MAY 5th TOLEDO (11-19) at PAWTUCKET (18-13) 7:05 pm
Toledo Mud Hens RHP Derek Hankins (1-2, 6.23) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Anthony Ranaudo (2-2, 3.77)
From First to Last – The Pawtucket Red Sox – after splitting a well-played 4-game series vs. IL West-leading Indianapolis to begin this 8-game homestand – now face the last-place team in the IL West for 4-games when they host the Toledo Mud Hens beginning tonight at 7:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. The PawSox have played 31 games this season and 28 of those have been against teams above .500 including 8 against 1st-place Buffalo (IL North) and 4 against 1st-place Indianapolis (IL West). A 3-game series vs. Syracuse from April 7-9 (Sox took 2 of 3) marked the only time the PawSox have played against a team below .500 until this series vs. Toledo (and Syracuse is currently just a game .500 at 14-15 coming into tonight). Pawtucket’s next 8 games starting tonight are against teams below .500 (four vs. Toledo at 11-19 and four at 12-17 Louisville later this week).
This Series and Last Series – Pawtucket hosts Toledo and their long-time broadcaster Jim Weber, who will be inducted into the International League Hall of Fame later this summer, for their only visit this season to McCoy this week. The Sox and Mud Hens play tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday at 7:05 pm and Thursday afternoon at 12:05 pm at McCoy. The PawSox are 2-2 on this 8-game homestand that started with an entertaining 4-game series against Indianapolis who own the best record in the league at 19-10. On Thursday night in the series-opener the teams endured a 35-minute rain delay at the start and then a 48-minute fog delay in the bottom of the 7th-inning before the game was eventually called due to the thick fog. With the game official at that point, Indianapolis was declared the winner, 3-2. Pawtucket evened matters with a 6-1 victory Friday night thanks to a 5-run, 8th-inning uprising. Indianapolis gained the upper hand by hanging on for a 4-3 victory Saturday night but Pawtucket secured the split by scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 7th yesterday for a 3-2 triumph in yet another 1-run game.
May We Help You – Pawtucket’s first four games in May have all come vs. Indianapolis and they have followed a pattern that developed for much of April. Pitching and defense have been Pawtucket’s mainstays while PawSox batters as a whole have yet to hit their stride. The Sox are hitting .200 in May (23-for-115) with 2 HR while Sox pitchers are 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA (10 ER in 34 IP) with 1 HRA. Pawtucket hit .243 in April but went 16-11 thanks in large part to a Team ERA of 3.34.
Since When Did McCoy Become a Pitcher’s Park? – Maybe it’s been the gusty winds that have been blowing in – and we mean “in” the literal sense like into the hitter’s face – for much of this season thus far or maybe it’s been the cool (or sometimes cold) temperatures that have prevailed in Pawtucket throughout April. Whatever it is, pitching has certainly been the dominant force in the early-going of 2014 here at McCoy Stadium. PawSox batters are hitting just .208 in 19 games at McCoy (120-for-577) with 10 HR this season. Last year after 20 games at home the Sox had hit 17 homers. PawSox pitchers have been superb here at McCoy going 10-9 with a 2.80 ERA (52 ER in 167 IP) while holding opponents to a .228 average.
Road Comparison – Pawtucket batters are hitting much better on the road with a .279 average (117-for-420) along with 9 HR in 12 away games. Sox hurlers are 8-4 with a 3.98 ERA (46 ER in 104 IP) in road games.
Golden Gloves – The PawSox have played 6 consecutive errorless games since making 2 errors on April 27 at Lehigh Valley. It represents their longest errorless streak since August 16-22 of 2011 when they played 7 straight games without committing an error.