Chilliwack Playoff Review

We went into the series with Corsica with some optimism. We were facing the playoff team with the lowest record, and felt that having Pedro in the playoffs was a definate advantage. Game one was Saberhagen (10GZ) vs. Fernandez (10GZ). The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third, when the Water plated 6 runs on a bunch of walks and singles. Fernandez cruised the rest of the way, with a Mac two run shot in the 8th breaking up the shutout, 7-2 Water final.

Game two was Smotlz (11Z) vs. Pedro (21Z). I felt really good after taking game one, thinking I had a great chance to move to 2-0 after two. Each team scored a single run in the second, and Mac hit another two run shot in the third for a 3-1 lead. The Water countered with a run of their own to cut it to 3-2, but couldn't get any closer. Corsica plated singles runs in the 5th and 7th to make it 5-2, and the Water scored once in the 8th and 9th to make the final 5-4, Smoltz with the win and Pedro with the loss. Series tied 1-1.

Game three took us to Corsica for a matchup of Shane Reynolds (8Z) and Jamie Moyer (11Z). The Devils scored two in the 2nd to take the lead, but single runs in the 3rd and 4th by Chilliwack knotted the score. In the top of the 6th, the Water scored one to take a 3-2 advantage. Trevor Hoffman was brought in to protect the lead, and gave up a two-run jack to Jose Canseco. A Mac solo shot in the 8th finalized the scoring at 5-3, and a Corsica 2-1 lead in the series.

Rueter (6Z) was the surpise starter to some, although I had long ago decided Astacio wasn't an option. Radke (11Z) went the hill for Corsica. Both teams scored 1 in the first for a 1-1 lead after three. The Water then scored in the next 6 innings to win 9-3. Chilliwack collected 10 hits, 1 extra base (double by Jeter), and 7 walks to get their runs. Walker was on base 5 times, and Zimmerman pitched 2 scoreless for the win. The series was tied at 2-2 and headed back to Chilliwack.

The second Saberhagen-Fernandez matchup wasn't particularly strong, with the Water taking a 3-2 lead after one. John Jaha left the game after being HBP in the first, and would be unavailable for one game. Chilliwack managed a 5-3 lead after 5, then exploded for 5 runs in the sixth off Travis Miller. Walker had another big day (3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI) as did Sweeney (2-3, HR, 3 RBI). Zimmerman picked up his second straight win.

The series headed back to Corsica with the Water up 3-2 and Pedro headed to the hill. After losing his first game, I thought this game gave him the chance to make up for it. Mac doubled and Everett singled him home for a 1-0 lead in the first, and the Water tied it in the top of the second. Corsica took a 3-1 lead in the 5th, but single runs in the 6th and 7th by the Water tied it at 3. The game extended into extra innings, and Pedro left after 10. Hoffman got two outs before allowing Rolen (?) to get on. Rolen stole second and scored on DiFelice's double to win the game and force Game 7. Mike Sweeney was HBP and injured for two days during this game, so the Water would have only Alberto Castillo available to catch during Game 7.

Game 7. Shane vs. Moyer. Corsica opened the game with a 2 run McGwire shot and a solo Jaha shot to lead 3-0 after one. But the Water came back, scoring 4 in the 2nd and 3 in the 3rd to take a commanding 7-3 lead. We won going away, with four relievers taking it home to a 12-4 win, Zimmerman taking his 3rd win of the series. Walker hit two dongs and scored three times, while Ray Lankford went 5-5, 4 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI. Castillo went 3-3 with a walk in his only start.

McGwire finished the series with 4 HR, 2 2B, 7 R, 9 RBI. He didn't get a lot of other help, with the Water outscoring the Devils 48-27. Ripken went 10-17 with 2 2B and a HR in 4 games. Walker hit .360, .429, .680 while driving in 8 and scoring 9. The Water were 15 of 16 stealing, lead by Womack's 6 for 6. Zimmerman went 3-0, allowing 2 baserunners in 7 IP. Pedro went 0-1 with a no decision in a loss, and Trevor went 0-2.

Austin won the other semis in 6 games, and awaited the World Series matchup. Game one was Fernandez vs. Cone (13X). The Birds jumped all over Fernandez in the 3rd, plating 4 runs. They ended up scoring off all four Water pitchers en route to a 9-4 victory. Chipper went 3-5 with 2 2B, HR, and 4 RBI.

Game two was Pedro's opportunity to make up for his disappointing semi-finals, facing Paul Abbott. Abbott was Austin's sixth starter, making 5 starts during the season, finishing 1-0. Steve Parris and Todd Ritchie were both injured, forcing Abbott into the limelight. Austin scored single runs in the 2nd and 3rd to offset the run by Chilliwack in the 3rd for a 2-1 T-Birds lead.

Both pitchers were mowing them down after that, with the game standing at 2-1 after 7. Steve Finley hit a 2 run jack off Aguilera in the 8th for a 3-2 Water lead, and it seemed Pedro had a chance to get his first win. The Birds quickly countered with one in the 8th. After a scoreless top of the 9th, we entered the bottom of the 9th tied at 3. I'm not sure what then happened, although I remember a lot of baserunners and an intentional walk to Damion Easley (!). A sac fly by the Crime Dog won it for the Birds.

So we head to Chilliwack for game three, with the Birds leading 2-0. Things did not look good.

The Water came out and roughed up Bartolo Colon, while Reynolds pitched brilliantly for the home team, cruising to a 8-0 win.

Game Four, Ortiz vs. Rueter. The Water go up 1-0 in the first, but the Birds score 3 in the third to go up 3-1. By the end of five, both starters are gone and its 4-4. Chipper again comes through, hitting a solo shot off Shaw in the sixth to take a 5-4. It remains that way to the bottom of the 8th, when vaunted closer Armando Benitez (SL record 44 saves) enters the game. Walker doubles home a pinch-running Womack to tie the score.

Relievers match goose eggs until the bottom of the 11th. Walker doubles to lead off, and Ripken hits the first pitch he sees into a writhing sea of Water fans to tie the series at 2 games a piece. Walker goes 4-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI.

Game Five in Austin, Fernandez vs. Cone. Scoreless until the fourth, when Chipper gets on with one away. With a fully rested pen, Chilliwack calls on Semi-Finals hero Jeff Zimmerman. Zim gets Vlad but the Crime Dog hits a run-scoring double. Finley gets on in the sixth, and the Birds call on Wells. Jeter strokes a two-out single to score Finely and knot it at one apiece. Both pens match zeroes through nine, and we head to extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, Mike Sweeney gets on, and Womack pinch runs. With Womack going on the pitch, Carlos Delgado turns on an inside fastball and send it into the seats, giving the Water a 3-1 lead. Hoffman, Koch, and Sullivan combine for a scoreless 10th, a 3-1 Water win, and a 3-2 series lead.

We head back to Chilliwack for Game Six, with the second Martinez-Abbott matchup. Pedro with his final chance at a win, he's gotta win one, right? The Water manage to get a 7-4 lead after six, Pedro's gotta win sometime, right? Well, the Birds score 4 in the 7th on the strength of McGriff's 2nd homer, a 3 run job, to take a 8-7 lead. Benitez and Wells take it home for the W, and a 3-3 series tie.

Game Seven. Austin. Reynolds vs. Colon. The Water jump all over Colon with 3 in the first. The Birds plate 2 in the 2nd off Reynolds, but the Water score 2 in the fourth and 2 in the fifth off Colon, as the beleaguered Austin pen watches hopelessly. The Water lead 8-2 after 5, and 10-3 after 8. The Birds score two in the ninth before ending their season with Larkin out attempting to steal second base, a 10-5 final.

Larry Walker is the team's Series MVP by hitting .360, .407, .720, along with 3 2B, 2 HR. Sweeney hits .360, .429, .640, and hits two dongs. With 14 HR across 9 players, the Water outscore the Birds 42-32. After their great success on the bases in the semis, Ivan Rodriguez shuts down the running game, with the Water finishing 4 of 9 stealing. Pedro 0-2, 6.11.

Chipper goes .357, .419, .821 with 4 2B, 3HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, 3 of 3 SB. Colon goes 0-2, 12.46, 25 baserunners in 8 2/3. Somehow, we went 0-4 behind Pedro but won it all. That means both series we went 0-2 when Pedro started, 4-1 when he didn't. Baseball can be a crazy game.