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Photo Credit: Chris McCormack


Playoff Bound Pats: Somerset Clinches Playoff Berth with Eastern Division Title

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Nick Fraze (2-0, 2.95 ERA)

The Somerset fans were in for a treat this series. Not only was it the first series of the Summer, but the Patriots were home for the second straight week! Coming to town were the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and Carlos Rodón took the mound to make his Yankees organizational debut. 

Carlos Rodon in his first rehab start of the season
(Photo Credit: Chris McCormack)
Photo Credit: Chris McCormack

In his first inning of work, Rodón issued a leadoff walk. While it did look like he was getting squeezed a bit, it was a nervous sign when the second batter singled off him—setting up runners at the corners with no one out. Rodón then settled down, inducing a 6-4-3 double play which allowed a run to score. This, however, clearly settled him down as he struck out the next batter to end the inning. The next two innings Carlos went on cruise control, finishing his rehab start going 3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 5 K. Rodón struck out four batters in a row spanning over the 2nd and 3rd innings. Rodón became the ninth major leaguer to appear in a game for Somerset on rehab assignment this season. 

As for the rest of the game Blane Abeyta came in relief of Rodón, making his 12th appearance for Somerset this season and first in relief. Striking out eight, Abeyta has now struck out 6+ in six of his 12 outings this season.  Abeyta finished the game going 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 8 K, putting in a quality performance. Unfortunately it was not enough, as the Patriots offense sputtered in this one. 

The lone bright spot on offense was Trey Sweeney hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the 9th to cut the score to 4-1. Sweeney (1-for-4, HR) has now homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. The Yankees No. 5 prospect has now homered in four of his last six games. Over his last 16 games since 6/2, Sweeney is hitting .310 with 5 HR, 12 RBI, and a .956 OPS. The Patriots dropped the opener 4-1 and looked to rebound Wednesday night. 

Game 2: Yoendrys Gomez (0-0, 0.84 ERA) vs Chad Dallas (2-0, 3.76 ERA)

Summer is here! Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, though, as a cool overcast night fell onto TD Bank Ballpark. Yoendrys Gomez continued to work his way back from injury, taking the mound in this one. In his first inning of work, he had trouble finding the strike zone and did allow a run to score on a sac fly by Will Robertson, allowing the Fisher Cats to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Gomez finished the night going 3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 3 K—his only hiccup being that first inning sac fly. The Patriots’ pitchers held the Fisher Cats to one hit, marking the lowest total allowed in a game this season. Edgar Barclay hurled three no-hit innings of relief, striking out a season-high five Fisher Cats. Barclay has yet to allow an earned run this season over 11.1 IP since being activated off the Injured List on 5/30. Barclay also extends his streak to 78.2 IP without allowing a home run, dating back to 9/15/21.

This game was more of the same from the Patriots offense, as they just could not get it going against New Hampshire starter Chad Dallas. Somerset mustered up only 2 hits the entire game with their lone run coming on a Mickey Gasper solo shot to tie the game at 1 in the 6th.

Somerset has now homered in each of their last 20 games and in each game in the month of June. The Patriots lead the Eastern League with 93 HR this season. New Hampshire however quickly took back the lead in the top of the 7th on yet another sac fly by Orelvis Martinez. That turned out to be the deciding run as the Patriots dropped their second game in a row, losing 2-1. 

Game 3: Richard Fitts (3-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Jimmy Robbins (3-5, 5.68 ERA)

The Patriots came into Thursday’s game as losers of two straight with little to no offense. They, however, still maintained a 1.5 game lead over Portland for first place in the Eastern League Northeast Division. Portland had also lost 2 straight, so the Bombers’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot was down to just 3 with 4 games left. 

This game was nothing short of dramatic! Richard Fitts was on the bump and turned in yet another quality start. Fitts wound up going 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K. It was his 6th straight quality start and his 7th on the year, which leads the Eastern League. Despite the solid pitching, Somerset found themselves down 1-0 going into the bottom of the 6th. Delvin Perez finally got the Pats on the board, hitting a solo shot over the center field wall and tying the game at 1. 

The score remained tied at 1, and we once again had free baseball in Bridgewater! New Hampshire plated a pair of runs in the top of the 11th and Somerset needed a rally in their bones if they wanted to cut into that magic number. Up stepped Trey Sweeney and, with a ghost runner on second base, he drilled a game-tying two-run homer for his 9th HR of the season.

With the homer, Sweeney has now gone deep in four of his last five games and five times in his last eight games. In 18 G since 6/2, Sweeney is hitting .295 with 6 HR, 14 RBI, and a .958 OPS. The Yankees No. 5 prospect has reached base in 17 of his last 18 games.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the 14th inning and, with 2 outs and the bases loaded, we saw one of the more improbable endings you can see in baseball. Trey Sweeney was looking to walk it off and New Hampshire pitcher Adrian Hernandez was called for a balk! A runner scored and we had our first “balk off,” propelling Somerset to a 4-3 win and with a Portland loss, cutting their magic number to 1 to make the playoffs. 

Game 4: Matt Sauer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Luis Quinones (3-0, 3.24 ERA) 

Clayton Beeter was originally supposed to be the starter in this one, but earlier in the day he was promoted to Triple-A. Matt Sauer got his first nod of the year instead and pitched well going 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 5 K. He immediately got help from his offense in the bottom of the 1st as Trey Sweeney went yard once again putting the Pats on top 1-0.  Once the Patriots took the lead they didn’t look back! It was an absolute slugfest for Somerset and the floodgates were opened. Everson Pereira (2-for-2, HR, 3 RBI) launched a two-run blast in the 1st inning in his return to the lineup for the first time since 5/30, before plating two more runs with a single in the 3rd. Among players with 140+ at-bats, Pereira leads the team in BA (.295), and OPS (.903). Friday marked Pereira’s sixth multi-RBI performance and 11th multi-hit performance on the season.

T.J. Rumfield (1-for-4, HR) extended the Patriots’ lead to 6-1 with a solo homer in the 3rd inning for his 13th of the year. Rumfield has now homered a team-leading seven times in the month of June, all coming over his last 13 games. Over that span, Rumfield is slugging .625 with a .916 OPS. After Rumfield’s blast, both Austin Wells and Tyler Hardman capped off the scoring with long balls of their own! 

The Patriots locked down the game and the division, topping New Hampshire 12-1 and clinched a playoff spot and first-half championship in the Eastern League’s Northeast Division. The Pats are now first-half champions for back-to-back seasons as they look to defend their 2022 Eastern League Championship.

Game 5: Chase Hampton (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs Adam Kloffenstein (4-3, 3.02 ERA)

Chase Hampton made his second start since being called up from High-A Hudson Valley and tossed another great game in this one. Hampton went 5.2 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 5 K and took the no-decision.  In 58.2 IP between High-A Hudson Valley and Somerset this season, Hampton leads the Yankees organization in K (90), WHIP (0.97), and opponent batting average (.181), while ranking second with a 2.61 ERA. Hampton has allowed two or less runs in 10 of his 11 starts this season between the two levels. Hampton has struck out 5+ in each of his 11 starts this season, ranking 5th in all of MiLB with a 14.43 K/9.

After Hampton left the game, the Patriots bullpen trio of Ian Hamilton, Blas Castano and Alex Mauricio combined for 3.1 perfect IP of relief with 3 K. Over the first five games of the Patriots series with New Hampshire, the Somerset bullpen has posted a combined 1.65 ERA over 27.1 IP with 38 K. 

As for the offense, while down 1-0 in the bottom of the 6th, Austin Wells ripped a game tying double and just like that, the game was tied at 1!

Jeisson Rosario (2-for-4, RBI) brought home the go-ahead run with a bunt single in the 7th, before extending the Patriots lead to 3-1 with an RBI single in the 8th inning. The two-hit performance marked Rosario’s eighth multi-hit game of the season.

Somerset held on to win the game 3-1 and go into Sunday looking to win the series.

Game 6: Carlos Rodón (0-1, 1.29 ERA) vs Sem Robberse  (0-5, 4.69 ERA)


Carlos Rodón and Austin Wells
Photo Credit: Chris McCormack


Carlos Rodón took the mound for his second rehab start on his road back to the Bronx. For the second straight start, Rodón pitched well. He went 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 K tossing 48 pitches and it marked the longest outing this year. 

As far as the rest of the game went, a high scoring affair was on hand once Carlos left the game. For Somerset, Trey Sweeney (3-for-5, 2 RBI, R) put Somerset in front 7-5 with a two-run triple in the 6th inning. Sweeney ended the ballgame a home run short of the cycle, tripling for the first time this season.

Sweeney has now reached base in 21 of his last 22 games for Somerset. The Yankees No. 5 prospect concludes the six-game series with 6 RBI, 5 R and five of his six hits having gone for extra bases. Over 21 games since 6/2, Sweeney is now 27-for-90 (.300) with 17 RBI and 14 R. Sweeney leads the team with four three-hit games and 14 multi-hit games this season.

RF Jeisson Rosario (2-for-4, R) put together a two-hit performance for the second straight game and ninth time this season. Rosario registered his team leading fourth outfield assist of the season, gunning down Damiano Palmegiani out at home plate in the 7th inning to keep Somerset ahead.

With the score tied at 7 in the top of the 8th, New Hampshire was able  take the lead and eventually seal the win as they topped Somerset 8-7. The series may have been split but it ultimately was a great series that saw Carlos Rodón pitch well and stay healthy and the Somerset Patriots clinch a 2023 playoff spot! 


On a personal note my wife Megan and myself welcomed our beautiful baby girl Madeleine to the world on Saturday! So happy to be a new parent and can’t wait to see her grow! 



Written By

Father, Husband, Baseball Writer

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