Time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Pitching matchup: RHP Jimmi Brasoban (2-4, 6.54 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Kubitza (10-2, 2.34 ERA) … The Whitecaps have the obvious advantage with Kubitza on the mound, though Fort Wayne faced him six times this year. The star righty is 2-1 with three no-decisions and a 3.55 ERA against Fort Wayne, but unlike most of those six starts, he’s well-rested, perhaps too rested entering Game 1. Kubitza last pitched seven days ago.
Brasoban was chosen for this start over Cody Hebner, the only other rested option, so the 20-year-old draws the Game 1 start out of necessity, not necessarily because the TinCaps trust him that much. Brasoban finished the season strong with his last 11 starts, and one outing against West Michigan on Aug. 2 (6 shutout innings, 8 hits) was his best. Brasoban faced the Whitecaps on two other occasions and was OK, not great, each time.
What’s at stake: Game 1 really sets the tone, especially in a best-of-three series. In my opinion, it’s far from a must-win, but the TinCaps really boost their chances of winning the series if they find a way to win tonight.
TinCaps notes: This is the TinCaps’ 10th postseason appearance in the last 12 years, with 2007 and 2008 being the lone exceptions. … Manager Michael Collins, asked to pick one word to describe his club entering the postseason, chose ‘energy.’ … The TinCaps are 6-7 in 13 first-round series since the franchise’s inception in 1993, but they are 4-1 in first-round series since this current six-season playoff run began in 2009. The TinCaps have won their last three first-round series (2011-13). … The last playoff meeting with West Michigan? A three-game series loss in the 2006 first round. … The TinCaps were 9-10 against West Michigan this season. … The TinCaps won 38 of their 70 games at Parkview Field this year.
Whitecaps notes: The Whitecaps clinched a playoff berth by winning the first-half title, finishing an identical 41-29 both before and after the All-Star break…. West Michigan was 68-42 on Aug. 2, but they finished the season with a 14-16 stretch, including dropping two of three at Parkview Field. … It is the Whitecaps’ 15th appearance in the Midwest League playoffs, and they have won five championships.