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A rarity in recent years: Bisons open big series in August tonight

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons have been below .500 since May 1 and have been living off their franchise-record 17-7 April, but it still means year one of the Toronto Blue Jays era has brought something the New York Mets couldn't deliver: Playoff contention in August.

The Herd opens a four-game series tonight at 7 against the Pawtucket Red Sox in Coca-Cola Field and it's probably the biggest one here since the 2007 team went to the second-last day of the season in the wild-card chase. 

The Bisons are third in the wild-card standings, just 1 1/2 games behind Pawtucket and a half-game behind Norfolk. While Durham and Indianapolis have pretty well locked up the South and West Divisions, respectively, the big story for weeks in the IL standings has been resurgent Rochester. The Red Wings started the season just 2-11 and were still 20-30 in late May.

They've gone 42-23 since -- including a 20-8 mark in July -- that has them in a two-game lead in the North Division. But their staying power is a question mark with the callups of stalwarts Chris Colabello and Oswaldo Arcia to Minnesota.

The Bisons, meanwhile, had plenty to think about on their five-hour bus ride home overnight after coming within one strike of getting no-hit by four pitchers last night in Columbus. Anthony Gose's two-out single was the only plus in an 8-0 loss to the Clippers. It would have been just the second four-man no-no in the IL's 130 seasons, joining one by Rochester against Lehigh Valley in 2011. The Bisons have not been no-hit since the perfect game by Pawtucket's Bronson Arroyo in 2003.

Tonight's game is Celery Bobblehead Night and standard rules apply: Swan Street gate only and one per person to the first 3,000 fans. Does Celery win tonight's wing race in honor of the doll? Don't bet on it.

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Bisons/Blue Jays
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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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