(GAME DATE — Oct. 17, 2020) — The Bull Cup Championship Series is about to start, and it looks like the Nevada Speeders will kick off the best-of-seven final round with Jim Koch, their Number 2 starter who has been solid through these playoffs.
Koch was named player of the game in a no-decision 6.0 inning effort against the Arizona Cowboys in the ML Elimination Round, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits while his team notched a win back on October 3, that series’ opener.
He threw a no-decision loss in the opener against the St. Petersburg Admirals, but pitched a valiant 8.0 inning effort against allowing just a trio of hits, along with a pair of earned runs, and reaching 101 pitches. The power-throwing righty then took the ball in game 5, earning his first win decision of the postseason, but throwing his third straight solid effort, going 8.1 innings and allowing just 3 earned runs.
Koch, still in his league minimum salary years, was 12-9 through the season, and pieced together a career-best 3.94 ERA, making a capable replacement for the team’s Number 1 starter, Al Mota, who has been out with a herniated disc in his neck since September 25, and will miss the playoffs.
Jonas Reyes is slated to start game 2, Andres Arango will start game 3, and Marshall Bennett will take the mound for game 4, before the rotation flips back to Koch again. Reyes has not yet pitched this postseason, and Arango notched a pair of losses, but had a decent 7.2 effort in a no-decision win against St. Petersburg. Bennett has been a bit of a star during the playoffs, going 2-0 and throwing a 9.0 inning, 2 run complete game to clinch the Admirals series.
The Chicago Pit Bulls have not announced their lineups or scheduled their starters for the upcoming series, but either Bret Gilbert, who was 15-10 on the year and had 176 strikeouts, or Andy Boyles, who went 14-14 but led the Chicago starters with a 4.96 ERA and chalked up 150 K’s of his own, would be decent material to open the series. The Pit Bulls are expected to rely heavily on their bats to win the games they need, but will still need enough pitching to hold back Nevada’s potent offense, which includes 2019 HR record setter Jim Lahey, and slugger Chitoji Yamada.