Today is the final day of Minor League Baseball in 2010. The other leagues have all completed their playoffs, and only one game remains: the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, tonight at beautiful Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
It’s the Pacific Coast League champion Tacoma Rainiers against the International League champion Columbus Clippers in a game that starts at 5:05 pm Pacific time. The game will be televised live on Versus, and there will be a nationwide radio broadcast which will be picked up by South Sound Sports 850 AM in Tacoma (see my thoughts on the broadcast in yesterday’s post below).
Tacoma starts LHP Ryan Feierabend (4-7, 5.30), who had is best start of the season in Game Five of the Pacific Conference Finals against Sacramento at Safeco Field. In that game Feierabend allowed just two hits over eight innings as the Rainiers won, 4-1, and advanced to the PCL Championship Series. Feierabend did not pitch in the Rainiers sweep of Memphis in the Championship Series – he was slated to start Game Four, but the series didn’t go that long.
Columbus is starting LHP David Huff (8-2, 4.36). Huff has quite a bit of major league experience in the last two years, including 15 starts this year in which he went 2-11, 6.21 for the Indians. One good sign for the Rainiers: Huff has had a reverse platoon split this season, getting right-handed batters out more frequently than left-handed hitters. The Rainiers are going to have no choice but to load up the lineup with lefties, so this could play into Tacoma’s favor.
The Cleveland Indians Triple-A club is a lot like the Rainiers: they had a lot of veteran players get called up in the middle of the season, and they were replaced by younger prospects. Columbus is not as young as Tacoma, but they have a lot of Indians-drafted prospects who are playing in Triple-A for the first time in their careers.
Columbus won the wild card in the International League (they have three divisions and a wild card in the IL), and then took the Governor’s Cup for the first time since 1996. Columbus beat Durham in the IL finals, three games to one. Two of the games were total blowouts – Durham had trouble stopping Columbus from scoring. The Clippers had 20 hits twice in the four-game series, and as a team they batted .365 while out-scoring Durham 37-10 in the series. During the regular season, Columbus led the IL in batting average and ranked second in runs scored.
Columbus has one familiar face: outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who opened the season as Tacoma’s leadoff hitter before being traded to the Indians on June 26 for Russell Branyan. Also, the Clippers feature catcher Luke Carlin, who has been a PCL mainstay the last four years with Portland and Reno.
It will be a fun game: each team will have the entire pitching staff ready to go, and each club will leave it all on the field since there truly is no tomorrow.
A few links:
- The News Tribune ran a preview story featuring Matt Mangini.
- Mariners class-A affiliate Clinton lost the fifth and final game of the Midwest League Championship Series. Yoervis Medina pitched a complete game but lost, 3-1.
- Oklahoma City signed a Player Development Contract with the Houston Astros.
- The Fresno Grizzlies have a new Chief Executive.
- Jason Churchill posted his Mariners “Prospect of the Year” awards.
Off to the ballpark for the final time this season!