By Connor Newcomb
HANOVER, Md. – With three games remaining in the season, the Dodgers are in a place they have never been before.
Baltimore currently holds the Cal Ripken League’s second wild card playoff spot and is in line to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
However, the Dodgers need to handle their business down the stretch, which starts with Thursday’s doubleheader against the D.C. Grays. Holding a half-game lead over the Herndon Braves and a one-game lead over the SS-Takoma Thunderbolts, Baltimore will need to have a strong showing against the Grays.
Conor Grove will take the mound in game one for the Dodgers, sporting a 5.19 ERA on the summer. In 17 1/3 innings over six appearances and two starts, Grove has allowed 17 hits while striking out 16 batters and walking 13.
Grove will have to face a Grays lineup that has had success this season despite their last-place standing. Outfielder Lamar Briggs ranks second in the league in batting average (.376) and has driven in 22 runs on the summer.
Backing up Briggs in the D.C. lineup is outfielder Harrison Freed, who leads the team and ranks second in the league with seven home runs. Freed also hits for average, posting a .314 mark this season.
After Grove deals with that lineup in game one, the Dodgers will send Ryan Bunse to the hill for game two. In 16 2/3 innings this season, Bunse has struck out nine batters and posted a 5.94 ERA. His last start came July 12 against the Big Train, a game in which he allowed one earned run on two hits over five innings.
The first game of the doubleheader between the Dodgers (16-21) and Grays (13-24) is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. at Joe Cannon Stadium. First pitch of game two is tentatively scheduled for 7:00 p.m.