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Playoff push, Pillar called up and a pitchers duel on deck

Playoff push, Pillar called up and a pitchers duel on deck Kevin Pillar meets the media Tuesday afternoon in Toronto (Photo courtesy Travis MacKenzie -- Sportsnet 590 The FAN)


It's the last dance at Coca-Cola Field. Unless, of course, the Buffalo Bisons close out their first playoff spot since 2005. But before we start planning any playoff games, the Herd is facing its most crucial game of the season to date.

Win and the Herd is tied with Pawtucket for the International League wild card spot.

Lose and they fall two games back with the final seven games on the road.

It's been one of the best playoff pushes in history for the Bisons, which colleague Mike Harrington broke down earlier today.

That playoff push suffered some major implications Tuesday afternoon when the Toronto Blue Jays called up Kevin Pillar. The outfielder was named an International League All Star today along with reliever Bobby Korecky.

Still missing from the Bisons' lineup is infielder Ryan Goins, who took was hit by a pitch on his elbow in Sunday's game.

But to the good news: Pitching.

Scott Copeland returns to the Herd from Double-A New Hampshire and will pitch the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Copeland made two starts for the Herd and threw a combined 14 innings of shutout ball.

Tonight's starter is prospect Daniel Norris who has dazzled in his first three Triple-A starts. he is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in this starts. His last outing was a win on Thursday over the RailRiders where he gave up one hit (a solo home run) and struck out nine over five innings. In his first 16 2/3 innings at Triple A he has 32 strikeouts.

Pawtucket counters with Henry Owens, the top pitching prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization. Owens began the season in Double-A Portland, going 14-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 20 starts.With the PawSox he is 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA over four starts. His last outing was a no-decision against Lehigh Valley, when he gave up two runs on five hits in eight innings.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:
Dalton Pompey -- CF
Anthony Gose -- RF
Cole Gillespie -- DH
Matt Hague -- 3B
Brett Wallace -- 1B
Darin Mastroianni -- LF
Jonathan Diaz -- SS
Mike Nickeas -- C
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B

  • bugmenot2013

    Nice job, Tonto, calling up one of the team's stars right before the night of the last home game with a chance to tie for the wild card. Not that it would matter, since they'll probably put all the good Bisons on the Blue Jays after September 1 anyway, playoffs or no playoffs.

    And I thought this affiliation was all lollypops and poutine. Not like that horrible one with the team now in Las Vegas, which just clinched its second straight AAA playoff berth. But that's irrelevant, so I guess I can't say it.

  • Mike Harrington

    Pillar as noted in live blog above is starting tonight. Turns out Colby Rasmus has the flu. And yes, your Las Vegas point IS irrelevant. For the reasons I outlined in first note section of Sunday's Inside BB column.

About the reporters

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master's degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.