Pawtucket Red Sox LHP Edwin Escobar (0-1, 8.10) vs. Syracuse Chiefs RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 6.75)
Trying Not to be Last – The 5th-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 6th-place Syracuse Chiefs – separated by just 2-gamew in the battle to stay out of the basement in the IL North – begin a 7-game stretch against each tonight that will start with a 3-game series in Syracuse immediately followed by a 4-game set in Pawtucket. The (2014 wild card) PawSox and (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. The clubs will play the next three nights (all 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).
Trying for a Threepeat – The PawSox bid to win three in a row tonight 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).
Series Victory – The PawSox began this 6-game roadtrip by taking 2 of 3 in Buffalo over the weekend including the final two games in come-from-behind fashion…8-7 on Saturday thanks to a 5-run rally with two outs in the top of the 9th and 2-1 on Sunday after scoring twice in the top of the 8th. The Sox lost on Friday night, 2-1 in 13-innings. The series victory was Pawtucket’s first in over a month – since they took 2 of 3 at home from Gwinnett on June 26-28. They are now 1-8-1 in their last 10 sets (one win and one split around 8 series losses).
Turning The Beat Around – Even with their consecutive victories the past two games over the weekend, the PawSox have still lost 11 of their last 14 games overall and 17 of their last 21 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 25 of their last 31 games to go from 38-39 (and 3rd-place, -5 GB) to 44-64. Furthermore, since June 2 they have dropped 24 of their last 31 road games to go from a 13-12 away record to a 20-36 road record (second worst in the league to Syracuse at 18-38).