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Governors' Cup final: PawSox vs. Durham, Game 1 preview

Posted by Craig Forde  September 10, 2013 02:11 PM

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Durham Bulls (87-57, IL South champion)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (80-63, IL North champion)

Season series: Pawtucket, 5-3

Titles (most recent)
Durham – 3 (2009)
Pawtucket – 3 (2012)

After a thrilling series against the Rochester Red Wings that went the full five games, the Pawtucket Red Sox now stand just three wins away from a successful defense of their 2012 Governors’ Cup Championship. Once again that road goes through North Carolina. Where last season their journey took them through Charlotte, this time around they will take Tobacco Road through Durham where they begin their best-of-five series tonight. The Bulls swept the Indianapolis Indians in three games, outscoring their opponent 10-6.

Game one features a matchup of two top pitching prospects. Bulls righty Jake Odorizzi, ranked as the 39th best prospect in the game by MLB.com, will face off against Pawtucket’s Anthony Ranaudo, ranked 80th overall. Both pitchers got a start in the semifinal round, with profoundly different results. Ranaudo struggled early in game one versus Rochester, lasting only two innings after allowing seven hits, a walk and four earned runs. On the flip side Odorizzi was downright unhittable, allowing just one base knock and three walks while striking out nine in seven scoreless innings of work.

While Ranaudo has not faced Durham this season, Odorizzi has made two starts against the PawSox. The first, back on May 5th, was even better than his game one performance against Indy. In that May matchup Odorizzi held Pawtucket hitless over seven innings and served up just four walks as he picked up the win in a combination no-hitter at McCoy Stadium. In a July 18th start against the PawSox, Odorizzi’s numbers more resembled Ranaudo’s semifinal game one as he was saddled with a loss after allowing seven hits and four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. That PawSox lineup featured the now departed Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.

On the offensive side of the ball neither team really burned any bats in the semifinals, despite the PawSox 17 runs. The Bulls had just a .198 team average in their three games with 18 hits, only seven of which were for extra bases. Pawtucket was a bit better at a .247 team mark, but managed to punch out 11 extra-base hits, including two triples and two homers. In round one the Bulls were led by former number 1 overall pick (2008) Tim Beckham, who posted a .385 average in three games and third baseman Cole Figueroa, who batted .333. For Pawtucket, number nine hitter Heiker Meneses had a .333 average with three RBIs in five games while Brock Holt, who batted just .190, also came up big when it counted, driving in three runs as well.

The PawSox are looking to become the second straight team to repeat as International League champions, following Columbus’ titles in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the Clippers two titles the Bulls had won in 2009 and also had back-to-back titles of their own in 2002 and 2003. In that 2003 series the Bulls swept the PawSox in three games.

GAME 1 STARTING LINEUPS

Pawtucket Red Sox
3B Jonathan Diaz
2B Brock Holt
DH Alex Hassan
1B Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
LF Jeremy Hazelbaker
C Dan Butler
CF Justin Henry
SS Heiker Meneses

RHP Anthony Ranaudo

Durham Bulls
SS Tim Beckham
3B Cole Figueroa
LF Jason Bourgeois
1B Vince Belnome
RF Brandon Guyer
DH Leslie Anderson
2B Ryan Roberts
CF Kevin Kiermaier
C Jesus Flores

RHP Jake Odorizzi

GOVERNORS’ CUP FINAL
Game 1: Tuesday, September 10, PawSox at Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2: Wednesday, September 11, PawSox at Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, September 13, Durham at PawSox, 7:05 p.m.
*Game 4: Saturday, September 14, Durham at PawSox, 6:05 p.m.
*Game 5: Sunday, September 15, Durham at PawSox, 1:05 p.m.
* - if necessary

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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