Here’s a closer look at this week’s upcoming opponents for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
To begin the week, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre continues a road trip through Ohio with three more games of a four-game series in Columbus with hopes of finishing better there than they did in Toledo.
The Clippers are a much better than the Mud Hens, who had some of the worst stats in the International League before the RailRiders entered Fifth Third Field.
In the standings, Columbus began the weekend 10 games ahead of Toledo in the West Division but in second place, 5.5 games behind Indianapolis. The teams met a few weeks ago at PNC Field with the Clippers winning three out of four, but all four games could’ve gone either way.
Columbus, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, hosts the RailRiders at Huntington Park today through Tuesday.
Wednesday is an off-day for both clubs.
After Wednesday’s day off, SWB returns to the friendly confines of PNC Field for a brief stay when it welcomes the affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and Montrose grad Rich Thompson for a four-game series starting on Thursday.
The Bulls, managed by former Red Baron player Charlie Montoyo, boast one of the top offenses in the I.L. led by the organization’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America Will Myers. The 22-year-old outfielder isn’t tearing the cover off the ball, but he’s still hitting for a respectable average around .250 with four home runs and more than 20 RBI. The team’s best batter to date has been designated hitter Leslie Anderson, who started the weekend with six home runs and 26 runs batted in.
Thompson, who turned 34 last month, is seeing regular playing time for Durham. Speed has always been his game and it is once again as he leads the team in stolen bases beginning the weekend with 10.
Another familiar face set to come to Moosic this weekend is former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee Shelley Duncan, who slugged 67 career home runs for the team in parts of three seasons from 2007-09, won the 2009 I.L. MVP Award.
Duncan, 33, spent part of the season with the parent club in Tampa before being designated for assignment last month.
The Bulls also have a stellar starting five with four of them beginning the weekend with an ERA under 4.00.