Well, the first round series are coming down to the wire. Ottawa knocked off Baltimore. Fellow AL East juggernaught Richmond is one of two teams facing elimination today.
Helena ousted a pesky Cheyenne team 2 games to 1 and managed to rest ace Rafael Aguilera who's likely to start game one against NL powerhouse Mexico City Bandejos (111-51) in the quarterfinals.
In the other AL series, Salem and Richmond have traded blows alternating wins. The deciding game is in Salem. The two last met in the Season 9 ALCS, with Richmond prevailing 4 games to 2 on it's way to a world championship. Juan Velazquez (17-8, 4.62 ERA) is expected to get the start for Salem. He allowed 6 runs in 5 innings in his first start. Salem is expected to counter with ace Marty Brantley (17-7, 3.65 ERA). The winning team has scored at least 6 runs in every game of this series so expect some hitting as usual in the AL.
In the NL showdown, long-time rivals Las Vegas and Sioux Falls are set to square off in Game 5. The Double Downs took Games 1 and 2 behind strong pitching performances before allowing 10 and 6 runs in Games 3 and 4. The Double Downs have a fully rested Delino Fischer (10-11, 2.90) coming off 6 shutout innings in game one. The Dakota will counter with veteran Curtis Towers (9-4, 3.63) who got blasted in Game 2 allowing 7 runs in just 2 and 2/3 innings. Manager Esteban Valentin has been criticized by the Sioux Falls sportswriters for not giving the start to rookie Morgan Bevil, but Valentin has never failed to win 90 games in 11 seasons managing 3 teams and is not likely to be moved by the reporters criticism.
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