Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Starting Nine: 9 Facts To Take Into The PawSox-Chiefs Series

Depending on Rochester’s results, the PawSox could pole-vault into first place in the International League North if they sweep their three-game home set with the league-leading Syracuse Chiefs. Both clubs will be coming off a rest/travel day as they tune up for Wednesday evening’s tilt at McCoy Stadium, which will precede a Thursday matinee and Friday night finale.

The idle Syracuse squad (62-47) enters Tuesday night’s action with a two-game lead over the Red Sox (61-50) and Red Wings (60-49). That gap has slimmed in recent weeks with the Chiefs going 5-10 in their last 15 ventures, the Sox 11-4 in the same span.

The Chiefs are coming off a rare pair of back-to-back off days after rain forced the cancellation of Monday’s four-game series finale with Gwinnett. This marks the third time weather has induced a succession of multiple off days for them in 2014, the others being April 4-5 and April 14-15. Syracuse capitalized on the impromptu rest to win their first game coming out of both of those hiatuses.

The Sox are hosting the Chiefs for the first time since nabbing two out of three April 7-9. The Chiefs have since claimed five out of eight head-to-head bouts at NBT Bank Stadium, though Pawtucket has won three out of four in the current month.

Since dropping that April set at McCoy, their first road venture of the season, the Chiefs have sculpted a league-best 30-24 road record. They have gone 20-10 on enemy property dating back to a 10-2 trouncing of the Red Wings on May 27, though they have split their last 10 away games in four different venues.

Pawtucket has limited Syracuse to three runs or fewer in all five of its victories so far in the season series. Conversely, the 2014 PawSox have invariably lost in this matchup when authorizing at least four runs.

Brandon Workman, Wednesday’s slated home starter, will put in his 11th appearance on the PawSox’ mound this season. He has yet to face the Chiefs in 2014, but did claim his first career Triple-A victory at Syracuse’s expense in a 5-3 home triumph on June 9, 2013.

Syracuse right fielder Steven Souza, Jr. leads all qualified IL batters with a .353 batting average, belting his way on base 112 times on 317 attempts through 86 games. Infielders Brandon Laird and Emmanuel Burriss entered Tuesday’s action fourth and ninth, respectively with .317 and .307 success rates at the plate.

Burriss is riding a 10-game hit streak since the All-Star Break, going 16-for-42 with five walks and no strikeouts in that span.