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High-A Stockton, Single-A Beloit make minor league playoffs

Stockton lost their first game on Wednesday.

Matt Milburn leads Stockton’s rotation in the playoffs.
Photo credit: Meghan Camino | Stockton Ports

The Oakland A’s have two minor league affiliates who made their league’s postseasons this year. Unfortunately, the Double-A Midland RockHounds are not one of them.

Midland won the last four championships in the Texas League, giving them a streak rarely seen anywhere in the minors. However, they failed to make the playoffs at all this time around, finishing third place in their division in both the first and second halves of the season.

Two other clubs did make the cut in their leagues, though. The High-A Stockton Ports will play for the California League crown, and the Single-A Beloit Snappers will make their own push in the Midwest League. Here’s a look at both.

Stockton Ports vs. Visalia Rawhide (D’Backs)

League: High-A California League

Best-of-5 Division Series

Ports trail series 0-1

Game 1: Rawhide 5, Ports 3 (box score)
Game 2: Thu. 9/6, 7:10 p.m., at Stockton
Game 3: Fri. 9/7, 7:00 p.m., at Visalia
Game 4: Sat. 9/8, 7:00 p.m., at Visalia
Game 5: Sun. 9/9, 6:10 p.m., at Stockton

The first game was held on Wednesday, and Visalia came out on top. Stockton got off to a quick 2-1 lead on a homer by Brett Siddall, but the Rawhide tied it in the 6th when reliever Sam Sheehan walked in an inherited runner. It stayed knotted until the 9th, but lefty Pat Krall put a pair of runners on base and Angel Duno served up a three-run homer. Veteran ringer Viosergy Rosa homered in the bottom half but it wasn’t enough to close the gap.

Extra notes: Top prospect Kevin Merrell started at shortstop and hit a double out of the leadoff spot. The speedster missed most of the last two months of the season to an injury but returned for the final week. He and outfielder Greg Deichmann were Top 50 draft picks in 2017, and they’re both back in the lineup after long DL stints. Meanwhile, Sheehan and Duno are both headed to the Arizona Fall League next month.

Brett Siddall, DH: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Viosergy Rosa, 1B: 1-for-4, HR, RBI
Edwin Diaz, 3B: 1-for-3, BB

Matt Milburn, RHP: 5⅓ ip, 2 runs (1 ER), 4 Ks, 3 BB, 6 hits, 0 HR

Wyatt Marks is slated to start Game 2 tonight, with Kyle Freidrichs lined up for Game 3 on Friday.

The Ports are here because they dominated the first half of the season, but most of the stars from that group have long moved up to Double-A. They actually tied with Visalia for the division lead again in the second half despite being under .500, so perhaps this is an even matchup after all. We’ll see how this crew does with the opportunity they’ve been given. Whoever wins this series goes to the championship series for the eight-team league.

Beloit Snappers vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins)

League: Single-A Midwest League

Best-of-3 Division Quarterfinal

Series tied 0-0

Game 1: Thu. 9/6, LIVE, at Beloit (box score)
Game 2: Fri. 9/7, 3:00 p.m., at Cedar Rapids
Game 3: Fri. 9/7, TBD p.m., at Cedar Rapids

The first game on Wednesday was rained out, so Beloit and Cedar Rapids will play a three-game series in two days. The first game is going on right now, and then there will be a doubleheader on Friday.

The Midwest League has 16 teams, and half of them make the playoffs. The Snappers are here because they finished third in their eight-team division in the second half of the season, but one of the teams ahead of them in the standings had already clinched a spot in the first half so Beloit squeaked in as a Wild Card.

Jared Poche’ is starting Game 1, with Lazaro Armenteros, Austin Beck, and Nick Allen among the top names in the lineup. Cedar Rapids is off to an early 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning.

The winner of this best-of-3 will go on to play another best-of-3 Division Championship Series, followed by a best-of-5 League Championship Series.

Link to box scores