Tonight at 7:30PM EDT, the Clinton LumberKings will face the Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League quarterfinals.
This is the first time since 2012 that the Miami Marlins single-A club has made it to the postseason. The Greensboro Grasshoppers, in the South Atlantic League, did it as a Marlins affiliate that season, and won the league title in 2011. This is Clinton’s first season as a Marlins affiliated club. Here’s what to look for.
In this best-of-three set, the LumberKings will first entrust reigning MWL Pitcher of the Week Remey Reed out to the hill. In his last start, Reed struck out seven while pitching six perfect innings. Yes, 18 up, and 18 down. We can only hope for an encore. Reed is on Twitter @Remey_Reed. As the Cougars have a winning percentage slightly better than the LumberKings, they’ll enjoy home field advantage. Tonight’s game is in Clinton, and game two (and three if necessary) will be played in Kane County.
Game two will see the Kings send out Jake Walters with the pill. The 6′ right-hander is 7-4 with a 2.35 ERA this season, across 17 starts. He’s struck out 87 in 92 innings, held opponents to a .207 average, and can boast a solid 1.07 WHIP. Follow him on Twitter @J_Walt16.
The game three starter has not been announced, but the LumberKings can choose from either Tanner Andrews (8-5, 3.52, 110 K’s in 128 innings, .212 oppBA, 1.08 WHIP), George Soriano (4-7, 3.91, 99 K’s in 119 2/3 innings, .238 oppBA, 1.32 WHIP), or Josh Roberson (4-4, 2.25, 54 K’s in 56 innings, .238 oppBA, 1.18 WHIP).
Probable Starting Lineups
C – Will Banfield 2018, second round, 101 games .199/.252/.310, nine HR, 55 RBI
1B – Evan Edwards 2019, fourth round, 68 games, .285/.361/.441, eight HR, 48 RBI
2B – Samuel Castro 2014, free agency, 55 games, .194/.281/.242, eight RBI, nine SB
3B – Marcos Rivera 2014, free agency, 94 games, .206/.243/.321, eight HR, 31 RBI
SS – Christopher Torres 2017, trade, 112 games, .234/.346/.317, four HR, 32 RBI, 25 SB
LF – Peyton Burdick 2019, third round, 63 games, .307/.408/.542, 10 HR, 59 RBI, six SB
CF – Kameron Misner 2019, “A” round, 34 games, .276/.380/.373, two HR, 20 RBI, eight SB
RF – Thomas Jones 2016, third round, 114 games, .239/.332/.382, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 19 SB
DH – Davis Bradshaw 2018, 11th round, 63 games, .258/.304/.307, 16 RBI, six SB
These projections are Kentucky windage only, and should be treated as educated guesses, at best. Assuming these nine make the starts, that leaves four on the bench:
C – J.D. Osborne
Middle IF – Jose Devers
Corner IF – Bubba Hollins
OF – Brayan Hernandez
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With only three pitchers needed for the rotation, that leaves Clinton with a 10-man bullpen. Alberto Guerrero started on September 2nd, so he is not available for this series.
Manuel Rodriguez is the only lefty on the entire pitching staff. He’s joined by right-handers Elkin Alcala, Nathan Alexander, Andrews, Cam Baird, Raul Brito, Peyton Culbertson, Tyler Mitzel, Roberson, Soriano, and Zach Wolf.
Whatever happens in Iowa, we’ll be watching here in South Florida (or wherever your “here” is). In the meantime, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Also, subscribe to our newsletter for daily dispatches about your favorite major league team. As always, thanks for reading.