The Billings Mustangs begin the Pioneer League playoffs later today with first pitch scheduled for 7:15pm ET. As the second half division winner they will be playing the first half division champion Idaho Falls Chukars. In the Pioneer League the first half division winner gets to decide if they want to host game 1 and play games 2 and 3 on the road, or begin on the road and then host games 2 and 3 at home. The Chukars chose to begin in Billings and host the rest of the series.

For the Mustangs, they finished with the leagues best second half record. Winning the final game of the season in extra-innings last night gave them a 24-14 record. Overall they finished 39-37 after a tough first half. Idaho Falls won the first half by going 21-16. Their second half didn’t go nearly as well as they went 13-25 in the second half of the season, finishing in last place.

In game one tonight the Mustangs will send Miguel Medrano to the mound.  Medrano posted a 3.13 ERA in 14 starts for Billings this season. In his 60.1 innings he walked 14 batters and had 66 strikeouts while giving up 52 hits. The Chukars should be very familiar with the right-handed pitcher, as he should be with them. Medrano has faced them five times this season. The matchups have been rather one sided in favor of the 21-year-old starter from the Dominican Republic. Medrano has posted a 1.99 ERA in 22.2 innings against them, walked just 5 batters, and he’s struck out 29 of the 88 hitters he’s faced in those starts.

The Chukars will be handing the ball to left-handed pitcher Chih-Ting Wang, who has made just one start all season. It came against Billings and he threw just one inning that day. He’s been very limited in his usage this season, throwing just 34.0 innings over 15 games. When he’s been on the mound he’s been successful, posting a 3.18 ERA with 2 home runs allowed, just 9 walks, and he’s struck out 39 batters. He’s faced Billings three times this season for a total of 4.1 innings where he’s allowed just 1 run on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts. The lone run he allowed was on a home run by Leonardo Seminati.

Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be played in Idaho Falls. For those of you with the MiLBtv package, those games will be available to watch. In game 2 the Mustangs will lean on Noah Davis. The 22-year-old has been dominant for Billings since joining them. After missing the end of his college season last year, and the first half of the season this year while he recovered from Tommy John surgery, he joined the Mustangs after making 5 rehab starts with the AZL Reds. In the Pioneer League he’s posted a 2.10 ERA in 34.1 innings across 8 starts. He’s struck out 30 batters and walked 13. Davis has faced them three times this season, and that includes his best professional start where he tossed 5.0 shutout innings with 8 strikeouts on August 19th in Idaho Falls. The Chukars have not listed their starter for game 2.

The game 3 probable is Jose Salvador. The 19-year-old left-handed pitcher has made just 3 starts for the Mustangs this year. He started 11 games with the Greeneville Reds before he was promoted to Billings late in the season. In Greeneville he posted a 5.05 ERA in 46.1 innings with 16 walks and 57 strikeouts. Since joining Billings he’s posted a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings with 3 walks and 15 strikeouts. His first start with the Mustangs came against Idaho Falls and he allowed just 1 run over 4.0 innings on 2 hits, a walk, and he struck out 6 batters. The Chukars have not listed their starter for game 3.

On the other side of the Pioneer League Grand Junction and Ogden will face off. The Ogden Raptors won both the first and second half division titles. Grand Junction came in second place both times. Overall, Ogden was easily the best team in the Pioneer League this season. They finished 54-22 on the season. Missoula, who failed to qualify for the playoffs, had the second best overall record at 40-36. The Raptors will begin the series in Grand Junction tonight at 8pm ET. Then the series will conclude in Ogden, where they will host game 2 and 3 (if necessary).