Lineups and notes for Saturday night at the park …

First, tonight’s lineups:

Ogden Raptors (7-12, 29-28) starting lineup:
Wingo (2B), Cuevas (LF), Pederson (RF), Dickson (1B), Schebler (DH), Maynard (C), Boudreaux (SS), Hunt (3B), Baldwin (CF), Martinez (RHP)

Missoula Osprey (11-8, 36-21) starting lineup:
Ellison (CF), Belza (2B), Groff (3B), Griffin (DH), Court (1B), Pena (C), Cardullo (SS), Linton (LF), Gomez (RF), Darrah (RHP)

On to the notes:

The Skinny: The Osprey, winners of the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title, continue their three-game series with the Ogden Raptors, and will look to snap their first two-game losing streak since late June tonight. The string of not losing back-to-back games lasted over seven weeks before back-to-back losses over the last two nights.

The North is back to being a mess …: The Pioneer League North Division looks a lot like it did during the first half of the season, with three teams tied for first place entering tonight’s action. The Osprey are one of those teams, and Billings jumped into the tie for first with a win at Casper, while Great Falls was stung in a come-from-behind loss at Idaho Falls. That leaves the threesome tied at 11-8, with Helena five games off the pace at the moment. Billings also opened up a three-game lead over Great Falls, and six over Helena, for a possible wild-card, if the Osprey win the Second Half North crown.

… while the Owlz begin to take control in the South: The South Division race is starting to become, believe it or not, all Orem. The Owlz have won two in a row to pull ahead of Casper by a pair of games, and keep hard-charging Idaho Falls four games off the pace. One of those three teams will face Ogden in the Southern Division playoffs – and Orem has a nine-game lead in a possible wild-card scenario, so if the Chukars or Ghosts have playoff dreams, they will most likely have to win the South in the second half.

On the Mound Tonight: Missoula will send out right-hander Jesse Darrah to the mound as he looks to snap the Osprey out of their current funk. Darrah (4-0, 4.08) is a solid candidate to get the job done, winning all four of his decisions and posting a 3.48 ERA since July 1. In August, Darrah had allowed just one hit in eight innings of work before getting touched up a bit by Orem on Monday in a relief outing, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. In his last start, Darrah pitched five hitless innings at Great Falls, though he did allow three walks, and struck out four batters in what turned out to be a 2-1 win on August 9. Darrah is currently in a piggyback situation with right-hander Conrad Flynn (4-1, 4.07), who is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA as a reliever this season. Darrah is 4-0 with a 3.80 ERA as a starter in nine starts this season, and has struck out 56 batters in 51 innings pitched.

The Raptors will counter tonight with right-hander Brandon Martinez, who has been Ogden’s most consistent starter this season. Martinez (5-3, 4.39) will make his 12th start tonight, and while July had its rough spots (3-3, 5.28 for the month), he has followed that up with an August that more resembles his numbers from June, when he was 2-0 with an ERA right at 3.00. Martinez has a 3.77 ERA in three August starts, but has also not kept the ball down as well – he has allowed three home runs in August, one more than he had allowed in the first two months of the season combined.

We’re on shortly … let’s hope for a win tonight.

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