Baysox gear for playoffs Keys take it down to wire

August 31, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

With less than a week remaining in the regular season for the Orioles' minor-league affiliates, only Double-A Bowie is guaranteed a berth in postseason play.

The Baysox clinched second place in the Eastern League's Southern Division a week ago and have a slim chance to overtake the first-place Harrisburg Senators, whom they play in the final five games.

What is left at stake is the home site for the fifth game (if necessary) of the playoff semifinals. If the standings stay the same, Bowie will open the best-of-five series at Harrisburg on Sept. 6 and be the host for Games 3 and 4 on Sept. 8 and 9.

Jimmy Haynes (13-7), one short of the league lead in strikeouts, and Brian Sackinsky (10-7) will start the first two playoff games for Bowie.

Meanwhile, the Single-A Frederick Keys are cutting it close.

After going 3-4 on their final road trip, the Keys are 1 1/2 games behind first-half winner Wilmington in the Northern Division of the Carolina League with six to play. They must win the second half to qualify.

Frederick plays the two toughest opponents it could draw in the stretch, but has its fate in its own hands with the final three games against Wilmington after its current series against Durham.

The Blue Rocks have another advantage. Because of a Keys' rainout, Wilmington will have played one more game in the second half, meaning it could clinch the title and automatic berth into the finals by a half-game.

If the Keys make it, they would be the host of the opener of a best-of-three series against the Blue Rocks on Labor Day.

At the lower levels, Albany (Ga.) was long ago eliminated in the South Atlantic League and neither Bluefield (39-29, three games short) nor the Gulf Coast Orioles (23-36) made postseason play.

Rochester entered the week with a slim chance in the International League, but a mathematical miracle was its only hope with both Ottawa and Syracuse to pass.

Last season, Rochester, Bowie and Frederick made the playoffs and Bluefield was eliminated on the final day.

Pennington starts anew

Brad Pennington is settling in as a starter for the Red Wings.

After taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning for the second time in two weeks, the left-hander said, "I don't ever want to be a reliever again."

His numbers (4-4, 5.23 ERA) aren't impressive, but they are improving. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in three of his past four starts.

Rochester manager Bob Miscik said, "This starting thing has been better and quicker than we ever thought it would be. We think he can throw a no-hitter every time he goes out there."

Miscellaneous

Two Red Wings, pitcher Rick Krivda and catcher Greg Zaun, and four Baysox, outfielders Alex Ochoa and Curtis Goodwin and Haynes and Sackinsky, will play in the Arizona Fall League. . . . The Orioles have extended their working agreements with Rochester, Bowie and Frederick for two more seasons. . . . Sherman Obando's season ended when he broke a bone after fouling a ball off his foot. He led the IL with 62 extra-base hits and a .600 slugging percentage and was second with a .330 average when shelved. . . . Krivda, 34-12 in the minors before this year, is 8-10 and assured of his first losing record. . . . Jeff Manto, 30, was voted Rochester's Most Valuable Player by the media. He has a chance to become the first Red Wing since Steve Bilko in 1949 to finish with a .300 average, 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

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