Red Wings Look To Take Over First Place

The Rochester Red Wings find themselves three games back of the Buffalo Bison heading into Tuesday, and need the bats to wake up. Led by super-prospects Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, the Wings have been solid all season long, and need to kick it into overdrive as the season enters it's final month.

The Rochester Red Wings are currently in the hunt for the International League North Division title, as they sit 3.0 games back of the Buffalo Bisons. Led by super-prospect pitchers Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, the Wings are currently 68-62, and have a huge series at Buffalo on August 29-30.

Liriano is turning into one of those prospects who is virtually untouchable as trade bait. After shying away from possible suitors during the recent trade deadline, the Twins' brass showed what Liriano means to the organization.

Baker, who has excelled at the Major League level this season, should figure to be a fourth or fifth starter in the Twins' rotation next season. He is currently third in the International League with a 3.03 ERA.

One of the Wings' strengths all season has been their ability to close out games, as they are 50-1 when leading after eight innings. The main reason for that is closer Travis Bowyer, who most scouts consider to be the best closer in the entire International League.

One thing the Red Wings have to improve on is coming back when they get down early. They are currently 17-41 in those situations, and if they want to make it in the playoffs, they need to show more nerve.

As a team, Rochester is batting .273 on the year, good for fifth in the league. Their best hitter this season has been Jason Tyner, who carries a .293 clip into Tuesday, and leads the team in hits by 40.

Of course, as every Triple-A team goes through, the Red Wings have often been stripped by the big league team. Stars like Jason Bartlett, Glenn Williams, and Luis Rodriguez have all spent time with Rochester this season, as has Terry Tiffee and Michael Ryan.

With 13 games left in the season, the Red Wings are at a crossroad. Lately, the bats have been dormant (.206 average the last eight games), and the staff has had to work extra hard just to keep their heads above water. With seven of their last 13 games at home, the Wings can't rely on home cooking to get them through the rest of the season.

But if Liriano and Baker continue to hurl, the bats awaken at the right time, and the bullpen keeps up their side of the deal; the Wings should finish the season in first place.


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