AUGUST 4th PAWTUCKET (44-65) at SYRACUSE (44-67) 7:05 pm
Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Zeke Spruill (4-7, 4.54) vs. Syracuse Chiefs RHP A.J. Cole (1-5, 4.32)
Don’t be Last – The 5th-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 6th-place Syracuse Chiefs – separated by just 1-game in the battle to stay out of the basement in the IL North – play game two of their 3-game set in Syracuse (and the second of their 7-game stretch against each other this week) tonight at 7:05 pm at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. If the PawSox lose tonight they will fall into last-place in the IL North for the first time this season (by pct. points) and for the first time since June 9th of last season. Pawtucket has not finished in last-place since the IL East/North became a 6-team division in 1991. The PawSox did finish last in 1990 in the 4-team Eastern Division with a 62-84 record (behind Rochester, Scranton/WB, and Syracuse). Pawtucket has not finished in last-place overall in the IL since 1989 when the International League had just 8-teams (going 62-84 that year as well).
Getting to Know You – Syracuse got the jump in this 3-game portion of the series last night rolling to a 9-3 victory. The clubs will play the next two nights (both at 7:05 pm) at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse and then travel to Pawtucket for a 4-game series at McCoy Stadium (Thursday & Friday nights at 7:05 pm, Saturday at 6:05 pm and Sunday at 1:05 pm). The 2014 wild card PawSox and the 2014 IL North champ Chiefs were playoff opponents last September (Sox swept the semi-final series, 3 games to 0), but it’s been a different story this season as Syracuse has been mired in last place for much of the year and the PawSox have fallen on difficult times over the past month to drop from 3rd-place to 5th-place. Their status could change depending on the outcome tonight.
Failed Threepeat – The PawSox won back-to-back games over the weekend in Buffalo but last night could not win three in a row for the first time in nearly two months since they had a 4-game winning streak from June 10-13 (all at home). The PawSox won consecutive games just once all July (July 17 & 18 in Durham).
Turning The Beat Around – The PawSox have lost 12 of their last 15 games overall and 18 of their last 22 away games. The PawSox had an 8-game losing skid from July 19-26 which was their second longest of the season behind a 12-game losing streak (June 29 – July 10). In a 5-week span since June 29 the PawSox have lost 26 of their last 32 games to go from 38-39 (and 3rd-place, -5 GB) to 44-65. Furthermore, since June 2 they have dropped 25 of their last 32 road games to go from a 13-12 away record to a 20-37 road record (second worst in the league to Syracuse at 18-38).