MAY 31st SYRACUSE (23-30) at PAWTUCKET (32-22) 7:05 pm
Chiefs RHP Yunesky Maya (1-4, 5.07) vs Pawtucket Red Sox LHP Chris Hernandez (3-2, 3.58)
Making Hay in May – The Pawtucket Red Sox close out a successful month of May tonight when they play the opener of a 4-game wrap-around weekend series with the Syracuse Chiefs at 7:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. The PawSox are 17-11 this month with the May finale on tap for this evening. Their 17 wins in May are the most of any team in the International League – Durham, Indianapolis, and Norfolk are next with 16 victories apiece. Pawtucket’s Team ERA in May of 3.30 is the best in the league by far (Norfolk is next at 3.89) as Sox pitchers have allowed 91 ER in 248.1 IP this month. The PawSox ended the month of April with a 15-11 record and in 2nd-place, -3 GB. They come into play tonight in 1st-place, +3-games. Last year the PawSox had their winningest month of the season in May going 18-12 (they are 17-11 this May). Pawtucket has now posted 10 winning full months (along with one .500 month) in their last 13 months of action dating back to August of 2010 through May of 2013.
One Series at a Time – The PawSox have gone the entire month of May without losing a series. Their last series loss came in Buffalo from April 23-26 when they dropped 3 of 4. Since then they have won 2 series and split 6 others. Pawtucket is 4-2-8 in their first 14 series of the season (4 series wins, 2 series losses, and 8 series splits).
Smooth Road – The PawSox went 5-3 on their just-concluded roadtrip. The Sox took 3 of 4 in Louisville last week/weekend and split a 4-game series in Indianapolis this week. The PawSox batted .292 in the 8-games on the trip (81-for-277) with 15 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR and 36 runs scored to raise their team batting average from .254 to .260 (which is their highest since May 2 at .262). Sox pitchers went 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA on the trip (29 ER in 70.1 IP) but if you throw out their first game on May 23 (a 10-0 loss at Louisville) they were 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA (21 ER in 62.1 IP).
Welcome Home - The PawSox return to McCoy Stadium tonight to begin yet another 8-game homestand (their fourth in as many homestands to begin the year). They have gone 5-3, 4-4, and 4-4 on their first three homestands of the year. This 4-game series against Syracuse will be Pawtucket’s first game against an IL North club since April 26. The Chiefs are also the last division rival the Sox have yet to face this season. The PawSox and Syracuse play tonight at 7:05 pm, tomorrow at 6:05 pm, Sunday at 1:05 pm, and Monday at 7:05 pm. The Charlotte Knights will then make their first visit since last September’s Governors’ Cup Finals when they come to McCoy for a 4-game series next Tuesday – Friday (all at 7:05 pm) to finish the homestand.
Home Not So Sweet – Pawtucket has not won back-to-back home games since May 2 & 3 – going 10 straight games at McCoy without winning two in a row at home. They did win the final game of their last homestand on May 21 (9-8 over Indianapolis) but have still dropped 6 of their last 10 home games. As a result, Pawtucket is 13-11 at home this season. The last time the PawSox have not been above .500 at home was April 10, 2012 when they finished their first homestand of last year at 3-3.
Road Warriors – The PawSox are in a virtual tie with Syracuse for the best road record in the International League as the Sox are at 19-11 while the Chiefs are 17-9. The Sox won 11 of their 16 away games this month.
Home/Road Results – The PawSox are 13-11 at home compared to 19-11 on the road. But their numbers are close both home and away. Their home ERA is 3.64 (89 ER in 220 IP) while their road ERA is 3.59 (101 ER in 253.1 IP). The Sox are hitting .254 at home (196-for-773) and .265 on the road (266-for-1004). The PawSox have hit 21 HR in 24 games at McCoy compared to 23 HR in 30 away games.
Winning Ways – Pawtucket has won 5 of their last 7 games including a recent 4-game winning streak from May 24-27. Prior to that the PawSox had gone win, loss, win, loss, win, loss in their previous six games from May 17-23. Over a longer stretch they had dropped 7 of 11 games from May 12-23 following their season-high 6-game winning streak from May 6-11. The recent 4-game winning streak matched their third longest of the year behind the aforementioned 6-gamer, a 5-game winning streak from April 9-14, and another 4-gamer from April 4-7.
View From Above – Pawtucket regained the lead in the IL North last Friday (May 24) for the first time since April 19. Their current 3-game advantage is their largest of the season (and matches their largest 1st-place lead since June 20 of last year). The PawSox raced to a 9-1 start and a 2½-game lead atop the division through April 14. However, Buffalo took over the division lead on April 20 and the PawSox fell a season-high -3 GB on April 26, 28, and 30 and May 5. Pawtucket battled back into a virtual tie with Buffalo for 1st-place in the IL North from May 9-12, the Bisons regained a 1-game lead on May 13 and May 16, but the teams were in a virtual tie for the top spot again from May 17-23.
Two is Too Many – The PawSox have not lost more than two in a row all season. Pawtucket has had just six 2-game losing skids thus far (April 15 & 16, April 18 & 20, April 25 & 26, May 4 & 5, May 12 & 13, and May 15 & 16). The PawSox have not lost three straight since last August 16-18 (two in Scranton/WB and one at home to Buffalo).
Running to the Top – The PawSox are 2nd in the International League in Runs Scored with 279. Durham is 1st with 302. Pawtucket is 4th in Team Batting (.260) and 2nd in Team Pitching (3.61).
Defense Wins Championships – Pawtucket has played 5 straight errorless games (their longest stretch of the season) and they have made just 3 errors in their last 11 games since May 19. As a result, they have moved into 2nd-place in the league in Team Fielding Pct. at .980 (40 errors in 1974 total chances). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is 1st at .983.