Porcupine Points – July 19
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Despite a three-day respite for Triple-A All-Star festivities, the RailRiders got right back into the groove of things with an 8-0 defeat of Louisville last night. SWB bashed three homers among its 14 hits, made just one miscue in the field and allowed a slim five hits.
IN BLOOM: Sunday’s pre-break finale saw Brent Lillibridge go 0-for-3 with a bruise. He struck out swinging in his final plate appearance to snap what had been the IL’s top active hitting streak at 15 games. Last night, he fell a triple short of the cycle on a 3-for-5 night that included a three-run homer. Today, he got the call to The Show. With their captain Derek Jeter hitting the 15-day DL with a Grade 1 right quad strain (retroactive to July 12), the Yankees signed Lillibridge to a Major League contract and selected him to the 40-man roster. A corresponding 40-man roster move will be announced later today. In 23 games with SWB, Lillibridge hit .341/.409/.707/1.116 while starting games at second, third and short. Those numbers ranked among the IL’s best in that time (7th/8th/1st/1st).
ROLLING ON THE RAILS: Dave Miley‘s club has won 13 of its last 18 (.722) and has drawn its overall record up to .500 for the third time in that span. Today, it has another chance to grab its first winning record since May 19 when it entered the day at 21-20 before dropping a 10-4 decision at Columbus. The RailRiders were in the midst of losing 12 of 13 at the time.
THE ELECTRIC REHAB CITY: Tonight, Alex Rodriguez continues his minor league rehab assignment with the RailRiders. In 11 rehab games spread over stints at all four full-season levels, he has hit .188 (6-for-32) with two homers and eight RBIs. He went 1-for-4 last night, including a two-run opposite-way homer in the third. A-Rod joined Curtis Granderson, Joba Chamberlain, Derek Jeter and last night’s starter Michael Pineda as Yankees that have rehabbed with SWB this season. Rodriguez previously rehabbed with SWB from Aug. 16-17, 2011. He started both games at third base and went 2-for-5 with an RBI, two walks, a strikeout and an error. Durham won both of the games. A-Rod had not hit a Triple-A homer since he was with Seattle’s affiliate in Tacoma in 1995. He ended that year with his first of his 11 playoff runs in the Mariners’ ALDS defeat of the Yankees. He entered the decisive Game 5 of the series as a pinch runner for Tino Martinez and scored the game-tying tally in the bottom of the eighth inning.
POTENT PINEDA: Pineda failed to get the win since he tossed 4.2 innings on 82 pitches (56 strikes). But he dominated, allowing only three hits and no walks while whiffing a season-best eight. He had not notched that many strikeouts in a game since taming the same number of Royals on Sept. 10, 2011. His career-high mark of 14 came while he was with Low-A Wisconsin at Quad Cities on Sept. 1, 2008 in a nine-inning one-hit victory with no walks. In three starts with the RailRiders, he has owned right-handed hitters (.154, 4-for-26, 12K).
PITCHING POINTS: The RailRiders secured their league co-leading 10th shutout of the season thanks to Pineda, Caleb Cotham (3-5), Dellin Betances and Yoshinori Tateyama. Cotham stranded the first two inherited runners of his five-year career while retiring all four men he faced. Betances tossed two more scoreless innings, lowering his ERA as a reliever to 1.91 with a .162 batting average against and 48 strikeouts in 37.2 innings (11.5/9 IP). He has not allowed a run in over a month since a June 16 outing at Lehigh Valley. Tateyama has not surrendered a score in seven of his eight SWB appearances while holding lefties to a .111 mark.
OFF THE RAILS: David Adams led off for the fifth time as a RailRider last night…He is scheduled to do the same tonight…Corey Patterson became the team’s 14th different designated hitter…The usual outfielder went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a liner to first…Not only are the RailRiders tied for the most shutout wins with Lehigh Valley, they are also tied for the fewest shutout losses with Indianapolis (3).