Bridgewater, New Jersey - From September 13-18, the greatest rivalry in sports will make its way to TD Bank Ballpark, as the Red Sox Double-A affiliated Portland Sea Dogs visit the Yankees Double-A affiliated Somerset Patriots.
In their first meeting in Somerset this season, the Patriots rolled by the Sea Dogs, winning five out of six games and outscoring Portland 33-9.
The Patriots and Sea Dogs have split each of their last two series against one another (both in Portland), with Somerset outscoring Portland 71-54 over the two splits.
The last time the two Northeast division rivals met was in Portland on July 17, the final day before the All-Star break, in one of Somerset's most entertaining and competitive games to date this season.
After Portland rocketed out to a 9-2 lead, Somerset stormed back from the seven-run deficit to take an 11-10 lead in the ninth inning on the heels of a grand slam by Chad Bell.
Portland would go on to win the game by a score of 12-11 in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning on an RBI-double hit by Kole Cottam off his former Kentucky college teammate Carson Coleman. The win salvaged a series split for the Sea Dogs.
Earlier in the week, former Portland Sea Dog--now Somerset Patriot, Jeisson Rosario hit for the first cycle in Somerset Patriots Double-A history.
It was the first cycle of Rosario's career and it came in the ballpark he called home in 2021.
After spending the first three seasons of his career in the Padres organization, Rosario was included in a trade to the Red Sox at the 2020 trade deadline. He spent all of the 2021 season (98 games) playing for Double-A Portland.
Rosario was claimed on waivers by the Yankees from the rival Red Sox in March of this year, at the end of Spring Training. In 100 Double-A games for Somerset, Rosario has shattered his previous career-high in home runs with nine this year, after never having hit more than three in his first four seasons.
Against his former team this season, Rosario has played in 14 games, going 17-for-49 (.347/.475/.653) with 11 RBIs, 10 R, 10 BB and 2 HR.
Somerset has homered 33 times in 18 games against Portland this season, including five home runs each by Elijah Dunham and Andres Chaparro.
Dunham leads the Patriots in hits vs. Portland in 13 games this season, having gone 18-for-54 (.333/.379/.648) with 10 RBIs and a team-best 10 R and 6 SB.
Chaparro enters this week coming off his most dominant series of the season. In five games vs. Hartford, Chaparro stockpiled an Eastern League leading 12 RBIs, while batting .474/.522/1.053.
The only player in the Eastern League with more hits than Chaparro last week was Portland's David Hamilton, who entered this season ranked as one of the Red Sox' top 30 prospects.
In six games vs. Binghamton during September 6-11, Hamilton went 11-for-23 (.478) with 4 SB, the last of which was his Eastern League leading 65th of the year, setting a Portland Sea Dogs franchise record.
The only player in the Eastern League with a higher batting average than Chaparro and Hamilton during the week was Portland's Izzy Wilson, who was aptly awarded Eastern League Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.
Ironically, the last time Wilson won Player of the Week for the Sea Dogs was during the week of July 4-10--also the week before the Sea Dogs last played the Patriots.
In that mid-July series vs. Somerset, Wilson had a 4-for-4, 5 RBI, 2 HR game in which he hit the second of his two home runs to give the Sea Dogs a walk-off 10-8 win on July 13.
Last week, in five games, Wilson led the Eastern League in BA (.563), SLG (1.188) and OPS (1.799). He had six runs batted in.
New York Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with the Somerset Patriots during this week's series vs. Portland.
Bader, who was acquired by the Yankees from the Cardinals at this year's trade deadline, made his organizational debut with the Patriots on Sunday in Hartford.
Batting second as the Patriots' DH, Bader went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a run batted in and stolen base.
In addition to the added attention of having a big leaguer rehab with the Patriots this week, the series will also have significant playoff implications.
With Somerset's walk-off win on the final day of the first half, the Patriots have already clinched home field advantage throughout the Eastern League Playoffs as the Northeast Division's First Half Champions.
As for the Northeast Division's second half playoffs representative, two teams remain in contention: Hartford, whom the Patriots just defeated in 5/6 games last week and Portland, who will visit Somerset in this final week of the regular season.
The visiting Sea Dogs currently lead the Northeast division in the second half with a record of 41-22. The Patriots sit three games behind them with a second half record of 37-24.
Should Portland win two games in Somerset, it would clinch the second half championship with the Eastern League's top second half winning percentage.
If the two teams were to split the series and end the second half tied, Portland would have a winning percentage .0112 greater than Somerset, due to the Patriots' two cancelled games.
The only route for Hartford to make the postseason would be by Somerset winning the second half, which would require the Patriots to win 5/6 games vs. Portland this week.
This would force a tiebreaker of the Northeast division's second-best overall record (behind Somerset) into effect. The Yard Goats currently hold an overall record of 73-58, which is 2.5 games ahead of Portland's overall record of 71-61.
Therefore, if the Patriots won 5/6 games this week to ensure losses in each game for the Sea Dogs, the Yard Goats would clinch the Eastern League's second-best overall record in the Northeast.
Whichever team wins the second half will host Somerset in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs on Tuesday, September 20. The playoff series will then be decided in Somerset, with the second playoff game taking place at TD Bank Ballpark on Thursday, September 22.
This week's final home stand of the regular season vs. Portland will begin on Tuesday, September 13 with the first pitch in game one scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET.
Fans can follow the action live as Steven Cusumano calls the play-by-play on FOX Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM | 1450 AM, the Flagship Station for Patriots Baseball, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:20 p.m. ET.
About the Somerset Patriots
The Somerset Patriots are the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate and develop today’s top minor league talent into the pinstriped superstars of tomorrow for MLB’s winningest team. The Patriots compete in the Double-A Eastern League and play their home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ, where fans of all ages and levels of baseball fandom get to enjoy the unique experience that is minor league baseball.