8 & 9 at McCoy to conclude the season-series.
This Homestand – From July 12 (just after the All-Star break) through Labor Day, September 3 the PawSox are playing their final 52 games of the regular-season in 54 days (3-4 thus far). This 8-game home stand (3-4) concludes today and will end a stretch of 20 PawSox home games out of 26 games overall from June 22 – July 19. After today the Sox will play 12 of their next 14 games on the road from July 20 – August 2.
The Race is On – The PawSox remained within a ½-game of the 1st-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs and held onto their IL wild card lead by a ½-game over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as all three contenders lost last night. (The Sox had trailed by a ½-game in the wild card race from Saturday – Monday). Until this past Saturday when they fell into 3rd-place behind the Yankees, the PawSox had been either in 1st-place or owners of the IL wild card since April 16. Norfolk is next in the wild card chase and only –3 GB while Buffalo is -3½ GB and Rochester & Columbus are -4½ GB. The PawSox have 45 games remaining in the regular-season as they bid to defend their IL North title from 2011. Head-to-head match-ups between the three top teams in the division will go a long way in determining who emerges with a playoff spot(s) as the PawSox face Lehigh Valley 6 more times (4 home & 2 away) and Scranton/WB 12 more times (10 at home although the Sox will be the “away” team in 4 of those & 2 legit road games).
Familiar Foes –Pawtucket is playing exclusively against their IL North rivals for the remainder of their home schedule (June 29 vs. Charlotte was their last home game of the year vs. a team from outside the North). Their 30-21 record within the IL North is tied for the best of any team in the league inside their own division (Indy is 26-17 in the IL West). The Sox do have road trips outside the division as they go to Louisville and Indianapolis of the IL West later this week from July 20-27 and later in the season travel to Charlotte and Gwinnett of the IL South from August 23-30.
Three-peat – Pawtucket recently won 3 straight games from Sunday – Tuesday for the first time in a month…since a 5-game winning streak from June 12-17. They could not make it 4 in a row as they fell to Syracuse last night.
Trying to Turn the Beat Around – The PawSox are 5-4 in their last 9 games but they have still lost 20 of their last 29 games since June 18 and have gone from 1st-place and 5-games up in the IL North on June 17 (equaling their largest lead of the season) to 2nd-place and a ½-game behind 1st-place Lehigh Valley as a result. Their 3-game deficit on July 3, 5, and 6 equaled the furthest they had been out of 1st-place all season (also -3 GB on April 15 & 16). They had been in either 1st-place or 2nd-place every day since April 13 until falling into 3rd on Saturday. They returned to 2nd-place on Tuesday. Pawtucket was alone atop the division from May 5 – June 25.
Series Setback - The PawSox had dropped a series 6-times in their last 7 tries since June 18 until this current series. Their only winner in that span was a 2-game sweep of Syracuse on July 7 & 8. They are up 2 games to 1 in this set vs. the Chiefs.
First and Last Were Fun – Pawtucket and Syracuse have met for a pair of 4-game series (those coming in Syracuse) and a 2-game set here at McCoy. The first was a 4-game sweep for the PawSox from April 16-19 as the Sox won three close ones…4-3, 1-0, and 6-1 in 11-innings and then completed the sweep with an 11-7 victory on April 19. Two months later, Syracuse returned the favor sweeping the Sox in a 4-game set from June 18-21. The Chiefs won those four by scores of 11-7, 4-3, 6-5 (in 11-innings), and 3-1 to complete the sweep on June 21. The teams will not play in Syracuse again this season. Most recently, the PawSox swept a 2-game set here at McCoy with 3-2 and 4-1 wins on July 7 & July 8. Pawtucket has taken an 8-5 lead in the overall season-series by virtue of their 8-5 and 8-3 wins to begin this series before a 5-1 defeat last night.
Stats vs. Chiefs – The PawSox are hitting .271 in the 13 games vs. Syracuse thus far (124-for-457) with 17 HR (4 by Tony Thomas, 3 by Ryan Lavarnway, 3 by Nate Spears, and 1 each by Alex Hassan, Mauro Gomez, J.C. Linares, and Mike Rivera among active PawSox). Sox pitchers are 8-5 with a 3.53 ERA vs. the Chiefs (46 ER in 117.1 IP) with 10 HRA. Pawtucket has out-scored Syracuse, 62-51.
When the Going Gets Tough – The PawSox had a 9-game losing streak (the third longest in club-history) from June 18-26 which was preceded by a 5-game winning streak (from June 18-26). They have now lost 20 of their last 29 overall – including 8 of 10 on the road and 12 of their last 19 home games.