09/04/2007 12:49 PM ET
Midwest League playoff preview
Playoff rematch follows Beloit's weekend sweep of Quad Cities
By Benjamin Hill / Special to MLB.com
Beloit vs. Quad Cities
Snappers (79-61) vs. Swing (78-61)
Best-of-three series begins Wednesday, Sept. 5
The Snappers just swept the Swing in a four-game series to end the season, an unexpected occurrence that resulted in Quad Cities losing the division title on the last day of the season (they had to settle for the Wild Card instead).
In nine games prior to the season-ending sweep, the Snappers had won five games and the Swing four. The Snappers batted .296 against the Swing, while their pitchers compiled a 3.00 ERA. The Swing hit just .235 against Beloit and posted an ERA of 4.76.
OF Chris Parmelee hit .417 and slugged .806 against the Swing, bashing three home runs and driving in 12. IF Chris Cates collected eight hits over 17 at-bats against Quad Cities, but hit just .161 against the rest of the league. Utility man Ramon Santana appeared in four games and went 5-for-8 with four runs scored. OF Joe Benson hit .375 over 11 games and scored a team-high nine runs. Game 1 starter Alex Burnett went 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA over three starts and hurled a six-inning complete-game loss on May 28. LHP Jesus Carnevales made four appearances against the Swing and yielded just one earned run over 8 1/3 innings. RHP Danny Vais did not allow an earned run in five appearances spanning 10 innings.
The Swing will miss the bat of the departed (to Class A Advanced Palm Beach) Chris Grossman, who bashed three home runs and drove in nine against the Snappers. 3B Arnoldi Cruz hit for the cycle in 13 at-bats against Beloit and drove in four. OF Daryl Jones played in 12 games and collected 42 at-bats, but batted an anemic .143. IF Christian Lopez didn't fare much better, as he hit .207 over 29 at-bats. Game 1 starter Tyler Herron hurled five scoreless innings against Beloit on May 28. Game 2 starter Brandon Dickson went 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA in four appearances (three starts) spanning 19 2/3 innings. RHP Kenneth Maiques made a team-high six appearances against the Snappers and went 0-2 with a 1.59 ERA, converting just one of three save opportunities.
Game 1: Beloit at Quad Cities
Snappers RHP Alex Burnett (9-8, 3.02) vs. Swing RHP Tyler Herron (10-7, 3.74)
Game 2: Quad Cities at Beloit
Swing RHP Brandon Dickson (11-7, 3.50) vs. Tyler Robertson (9-5, 2.29)
Game 3: Quad Cities at Beloit (if necessary)
TBD vs. Cole Devries (9-5, 3.41)
ON THE MOUND
The Snappers have three players on the roster who have tossed 100 or more innings, and all have performed impressively. RHP Alex Burnett leads the club in wins (nine), starts (27) and innings pitched (155). He posted a 3.02 ERA and recorded 117 strikeouts against just 38 walks. RHP Cole Devries went 9-5 with a 3.41 ERA over 27 appearances (25 starts). LHP Tyler Robertson struck out 123 batters over 102 1/3 innings, and his ERA was a stellar 2.29. RHP Anthony Slama converted 10 of 12 save opportunities and had a WHIP of just 0.99. RHP Dan Leatherman led the team with 49 appearances, going 7-4 with a 3.89 ERA and five saves.
RHP Tyler Herron struck out a team-high 130 batters over 137 innings and went 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA. RHP Brandon Dickson recorded 2.26 groundouts for every fly-ball out and went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA. RHP Kenneth Maiques converted 31 of 37 save opportunities and compiled a 1.53 ERA over 53 innings.
AT THE PLATE
OF Chris Parmelee hit just .239, but has more doubles (23), home runs (15), and RBIs (70) than any other player on the current roster. OF Joe Benson hit just .249, but scored 72 runs and swiped 18 bases. The Snappers received some postseason help in the form of 3B Deibinson Romero, OF Rene Tosoni and C Gregory Yersich. All three were offensive standouts for the Appalachian League-champion Elizabethton Twins.
1B/C Christian Reyes has more home runs (12) and RBIs (63) than any other player on the Swing roster. 1B/OF Steve Hill has excelled since joining the team on June 30. The Texas native hit .300 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs in 261 at-bats. OF Daryl Jones hit just .217 and reached base at a .303 clip but nonetheless stole a team-high 22 bases.
The Snappers have been an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins for the past three seasons and have made it to the postseason each year. They haven't won a division title since 2003, however, and last won it all in 1995. Last season, they lost to Kane County in the second round of the playoffs (just after the Cougars defeated the Swing in the first round). Quad Cities hasn't won a division title since 1996, and the last time they won it all was way back in 1990.
SERIES COULD TURN ON
The Swing snapping out of their funk. The club blew the division title by losing its last seven games, including the aforementioned four-game sweep at the hands of the Snappers. Frustrations boiled over during the season finale, when manager Keith Mitchell, pitching coach Bryan Eversgerd and catcher Nick Derba were all ejected from the game.
The Snappers are riding a hot streak and have thoroughly outplayed the Swing in the season series. Momentum -- so crucial in any playoff series but especially so in a three-game set -- is theirs. Beloit in two.
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.