Rochester entered Saturday a game behind Scranton with a 4.0 game lead over Indianapolis and Buffalo for the wild card. Considering that the Red Wings haven't been to the playoffs in 9 years, local fans of this proud franchise are excited as evidenced by their attendance of more than 10,000 at most games. Although the franchise dates back to the early days of organized baseball, the Twins relationship is only in its second year. With their success this season, it is easy to understand how local fans are concerned with the number of callups to Minnesota, yet the feisty Wings continue to battle.
Yesterday they began a two game weekend series with League Leader Scranton. A sweep would give them the lead while a split is a must. Lefty Jason Miller, who began this season in their bullpen, got the start and delivered one of the best games of the year...pitching a 9.0 inning, complete game shutout. Miller allowed only 2 hits (2 harmless singles) with NO walks to go with his 7 strikeouts. No Scranton baserunner reached second base as he faced only one over the minimum while retiring 19 consecutive batters at one point.
The Red Wings got their first run late in the game when Garrett Jones led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Chris Heintz and scored on Alex Romero's double. The 2-0 win puts the Wings in a tie with Scranton for the International League division lead with 15 games remaining. They now hold a 4.0 game wild card lead over Indianapolis and 4.5 games over Buffalo.
As we approach September, has his performance this season earned Jason Miller consideration to be added to the 40-man roster and called up in September? Considering that he has been effectively used out of the bullpen much of the last two seasons, he may be another prospect for the Twins in 2007?
In other action last night Zach Ward (recently acquired for Kyle Lohse) picked up another loss at Beloit, however, this time he pitched a good game (5.0ip, 3hits, 1run and 3K/3BB). Unfortunately, with all the players out due to injuries, Beloit was only able to get 1 hit in their 0-2 loss.