May 28, 2013 - International League (IL) - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
MEMORIAL DAY PARTY: Chien-Ming Wang and Josh Spence combined on a two-hitter as the RailRiders opened their final journey to IL South squads with an 8-0 shutout victory.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: The RailRiders have seen their starting pitcher go seven or more frames seven times this season. Nearly half of those efforts have been assembled by Wang, who has done it three times.
NO RUNS FOR YOU: Wang and Spence combined on the team's fourth shutout of the season. The RailRiders had not blanked an opponent in nearly a month since a 5-0 defeat of Charlotte on April 29. That seven-inning game came in the back end of a twinbill. The team's last nine-inning donut came on April 17 at Rochester, 7-0.
DID YOU KNOW?: Despite an accomplished pro career that sports consecutive 19-win campaigns in the bigs, Wang has only tossed five solo shutouts in 230 career starts as a stateside pro. Four of those have come in the minors. The most recent one was in a seven-inning game with the 2009 then-SWB Yankees. His threw his lone big league shutout on July 28, 2006 against Tampa Bay. Wang tied for the AL lead in wins that year and finished as the runner-up for the Cy Young Award to fellow 19-game winner, Johan Santana. Tampa Bay's losing starter in that 2006 game - former Orioles farmhand/current G-Brave, Tim Corcoran.
GOING TO EXTREMES: The eight-run margin of victory on Monday fell a run short of the team's most lopsided triumph of 2013. It bested Rochester on April 15 by nine, 10-1. It made for SWB's best scoring output in a shutout win since a 10-0 blowout of Syracuse on April 8, 2012. The RailRiders' five-run second inning yesterday tied for the team's best single-scoring frame of the season. They also plated five in the first at Toledo on May 15 only to lose, 12-11.
HITMEN: The two hits allowed by the RailRiders tied a season-low first set on May 5 in a seven-inning victory at Gwinnett. The last game of nine or more innings with two hits or fewer surrendered by SWB came on Aug. 7, 2012 in an 11-inning 3-1 win at Rochester. The staff had allowed double-digit hits in seven straight games and 10 of 12 entering yesterday.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The RailRiders' two most recent road trips before this venture went quite differently. In their only other IL South tour, they went 8-0 at Charlotte and Gwinnett from April 27-May 5. Dave Miley's team followed that with a 1-7 showing at Toledo and Columbus from May 14-21. In starting this eight-game swing through Norfolk and Durham with a win, the team snapped a season-worst four-game road losing skid. While the team's home/road ERA split is barely noticeable (4.06/4.05), its offensive differences are extreme. At home, the RailRiders hit .230 and score 3.5 runs/game. On the road, the team contact clip surges to .270 and it scores 4.7 runs/game.
A LITTLE HELP?: Entering Monday, Wang had received the worst run support among SWB starters with more than one nod. His teammates had given him just 15 runs in his first seven starts (2.1/game). That included one run or less four times.
THE MOOSE IS LOOSE: After an 0-for-4 game versus Gwinnett on May 13, Ronnier Mustelier was a .167 hitter with 11 games under his belt. In 12 games since, he has hit .379 (22-for-58) with 10 of his 12 RBIs and four of his six extra-base hits.
BACK-TO-BACK: One day after Chris Bootcheck earned the team's first win by a starter since Brett Marshall on May 7, Wang (3-4) made it a run of back-to-back games with the starting pitcher getting the victory for the first time since the starter got the win in all four games of the May 2-5 sweep of Gwinnett. SWB had not won back-to-back games period since May 10-11.
NEAL DEAL: Thomas Neal singled twice, drove in a run and scored in the win. His run-scoring blow came on first-pitch contact with the bases loaded. Neal is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with the bases juiced. The rest of the team owns a slim .133 (6-for-45) contact clip with the bases full.