Down goes Goliath. Despite the vast disparity in their league records, not to mention the fact that Eugene sent only three men to the plate in every inning but one in this game, Eugene beat Hillsboro 3-2 on the road last night. Eugene has advanced to the Northwest League Championship Series for the third straight season.
And in those three seasons, Eugne is now 6-1 against Hillsboro in the semifinal round.
Keep in mind that Eugene’s entire roster changes from year to year. There isn’t a core of players that is propelling this three year run in the playoffs. While credit for each individual year absolutely goes to the players on that team, credit for the continuous run has to, at least in part, go to scouts and analysts who manage the draft and amateur free agent signing process for the Cubs. When the teams at the lowest levels of the system are consistently winning playoff games year over year, it probably means you’re doing something right in the draft. It doesn’t mean you have a fantastic farm system loaded with elite prospects, but it is a good sign nonetheless.
Spokane and Everett are tied at a game apiece and will conclude their semifinal series tonight. The winner of that contest will then host Eugene on Saturday to start the best of five Championship Series.
- Faustino Carrera: 5.1 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Sean Barry: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 K
- Luke Reynolds: 1 for 4, 2B
- Jonathan Sierra: 0 for 2, BB
- Nelson Velazquez: 1 for 4, SB
- Caleb Knight: 1 for 3, SB
- Luis Vazquez: 1 for 3, SB
- It takes an excellent team to win 50 games in the short season Northwest League, and Hillsboro entered the playoffs with 51 wins. The last team to win more than 50? The Eugene Emeralds in 2016. That team went on to win the Northwest League Championship.
- That 2016 team had some players you probably recognize. Zack Short. Trent Giambrone. Andruw Monasterio (now traded to the Nationals). Matt Rose (now traded to the White Sox). D.J. Wilson. And on the pitching side, Dylan Cease (now traded to the White Sox). Dakota Mekkes. Oscar De La Cruz. We were talking about some of those guys in 2016, but not all of them. And I suspect that will prove to be true with this Eugene team as well. We’re talking about some of the right prospects now, but there will probably be some from this team who wind up surprising us.
- Nelson Velazquez got another bit of good news yesterday. He was named Cubs Player of the Month for August. Cory Abbott picked up the honor on the pitching side.