(GAME DATE — Sep. 26, 2020) — The Nevada Speeders offered muted celebration as they clinched a wild card playoff berth for the 2020 postseason, as they learned that their #1 ace in the rotation, Al Mota, will miss the rest of the season with a herniated disc.
Motormouth Mota, a 3-time all-star, who twice came close in Sandy Koufax Award voting, suffered the injury in the 8th inning of a gem of a game against division rivals Arizona. Despite the injury, Mota picked up the win, and player of the game honors, after throwing 7.2 innings while allowing just 4 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks, while whiffing 8 batters.
Mota improved to 15-10 on the season after his team held on for the win. The Cowboys secured the division title despite the loss.
The Speeders will be scrambling to find a #1 for their Elimination Round against the Cowboys. Although Mota was 2-2 and threw a no decision in 5 games against Arizona this season, he is seen as an important centerpiece of the Nevada rotation, which ranked 3rd in ERA among ML teams.
The team already suffered injuries to other starters earlier this season, including veteran Jake Figurski, promising talent Greg Pritchard, and two top AAA-level starters, leaving questions about whether they have the remaining pitching depth to weather a playoff run.
The Speeders finish the season in Calgary, with a 3-game series, before flying to Arizona to prepare for their Elimination Round matchup.