LONG ISLAND DUCKS ~ Saturday; GAME CALLED.
Game Four rescheduled for Sunday 1:00 pm. Possible Game Five Pushed Back to Monday.
The Webbed Spikes Nine ~ Mother Nature Holds Off Elimination for a Day. Ducks Get Huge Break.
Saturday night's post; updated Sunday morning.
As much havoc Mother Nature wrought on the latter part of the regular season, Saturday she decided on giving Long Island the night off for a chance to clear their minds of all the muddling thoughts over what they might possibly be doing wrong at the plate. After a season long drubbing of the competition, they are suddenly and collectively caught in the middle of a horrific batting slump that gripped them just in time for the Championship Series. And now they need a fast fix before Game Four is over.
At a horrible time; at the worst time; two of the Ducks' major strengths have escaped them. The Ducks are in dire need of mounting some kind of sustained hitting over the course of the next game so as to not make it their last. For the series, they have but one home run to their credit, while York has lost five baseballs over the walls. And over the last two games of the series, the season long reliable Ducks' bullpen has gotten equally hammered as well. So the rain-out could help the Ducks in that regard. The rest may do them all good.
The rain may also have been a stroke of luck. Long Island's Chris McCoy wound up being Kevin Baez' choice yesterday to start Game Four against York's ace starter; Corey Thurman. As the Ducks were facing elimination Saturday down 2 games to 1 in the best of five series, the rain-out now most likely sets up a showdown between the League's two top pitchers over the regular season and the match-up everyone really wanted to see anyway.
Mike Loree will no doubt get the start Sunday afternoon pitching on three days rest. He finished the regular season winning the pitching Triple Crown. His 14-5 record was tops in the League. He also won his two playoff starts so far, including his 1-0, 7 inning shut-out effort over York in Game One. In that game, he made one Ducks' run stand up, shutting-out the Revs while striking out ten. But will one run be enough again? With Loree pitching, you never know. But the pragmatic answer is absolutely not. The bats need to wake up.
Corey Thurman finished the regular season second to Mike Loree in wins with a 13-3 record. And Thurman also won his last playoff start in Lancaster. Loree and Thurman finished one/two in strikeouts with 131 and 111 respectively. And in ERA, Thurman's 3.33 mark finished second behind Loree's 1.98 mark.
So if indeed Corey Thurman pitches Sunday afternoon, then the League and the Fans in attendance out in York, PA., will truly be treated to the best the Atlantic League has to offer. These are two teams chasing down their organization's second championships. They are playing in an elimination game where the home team may get to celebrate in front of their own crowd. That's always exciting. The game features last year's defending Champion looking to repeat versus this year's regular season Champs; as Long Island finished with the League's best overall record and won both half Division Titles. And then of course, the game itself, with the League's two best pitchers opposing each other, combine to make this a special day for Atlantic League Baseball should the match-up transpire.
Should Corey Thurman not pitch Sunday because York saved him for a Game Five scenario, York will most likely throw Nick Schumacher at the Ducks Sunday afternoon instead. He's the same pitcher who started them on their funk when he limited Long Island to four hits and one run in Game One. With a game to spare, I can see York's logic saving Thurman till Monday with Mike Loree having been spent in today's upcoming game. York can take their chances today and have their ace going in the Championship deciding game on Monday. But then again, why wait? The other option is go for the kill.
The Ducks have no such luxury. Mike Loree must get them through the day. If the Ducks ever needed their ace to come up big, them need him to come through now. But the Ducks have to give him some runs this time. In three full games now, the Ducks have posted runs in only three innings out of twenty-seven played. Another nine innings of that kind of production and their season will surely end today.
On the brighter side of elimination talk, if the Ducks can take the next two games, oh what a story that would make if they can cap off a truly spectacular regular season with what now will be dubbed as a miraculous comeback should they pull it off. What a story that would be indeed.
(York leads series 2-1)
LONG ISLAND DUCKS