After Sunday’s 10-7 loss to Frederick, the high Single-A Potomac Nationals are now three games back, behind Wilmington with seven games to play.
Tonight, the P-Nats (29-33) begin a four-game set at Carolina (29-34). The final three games are at Wilmington (33-31). So, if the P-Nats can stay within three games of the Blue Rocks, they will have a chance at the second-half division title.
Wilmington has six games remaining, all at home. The Blue Rocks face Myrtle Beach tonight. The Pelicans have already clinched a playoff spot, so you wonder if they will be motivated to continue to win tonight.
The playoff tiebreaker procedure is based on the top team’s winning percentage. If their winning percentage’s are tied, a one-game playoff will be played at Wilmington because the Blue Rocks were in first place August 25. Potomac’s current winning percentage is .467. Wilmington’s winning percentage is .516.
The P-Nats will play only 69 games this second half, and Wilmington will end up with 70 games.
The task is made more difficult because the P-Nats have the worst record on the road in the Carolina League, just 8-18.
But they have been playing good baseball recently, winners of five of their last six games. During the streak, they won three of four against Carolina, tonight’s opponent.
Left-hander Matt Grace (8-12, 5.30) is on the bump tonight. He has won two of his last three decisions, and beat Carolina in his last start. Pitching seven innings, Grace allowed four hits with no runs and seven strikeouts. He has 19 strikeouts in his last 18 innings.
Outfielder Steve Souza, Jr., has been on fire. The last 10 games, Souza has had at least one hit in nine of those contests, sporting a .438 batting average with one double, four homers, six RBIs and four stolen bases.
Third baseman Matt Skole has hit .341 his last 10 games with Potomac, with seven doubles, one triple and six RBIs. He had 27 homers with low Single-A Hagerstown, but is seeking his first roundtripper with the P-Nats.
Shortstop Francisco Soriano has cranked it up to .364 in the last 10 games, with one double, one triple and four RBIs, scoring seven runs.
Second baseman Ricky Hague has had at least a hit in his past 10 games, and is hitting .351 during that streak, with three doubles and six runs.
The P-Nats looking to get on another run tonight, down just three games. Grace needs to come through tonight, because right-hander Alex Meyer is on the disabled list and cannot return until August 30.