The second last homestand of the season will be a critical one for the Salem Red Sox as they attempt to hang on to a spot in the upcoming Mills Cup playoffs.
The Sox will play six games against Carolina League Northern Division opponents, three each against Potomac and Wilmington.
Salem comes into the homestand tied with Frederick, and one game ahead of Potomac, for the second spot in the Northern Division playoffs. Lynchburg clinched a spot by winning the first half, and the Hillcats were nine games ahead of Salem and Frederick in the second half as of Tuesday. With Lynchburg winning the first half, the second place team in the second half can make the playoffs provided Lynchburg wins both halves, and that’s all but a certainty with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Sox will wrap a three game series with Potomac tonight at 7:05 pm at Salem Memorial Ballpark. That series began Tuesday.
This weekend Wilmington comes to town for three, at 7:05 pm Friday, 6:05 pm Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Wilmington, the last place team in the North, is currently playing Frederick so Salem fans will also want to keep an eye on that series as well.
The Sox have no one to blame but themselves for being in this predicament. They had a big lead in the first half of the split season but let Lynchburg pass them on the final day of the half, dropping a doubleheader to lose the first half pennant by one game. Salem has lost several players from that team as Boston is aggressive in moving players along that have shown they can play at a higher level.
Lynchburg is putting the screws to Salem again in the second half. The Sox returned from a seven game road trip Monday with a 1-6 record, losing three of four in Potomac and then getting swept in a three game series at Lynchburg over the weekend. Salem lost to the Hillcats, 8-7, on Sunday to drop below .500 in the second half at 28-29. Sunday’s loss was Salem’s fourth straight by one run, and eight of their 13 losses in August have been by a single run through Monday, when Salem had an off day.
On Friday the Sox continue to celebrate 50 years in the Carolina League with a Salem Buccaneers t-shirt giveaway. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will get a shirt.