Built for a Playoff Run

Playoffs?!? Playoffs?!?

When coupled with Akron’s 8-1 defeat of Bowie, last night’s 5-3 Senators’ victory over the Portland Sea Dogs pushed Harrisburg 1.5 games up over the Baysox in the battle for second place in the Eastern League’s Western Division with 13 games remaining. Since finishing the first half of the season three games under .500, the Senators have rebounded with a torrid 35-23 second-half record to put themselves in position to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Let’s look at Harrisburg and Bowie’s remaining schedules:

  Games Left W-L Last 10 Last 20 Season Series
Harrisburg   69-60 6-4 14-6  
Trenton 4 77-53 6-4 12-8 1-6
@ New Hampshire 4 74-55 6-4 9-11 1-5
@ Binghamton 5 62-66 5-5 9-11 4-1
  Games Left W-L Last 10 Last 20 Season Series
Bowie   68-62 4-6 8-12  
@ New Britain 4 39-91 5-5 7-13 3-1
Altoona 4 76-53 7-3 13-7 2-1
@ Richmond 4 62-66 4-6 10-10 12-13

Harrisburg has arguably been the Eastern League’s hottest team in both the second half and over last 20 games, but two of their remaining three series are against the Eastern Division’s two playoff teams (Trenton and New Hampshire). If you look at their history this season, the Senators have also had little success against those two clubs. However, at this time of the season you can throw those results out the door as a predictor of these upcoming games. The Senators are a different team now than they were for most of the year. Recent call-ups like Stephen Lombardozzi (left), Michael Burgess, and Devin Ivany have given this team a shot in the arm and made the lineup formidable from top to bottom. Since arriving from the Rangers’ organization in the Cristian Guzman trade, Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko are both sporting sub-3.00 ERAs and have solidified the pitching rotation. The Senators of April and May are a distant memory as this team is now built for a playoff run with strong starting pitching, an explosive offense, and a reliable bullpen.

If the Senators take care of business down the stretch and qualify for the playoffs, they will host Games 3 & 4 (if necessary) of the Division Series on Friday, September 10th and Saturday, September 11th at Metro Bank Park. Playoff tickets can now be purchased in person at the Senators box office or by calling the box office at 231-4444 option 2 or online at www.senatorsbaseball.com.

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Nats Re-up for at Least Two More Years in Harrisburg

On Monday, Senators’ fans and staff received great news as the Nationals extended their player development contract with Harrisburg through the 2012 season. Regardless of widespread speculation that the Nationals were interested in moving their Double-A operations to Richmond after this year, they chose to renew ties with the minor league ballclub that’s been affiliated with the Montreal/Washington franchise for the last 20 years.

The renovations at Metro Bank Park factored into their judgment as Nationals’ director of player development Doug Harris stated, “It was very, very significant in our decision. You want your players to be in a quality setting as they are developing and Kevin (Kulp) and his staff have provided that.”

In the official press release, Nats’ team president Stan Kasten expanded, “We are delighted to once again continue our relationship with the Harrisburg Senators. Harrisburg, Metro Bank Park, the Senators and their fans have served as wonderful hosts for our players through the years. We look forward to introducing them to our next wave of exciting talent and continuing our longest-running minor-league affiliation.”

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Banking on a Record

With only four home games remaining, Harrisburg sits on the precipice of setting their single-season attendance record. After Wednesday night’s game, Metro Bank Park has packed in a total of 268,821 spectators and only need a little over 10,000 more to set the mark. Mark my words – – the record will be broken on Saturday night…and the Senators are celebrating the occasion by giving away a prize pack to the lucky fan.

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