AUGUST 1st PAWTUCKET (62-49) at LEHIGH VALLEY (60-52) 7:05 pm
Grab A Six-Pack – The 1st-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 3rd-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs (separated by just 2½-games in the IL North Standings) begin a 6-game home and home series tonight with the opener of a 2-game set at Coca-ColaPark in Allentown, PA at 7:05 pm. The teams, who are playing the only game in the International League tonight, play each other over the next 6 days/nights with games at LehighValley tonight and tomorrow night before the scene shifts to Pawtucket for a 4-game wrap-around weekend series this Friday through Monday. The Sox and Pigs play at McCoy Stadium on Friday at 7:05 pm, Saturday at 6:05 pm, Sunday at 1:05 pm, and Monday at 7:05 pm. That will conclude the season-series between the clubs unless they meet for the second straight year in the IL Playoffs.
Back and Forth We Go – The PawSox most recently took 2 of 3 from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre the past three nights to continue their back and forth between the top two spots in the division with the Yankees. Pawtucket’s 4-2 win last night over the Yanks (in Rochester) put Pawtucket back into 1st-plae and a ½-game ahead of Scranton/WB. The top two teams in the North, who faced each other Sunday in Pawtucket (a 4-0 PawSox victory), Monday in Rochester (a 2-1 Scranton/WB win), and last night in Rochester (a 4-2 Sox triumph) have flip-flopped between 1st and 2nd-place each of those days. A Pawtucket victory would put them back into 1st-place as we head to August. For the past two weeks (since July 17) the PawSox have been either +½-game or –½-game in the division. Furthermore, in 8 of their last 11 games they have either moved into 1st-place or fallen to 2nd-place.
Playoff Preview? - If the season were to end today then Pawtucket would be the IL North Champ, Scranton/WB would be the IL Wild Card, and LehighValley would just miss out on the playoffs as the IronPigs currently trail the Yankees by 2-games in the wild card race. The Sox currently have one more win than the Yanks.
Bye to July – The PawSox finished 15-13 this July and have now had a winning month in 6 of their last 7 (full) months and 8 winning (full) months in their last 10 months of action dating back to August of 2010. Their only two losing months in their last 11 months are May of 2011 (13-15) and this past June (also 13-15).
Last Year at This Time – Pawtucket entered last August with a 60-49 record and in 2nd-place, -2 GB of Lehigh Valley. They have won two more games at this point this season and are in 1st-place by a ½-game. The PawSox went 17-12 last August (and 4-0 last September) and moved into a tie for 1st-place on August 7. They remained either tied for 1st or alone in 1st for all but one day the remainder of the season (2nd-place, -1 GB on August 24). The Sox eventually won the IL North by 2-games but were eliminated in the IL North semi-finals in 3 straight games by LehighValley.
A ½-Game Matters – As mentioned, for the past two+ weeks 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, 28, and 30 while they have been in 1st (and a ½-game ahead) on July 20, 23, 25, 29, and 31 (now).
Back on Track – The PawSox have won 4 of 6, 11 of their last 16 games and 13 of 21 following a 4-16 tailspin from June 18 – July 6. They matched their season-high of -3 GB on July 6.
Break the Tie – The PawSox and Lehigh Valley are all even at 5-5 in the season-series thus far as the teams are 3-3 here in Allentown and 2-2 in Pawtucket. The teams most recently met for a 3-game set on the weekend of June 30 and July 1 at Lehigh Valley. The PawSox won, 14-1 on June 30 for their largest margin of victory this season. That win moved them into a tie for 1st-place with LehighValley. However, the IronPigs bounced back on July 1 to sweep a day/night doubleheader by scores of 8-5 and 2-1 to take a 2-game lead over the Sox atop the IL North.