ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The potent pitching of Brady Lail, Dietrich Enns and J.R. Graham combined on a five-hit shutout as the RailRiders blanked the Gwinnett Braves in a critical Game 3 of the Governors' Cup Championship Series on Thursday night, 3-0. SWB owns a 2-1 series lead and sits one win short of the franchise's second-ever Governors' Cup crown and first since 2008.
THIS AND THAT: The RailRiders led the minors with a franchise-record 24 shutouts in the regular season. Three of SWB's five playoff wins during this run have been shutouts...SWB's 47 road wins tied with Nashville for the most in Triple-A this season. The team has gone 3-0 on the road during these playoffs, all shutout wins...The RailRiders have gone 5-0 at Coolray Field this season between the regular campaign and playoffs combined. Since the Braves moved their top affiliate to suburban Atlanta in 2009, the SWB franchise has won 26 of 32 at Coolray Field including all three playoff meetings in Lawrenceville...Since Gwinnett scored six runs in Game 1's opening inning, the G-Braves have amassed just two runs over the last 26.1 innings...Pete Kozma enjoyed a 2-for-4 night with a lined single in addition to his homer. Kozma is 5-for-10 (.500) in the Championship Series...Brady Lail shutout the G-Braves over 6.1 innings and has allowed only one run over 10.1 frames in the postseason...Donovan Solano reached twice on HBP, matching his regular season total (131 games played).
PLAYOFF HISTORY: SWB is in the Governors' Cup Championship Series for the sixth time in franchise history (1992, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009). SWB has claimed the IL North 11 times in its history including seven division titles in a decade as the Yankees' top affiliate. The SWB franchise's lone Governors' Cup championship came in 2008. The then-SWB Yankees beat Pawtucket in four games and bested Durham in four in the championship with a 20-2 win in clincher.
HOW SWEEP IT IS: The RailRiders continued rewriting the club's record book on Friday night at PNC Field as they rolled to an 11-3 Game 3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, cementing the franchise's first postseason sweep. The RailRiders never trailed in the Division Series and outscored the IronPigs, 20-3.
SWEET 16?: The New York Yankees' top affiliate has won the Governors' Cup 15 times, by far the most of any MLB organization.
BEST VS. WORST: This series pits Triple-A's winningest team this season, the RailRiders, against a G-Braves team that set the record for worst winning percentage of any team to ever make the Governors' Cup playoffs.
YOUNG, FUN & DOMINANT: SWB ranked among the IL's best offenses in multiple categories: batting average (1st, .266); OBP (1st, .333); SLG (2nd, .399); OPS (1st, .732); runs/game (1st, 4.6); RBIs (1st, 611); BB (4th, 446). It did so with a group of position players that has a mean-average age of 26.3. Tied with Indianapolis for the youngest pitching staff at 25.6, Tommy Phelps' hurlers ranked among the circuit's best in: ERA (1st, 2.98); WHIP (2nd, 1.18); H/9 IP (1st, 7.8); K/9IP (2nd, 8.6); K:BB ratio (1st, 3.1:1); HR (2nd, 86); SV (T-1st, 45).
RECORD KEEPING: The RailRiders became the first IL team to finish with a sub-3.00 ERA since the 1980 Columbus Clippers (2.92). The 2001 SWB Red Barons had owned the franchise record for lowest team ERA at 3.19. Game 1 starter, Jordan Montgomery, set a new club record for consecutive scoreless innings at 29.2. En route to winning the IL North clincher at Buffalo on Aug. 31, he surpassed Tim Mauser's run of 29.1 from May 15 - June 1, 1991. The RailRiders became the first IL team to reach the 90-win mark since the 2002 SWB Red Barons finished 91-53. These RailRiders tied the 2002 unit for the franchise record in wins. By virtue of playing one less game, they set a new team record for best winning percentage (.636). SWB pitching picked up 1,198 strikeouts, obliterating the franchise record of 1,157 set by the 2013 unit. The RailRiders' 24 shutout wins paced the minors and shattered the single-season franchise record. The 2009 SWB Yankees previously held the franchise mark with 16 blankings. Only one IL team, the 2015 Rochester Red Wings (21), is believed to have recorded as many as 21 shutouts since the then-Tidewater Tides had 21 in 1975. The 2016 RailRiders finished their road schedule a franchise-record 47-25 (.653), breaking the mark of 45 wins set by the 2002 Red Barons. At 47-23 (.671), only the PCL's Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics) had a better road record in Triple-A.