Pawtucket W 2-1
Brock Holt: 2-4, CS
Bryce Brentz: 0-4, 3 K
Jeremy Hazelbaker: 2-4, 2B, K
Anthony Ranaudo: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Alex Wilson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Down goes Durham! We'll beat the Rays in the majors, we'll beat the Rays in the minors! The Paw Sox are fast approaching a second straight Governers' Cup championship, and kicked off the finals with a nice big game from Anthony Ranaudo.
Salem W 6-4
Sean Coyle: 2-3, 2 2B
Henry Ramos: 1-3, 2B, BB, K
Keury De La Cruz: 0-4, 2 K
Blake Swihart: 0-4, 2 K
Mookie Betts: 1-4, K
It took Salem just five games to sweep their way through the Carolina League playoffs to a Mills Cup championship. Often times it's not the really interesting minor league teams that make the playoffs in any given year because the nature of player development takes the most interesting and successful prospects, removes them from their team, and replaces them with new guys who are prone to post-promotion slumps. Instead, a steady core of older players is most conducive to success.
To be sure, Salem did lose its two best players partway through the year in Garin Cecchini and Henry Owens. But the former was replaced by none other than Mookie Betts, who has reached base in approximately every game ever, while Sean Coyle (named the series MVP) was held back by injury, and Blake Swihart remained throughout the year thanks to Boston's typically slow approach to developing catchers. The end result is that, while all eyes were on Pawtucket with their combination of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and tons of pitching, the Salem Red Sox were consistently interesting, and good on the field when it counted.
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