Durham, Nashville make for familiar IL title game
Durham and Nashville have seen each other 18 times this season. But it all comes down to the 19th matchup. The Rays' and Brewers' Triple-A affiliates will meet in the International League Championship at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday at Las Vegas, as part of the Triple-A Triple Championship. The
Durham and Nashville have seen each other 18 times this season.
But it all comes down to the 19th matchup.
The Rays' and Brewers' Triple-A affiliates will meet in the International League Championship at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday at Las Vegas, as part of the Triple-A Triple Championship. The game will be streamed free on MiLB.TV.
“Both teams know each other well. We've played a lot of very close games,” said Nashville manager Rick Sweet. “We've had some very, very good games against each other and we're looking forward to one more.”
After winning the Triple-A East regular season and the overall Final Stretch last year, Durham started this season 8-16. While the Minors’ highest level is often home to established players, the Bulls had several top prospects make their Triple-A debut this year, including Rays No. 4 prospect
And with the Rays' farm system making the postseason at every level in 2021, there was plenty of talent approaching Triple-A. Once the International League rookies found their footing, the club took off, leading the circuit in homers (212), total bases (2,287) and OPS (.793).
“Once the group came together through hard work and believing that they belong in Triple-A, then we started playing a lot better,” said Durham manager Brady Williams.
Oh, what a night.— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) September 28, 2022
This team started 8-16 (yes, really. IYKYK) & was in 10th place.
These lollygaggers fought back, playing baseball with joy and verve and poetry to earn our 16th division title in 24 seasons at the Triple-A level.#BULLieve pic.twitter.com/MBZhPnvvmX
For the title game, Williams will give the ball to
The Sounds will hand the ball to
Unlike the Bulls, the Sounds have been clicking from the jump. Boasting three of the Brewers’ top 5 prospects in
“We won't overpower you; we're not a power pitching club, but we're a strength throwing team. We know how to pitch,” Sweet said. “We brought up a lot of very young players this year -- which was a lot of the speed -- and they have produced and played very well.
"And I think that that bodes well for the Brewers and our longevity having all these young players, both on the mound and the position players for the future.”
This team. #HitCity pic.twitter.com/5NP6gVzfdO— Nashville Sounds (@nashvillesounds) September 25, 2022
Nashville has the slight advantage of the season series, winning 10 of the 18 matchups, but the dominance has alternated each series. The winner of Saturday’s matchup will face the PCL victor in Sunday’s Triple-A National Championship.
“It's been a long season; it's the longest Minor League season ever -- 150 games; last year was 130,” Williams said. “And so for us to finish in Vegas, it makes for an exciting weekend. Every pitch is going to matter. You got to play solid baseball to be there at the end.
“They're a very talented team, as are we. So it should be a fun one-game playoff.”
Kelsie Heneghan is a writer for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.