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Three Indians minor league affiliates are in the playoffs

Let's go Clippers! ...Let's go RubberDucks! ...Let's go Captains!

As the Indians cling to the thinnest shreds of playoff contention, three of their minor league affiliates are about the beging postseason play in their respective leagues. The Columbus Clippers, Akron RubberDucks, and Lake County Captains all qualified for the playoffs, and they're all hosting their series-opening game tonight. If I weren't so busy with the final stages of wedding planning, I'd buy MiLB.TV so that I could watch the action.

Many MLB fans view the minors as just a factory line for the big league team (in large part, MLB teams probably view them that way too), but each of them has dedicated fans who would love to see a championship, and for the players at each level, I'm sure these games matter quite a bit.

Here's a quick primer for each team's opening series...

Columbus (Triple-A)

The Clippers finished the regular season at 79-65, winning the International League's West division, and tied for the second-best record in the three-division league. The Clippers currently house a ton of talent, led by the Indians' top prospect, shortstop Francisco Lindor. Also there are third baseman Giovanny Urshela (a great defender who's had a breakout season at the plate), outfielders Carlos Moncrief (incredible arm) and James Ramsey (acquired for Justin Masterson), and first baseman Russell Branyan (who was recently signed after spending the last year and a half in Mexico).

(for full Clippers roster, click here)

The Clippers face the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay's affiliate) in the best-of-5 semifinals.

  • Game 1: Wednesday, September 3, 7:05 ET (at Columbus)
  • Game 2: Thursday, September 4, 7:05 ET (at Columbus)
  • Game 3: Friday, September 5, 7:05 ET (at Durham)
  • Game 4*: Saturday, September 6, 1:05 ET (at Durham)
  • Game 5*: Sunday, September 7, 5:05 ET (at Durham)

*If necessary

Akron (Double-A)

The RubberDucks finished the regular season at 73-69, finishing second in the Eastern League's Western Division and qualifying as a Wild Card team. Among the prospects playing for Akron right now are first baseman Jake Lowery, shortstop Erik Gonzalez, and outfielder Tyler Naquin. (Naquin is on the DL though)

(for full RubberDucks roster, click here)

The RubberDucks face the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco's affiliate) in the best-of-5 semifinals. RubberDucks and Flying Squirrels... quirky MiLB naming at its finest!

  • Game 1: Wednesday, September 3, 6:35 ET (at Akron)
  • Game 2: Thursday, September 4, 6:35 ET  (at Akron)
  • Game 3: Friday, September 5, 7:05 ET (at Richmond)
  • Game 4*: Saturday, September 6, 6:05 ET (at Richmond)
  • Game 5*: Sunday, September 7, 1:35 ET (at Richmond)

*If necessary

Lake County (SIngle-A)

The Captains finished the regular season at just 65-74, but the Eastern League separates its playoff qualifiers by first-half and second-half of the season, and the Captains went 38-31 in the second half, allowing them to qualify as a Wild Card team for the 8-team postseason. Part of the reason the Captains played better more recently was the promotion of some talent from short-season leagues. Among the prospects playing for Lake County right now are 2013 1st round pick Clint Frazier (OF) and 2014 1st round picks Bradley Zimmer (OF) and Mike Papi (1B).

(for fulls Captains roster, click here)

The Captains face the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona's affiliate) in the best-of-3 quarterfinals.

  • Game 1: Wednesday, September 3, 7:00 ET (at Lake County)
  • Game 2: Thursday, September 4, 7:05 ET (at South Bend)
  • Game 3*: Friday, September 5, 7:35 ET (at South Bend)

*If necessary