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Hot Rods Game Notes - Regular Season Finale

September 2, 2019 - Midwest League (MWL) - Bowling Green Hot Rods News Release

Tuesday will be an off-day before the Midwest Playoffs begin on Wednesday with the Hot Rods and Cubs facing off in South Bend at Four Winds Field with a 6:05 PM CDT first pitch. The Hot Rods return to Bowling Green Ballpark on Wednesday for the second (and, if necessary, third) game(s) of the series with both carrying a 6:35 PM CDT first pitch.

About Last Night... The Bowling Green Hot Rods took the South Bend Cubs to extra innings on Sunday in the penultimate game of the season but fell in the 10th 4-3 in the final Sunday game of the 2019 regular season. Seaver Whalen blasted a homer in the second inning to give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead, but a Cubs homer in the bottom of the frame tied the ballgame back up a one-run a piece. Whalen struck again in the fourth against MLB rehabber Derek Holland, stroking his second homer of the game over the left-field wall with Chris Betts aboard to give BG a 3-1 edge. Shane Baz, BG's starter, allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the inning to tie the game back up but allowed no more. Baz and Chris Muller combined to retired 18-straight while their Cubs counterparts did the same to send the ballgame to extra innings. While the Hot Rods put to go-ahead run at third base, they couldn't capitalize. Joel Peguero took over in the bottom of the 10th and got two outs, but a ground ball was smashed to third and an errant throw to first allowed the go-ahead, game-winning run to score and give the Cubs a 4-3 victory while forcing a season-finale rubber match on Monday.

Setting the Scene... The Hot Rods and Cubs will face off in the Eastern Division Quarterfinals beginning on Wednesday with a 6:05 PM first pitch in South Bend, IN. The 2019 postseason marks the first time the two clubs will meet for postseason play after the Hot Rods have faced Fort Wayne and Lake County twice, Lansing, Great Lakes, and West Michigan.

6X2=Long Gone... The Hot Rods have had six different players with two-home run games this season. Chris Betts has accomplished the feat twice while Kaleo Johnson, Wander Franco, Connor Hollis, and Jordan Qsar all accomplished the feat this season. Whalen joined the long list, ensuring that the only months of the 2019 season BG didn't have a player with a multi-homer game were in June and July.

Awesome August... Saturday marked the final day of August, which wound up being a productive month for the Hot Rods, as they went 19-10. That matches last season's record for the month of August, which is the second-most wins in the eighth month of the year in franchise history, behind a 21-win August in 2016. The 19-10 record also was the best in the entire Midwest League this month, including wins in 10 of the final 12 contests in August. It was a historical month for the Hot Rods, too, as they posted a 2.45 ERA, the second-lowest monthly mark in franchise history, behind a 2.15 mark in June 2018. The strong pitching offset a historically slow month for the Bowling Green offense, which hit just .213 this month, which surpassed April 2011's .222 average for the lowest monthly average in franchise history.

Playoff Field is Set... With Lansing's loss to Fort Wayne on Saturday night, South Bend backed their way into the postseason, clinching the eighth and final spot in the Midwest League playoffs for the 2019 season, which will mean a first-round matchup with the Hot Rods. On the other side of the Eastern Division bracket is the first-half matchup of Great Lakes and Lake County. In the Western Division, Cedar Rapids and Quad Cities face off as the first-half qualifiers while Kane County and Clinton battle in the second-half matchup. The only variable still unknown is whether Clinton or Kane County will be the second-half division champion, with the Cougars currently holding a half-game lead over the LumberKings heading into the last day of the season.

One That's Missing... With South Bend clinching a playoff berth and Bowling Green wrapping up the second-half division crown on Saturday night, the remainder of the regular season for both teams amounts to little more than a tune-up for the playoff series between these two teams, which begins Wednesday at Four Winds Field. As a result, the postponed contest from August 27 at Bowling Green Ballpark will not be made up, meaning that the Hot Rods will only play 139 games this season. This marks the 9th time in the 11-season history of the Hot Rods that the team is unable to play all 140 games of the regular-season schedule, with the 2011 and 2012 teams being the only Bowling Green squads to successfully complete every scheduled contest.

Single Season Record Watching... HR: Betts has 19 homers, tied with Moises Gomez (2018), for third place, three behind Ronaldo Hernandez (2nd, 21, 2018) and four behind Derek Dietrich (1st, 22, 2011)... RBIs: Betts' 73 surpasses Jake Hager (72, 2012) for fifth place... Hits: Proctor (132) trails Tim Beckham (135, 2009) for fifth and Drew Vettleson (139, 2012) for fourth... Strikeouts: Betts (133) is tied with Ty Morrison (133, 2010) for fourth-most, one back of Kevin Padlo (134, 2016) for third... Wins: Strong (10) is in a five-way tie for fourth-most, with Sampen (9) one win back... Saves: Peguero (16) will finish the season with the third-most...

Last Night's Notes... Whalen two homers in a game for the first time in his career... He had three RBIs in a game for the second time this season... It was his fourth multi-RBI game of the year as well... Sunday was the sixth time this season a Hot Rods hitter had two homers in a game... He joins Betts (twice), Jordan Qsar, Connor Hollis, Kaleo Johnson, and Wander Franco... BG had a player hit two homers in a game in every month of the season this year except June and July... Baz tied a career-high with six innings of work and nine strikeouts... BG finishes their regular season Sunday schedule with a 10-9 overall and 2-8 on the road... The Hot Rods are 27-23 in one-run games... They're 22-10 in day games... Hot Rods pitching retired 18-straight batters prior to the game-winning error...

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Midwest League Stories from September 2, 2019

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