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July 21. 2013 5:50PM

Huge homestand awaits Fisher Cats

Two potential Eastern League playoff teams are scheduled to meet tonight when the New Hampshire Fisher Cats kick off a seven-game homestand by opening a three-game series against the Harrisburg Senators.

The Fisher Cats (51-48) have won (10 of their last 12 games) and are in second place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division. Harrisburg (55-46) is in first place in the league's Western Division. The top two teams from each division will advance to the postseason.

Each of the three games against Harrisburg is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.

Right-handed starting pitcher Taylor Hill, Washington's sixth-round pick in 2011, is among the top prospects on the Harrisburg roster. Hill, who is scheduled to start tonight, played college baseball at Vanderbilt and was promoted to Harrisburg from Class A Potomac on June 25.

Hill, 24, is 2-3 in five starts with Harrisburg, but has a 1.64 ERA. He's allowed six earned runs in 33 innings.

Shortstop Jason Martinson, 24, is another prospect in Washington's organization who is playing well at the Double-A level.

Martinson, a fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Texas State, led Potomac in home runs (12) and RBIs (53) when he was called up to Harrisburg on June 27. He was hitting .288 with two home runs and nine RBIs through his first 21 games with the Senators.

Baseball America ranked center fielder Brian Goodwin, a first-round pick in 2011, as Washington's No. 1 prospect when the 2013 season began, but Goodwin is batting .253 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 96 games with Harrisburg this season. He leads the team with 18 steals and has a league-leading eight triples.

Following the series with Harrisburg, the Fisher Cats will play a four-game series against Altoona. That series begins Thursday night. The first three games of that series are also scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Sunday's game is set for 1:05 p.m.

It's uncertain if the Fisher Cats will have to face Altoona starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who Pittsburgh chose with the second overall selection in the 2010 draft. Taillon is scheduled to start Tuesday at Trenton, but he has been bothered by a stiff neck and his turn in the rotation could be pushed back.

Taillon, 21, was also bothered by a stiff neck in spring training, and had to miss a start in June with a similar injury.

Taillon is 4-7 with a 3.76 ERA, and opponents are batting .259 against him. He ranks fourth in the Eastern League in strikeouts with 100 in 105 1/3 innings.

Prior to the 2013 season, MLB.com ranked Taillon as the No. 15 prospect in minor league baseball. He threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter during his senior season at The Woodlands (Texas) High School.

Taillon signed a national letter of intent with Rice, but passed on college to sign with the Pirates.

rbrown@unionleader.com


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