LAST TIME OUT: The RailRiders dropped a 5-3 decision to the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) on Sunday afternoon at PNC Field. The RailRiders split the four-game series with the Knights (42-58) and finished the homestand 4-3. Despite Sunday's setback, the RailRiders have gone 8-3 since the All-Star break and have wins in 14 of 19 and 30 of 43.
I'M JUST A CAVE MAN: Jake Cave went 3-for-4 for the second straight game on Sunday. Earlier today, he was named the IL's Batter of the Week. He has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 overall affairs and owns the IL's longest home-field hitting streak of the year at 20 games, going 34-for-77 (.442) during his string of swinging success at PNC Field. The MVP of the Governors' Cup Championship Series in 2016, Cave has hit .373 in 34 games played since his first action with this year's RailRiders on June 17. Since that game, he ranks among the IL's best in AVG (2nd), HR (T-1st, 9), RBIs (4th, 24), SLG (2nd, .659) and XBH (T-4th, 17). Cave entered 2017 with 19 career round-trippers. He has 14 between Double-A Trenton (5) and SWB this year, placing him second on the Yankees' farm behind Ford. Cave had a .399 career slugging percentage entering 2017. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Cave's .587 slugging percentage stands ninth in all of full-season MiLB. Current Yankee Garrett Cooper ranks second at .652 with his numbers from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Cave attended Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, Va., a 17.5-mile drive from Harbor Park.
FORD TOUGH: Mike Ford delivered a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth Saturday night, finishing 2-for-4 with four RBIs. On Friday, he connected on the game-winning blow with his first-pitch RBI single to right. That marked just the second walk-off effort of his baseball life, including his amateur days. The prior effort came on Sept. 2, 2016 when he lined a ninth-inning leadoff homer to right off of Reading's Jesen Therrien for a 2-1 triumph at Double-A Trenton. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Ford ranks among the best on the Yankees' farm in homers (1st, 15) and RBIs (2nd, 62).
T-WADE: Tyler Wade singled, scored and posted his Triple-A best 26th stolen base on Friday. Despite his long absence from SWB while in the bigs (no IL games played from June 27-July 16), Wade remains among the IL leaders in multiple categories: AVG (1st, .313), OBP (T-2nd, .389) and R (2nd, 65). He was called back up to the Yankees yesterday.
CAN DO: Miguel Andujar doubled in Wednesday's win over Norfolk. He has hit safely in nine straight games, going 14-for-34 with six extra-base hits (three homers), seven RBIs and eight runs scored, slashing .412/.432/.765/1.197. His hot hitting has shot his Triple-A average up 60 points from .255-.315. His 64 overall RBIs pace the Yankees' farm, with Ford standing second at 62.
SWIPER, NO SWIPING!: SWB leads the IL in caught-stealing efficiency at 43% (35 of 81 caught). Eddy Rodriguez stands as the IL's top catcher in the category. With Rodriguez behind the plate, SWB has nabbed 22 men in 41 attempts (54%). The IL's average caught-stealing efficiency minus SWB stands at 32%. No IL catcher has finished a season with a better caught-stealing rate since Rochester's Corky Miller ended the 2005 season at an IL-best 62%. At the time, a catcher needed just 10 attempts against to qualify and he nabbed 16 in 26 tries. The standard was changed to catching at least 50% of the team's total number of games in 2007.
OFF THE RAILS: SWB's offense ranks among the IL's best in: R/G (1st, 4.90), AVG (1st, .274), OBP (1st, .338), SLG (1st, .443), OPS (1st, .781), 2B (1st, 204), 3B (1st, 28), HR (3rd, 103) and SB (3rd, 80)...SWB pitching ranks among the IL's best in ERA (2nd, 3.46), WHIP (1st, 1.19) and K/9IP (2nd, 9.0)...SWB is undefeated in extra-inning games (7-0) and shares the IL's best mark in such action with Columbus (7-0)...SWB has nine walk-off wins this season including all seven of the extra-inning victories...At 18-6 (.750), the RailRiders boast full-season MiLB's best record in one-run games...No IL team has finished a season with a winning percentage that good in single-score games since at least 2004...No IL team has more wins when trailing after seven innings than the RailRiders (6)...Only Lehigh Valley (5) has more victories when trailing after eight than SWB (4)...SWB is the IL's only team undefeated when leading after seven frames (51-0)...The RailRiders have lost a series just once since dropping two of three in Pawtucket from May 8-10...The RailRiders have won a season-high six straight road games and boast the IL's best road record at 30-19 (.612)...With two more hits on Sunday, Jonathan Diaz has posted a .382 OBP in nine games since he was traded from the Blue Jays and Triple-A Buffalo to the Yankees and SWB...SWB alumnus Rob Refsnyder was traded by the Yankees to the Blue Jays yesterday for Double-A first baseman Ryan McBroom...From 2014-17, Refsnyder played 286 games for the RailRiders, slashing .292/.372/.424/.796 with 68 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs and 121 RBIs...He stole 24 bases and scored 158 runs.
CATCH IT HERE: PNC Field will host the 2017 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on Sept. 19 at 7:07 p.m. For tickets or more information, please call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com. The RailRiders claimed the franchise's second-ever Governors' Cup as IL champs and the team's first-ever Triple-A national title with a win over El Paso in 2016.