SWB RailRiders Game Notes - September 17, 2021
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (65-48) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (51-63)
RHP Shawn Semple (0-0, 54.00 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Perkins (0-2, 4.38 ERA)
| Game 114 | Road Game 55 | Coca-Cola Park | Allentown, PA | September 17, 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 150 strikeouts in 110.0 innings, and are posting gaudy rates of 12.27 K/9 and 31.2 K%. Those rates are approximately the equivalent of Randy Johnson's K/9 during the 1997 season (17th-best single season all-time) and Max Scherzer's K% in 2020 (49th-best single-season all-time). In a small sample size, those rates are by far the best monthly strikeout rates posted by the RailRiders staff this season. In Tuesday's series opener with Lehigh Valley, SWB pitchers struck out 16 batters, and have struck out 89 batters in 67.0 IP over their last eight games.
YOU DIDN'T KNOW? YOU BETTER CALL SOMEBODY: This season, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have been the best road team in Triple-A East. Entering tonight, the RailRiders are 34-20 (.629) away from home, the best road record in the league (Durham & Jacksonville, 35-22, .614). The RailRiders are one of seven teams across full season minor league baseball leagues with 20-or-fewer losses on the road this season, and the only Triple-A team in the group. Amazingly, Fresno (Low-A, COL) is 38-17 (.691) away from home to sport the best road record in the minors.
RACING CLOSE TO A NEW RECORD: Through 113 games, the RailRiders have stolen 128 bases in 163 attempts in the 2021 season (78.5% 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 12 steals shy of setting a new franchise record with 14 games to play. The team has stolen an average of 1.13 bases per game this year, which puts them on pace to break the record during the Final Stretch. The thievery has ticked up in September, with SWB currently 21-for-24 in steal attempts in 13 games during the month (1.62 steals/game).
CLOSE CALLS & BLOWOUTS: The RailRiders have played an extraordinary number of close games this season, with 56 of SWB's 113 games being decided by one or two runs (49.6%). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has performed approximately average in these close contests, going 15-16 (.484) in one-run games and 14-11 (.560) 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 +128 in run differential this season, second-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 seven games played. Since last Sunday, Sands is batting .375/.464/.750 (9-for-24) with 3 2B, 2 HR, and 10 RBIs. The streak has raised his season OPS by 88 points, and 35.7% (10-of-28) of his season RBIs with SWB have come during it.
STOP THE STEAL: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs were 4-for-5 on stolen base attempts through two games in this series, continuing a troubling trend of teams running wild on the RailRiders. Opponents are a combined 19-for-21 in stolen base attempts against SWB in the month of September. Since the beginning of August, RailRiders opponents are a stunning 38-for-44 (86.3% success rate) when trying to steal against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That is approximately the career success rate of Carlos Beltrán, who ranks third all-time in success rate.
ONE OF THE BEST: Throughout the 2021 season, the RailRiders bullpen has been the backbone of the pitching staff, posting a 3.12 ERA as a unit and racking up 44 of SWB's 65 wins. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has the fourth-best bullpen ERA in full season baseball (minors and majors), trailing only Somerset (2.86), Buffalo (2.87), and Gwinnett (3.11). The bullpen is posting impressive rates of 10.98 K/9, 4.05 BB/9, and has limited opposing batters to just a .204 AVG this season.
THE FINAL STRETCH BEFORE THE FINAL STRETCH™: Friday continues 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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Triple-A East League Stories from September 17, 2021
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