Deck McGuire put on a show last night in Pensacola. The right hander pitched the game of his life to open up the playoffs. He would throw 8.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits in the game without walking anyone. The 28-year-old also struck out 13 batters.

The 13 strikeouts were the most ever as a professional for Deck McGuire. His previous career best was 11, which he had in 2016 and then in his last start of the regular season this year. In front of some of the Cincinnati Reds front office (owners Bob Castellini and Jeff Wyler, as well as Assistant GM Sam Grossman and Player Development Director Jeff Graupe) he led the Blue Wahoos to a victory in game one of the Southern League playoffs.

Zack Weiss is clutch and clutch is everything in life

Deck McGuire wasn’t the only pitcher to step up for Pensacola on the night. Zack Weiss entered the game in the top of the 9th inning with the bases loaded and no outs and holding onto a 2-0 lead. Weiss fell behind the first hitter with a ball, but fired three straight strikes to record the first out. Taking on former Reds minor leaguer David Vidal he recorded another strikeout, blowing a fastball by him for strike three. He jumped ahead of the final batter of the game 0-2 before inducing a ground ball to Blake Trahan who flipped to Shed Long at second base for the force out to end the game.

Southern League playoff to be cut short

With Hurricane Irma heading directly towards Florida, and two teams from Florida in the playoffs, the Southern League has decided to cancel the championship series and will award a co-championship to each of the first round playoff series winners.

It’s also made a change to the schedule in the Pensacola and Jacksonville series. Originally planned, Pensacola would host the first two games then travel to Jacksonville for the final three games (if necessary). Now the first three games will be played in Pensacola, with the third game having Jacksonville as the home team. If games four and five are necessary, the teams will play on Saturday and Sunday in Biloxi.

Hunter Greene rebounds for Billings

Hunter Greene had a start to forget the last time he took the mound. He allowed six earned runs and only recorded one out. Last night he put it behind him and pitched well over 3.0 innings. An unearned run on one hit and one walk was all that Helena could muster. He threw 35 pitches, 25 of which were strikes. That led to four strikeouts in the outing.

The start on Wednesday night could very well be the final one of the year for Hunter Greene. Billings has just three games remaining in the regular season. They are still in the race for the playoffs, though, where Greene would likely start again. Missoula currently leads the division, but they won the first half – meaning that the that if they continue to lead, that the team in second place would get the playoff spot. Great Falls currently has a 1-game lead over the Mustangs. Great Falls and Missoula finish the season against each other.

20 Responses

  1. MikeD

    Thankfully Greene came through. I was concerned that the Reds made a huge mistake after his previous start!

    You have to be happy for Weiss, after what he has gone through.

    I believe Doug might have suggested that Deck will choose free agency after the season, because of the depth of the pitching ahead of him. That makes sense and this start will hopefully help him find a good home.

    • stock

      I wasn’t so concerned. 6 ball in play and all were hits. Very unusual. I think 5 of the 6 were singles even.

      • Doug Gray

        I believe Mike was being sarcastic/mocking, since one poster here actually does seem to believe that.

  2. redleggingfordayz

    I asked this a few weeks ago mostly as a side thought. But has Deck McGuire figured something else out this year? I know he is very old for the league, but his numbers have seemed to turn around compared to his previous years across the board. Does he have the stuff to make it to the big leagues as a long man out of the bullpen? Or is he another Adleman level pitcher?

    • Wes

      He’s 28 pitching to 20 yr olds. He has to prove himself at a higher level

      • The Duke

        Average age in AA is actually closer to 24, but 28 is still old for the league. Austin Ross also dominated in AA this year for the Wahoos too, but then got lit up like a Christmas tree when he got a shot in AAA.

      • redleggingfordayz

        I did state in the post that he was very old for the league. Really just wondering if he figured something different out, or developed a new pitch. It could all just be due to Pensacola sucking his power as his HR\FB rate in the past seems to be what has done him in. Duke, you are certainly right on Ross, but he also didn’t have the K\9 #’s that Deck is putting up. I guess all we can do is wait and see!

      • David

        Contrary to the myth floating around, Ross did not get ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’ at Louisville. He made 4 starts: 8 IP, 2 ER – 6 IP, 2 ER – 6 IP, 1 ER and 4 IP, 6 ER. His average Game Score for those four starts was 50, which is an average start. I will take 3 good to very good starts out of 4 every time. I am not even looking at his one relief appearance, since he is not a reliever, and we do not know the circumstances in which he was asked to relieve. I am not saying that he should have gotten a start in the bigs, or even a longer stay in Louisville. But his 4.12 ERA as a starter in Louisville compares favorably to Rookie Davis (4.77), Jackson Stephens (4.97) or Amir Garrett (5.72).

  3. CP

    It’s great to see Weiss having a good rebound year from his injury. Doug, do you think he has a good chance at taking a run at the Reds bullpen next year?

    • HavaKlu

      When the playoffs are over release Storen and bring of Weiss for a look see.

    • Doug Gray

      It will be very telling with whether or not the Reds add Weiss to the 40-man this offseason or not. I think they will, but I’ve seen some crazy things happen before, too.

      If he’s added, then he’s going to spring training and I think that’s where he could turn some heads and get a shot.

      • The Duke

        I think Weiss gets taken in the rule 5 if he isn’t added. High college pedigree, fairly high round draft pick, some track record this year coming back from the major injury, and good performance before and after the injury. There are a lot of teams where he wouldn’t be the worst guy in the bullpen in 2018. If I’m DW, he’s on my 40 man roster this winter.

  4. gycincy

    The wife and i are vacationing in Panama City and took the two hour drive over to see the game. The park is beautiful, the staff is great and what a game! Deck may be older, but he was pitcher last night. Pounded the fast ball early and then mixed in breaking balls to keep the batters off timing. This was my first minor league game and would love to see the pitch clock used in the majors. I read this site every day but my first time commenting. Thanks for every thing Doug.

    • Jami Sanderson

      Hey there, I’m a Blue Wahoos fan and a host mom for some of the players. I’m glad you made the drive to see the Blue Wahoos play! I’m lucky to live 3 miles away from the ballpark but love it every single time. Deck & Zack did a FANTASTIC job last night and hopefully they will get promoted! Someday I may see an MLB game! Lol. I might be spoiled with the great staff at Blue Wahoos Stadium!

  5. Bill

    What’s the logic behind shutting down Mahle before the end of the season? He threw 150 innings last season and is sitting at 155 going into tonight’s game? Why not let go to 180-185?

    • Doug Gray

      Have the Reds actually said they were going to shut him down? I’ve heard the talking heads say it, but haven’t actually heard anything from the Reds about it (that’s not to say they haven’t, just that I haven’t heard it).

      For the record, Mahle has thrown 3 fewer pitches in 2017 than he threw in 2016. So it’s certainly weird to shut him down, unless they believe he’s truly tiring out.

      • Bill

        In one of the online articles, Adam Baum of The Enquirer had a quote from Brian Price indicating that Mahle may only have a couple more starts.

        His velocity was down tonight, so maybe with other pitchers they’d like to see in the remaining games they feel like Mahle has pitched enough this year that he’d be pretty much good for a full season next year.

  6. Mustang John

    If Missoula wins both halves then team with best overall record goes to playoffs Mustangs lead GF by 2 games

    • Doug Gray

      Correct. But if Great Falls and Billings tie for first, then head to head comes into play.