While the Oakland A’s run out the string and check out some youngsters at the MLB level, the Triple-A Nashville Sounds and the Double-A Midland RockHounds are in the playoffs in their respective leagues. They each opened their Divisional Rounds on Wednesday, and both teams won their postseason openers to take 1-0 series leads.
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
Game 1: Sounds 10, Dodgers 7 (box score)
Game 2: Thu. 9/8, 4:05 p.m., at Oklahoma City
Game 3: Fri. 9/9, 4:05 p.m., at Nashville
Game 4: Sat. 9/10, 4:05 p.m., at Nashville
Game 5: Sun 9/11, 3:35 p.m., at Nashville
What looked like an interesting pitching matchup turned into a slugfest in the series opener on Wednesday. Scott Kazmir, down from LA on a rehab assignment, didn’t make it out of the first inning after allowing a three-run homer to Renato Nunez. On the other side, Jesse Hahn gave back most of the 6-0 lead he was handed, and by the end of six frames the score was 8-7 Nashville. The Sounds held on from there, though, even adding a couple insurance runs as their bullpen sealed the 10-7 victory.
Just like last year in Midland’s playoffs, Nunez (5 RBI) and Jaycob Brugman (3 runs scored) were right in the middle of the action. Brugman batted leadoff and finished with three hits and a walk, while Nunez drove in runs at three junctures (HR, RBI double, sac fly). Franklin Barreto also added two hits and a walk, and BJ Boyd notched three hits of his own. All told, the Sounds managed 14 hits and seven walks, though OKC ended up right behind at 11 and seven.
The pitcher who stood out the most was reliever Aaron Kurcz. As Nashville was bleeding away its lead in the 5th, Kurcz came into a bases-loaded jam and ended it with a strikeout. He then recorded five more outs, allowing only a solo homer along the way, and his work was crucial in bridging the gap between Hahn’s short start and Tucker Healy with the save.
The Sounds did all of this without third baseman Matt Chapman, who was out with a calf issue. Nunez played 3B instead, and although he committed an error in the field he clearly made up for it at the plate. They were also without reliever Bobby Wahl, who went on the DL before the game. The top performers of the day, and other notables:
Jaycob Brugman, OF: 3-for-5, BB, 3 runs
Renato Nunez, 3B: 2-for-3, HR, 2B, BB, 5 RBI
Franklin Barreto, SS: 2-for-4, 2B, BB
BJ Boyd, OF: 3-for-5
Matt Olson, 1B: 0-for-3, 2 BB
Jesse Hahn, RHP: 4⅓ ip, 6 runs, 7 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HR
Aaron Kurcz, RHP: 2 ip, 1 run, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
Tucker Healy, RHP: 1 ip, 1 K
Game 2 features a pitching matchup of lefty Dillon Overton against OKC righty Logan Bawcom.
Midland RockHounds vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
League: Double-A Texas League
Best-of-5 Divisional Series
Game 1: RockHounds 6, Hooks 2 (box score)
Game 2: Thu. 9/8, 4:05 p.m., at Corpus Christi
Game 3: Fri. 9/9, 4:00 p.m., at Midland
Game 4: Sat. 9/10, 4:00 p.m., at Midland
Game 5: Sun 9/11, 11:00 a.m., at Midland
Compared with Nashville, the RockHounds relatively cruised to victory in the opener of their title defense. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on a rally sparked by Max Schrock and Richie Martin, and Joel Seddon made it hold up by tossing five scoreless frames in his start. The bullpen made things close again, but one more 9th-inning rally, this time set up by Yairo Munoz and Schrock, sealed the deal for a 6-2 win.
Only two of Midland’s 14 hits went for extra bases, both doubles, but the quantity of baserunners was enough to break through for a pair of crooked numbers. Six Hounds notched multi-hit performances: Munoz, Schrock, Martin, Tyler Marincov, Beau Taylor, and Brett Vertigan, with both of Taylor’s hits driving in runs (3 RBI). J.P. Sportman also added an RBI single as part of the balanced attack. They did much of their damage against righty starter Francis Martes, a Top 50 prospect.
Seddon continued his hot streak, though it wasn’t pretty. He loaded the bases twice and put runners on second and third in another frame, but each time he worked out of the jam. Trey Cochran-Gill and Sam Bragg each allowed a run during their respective innings of relief work. The top performers and other notables:
Max Schrock, 2B: 2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 runs
Richie Martin, SS: 2-for-4
Yairo Munoz, 3B: 2-for-4
Tyler Marincov, OF: 3-for-5, 2B
Beau Taylor, C: 2-for-5, 3 RBI
J.P. Sportman, OF: 1-for-4, RBI, SB
Joel Seddon, RHP: 5 ip, 0 runs, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 5 hits
Kyle Finnegan, RHP: 1 ip, 0 runs, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 hit
Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP: 1 ip, 1 run, 1 HR
Sam Bragg, RHP: 1 ip, 1 run, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 hits
Game 2 features a pitching matchup of righties, with Corey Walter going for the Hounds against Trent Thornton.