SL playoff berth, Norris title at stake on final day

The 2016 PGBL season enters its final day with one division championship and one playoff berth still up for grabs, with the Las Vegas Gamblers and Compton Outlawz vying for the final South League wild card.

Las Vegas holds a one-game lead on Compton, with the Gamblers due to pitch Lance Lynn against Twin City while the Outlawz send Chris Archer out against Louisville. Compton needs to win and have the Truckers play spoiler to force a one-game playoff at Las Vegas.

Whichever team earns the spot will grab the No. 4 seed in the SL behind Oakland, St. Louis and Tijuana. The Athletes charged to the best record in the league, clinching the Cactus Division and the top overall seed with ease. St. Louis outdistanced the field in the Confederate Division and Tijuanja retooled at the deadline to hold on to the first wild card spot.

In the North League, the season-long battle royale in the Norris Division will end with all three contenders separated by one game. Boston and Cleveland sit at 98-63 entering the final day, while Chicago finished at 98-64 and claimed the No 4 seed as the second wild card.

The Tribe hold the head-to-head tiebreaker and host last-place Pittsburgh, while the Braves entertain Maple Leaf Division champion Ottawa. Cleveland and Boston will square off in the first round of the playoffs, with the division winner getting home field advantage.

The other first-round matchups will see the Argonauts facing the Cardinals, the Clydesdales battling the Tequila Swiggers and the Athletes drawing either Las Vegas or Compton.

On the opposite side, Twin City, Flagstaff and London have secured the top three slots in the draft order. While Brooklyn is locked into the No. 10 spot, the rest of the order remains to be finalized.





Cleveland lands Arrieta, Tijuana retools on hectic deadline day

The Cleveland Tribe made the biggest splash of a hectic trade deadline day, landing ace Jake Arrieta from Louisville. Meanwhile, Tijuana made a push for a wildcard berth in the South League by acquiring nine new players in a series of six trades and a free agent signing.

Arrieta joins the Tribe in a heated Norris Division race after going 13-5 with a 2.48 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 148-2/3 innings with the Long Rifles. He bolsters a Cleveland rotation headed by All-Star starter Michael Pineda (15-1, 3.11).

The acquisition of Arrieta didn’t come cheaply for the Tribe. Louisville gets Jurickson Profar and a 2018 first-round pick, along with two Top 35 prospects as players to be named later.

The Tequila Swiggers reached the end of July 28-1/2 games behind Oakland but tied with Las Vegas for the final playoff spot. They strengthened their rotation by adding Cole Hamels and Ubaldo Jimenez and bolstered their bullpen with Shawn Tolleson, Ryan Webb and Adam Conley.

Additionally, slugger Alex Rodriguez heads south of the border, as do Brandon Phillips and Melvin Upton Jr. Outfielder Jarrod Dyson was signed as a free agent.

The Swiggers had to give up Jake Odorizzi, Delino DeShields Jr., J.J. Hoover and seven top prospects. They also parted wtih five picks in the first four rounds of the next draft, two seconds and two thirds in 2018, and a first-rounder in 2020.

League-leading Oakland made a pair of trades to bolster its bench, picking up catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and outfielder Darin Ruf. Boston followed Cleveland’s Arrieta deal by landing outfielder Dexter Fowler just ahead of the deadline.

Deadline day deals

-Tijuana trades Jonathan Gray, LON 2 (2017) and LV 3 (2018) to Toronto for Ubaldo Jimenez.

-Tijuana trades Vincent Velasquez, Jason Kaprielian, and JJ Hoover to Twin City for Shawn Tolleson and Adam Conley.

-Tijuana trades Jake Odorizzi, CGY 2 (2017), TIJ 2 (2017), and TIJ 1 (2020) tp Calgary for Cole Hamels and Ryan Webb.

-Dublin trades Gregory Polanco, Jorge Mateo and a PTBNL (Kolby Allard) to London for Yu Darvish.

-Tijuana trades Delino DeShields, Amir Garrett, and CLE 2 (2018) to Toronto for Alex Rodriguez and TOR 5 (2017).

-Cleveland trades Jurkison Profar two PTBNLs (Robert Stephenson, Austin Meadows) and CLE 1 (2018) to Louisville for Jake Arrieta and LOU 5 (2019).

-Tijuana trades Domingo Santana, Frankie Montas, TIJ 4 (2017) and TIJ 2 (2018) to Memphis for Melvin Upton Jr.

-Oakland trades Alex Avila and PTBNL (Michael Feliz) to Louisville for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

-Tijuana trades Lourdes Gourriel Jr., CGY 3 (2017), and TIJ 3 (2018) to London for Brandon Phillips.

-Las Vegas trades Ketel Marte and James McCann to Memphis for Trevor Plouffe, Martin Maldonado, LV 4 (2018) and LV 4 (2020).

-Oakland trades Curt Casali and PTBNL (Justus Sheffield) to Toronto for Darrin Ruf.

-Boston trades Rubby de la Rosa, PTBNL (Billy McKinney), LON 4 (2017), BOS 5 (2017) and TOR 3 (2018) to London for Dexter Fowler.

-Tijuana claims on Jarrod Dyson.

-Dublin signs Nick Tropeano.

-Twin City cuts Lewis Thorpe.

April notes: Athletes off to hot start; Tribe impress as well

With Zack Greinke, Dallas Keuchel and Andrew McCutchen leading the way, Oakland opened the PGBL season with an 8-1 record bolstered by a pair of four-game win streaks.

The Athletes swept their season-opening, three-game series with Flagstaff before winning three of four against Las Vegas. Greinke and Keuchel each won both of their starts, as did Mike Fiers. McCutchen has 12 RBIs, a third of them coming on a grand slam in an 8-3 win over the Gamblers, and shares the league lead with Toronto’s Tucker Barhnart.

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas hits a three-run double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Mike Moustakas

In the North League, Cleveland shot out to a 7-2 record by sweeping four with Brooklyn, taking two of three against Chicago and splitting the first two of four straight with Vancouver. Mike Moustakas is off to a blistering start, hitting .516 (16 for 31) with 10 runs and 11 RBIs.

Defending champion St. Louis has won three straight and leads the Confederate Division at 6-4. But the Clydesdales’ Rougned Odor took exception to a plunking from Louisville’s Jake Arrieta and ignited a fifth-inning brawl. While Odor will miss a week and a half’s worth of games, the Long Rifles got the worse end. Pitcher Ian Kennedy was injured entering the fracas off the bench and will be out a month.

Cleveland Indians starter Cody Anderson pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 29, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Cody Anderson

On April 13th, Las Vegas’ Cody Anderson and Calgary’s Jesse Hahn came up with impressive showings on the mound. Hahn limited London to two hits despite walking six in a 6-0 shutout victory. Anderson then took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing a one-out single to Billy Burns in an 8-0 triumph over the Elk.

The early returns on the home run race show three players – Ottawa’s Carlos Correa, Chicago’s Giancarlo Stanton and Louisville’s Pedro Alvarez – each with four, with a host of others right behind.

Cleveland’s Rizzo emerges as NL MVP

Cleveland first baseman Anthony Rizzo has won the North League Most Valuable player for a season that saw him hit 43 home runs and lead the PGBL in on-base percentage and OPS.

The 25-year-old Rizzo, in his third full season with the Tribe, hit .292 with a .390 OBP and a .546 slugging percentage. He scored 108 runs to rank third in the NL and drove in 93.

Rizzo had four first-place votes, one more than Calgary’s Edwin Encarnacion, and totaled 92 points. Six different players topped the 11 submitted ballots.

Encarnacion, who led all hitters with 47 homers, and London RBI champ Jose Abreu tied for second with 74 points, two more than 2014 MVP Mike Trout of Chicago.

Abreu, Trout, the Roughnecks’ Victor Martinez and Ottawa’s Michael Brantley, who won the NL batting title, had the other firsts.

Rizzo became the third Cleveland slugger to win the NL MVP, following David Ortiz in 2008 and Lance Berkman in 2012.

Voting totals (first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Anthony Rizzo, Cleveland (4) …… 92

2. Edwin Encarnacion, Calgary (3) ….74

(tie) Jose Abreu, London (1) …………74

4. Mike Trout, Chicago (1) …………..72

5. Troy Tulowitzki, Pittsburgh ………..61

6. Victor Martinez, Calgary (1) ……….55

7. David Ortiz, Chicago ……………….44

8. Michael Brantley, Ottawa (1) ……..39

9. Nelson Cruz, Vancouver ……………27

10. Denard Span, Ottawa …………….12

11. Matt Adams, British Columbia ……..9

12. Matt Kemp, Cleveland ……………..7

13. Justin Turner, Calgary ……………..6

14. Marcel Ozuna, Cleveland …………..4

(tie) Chris Sale, Vancouver …………….4

16. Corey Dickerson, Calgary ………….3

17. Buster Posey, Brooklyn ……………..1

North League Most Valuable Players

2003 – Barry Bonds, Brooklyn

2004 – Barry Bonds, Brooklyn

2005 – Barry Bonds, Brooklyn

2006 – Alex Rodriguez, Vancouver

2007 – Ryan Howard, Boston

2008 – David Ortiz, Cleveland

2009 – Ryan Braun, Pittsburgh

2010 – Joe Mauer, Chicago

2011 – Adrian Gonzalez, Vancouver

2012 – Lance Berkman, Cleveland

2013 – Ryan Braun, Pittsburgh

2014 – Mike Trout, Chicago

2015 – Anthony Rizzo, Cleveland

Braves’ prolonged slide at 27; no end in sight

The Boston Braves’ month of misery saw their losing streak reach 27 games at the hands of the Oakland Athletes, who got a three-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt to cap a 9-3 victory.

Oakland seized control with a six-run fourth against Trevor Bauer and Trevor Cahill.

Boston hasn’t tasted victory since an 8-6 win at Louisville on Jun. 22. With their next six games coming against Chicago and Pittsburgh, the Braves could see the skid push past 30 with a winless July.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Wildcats are starting to understand Boston’s pain after a 4-3 extra-inning setback to Calgary extended their slide to seven games. Vancouver has slipped to 47-48, and with less than a week to go until the trade deadline Wildcats management might consider putting some relievers or possibly even slugger Nelson Cruz on the block.

On the flipside, the Cleveland Tribe have opened up a three-game lead on Chicago in the Norris Division on the strength of an eight-game winning streak. Marcell Ozuna smacked a three-run homer in the second inning of an 8-3 win over Pittsburgh that saw Cobras relievers Craig Kimbrel and Dominic Leone get ejected for disagreeing with plate umpire Enrico Palazzo.




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