TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums want to repeat history.
After winning all six games last week, Traverse City aims to duplicate the feat and clinch a Frontier League playoff spot for the second straight year.
"The guys have done an excellent job at staying focused and worrying about the task at hand," Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn said. "We've had some ups and downs here in the second half of the season, but they focused and just worried about what we're doing and not what other teams are doing -- and it really paid off, especially in this last homestand."
Traverse City heads to play a three-game series against last-place Rockford RiverHawks before returning home to close out the regular season against Lake Erie, the team it's primarily battling for the East Division's second playoff spot.
The Beach Bums trail division leader Joliet by six games with as many contests left. By virtue of winning the season series 7-5 with the Slammers, the Bums technically are still alive for the division title, but they'd need to win six straight and have Joliet lose six in a row to close out the season.
"Realistically, we're playing for the wild card," Langbehn said. "But you never know. Stranger things have happened. But the goal is just to get in."
Lake Erie is a half game behind the Beach Bums in the wild card hunt. After a three-game sweep at the hands of TC, Windy City is now four games behind the Beach Bums, but still clinging to life.
"Us sweeping them really hurt them," Langbehn said. "But they are not mathematically eliminated yet."
Traverse City has won only five of nine against Rockford this season, sweeping the RiverHawks last week as part of the team's current six-game winning streak.
"Rockford has played a lot better at home than they have on the road," Langbehn said. "And we've played a lot better at home than we've played on the road. We need to be prepared and take care of business. Nothing more, nothing less."
The Beach Bums will continue using a four-man rotation the rest of the regular season. Bryan Banes (10-3, 2.59) will get the nod tonight, followed by David Nathanson (3-2, 4.26) and Scott Dunn (8-3, 2.70) in Rockford. David Deminsky (5-3, 3.82) kicks off the Lake Erie series on Friday, followed by Banes and Nathanson.
With a magic number of just one, Joliet just has to avoid losing out in order to clinch the East Division title and home-field advantage in the first round.
A Lake Erie rainout against Gateway had already cost the Crushers a slim shot at the division title, and it could play a factor in whether they can pass the Beach Bums as well. The game will not be made up, even if it would affect the playoff chase.