Next 3 days key for Wild Things’ playoff hopes
The Wild Things’ position in the upcoming Frontier League playoffs will be determined over the next three days.
Washington, which has clinched its first playoff berth since 2007, concludes the regular season with a four-game series against the Evansville Otters that begins with a doubleheader tonight (6:05 p.m.) at Consol Energy Park.
The Wild Things (55-37) enter the series in third place in the East Division, only 1½ games behind first-place Southern Illinois (57-36), which ends the regular season with a three-game series at fourth-place Lake Erie (52-40). Evansville (55-35) is in second place, a half-game behind Southern Illinois. The top four teams in the East have clinched playoff berths. Because of rainouts that will not be rescheduled, Evansville will play only 94 regular-season games instead of 96.
The Frontier League playoffs begin Saturday with two wild-card games that are one-game playoffs, similar to the format used by Major League Baseball.
The scenario is simple for Washington: For the Wild Things to be assured of a home playoff game, they must win the four-game series against Evansville unless Southern Illinois is swept by Lake Erie. If the latter happens, Washington would need only two wins against the Otters to be assured of a home playoff game. To win the division title, the Wild Things must win at least three games over Evansville and Southern Illinois must lose at least twice to the Crushers.
If Washington and Southern Illinois end the regular season with identical records, Washington will get the higher seed for the playoffs based on winning the season series 4-2.
The probable starting pitchers for Washington tonight are Scott Dunn (7-5) and Troy Marks (4-1). Evansville is expected to pitch Jose Velez (2-4) and Will Oliver (3-0).
The second-place team in the West, either River City (58-35) or Schaumburg (58-35), is guaranteed of hosting a wild-card game. Schaumburg ends the regular season with a series at Normal (48-44) while River City plays at Florence (41-52).
If River City and Schaumburg tie for the division title, the Rascals receive the first-round bye based on winning the season series.