from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball, at www.gsohoppers.com:
Hoppers play 12 of last 15 on the road
The Hoppers lost a home game to rain Sunday but it will be made up — just not at NewBridge Bank Park.
Greensboro closes the SAL regular season at Lakewood Aug. 31-Sept. 3. The BlueClaws will get the extra home game as part of a double-header on one of those four days. As of Monday morning, Hoppers president Donald Moore had not heard which day it will be.
There are 15 games remaining in the regular season and the Hoppers will play 12 of them on the road. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the home field edge they enjoyed for so long seems to have disappeared. After winning 20 of their first 22 at home and going 26-8 here in the first half, the Hoppers are 15-16 in the second half compared to 12-12 in road games.
The makeup game could be important to Lakewood, which is still in the race to win the second half in the Northern Division. But Hagerstown has taken control of the standings for the time being. The Suns lead Hickory and West Virginia by 1 1/2 games, Lakewood by four and the Hoppers by five.
So by the time the final series rolls around, the makeup game could be meaningless for both the BlueClaws and Hoppers. The problem for Greensboro is it will have to play five games in four days right before the playoffs and that will chew up a pitching staff in a hurry.
At least there’s a day off at the end of the regular season before the playoffs begin Sept. 5. The Hoppers, who qualified for the playoffs by winning the Northern Division’s first half, will open the best-of-three first round on the road against whoever wins the second half. After a day off they will play at home on Friday, Sept. 7, and at home again, if necessary, on Sept. 8.
If they win that series, they will advance to the best-of-five championship round against the Southern Division playoff winner. Asheville won the first half and Rome is leading the second half by four games. Should they get that far, the Hoppers would open the series with two games on the road on Sept. 10 and 11. After a travel day, they would host the final three games on Sept. 13, 14 and 15.
The Hoppers begin a seven-game road trip tonight at Lexington. After three games there, they will move on to Augusta for a four-game series. If everyone is pushed back a day in the rotation, Jake Esch — Sunday’s scheduled starter — will pitch tonight followed by Jose Urena Tuesday, Josh Hodges Wednesday, Austin Brice Thursday, Andrew Heaney Friday and back to Esch Saturday.
Of interest from the hitters’ side is Ryan Goetz, who went 4-for-5 Friday and 5-for-5 Saturday. He has hits in six consecutive at-bats.