The Playoff Picture
The Quakes were eliminated from the playoffs last night after losing 11-6 at High Desert. Rancho Cucamonga went much further than anyone reasonably expected. They upset the Lake Elsinore Storm in their wild-card series, then took the Mavericks to five games. Not bad for a team that finished 61-79 and lost power-hitter Matt Sweeney to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Scott Kazmir trade.
The Owlz suffered a surprising 7-6 loss at home to Missoula, to fall behind 1-0 in their best-of-three pennant series. The bullpen blew a 5-1 lead by giving up three runs in the 8th and three runs in the 9th, including a three-run homer in the 9th to Osprey right fielder Bobby Stone off David Carpenter.
Both teams are off today for the long bus trip to Missoula. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 are Friday and Saturday. I haven’t done the research, but anecdotally I know it’s very hard for a team to lose its home game #1 in these best-of-three series to sweep #2 and #3 on the road. That’s what faces the Owlz.