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2019 NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD SERIES

Bethesda Bandicoots @ Columbus Explorers

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SERIES PREVIEW – NL Wild-Card series featuring the Bethesda Bandicoots (94-68 and 1 game back in the NL East) vs. the Columbus Explorers (103-59 and 23 games back in the NL Central). Season series belonged to the Bandicoots 7-6 which included monster wins of 15-1 and 22-10 back in June. Columbus did rebound a bit winning 4 of 6 when Bethesda visited Columbus late in the season. Bethesda has a good edge in hitting (.256 vs .241) and the EBH or 291/42/217 vs. 242/37/192 shows they have no power as well. The ‘coots have better fielding as well. The only Explorer edge came in pitching at a 3.25 era vs. 3.57 for Bethesda.

GAME #1 – Tyson Ross 14-9 (3.05) vs. J.A. Happ 20-3 (2.55)

The game features only 8 hits – but the day belonged to Happ – at least for the 6 innings he pitched. He was in complete control, fanning 9, walking none and giving up just 3 hits – and no runs. Columbus got on the board early – Dee Gordon opens with a single, steals 2nd and scores on a Shin-Soo Choo single for the 1-0 lead. Ross was having himself a very good day as well – until he hurt his own cause with a throwing error in the 6th which led to a 2nd Columbus run. Happ left the game after 6 and the trio of Tony Watson, Drew Steckenrider and Jose LeClerc closed out the game keeping Bethesda hitless and scoreless for the final 3.

GAME #2 – Hyun-Jin Ryu 7-2 (1.78) vs. Julio Teheran 12-10 (3.83)

Game 2 looks a lot like a reverse of game 1. Ryu in complete command and the Bandicoots are getting the runs. The game was scoreless through 2 until Robinson Chirinos hits a fly ball that just clears Enrique Hernandez’s leaping glove and it clears the wall for a solo homer (1) and 1-0 Bethesda lead. The Ryu draws a walk and with 2 outs Jeff McNeil doubles scoring Ryu and it’s 2-0.
Game stays that way until the 6th. Anthony Rendon draws a 1 out walk – Julio is killing me. 2 outs and Ryan O’Hearn walks. UGH. Then David Peralta makes Teheran pay when he singles scoring Rendon. That was it for Teheran – gave up 3 hits, but 4 walks and 3 of those led to 2 runs. Ryu now has the big 3-0 lead. And (shhhhh) a no-hitter going.
Bottom of the 6th – Paul DeJong leads off with a double – well, there went the no-hitter. With one out, Brock Holt comes in to PH for reliever Matt Magill and he hits a drive down the RF line that needs some body english to stay fair – Holt twists and the ball hits the pole – a PH 2 run homer (1) and suddenly it’s 3-2 Bethesda. Ryu finishes the inning, but leaves for a pinch-hitter. But the ‘Coots call on Adam Ottavino who gives 2 scoreless/hitless innings before turning it over to Brandon Morrow for the 9th – he’s perfect and Bethesda ties up the series.
FINAL SCORE: Bethesda 3 Columbus 2

GAME #3 – John Gant 10-6 (3.70) vs. Wade LeBlanc 11-10 (3.19)

Game is pretty much over after the 1st. Dee Gordon opens with a walk, steals 2nd and scores on a Shin-Soo Choo single for the 1-0 lead. 1 out and Matt Carpenter doubles him home. Brock Holt and Paul DeJong walk. Asdrubal Cabrera grounds into FC at 2nd, but a run scores. Alex Avila then doubles in 2 more for 5-0 lead after 1.
LeBlanc then does an admirable job pitching 6 innings, 6 hits and a walk. One of his hits was a 6th inning solo homer to Trevor Story (1) and LeBlanc leaves after 6, up 5-1.
Bottom of the 7th, Charlie Blackmon leads off with a double that Lorenzo Cain misplays and Blackmon comes around to score for a 6-1 lead. Game looks wrapped up, it looks wrapped up.
Top of the 8th, Tony Watson into his 2nd inning of relief. 1 out and Cain doubles – his 3rd hit of the game. Anthony Rendon flies out and Columbus brings in Jose LeClerc for a 4 out opportunity to close out the series. Well this turns into one of those LeClerc moments you just can’t understand. Trevor Story doubles in Cain. David Peralta walks. Matt Adams hits one to the wall, Story scores, Peralta turns for home and scores, Adams goes for 3rd and … here’s where some luck comes in, the throw is cut-off and Adams is out – the fielders did was LeClerc couldn’t – got the 3rd out. But it’s now 6-4 Columbus after 8.
Top of the 9th – LeClerc will get the nod to stay out there. A.J. Ellis leads off and doubles. GULP But somehow, LeClerv finally settles in and gets the next 3 to end the game and the series.
FINAL Columbus 6 Bethesda 4 Bethesda outhit the Explorers 11 – 5 in this one, but Columbus did get 7 free passes!

SERIES WRAP UP – So the Explorers take the series in a close one 2 games to 1.

MWBL TRADE DEADLINE
WEDNESDAY 07/17/2019
AT 11:59 PM - ET!

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