It’s the last day of the minor league regular season! For all of my readers out there, I thank you for sticking with me for the past five months. I’d watch the minor league games even if you were there, but I can promise you that I wouldn’t be writing these recaps everyday if some of you didn’t find them valuable. Every year, I’m humbled by your patronage.
The good news is that thanks to the intricacies of split-seasons and the Northwest League tiebreaker system, the Eugene Emeralds are going to the playoffs! They start a best-of-three series with the Hillsboro Hops on Wednesday. So while this is the final Minor League Wrap of 2018, there will be a “Eugene Emeralds Playoff Wrap” starting on Wednesday night.
Tomorrow you’ll get a chance to vote for the Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August. On Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll vote for the Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year.
The Iowa Cubs final game of 2018 was rained out.
The I-Cubs finished the season with a 50-88 record, which was 23.5 games behind first place Oklahoma City and was the worst overall record in all of Triple-A.
At least they get the first pick in the Triple-A draft next season.
The Tennessee Smokies shut out the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds), 3-0.
Keegan Thompson allowed just one single over five innings and got the win. Thompson walked one and struck out five.
All three runs in this game came on a bases-loaded double by right fielder Eddy Martinez in the fourth inning. Martinez was 1 for 4.
The Smokies finished the second half with a 31-37 record, ten games behind first-place Montgomery. Their overall record for the season was 67-71.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were unlocked by the Frederick Keys (Orioles), 2-1.
Pelicans starter Tyson Miller gave up a two-run home run in the fifth inning and those were the final two runs of the game. Miller took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits over five innings. Miller struck out four and did not walk anyone.
Left fielder Zach Davis went 2 for 3.
The Pelicans finished the second half with a record of 27-42, 16.5 games behind Buies Creek and Winston-Salem, who tied for the second-half title. At least they were 3.5 games ahead of last-place Down East.
Their overall record this season was 61-78, which was again, 2.5 games better than last-place Down East.
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs shut out the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers), 1-0.
Brailyn Marquez pitched the first two innings, allowing two hits and walking one. Marquez struck out four.
Jeffrey Passantino was terrific over the next four innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out seven.
The win went to Brendan King, who pitched two innings and allowed just one baserunner on a hit batsman. He did not have a strikeout.
Brian Glowicki pitched the ninth and got the save. He put runners on first and second with two outs thanks to a hit batsman and a walk. Glowicki gave up no hits and he struck out one.
Center fielder Jimmy Herron scored from second base in the top of the ninth when a potential inning-ending double play ball was thrown away by the second baseman trying to retire the batter at first. Herron was 2 for 3 with a walk.
First baseman Austin Upshaw went 2 for 4.
South Bend finished the second half at 30-39, 12.5 games behind first-place Bowling Green. However, thanks to those weird playoff rules, they were only three games out of a wild card spot.
Overall South Bend was 64-74.
The Eugene Emeralds were prey for the Boise Hawks (Rockies), 11-2.
Zach Mort pitched the first two innings and allowed one run on two hits. He struck out one and did not walk anyone.
The Hawks blew this game open with an eight-run fourth inning, aided in large part by the five errors that Eugene made in the inning. The losing pitcher was Fauris Guerrero, who allowed five runs on three hits in just one-third of an inning. But only one of the five runs was earned. Guerrero struck out one (and the Ems even managed to make an error on that) and did not walk anyone.
Both Emeralds runs came on two home runs by right fielder Nelson Velazquez. One came in the first inning and the other one came in the third. Velazquez now has 11 home runs this year. Velazquez went 2 for 5.
Right fielder Fernando Kelli went 2 for 2 with a double.
The Emeralds end the season with an overall record of 31-45, which is the worst record in the Northwest League. They finished the second half at 17-21, ten games behind first-place Hillsboro.
It didn’t matter. The Ems clinched second place in the division for the second half on Sunday and take on Hillsboro in the best-of-three playoff series starting on Wednesday.