Playoff format changes as Chico Heat begin two week sprint to the finish line

Tonight begins a two week sprint to the finish line for the Chico Heat in their inaugural season in the Great West League. Chico enters play tonight tied for second place with the Marysville Gold Sox  at 24-19 just a half-game clear of the Portland Pickles for the second and final playoff spot.

During the recently completed All-Star Break the league office completely changed the playoff format in the GWL. The hope was to have 4 of the 6 teams get into the post-season. But, upon further review this “plan” was deemed unfeasible for the first year league. Too many players on all of the teams need to be back at their respective schools. The school schedule was in direct conflict with the GWL’s playoff schedule and so an adjustment needed to be made.

As the league looks to expand in the 2017 season they will also be looking at how to best determine a champion next year as well. Remedies include shortening the regular season by a few games and lengthening the playoffs, doing away with the All-Star Game thereby allowing for longer playoff series’. Possibly instituting a Super Regional feel to the playoffs and having one site host the entire thing. *I should note these are not options I have heard from anyone with the league, these are simply ramblings from your friendly neighborhood play-by-play guy.*

With that said, the “feel” of these final two weeks takes on a different tone. With Medford comfortably in first place it appears there is a three-way race for one playoff spot.

Medford          30-12     .714     —-

Chico                 24-19     .558     6.5

Marysville      24-19     .558     6.5

Portland          23-19     .548       7

Chico plays three games against Marysville beginning tonight at Nettleton Stadium and that will wrap up their season series against the Gold Sox. Marysville has done a lot of their damage against the Heat this season but they are not nearly the same squad the Heat encountered earlier in the season. The Gold Sox have struggled after a blistering 15-2 start. Portland will host the Heat for a three game series early next week in what figures to be a fantastic series with a playoff berth possibly at stake.

The Heat’s fortunes changed when they finally got their the full complement of players. The rotation is probably the deepest in the league with UW’s Adam Davenport and Arizona’s Luke Soroko. Chico State’s Stuart Bradley has been tremendous in the 3rd slot and Ryan Byrd has been a stalwart all season long.

Offensively Chico has thump, with league home run leader and UC Davis product Cameron Olson (5 HR’s) and BYU Freshman All-American Keaton Kringlen providing the big bats in the middle of the order. The Heat are lamenting the loss of Cal State Northridge product Clayton Hubbard to an MCL injury and are mixing and matching to replace the consistent bat he provided all year.

The big question mark for the Chico Heat, as it has been all year, is defense. If they play good defense they are a very tough team to beat. If they kick the ball around, they are in trouble. More often than not this season when Chico gives teams extra outs in multiple innings it has bitten them. Their ability to pick it, and play catch could very well determine whether they will be playing for a championship.

The sprint to the finish line begins tonight as rival Marysville comes to Nettleton Stadium. Two weeks ago we figured it would be a big series. Now, it could be a make a break series with the adjusted playoff format.

Our Loerke Insulation pre-game show is at 6:45pm right here on KpaySports.com and on the KpaySports app that you can download for free in the app store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Home Field Advantage; No Problem For Giants

By Chandler Guadagnin

With the National League falling to the American League in the 2016 All Star Game at Petco Park, they have also surrendered home field advantage for the upcoming World Series. While not having home field advantage in the Fall Classic is a daunting task, the San Francisco Giants know what it takes to win on the road, on the biggest of stages.

In their historic five year run, in which they have won three titles, San Francisco has not clinched a single World Series at home. According to www.baseball-reference.com, in 2010, the Giants claimed a 4-1 series victory in Arlington. In 2012, San Francisco would sweep the Detroit Tigers, at Comerica Park, 4-0. In 2014, perhaps their most stressful World Series yet, the orange and black would take care of business at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals in Game 7.

So, if the Giants don’t make it this year; perhaps, whoever does claim the NL crown, can take a page from the Giants playbook.

Postseason Statistics Courtesy Of: www.baseball-reference.com

Bumgarner Flirts With No-No As Giants Nail Down Sweep

By Chandler Guadagnin

Despite the fact that Madison Bumgarner will not pitch in the 2016 All-Star Game, in San Diego, Bumgarner more than  showed why he is a National League All-Star. Bumgarner took the mound Sunday night as the San Francisco Giants looked for the sweep of the Arizona Diamond Backs. Early on it was clear that the Bumgarner-Posey battery was clicking.

In the first inning, Bumgarner retired the side 1-2-3, with two of the three outs coming via the strikeout. The Giants backed Bumgarner almost immediately; as in the bottom of the first, with runners on second and third, Buster Posey slashed an RBI single to right field. The Giants would go on to add three more runs on ten more hits, but one run would prove to be more than enough as Bumgarner’s first inning was the norm rather than the exception. He cut through the Arizona lineup like butter as he retired the side in order until- with two outs in the fifth inning- Giants right fielder, Gregor Blanco, would lose a fly ball in the sun, resulting in an error. That put  an end to the perfect game bid; however, the no-hitter survived. Bumgarner would continue to pitch his heart out until, with one out in the eighth, Jake Lamb, singled on a Bumgarner curveball. Mad Bum would not lose his focus, however, as the next play was a groundball double play to second base. In the end, Bumgarner threw a complete game, one-hit shutout, on a season high 117 pitches.

With the win the Giants improve to  a Major League best, 57 and 33 on the year and complete the sweep of the D-Backs. The Giants will look to win their fifth in a row following the All-Star break. Game time is schedule for Friday, July 15th at 7:40PM PT against the Padres at Petco Park.

Behind The Numbers:

With the victory Bumgarner moves his record to 10 and 4. In 9 innings of work, the Giants ace culminated 14 strikeouts, 9 of which came on the curveball. The 14 K’s matches a career high for Bumgarner. In this his last start before the All-Star break, Madison drops his ERA to a spectacular 1.94. Bumgarner now has 6 shutouts in his career. Four of the six are one hit shutouts.

Heat pummel Pickles as pitching and pop lead the way

The Chico Heat scored early and they scored often as they trounced the Portland Pickles 12-3  in game one of a big three game set at Nettleton Stadium.

Chico scored single runs in each of the first three innings but busted the game wide open with a seven-run 5th to take Sunday night’s game going away. The Heat banged out 12 hits in the game with seven of them going for extra-bases.

For the third straight game Chico got fantastic starting pitching as Spokane Falls Ryan Byrd pitched seven strong scattering six hits and allowing only two runs. Chico’s bats have been instrumental in their recent surge, it was a big night for Chico State product Josh Falco as he went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and three runs scored including a three-run triple in the decisive 5th.

Chico now sits at (16-16) 1/2 game back of Portland for third place in the GWL and will play 12 of their next 14 games at home as they look to make a strong push toward the finish line in their 2016 season.

The Heat’s fortunes have been buoyed by the consistency shown from their starting rotation. Chico State’s Stuart Bradley and the left-hander Byrd have consistently given the Heat strong outings. Bradley is now 4-2 with a 2.65 ERA. Byrd is now 4-0 with a glittering 1.86 ERA. Now, the Heat are leaning on their two Pac-12 arms, Adam Davenport from the University of Washington and Luke Soroko from Arizona. In five starts Davenport is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA. The red-shirt freshman has 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Soroko, who got his first start of the year after traveling with the Wildcats to Omaha and the College World Series, shined in his season opening start Friday in Marysville. Soroko went six innings giving up five hits one run and striking out five in a no-decision. Soroko has an ERA of 1.03.

This fantastic four will make the Heat a tough team to beat with 25 games left in the Heat’s inaugural campaign.

Heat lose nail-biter; Durant inks deal with Dubs

 

The Chico Heat were on the brink, but in the end fell one hit short of catching the Marysville Gold Sox on Thursday night in a 4-3 loss to their rivals down the Highway 70 corridor.

Ryan McCarthy pitching 6 innings of 5-hit ball retiring 15 of 16 Heat hitters at one point to pick up his 5th win of the season.

Chico’s defense kept the game tight early as outfielders Jerome Hill and Josh Falco cut down Gold Sox base runners at third base to end the Marysville 1st and 4th innings.

The Heat could only score one run after putting their first two runners on base in the first inning. Chico’s best opportunity for a big inning came in the 7th when they had whittled the deficit to 4-2 and had runners on first and third with no one out, but Marysville reliever Tyler Waldrop escaped the jam, leaving the tying runs in scoring position.

The Marysville win moves them to 19-10 in the Great West League one game clear of Medford who lost to Portland 4-3. With the loss Chico is now 14-15 sitting 5 games back.

Game two of the series is tonight at 7:05pm. You can hear the the game on the Kpay Sports app and right here on KpaySports dot-com with our Loerke Insulation Pre-game show at 6:45

(AP) — Splash: Kevin Durant’s big move to the Golden State Warriors is done.

The Warriors formally announced the signing of the six-time All-Star on Thursday and were set to introduce him with fanfare at a news conference at the team’s downtown Oakland practice facility, where screens read, “WELCOME KD TO DUB NATION.”

Durant announced his decision Monday in a story on “The Players’ Tribune,” then Thursday marked the first day free agents could sign their deals. He joins the NBA runner-up Warriors — who rallied from 3-1 down to beat Durant’s former Oklahoma City Thunder in a thrilling seven-game Western Conference Finals before losing the finals in seven games to Cleveland — on a two-year contract worth more than $54 million. There is a player option after the first year.

(AP) — Ayesha Curry says she “didn’t think about the ramifications” when she called the NBA rigged on Twitter after husband Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA finals.

Curry tells People magazine she regrets the ways she voiced how hurt she was and didn’t mean to offend anyone. She says what she wrote isn’t what she thinks about what her husband does for a living.

Stephen Curry tells the magazine he knows where his wife was coming from and adds that he’s advised her to ignore what people say, because “you’re not going to win any battles on Twitter.”

Ayesha Curry is a popular social media personality with 3.7 million followers on Instagram and 637,000 on Twitter.

(AP) — Yonder Alonso doubled and drove in two runs and Rich Hill tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts in six solid innings to give the Oakland Athletics a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Hill (9-3) allowed three hits and one run to extend his winning streak to six games in his second start since coming off the disabled list on Saturday. Ryan Madson pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

The Athletics trailed by one in the second when Danny Valencia and Khris Davis singled before Stephen Vogt drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. The Athletics tied it when Marcus Semien grounded into a double play that allowed Valencia to score.

Alonso followed with his double to put Oakland up 2-1. He gave the Athletics an insurance run with an infield RBI single with two outs in the ninth.