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Midwest League Championship Preview: Lake County Captains vs. Kane County Cougars

Let's Go Captains!

The Lake County Captains (an Indians Single-A affiliate, for anyone not familiar) will face off against the Kane County Captains (a Cubs affiliate) in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series, scheduled to begin tonight in suburban Chicago.

The two teams arrived at this point very differently:

Kane County was a dominant force all season long, posting the best record in the league in the first half, at 45-25, then posting the best record in the second half too, at 46-24, for an overall mark of 91-49 that was the best by any team in any of the affiliated leagues at any level. Pitching has been the Cougars' greatest strength, as they posted a team ERA of 2.85, and a team WHIP of 1.17, each figure easily the best in the league.

Lake County posted the league's worst record in the first half, going just 27-43, but in the second half (helped in part by some new additions to the roster) they went 38-31, and with the split-season structure the Midwest League uses to determine its playoff teams, that was enough to sneak in as a Wild Card team, despite an overall record of just 65-74. The Captains have had modest pitching and a weak team batting average, and stole 49 fewer bases than any other team in the league, but they had great power, with a league best 119 home runs.

Here's the schedule of games:

  • Game 1: Captains (Brown) @ Cougars (Tseng), Wednesday, 7:00 ET
  • Game 2: Captains (Milbrath) @ Cougars (Underwood), Thursday, 7:00 ET
  • Game 3: Cougars (Torrez) @ Captains (Polanco), Saturday, 7:00 ET
  • Game 4*: Cougars (Blackburn) @ Captains (Lugo), Sunday, 7:00 ET
  • Game 5*: Cougars (Wells) @ Captains (Kime), Monday, 7:00 ET

*If necessary

All five of Kane County's starters pitched at least 100 innings for them, and they all posted an ERA of 3.26 or better. That's a tremendous rotation, which means Clint Frazier, Bradley Zimmer, Nellie Rodriguez and the rest of the Captains hitters will have their work cut out for them.