Ups & Downs: Squirrels Squeak Into Playoffs

Wes Hodges hit a clutch homer (Getty Images)

It was a huge week for Richmond as they managed to claw their way into the playoffs. The Squirrels finished the final 8 games of the regular season with a 5-3 record. The team is primed to take on the Harrisburg Senators for a best-of-five series in the first leg of the Eastern League championship. But they'll be doing so without a few key players. We look at who's hot, who's not and who's gone.

First of all, we have to scratch a few more names off the list this week.

Starting pitcher Clayton Tanner was DFA'd last week, and instead of returning to the Giants, he went over to the Cincinnati Reds, where he was placed on the AAA squad.

Outfielder Darren Ford was called up to San Francisco, and he will likely remain with the big club for the remainder of the season.

Finally, I received confirmation that slugging outfielder Roger Kieschnick has been shut down for the remainder of the season with back spasms.

FLYING HIGH

Wes Hodges (1B) -- So what if he only hit .182 last week. He hit the most clutch home run for the Squirrels all year. It ended up being the last pitch of the Squirrels regular season, as the game was called due to rain immediately after he rounded the bases.

Justin Fitzgerald (P) -- The Squirrels were relying on Fitzgerald to come up big last week and he did. In his two starts, he went 6 innings in both outings and gave up only 2 runs in each start.

Charlie Culberson (2B) -- The Georgia Peach broke out of his dismal slump by batting .395, scoring 6 runs and knocking in 8.

COASTING

Francisco Peguero (CF) -- Peguero has been so hot lately that going .250 with a homer looks bad. In reality it's still a respectable line, but the team will need more out of him if they want to beat the Harrisburg Senators.

Chuck Lofgren (P) -- Lofgren pitched easily his worst game as a Squirrel when he went 1 inning and gave up 7 runs. He did, however, redeem himself by pitching 6 innings of scoreless ball later in the week.

Heath Hembree (RP) -- No losses, blown saves or runs in three outings leaves few complaints. Still, 6 base runners in less than 3 innings is not ideal.

Johnny Monell (C) -- After his dismal performance last week, this week the Squirrels have to be happy with Monell's .280 batting average and 5 runs scored. Maybe it's the praying mantis.

GROUNDED

Alex Hinshaw (RP) -- The 2 runs over 2.1 innings wasn't great, but it was the 2 hits and 5 walks that communicate how poorly Hinshaw pitched last week.

Chris Dominguez (3B) -- Eight strikeouts and 1 RBI for the team's cleanup hitter. That isn't going to work against a team with an offensive output like Harrisburg's.

Ryan Verdugo (P) -- Verdugo's stretch of feast or famine outings continued. This time it was a feast for the opposing New Britain Rock Cats. Verdugo gave up 6 runs over 3.1 innings. As part of that effort he surrendered 5 walks and 2 dingers.

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