MILESTONE MORNING: The day was dreary, but the result proved sweet. On a cold and overcast Wednesday, the RailRiders blanked the Buffalo Bisons, 5-0. And the win gave manager Dave Miley the outright franchise record for career victories. The skipper snapped a tie with a longtime friend, former Red Barons mentor Marc Bombard, to stand alone with 575 triumphs in his storied NEPA tenure. Miley, who will be inducted into the IL’s Hall of Fame on June 7 at PNC Field, once played for Bombard with the then-Class-A Tampa Tarpons in 1986. Bombard skippered SWB from 1997-2004, going 574-502 (.533). Below is a year-by-year breakdown of Miley’s NEPA success.
DAVE MILEY – SWB MANAGERIAL RECORD
2007: 84-59 2008: 88-56* 2009: 81-60 2010: 87-56
2011: 73-69 2012: 84-60 2013: 68-76 2014: 10-9
TOTAL: 575-445 (.564)
*SWB won the franchise’s lone Governors’ Cup title under Miley in 2008
STRIKE THAT, REVERSE IT: The team got Miley his milestone despite some last-second changes. Scheduled starter Alfredo Aceves was not on the bump to begin the game. Instead, Chase Whitley (2-1) whiffed seven over five shutout frames while Aceves hurled four no-score innings of his own to cap off the six-hitter. Whitley’s seven strikeouts are the most by any RailRider in a single outing this season. His groundout-to-airout ratio for the game was 7:0. Aceves worked a minor league game in relief for the first time since Aug. 27, 2010, his penultimate outing during his previous SWB stint. That does not include two rehab appearances with the GCL Red Sox last season.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Antoan Richardson helped manufacture a pair of runs when the speedster eventually scored after each of his two walks on Wednesday. He stole three bags during those trips to the basepaths, including a swipe of home on a double steal with Russ Canzler in the fifth. Despite playing just 11 times in 19 team games, Richardson owns seven of the squad’s 15 steals. When Richardson plays, the RailRiders have gone 7-4 (.636).
EXTRA, EXTRA!: The RailRiders won despite failing to notch an extra-base hit. SWB led the IL last season with 133 home runs. Entering today, the team ranked second-worst in the loop with a slim six round-trippers. Only Syracuse (3) had fewer homers and nine of the loop’s 14 teams have reached double digits. Toledo paced the circuit with 24.
TURN THE BEAT AROUND: Since starting the season 0-for-13, Adonis Garcia has become a consistent cog in SWB’s lineup. He has amassed an early team-best 11-game hit streak and entered today with 16 hits in his last 43 at-bats (.372) including a single and a run scored yesterday. Zoilo Almonte has similarly flipped the script. The repeating outfielder began the year 2-for-21 (.095) with eight strikeouts while grounding into three double plays. Since that slow start, he has gone 14-for-45 (.311) with each of his team-best three home runs.
UNDER MY PIRELA: Usual second baseman Jose Pirela‘s eighth-inning RBI single stretched his string of swinging success to nine games in a row. After starting the season as a .172 bat after eight games (5-for-29), he has posted a .333 (12-for-36) batting average over his nine-game surge. That run includes three of his four extra-base hits and all four of his RBIs.
OFF THE RAILS: Aceves entered yesterday with 29 saves in the big leagues, but with none in stateside MiLB…He notched one with the 2001 DSL Blue Jays and one with Leones de Yucatan in the 2003 Mexican League season…Both of the runs Buffalo’s starter Kyle Drabek allowed yesterday were unearned…The two teams combined to go 2-for-18 with men in scoring position…Only two of Miley’s teammates on Bombard’s 1986 Tarpons team made the big leagues as players – former Yankee Chris Hammond and current Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who was a scout for the Yankees last season and was once drafted by the Pinstripes.