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Patriots Notebook 6/11/24: Heading To The Bing

June 11, 2024

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Patriots (28-29) will hit the road and leave the comfort of home after a strong finish to a season-long 12 game homestand. Somerset is riding a season-high three-game winning streak as they head to Binghamton (28-27) after going 6-6 against Bowie and Hartford at TD

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Patriots (28-29) will hit the road and leave the comfort of home after a strong finish to a season-long 12 game homestand. Somerset is riding a season-high three-game winning streak as they head to Binghamton (28-27) after going 6-6 against Bowie and Hartford at TD Bank Ballpark over the last two weeks. Despite being a game under the .500 mark, the Patriots remain just three games behind first-place Portland for the division lead while the Rumble Ponies are a game ahead of that pace and trail the Sea Dogs by just two heading into this pivotal series with two weeks remaining in the first half of the season.

This installment of the Double-A Subway Series always has a little extra juice as both inner-city rivals showcase their premiere prospects of tomorrow. Since moving into affiliated ball in 2021, Somerset is 21-17 all-time against Binghamton as they get set for their first of three meetings this season.

Cole World: It was a banner week for fans in Somerset over the last two weeks, and no story proved bigger than Yankees ace Gerrit Cole making two rehab starts last week. The reigning American League Cy Young award winner helped draw 15,645 fans through the turnstiles. Between his two starts, Cole tossed 102 pitches (78 strikes) – he allowed just one run on four hits while striking out nine batters in his first live action since an early spring training start against Toronto back on March 1. The right-hander has been sidelined for the better part of three months with nerve inflammation in his right elbow.

“I want to feel confident that if you’re in some sort of jam that we have to run 25 or 30 pitches out, that we are still in a good spot to keep going after that,” said Cole. “I think that the way everything has been going up there, the team is playing so well, I just want to make sure I come in and have a plan out there and feel like I am in a good position to play well.”

You can catch a full report on Cole’s Patriots rehab stint here.

Rice Says Adios: Moments after serving as the battery mate with Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night, Patriots catcher Ben Rice exited a group media session to head to manager Raul Dominguez office. The news was expected but no less exciting for the Yankees 12th ranked prospect after being promoted to Triple-A Scranton for the first time.

In 49 games for the Patriots this season the Dartmouth-product blasted 12 homers and drove home 26 runs while slashing .261/.382/.511. He hasn’t slowed down, either. In five games since the bump up for the RailRiders, Rice is hitting .444 and has already clubbed three homers and driven in nine runs.

The Yankees promoted Rice to Double-A on July 19 last summer – his 26 homers, 74 RBI, 76 runs, 51 extra-base hits and 219 total bases are the most in all of Double-A over that time.

We Seig You: After going deep in Sunday’s series finale against Hartford, infielder Anthony Seigler has now homered in two consecutive games. The 2018 first-round draft selection has been on a torrid power stretch of late, blasting six homers during the Patriots homestand after hitting five all of last season.

Jones Awakening: After a rough stretch at the plate in May, Yankees top-prospect Spencer Jones certainly seems to have awoken offensively since the calendar turned to June. The 2022 first-round pick has blasted three homers and driven home 12 while hitting .265 in eight games this month after posting a .170 mark in May.

Stevens Streaking: Reliever Kevin Stevens gave up six earned runs over his first five appearances back in April. It was certainly a month to forget for the right-hander, and that is exactly what has happened. The 26-year-old Stevens has since tossed 12 consecutive scoreless frames dating back to April 29 – he has allowed just seven hits and has fanned 18 over that stretch.

Ready to Rumble: Mets fourth-ranked prospect Ryan Clifford will get his first taste of the Somerset-Binghamton rivalry this week after a recent promotion from High-A Brooklyn. The slugging first baseman, who was acquired as part of the package from Houston last summer in the Justin Verlander deal, has already blasted five homers and driven home 12 runs in 22 games despite hitting just .169 in his first taste of the minor leagues upper levels.

Right-hander Brandon Sproat has been one of the best pitchers in all of minor league baseball in 2024 and the Mets second-round draft selection last summer out of Florida has shown no signs of a learning curve since being promoted to Binghamton a little under a month ago. In his first season in pro-ball, Sproat is 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA over 10 starts – he has fanned 63 batters in 51.1 innings of work and opposition is hitting just .152 against him. In four starts since reaching Double-A, the right-hander has posted a 1.38 ERA and punched out 30 batters in 26 innings.

Probable Pitching Matchup For The Series:

Tue: RHP Bailey Dees (2-3, 3.75 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Moreno (1-1, 5.08 ERA)

Wed: RHP Trystan Vrieling (5-4, 4.88 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Stuart (1-4, 4.32 ERA)

Thu: LHP Brock Selvidge (5-4, 3.07 ERA) vs. RHP Joander Suarez (3-3, 4.12 ERA)

Fri: RHP Blane Abeyta (3-5, 6.14 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Sproat (1-0, 1.38 ERA)

Sat: RHP Zach Messinger (2-3, 3.50 ERA) vs. RHP Nolan McLean (0-3, 5.94 ERA)

Sun: RHP Bailey Dees (2-3, 3.75 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Jarvis (3-2, 4.37 ERA)

Matt Kardos | Senior Writer

Matt Kardos has covered the Yankees minor league system for over a decade and will spend his 12th season on the beat covering the Patriots for Throughout his career, Matt has contributed to, YES Network and Pinstriped Prospects. When he’s not at the ballpark, Matt enjoys traveling with his wife Kimberly, watching Jets football and collecting sports cards.