Game 136: Ducks at Revolution

High-Fives-York-9-15-15
The Long Island Ducks are postseason bound yet again! There aren’t many times that the Ducks or their fans are rooting for the Somerset Patriots to win a game, but that certainly was the case last night. Following a 5-2 win in York over the Revolution, the team anxiously followed along in the clubhouse as Somerset wrapped up its game in Bridgeport against the Bluefish. Upon the Patriots earning a 6-2 victory, bottles of champagne were popped and sprayed in jubilation, as the Ducks were guaranteed a berth in this year’s Atlantic League playoffs. Whether their spot comes as a Wild Card or a Second Half Liberty Division champion, one thing is for certain: The Ducks and the Patriots will face off in the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series.

Following is the 2015 Long Island Ducks home playoff schedule:

Liberty Division Championship Series (Best-of-Five) – Ducks will host Games One and Two
Home Playoff Game A           Wednesday, September 23 at 6:35 p.m.
Home Playoff Game B           Thursday, September 24 at 6:35 p.m.

Atlantic League Championship Series (Best-of-Five) – Ducks will host Games One and Two should they advance
Home Playoff Game C           Wednesday, September 30 at 6:35 p.m.
Home Playoff Game D           Thursday, October 1 at 6:35 p.m.

Although it did not factor into their clinch, the Ducks pulled off a dramatic win on Tuesday against the Revolution. Long Island had built a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third inning on Cody Puckett’s RBI double and Randy Ruiz’s sacrifice fly. Bruce Kern had been strong over the first four and two-thirds inning of the game, striking out seven batters, but he could not get the final out of the fifth. Wilson Valdez singled to keep the inning alive, and Andres Perez followed with a two-run double to left that skipped past Anthony Vega and tied the ballgame at two. Neither side could push across the go-ahead run until the ninth. Elmer Reyes singled to open the inning and was sacrificed to second by Puckett. That brought up Vega, who came through with a RBI single to center field that scored Reyes, who slid in just ahead of the tag from catcher Salvador Paniagua. Up 3-2, Dan Lyons drove in a run with a groundout to short, and Lew Ford capped the inning with a RBI single to center. The Ducks’ three-run ninth was the big inning the team had been waiting for since last Friday.

The true heroes of Tuesday’s victory were Long Island’s relievers. One night after allowed three runs in two innings in a 5-2 defeat, four different Ducks relievers combined to throw four and one-third innings of scoreless baseball. Nick Struck got things started with a strikeout of Bryan Pounds to strand two runners in scoring position. The righty then threw a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth before J.C. Romero did the same in the seventh. Ryan Kussmaul entered in the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff single and a stolen base to Perez. However, he responded by striking out Brandon Boggs, inducing a groundout from Pounds and striking out Telvin Nash. Following Long Island’s three-run ninth, Amalio Diaz came on to earn the save and struck out the side, allowing just a walk to James Simmons in the inning. It was a terrific bounce-back performance from the bullpen.

CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights from Tuesday’s victory
CLICK HERE to view Tuesday’s box score

In the rubber game of the series, Joe Bircher will make his second start with the Ducks. The left-hander got off to a good start in his debut on Friday against Sugar Land, but things quickly went south. After navigating in and out of jams in the first three innings, he took a 6-1 lead into the fourth. However, he was hit with a line drive with one out in the inning, and although he recorded the second out on the play, he seemed to come undone after. Bircher allowed a four pitch walk before giving up three consecutive run-scoring hits to give up the lead and end his night. Kern came on and yielded the go-ahead run before ending the inning. Long Island eventually went on to win the game though, 9-8. Bircher pitched earlier this season in the American Association with Sioux Falls and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.04 ERA in 16 games (15 starts).

He’ll be opposed by another southpaw on the mound in Rommie Lewis. The Revolution veteran enters with a 9-10 record and a 3.89 ERA in 26 starts this season, his first as a starter with York. He also started last Friday and took a no-decision at Southern Maryland, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings. He walked three batters while striking out a season-high eight. Lewis has not won a game since August 16, going 0-2 with a 5.13 ERA in his last five starts. The 33-year-old has faced the Ducks twice this year, both times at Bethpage Ballpark, and is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. He has surrendered six runs on 11 hits and six walks in 10 innings with seven strikeouts.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Postseason Bound: With the Somerset Patriots defeating the Bridgeport Bluefish on Tuesday, the Ducks have clinched a berth in the 2015 Atlantic League playoffs. They will enter the playoffs either as a Wild Card winner or the Second Half Liberty Division champions. It marks the 10th time in the last 12 seasons that the Ducks have earned a playoff berth (2010, 2014). Long Island’s last two postseason trips have resulted in Atlantic League championships (2012, 2013).

Ducks vs. Revolution: Tonight marks the 171st all-time meeting between the Ducks and Revolution. The Ducks currently lead the series 87-83, but the Revs have a 48-37 edge at Santander Stadium. It also marks the final of 16 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. Long Island leads the season series 10 to five. 13 of the first 15 games have been decided by three runs or less.

Home Cooking: The Ducks finished their home schedule this season with an Atlantic League-best 48-22 record. Their .686 home winning percentage is 57 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .629, 44-26). The 48 home victories are the third-most in franchise history for a single season. The only two greater totals were in 2000 (49-27) and in 2011 (51-20).

Two-Fer Tuesday: Cody Puckett, Anthony Vega and Fehlandt Lentini each collected two hits in Tuesday’s victory. For Puckett, it was his team-leading 30th two-hit game of the year, while Lentini earned his eighth and Vega picked up his seventh. Puckett now has 38 multi-hit games in 2015, while Lentini has 15 and Vega has nine. Lentini also scored twice to pick up his seventh multi-run game.

Randy’s Dandy: Randy Ruiz picked up another hit on Tuesday night. Dating back to August 28, he has earned at least one hit in 12 of his last 14 games played. In that span, the former big leaguer is batting .396 (21-for-53) with three doubles, two home runs, nine RBI and seven runs scored. Ruiz also has seven multi-hit games in that span, five of which have come in his last eight games.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Four Ducks relievers combined to throw four and one-third innings of relief on Tuesday to secure the win. Nick Struck, J.C. Romero, Ryan Kussmaul and Amalio Diaz allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out six batters. Struck has now made 12 consecutive appearances without yielding a run, while Romero has pitched five straight scoreless outings and has surrendered just one run in his last 10 games (0.93 ERA).

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play. Fans can also follow a pitch-by-pitch account of the game via Pointstreak’s GameLive application by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#9   Mike Blanke – C
#11  Elmer Reyes – SS
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#17 Alex Marquez – C
#6   Carlos Hughes – 2B

#43 Joe Bircher – LHP

Revolution
#4   Eric Patterson – 2B
#21 Wilson Valdez – SS
#7   Andres Perez – DH
#33 Brandon Boggs – RF
#37 Bryan Pounds – 3B
#38 Telvin Nash – 1B
#6   Luis De La Cruz – C
#36 Nick Ferdinand – LF
#1   James Simmons – CF

#41 Rommie Lewis – LHP

We’ll have updates for you throughout the game as the Ducks and Revolution do battle for the final time during the 2015 regular season. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:44): We’re underway in York for the final time during the 2015 regular season!

UPDATE (7:21): BOT 2: Revolution have scored six runs, all with two outs, in the second to knock Joe Bircher out of the game.

UPDATE (7:35): TOP 3: Ducks answer with three runs on a two-run double by Delta Cleary, Jr. and a RBI triple by Elmer Reyes! Deficit is cut to 6-3.

UPDATE (7:50): BOT 3: York answers with three more two-out runs, two scoring on a throwing error, to take a 9-3 advantage.

UPDATE (8:28): BOT 5: The Revs add another two-out run on a Wilson Valdez single to right. 10-3 York after five.

UPDATE (8:55): END 7: Mariel Checo has worked back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, striking out five of the six hitters he has faced! Still a 10-3 game.

UPDATE (9:23): FINAL: The Revolution take the series finale 10-3 over the Ducks. The road trip continues on Thursday night against the Barnstormers.

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Posted on September 16, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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