2014 Baby Bombers Playoff Blog: PrimerEverything you need to know about the Yankees' minor-league playoff hopes
Over the next couple weeks, or as long as a Yankees minor-league affiliate is alive in the playoffs, we here at YESNetwork.com will bring you a daily blog summarizing the results of every postseason game for the Baby Bombers.
That run begins Friday with an all-Yankees matchup in then Gulf Coast League semifinals, but before we get to that, let's get to this year's primer, chronicling which two sets of Baby Bombers still hope to join their GCL brehtren in the postseason and which three know they're headed home come Monday.
ROOKIES ON THE RISE
Both the GCL Yankees 1 and 2 squads made the Gulf Coast League playoffs, a pretty solid feat in just the second season that the Bombers have fielded two teams in the league. The GCL Yankees 1 finished their season atop the Northwest Division with a 38-22 record - earning the top seed in the GCL Playoffs - and the GCL Yankees 2 won the Northeast Division by going 35-25.
However, only one of them will advance to the finals, as the Yankees 2's record means that they are the No. 4 seed and must face the Yankees 1 in the first round. That one-game semifinal is set for Friday at 11 a.m. in Tampa, with the winner going on to face either the Red Sox or Cardinals in the Best-of-3 GCL Championship Series starting Saturday.
The Class-A Advanced Florida State League playoffs pit the first-half winners of each division against the second-half champs in the first round, and with four games to go, the Tampa Yankees have a chance to battle the Dunedin Blue Jays in the North Division championship series.
Heading into the final weekend, the T-Yanks (36-29 in the second half, 69-66 overall through Wednesday) are three games behind the Daytona Cubs, but the two teams meet Friday through Sunday in Daytona to finish the season. The Cubs are off Thursday while the T-Yanks are in Clearwater, so the scenario is as simple as this: lose Thursday and the T-Yanks are out, but beat the Threshers and they can win the division title with a sweep at Jackie Robinson Ballpark this weekend.
ET TU, STATEN ISLAND?
The Short-Season Class-A Staten Island Yankees' mathematical situation is similar to their counterparts in Tampa, but entering Thursday, they have a lot longer odds to reach the four-team New York-Penn League playoffs.
With five games to play, the SI Yanks are 35-35 and stand fourth in the NYPL wild-card race, 3 ½ games behind Brooklyn. However, because Brooklyn (40-31) has played one more game, the SI Yanks are five back in the win column, so their elimination number is one; the two teams finish with a home-and-home two-game set Sunday and Monday (with the latter in Richmond County Ballpark), but the Yanks must first sweep a three-game set against Vermont (and get some help from Lowell and Connecticut) to make those final two games mean more than just playing out the string.
Unfortunately, the Double-A Trenton Thunder will not have a chance to defend their Eastern League championship, as they - along with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and Class-A Charleston RiverDogs - have already been eliminated from postseason contention and will conclude their seasons on Labor Day Monday.
SWB (66-73) and Trenton (67-70) both end their seasons at home against Phillies affiliates, with the RailRiders hosting Lehigh Valley and the Thunder getting a visit from Reading, while Charleston (Thursday 34-31 in the second half, 67-68 overall), finishes on the road with a calendar-closing four-game set in Augusta.