After almost getting a front row seat to the Boise foothills fire in the last game of the season, The Hops first round game with the Eugene Emeralds was postponed due to poor air quality Tuesday from the local forest fires. The first game of the Northern Division playoffs in Spokane between the Indians and the Vancouver Canadians was postponed for the same reasons.
New Playoff Schedule
The fires have pushed back the playoffs by one day. Instead of starting on Tuesday, they both will start on Wednesday. In Hillsboro’s case, their second game with the Emeralds will be played on Thursday instead of Wednesday and the third game, if needed, will be played on Friday at Ron Tonkin Field.
All of this was decided after the Hops almost got all three games in the first round at home. Initially, the first game was to be moved to Hillsboro on Wednesday and played with the second game as a double header. But, after much discussion with both sides and the league office, it was finally decided to keep the games where they were and move them back a day. Tickets to Wednesday’s game will be honored on Thursday. Those who bought tickets for Thursday’s game (if needed) will be honored on Friday.
According to the Eugene-Register Guard, the air quality conditions are expected to improve by Wednesday afternoon and hopefully allow the game to be played at PK Park.
This will prove to be most curious in later events. If Hillsboro wins the series and Spokane wins their first round, both teams will meet for the Championship round in Hillsboro — for all five games. Yes, the championship series is five games this year instead of its usual three. Plus, the Hops will get to host all five games if Spokane is the opponent. The reason has nothing to do with the fires and is because the Spokane Interstate Fair will be taking place. The Indians will have no home to host their opponents. This fair takes place every year after the Labor Day weekend and runs for around ten days.
If Spokane does come to Hillsboro, Spokane will wear the home uniforms and bat in the bottom of the inning for games 3, 4, and 5.
In addition, if Eugene wins the series against the Hops on Friday (or before), Eugene will still host the first game of the championship series on Saturday… after the Ducks host the Nebraska football team earlier in the day.
The Northwest League is adaptable if nothing else.
For the first game now on Wednesday in Eugene, expected starters are now RHP Jose Albertos (2-1) for the Emeralds and RHP Brian Shaffer (0-0) for the Hops according to the Register-Guard. The Hops website has RHP Jesus Camargo (3-1) starting on Wednesday and Albertos on Thursday for the Emeralds with neither Hops pitcher yet to be determined.
If or when Shaffer starts, he is expected to go two or three innings with Kevin McCanna coming on in relief. In the past, McCanna has pitched well into the game, sometimes closing the final innings.
Major League Pitcher Randall Delgado
As if the playoffs were not exciting enough without the fire delays and the last-minute schedule wrangling, the Hops announced they have received a pitcher who has pitched in 261 career major league games. His name is Randall Delgado and he has arrived on a rehab assignment for the parent Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 2017, Randall pitched in 26 major league games, starting five of them. The native Panamanian 26-year old has an MLB career record 28-29 that includes 53 starts and a 4.08 ERA. Delgado was scheduled to appear in Wednesday’s game in Hillsboro. It is unclear when Randall will make his Hops debut but it is expected to be the first or second game.
By Greg Stoker