The Pacific Coast League playoffs start tonight. Here are my picks:
The Pacific Conference series opens in Sacramento for the first two games, then moves to Reno for the last three.
Reno’s roster has been hit big-time by Arizona Diamondbacks call-ups, including PCL MVP Adam Eaton just yesterday. However, the ace of the Aces is still there: Trevor Bauer gets the game one start tonight.
The River Cats have a lot more pitching depth than Reno, and their offense appears stronger, too. Sacramento has Dan Straily in the wings, ready for a game three start.
I think this will go five games. Bauer wins the opener, the Aces find a win somewhere else along the way… but I’m picking Sacramento to advance in five games, 3-2.
In the American Conference, I’m picking Omaha over Albuquerque. The Isotopes have the final three games at home, but their roster has been ravaged by Dodgers call-ups.
Meanwhile, defending champion Omaha has lost only one player to a call-up (outfielder David Lough). The Royals are even letting Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers stay in Omaha for the playoffs.
Let’s go with Omaha in four games, 3-1.
In the PCL Championship Series, I’ll take Omaha over Sacramento in four games, 3-1. I think they are a bit better than Sacramento right now.
I picked an Omaha repeat. It is human nature when picking winners to pick the same teams that won last year. I fell for it!
You can read playoff previews from the Sacramento Bee, Reno Gazette-Journal, Albuquerque Journal, and Omaha World-Herald (which has a second story here). There is another playoff preview on the PCL’s website.
The Mariners called up seven Tacoma players yesterday. Five have been in the big leagues before: Shawn Kelley, Casper Wells, Hector Noesi, Alex Liddi, and Mike Carp (who technically was activated from the disabled list). The two first-timers are Luis Jimenez and Carlos Triunfel.
Also, catcher Guillermo Quiroz was rewarded for his outstanding season in Tacoma by getting traded to the Red Sox for cash considerations. Quiroz was immediately called up by Boston. This was great news for Quiroz, who was not going to get the call from the Mariners because they have had three catchers on the roster all season.
Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by the Jimenez call-up. In recent seasons the Mariners have gotten away from the trend that former GM Pat Gillick followed of rewarding a Triple-A veteran who had a great season, even if he’s not a young prospect or in the organization’s future plans.
This is a great story for Luis, who had an excellent season in Tacoma. He gets a month in the major leagues that he can tell his grandchildren about.
I was sitting in the Fresno airport restaurant yesterday, eating my breakfast and minding my own business, when Luis grabbed a nearby table and quickly ordered a “cup of coffee.”
A cup of coffee indeed, Luis. I hope you get some hits and crack a homer or two. And no matter what happens, enjoy it.
- Here is the Rainiers game story for the season-ending game on Monday, with some quotes from manager Daren Brown on how and when the season went downhill.
- Larry LaRue has a story on the call-ups. Luis Jimenez popped up in his major league debut, and the Mariners lost to the Red Sox.
- He wasn’t one of the “Big Three” at the start of the season, but Mariners Double-A pitcher Brandon Maurer took home the Southern League Pitcher of the Year award. We’ll see him in Tacoma in 2013.
- My main man Wil Myers of Omaha has won the most coveted minor league award: Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
- USS Mariner has its long, weekly Minor League Wrap.
- The Mariners short-season Everett affiliate lost the first two games of the Northwest League playoffs and are already out.
- The Las Vegas 51s had a very good season but did not catch Sacramento. Some interesting quotes from manager Marty Brown in here.
- Former Rainiers infielder Chris Woodward announced his retirement.
- Here’s a fun, short story from Scott Ostler about being a ballpark vendor.
- On Tuesday there is a one-day-only showing of the baseball documentary “Ballplayer: Pelotero” at the Grand in Tacoma, and I’m hosting a post-film discussion. Check it out if you are interested.
That’s it for today. I’ll have a brief recap of the PCL playoff games tomorrow – probably just the links – and I’m going to work on my Rainiers season in review, which should go up on Friday.