Congratulations to the Trenton Thunder; after sweeping the Binghamton Mets in the ELDS, they continued their hot streak against Harrisburg by sweeping them too, completing their championship season last night. Below is the final out and ensuing celebration once being crowned as Eastern League champions:
For most of the summer, a vast majority of Binghamton fans thought they would be watching their beloved B-Mets piling on one another at the pitcher’s mound to celebrate a championship. Despite an 86-55 season under the watchful eye of manager Pedro Lopez, they weren’t able to bring home the trophy to NYSEG Park this season.
Often times, it’s said that teams with the best record aren’t necessarily the most dangerous when it comes time to the postseason — the hottest team is. I think this was a classic case of the B-Mets running into the wrong team at the wrong time. The Thunder ended up going 6-0 in EL postseason competition, the first team to accomplish that since 1991, when the Albany/Colonie Yankees did it.
Binghamton went 5-5 in their last ten regular season games, while the Thunder went 6-4. Not much of a difference, but the timing of their victories could have been what did the trick for Trenton.
The B-Mets clinched a playoff berth and division title before anyone else did in August, so they had the luxury of giving some players a breather, and not playing games that were “important” (and I use that term very loosely). The last time Binghamton won more than two games in a row prior to the end of the season was from August 14th to 17th, when they won four straight. They went 7-7 in their final 14 regular season games, which also included two bad losses to Bowie (11-0 on 8/26 and 13-1 on 8/29).
I’m not saying I wasn’t confident in the B-Mets heading into their playoff match-up with Trenton; I was fully anticipating them to steamroll over the Thunder on their way to a championship.
Meanwhile, the Thunder ended their regular season on a three-game winning streak — their longest since they were victorious in six straight from August 8th to the 14th. Between those two win streaks, they were 6-10. They got on a roll by taking three games in two days from the Portland Sea Dogs before their final regular season game was cancelled due to weather, giving them an extra day of rest before the B-Mets came to town.
The B-Mets were the best all-around team this season, and crushed their opponents on almost a nightly basis throughout the summer. However, maybe clinching a playoff spot earlier than everyone else worked against them this season? I’m not saying a team should try postpone clinching a postseason berth — far from it. It could have been one of the reasons why Binghamton couldn’t get themselves over the hump in three close postseason games, but the Thunder were able to.