The rains came. After four innings of one-hit baseball, the Kansans maddening ace Matt Harvey departed rather than come back after a long rain delay in a season that has featured one "Harvey innings limit" story after another. St. Francis fans groaned at their perpetual prima donna, who will probably have to skip a start down the stretch to keep his possible post-season workload manageable.
And after the rains came, the Brownsville Cutters rained some offense, besting St. Francis by a 12-2 score by rallying hard against Wei-Yin Chen and Gio Gonzalez in long relief. Disappointing for Kansans fans against the club ahead of them in the standings, but also because the loss snapped St. Francis's longest win streak of the year at ten games.
Still, there was a good vibe in the clubhouse, because the ten-game streak against Grapefruit Divisions rivals had allowed owner Scott Hatfield's club to make up five games in the standings and pull within seven games of first place with 22 games left to play. So far, the itchy trigger finger of acting GM Kevin Towers seems to have made the right moves when St. Francis triggered the only two deals at the trading deadline, picking up veteran (but injury-plagued) LHP Sean Doolittle from Yuma, and versatile right-handed hitter Danny Valencia from Frostbite Falls.
"We've gotten back in the race, and our chances of actually winning a playoff spot is excellent," conceded Towers to reporters. "Now we just have to hope that this club can avoid the kind of late-season injuries that have hamstrung their playoff runs in the past. I'm not taking anything for granted."
St. Francis's magic number for clinching a post-season berth is 15, but they will likely need to go 17-6 or better in the final three weeks to have a realistic shot of overtaking both Brownsville and New England.