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2020 NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD SERIES

Triple Creek Patriots @ Tempe Tempers

Triple CreekTempeSERIES PREVIEW – NL Wild Card features a couple of opposite world squads. Perennial powerhouse Tempe receives the relative newcomers from Triple Creek. Home field advantage came down to the wire and was decided by the slimmest of margins, one game. These same teams dueled via WebEx just a couple weeks ago and Tempe took 4 of 6.

Tempe offense will be led by Bogaerts (.320/.388/.571), Brantley (.289/.345/.471), Albies (.271/.337/.475), JD Martinez (47 HRs), Freeman (39 HRs) and Ozuna (39 HRs).

Patriot impact bats were Bellinger (.300/.402/.672), Gurriel (.283/.325/.511), Seager (.281/.344/.474), and Villar (.273/.332/.454 52 SB). Strahm helped himself a bit this year with a solid .697 OPS, scoring 12 runs, and driving in 5.

Pitching-wise, Tempe had one starter with more than 10 wins, Wade Miley (14 3.46 ERA). Triple Creek had three (Strahm 15 3.68 / Bieber 13 2.72 / Montas 11 2.44) and a *sometimes* shutdown closer in Workman (38 saves 2.05).

Team totals were close in pitching with Triple Creek with the advantage (3.39 ERA) to Tempe’s (3.58) while offensively Tempe has the edge (.247 AVG 291 HRs) to Triple’s (.237 225 HRs).

Neither team has a dominant rotation, so this series could come down to who lands the most punches, as well as Patriot arms keeping the souvenirs to a minimum.

(Series played via TeamViewer)

GAME #1 – Frank Montas (11-3 2.44) vs. Wade Miley (14-6 3.46)

Patriots’ Montas and Tempers’ Miley get the ball.

And it takes all of 3 batters before Tempe makes a deposit in the seats, solo-shot courtesy of Tempe Army Major (“What kind of training? Ball thumping, sir”) JD Martinez. Tempe 1-0.

The thunderclap seems to settle Montas down and he cruises the next 4 innings, allowing just one other base runner. Meanwhile, Miley was as cool as the other side of the pillow, allowing NO hits through five full.

Leading off the 6th, Piscotty finds some green in left-center, and the no-no is spoiled. Montas is then removed for pinch hitter Almora. Two quick outs would bring Bellinger up. Cody was red hot on the previous series vs. Tempe which prompts a meeting at the mound to decide just how they want to approach the at-bat. Mathis squats down after the conference, they are going right at him. Miley brings it in and it’s laced to right field, base hit, OZUNA’s over and it’s off his glove! Taking a big hop away, he’s after it, while PISCOTTY’s digging for third and headed for home. The throw is not in time and cut off. Tie game 1-1. Hiura then walks which spells the end of the night for Miley. Crichton trots in the face Gurriel. CRICHTON deals and it’s swung on, fly ball to the gap in right, OZUNA’s racing over, but he won’t get it. To the wall BELLINGER scores and HIURA’s around third, they’re waving HIURA in, BOGAERTS will relay, here comes the throw home, the play at the plate…and he’s safe! Creek up 3-1.

Bottom of the 7th and 2 out, Soria pitching well in relief, walks Ozuna. Thaiss called upon to pinch-hit for Mathis, which is countered by lefty Miller to climb the hill. Tempe doesn’t like that match up so righty Riley grabs some lumber. The pitch … this one is hit … it may carry … it’s way back … say good-bye Austin ties the game!

The top of the 8th brings left Ramirez in for Tempe to face leadoff hitter Bellinger. The pitch … belted to right … near the foul pole … and it’s … long gone! home run for BELLINGER. That was all the Tempe skipper need to see and Ramirez gets the one pitch hook. Bowman then promptly walks Hiura and grooves on to Gurriel, who drills a double over 3rd, two runners on and nobody out. Willie Calhoun gets the call which is countered by lefty Hamels to toss the orb. Calhoun pops out. Munoz in for Hamels and he walks Gonzalez, bases juiced. Tempe stomachs are churning and Yu Darvish gets the call to face Bennie “Biceps” Benintendi. DARVISH comes home with it, BENINTENDI whacks it into right field, OZUNA races over and takes it on the bounce. HIURA scores, GURRIEL’s rounding third while GONZALEZ’s around second, they’re waving GURRIEL in and sending GONZALEZ to third,
the throw goes home, and here’s the play at the plate … SAFE!…slid around the tag. Darvish, head down, slinks off for Hughes. He quickly strikes out Piscotty. With 2 outs, 930 D specialist Caleb Joseph steps in, and Jared uncorks one off the screen! Gonzalez scores!! After the dust settles Triple Creek leads 7-3.

After a slow first half, this game has turned into a crooked number fest, and vomit bags are aplenty in the owner boxes.

Creeks’ Buttrey will attempt to hold the 4-run cushion. Difo pinch hits for Castillo and slaps a seeing-eye single through the right side. Freeman takes the first offering and hits a long drive to right … he buried it! … he buried it! home run for Freddie … and two runs score. Just like that the lead is cut in half. Triple Creek calls on the other half of the 8 (XY) doppelganger, Jimenez, who records 2 quick outs. Bogaerts delivers a base hit to center which summons Hunter Wood from the pen to face ex-Patriot Brantley. The pitch … it’s a shot down the line to right … into the corner … BENINTENDI’s chasing it down BOGAERTS is around third … he will slow-boat it home … BRANTLEY hits second under full steam he’s headed for third … here comes BENINTENDI’s throw … the slide … and he’s SAFE!…on a close play … triple and an RBI for BRANTLEY. Sounds of hurling and bag crinkling ensue on the visitor side. And the lead is a single tick. Workman, who was hoping for a day off, is leaned on again. Can the ex-Temper hold the fire line? WORKMAN to the wind … big swing
it’s a dying quail to right … BENINTENDI gallops in … HIURA races back but it parachutes between them … a Texas League single for OZUNA … BRANTLEY scores easily tie ballgame!

The answer to is “8 Is Enough”, is NO!, it is not.

The 9th leaves the cupboards pretty bare on both sides so Difo is the Tempe backstop (yikes!).

Floro looks to give the home team a chance for the walk-off. Seager quickly doubles and now must face Bellinger. SEAGER at second takes a big lead … he’s on with a lead-off double … the delivery from FLORO hot smash to ALBIES … and it’s by him! SEAGER rounds third … headed home… he’ll have to hurry … he’ll score as it’s cut off. HIURA digs in…here’s the delivery … it’s hit hard over third base hit … MARTINEZ’s racing to the line … still running … he picks it up BELLINGER rounds third… they’re waving him in.. here comes the throw home… the play at the plate … and BELLINGER’s … out!…just missed getting in. MARTINEZ threw a perfect strike.

All Tempe roads lead through Creek closer Workman and the bottom of the order is up.

Workman makes quick work of Longoria with a K and gets Difo to ground out. Hopes lie with dangerous Freddie Freeman and Workman takes him down on strikes.

19 pitchers used in this game.

W – Workman (1)
L – Floro (1)

Triple Creek Patriots 8, Tempe Tempers 7

GAME #2 – Shane Bieber (13-9 2.72) vs. Yu Darvish (9-9 4.05)

Bieber trying to close it out vs. Darvish

Bieb’s takes his old team to task with a 14 strikeout performance over 8 1/3 innings. Darvish pitched a great 7 innings as well allowing only 3 hits.

Tempe took the lead in the 2nd off a 1-run double by Brantley and Longoria. Seager matched that total on a 2-run homer in the 5th. All square after 8 complete. This seems all too familiar.

Crichton handles Triple Creek easily in the 9th. With Workman now spent, Hunter Wood is called upon as Bieber allows a 1-out double to Brantley and is gassed.

WOOD, his 2nd appearance in the series … his ERA at, Ummm, infinity. He was knocked out before getting an out … no record yet… he inherits a runner in scoring position.

The pitch comes in … an infield roller by OZUNA … SEAGER charges … the flip to first for the second out … BRANTLEY holds. LONGORIA facing WOOD, B 9th, 2 Outs, Runner on 2nd, Tied 2-2. WOOD brings it home… it’s grounded into the hole … goes by SEAGER and into left … BRANTLEY’s well around third… they’re waving BRANTLEY in… here comes the throw home… here’s the play at the plate … and he’s … in standing. Long-O delivers the walk-off!

W – Crichton (1)
L – Bieber (1)

Tempe Tempers 3, Triple Creek Patriots 2

GAME #3 – Matt Strahm (15-11 3.68) vs. Cole Hamels (10-4 3.85)

Well baseball fans, it will be decided today no matter what. The series is shaping up to be as predicted, “nail-biter special”.

Strahm for the visitors and Hamels for the homers to start on what will in all likelihood be short leashes.

Patriots ambush Hamels with back-to-back doubles for a don’t blink 1-0 lead. Seager then hits a laser, but right at Albies, and they double off Bellinger. Tempe gets a gift and breath a bit of relief. It will be short-lived as Gurriel drills the next pitch deep to left to bump the lead to 2. Tempe gets one back in B 1 off a Martinez double, scoring Freeman.

B 2, Holland on to relieve Strahm, 2 outs, and Longoria on 2nd. and Freeman scorches a run-scoring single, all tied up 2-2.

We pick it up B 4: C. CASALI facing A. MILLER, 2 Outs, Bases Empty, Tied 2-2. MILLER now … this one is hit … it may carry … it’s way back … bye-bye over the left-field wall. 3-2 Tempers.

Top of 7, Gonzalez on first via a single, with 1 out and Willie Calhoun coming up, lefty Nick Ramirez is called to face his 2nd batter of the series. His first batter in-game 1went poorly as Bellinger belted it out. The pitch … hit hard to right center BRANTLEY scampering back … at the track … he leaps … gone … a two-run dinger. Ding-dong the pitch is dead! Ramirez now 2-2 in the worst way. Patriots lead 4-3.

And that is the score in the top of the 9th. Munoz on for Tempe with Calhoun leading off. Willie walks and Daza comes into pinch-run. With anemic Joseph up, Hiura takes his spot in the lineup, hoping to be a hero. MUNOZ kicks and delivers…pulled sharply to LONGORIA … just out of reach … MARTINEZ’s racing to the line…still after it … still running … he’s there … picks it up … speedy DAZA rounds… they’re waving him in… Martinez cut down Bellinger at the plate earlier this series…here comes the throw home… HIURA’s going for third… here’s the play at the plate … and DAZA’s … out!…just missed getting in… go to town, TEMPERS! … they cut off the run! and the aggressive baserunning does not pay off.
That’s one less the TEMPERS will have to score and HIURA takes third on the throw. M. BOWMAN trots into a tough spot, T 9th, 1 Out, Runner on 3rd, Ahead 4-3. The infield is drawn in … HIURA off third … now the delivery … big swing… it’s a dying quail to right … OZUNA gallops in … DIFO races back but it parachutes between them … a Texas League single for VILLAR … HIURA scores easily. 5-3 Patriots. Villar steals 2nd so Bellinger collects a free pass. Bowman vs. Seager. Ground ball to first … THAISS to his right (Freeman out at 1st in a collision earlier in the game) … gloves it and flips to BOWMAN covering … safe! … his foot was off the bag … and the bases are loaded.

L. GURRIEL facing D. FLORO, T 9th, 1 Out, Bases Loaded, Ahead 5-3. Infield deep … the runners take their lead … here’s the pitch from FLORO it’s a high fly to center … BRANTLEY is over … moves under it … and makes the catch… the runners are tagging…VILLAR coming down the line here comes the throw home…here’s the play at the plate … and he’s … in standing. Patriots 6-3.

Tempe down 3 in the 9th with their backs against the wall. Soria on the hill for Triple Creek. And Soria locks it down on three straight outs.

W – Newcomb (1)
L – Ramirez (1)
S – Soria (1)

Triple Creek Patriots 6, Tempe Tempers 3

SERIES SUMMARY – It was a tight and fun series which is all both teams hoped for. With Triple Creek moving on to face a stout opponent in Pittsburgh.

TRADING WILL
OPEN UP ON
WEDNESDAY 10/08/2020
AT 10:00 AM - ET!

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