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Bob Matthews' Column

Regular Season Winding Down For Rochester Summer Sports Teams

 
Posted July 25th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

 

The regular seasons are winding down for Rochester’s four summer pro teams and they’ll all be home this weekend to continue their runs for playoff berths.

 

The Red Wings are 57-48 and entered Friday one game behind Pawtucket for the only wild-card berth in the 14-team International League’s four-team playoffs.

 

The main reason to like Rochester’s playoff chances is the pitching overall and the starting rotation in particular. The Wings continue to lead the IL with a 3.33 earned-run average, considerably better than No. 2 Pawtucket’s 3.50.

 

The hitting attack has been spotty lately. The Wings sure could use Chris Colabello and/or Oswaldo Arcia for the stretch run, but no one can blame Minnesota for keeping them in the majors. The Twins don’t have anyone better and they’ve earned their big-league paychecks and per diem.

 

The Wings, who’ve outscored their by a healthy 79 runs (465-386), will have to be sharp to make the playoffs. They have lots of games left against the IL’s three division leaders.

 

The Rattlers are the hottest team in Major League Lacrosse. They’re 8-3 with three games remaining in the regular season, including Saturday, 7 p.m., against the Charlotte Hounds at Sahlen’s Stadium. Many MLL observers are calling Rochester the team to beat.

 

The USL-PRO soccer Rhinos are fighting for a playoff spot. They’re 7-7-6 with 8 games remaining in the regular season, 5 at home and 3 away. They host tough Orlando City (14-0-3) Sunday, 4:05 p.m., at Sahlen’s Stadium.  Stingy defense makes the Rhinos competitive but scoring has been a challenge all season. They’ve allowed only 16 goals but scored only 18.

 

The Western New York Flash are 7-9-3 with 5 games remaining in the regular season. The top four teams make the playoffs and the Flash currently sit in sixth place, three points behind Chicago and Washington. The Flash host the Boston Breakers in close to a must-win game Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Sahlen’s Stadium.

 

Bob’s odds to make the playoffs: Rattlers 90 percent…Red Wings 45 percent…Rhinos 25 percent…Flash 25 percent.

 

BILLS COULD LEAD NFL IN RUSHING ATTEMPTS AGAIN – BUT IS THAT GOOD OR BAD?

 

The Bills led the NFL in rushing attempts last season with 546. Seattle was a distant second with 509, followed by San Francisco (505) and Philadelphia (500).

 

Unfortunately, the Bills ranked only 14th in yards per attempt (4.2).

 

Buffalo ran so often to help compensate for not throwing the ball particularly well.

 

Will the pattern continue this season? Quite possibly.

 

The big if – we all know – is if and how much second-year quarterback EJ Manuel’s passing improves.

 

The Bills have a talented group of receivers, including Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Mike Williams and Marquise Goodwin. But can Manuel consistently get the ball to them?

 

The more Manuel might sputter, the more likely the Bills will stick to the ground game. Not many teams  -- if any can match Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon.

 

Assuming left tackle Cordy Glenn is OK and the mammoth rookies come through, the offensive line should be good enough to help the Bills make the playoffs – with a balanced attack.

 

The Bills plan to play a quick-tempo offense. They should. But leading the NFL in carries once again probably would not be the ideal approach.

 

JETER TOPS YANKEES LIST FOR HITS, DOUBLES, STEALS AND…SURPRISE… STRIKEOUTS

 

Derek Jeter recently passed Lou Gehrig for the top spot on the Yankees career list for doubles (535 to 534).

 

Here’s where Jeter rates in other categories:

 

Runs – 1-Babe Ruth 1959…2-JETER 1910…3 Lou Gehrig 1888

 

Hits –-JETER 3413…2-Gehrig 2721…3-Ruth 2518

 

Triples – 1-Gehrig 163…2-JETER 66

 

Home runs – 1-Ruth 659…2-Mickey Mantle 536…3 Gehrig 534…9 JETER 258

 

RBIs – 1-Gehrig 1995…2-Ruth 1971…6-JETER 1288

 

Walks – 1-Ruth 1852…2-Mantle 1733…3-Gehrig 1508…4-JETER 1074

 

Strikeouts – 1-JETER 1809…2-Mantle 1710…3-Jorge Posada 1453…5-Ruth 1122…9 Gehrig 790

 

Stolen bases – 1-JETER 355…2-Rickey Henderson 326

 

Batting average – 1-Ruth .349…2-Gehrig .340…7-JETER .311

 

On-base percentage – 1-Ruth .484 (amazing)…2-Gehrig .447…17-JETER .379

 

Slugging percentage – 1-Ruth .711…2-Gehrig .632…37-JETER .442

 

OPS (on-base + slugging) – 1-Ruth 1.195…2-Gehrig 1.080…3-Joe DiMaggio .977…4-Mantle .971…37-Jeter .822.

 

SHORT SHOTS

 

The Buffalo Bills rank second in the NFL in under-25 talent. That’s opinion of Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, for ESPN Insider. His top five (in order): 1-St. Louis Rams…2-Buffalo…3-Minnesota Vikings…4-Indianapolis Colts…5-Cincinnati Bengals.

 

The Minnesota Twins rank No. 2 in Keith Law’s latest rankings of baseball’s farm systems, behind only – ready for this – the Chicago Cubs. The rest of the top five: Houston, New York Mets and Pittsburgh…Minnesota was No. 1 in Law’s rankings when this season began, but center fielder Byron Buxton has seen limited duty because of wrist problems and slugger Miguel Sano will miss the entire season after Tommy John elbow surgery.

 

The Rochester Rattlers (8-3 record) remain No. 1 in Finn Sullivan’s Major League Lacrosse Power Rankings through week 11. The rest of the rankings: 2-New York Lizards, 3-Denver Outlaws, 4-Ohio Machine, 5-Boston Cannons, 6-Charlotte Hounds, 7-Florida Launch, 8-Chesapeake Bayhawks…The Rattlers host Charlotte Saturday night at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Hounds are the only winless team on the road (0-5) this season. Rochester is 5-0 at home.

 

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren sent a letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo supporting Al Schneider’s crusade to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to New York State. That was nice of here. Years ago, I believe I let Al down by not wholeheartedly endorsing his plan to bring the Summer Olympics – or was it the Winter Olympics? -- to Avon.

 

A total of 56 baseball Hall of Famers, including the six new ones (Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Tony La Russa, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Joe Torre) are expected to attend induction weekend Saturday and Sunday in Cooperstown. Non-Hall of Famer Pete Rose was an early arrival, selling autographs 100 yards from the Hall of Fame.

 

Bob Barr, one of the new members of the Red Wings Hall of Fame, had a 28-24 record for the Rochester Broncos of the American Association. It was Rochester’s only season in major league baseball. The Broncos had a 63-63 record (40-22 at Culver Field and 23-41 on the road).

 

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