The Somerset Patriots finished the season on a high note Sunday as they knocked off the Portland Seadogs, 6-3. It was important for Somerset to win that game to build confidence and gain momentum going into their playoff matchup against the Portland team in Game One Tuesday in Portland. The Patriots put up historic numbers this season in the Eastern League. The fans showed major support for this team, and they will need that when the series comes to Somerset for Game Two on Thursday.
Younger players learned from the Yankees' veterans who made rehab appearances with the Patriots. They gained much knowledge regarding professionalism and how to prepare for the postseason. Manager Dan Fiorito had his team focused from the beginning of the season as they have been consistent throughout. Somerset stayed composed with players getting called up and traded, meanwhile incorporating new teammates into the team.
Randy Vasquez will be getting the ball in the opener against the Seadogs as he looks to continue to carry momentum over from the regular season into the playoffs. Vasquez loves to compete at a high level, has excellent stuff, and brings toughness to the mound. His keys are to locate pitches, get up in the count early, mix his pitches up and limit damage on the bases. If he does that, he will be fine, giving Somerset a chance to win Game One on the road.
The Somerset Patriots' offense must score early and often for Vasquez to take the crowd out of the game immediately. They must work the count, move runners on base and get big hits in crucial situations. Playoff baseball is about momentum swings, as anything can happen anytime. Game One on the road will be a good test for the Patriots.
The Portland Seadogs dominated Somerset during the regular season, but the playoffs are a different animal, with every play meaning more. Somerset knows this team, which makes the rivalry even bigger. They have to be on top of their game.