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Last updated: February 16. 2013 7:35PM - 183 Views

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SWB Yankees LLC is banking on fans being impressed by the reconstructed PNC Field that will open in Moosic in time for the 2013 International League baseball season.


What the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are doing in the meantime is something fans have to be impressed by even if they cannot see it for themselves.


While PNC Field is being rebuilt, the Yankees have spent a year on the road, stopping at a rotation of temporary home fields along with the half of their schedule that technically consists of away games.


The road schedule, though untried in the history of the league, hardly seems like a formula for success.


It has not, however, stopped the Yankees.


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, a description that hardly fits the team this year, occupies the top line of the IL North standings.


After the last week, it appears the Yankees are ready to remain there for the fifth time in six seasons.


The Yankees continued their improbable season by taking an equally improbable eight-game winning streak into the weekend. The streak reached eight with extra-inning wins Aug. 22 and 23 in Buffalo. At that point, any combination of five Yankees wins or Pawtucket Red Sox losses would give the title to "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre."


Of the other 13 teams in the IL, 11 had distinctly better records at home.


The Yankees were virtually the same at home (40-28) and away (38-28), which makes perfect sense because, other than who bats first, they are essentially the same thing.


The streak includes back-to-back, 10-3 and 6-0 romps in Rochester, but it also includes three one-run wins and two more by two runs.


It started Aug. 16 when the Yankees were in danger of falling out of the lead after losing two of three games in Pawtucket.


The Yankees overcame a late three-run deficit that night, winning 5-4 over Pawtucket on a two-run, seventh-inning single by Melky Mesa.


Darnell McDonald had a three-run homer and Mesa a two-run shot in an 8-6 win over Pawtucket to complete a series victory and re-establish control of the division race.


Corban Joseph hit a three-run homer and Austin Romine a two-run homer to lead a balanced, 20-hit attack in the 10-3 romp.


Joseph drove in four runs and John Maine worked six scoreless innings in the next rout of Rochester.


Mesa and Eduardo Nunez were each 3-for-4 in a 7-5 win when the streak continued in Buffalo.


Joseph doubled in the tying run and scored the winner in a 4-2 victory over Buffalo.


Francisco Cervelli's 12th-inning sacrifice fly and some clutch relief pitching by Ryota Igarashi produced a 2-1 win in 12 innings.


Mesa hit an 11th-inning homer in the 4-3 win on Aug. 23.


The nuances of minor-league baseball and past history here tell us that about half the faces will change between the apparent-championship Yankees team of 2012 and the next true Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team in 2013.


Mesa and Joseph, two candidates to be around next season, get as much credit as anyone for the longest winning streak of the last two years.


Mesa is a 25-year-old center fielder playing at the Class AAA level for the first time. The 2010 Florida State League Player of the Year was hitting just .182 in 16 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre games before the streak started. He went 12-for-32 (.375) with four homers and nine RBIs in seven games.


Joseph, 23, is a second baseman who is also in his first AAA season. He is 12-for-31 in the streak to raise his average 14 points to .265.


If the recent performances continue, local fans can expect next year's new surroundings to be the scene for some of the same-old success by the IL's most consistently successful franchise in recent seasons.


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