This will be a short one since there were no games yesterday.
Game One of the firs round of the Northwest League playoffs is tonight, featuring the Eugene Emeralds playing host to the Hillsboro Hops. This is a best of three series, and after tonight the action moves to Hillsboro.
This is going to be an uphill fight for the Emeralds. Hillsboro is a very good team that has dominated the league all year long. Eugene isn’t, and they didn’t. Eugene was pretty much the exact opposite of that. To say that Eugene beating Hillsboro would be an upset is putting it mildly. This is literally the best team in the league versus the worst team in the league. If we make our comparison by win percentage, it is roughly similar to Boston facing the White Sox in a best of three.
But this is baseball, and anything can happen. And if that particular anything is going to happen for these Emeralds, it will probably come down to two keys: the starting pitching for the Emeralds, and the bats of Nelson Velazquez and Jonathan Sierra.
Velazquez and Sierra are the two biggest bats in the lineup, and if those guys are both hot at the same time they could greatly help the Emeralds put some runs on the board. Velazquez has been red hot lately (nine game hitting streak, two homers in his last game) while Sierra started pretty well but has faded down the stretch. The better they hit, the better we can feel about the Emeralds chances.
Two other key bats to watch – Luke Reynolds and Grant Fennell. Both came on board after the draft, and both have been among the Emeralds most consistent hitters in the second half. It will probably take some awesomeness from all of them.
On the pitching side, the Emeralds open the series by sending Eury Ramos to the mound. Ramos, a 6’3″ right hander, has an era of 6.29 (8.68 during August). Ramos started the year strong, but lately he’s given up a lot of runs. Except, that is, on August 23 when he shut out Tri Cities over 6.1 innings of one hit ball. If he can produce another game like that, the Emeralds might be in great shape.
For Game Two the Emeralds will lean on 19-year-old lefty Faustino Carrera. Carrera has been one of the Emeralds best starters this season, posting a season ERA of 2.54 (1.57 in August). If Eugene can win Game One, Carrera could be exactly who they need on the mound to secure a two game sweep.
First things first. Game One is tonight at 10:05 PM ET on MiLB.tv.
- The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have produced a very nice piece on long-time Cubs’ farmhand Tyler Alamo. Check it out below.