Friday, September 30, 2011

L.I. Ducks ~ Championship Series Shifts To York Tied 1-1

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Championship Series



York Revolution (1-1)

Some Park out in Pennsylvania

LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  Things to Ponder on the Bus Ride to Game Three.

There's a tired overly used phrase that has probably never been more appropriate in describing the Ducks' post-season thus far.  They are following a similar script they followed in clinching round one.  With the Ducks hoping it's more a sign of good fortune ahead instead of an omen...,  there's an overwhelming sense of -  Here we go again.

With Mike Loree pitching a successful opening game victory in the divisional round, Josh Banks followed up with a disappointing start as the Ducks lost Game Two.  Long Island then went on the road after splitting the first two games at home and eliminated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in four games.

After Mike Loree's successful opening game victory in the Atlantic League Championship Series Wednesday night against the York Revolution, Josh Banks followed up with another abysmal start in Game Two.  The Ducks split the first two games at home, and by choice will take the now best two out of three series on the road to York, Pennsylvania where a League Champion will be crowned.

The start to both rounds almost mirror each other, but are all together unsettling for Duck Fans.  Long Island will send Bob Zimmermann to the mound looking to avoid getting put into an elimination situation on Saturday.  The strategy worked for them in the first round as the Ducks won the first two games on the road to clinch the Liberty Division pennant.  So, here's to hoping the plan works out for them again over the weekend.  Game Three is Friday night in a place the Ducks won four games and lost five during the regular season.

After Mike Loree halted the Revolution in Long Island Wednesday, York mounted a successful counter-attack Thursday evening with a 9-0 sacking of the Ducks.  Josh Banks lasted a mere 2.1 innings and faced only thirteen batters.  After a five hit power surge that netted York six earned runs, Ruddy Lugo was forced into long relief by the third inning.  But one run or nine runs would have sufficed for York.  The Long Island Ducks were held to zero in Game Two.

It may not happen often in a Championship Series; I don't know; but it's seems natural the League's best two teams could trade shut-outs over the first two games; that is, without knowing the particulars of this series.  But the Ducks have now officially been outscored 9-1 over two games.  So what gives?  The potent Long Island Nine have been effectively shut-down over the first two games by Nick Schumacher and Lorenzo Barcelo; not exactly Spahn and Saine.  Neither pitcher was York's best.  He's still coming.  The fact remains, Game Two's shut-out loss comes on the heals of getting held to one run on four hits in Game One.  The League's top offensive team has been held to ten hits in the series so far.

Mike Loree was able to make his lone run of Ducks' support hold up.  That's what aces do.  But Josh Banks had no such luck in Game Two.  Three home runs in the first three innings by the Revolution were more than enough to quiet the Ducks and their crowd who waved good-bye to their team knowing they face an uncertain trip to Pennsylvania with the series tied at a game apiece.

The Ducks haven't suffered through many offensive droughts this season; if any. And I'm sure the Long Island Nine would strongly concur this is the worst time for a sudden short circuit in production. But then again, offensive outages never happen at convenient times.  Do they?

The York Revolution still have their Ace; Corey Thurman; in reserve and maybe ready for Game Three or Four.  Then perhaps Shaun Garceau pitches a game.  As mentioned, the Ducks will pitch Bob Zimmermann tonight, who proved himself very capable when faced with this same situation in Round One.  It worked out that Long Island will only face Thurman once.  And apparently, they will not be seeing York's strikeout specialist, Matt DeSalvo this series either.   He last pitched on September 25th in a loss against Lancaster during the divisional round.

The Ducks will no doubt pitch Mike Loree again on short rest.  The question is do you pitch him in Game Four on two days' rest should the Ducks lose tonight and go down 2-1 in the series?  Ruddy Lugo and Mark Diapoules were pressed into relief duty last night.  After Banks and Loree, they are the only two pitchers left on the staff who have made regular starts this season.  Perhaps now, Valerio De Los Santos or Chris McCoy stand to make a start if the series should go the full five games.  Ruddy pitched 3.1 innings in relief of Josh Banks yesterday.  Diapoules pitched an inning, so he may be an option or be held back for long relief.  However, if the Ducks win Game Three behind Bob Zimmermann, do you give De Los Santos; McCoy; or Diapoules a start and the Ducks' bullpen a chance to close out the series with another win?  You would be saving Mike Loree, who will then be pitching on three days rest, for a possible Game Five scenario should the Ducks need it due to a loss over the next two games.

As the wheels on the bus go round and round on their way to York, Pennsylvania, so too do the thoughts of a one; Kevin Baez.


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