Oakland A's MLN: Playoff Notes

For four of the Oakland A's affiliates, the playoffs begin on Wednesday. For the other A's post-season-bound affiliate, the playoffs have already ended. We have all of the post-season information inside.

Vancouver Eliminated From Post-Season

The Vancouver Canadians had a magical second half of the season, but their post-season run ended quickly with two straight losses to the Everett Aquasox. Vancouver dropped game two by a score of 3-1 after losing a 10-inning game to Everett in game one.

Nathan Long took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings. He gave up all three runs in the first two innings but settled down after that. Jake Brown kept the game close with three scoreless innings in relief, but the Vancouver offense could manage only one run on nine hits. The C's went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and they left 13 runners on the bases.

Michael Choice had three hits and Ryan Pineda and Jeff Bercume each had two hits, while A.J. Kirby-Jones and Josh Whitaker walked twice. However, Vancouver struck-out 11 times, killing numerous rallies.

Kane County Looks To Conquer The Quad Cities

By David Malamut, Kane County Correspondent

The Kane County Cougars will face the Quad Cities River Bandits in the first round of the playoffs starting on Wednesday at home. The Cougars went 11-9 against them this year, 6-5 at home and 5-4 on the road.

Murphy Smith will get the ball in the first game of the series. During the regular season he went 8-2 with a 3.64 ERA. He faced the Bandits on August 22 at home. He would get the loss, going five innings, giving up five hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out two. Smith pitched in the playoffs last year for the Cougars against Burlington. He would take the loss on September 10th. He would go six and two thirds innings, giving up six hits and two unearned runs.

In game two of the series on Thursday in the Quad Cities, Jonathan Joseph will take the mound. Joseph went 3-6 with a 3.05 ERA on the year. He started in 17 of his 22 games. Joseph missed time this year after he started on Opening Day when he came up with back spasms. He faced the Bandits twice, once as a starter. As a starter he faced them on August 23rd at home. He would get a no-decision, going five innings, giving up three hits and one unearned run. He walked four and struck out six. The other time he faced them was in relief on May 15th, going two and one thirds innings, giving up three hits and a run.

If it is needed, Chris Mederos will pitch in the third game of the series in Quad Cities. For the year he went 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA. He pitched in 17 games, starting 14 of them. He faced the Bandits three times over the year. Mederos started against them on April 27th, getting the win. He went six innings, giving up six hits and four runs, but only one earned. Mederos started against them again on July 28th in Iowa. He would take the loss, going three and one thirds innings, giving up four hits and three runs. His last start against them was on August 24th at home, and he would take home the win. He went seven innings, giving up four hits and one run. Mederos missed some time earlier this year with a strained right shoulder.

If the Cougars make it to the second round, they would face either the Clinton Lumberkings or the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Cougars went 6-11 against Clinton this year, 3-4 at home and 3-7 in Iowa. Against the Kernels they went 6-11, 3-4 at home and 3-7 in Iowa.

Midland Mixes It Up With Frisco

The Midland Rockhounds will take on the Frisco Roughriders in the first round of the Texas League playoffs starting on Wednesday in Frisco. The series is a best-of-five and will move to Midland on Friday. Midland will be looking for back-to-back Texas League championships.

These two teams are well acquainted with one another, having played each other 28 times this season. Frisco came out on top in the season series, winning 15 games. The Rockhounds hit .270 with a 725 OPS against the Roughriders and posted a 4.20 ERA.

Graham Godfrey will get the start in game one for the Rockhounds. He was a top performer for the Rockhounds in 2009 and helped bring the 'Hounds the title last season. In 2010, he spent most of the season with Triple-A Sacramento, where he had a 5.59 ERA. In five outings for Midland this year, Godfrey had a 3.86 ERA in 18.2 innings.

Ryan Edell, arguably the team's ace this season, will start game two. Acquired early in the season from Cleveland, Edell had a 3.17 ERA in 125 innings for Midland this season. The game three start will go to veteran Matt Wright, who had a 3.20 ERA in 78 innings after joining the 'Hounds mid-season. AFL-bound lefty Carlos Hernandez -- who was suspended during last year's playoffs after a beanball incident -- will start game four, if necessary. Hernandez had a 4.37 ERA this season. If the series comes down to the fifth game, Anthony Capra will get the nod. Capra had a 4.27 ERA this season.

Stockton Looking To Ride Second-Half Surge To Title

In 2008, the Stockton Ports had to go through the Modesto Nuts in the wild card series en route to the California League championship. Stockton will have to repeat that feat to take home another title. The Ports will look to crack the Nuts in a best-of-three game series starting Wednesday in Modesto.

The Ports and Nuts squared off 28 times this season, with Stockton coming out ahead by a 15-13 margin. Stockton hitters batted .282 against the Nuts, with Michael Spina blasting seven homeruns and Stephen Parker driving in 21 runs to lead the offense. The pitching staff struggled, with a 4.60 ERA.

Ports' ace Shawn Haviland will get the start in game one. Haviland finished seventh in all of the minor leagues in strike-outs with 169 and he had a 3.69 ERA. Game two will go to lefty Ben Hornbeck, who was among the minor league strike-out leaders in 2009. Hornbeck will be activated from the DL for the start. He had a 4.44 ERA for Stockton in 93.1 innings and he had a 4.85 ERA in 131.2 innings overall. Hornbeck had a 1.17 ERA in August. If the series goes to a third game, Justin Murray will take the hill. He was a 10-game winner for Stockton this season. Murray had a 3.67 ERA for the Ports and a 3.75 ERA overall.

Sacramento Looks To "Rain" In Tacoma

The River Cats fell just short of a PCL three-peat last season, losing in the league finals. Sacramento will look to start a new title streak, starting with a best-of-five game series against the Tacoma Rainiers.

Sacramento and Tacoma faced each other 16 times this season, and they split the season series. Sacramento hit only .250 against the Rainiers, but they posted a 3.49 ERA. Sacramento beat Tacoma in four games last season in the first round of the PCL playoffs.

Clayton Mortensen will get the start in game one of the series. Mortensen led the River Cats with 13 wins this season. He tossed eight shutout innings against Tacoma in his last outing against the Rainiers. Game two starter will be Travis Banwart, who has a 4.81 ERA since joining the River Cats from Midland. Banwart, who will appear in the AFL this October, has a 3.80 ERA overall this season.

The River Cats haven't announced their game three through five starters, but they will have to choose from the recently demoted A's starter Vince Mazzaro, the late-season ace Bobby Cramer and the major league veterans Jason Jennings and Brett Tomko. Game three and games four and five, if necessary, will be played at Safeco Field in Seattle.

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