AUGUST 6th LEHIGH VALLEY (63-54) at PAWTUCKET (64-52) 7:05 pm
Lehigh Valley IronPigs RHP Scott Elarton (5-8, 5.06)
Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Zach Stewart (2-2, 3.76)
Will We Meet Again? – The 1st-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 3rd-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs face each other for the last time in the regular-season tonight when they play the finale of this 4-game set (and their 6-game home and home series) at 7:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. Four weeks from today the regular-season will end (after a Labor Day afternoon game here vs. Scranton/WB) and there is a distinct chance that the PawSox and IronPigs could meet again in an International League semi-final playoff series for the second straight post-season. Right now it would be Pawtucket as the IL North Champ vs. Scranton/WB as the IL Wild Card but that could change as early as tonight as the Sox, Yanks, and Pigs are all separated by just a ½-game in the IL North standings. Last year the PawSox finished in 1st-place (2-games ahead of LehighValley) but were then swept in 3 straight by the Pigs in the IL semi-final playoffs.
View From the Top – In five days thus far this month, the PawSox have been alone in 1st-place twice (Friday & Sunday) and in a virtual tie for 1st-place with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on August 1, 2, and 4. From July 17-31 the PawSox were either in 1st-place and +½-game or in 2nd-place and –½-game in the division every day during that stretch. Lehigh Valley despite winning 3 of 5 games against the Sox the past five days, has remained in 3rd-place but they are within just a ½-game of the Yankees for the coveted wild card.
Pig Pen - Pawtucket has lost 3 of 5 to LehighValley since last Wednesday but with a win tonight would even this 6-game home and home series at 3 wins each and also finish the season-series with the IronPigs at 8 victories apiece. Pawtucket trails, 7-8 with one game remaining. The clubs split the first two games here at McCoy with the Sox rolling 7-1 on Friday but LehighValley rebounding for a 7-3 victory Saturday. Yesterday the Sox gained the upper hand in this 4-game set at home by rallying for a 6-5 victory in 10-innings. The PawSox were swept in a 2-game set at LehighValley last Wednesday and Thursday nights (by scores of 3-2 in 10-innings and 2-1).
Chasing the Pigs – Lehigh Valley is one of just three teams the PawSox have a losing record against this season as the Sox are 7-8 vs. the IronPigs thus far (finishing 3-5 in Allentown, PA and 4-3 in Pawtucket with the finale on tap for tonight). 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).
This Homestand – The PawSox are 2-1 on this 6-game homestand that will take a brief respite tomorrow when the Sox enjoy their first scheduled off-day since the All-Star break (July 9-11). Pawtucket resumes play on Wednesday night with the opener of a 2-game set vs. Syracuse here at McCoy (Wednesday at 7:05 pm and Thursday at 12:05 pm). The PawSox will spend the wrap-around weekend in New York with a 2-game series in Rochester on Friday & Saturday nights before moving to Buffalo for 2-games on Sunday and Monday nights. Pawtucket will be right back to McCoy for a huge 9-game homestand one week from tomorrow (August 14-21) that will feature 5-games vs. Scranton/WB (including a make-up doubleheader on Aug. 15 at 5:35 pm) along with the Future’s at Fenway game on August 18 at approximately 4:35 pm.
Not Much of a Difference a Year Makes – Pawtucket is two games off their pace from last season after 116 games as they had a 66-50 record last year compared to 64-52 this season. However, last August 10 the Sox fell to 66-51 and were in a tie for 1st-place with Lehigh Valley. They own a 1-game lead at this point this season. The PawSox went 17-12 last August (and 4-0 last September) and from August 7 on last year 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).
Win Some, Lose Some – The PawSox are 5-5 in their last 10 games, but they have won 13 of their last 21 games and are 15-11 following a 4-16 tailspin from June 18 – July 6.