Playoff time has come for the 2013 Chatham Anglers (26-17-1).
The Anglers will take on the Y-D Red Sox (20-22-2) tonight at Veterans Field in game one of the first round of the East Division playoffs. Chatham comes into the series on a five-game losing streak, but Manager John Schiffner
knows the talent that this team has.
"I do not think there was much motivation in the regular season, but our guys know how to win, so hopefully we can come out strong," Schiffner said.
Schiffner and the Anglers will have their ace on the mound for game one in right-hander Lukas Schiraldi
On the season, Schiraldi has been spectacular, holding a league-leading 1.19 earned run average. He is 4-1 with 27 strikeouts, 10 walks, and only five earned runs allowed over 37.2 innings pitched this season.
The Anglers are confident in their chances with Schiraldi on the mound.
"He is our ace, and we feel good about our odds with him on the mound," Jimmy Pickens
(Michigan State) said.
Schiraldis counterpart on the mound will be Y-D right-hander Daniel Savas (Illinois State), who is a perfect 3-0 on the season with a 3.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 36 innings pitched.
photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) and the Anglers will look
to bounce back as they take on Y-D in game one of
the East Divison Series.
Savas has faced the Anglers twice this season. His first appearance came on July 10, when he got the win after giving up eight hits and four runs over 5.2 innings. His latest start against Chatham came on July 31, where Savas was dominant over six innings, allowing four hits and one run. Savas would not factor in the decision, though, as late inning magic would strike again.
Chatham clinched the East Division regular season title with a miraculous comeback win against the Red Sox. The Anglers found themselves trailing the Red Sox 5-1 with two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, but scored four runs to tie the game, then won it on a bases-loaded squeeze bunt by Pickens.
That win was one of two walk-off win for the Anglers against Y-D this season, with the other coming on July 8 when Dante Flores hit a game-winning RBI double to give Chatham the 3-2 victory.
The win on July 31 was also the Anglers last victory, as they had to endure a five-game losing to end the regular season.
If the Anglers hope to bounce back and move forward in the playoffs, the offense will have to get back on track. Timely hitting has been one of the keys to Chathams success, but it has also been a cause of concern, as the Anglers have stranded 39 men on base during the losing streak.
(USC) will have to help the offensive resurgence, as he leads the team in hitting with a .317 average, 13 doubles, 19 RBI, and 25 runs scored.
Pickens has provided the power for the Anglers. Over the past week, he has hit for a .409 average with nine hits, two home runs, and four RBI.
On the season, the Anglers are 4-1-1 against Y-D, including a perfect 3-0 at Veterans Field.
Only six wins stand between Chatham and their first Cape League Championship since 1998.
"We have something to play for now," Pickens said. "The first win is the most important, and once we get that one under our belt, I think we can make a run."
First pitch at 7 p.m. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Keith Zubrow at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.
Chris Jones is the Beat Writer and Social Media Manager for the Chatham Anglers. Follow him on twitter at @Chrisjones_UO, and follow the Chatham Anglers at @ChathamAnglers.