Prospects Dallas McPherson and Kendry Morales have each spent significant
time in the majors this year, and are the two guys most counted on to bring
victory to the Bees.
They will be opposed by a Sidewinders team that posted ten more regular
season wins, but that has also lost more players to the big league club.
Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, Miguel Montero, Chris Young, Edgar and Enrique Gonzalez, Doug Slaten, and Randy Choate were key contributors to the
Sidewinders' 91-win season, but none of them will be able to help the team in
Tucson will therefore rely heavily on the 1-2 punch of Micah Owings and Mike Bacsik, a duo that combined to go 21-0 with a 3.25 ERA for the Sidewinders.
In a five game series, Owings could pitch twice if necessary, but it is more
likely that PCL Manager of the Year Chip Hale will give a vote of confidence to
Dustin Nippert (13-8 4.87), Adam Bass (9-4 4.76), and the newly-acquired Evan MacLane (10-8 3.83).
Even using this five man rotation, Tucson's pitching still looks much
stronger than Salt Lake's. The question is whether it will be good
enough to quiet their bats. Also, a lot of pressure will be put on
catchers Robby Hammock and Juan Brito. The Bees stole nearly twice as
many bases as the Sidewinders did this season, and coming in as underdogs, Salt
Lake may elect to play extremely aggressive ball.
Offensively, the onus is on Alberto Callaspo to continue to set the table as
he did all year, having led the PCL in base knocks. Chris Carter, Brian Barden, and Scott Hairston must be the run producers now that the rest of this
league-leading offense has been promoted to the major league level.
The series begins Wednesday night, as Kasey Olenberger (7-5 5.10) faces off
against Owings (10-0 3.70). The winner of the series will face either the
Nashville Sounds (Brewers) or the Round Rock Express (Astros).
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