Monday, September 16, 2013

Matchup: Durham Bulls v. Omaha Storm Chasers

Who are these guys that the Durham Bulls will play for the national title tomorrow night? Well, probably the best guy to ask would be Jason Bourgeois. Or you could ask Jake Odorizzi. Or you could ask Mike Montgomery. If he were still here, you could ask Wil Myers. They all played for the Kansas City AAA team the Omaha Storm Chasers last year.

A year ago, August 29th, in fact, Jake Odorizzi was on the mound pitching for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He got the win, going 5 innings with 5 BB and 6Ks. You can look it up. His third baseman in the game was Wil Myers, who went 1 for 5 (and got picked off after his single). His left fielder was Jason Bourgeois who had a great night. Bourgeois went 2 for 4 and scored two runs.

As with any minor league team, not many players who were with Omaha in 2012 are still there. A glance at the rosters indicates that a catcher, Max Ramirez, a veteran outfielder, Anthony Seratelli, and infielders Christian Colon and Irving Falu were with the team then and with them now. But the Royals are in the same wild card chase as the Rays, so roster turmoil may have happened or may be near. On the other hand, their manager, Mike Jirshcele, has been running the team since 2003. He certainly knows he way around AAA ball.

If we match up the regular season Storm Chasers against the Durham Bulls, there’d be no contest. Omaha managed to win their division of the Pacific Coast League without even breaking .500. But, as you can see, somehow they simply weren’t scoring runs, certainly nothing close to the pace of the Bulls. They squeaked into the playoffs on the last days of the regular season.

And then they got hot, blowing past their first opponent and having the same 3-1 result as the Bulls for their championship round. Their hitters have been hot, their pitching only so-so, but more than enough to win. Pretty good story about that run in the Omaha World Herald here. The Storm Chasers are on a streak and that has to be respected.

Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to start for the Bulls, but you can bet that J.D. Martin and company are ready to lend a hand. Everyone except Merrill Kelly should be rested. Have not heard who will be starting for the Storm Chasers. The fact that Odorizzi could be pitching against the Storm Chasers has been noticed in Omaha.

Outside the game —
  • Solid, if not confirmed, chatter that Tim Beckham, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeff Beliveau will be going down to St. Petersburg after Tuesday’s game. One source thinks Beckham could move before the championship game.
  • We are going to have to start paying attention to the AL wild card race (after tomorrow's game, of course). Rays Index seems to think it’s down to the Rays, Rangers, and Cleveland competing for two spots.

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