JULY 30th PAWTUCKET (61-48) at SCRANTON/WB (60-48) 7:05 pm
Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 3.49) vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees RHP John Maine (4-3, 5.90)
Let’s Meet in Rochester – The 1st-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 2nd-place Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (separated by just a ½-game atop the IL North Division) continue their home and home series – at neither team’s home actually – when they play tonight at Frontier Field in Rochester at 7:05 pm. The top two teams in the North, who faced each other yesterday in Pawtucket for the first time since May 6 (ironically also in Rochester), played an abbreviated 1-game “series” at McCoy with the PawSox blanking Scranton/WB, 4-0 to step over the Yanks and into 1st-place by a ½-game. Now the clubs move to Frontier Field in Rochester, NY (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s main home away from home this season) for two more games tonight and tomorrow night at 7:05 pm.
A Dandy Dozen - These two rivals are playing each other 12 times over the final five weeks of the season (the Sox are 1-0 thus far) with 9 of the remaining 11 games played in Pawtucket (the PawSox will be the home team in 5 of those and the “away” team in 4 others). Saturday night’s rainout will be made-up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on Wednesday, August 15 at 5:35 pm during Scranton’s next visit to McCoy. The Yankees will be the home team in the first game while the PawSox will be home for the make-up nightcap. Scranton/WB is slated to be the home team during that series from August 14-17 as these games would ordinarily be played in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but PNC Stadium in Moosic, PA is undergoing a major renovation this summer and unavailable for any Yankee home games.
Playoff Preview? – If the season were to end today (and it will five weeks from today) then Pawtucket would be the IL North Champ and Scranton/WB would be the IL Wild Card. As such, the teams would meet in the Governors’ Cup semi-finals which would begin with Games 1 & 2 on September 5 & 6 at a site to be determined. The PawSox would be the home team for the final three games from September 7-9 at McCoy. Of course, neither club is guaranteed anything in this tight playoff race with 35 games remaining for Pawtucket and 36 for Scranton/WB. The Sox currently have one more win than the Yanks.
Back and Forth We Go – For the past two weeks almost now the PawSox have been either a ½-game ahead in 1st-place in the IL North or a ½-game behind in 2nd-place in the division. They have been in 2nd (and a ½-game behind) on July 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, and 28 while they have been in 1st (and a ½-game ahead) on July 20, 23, 25, and 29 (now). With a victory tonight, the PawSox would go 1½-games up in the division which would mark their largest lead since June 21 (+2-games).
Battle for Supremacy – The PawSox lead the Yankees by a 4-1 margin in the season-series thus far. The clubs split a 2-game set at McCoy Stadium a little over three months ago as Pawtucket won the first meeting on April 24, 4-3 but Scranton/WB snapped Pawtucket’s 9-game winning streak with an 8-6 victory in the finale on April 25. The teams met again for a strange 2-game weekend series on May 5 and May 6. The first game on May 5 was played in Batavia, NY where the PawSox rolled, 9-3. The next day the game was moved to Frontier Field in Rochester, NY as Andy Pettitte made a rehab start for the Yankees in front of 13,584 fans but the PawSox spoiled things with a 7-5 win to sweep the series. Yesterday afternoon in Pawtucket the PawSox rolled to a 4-0 victory in the abbreviated one-game series.
Stats vs. the Yankees This Season – Pawtucket is hitting .300 in the 5 games vs. the Yanks thus far (51-for-170) with 10 HR (3 by Mauro Gomez and 1 by Jason Repko & Andy LaRoche). Sox pitchers are 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA vs. Scranton/WB (16 ER in 45 IP). The PawSox have out-scored the Yanks, 30-19 in the 5 games.
Back on Track – The PawSox have won two in a row, 3 of 4, 10 of their last 14 games and 12 of 19 following a 4-16 tailspin from June 18 – July 6.