After crawling through practically the second half of the season, the Aeros have really made this last week of the regular season more than interesting. Since embarking on the final regular-season and five-game road trip in Binghamton, the team has won the first four games and presently own a six-game winning streak.
In winning the last two games of a four-game set at home last week versus Bowie (which was hot on the Aeros heels in a battle for the wild card spot in the division), the Aeros cliniched the division runner-up spot and appeared all but willing to hand Erie the Southern Division title with the SeaWolves owning a four-game lead with a week to go.
Asked if he would do anything particular in Binghamton with the rotation, Aeros manager Tim Bogar said no, he'd just focus on getting the rotation set up for the playoffs.
But suddenly, the Aeros have caught fire.
Now, they are just a half game back of Erie heading into the final game of the regular season Monday afternoon. A final day, I might add, that has the Aeros finishing up with a 1 p.m. game against the B-Mets while struggling Erie is facing a double header with visiting Altoona - marking the team's third double header in the last five days!
In the previous two twin bills, the SeaWolves were swept - both times by Altoona. How ironic that the Aeros main rival in the Curve would be helping them in this quest to successfully defend their Southern Division title?
And now the race comes down to this:
Although both Akron and Erie each have one game remaining (due to rain outs that were not made up earlier this season), league officials have decided neither will be made up for the sake of travel and timing.
Instead, if the teams end up tied for first place, both would be crowned division champs and a tie-breaker would come into play. With Erie having edged Akron 15-13 head-to-head this season, the SeaWolves win the tie breaker.
All that being said, here's the importance of Monday's games:
Akron needs to win and have Erie lose both of its games to win the division title and host the first round of the playoffs that begin Wednesday.
If Erie splits its double header and Akron wins, both teams end up tied and earn a share of the division title, but Erie still gets to host the first round of the playoffs.
If Akron loses, they lose out on a share of the division title and will head straight to Erie from Binghamton tonight.