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SWB RailRiders Game Notes - September 19, 2021

September 19, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders News Release


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (67-49) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (51-66)

LHP JP Sears (4-0, 3.57 ERA) vs. RHP Mauricio Llovera (2-1, 3.79 ERA)

| Game 117 | Road Game 58 | Coca-Cola Park | Allentown, PA | September 19, 2021 | First Pitch 1:35 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 174 strikeouts in 134.0 innings, and are posting gaudy rates of 11.69 K/9 and 29.5 K%. 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 113 batters in 91.0 IP over their last 11 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 the regular season finale, the RailRiders are 36-21 (.631) away from home, the best road record in the league (Durham & Jacksonville, 36-23, .610). The RailRiders and the Reno Aces (ARI) are tied for the fewest road losses among Triple-A clubs, and are tied for sixth-fewest road losses among full-season minor league teams. 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 116 games, the RailRiders have stolen 131 bases in 166 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 8 steals shy of setting a new franchise record with 11 games to play. The team has stolen an average of 1.12 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 24-for-27 in steal attempts in 16 games during the month (1.50 steals/game). Andrew Velazquez leads the team with 29 stolen bases in 74 games, and with one more can become the first SWB player with 30 steals in a season since Brett Gardner stole 37 with the 2008 SWB Yankees.

CLOSE CALLS & BLOWOUTS: The RailRiders have played an extraordinary number of close games this season, with 57 of SWB's 116 games being decided by one or two runs (49.1%). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has performed approximately average in these close contests, going 15-16 (.484) in one-run games and 14-12 (.538) 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 +133 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 eight games played. Since September 5, Sands is batting .444/.416/.815 (12-for-27) with 4 2B, 2 HR, and 10 RBIs. The streak has raised his season OPS by 120 points, and 35.7% (10-of-28) of his season RBIs with SWB have come during it.

STOP THE STEAL: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are 11-for-14 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 26-for-30 in stolen base attempts against SWB in the month of September. Since the beginning of August, RailRiders opponents are a stunning 45-for-53 (84.9% success rate) when trying to steal against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That is approximately the career success rate of Jayson Werth, who ranks fifth 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 3.11 ERA as a unit and racking up 46 of SWB's 67 wins. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has the second-best bullpen ERA in full season baseball (minors and majors), trailing only Somerset (2.83) and Buffalo (2.92). The bullpen is posting impressive rates of 11.00 K/9, 4.02 BB/9, and has limited opposing batters to just a .206 AVG this season. No team in Triple-A East has asked for more innings out of the bullpen than SWB's 558.0 this season.

EYES ON THE FINAL STRETCH PRIZE...WHATEVER THAT IS: Sunday 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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