SWB RailRiders Game Notes - September 14, 2021
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (64-47) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (50-62)
LHP JP Sears (3-0, 3.68 ERA) vs. RHP Colton Eastman (0-0, 6.23 ERA)
| Game 112 | Road Game 53 | Coca-Cola Park | Allentown, PA | September 14, 2021 | First Pitch 7:05 p.m. |
CERTIFIED STRIKEOUT BOYS: RailRiders pitchers have posted high strikeout totals throughout the season, but in the month of September have kicked it into another gear. SWB hurlers have recorded 131 strikeouts in 93.0 innings, and are posting gaudy rates of 12.68 K/9 and 32.6 K%. That is approximately the equivalent of NL Cy Young Award frontrunner Corbin Burnes' K/9 rate, and AL Cy Young Award candidate Robbie Ray's K%. In a small sample size, those rates are by far the best monthly strikeout rates posted by the RailRiders staff this season. In the last series against Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre recorded 71 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.
NOT A FUN ONE: The RailRiders loss to Rochester on Sunday was stunning for several reasons, as the Red Wings scored seven runs in their last two at-bats to win. It marked just the third time all year that SWB has lost a game that is was leading after eight innings (49-3, .942). RHP Brooks Kriske also set a dubious mark by walking all five batters he faced in the ninth to blow a save and get his first loss of the season.
RACING CLOSE TO A NEW RECORD: Through 111 games, the RailRiders have stolen 123 bases in 157 attempts in the 2021 season (78.9% success). The all-time Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record for most stolen bases in a season belongs to the 2000 Red Barons, who stole 139 bases, meaning that the 2021 RailRiders are 16 steals shy of setting a new franchise record with 16 games to play. The team has stolen an average of 1.11 bases per game this year, which puts them on pace to break the record during the Final Stretch.
CLOSE CALLS & BLOWOUTS: The RailRiders have played an extraordinary number of close games this season, with 55 of SWB's 111 games being decided by one or two runs (49.5%). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has performed approximately average in these close contests, going 15-16 (.484) in one-run games and 13-11 (.541) in two-run games. However, the RailRiders have also participated in their share of extreme blowout games, decided by eight-or-more runs. In 13 such contests, SWB is 11-2 (.846) on the season, and is part of the reason why the team is +130 in run differential this season, third-best in Triple-A East.
SANDS STORM: After beginning the last homestand on a 1-for-17 (.058) slide, RailRiders catcher Donny Sands has been on a tear over his last five games played. Since last Sunday, Sands is batting .389/.450/.833 (7-for-18) with 2 2B, 2 HR, and 8 RBIs. The streak has raised his season OPS by 78 points, and 27.6% (8-of-29) of his season RBIs with SWB have come during it.
STOP THE STEAL: The Rochester Red Wings were 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts against the RailRiders on in the last series night, continuing a troubling trend of teams running wild on the RailRiders. Opponents were an absurd 16-for-18 on stolen base attempts during the current homestand. Since the beginning of August, RailRiders opponents are a stunning 34-for-39 (87.2% success rate) when trying to steal against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That is slightly better than the career success rate of Carlos Beltran, ranks third all-time in stolen base success rate.
ONE OF THE BEST: Throughout the 2021 season, the RailRiders bullpen has been the backbone of the pitching staff, posting a 3.00 ERA as a unit and racking up 44 of SWB's 64 wins. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has the third-best bullpen ERA in full season baseball (minors and majors), trailing only Somerset (2.79) and Buffalo (3.09). The bullpen is posting impressive rates of 10.98 K/9, 4.05 BB/9, and has limited opposing batters to just a .203 AVG this season.
THE FINAL STRETCH BEFORE THE FINAL STRETCH™: Tuesday begins the final series of the regular season across Minor League Baseball, as the RailRiders finish on the road at Lehigh Valley. Unlike all other classifications, Triple-A does not have playoffs this year, instead every team plays 10 extra games in the Triple-A Final Stretch. The Triple-A Final Stretch is a 10-game, 2-week "postseason tournament" which sees SWB playing a home series with Syracuse and a road series at Rochester. The team with the best overall record over the 10-game period will be dubbed the Final Stretch Champion and receive a prize which is inexplicably still TBA. Team and individual stats and records achieved during the Triple-A Final Stretch will be counted toward regular season numbers, as confirmed by MLB's statistics team.
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