Playoff Scenarios, Records, and All-Stars…
Two games remaining in the regular season and the playoff picture in the Northwest League is still a bit cloudy, but getting clearer by the day – as the Hawks look to try an advance to the postseason for the first time since 2006.
Boise currently leads Spokane by one game in the overall standings with a record of 35-39 with those two games remaining – needing to finish ahead of the Indians to have a chance at the postseason. A win by Tri-City or a loss by Yakima in the final two games of the season will give the Dust Devils the second half pennant, sending either Boise or Spokane to the Divisional Series, beginning on Monday.
Best case scenario for the Hawks would be the ability to clinch tonight – having Tri-City defeat Salem-Keizer (the only team in the league that has been eliminated from the playoff chase), and Everett defeat Spokane.
The West Division race is also up for grabs, as Eugene leads Everett by one game in the second half standings. If Everett ties or overtakes the Ems, the defending NWL champions will earn the second spot from the West (they own the tiebreak over Eugene with a 4-3 record in the second half against the Emeralds). However, if Eugene finishes a game ahead of the Aquasox – Vancouver can still reach the postseason by winning with the best overall record in the West (same scenario as the Hawks).
POSTSEASON SCHEDULE: The West Divisional series will open with Tri-City on the road at either Boise, Spokane, or Yakima on Monday night – the game to be played at 6:45 p.m. at Memorial Stadium if the Hawks earn the berth. Game 2 (and Game 3 if necessary) would be played at Gesa Stadium in the Tri-Cities, beginning at 8:15 p.m. (MT) each night.
It gets goofy from there – if the Hawks were to win the Divisional series, they would host Game 1 of the Best-of-3 LCS on Friday the 9th, if they play either Vancouver or Everett…if they were to face Eugene, the series would begin Thursday the 8th, at PK Park in Eugene, with Games 2 and 3 at Memorial Stadium on the 9th and 10th (as the University of Oregon is hosting a football game on the 10th). If Boise were to play Everett, Games 2 and 3 would be in Everett on the 10th and 11th, while if it were Vancouver, there would be a travel day, with Games 2 and 3 on the 11th and 12th.
RECORD BREAKERS: Paul Hoilman broke a pair of Boise Hawks’ franchise records on Wednesday night, surpassing the club record for home runs in a season with a second inning blast (listen to the audio call at http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/highlights8-31-11.wma), surpassing Russ Canzler, who it 16 HR’s in 2006. The slugger also became the first player in team history to eclipse the 100 strikeout plateau in a year with a fourth inning K and now has 102 strikeouts on the season – four strikeouts away from Lee Tinsley’s NWL record.
Bryce Shafer locked down his 12th save of the season last night – becoming the first Boise player since Bo Donaldson in 1997 to record more than 11 saves. Jason Wylie had 11 saves for the 2002 NWL champion Hawks.
ALL-STARS: Two Hawks were honored by the NWL this season as postseason All-Stars, as Hoilman earned the nod at first-base, while Rafael Lopez was honored as the top catcher in the league. They weren’t the only former Hawks to earn all-star honors, as Justin Bour and Hak-Ju Lee were named to the Florida State League team, with Canzler earning Most Valuable Player honors by the International League after an outstanding season with the Durham Bulls.
CALL UPS: With the September MLB rosters expanded to 40 men yesterday, a pair of former Hawks earned call-ups from their big league affiliate – as Brandon Guyer has rejoined the Tampa Bay Rays and Jerry Blevins rejoined the Oakland Athletics. A total of six first-year MLB players that previously played for the Hawks have debuted in 2011.