Thursday, August 23, 2012

NL Round 1 Recap

Iowa began their title defense with a three game sweep of Scranton. The two teams met in last year's second round with the same result. The quick victory allows Iowa to set-up its rotation for their next series against division rival Tampa Bay. Scranton's best opportunity to make it a series was in game 1, where ROY candidate Santo Cerda threw 7 innings of of 2-hit, shutout ball to stake them to a 1-0 lead into the 8th. But LF Curtis Lewis got the big 2-run HR in the top of the 9th to give Iowa the lead and the win. The series was defined by Iowa's deep, relentless pitching staff - Scranton tallied only 2 runs in the 3 games. The managed only 4 hits in the series clinching 6-0 loss. Lewis gets the MVP for his game 1 heroics; he also added another homer and drove in 5 in the series. Earl Butler hit .333 for Scranton, but the tean as a whole batted just .161. They also got strong starts from Cerda and Chad Pinto, who had a break-out season with his 13-10 record.

Scranton had another fine season, and always seem to be in the mix. I don't see anything being different next year, as their good young pitching will only get better; and it always helps to have a perenial MVP candidate, like Pat Doughery, in your line-up!

In Helena's 3-1 series victory over Colorado, the teams split the first two at Coors, game 2 being a 15-9 thin-air spectacular (someone forgot the humidor.) In game 1, Helena got 2 HR and 6 RBI from 3B Omar Arnold and a gutsy win by Babe Colin, as he scattered 14 baserunners through 7. Colorado took an early 11-2 lead in game 2, but let it get to 11-9 before they buckled up and evened the series with the 15-9 win. Marc Clarke went deep twice and drove in 5. With the series moving to Helena, we get 3 lead changes through 5 in game 3, with Colorado taking a 6-4 lead into the 5th. The Helena bats then come alive as they go on the 13-6 victory, pushing the Shock to the brink. Butch Power had a big game-tying 2-run homer, and Gerald Hill hit a two-run shot in the 7th to put the game out of reach. Rico Petit threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Game 4 was the Babe Colin show, as he pitches 8 innings (2H, 1R, 8K, OBB) against the formidable Colorado line-up to win the clincher and earn his second win of the series. Geralg Hull takes series MVP with a .500 BA, 7 RBI and 2 HR.

Colorado hit .329 for the series and scored 27 runs in the 4 games. Mike Brinkley and Marc Clarke drove in 7 apiece. The pitching staff had a 9.26 ERA for the series, however. It was another strong season for the Shock and they proved to the World that they are a serious contender. They keep adding quality pitching to go with that amazing line-up. They will undoubtedly be in the mix again next season. Great job!

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