Saturday, April 8, 2017


WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Now second-year SWB skipper Al Pedrique led the 2016 RailRiders to the franchise's first Triple-A national championship.
HERE COME THE GOVS: The defending IL champs, the RailRiders earned their first Governors' Cup title since 2008 by shutting out the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field in Game 4 of the 2016 championship series, 3-0. The RailRiders held the G-Braves to just two runs over the final 35.1 innings of the series. Championship series MVP Jake Cave went 4-for-13 (.308) with a double, a homer, three walks and three RBIs.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: SWB's 47 road wins tied with Nashville for the most in Triple-A last season...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...The RailRiders went 4-0 in true road games during the playoffs, all shutout wins over a 36-inning span.
BEST VS. WORST: The IL finals had Triple-A's winningest team last season, the RailRiders (91-52), face a G-Braves (65-78, .455) team that set the record for worst winning percentage of any team to ever make the Governors' Cup playoffs...At 73-70 (.510), the RailRiders' foe in the Triple-A Championship, El Paso, had the worst record of the PCL's four playoff entrants last season and ended the regular season with losses in five straight games.
PLAYOFF HISTORY: SWB made the Governors' Cup finals for the sixth time in franchise history (1992, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2016)...SWB has claimed the IL North 11 times including seven division titles in a decade as the Yankees' top affiliate...The SWB franchise's first Governors' Cup championship came in 2008...The then-SWB Yankees beat the Pawtucket Red Sox in four games and bested the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) in four in the championship with a 20-2 win in clincher...However, those then-SWB Yankees lost to the Sacramento River Cats (Oakland Athletics) in the "Bricktown Showdown", 4-1.
HOW SWEEP IT IS: The RailRiders advanced to the IL finals after the franchise's first postseason sweep, a three-game broom cleaning of the IronPigs...SWB never trailed never trailed in the series and outscored the IronPigs, 20-3.
PINSTRIPE PRIDE: Five minor league affiliates of the New York Yankees, all four full-season clubs plus Short Season-A Staten Island (NYP), made their respective playoffs last season...Only the Seattle Mariners (6) had more...The Yankees' top affiliate has won the Governors' Cup 16 times, by far the most by affiliation.
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 had a mean-average age of 26.3. Tied with Indianapolis for the IL's 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).
OFF THE RAILS: 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...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 (Philadelphia Phillies) finished 91-53...The 2016 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...
SEASON OPENERS: SWB has traditionally not fared well in season openers. Since it first moved to NEPA in 1989, the franchise has gone 10-19 when it was time to "Play Ball". The first-ever season-opening win did not come until year three for the team in 1991, a 9-2 triumph over Syracuse. SWB had claimed game one in both 2014 and 2015 against Syracuse, but lost last year's lid lifter to Rochester, 3-0. This is SWB's first season opener against Buffalo since 2010, a 1-0 win for the Yankees at PNC Field as Ivan Nova (6.0), Mark Melancon (2.0), Boone Logan (2.0), and Jonathan Albaladejo (1.0) combined on a six-hitter.

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