Porcupine Points 6-13-14
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: It was all going so well. Scott Sizemore had ignited two tough double plays and launched a home run. The RailRiders had jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Jeremy Bleich had dazzled in his Triple-A debut, allowing just one run through six. Then came the seventh. Five straight Clippers reached base, four scored (three on Bleich’s line) and the Clippers posted a 5-4 win.
SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR: The RailRiders have lost eight straight clashes with the Clippers going back to last season. However, 11 of the last 18 meetings have been decided by one run.
FALLING FROM AHEAD: For the second time in as many games, the RailRiders blew a three-run lead. The team had not lost once all season in a game that included a lead of three or more runs before these successive stumbles. The RailRiders have held a lead in 14 of their 33 losses (42%) this season.
INHERITANCE TAX: Danny Burawa allowed two inherited runners to cross and blew his first save, which also meant a loss for Bleich (0-1). Five of Burawa’s six hand-me-down me this season have eventually crossed the plate. The team’s relief corps has allowed 31 of its 78 (40%) total inherited runners to score.
CURSES, ZOILED AGAIN: Zoilo Almonte went 2-for-4 with a home run and has hit safely in 10 straight games as a RailRider. In eight games since coming back from New York, he has gone 12-for-34 (.353) with three home runs, eight RBIs and seven runs scored. Despite missing nearly a month while with the big league team, Almonte leads the squad in homers (9) and RBIs (32).
CARLOS THE CANNON: Carlos Moncrief gunned down Zoilo Almonte trying to leg out a first-inning double. The Clippers usual right fielder leads the IL with 13 outfield assists.
ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller enjoyed a 2-for-4 night with a double and a run scored. Between his time at Double-A Trenton and SWB, Roller ranks among the best both on the Yankees’ farm and in all of MiLB. His 15 home runs place him just outside of the top 10 in the minors (T-11th) and only behind the man who essentially replaced him at Trenton, Pete O’Brien. O’Brien’s 22 home runs slate him in a tie for second in the minors. Roller ranks among the farm’s best in batting average (1st, .342) and RBIs (T-2nd, 41).
BEST IN THE WEST: The RailRiders kicked off an eight-game road trip Thursday night. The journey wraps up a stretch of 24 straight games against non-divisional foes with the bulk of those contests coming against the IL West. The team is 8-9 through the first 17 games of this spurt, but 11-6 against IL West teams on the year. When SWB returns home, it begins the second half of its 144-game schedule and plunges back into IL North play against Pawtucket. Two thirds of the team’s remaining 72 contests will pit it against its Northern brothers.
OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders have homered in a season-best eight straight contests…It’s the franchise’s best run in the RailRiders era…Last year’s RailRiders led the IL with 133 homers…This year’s unit leads the IL in batting average (.275) and slugging percentage (.412)…The team’s 125 doubles (T-3rd) and 19 triples (2nd) help buoy the slugging number…Its league-low walk total (186/2.9/g) has its OBP at .336 (6th)…The RailRiders struck out 11 times on Thursday…They have struck out double-digit times in 11 games this season…Only five RailRiders have been on the team and active every day from Opening Day through today: Russ Canzler, Jim Miller, Mark Montgomery, Jose Pirela and Antoan Richardson…The team has had 52 players listed on its roster this season.