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richmond-headed-to-il-championship | September | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

Richmond Headed to IL Championship

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Richmond, the Braves' triple-A affiliate defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to make it to the Governor's Cup, the International League championship. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Sure, it is pretty cool to have your triple-A team going for its league's championship, but this is keeping quite a few good players from being called up to the majors. The Braves, with a record of 77-64 made it into the playoffs as a wild card and will take on their South Division rivals and Tampa Bay's triple-A team, the Durham Bulls. The Braves took their series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in four games, relying on small ball and close wins to finish off the Yankees and move on. Larry Bigbie led the attack in the series with a .556 average and Brent Lillibridge hit .389 over the four-game set, however those were the only two to hit over .300. The team didn't hit a home run and in fact only collected a total of seven extra-base hits in the series. Not the dominant way you want to go into a series with a very tough opponent. The team that stands in the R-Braves way is no less than an International League super-power. The Devil Rays' impressive farm system is clearly shown in the ability of their triple-A team. Durham slugged their way to the finals behind the bats of guys like top prospect Evan Longoria and the pitching staff is anchored by some more well-known arms like Jeff Niemann and JP Howell, who will be starting the first two games of the series. This is certainly a tough match up for Brandon Jones, Brent Lillibridge, and the rest of the Braves, who are considered severe underdogs. The key will be keeping the ball in the yard, certainly a task easier said than done.

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