The Pacific Coast League Championship Series opens tonight, when the best-of-five series begins in Round Rock, Texas.
It’s an all-Texas battle in terms of the major league affiliates: the Texas Rangers Round Rock club against the Houston Astros Fresno affiliate.
Neither team has ever won a PCL title before, so someone new is going to get the trophy.
The big news going into the series is that PCL Most Valuable Player Matt Duffy was called up by the Houston Astros yesterday, creating a big hole in Fresno’s lineup (Duffy hit 20 homers and drove in 104 runs). Fresno has replaced him with infielder Colin Moran from Houston’s Double-A team – he’s former Rainiers pitcher Brian Moran‘s little brother, who was a first round draft pick in 2013.
Despite that key roster move, I’m picking Fresno to win the series. I like the way the starting rotations stack up for Fresno – especially in the later games of the series. But I do think it is going the distance. My pick: Fresno in five games.
Here’s the schedule with listed starting pitchers – all times are Pacific:
- Game One – tonight: Fresno’s Mike Hauschild at Round Rock’s Anthony Ranaudo, 5:05
- Game Two – Wednesday: Dan Straily at Robert Coello, 5:05
- Thursday – travel day.
- Game Three – Friday: Round Rock’s Phil Klein at Fresno’s Brett Oberholtzer, 7:05
- Game Four (if necessary) – Saturday: TBA at Asher Wojciechowski, 7:05
- Game Five (if necessary) – Sunday: Anthony Ranaudo at Mark Appel, 1:05
You can follow the games rather easily online: go to the PCL scoreboard right here and when the game starts there will be icons for free streaming radio broadcasts, a pitch-by-pitch gameday screen, and MiLB.TV if you are a subscriber.
- The Fresno Bee has an article detailing the changes to the Fresno lineup and previewing the championship series.
- The story from the Austin Statesman (which is behind a paywall) focuses on how the Rangers and Astros are playing a crucial series in the majors right now, while the Triple-A affiliates meet up in the PCL Championship.
- After dropping a close game to the Rockies on Sunday, the Mariners opened the Angels series on Monday night with a good old-fashioned out-behind-the-woodshed wuppin’.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook details how Robinson Cano has excelled despite playing while injured.
- Shawn O’Malley talked about some of the strategic advantages of being in the majors as opposed to Triple-A.
- After El Paso was eliminated on Saturday night the San Diego Padres called up a quartet of players, including most popular Chihuahua Cody Decker.
- If you have a half hour to read, the Pittsburgh newspaper has a tremendous article on the operations of the Pirates scouting in the Dominican Republic, and how the Dominican baseball economy works. They sent the writer and a good photographer down there, and the entire piece is exceptional.