Porcupine Points – September 2
FINAL DAY LUCK: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is looking for its first season-ending win since 2011, when they defeated the Buffalo Bisons at the old PNC Field, 5-1. The SWB franchise closed out last year’s season in Pawtucket, and took a 6-4 loss in 12 innings to the PawSox.
STRONG DEBUT: PNC Field experienced a strong debut after undergoing a $43 million renovation. A total of 435,839 fans strolled through the gates at PNC Field, which is an average of 6,409 per contest. The SWB franchise hasn’t drawn that high since the 2008 season, when they were in the second year of as the New York Yankees top affiliate. During the final season before the renovation, SWB drew just 298,098 fans, which was 13th in the International League. PNC Field features 7,115 fixed seats, and the RailRiders had 25 fixed seat sell-outs this season.
CONTINUE THE SURGE: Caleb Cotham looks to continue his second-half surge as he takes the final turn in the 2013 RailRider rotation. While he didn’t start the season with SWB, he fought his way into the rotation after losing a spot, and has been sensational in the second half. Since the break, he is 4-0 with a 1.83 earned run average. That spans nine outings (seven starts), and 44.1 innings pitched. Cotham recorded a 7.15 ERA before the break.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The RailRiders and Red Wings met for the first time since July 10, and the Red Wings held off a late Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rally for a 3-2 win. The RailRiders struck first in the top of the first inning, as Corey Patterson led off with a double, and would later score when Adonis Garcia grounded into a fielder’s choice. Jeff Clement singled for Rochester with one out in the fourth, and he came in to score on a triple by Aaron Hicks. Hicks scored when Ray Olmedo singled through the left side. The Red Wings added an insurance run in the eighth on a Clement single that scored Chris Parmelee. SWB cut the lead to one run when Neil Medchill singled home Brent Lillibridge, and the play put the tying run on third base. The rally fell short as Michael Tonkin converted his 14th save for Rochester.
CHANCE TO PLAY SPOILER: While the RailRiders are headed home for the off-season following today’s contest, they can play spoiler to Rochester’s playoff hopes. After Norfolk beat Durham last night, the Red Wings remain one game back of the Tides for the wild card spot in the International League playoff chase. With a win today, the RailRiders would eliminate their division foe from the race, but the Red Wings need a win and a Norfolk loss.
MASHING MUSTY: Ronnier Mustelier picked up last week’s IL Player of the Week Award, but had a 13-game hitting streak snapped on Aug. 26. He started a new one on Aug. 28, and has now hit in five straight (9-22, 2HR, 3RBI, 4R). His batting average dropped to .233 on Aug. 11, but now stands at .273.
FINISHING STRONG: Despite picking up the loss last night, Graham Stoneburner has finished his season strong. He allowed just two runs on six hits over five innings of work last night, and it was just one start after he held Pawtucket to one run on two hits over six frames. Stoneburner tossed 18.2 innings down the stretch for SWB, and conceded just eight earned runs. For the season, Stoneburner finishes 4-6 with a 4.57 earned run average.