SWB RailRiders Game Notes - July 21, 2021
Rochester Red Wings (27-38) vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (42-21)
RHP Tyler Eppler (1-6, 8.10 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Gil (2-0, 5.09 ERA)
| Game 64 | Home Game 30 | PNC Field | Moosic, PA | July 21, 2021 | First Pitch 7:05 p.m. |
ARMANDO ALVAREZ...HE WAS No. 1: RailRiders infielder Armando Alvarez had one of the best games of his career on Tuesday night against Rochester. He went 2-for-4 at the plate with two home runs, one which tied the game and another that gave the RailRiders a brief lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was his third career two-homer game, with the other two both coming in 2018 while he played for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. The first came on July 2 of that year against New Hampshire, and the other on Aug. 5 at Hartford. In addition to the long balls, Alvarez made a diving catch into the first base camera well which ended up as the No. 1 "Top Play" of the night on ESPN's SportsCenter.
QUALITY CONTROL: By allowing 3 ER in 6.0 innings on Tuesday night, RHP Deivi García became the first RailRiders pitcher to throw a quality start this season (defined as at least 6.0 IP while allowing 3 ER-or-less). Prior to this start, the last QS for the RailRiders was thrown by Michael King on Aug. 27, 2019 against the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium, a span of 693 days. King threw 6.0 innings of shutout baseball in a 4-0 win.
HIGHER AND HIGHER: Tuesday's win over Rochester pushed the RailRiders to 21 games over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had been 20-games over .500 on three previous occasions (33-13, 34-14, 36-16) before finally breaking through. The contest also marked the 25th come-from-behind win of the season for the RailRiders.
JUST WINGING IT: For the first time in nearly two months, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will take on the Rochester Red Wings this week. The RailRiders took four of six in the first series of the season with the Red Wings, which at the time was scheduled to be SWB's lone trip to Roc City. However, thanks to MLB's announcement of the Triple-A Final Stretch postseason extravaganza, the club returns to Frontier Field for the final five games of the season from Sept. 29 through Oct. 3. The Red Wings make one more return trip to the Electric City after this series from Sept. 7-12, the final homestand of the Triple-A regular season for the RailRiders.
RAPID-FIRE CHANGE: With injuries and COVID health and safety protocols effecting the New York Yankees MLB roster, the RailRiders roster has seen dramatic change over the weekend. Before Friday's game, Hoy Park, Rob Brantly, and Greg Allen were all added to the Yankees 26-man roster for the first time, and Chris Gittens was recalled by the Yankees. In return the RailRiders received Thomas Milone, Matt Pita, Donny Sands and Christian Perez from Double-A Somerset. Milone and Perez have previous stints this year with SWB, while Pita and Sands are in their first stints in Triple-A. Then on Sunday, Ryan LaMarre was added to the Yankees 26-man roster following an injury to Tim Locastro on Saturday. Then on Tuesday, Estevan Florial was recalled by the Yankees and Frederick Cuevas was transferred from High-A Hudson Valley. With the promotions of Allen, Trey Amburgey, LaMarre and Florial, since last Thursday, the only remaining outfielder on the RailRiders roster from a week ago is Socrates Brito. The RailRiders have had 14 roster moves in the last seven days, the busiest stretch of the season.
IT'S THE FINAL STRETCH (DA NA NA NA): In lieu of a traditional playoff in Triple-A Baseball, MLB announced last Wednesday that all Triple-A teams will compete in a 10-game postseason tournament called the Triple-A Final Stretch from September 22 through October 3. Each league will have a regular season champion, crowned for having the best record across 120 games, and a Final Stretch champion, crowned for having the best record in the added 10 games. Unlike any tournament you may be familiar with, the Triple-A Final Stretch has a set schedule of opponents and you continue to play even if you are eliminated from contention. MLB announced the RailRiders will play Syracuse from 9/22-26 at PNC Field and finish the Final Stretch at Rochester from 9/28-10/3. MLB also announced it will give a prize to the winners of the Final Stretch.
HIGHWAY ROBBERY: After stealing just 39 bases in their first 45 games, the RailRiders have been on a roll since the start of the last series at Worcester. In its last 17 games, SWB is 29-for-37 (.783) in stolen base attempts, including a team-record tying seven on 6/29 at Worcester and another five on 7/6 vs Syracuse. Seven steals in a game tied a franchise mark set by the SWB Yankees on June 6, 2008 against the Norfolk Tides. Andrew Velazquez accomplished the rare feat of stealing three bases in one inning, while Estevan Florial (2), Hoy Park and Ryan LaMarre (1 each) all stole bags against the Red Sox. The barrage has SWB up to 69 steals on the year, fourth in Triple-A East, with Worcester leading the way with 80. Velazquez is one shy of the Triple-A East lead with 18 steals on the season (Brian Miller, Jacksonville).
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