For the fourth time in six seasons, the River City Rascals are headed to the Frontier League playoffs. This is no easy feat as a playoff team has to be one of the four best teams in a 14-team league.
Thursday night at home versus the Washington Wild Things, the Rascals clinched playoff birth during two nail-biter doubleheader games. A sweep of the Wild Things put River City at a Frontier League best record of 56-34 on the season tied with the streaking Schaumburg Boomers. The Boomers have won their last eight games to also clinch a playoff birth which means only two playoff slots are up for grabs.
A look back at the sweep of the Wild Things, once again the River City bats took the spotlight plating 27 runs over the three games. However, the pitching did stagger slightly allowing 18 runs in the series. AS previously written, the pitching may need to come together if the Rascals wish to move past the first round of the playoffs.
At this point in the season with two series remaining, the Rascals are playing for home field advantage, which is a hot commodity come playoff time. At home the Rascals are putting up monster numbers at the dish as you may be able to tell just from the past three games.
In 47 home games this season, River City is averaging over 7.5 per game. Hence why home-field advantage is something the Rascals should shoot for in their remaining six games. In the last piece I said pitching wins you championships. I stand by that and will forever, but if the Rascals can clinch home field advantage in the playoffs, there is no reason to think River City wont win it all.
This wont be a playoff preview as six games still have yet to be played in the regular season, so let’s look at what the Rascals must do in order to finish off strong.
Tonight at T.R. Hughes Ballpark, the Lake Erie Crushers roll into town a week removed from taking two at home against River City. On the mound for the Rascals is right-hander Bryce Shafer. In Shafer’s last outing, which was against the Crushers, he only went one inning and faced 10 batters surrendering four runs.
Even though Shafer had that bad outing, his last two home starts have been magnificent tossing five innings in both and striking out 12 totals batters. Maybe home field advantage in the postseason will work out well for the River City pitching too.
After this three game home series against Lake Erie, River City travels east to take on the Florence Freedom who have been eliminated from the playoffs for several games now. That being said, the season series between the two is knotted at 3-3.
As the Rascals celebrated last night with champagne clinching their fourth playoff appearance in six years, they now have the opportunity to achieve more greatness. If they win four of these six games, it will be the second time the organization has had a 60-win season in their 19-year history.