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TWitM: PLAYOFFS?!

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This Week in the Minors: Dominican League Royals1 are champions; Lexington, Wilmington, and Idaho Falls look to do the same.

Kris Bubic struck out another 11 in Wilmington’s postseason series.
Ryan Griffith

‘This Week in the Minors’ is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. The mission is to answer this simple question: “Who had a good week?”

Today, we’ll cover results from Tuesday, August 2 through Sunday, September 8.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers

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Omaha third baseman Kelvin Gutiérrez and center fielder Nick Heath appear to be in Arizona, per various Instagram stories from both players. Guti has a broken toe, and Heath has a hand injury. Both injuries came at terrible times for the players: any chance of a September callup vanished when they happened.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals

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See you next year, Naturals!

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks

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After coming back from a 2-0 deficit, Wilmington won five-game series over the Salem Red Sox to become the Carolina League Northern Division champs and advance to the league championship series. Game one is tonight.

Rito Lugo came through with a bonkers start in game five, punching out 10 in six innings. But of course, if you have followed the Blue Rocks this season you know there is never just one good starter to highlight.

Lefty Kris Bubic allowed just one run to Salem in seven innings on Friday, on just two hits and zero walks. Bubic, the regular-sesaon strikeout king of all the minors, struck out 11 in that start. Austin Cox followed Bubic with six shutout innings on Saturday. He allowed seven hits, but struck out eight and walked nobody.

First baseman Nick Pratto hit in each game of the series, with two doubles and a homer among his six hits.

Wilmington has not won the league championship (known as the Mills Cup) since 1999. The last time they made it to the Mills Cup was 2015.

Low-A Lexington Legends

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The Legends won the South Atlantic League title last year, and have advanced to the championship series again in 2019. Lexington won a three-game semifinal series two games to none.

In game one, Jon Heasley pitched seven innings, stained by just a solo home run. He struck out six, walked just one, and did not allow any hits besides the homer. Brandon Marklund slammed the door with two perfect innings of relief.

Shortstop Jeison Guzman went 3-for-4 with a solo home run.

In game two, Zach Haake allowed two runs on six hits, with seven strikeouts and a walk. Daniel James and Marklund combined to cover the remaining 4 23 without allowing a run.

Lexington’s only baserunner in the first three innings was erased in a double play, but second baseman Rubendy Jaquez broke the stalemate with a solo homer to lead off the 4th inning.

This celebration pic from the Legends is cool as heck.

Rookie Burlington Royals

The B-Royals dropped the Appy League championship series, 2-1, to the Johnson City Cardinals. Third baseman Jake Means and first baseman and league Player of the Month Vinnie Pasquantino homered in the Game One win.

Rookie Idaho Falls Chukars

The Chukars won game one of the first round of the Pioneer League playoffs Sunday, 2-0. Center fielder Isaiah Henry homered for Idaho Falls. Third baseman Jimmy Govern, who we last saw mashing taters for Omaha, doubled in the other run.

Lefty Chih-Ting Wang started for IDF with four shutout innings, and right-hander Christian Cosby finished with five more of the same.

Dominican Royals1

The Dominican Royals1 (there is also a Royals2 - zero points for creativity, one billion points for grabbing Spell Check’s attention) are Dominican Summer League Champs.