Tuesday night the Staten Island Yankees will travel up to Massachusetts to take on the Lowell Spinners in the opening game of the NY-Penn League playoffs. The Baby Bombers ended the 2009 regular season with the best pitching staff and tied for the best hitting in the league and even with their biggest bat out with an injury finish the season going 14-2 in their last 16 games. This season the Spinners and Yankees split their season series 3 games a piece with the Yankees holding a higher batting average and lower ERA against Lowell then Lowell had against the Yankees.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 – Staten Island – Adam Warren (RHP) vs. Jose Alvarez (LHP) – Lowell
It will be a battle of the aces in the opening game of the 2009 NY-Penn League playoffs as Yankees starter Adam Warren will face off with Lowell starter Jose Alvarez. Alvarez has been one of best pitchers in the league with an 8-3 record and a 1.52 ERA for the Spinners after going 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA for the Salem Red Sox.
Warren has been the top starter for the Baby Bombers since joining the team; the young right-hander is 4-2 with a 1.43 ERA this season. Adam is a polished college pitcher with excellent control and command of his off speed stuff, he has topped out at 96MPH with his fastball while sitting in the low-90s most of the time. It looks to be an excellent pitcher’s duel for the opening game.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 – Lowell – Alex Wilson (RHP) vs. Sean Black (RHP) – Staten Island
On Wednesday night the Spinners and Yankees will travel to New York City to face off in the second game of the series. Expecting to start for the Baby Bombers is the right-hander out of Seton Hall, Sean Black. Black has been pitching well for the Baby Bombers, sporting an undefeated 6-0 record with a 1.62 ERA. Black has also sat in the low 90s with his fastball and has shown good control of his curveball this season.
Opposing him could be rehabbing Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The 6 foot 185 pound right-hander acquired from Japan has had mixed results in several stops in the minors on his rehab progress. Overall he owns a 0-2 record with a combined 3.86 ERA in three minor league levels. At the major league level he sports a 1-5 with a 8.23 ERA. If Matsuzaka does not start for Lowell it will likely be right-hander Alex Wilson who would be limited to a 3 inning outing. Wilson is 0-1 in 13 games this season with a 0.50 ERA and has not gone more than 3 innings at all this season.
Thursday, September 10, 2009 (if necessary) – Lowell – Yeiper Castillo (RHP) vs. Caleb Cotham (RHP) – Staten Island
If necessary the third and final game of the series will be on September 10 in Staten Island. If the series goes the full three games it will likely be Yeiper Castillo vs. Caleb Cotham battling it out by the bay. Cotham is a recent addition to the Baby Bomber rotation joining the team after making his debut in the Gulf Coast League and dominating the Cape Cod League this summer. The young right-hander was drafted in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt and currently has a 0-1 record with a 4.50 ERA with Staten Island. Cotham has a low 90s fastball that can reach into the mid 90s at times with a slider and low 80s changeup.
Castillo is 6-1 this season with a 2.92 ERA in 15 games for the Spinners. In one game against the Staten Island Yankees the Baby Bombers touched him for 3 runs in 5 innings getting 6 hits and a walk off the righty.
The Baby Bombers bats this year have had some serious power, leading the league with 52 homeruns. Four of the top 10 homerun hitters of the league are on the roster of the Staten Island Yankees including Neil Medchill, Luke Murton, DeAngelo Mack and Zoilo Almonte. Medchill has been out for the past week with a wrist injury and it is not known yet if he will be available for the first round of the NY-Penn League Playoffs. The slugging left-fielder will see a hand specialist at Yankee Stadium on Monday to determine if he can play.
In his absence Luke Murton, DeAngelo Mack and Justin Milo have been picking up the team. Milo who is also a left fielder spent most of his time on the bench this year because of Medchill’s success but with regular playing time the product of the University of Vermont has hit .252 for the Baby Bombers with 22 walks, good for fifth on the team. Murton has turned it on in the second half of the season bringing his batting average up to .295 this season with 17 doubles and 8 homeruns.
DeAngelo Mack and Jimmy Paredes are the lone two Yankees with an above .300 average hitting .306 and .302 respectively. Mack is tied for third on the team in homeruns with 7 while Paredes leads the team with 23 stolen bases. Paredes has not play much in the final week of the season due to a minor leg injury but is expected to be ready for the playoffs. Zoilo Almonte and Kyle Higashioka are also expected to provide some offense for the Baby Bombers in the playoffs. Both have been solid all season.
The Spinners have several good players the Yankees have to look out for. Alex Hassan, Wilfred Pichardo, and Kenneth Roque are all hitting above .300 this season while Ryan Westmoreland and Derek Gibson are hitting in the .290s. Lowell lead the NY-Penn League in doubles this season hitting a combined 150 doubles.