Porcupine Points – July 28
DAN DELIEVERS: For the second straight night, Dan Johnson played the role of late-game hero. On Saturday night, his ninth-inning single snapped a late tie as the RailRiders rallied for a 4-3 win over the Louisville Bats on Saturday night.
RALLY ‘RIDERS: Saturday marked the second straight game in which the RailRiders rallied from a three-run hole to win. Each effort matched their largest margin overcome on the season.
DAN THE MAN: Johnson pushed across the winning runs in the 10th inning on Friday when he connected on his team-leading 16th homer. Last night, he did the deed with two outs and a full count in the ninth when he singled home Jose Pirela from third. Johnson, who leads the team with 54 RBIs, went 3-for-5 in the game with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in total. Twenty of his RBIs have come with men in scoring position and two outs. He is hitting .283 in such circumstances, 46 points better than his overall contact clip (.237).
ON A ROLL: SWB’s fourth straight win has it back to within a game of .500 at 53-54. It has not owned a 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.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: Pawtucket’s sixth loss in seven games and 16th over its last 21 has changed the landscape in the IL North dramatically. The PawSox now virtually share the division’s top spot and the wild-card lead with Rochester. Buffalo began the day 2.5 games out with Lehigh Valley (3.5) and SWB (4.0) right behind. The RailRiders had not been this close to the first-place spot in the IL North since they entered play on May 21 in third place and 4.0 games out.
WELCOME BACK: The New York Yankees announced multiple roster moves before yesterday’s game. They included the return of two men from the RailRiders’ Opening Day roster, with each coming from a different direction. IL All-Star Thomas Neal returned from the big leagues. On his second tour of duty with the Yankees, he did not see game action. He had been with the big club since July 20 so last night marked his first game played since July 19. He entered yesterday without a hit since July 12, but showed no rust with a 2-for-4 performance.
MARKY MARK: The other returnee came from several weeks of rehab in the Rookie GCL. Right-hander Mark Montgomery fired two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. He also walked two Bats, lifting his season-long total of free passes to 22 in 34.1 innings (5.8 BB/9 IP). Montgomery had been on the disabled list since June 21 and had not thrown in a Triple-A game since June 17.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on Tuesday, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of five games and 27.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 18 hits and two runs (0.65 ERA). They have also collected 36 strikeouts (11.7/9 IP) against a dozen walks (3:1 K:BB ratio).
THE DALEY SHOW: Matt Daley bridged the way to the game’s conclusion with perfect innings in the seventh and eighth. In 17 appearances, he has a 2.01 ERA. He has not allowed an inherited runner to score and has whiffed 29 against six walks (4.8:1 K:BB ratio) over 22.1 innings (11.7 K/9 IP). The league has amassed just 14 hits against him in that time (.171).
ON THE CHASE: Last night’s win was cemented by a scoreless ninth from Chase Whitley. The Troy University product secured this third save in as many tries and posted his eighth straight scoreless outing. He has tossed 16.1 shutout frames in that time, allowing just five hits (.096) in the process. He last allowed a run on June 27 when he resumed a suspended game at Syracuse.