Tacoma used a strong August to finish the season on a high note. The Rainiers ended up 80-64, just 3 ½ games behind Salt Lake in the division race, and finished up a four-game sweep of Portland on Monday. Prentice Redman's two-run walk-off homer in the ninth ended the game and the season for the Rainiers. Redman had a fine season in Tacoma, and his 19 homers and .310 average may have earned him a call-up to the Mariners. In Sunday's 5-1 victory, Brandon Morrow had his finest outing since being converted to a starter: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. He threw 82 pitches.
The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx finished their season up on Sunday with a 6-1 loss to Mississippi in a rain-shortened game. Monday's game between the two teams was canceled because of weather related to Hurricane Gustav. The Jaxx finished with a full-season record of 70-68, but qualified for the playoffs by winning the North Division's first half title. They will play Carolina, winner of the second half, in a best-of-five series starting on Wednesday night in Jackson. The first two games will be in Jackson, followed by up to three games in Carolina, depending on how many are necessary. The team will be without several players that contributed to the first-half title, including Michael Saunders, Luis Valbuena, Prentice Redman, Rich Dorman, Justin Thomas, and Travis Chick. But there are still many good hitters with the team, including Mike Wilson, Adam Moore, Johan Limonta, and Greg Halman. The Jaxx will have to rely on a makeshift rotation of pitchers, though, including second-half projects like Tracy Thorpe, Joseph Woerman, and Gaby Hernandez.
High Desert ended the season on a two-game winning streak, taking the final game 6-4 in Lake Elsinore. The Mavs finished with a 58-82 record, which was the worst in the California League. With rumors flying that the M's may be attempting to land a full-season A+ club in the Florida State League, this was possibly the final game for the Mariner organization at High Desert. The M's and Mavs signed a two-year affiliation agreement prior to the 2007 season. With the extreme and unpredictable playing conditions in the Cal League, it's difficult to evaluate player performance. Pitchers, especially, tend to have major issues in the desert atmosphere, and the team has struggled as the M's have preferred to leave better pitching prospects down at Wisconsin, or move them straight up to AA West Tenn.
Speaking of Wisconsin, the Rattlers got their finest pitching performance of the year on the final day of the season. Michael Pineda threw a complete game one-hitter, facing just one batter over the minimum. He allowed a fifth-inning single but that was it. Every other inning was a 1-2-3 affair. Pineda's 14 strikeouts were a career high, and he walked none. It was the first and only complete game thrown by a Wisconsin pitcher all season. Pineda ended the season with a miniscule 1.95 ERA and might have been the most pleasant surprise in the whole organization this year. The Rattlers finished the season at 56-80. In the pitching-friendly Midwest League, the Rattlers never got going offensively. Their 527 runs scored and .660 team OPS were second-worst in the 14-team league. The Rattlers also hit fewer home runs (60) than any other team.
Everett still has two games remaining in the short-season Northwest League. The AquaSox will play two games in Eugene to wrap things up. The Frogs are currently in last place in the West Division with a 32-42 record. They are one game behind Vancouver. Eugene will be playing hard these last two days, as they are one game behind Salem-Keizer in the race for the division title and a postseason berth.
Pulaski had a very successful season in their first season as a Mariner affiliate, winning the Appy League's East Division title and playing in the league's title series. But the magic ran out in the playoffs as the M's were swept in two games by Elizabethton. Game two was over early as the Twins raced out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and cruised from there, winning 7-0. The M's out-hit the Twins 10-9 but couldn't push a run across. Pulaski left six runners in scoring position and had nine LOB overall. The Mariner affiliation with Pulaski is being done on a year-by-year basis. Some clubs choose not to have a second rookie-level team in addition to their Arizona or GCL teams. The Mariners have a full complement of seven domestic teams, in addition to teams in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The organization has yet to decide if they want to continue supporting such a large organization.