The Spokane Indians advanced to the 3-game NWL championship series against the Everett Aquasox by taking the first 2 games from the Yakima Bears.
Monday Box: Indians 5, Bears 1
Ben Henry started the opener and struggled with command over 3.2 innings, throwing about 75 pitches. After the tenuous start the bullpen pitched a shutout the rest of the way, with Marban, Rodebaugh, Osborne, and Killian getting 8SO over 5.1 innings.
Ben Henry had a a sharp, late-breaking CB on the night but struggled to command his FB and changeup (the last of which got hammered on a couple of occasions, one falling in for a double off the wall, narrowly missing a HR). The Bears pxp said it was the best CB that they had seen from him compared to previous outings when it was flat. Marban dominated in relief of Henry, stranding 2 inherited runners and notching 4SO over 2.1. Marban was throwing 3 pitches on the night with a good FB, a "nice little slider" and a change. Osborne's sidearm delivery generates a lot of tail on his FB and he had a nice BB on the evening, getting a SOS on one nasty backdoor slider.
The announcer talked a little bit about Hoying's swing (who was uncharacteristically patient with 3 walks). He said that he has good bat speed and was able to barrell up some balls out of the strike zone despite his weird setup and follow through, which almost touches his back. Kellin Deglan, starting due to his catching chops, had a bit of a shaky outing behind the plate while Strausborger and Richmond led the team with 2 hits each. He also looked a bit awkward at the plate. The Bears pxp guy had difficulty characterizing Deglin's first awkward, flailing, stabbing attempt at a sac bunt, so he just laughed. Deglin's 2nd attempt was almost as ugly, prompting the announcer to utter this classic line: "I'm not sure how much bunting they do in Canada." !!
Tuesday Box: Indians 6, Bears 1
Randol Rojas had a nice efficient start in this game, giving up only 1ER over 6IP (6/6/1/1/4/0) while the bullpen closed it out once again with 3 shutout innings. Rojas only had about 66 pitches over 5.1, got ahead of hitters and had a really good changeup on the night. The Bears announcer said that he was around 87-88 with a change that came in at around 71 and a breaking ball at 75. Not sure if that was really a CU at 71, more likely a CB, but whatever. In one sequence Rojas threw a wicked change that the hitter took a vicious swing at that was so early "he had time to go around twice." I like the Bears announcer.
It does not appear that Rojas has added any velo on the year, but given his slight frame, he might be able to add some strength over the next couple of years as he gets acclimated to full-season ball and add a few tics.
Killian sat 90-92; Reyes was 90-91, with a nice slider; Steggall flashed 92 but had some command issues.
Profar("the slick-fielding shortstop"), Chirino and Olt ("soft hands") made nice plays in each game. Strausborger threw a runner out at 2nd with a cannon from the RF fence that left the Bears announcer talking to himself.
One final note of interest. According to the Bear's announcer, the Bear's players were none to pleased with Profar's exaggerated on-field celebration (throwing his glove high into the air on the infield or some such) after the final out of game one, as if he had just won the LL World Series again. That story was relayed just after Profar got a little "chin music" in one at bat.
Couple of stories from the Spokesman (with player quotes):
8/2: Mendez Debut
8/20: Submariner Rowen
8/22: Game Notes
8/23: Game Notes
8/28: Game Notes
8/29: Game Notes
8/30: Game Notes
9/6: Indians vs Bears
9/7: Teenage Indians
Couple of Indians Notes:
*It seems that Josh Richmond has played with a broken thumb since 8/16, when he injured it sliding into home. He missed the next 9 games but returned on 8/27. Hopefully that explains why the promising RF hasn't hit for more power in his short season debut.
*Clark Murphy has not appeared in a game since 8/25 and his status has not been clarified. Reading between the lines here (of some Spokesman notes), he may have been suspended.
UPDATE: Jason Cole pooh-poohs my speculation about Clark Murphy, confirming that he has in fact been shut down for the season (~8/25) due to injury (possibly an oblique). JC says they wanted him to be healthy enough for Instructs.