HOUSTON: Pitcher Nelson Figueroa #28, formerly of the Houston Astros, throws against the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Well, at least one Red Sox team could finish up the 2012 season a winner. The Pawtucket Red Sox, fresh off of their Governor's Cup and International League title, are in Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday for the Triple-A Championship. Their opponent is the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League, in a one-game playoff that begins at 7:05 tonight.
The PawSox will use Nelson Figueroa on the mound, against Trevor Bauer. Figueroa joined the PawSox in July after the Yankees cut him loose, and he's been successful with his new squad, striking out 33 batters against 12 walks in 43 innings, while posting a 3.77 ERA. He was the winner in the deciding game of the International League championship, giving up just one run in six frames while striking out five with nary a free pass allowed.
Bauer is a prospect -- a top prospect, in fact, one Baseball America ranked #9 overall heading into 2012. He began the year at Double-A, and temporarily made it to the majors, but has spent most of the season with Triple-A Reno, where he has struck out nearly 11 batters per nine, with a 2.8 K/BB. Bauer can lose his control, but last season's third-overall pick also has ridiculous stuff, as you might have surmised from his strikeout rates. It shouldn't be an easy PawSox win, but if Bryce Brentz and J.C. Linares can keep up their torrid offensive paces, Bauer won't have it easy, either.
If you're of the mind to watch this contest, McCoy Stadium will be showing it on the video board. Admission is free, and you can watch from the field. You can also snap a picture with the Governor's Cup, in its first appearance in Pawtucket.