Nothing is more unpredictable than the postseason in baseball and that includes the minor leagues too. Last night the Eugene Emeralds, the class-A short season affiliate of the Cubs, won the Northwest League Title in what has to be the most devastating way possible. For the other team anyway.
First, let’s get to how the Emeralds even reached the playoffs.
Eugene actually finished with the worst record in the Northwest League at 31-45, but because the league splits the season into two halves the Emeralds won the second half Wild Card spot and qualified for the playoffs.
In the first round, the Emeralds swept the Hillsboro Hops, winning a pair of games 3-2 to reach the championship round against Spokane. Hillsboro had the best record in the league at 51-25. See, the postseason is unpredictable.
Anyway, Eugene quickly went up 2-0 in its series against Spokane and with a chance to sweep the Emeralds started the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 trailing 2-1. Then, things got crazy.
With runners at second and third and one out, Jake Slaughter was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then, Andy Weber walked to tie the game at two and with the bases still loaded with one out and a title in sight, Nelson Velazquez stepped up to the plate, probably hoping he could pull a David Bote.
Instead, Velazquez never had to take his bat off his shoulder because Spokane’s pitcher Emmanuel Clase balked in the championship-winning run.
From worst to first.
— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) September 12, 2018
So, the Emeralds proved once again that all you need to do is get to the playoffs and then anything can happen. Just play a few weeks of good baseball and all a sudden you’re a champion.
But oh boy, imagine that happening to your team in the World Series. Losing that way? You may never want to watch baseball ever again. I mean, bases loaded walk and then a balk? Brutal.
Congrats to the Emeralds though, as they’ve won two championships in the past three seasons. Hey, so now it’s the Cubs turn, as both teams won back in 2016.