The Midwest League playoff picture became clearer Wednesday night, but the second-half wild-card teams are still to be determined for both divisions.
In the Eastern Division, the Lake County Captains clinched the second-half division title, which means they will face the South Bend Silver Hawks (the first-half wild-card team) in the first round of the playoffs. The first-half division winner West Michigan Whitecaps will face the still-undetermined second-half wild-card team; five teams are still in contention for that last playoff spot, with five days left in the regular season.
The Dayton Dragons currently lead that race, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Great Lakes Loons are only a half-game behind them, the Fort Wayne TinCaps one game back, and the Lansing Lugnuts two games back.
In the Western Division, the Cedar Rapids Kernels clinched the second-half division title, which means they will face the Burlington Bees (the first-half wild-card team) in the opening round of the playoffs. The first-half division winner Kane County Cougars will face the still-undetermined second-half wild-card team.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers currently lead that race, with both the Peoria Chiefs and the Quad Cities River Bandits two games behind them. The Beloit Snappers and the Clinton LumberKings are eliminated from playoff contention.
Bees’ Newcomb strikes out 10
After pitching poorly in his last two outings, Bees LHP Sean Newcomb was excellent in his start against the Timber Rattlers on Wednesday. He struck out 10 batters while giving up only two hits and no walks in four scoreless innings. Altogether, Wisconsin hitters struck out 17 times.
Timber Rattlers SP Clint Terry took the loss despite giving up only one run on three hits, a walk and two hit batters. He struck out eight.
Corcino, Soler make MLB debuts
A pair of former Midwest League players made their MLB debuts during the current series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds.
On Tuesday, RHP Daniel Corcino made his debut with the Reds, pitching a perfect 9th inning in Cincinnati’s 3-0 loss to Chicago. Corcino needed only 10 pitches to strike out two batters and get the third one he faced to fly out to left field.
Tuesday, incidentally, was the former Dayton Dragons pitcher’s 24th birthday.
Corcino went 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 139.1 IP for the 2011 Dragons. He also pitched in six games for the 2010 Dragons, striking out 29 in 31.1 IP.
On Wednesday, OF Jorge Soler made his debut with the Cubs, hitting a 423-foot solo homer in his first at-bat. He later drove in another run and also struck out once. The Reds won the game 7-5.
Soler batted .338 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in in 20 games with the 2012 Peoria Chiefs.
Also during Wednesday’s game, Reds CF Billy Hamilton stole his 50th base of the season. He stole 103 bases in 135 games with the 2011 Dragons a year before stealing a minor-league record 155 bases in 2012.
The Cubs and Reds finish their three-game series at Great American Ball Park on Thursday.