Binghamton’s professional baseball franchise is set to begin Eastern League postseason play for the first time since 2017 and 11th time overall when it hosts the Somerset Patriots, 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Mirabito Stadium for Game 1 of a three-game Northeast Division series.
Somerset, the New York Yankees’ Class AA affiliate, calls home TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J. Somerset closed with an 84-53 record, bettering by one win its 2022 record. Jasson Domínguez and Randy Vasquez led Somerset to a no-hit victory over Erie in the decisive Game 3 of the 2022 Eastern League Championship Series.
The Patriots have a plus-211 run differential, best in Minor League Baseball over the last two seasons.
Binghamton closed with a 74-61 record, nine games back of Somerset in the Northeast Division.
The Southwest Division series pits Richmond (Giants affiliate) against Erie (Tigers affiliate).
Northeast Division Series
Tuesday: Somerset at Binghamton, 6:35
Thursday: Binghamton at Somerset, 6:35
Friday: Binghamton at Somerset, 6:35 PM (if necessary)
Eastern League Championship Series
(If Binghamton advances)
Sunday: Southwest Division (Richmond or Erie) champion at Binghamton, 6:35
Sept. 26: Binghamton at Southwest Division champion, TBD
Sept. 27: Binghamton at Southwest Division champion, TBD (if necessary)
Binghamton vs. Somerset, 2023
Binghamton won eight games and lost 13 in its 2023 encounters with Somerset. Most recently, the teams split a six-game series, Aug. 8-13 at Bridgewater, N.J.
Reinforcements have helped Binghamton
** Luisangel Acuna (INF): Acquired via trade with Texas for RHP Max Scherzer and cash considerations on July 30, assigned to Binghamton on Aug. 1. No. 1 prospect in the Mets’ organization is batting .243 with 25 runs and 15 stolen bases in 37 games.
** Drew Gilbert (OF): Acquired via trade with Houston for RHP Justin Verlander and cash considerations on Aug. 1, assigned to Binghamton on Aug. 2. In 35 games, Gilbert is batting .325 with seven doubles, six home runs and 21 RBI.
** Jeremiah Jackson (INF): Acquired via trade with Los Angeles Angels for RHP Dominic Leone and cash considerations on Aug. 1, assigned to Binghamton on August 2. In Sunday’s season finale, Jackson turned in his second three-hit game and sixth multi-hit game with Binghamton.
** Rhylan Thomas (OF): Transferred from A+ Brooklyn to Binghamton on Aug. 26. Had his third multi-hit game in Sunday’s season finale. Batting a team-best .353 in his 16 games.
** Jett Williams (INF): Transferred from A+ Brooklyn to Binghamton on Sept. 12. In his first four games at the Double-A level, the Mets’ No. 3 prospect had five hits, four runs, an RBI and a walk. He went 2-for-4 with three runs, reaching base on a double, single, and hit by pitch in his Double-A debut Sept. 12. The 19-year-old had drawn 103 walks, tied for second-most in Minor League Baseball.
Pitching of note lately
** Joander Suarez: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 19 strikeouts/18 innings
In his Sept. 14 start, Suarez struck out a Double-A high nine batters over five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks. Over his first three starts at the Double-A level, he is 2-0 and has thrown 18 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts while allowing three hits and four walks. Opponents are hitting .055 against him in Double-A.
** Dom Hamel: 8-6, 3.85 ERA, 160 strikeouts/124 innings
In his most recent start, Sept. 15 against Reading, Hamel struck out eight batters over five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks. He ranks as the Mets’ No. 2 pitching prospect and No. 10 overall Mets prospect by MLB Pipeline. Hamel was named 2022 New York Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
** Jordan Geber (Signed a minor league contract with the Mets on Aug. 3): 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts/18 innings
In Sunday’s win against Reading, he pitched six scoreless innings with four strikeouts and allowed five hits without a walk. Geber has thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings over three appearances for Binghamton - six scoreless in each outing.
Odds & ends
** Binghamton played to a fourth-place 35-34 record in the season’s first half, then improved to a 39-27 second-half record, 1½ games back of Somerset.
The team is 40-29 at Mirabito Stadium, 34-32 away from home.
** Somerset led the Eastern League with 197 home runs, 26 better than second-best Erie. Binghamton was 10th with 120.
Somerset’s team ERA was a league-leading 3.56, with Binghamton fourth at 4.08.
** Since its most recent playoff appearance, Binghamton had experienced four successive losing seasons (231-292) including last year’s 53-83 showing.
** The franchise’s first playoff appearance was made in its inaugural season, when average attendance was 4,157 and the finale brought a 5-2 victory over the Canton-Akron Indians for the Eastern League championship behind the brilliant pitching of Bobby Jones.
Binghamton went on to win Eastern League championships in 1994 and 2014.
This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Eastern League playoff opener awaits Binghamton at home Tuesday