International League First-Round Playoffs: Syracuse Chiefs vs Pawtucket Red Sox
The Syracuse Chiefs secured their first playoff appearance since 1998 and their first International league North Division championship since 1989. They did it in style compiling the best record in the league. The storied franchise has eight Governors’ Cup titles; the last coming in 1976. The Chiefs will face the Pawtucket Red Sox in a best-of-five series as they open the Governors’ Cup playoffs.
The Red Sox are making their fourth consecutive playoff appearance; they won the Governors’ Cup in 2012 as the Wild Card. The PawSox clinched the Wild Card on the second to last day of the season with a victory over Rochester. Pawtucket will host the first two games of the series. The Division foes split their season series, 8-8; with each team posting a 5-3 mark at home.
Syracuse enters the playoffs with the best record in the International League with an 81-62 record, 43-28 at home and 38-34 on the road.
The Chiefs were near the top of the league in most offensive categories, leading in OBP at .344 and fourth in average at .268. Brandon Laird led the offense with 18 home runs, 227 total bases, 139 hits and a .300 batting average.
Syracuse pitchers posted a 3.63 team ERA with 554 runs allowed, they gave up 91 home runs, the fewest in the league. Aaron Laffey went 12-6 on the season with a 3.67 ERA in 147 innings; he allowed 159 hits while striking out 91. Taylor Hill was the only other Chief to log over 100 innings, he had 144.
Pawtucket joined the fray as the Wild Card with a 79-55 record, tied with Columbus for the second best record in the league. The PawSox went 38-34 at home and 41-31 on the road.
The Sox hit .256 as a team and were in the second half of the division in most offensive categories. There were only three position player that played over 100 games for Pawtucket with no one playing more than 115. Pawtucket used 141 different starting lineups in 144 games. Ivan De Jesus led the team in RBI with 57 and Corey Brown’s 17 home runs in 91 games made him the club’s home run champ.
With a 3.60 team ERA Pawtucket pitchers allowed 556 runs in 1263.2 innings pitched. Anthony Ranaudo went 14-4 for the PawSox before joining the starting rotation in Boston. Matt Barnes 127.2, Allen Webster 122 and Chris Hernandez 117, notched over 100 innings each. Barnes struck ou103 and Webster 100 batters.
The Durham Bullpen is led by Jeff Beliveau 11 saves and Josh Lueke with 12 saves.
By Mike Tanchevski
Senior Baseball Writer Covering the International League