Porcupine Points – July 22
SERIES FINALE: On Thursday night, the RailRiders began their first series out of the All-Star break with an 8-0 blowout of the Louisville Bats. They entered Friday with a chance to grab their first winning record since mid-May. But Louisville pitching then held the RailRiders to a single score in three straight affairs, including a 4-1 finish in Sunday’s finale for SWB’s first series setback in more than a month. The RailRiders last lost a set when they dropped two of three to Rochester from June 17-18. They had not lost a home series spread over more than two days since falling in three of four to Durham from May 23-26.
ON THE BUMP: The Reds’ fourth-ranked prospect, right-hander Daniel Corcino (5-11), allowed one run on two hits over 5.2 innings. SWB’s Jose Ramirez (1-3) needed 45 pitches to get through the first inning, but settled thereafter. Ramirez has required 39 or more pitches in the first frame of half of his last six starts.
MUPRH: The lone RailRiders run came on J.R. Murphy’s third-inning double. The backstop also snapped a string of 13 straight successful stolen base attempts by opponents when he nabbed Felix Perez at second in the first inning. On the game, three Bats were caught stealing in five stolen-base tries.
MILESTONE WATCH: The RailRiders built it. And the people of NEPA have come. With yesterday’s fixed-seat sellout crowd of 7,294, the SWB franchise has already surpassed the season-long total it posted during the 2011 season, its last at the old PNC Field. In 2011, 298,098 fans paid to see the then-SWB Yankees play in Moosic. Sunday’s total brought the 2013 figure to 304,470. With more end-of-the-week games and far improved weather conditions over the season’s first few months, attendance has been on the rise. Since Thursday, May 23, the franchise has averaged more than a fixed-seat sellout of 7,140 per game in a park that boasts a total of 7,115 seats. More than half of the team’s home dates since May 23 have been fixed-seat sellouts. July has seen the RailRiders average 8,218 fans per game. The RailRiders still have 20 home dates remaining between now and their final regular-season home game on Aug. 29.
NO. 13: Alex Rodriguez did not play in the game. Instead, he took to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where an exam and MRI performed by Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad revealed a Grade 1 strain of his left quadriceps. As a result, Rodriguez will not be joining the team for its series in Texas. He is scheduled to return to Tampa, Fla., for rest and treatment. Since yesterday was the last day of his 20-day rehab, he was “returned from rehab”, but will not be reinstated to the big league roster. He will remain on the D.L. but can no longer play in official minor league games since the 20-day window expired. The Yankees may petition MLB for an additional rehab assignment for Rodriguez due to this new injury. In 13 rehab games spread over stints at all four full-season levels, he hit .200 (8-for-40) with two homers, eight RBIs and 12 strikeouts. That included a .250 (3-for-12) showing as a RailRider with a homer, three RBIs and five strikeouts.
ON THE RUNS: With just a single score in three straight games, the RailRiders have endured the franchise’s lowest-scoring three-game span since plating three runs from Aug. 16-18, 2011 versus Durham. Those scores were 2-0, 3-2 and 5-1. In the 2011 stretch, SWB hit .200 (18-for-90) with three extra-base hits, eight walks, 23 strikeouts and went 4-for-25 (.160) with men in scoring position. In their last three, the RailRiders have hit .167 (16-for-96) with seven extra-base hits, seven walks, 24 strikeouts and a 1-for-21 (.048) effort with men in prime real estate.
WHAT A RELIEF: Dellin Betances faced the minimum over two scoreless innings at the end of Sunday’s contest. He has not allowed in 11 outings and 21 innings since June 16 at Lehigh Valley. Since he was taken out of the rotation and converted into a relief role in early May, Betances has gone 4-2 with three saves in as many tries. Over 21 relief appearances and 39.2 such innings, he has whiffed 52 (11.8/9 IP), amassed a 1.82 ERA and held opponents to a .162 average (22 hits).