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Chatham, Mass. — After eliminating the Harwich Mariners on Sunday to vault themselves into the East Division Championship Series, the Chatham Anglers return to action today against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at 4 p.m. at Red Wilson Field.
This season, the Anglers (17-26-1) went 4-2 against Y-D (26-17-1), including a sweep of the Red Sox in South Yarmouth. Most recently, Chatham rallied from a four run deficit in the ninth inning on July 26 to upend Y-D 5-4. That win sparked a late season rally for the Anglers, who won three of their last five – including another win over the Red Sox – to qualify for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.
However, Y-D finds itself in familiar territory. The past two summers have brought championships to Scott Pickler’s squad, despite two consecutive third place finishes in the East. In 2016, as they look to add another trophy to their collection, the Red Sox have played their way into yet another East Division Championship Series, this time as the second seed.
At the Plate: Stuart Fairchild has been a source of consistency for John Schiffner’s Anglers this season, appearing in 37 of the team’s 47 games. In both of Chatham’s wins this postseason, Fairchild has gone a combined 3-for-8, while driving in what proved to be the series-clinching run in Sunday’s victory over Harwich.
This season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacon has had a hand in 23 of the A’s 150 runs – roughly 15.3 percent of the Anglers total offense. His three stolen bases are second on the team while his 26 hits puts him third on the Anglers behind only DJ Artis and Jake Palomaki.
Against the Red Sox this year, Fairchild is hitting at a .357 average while scoring two runs and driving in three. Fairchild’s lone homerun of the year came against Y-D back on July 26. Facing a two-strike count with two outs in the top of the ninth, Fairchild reversed the A’s fortunes by slugging a three-run homerun over the fence in right field to lift Chatham to victory.
A recent addition to Y-D, catcher Joey Thomas has been at the front of the Red Sox’ attack since joining the team on August 1. Recording a hit in all four games he’s appeared in, Thomas has amassed a .385 batting average while plating six runs on five hits.
Thomas also drove in a combined two runs while batting .429 in both victories over Orleans in the EDS.
On the Rubber: Caleb Gilbert (2-2) aims to build off of his last appearance for the Anglers, as the LSU righty takes the ball for Game 1. In his last start against Falmouth on August 1, Gilbert turned in his longest outing after tossing seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out seven.
Piecing together his best performance during his time on the Cape, Gilbert put the Anglers back in playoff position with the win and helped jumpstart the A’s surging play in August.
Gilbert has faced the Red Sox twice this summer, appearing as both a starter and a reliever. In his start against Y-D on July 16, Gilbert was tagged for five earned runs on seven hits in an 8-4 blowout loss. However, ten days later, Gilbert got his revenge and earned the win in an inning of relief as Chatham stormed back to upend Y-D.
Bryan Sammons (1-0) makes his first start against the Anglers tonight in his first appearance since the tail end of July. Though he has made four starts in 10 games this summer, none have come against the Anglers. Sammons got a sample of the A’s back on June 22, however, he faced just three batters in two-thirds of an inning while the Anglers lineup featured now-departed teammates like Patrick Mathis, Joe Freiday, and Chase Pinder.
Sammons has crafted a 1.53 ERA for the Red Sox this summer while striking out 23 batters in 29 and a third innings pitched.
Down the Road: The Anglers will host their second home playoff game Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field. Should a Game 3 be necessary in the EDCS, both teams will return to Red Wilson Field on Wednesday for a 4 o’clock deciding contest.
Make sure to tune in at 3:30 p.m. today for the Anglers Extra Pregame Show on the Cape Cod Baseball Network. Evan Stockton will introduce you to his Catch of the Day while Jake Eisenberg sits down with manager John Schiffner.
The full broadcast of today’s game is available online and over the phone at 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more details.