SWB Game Notes
COLUMBUS CLIPPERS (57-38) @ SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (55-41)
RHP Shao-Ching Chiang (6-5, 4.87) vs. RHP Chance Adams (4-2, 3.88)
| Game No. 97 | PNC Field | Moosic, PA | July 18, 2019 | First Pitch 7:05 p.m. |
MOOSIC, PA -- The powerful bats of the Columbus Clippers used a decisive sixth inning, plating five runs- including a go-ahead grand slam by Yu Chang- to take a 9-4 victory over the Scranon/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Wedensday afternoon at PNC Field.
It was a sparkling afternoon with winds blowing out to centerfield, and the batters took full advantage. The Clippers entered the day leading the International League in home runs and clubbed five more to add to their league-best total. The blasts included solo shots in the second and fourth innings from Ryan Flaherty and Brandon Barnes, but the RailRiders held a 4-2 lead entering the top of the sixth inning.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre held the lead until the top of the sixth inning, with the first three men reaching to load the bases before a strikeout of Bobby Bradley, who was added back to the roster from Cleveland earlier Wednesday morning. Following that, Chang battled Delgado to a full count and on the ninth pitch he saw he hit a grand slam for Columbus, the second grand slam the RailRiders have given up this year, turning a two-run deficit into a two-run lead, 6-4. Then, Flaherty homered for the second time in the game- a back-to-back shot with Chang, plating another run for the Clippers, 7-4.
ALLE-GORE-ICAL OF A SPRINTING CHEETAH: It is expected that OF Terrance Gore will be officially placed on the SWB roster Thursday after being acquired for cash considerations from the Kansas City Royals. In a Minor League career spanning 665G, the speedy 28-year-old has gone 293-for-325 SB (90.2%), plus is 40-for-49 SB (81.6%) in his MLB career. In 37G this year with Kansas City, Gore is 14-for-51 at the plate and has slashed .275/.362/.353 and is 13-for-18 SB, having yet to set foot on a Triple-A field. Assuming that Gore is gone September 1st when rosters expand in order to be a running specialist for NYY, this could still change the dynamic of SWB over the next 45 days: April: 23G, 22-for-25 SB (88.0%) -- 0.96 SB/G | Since: 73G, 32-for-53 (60.4%) -- 0.44 SB/G
PERFECT MATCH: Entering Thursday's contest, the RailRiders have the International League's second-best ERA, at 4.59. A year ago, a 4.59 ERA would have ranked last in the league. The strength of the pitching staff has in large part to do with the ability for the RailRiders to strikeout their opponents, second in the league with 10.0 K/9 (897 K in 804.1 IP). Meanwhile, the Columbus Clippers- who led the IL in strikeouts as an offense last year- lead the IL in strikeouts by their batters this year with 10.2 K/9. This has led to the RailRiders pitching staff striking out 40 batters over 27.0 IP to begin the series.
NOT-SO-SWEET 16: The RailRiders have taken the first two games of the four-game series from the Columbus Clippers. With a win Wednesday afternoon, the RailRiders would have locked down the series victory before going for a sweep Thursday night. A win would have also put the RailRiders at a season-best 16 games above .500 after reaching that high-water mark for the fourth time this season Tuesday night. They first got to 15 games above .500 June 23 with a win over the Durham Bulls that made them 44-29, but have now gone just 11-12 in the 23 games since.
A QUICK PROJECTION: Tuesday evening featured a second consecutive win by the RailRiders (55-41, .573) and a win by the team closest to them in the IL North standings, the Buffalo Bisons (51-45, .531). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has 44 games to go in the regular season and holds a 4.0-game lead on the Bisons for first place after hitting the All-Star break with a 5.5-game lead. That means if the RailRiders were to go 22-22 (.500) the rest of the way, the Bisons would need to go 26-18 (.591) to catch them in the division.
RECORD WATCH: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have already well eclipsed their season home run total from a year ago with 145 HR in 96G (1.51 HR/G), which far exceeds the rate for the 132 HR they hit all of last season (0.96 HR/G). The franchise record of the 164 HR (1.15 HR/G) was set by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in 1998 over a 142-game season. With the new baseball in Triple-A, a number of records will be under assault as the calendar turns to August, including Slugging Percentage which is at .488 entering Thursday, well ahead of the .449 mark put up in 1998.
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