The Salem Red Sox moved into first place in their division and two games behind a playoff spot when they won five of six games against Fredricksburg in last week’s homestand.
The Sox climbed to 42-30 after Sunday’s win while Delmarva, who had held first place in the Low-A East North Division for most of the summer, went 2-5 in a seven games series with Lynchburg. That dropped the Shorebirds to 41-30, a half game behind the Sox.
The top two teams in the 12 team Low-A East make the playoffs and the Sox come into the week in the third spot. Charleston, the first place team in the South, is cruising along at 50-20. The Riverdogs, a Tampa Bay Rays franchise, are nine full games ahead of Salem.
The Carolina Mudcats, a Milwaukee Brewers franchise, took four of seven games from Down East last week as they continue to lead the Central Division. The Mudcats come into the week at 44-28, two games ahead of Salem for the second playoff spot. The Sox do not play the Mudcats at all this season, so they’ll have to depend on others to beat Carolina if Salem is going to make the playoffs.
Salem has a favorable schedule with eight weeks to go in the season. This week the Sox are at Kannapolis for a six game series with the Cannon Ballers, a White Sox affiliate. The Ballers are struggling along with a 23-49 record, tied with Fredricksburg for the worst among the 12 Low-A East teams.
After this week the rest of Salem’s games are against division foes. Salem will play Lynchburg 18 times and Delmarva and Fredricksburg 12 times each. The Sox are 17-7 in their 24 games with Fredricksburg to date, including five wins in six games last week. The Red Sox won the first four games of the series by scores of 4-3, 4-2, 3-2 and 7-4. They lost 18-6 on Saturday but bounced back to shut out the Nationals on Sunday, 3-0, as Jorge Rodriguez, Ryan Fernandez and Devon Roedahl combined for a four hitter with no walks and a dozen strikeouts. Ceddanne Rafaela hit a two run homer in the fifth and those were only runs the Sox would need.
This week the Sox are hoping to get some help from the Hillcats as Carolina is at Lynchburg for a six games series. Delmarva is at Fredricksburg, and the Shorebirds have 18 games against the lowly Nationals from now until the end of the season. Salem and Delmarva play the final six games, from September 14 to 19, and that’s shaping up to be a big series as far as the playoffs are concerned.