The Triple-A Nashville Sounds and the Double-A Midland RockHounds are back in the driver’s seats of their respective Divisional Round playoff series. After dropping Game 2 on Thursday, both teams fell behind in their pivotal Game 3 showdowns before storming back to capture come-from-behind victories. The Sounds ‘n’ Hounds each now hold series leads with only home games the rest of the way.
Here’s a closer look at each series.
Nashville Sounds vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers
League: Triple-A Pacific Coast League
Best-of-5 Divisional Series
Sounds lead series 2-1
After a sleepy Game 2 loss, the Sounds returned home and set the tone early in Game 3. A three-run homer from Renato Nunez capped a big 3rd inning, and a solid start from Daniel Gossett had Nashville in good shape entering the late innings. The bullpen let OKC take the lead in the 7th, but Franklin Barreto was able to spark one more rally in the 8th and the Sounds did just enough to scratch out the go-ahead run. Tucker Healy held on for the save.
Nunez was the biggest hero at the plate, but not the only one. Barreto knocked in the first run of the game with a sac fly, but it was his triple leading off the 8th that changed the game. Colin Walsh also played a role in the final rally, knocking in Barreto with a single and then scoring the winning run on a productive forceout later in the frame. Amazingly, the Sounds managed to score six runs on only five hits (thanks to six walks).
Gossett didn’t dominate, but for a guy who began the year in High-A it’s tough to be disappointed about a merely decent start in the Triple-A playoffs. He pitched fine while he was in the game, but his inability to finish the 6th (or more likely, the team’s unwillingness to overwork him this late in the season) meant he had to rely on a lot of bullpen work to wrap things up -- and that didn’t go well. The culprits were Ryan Brasier, Colt Hynes, and Andres Avila, none of whom are currently on my radar in any way. Here are the numbers for the top prospects:
Renato Nunez, DH: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Franklin Barreto, SS: 1-for-3, 3B, RBI, run
Jaycob Brugman, OF: 1-for-3, BB, run
Matt Olson, 1B: 1-for-3, BB
Matt Chapman, 3B: 0-for-3, BB, 2 Ks
Daniel Gossett, RHP: 5⅓ ip, 2 runs, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR
Tucker Healy, RHP: 1 ip, 1 BB
Game 4 features a pitching matchup of Nashville newcomer Donn Roach against OKC righty Alfredo Figaro.
Midland RockHounds vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
League: Double-A Texas League
Best-of-5 Divisional Series
RockHounds lead series 2-1
In Game 2 the Hooks stunned the RockHounds with a late-inning comeback and a walk-off victory, and in Game 3 the RockHounds returned the favor. Corpus Christi put up a five-spot in the 4th and looked like they would cruise to a win and a series lead, but Midland came through at the last minute. They got a rally going in the 9th, and eventually found themselves with the bases loaded, two outs, and a two-run deficit. And then, this:
That’s Viosergy Rosa with the walk-off grand slam, and darn near the rare “backyard grand slam.” The 26-year-old is org filler at this point, but he was a serviceable player for Midland all year and now he has what must be one of the greatest moments in franchise history. In fact, the older fringe guys did most of the damage in this one, with CF Brett Vertigan (3 hits) and catcher Beau Taylor (2 hits, RBI) also chipping in. Max Schrock was finally quiet on Friday, with an 0-fer and only one RBI.
Ben Bracewell made the start and got crushed by that big 4th inning, which opened the door to my other favorite part of the game. Kyle Friedrichs, one of the prospects we’ve watched closely on AN all year, came in for a piggyback long relief outing and put up zeroes the rest of the way, recording 16 outs in total. As usual he didn’t walk a batter, and it took him only 65 pitches to breeze through 5⅓ frames. Friedrichs’ effort quietly kept the Hounds in the game long enough to make their comeback, and that’s a heck of a feat for a 2015 draft pick who began the year in Single-A.
Here are the numbers for the top prospects, though not necessarily the top performers in this game:
Richie Martin, SS: 2-for-4, RBI, run
Tyler Marincov, OF: 2-for-4
Max Schrock, 2B: 0-for-5, RBI, run
Yairo Munoz, 3B: 1-for-4, BB, 2 runs
J.P. Sportman, OF: 0-for-3, BB
Kyle Friedrichs, RHP: 5⅓ ip, 0 runs, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 3 hits
Game 4 features a pitching matchup of veteran lefty Brandon Mann against Hooks righty Cy Sneed.