The Fightins return home from Binghamton with a commanding 2-0 series lead. We’re headed down to Baseball town to cheer them on tonight.
Eastern League Playoffs:
Best of five for Eastern Division (of Eastern League…) championship. Second place team–Binghamton–hosts first two games, regular-season champion–Reading–hosts next three, as needed. Tonight’s game is “game three” and labeled ticket-wise as “Game A.” Good seats are still available. The game will be available on Service Electric TV2 sports, as well as MiLB.TV (subject to blackout?). On the radio, listen to our old friend Michael “Mikey V” Ventola on AM 1240 or FM 98.5. His call is also available from the link on the Fightins web site. Game time is 7:05PM tonight, and the game will be followed by “Mega Blast” fireworks.
Starting pitcher and current #2 prospect Jake Thompson went all the way last night yielding but three hits in the shutout win, 3-0. Another “Texas Trade” prospect, CF Nick Williams, had a solo blast. Our old friend Cameron Perkins went 3-for-4 with the other two RBI.
This series has already been impacted by weather, and could be again. Reading pounded out 18 hits in Wednesday night’s opener to win going away 9-4. Thursday night’s game scheduled for Binghamton was never started, and pushed forward to last night–giving them a weekend opening for a massive crowd of 1,898 fans. Now, back in Pennsylvania, we face weather concerns for today’s (and tomorrow’s, if necessary) game as well. I’ll probably head on down to Baseballtown regardless, if I think there’s a non-zero percent chance we can get a game in tonight. Just an FYI, if things go sideways and we’re playing tomorrow due to loss or postponement, the clearer weather looks like afternoon. If I were them I’d consider moving it to 1PM tomorrow instead of the 6:35PM scheduled start (if needed). Stay tuned to the Fightins Twitter feed for updates. The Steelers already played, and the Eagles don’t play until Monday night, so no problem having a baseball game on Sunday afternoon in September.
Oh, and one more thing: I reserve the right to use “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fightins” and “Remember the Fightins” as possible blog titles in the coming days. If anyone else uses them, they’re copying me. 😉
What to watch tonight, Fightins:
- “Top 5” The top five hitters in the Fightins lineup are stellar. Don’t go to the bathroom when Williams, Crawford, Knapp and Stassi are scheduled to bat. For that matter, you might want to stay in your seat for Perkins, Cozens, HMart, and Mora as well–what a fun lineup!
- Lively: Big Ben Lively will be on the mound for the Fightins tonight. He’s every bit of the 6’4″ he’s listed. He’s coming off a great outing in Richmond in which he allowed 0 earned runs over six innings with six strikeouts and only one free pass. We’ve seen him a couple times this season, and it’s been a bit uneven at times. Here’s hoping he airs it out tonight–holding nothing back to get B-Mets out.
- Catcher: We’ll see if Knapp gets a day off from behind the plate here. They did have the rain day, so perhaps the lineup stays status quo. With the NL affiliate B-Mets, there’s no DH, so if our old friend Rene Garcia starts behind the plate it will be tough to get Knapp’s bat in the lineup. Same can be said for our new friend Brian Pointer, who rejoined the team after the conclusion of the IronPigs season, and DH/1B Sir Art Charles.
- Fielding: Defensive play has been a bugaboo for the Fightins at times this season. Crawford and Stassi are both excellent fielders, and the outfield is solid. Looking for HMart at the hot corner and Knapp behind the plate to have good games, in particular, to help the Fightins win.
- Closing: Stephen “Shack Attack” Shackleford has been the All Star closer for the Reading team all season. However, he’s struggled recently while newly added power arm Jimmy Cordero has been on fire. Cordero came over from the Jays in the Ben Revere trade. He tops out at 103MPH and has added command and consistency to his slider to keep hitters off balance. He may get the nod in a closer situation at this juncture.
What to watch, B-Mets:
- “You don’t know me” Our old nemesis Vince Belnome from Durham is on this team. He was released by the Tampa organization and picked up by the Mets. A AAA-player playing AA, and one for the Reading pitchers to be careful with–he already has a HR and almost had another.
- Age before beauty The B-Mets feature a veteran lineup with 8 of the 9 starters from Wednesday with AAA experience, and 3 with MLB experience. This isn’t a traditional AA team full of prospects–more like a AAA B-team closer to home for the Mets than Las Vegas.
- Starter: The Mets don’t have a starter listed yet, but it could be 24-year old Dominican RHP Rainy Lara (9-5, 3.44 at AA) or 22-year old Dominican RHP Gabriel Ynoa (9-9, 3.90). Ynoa is the #9 prospect in the Mets’ system by one report.
Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 6:35PM with similar details to above, if the game is necessary. A Monday game would be played at 6:35PM, if necessary. Ethan Martin and Joely Rodriguez may be in line for those starts, although Reiner Riobal has filled that role for Reading this season as well. Eflin will be ready to come back around and start on Monday if necessary.
If (read: when) the Fightins close out the B-Mets, they’ll face the winner of the Western Division, currently being decided between Bowie (Orioles) and Altoona (Pirates). Bowie leads the series 2-1; they’re scheduled to play tonight at 6:05 in Bowie, MD.
For this series, the West has the “home field” (by odd-number year?) so Reading will be at home for games 1 and 2 of the series, starting on Tuesday at 7:05PM (Game D) and continuing on Wednesday (Game E) also at 7:05PM. The series would then move “West” but could face further changes due to weather. As always, stay tuned.
See you at the park, undercover.