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NOTEBOOK: Herd moves to second in Northeast after big series win over Pigs

Herd’s offense gets contributions from all over the batting order
Kevin Smith was one of the many Bisons players who had clutch hits in the Herd's 5-1 series win over Lehigh Valley. (Megan Briggs)
July 20, 2021

The Bisons got the series win yet again this past week, beating the Lehigh Valley in five of the six games between the two teams. It was a big series for the Herd, who moved up in the Northeast Division standings as Scranton Wilkes-Barre beat Worcester in four of their

The Bisons got the series win yet again this past week, beating the Lehigh Valley in five of the six games between the two teams. It was a big series for the Herd, who moved up in the Northeast Division standings as Scranton Wilkes-Barre beat Worcester in four of their five games last week.

Now holding second place in the division, the Bisons sit just three and a half games behind the division leading RailRiders. The Woo Sox tough series dropped them three games behind the Herd, and now sit six and a half games behind Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

With their new position in the division standings, there would be no better time for the Buffalo to keep rolling. Winners in four of their last five series, the Herd have been on a roll ever since the middle of June.

The reason for their success is simple. The club can string hits together and no matter who is in their batting order, from top to bottom, there are nine guys that can contribute.

For example, in game one of the series, the Bisons trailed Lehigh Valley 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 7th. With just three at-bats left, it was evident that the Herd’s time was running out. A one out single from Cullen Large, who was batting 6th in the order, put the tying run on base for the club. With two outs, Logan Warmoth and Nash Knight hit back-to-back doubles, scoring two runs to take the lead for Buffalo. Warmoth and Knight were hitting 8th and 9th respectively.

A rally jolted by the bottom of the order gave the Bisons the win, taking game one of the series. The Herd took that momentum heading into game two and dominated the IronPigs, winning 9-2.

The next night, Buffalo found themselves in a similar situation to before. Tied with Lehigh Valley heading into the bottom of the 9th, the club needed to score some runs to win. Breyvic Valera, who bats first for the Bisons, led the inning off with a single. Kevin Smith followed him up with a double to left field, scoring Valera to win the game for the Herd.

Smith shined for the Bisons, hitting the walk-off double, but the club also saw contributions throughout the batting order yet again. Working a walk in the bottom of the 2nd, Warmoth became a baserunner for the Herd, who were looking to build on their early, 1-0 lead. Valera delivered for the club, hitting a double to right field and the speedy Warmoth scored from 1st base. Warmoth later earned another walk to lead off the bottom of the 4th and after stealing second base, Valera knocked him in yet again, hitting a single to left field.

Buffalo also saw contributions from Richard Urena, Riley Adams and Christian Colon, who manned the middle of the order for the club. With contributions coming from all over the batting order on a consistent basis, the Herd are surely a difficult team to beat.

The Bisons currently rank 5th in team OPS, on-base plus slugging, despite hitting the fifth least home runs in the league. Being in the top ten in both doubles and triples, along with the fourth least strikeouts in the Triple-East, is a dangerous combination for opposing teams to play against.

The Bisons will look to keep their momentum going as Syracuse travels into town. The first time the teams met this year, the series was split, with both teams winning three games apiece. The teams met again at the end of June, and the Herd took care of business this time, winning five of the six games in the series.

As the Bisons look to gain more ground in the division standings this week against Syracuse, they will need help from their friends down the road in Rochester as the Red Wings take on the division-leading RailRiders.

The series between the Bisons and Mets starts on Tuesday night in Trenton. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Buffalo’s starter on the mound is yet to be announced.