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Bisons on road to face their nemesis

No choice. They have to go. The International League demands it.

Like it or not, the Buffalo Bisons will begin a three-game series Tuesday night against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who have won the last 12 times the teams have met, including the last four in the RailRiders’ home park in Moosic, Pa.

Not only that; the struggling Bisons will be facing the team with the best overall record in the I.L. (68-39) and the best home record (33-18). The defending Triple-A champion RailRiders just keep on winning despite a season of roster turnover caused by injuries and recalls by the parent New York Yankees. Also, they are coming off a three-game sweep of a road series against the Charlotte Knights. The RailRiders have caught and passed Lehigh Valley, which got off to a hot start, to take over first place in the North Division of the I.L.

Manager Bobby Meacham's Herd may be happy to get out of town. Buffalo has losing records in its last four home stands, including 2-5 in the one that ended Sunday with a 7-2 win over the Louisville Bats. The Bisons have a 6-21 overall record for the last four home stands.

On the other hand, the Bisons had their most successful road trip of the season when they won five of seven games two weeks ago on a trip to Columbus and Louisville.

Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer (3-7, 4.48) is the scheduled starter for the Bisons in Tuesday night's series opener against right-hander Chance Adams (6-3, 2.39). Chris Rowley (3-3, 2-49) , the most effective Buffalo starter of late, will get the call on Wednesday night against Bryan Mitchell (2-2, 3.42) . The series will conclude with a 12:05 p.m. game on Thursday  with lefty T.J. House (7-10, 4.45) of the Bisons opposing Brady Lail (5-4, 5.53).

Despite the record, some Bisons are hitting well. Jake Elmore went 7 for 13 in the Louisville series. Dwight Smith Jr. if 14 for 42 (.333) in his last 10 games. Mike Ohlman is 12 for his last 34 at bats  with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last 10 games.

Billy McKinney and Yankees third-base prospect Miguel Andujar are swinging hot bats for the RailRiders.

A side note to the series will be the Bisons' success or lack of it in stealing bases against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Eddy Rodriguez, who has thrown out 51 percent of those who have attempted to steal when he is behind the place. Buffalo leads the I.L. with 105 steals, including five in Sunday's win over Louisville. Roemon Fields of the Herd leads the league with 29 steals.

After Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Bisons will come home for three games against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field starting with a 7:05 game Friday night.


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