MAY 5th DURHAM (19-10) at PAWTUCKET (17-12) 1:05 pm
Durham Bulls RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-0, 3.33) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Steven Wright (1-0, 1.93)
Sunday Series Finale – The Pawtucket Red Sox play the finale of their 4-game series (and their 8-game homestand) this afternoon when they host the Durham Bulls at 1:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. The PawSox will be bidding to win this series outright today after taking 2 of the first 3 games thus far. They had a similar opportunity earlier during this homestand when they won 2 of the first 3 vs. Columbus but the Sox had to settle for a split of that series when they dropped the finale, 6-5 in 15-innings on Tuesday afternoon. Pawtucket is 2-2-3 in their first seven series of the season (two series wins, two series losses, and three series splits). Pawtucket is 4-3 on this 8-game homestand. The Sox went 5-3 on their initial homestand from April 11-18.
This Series vs. Durham – Pawtucket had their modest 2-game winning streak snapped yesterday with a 4-1 defeat to Durham. The Sox had rolled to wins in each of the first two games of this series with Durham by a combined 14-2 score (10-1 victory on Thursday followed by a 4-1 triumph on Friday). Thus, the Sox had won two in a row for the first time in nearly three weeks since a season-high 5-game winning streak from April 9-14. The PawSox also saw their 6-game home winning streak against Durham come to an end yesterday (they are now 2-1 here at McCoy this season vs. Durham following a 4-0 mark at home vs. the Bulls last season). Pawtucket has still outscored the Bulls in their last 7 meetings by a combined score of 48-22. Pawtucket’s victories over Durham last year were by 15-10, 9-5, 2-0, and 7-1 scores and this season by 10-1 and 4-1 margins. Today is Durham’s final game at McCoy this season unless the teams face each other in the Governors’ Cup Finals. The clubs won’t meet again until just after the All-Star break for a 4-game series in Durham from July 18-21.
Days Shifts Into Night – The PawSox are 6-8 in days games compared to 11-4 in nights games. So including this afternoon’s contest, half of the first 30 PawSox games this season will have been day games and the other half night games. That trend will change now that the first month or so of the scheduled is complete. After today, only 22 of Pawtucket’s final 114 games this season will be considered day games (and that includes a handful of 5:00 pm road starts which technically are considered day games).
Run for a Cause – The PawSox had overtaken Durham for the International League lead in Runs Scored on Friday but Durham’s 4-1 victory yesterday enabled the Bulls to reclaim the lead. Durham has scored a league-high 157 runs this season compared to 155 for the PawSox. Durham is hitting .272 (2nd best in the IL) while Pawtucket is 4th in team batting at .259.
Repeat After Me – The PawSox began the season with a 4-game winning streak (April 4-7) and quickly followed that up with a season-high 5-game winning streak (April 9-14). Since that point they had not been able to win back-to-back games from April 15-30 until winning their first two games in May. The good news is they have not lost more than two in a row all season. Pawtucket has had just three 2-game losing skids thus far (April 15 & 16, April 18 & 20, and April 25 & 26). They need a victory today to avoid dropping back-to-back games.
May Underway – Pawtucket is 2-1 in May. They are scheduled to play 29 games this month. Last year the PawSox had their winningest month of the season in May going 18-12. The PawSox finished April with yet another winning month (15-11) as they have now had just two losing months in their last 12 full months (13-15 in May of 2011 and 13-15 in June of 2012). They have had 9 winning (full) months and one .500 month in their last 12 months of action dating back to August 2010.
Final April Numbers – PawSox batters hit .257 in 26 games in April. Justin Henry (.338 in 20 games), Brandon Snyder (.324 in 21 games), and Jeremy Hazelbaker (.311 in 21 games) led the way among regulars. Snyder, Hazelbaker, and Brentz all had 5 HR while Snyder & Brentz paced the club with 18 RBI. On the pitching side, the Sox were 15-11 with a 3.96 ERA. Oscar Villarreal led the way with 4 victories while Ryan-Rowland Smith had the best ERA (0.55) followed by Pedro Beato (1.80) and Jose De La Torre (1.88) with others close behind.
Homer Happy – Pawtucket has pounded 10 HR in their last 5 games – they had hit a total of 10 homers in their previous 17 games combined from April 11-27. As a result the Sox are tied for 2nd in the league with 28 HR (tied with Rochester and two behind Buffalo). The PawSox are 11-7 when they homer in a game.
Go Play Outside – Their last series against Columbus marked Pawtucket’s first games outside their division this season. The PawSox had played each of their first 22 games against their IL North rivals (going 13-9). However, the Sox are now playing against teams outside their division for a 32-game span (4-3 thus far). They will ultimately play 16 games against IL West opponents and 16 more against IL South foes from April 27 – May 30. That stretch will end on May 31 when Syracuse of the IL North comes to town.
Trying to Climb Back on Top – The PawSox raced to a 9-1 start and a 2½-game lead atop the division through April 14. However, Buffalo has won 14 of their last 19 games, took over the division lead on April 20, and the Bisons now have a 2-game advantage over the 2nd-place PawSox (the Sox were a season-high -3 GB on April 26, 28, and 30).
Turn the Beat Around – The Sox are 7-7 in their last 14 games. They have lost 11 of their last 19 games following their 9-1 start to the season. The 9-1 start was the best in franchise-history. Pawtucket has not lost more than 2 in a row this season. They have had a 4-game winning streak (April 4-7) and a 5-game winning streak (April 9-14).
In the Clutch – PawSox batters are hitting .302 with runners on base (125-for-414), .415 with the bases loaded (17-for-41), and .292 with runners in scoring position (80-for-274). However, they are hitting .241 with two outs and runners in scoring position (28-for-116).