They also lead Buffalo by five full games again in the Wild Card chase. Actually, Toledo has moved back into second place in the Wild Card race, trailing the Wings by 4 ½ games.
Rochester has 17 games remaining, including four with Scranton and four with Buffalo. Meanwhile, Buffalo and Scranton begin a home and home eight-game series Monday. This could make the race for the post season very interesting. It really forces the Wings to play at least .500 ball over the same stretch. If Rochester loses during that eight-game stretch, one of their rivals will gain a game.
If the Wings win, then one of their rivals stays even, while the Wings gain a game on the other. If everybody plays .500 during the eight games, then the effect will be to lop off eight games from the schedule, putting the Wings in the drivers seat to secure at least a Wild Card. Naturally, we can't ignore Toledo or Louisville, but as the number of games left reduces, a four or five game lead looms larger and larger.
Tonight the Chiefs jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Mike Smith, making his second start since returning from his brief stint with the Twins. However, the Wings began battling back quickly, and by the fifth inning, had reclaimed the lead 6-4. They increased that lead to 8-4 and then hung on over the last three innings to prevail 8-6.
The Wings hitting attack was led by Garrett Jones, who hit his second triple in as many games and drove in three runs to raise his season RBI total to 84, which is good for second place in the International League. Jones' batting average is at a season high .238, but it must be noted that he is starting to heat up at a good time, and reaching 20 home runs (he has 18) and 100 RBI is not out of the realm of possibility anymore.
Quinton McCracken, who turned 36 yesterday, had three hits and Chris Heintz and Glenn Williams each chipped in with a pair. The Wings play in Syracuse tomorrow night before the two-game showdown with the Red Barons. The team would love to be tied with Scranton going into that mini-series.
With Nick Punto banged up but Manager Ron Gardenhire not wishing to put him on the disabled list, would the Twins call up Terry Tiffee and send down Jason Kubel for the final two weeks of the International League season. Tiffee is an infielder, which the Twins need, and Kubel's knees are so banged up, about all he can do is DH. He could get his at-bats with Rochester as the DH, and go back up on Sept 1.
Wings Packing ‘Em In:
The Red Wings' season average attendance is only 6,400 after 63 openings. However, the team has averaged just under 9,000 per game over the last ten. They have averaged 8,350 since July 21st. This is not surprising since Rochester always draws extremely well during the last 5 or 6 weeks of the season. However for the Wings to finish up with an average attendance of 7,000 per opening, they would have to average 10,300 over their last 8 home games...while not impossible, its very improbable. But still, its good to see the stands full of fans down the stretch, as the Wings try to break their nine-year post season drought.