AUGUST 2nd PAWTUCKET (62-50) at LEHIGH VALLEY (61-52) 7:05 pm
Pawtucket Red Sox LHP Chris Hernandez (1-0, 1.64) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs RHP Tyler Cloyd (10-1, 1.98)
The Amazing Race – The (tied for) 1st-place Pawtucket Red Sox (with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees) and the 3rd-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs – who are all separated by just 1½-games in the IL North Standings – conclude their 2-game set in Allentown, PA tonight with a 7:05 pm game at Coca-Cola Park. Both teams will travel to Pawtucket overnight and continue what amounts to a 6-game home and home series with the opener of a 4-game wrap-around weekend series tomorrow night at McCoy Stadium. The Sox and Pigs play at McCoy tomorrow 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.
About as Tight as You Can Get – The PawSox fell in the series-opener to Lehigh Valley last night, 3-2 in 10-innings which tightened things considerably in the division as the Sox are in a virtual tie with Scranton/WB for 1st-place (the Yanks have a .555 to .554 pct. lead) while the IronPigs pulled to within just a game and a half of the lead. All three teams are also the top contenders for a playoff spot as one would win the division (Scranton/WB), another would be the wild card (Pawtucket), and one would be just left out (Lehigh Valley) if the season were to end today. For the past two+ weeks (since July 17) the PawSox have been either +½-game or –½-game in the division with the exception of right now (tied for 1st). Furthermore, after 9 of their last 12 games they have either moved into 1st-place or fallen to 2nd-place as a result of that game.
Deja vu All Over Again – Pawtucket has the exact same record this season after 112 games that they had last year (62-50). Last year they were 62-50 on August 4 and in 2nd-place, -1½ GB of Lehigh Valley. The Sox went on a 4-game winning streak from that point to move into a tie for 1st-place. The PawSox went 17-12 last August (and 4-0 last September) and moved into a tie for 1st-place last 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.
Every Game Matters – As mentioned, from July 17-31 the PawSox were either a ½-game ahead in 1st-place in the IL North or a ½-game behind in 2nd-place in the division. They were in 2nd (and a ½-game behind) on July 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, and 30 while they were in 1st (and a ½-game ahead) on July 20, 23, 25, 29, and 31. The PawSox have begun the month of August in a virtual tie with Scranton/WB atop the IL North (Yanks have a .555 winning pct. while Sox are .554).
Back on Track – The PawSox have won 4 of 7, 11 of their last 17 games and 13 of 22 following a 4-16 tailspin from June 18 – July 6. They matched their season-high of -3 GB on July 6.
Chasing the Pigs – Lehigh Valley is one of just three teams the PawSox have a losing record against this season as the Sox are 5-6 vs. the IronPigs thus far (3-4 here in Allentown and 2-2 in Pawtucket). Pawtucket also trails Charlotte (1-3) and finished 3-5 vs. Louisville (the only other teams they have a losing record against to this point).
Stats vs. Lehigh Valley - The PawSox are hitting .277 in the 11 games vs. the IronPigs (100-for-361) with 13 HR (4 by Gomez, 2 by Repko, and 1 by Anderson, Hassan, Repko and Rivera). Sox pitchers are 5-6 with a 2.94 ERA vs. LehighValley (29 ER in 88.2 IP) with 8 HRA. The PawSox have out-scored the IronPigs by a 51-33 margin in the season-series thus far.