Patriots Running Out Of Time, Players and Records
Added by Philip Mathew on September 12, 2012.
For the Somerset Patriots, the possibility of missing the Atlantic League playoffs in consecutive years for the first time is highly likely. Somerset trails Freedom Division rival York by eight games with 12 to play. While Somerset will play York in a crucial four-game set starting this Friday, every game has meaning for the five-time Atlantic League Champions.
Tonight, the Patriots start a two-game series at home against Sugar Land, the team that Roger Clemens has been pitching for to some fanfare. While an appearance by Clemens is unlikely at TD Bank Ballpark either today or tomorrow, he has been known to change his mind in the past.
Sugar Land struggled in the first half, but has been solid in the second half, playing over .500 baseball with former Patriot great Josh Pressley leading the charge. The Skeeters have also benefited from the Clemens addition, using his publicity and improved team play to break the all-time attendance record for the Atlantic League.
With 22,886 fans attending their weekend series against first half Liberty Division champion Long Island, they broke the record previously held by Somerset at 22,200, set this past June 15-17.
Another record that stands to be broken is the all-time regular season wins record in the league. Lancaster sits at 83-45 overall, after dominating the first half in the Freedom Division and locking up a spot in the championship series. Somerset holds the record at 86 wins, set in their first championship season of 2001. Lancaster dominated Somerset in 2012, owning a 16-4 record over the Patriots.
Another issue for Somerset is the players leaving the organization late in the season. As reported by Ryan Dunleavy of MyCentralJersey.com, infielder Freddie Bynum and starting pitcher Justin Cassel have left the Patriots with 12 games remaining.
Bynum, who hit .327 in the first half, led the team in hits, runs and stolen bases, along with making the Atlantic League All-Star team, struggled in the second half, finishing at .276. The former major leaguer left the organization due to personal reasons.
Cassel, who was fifth in ERA in the league (3.38), sported a 6-9 overall record, due to a lack of run support and Cassel’s affinity to give up walks and hits (over a hit and inning). The brother of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel also left the organization for personal reasons.
For Somerset to extend their season into October, they will need to have their longest winning streak of the season – their current best was five games in late June/early July. We will find out starting tonight at 7:05 p.m. if the Patriots have the spark needed to make a miraculous comeback.