Altoona Curve Advance to Eastern League Championship Series

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

After defeating the Bowie Baysox 6-1 on Saturday night the Altoona Curve are headed back to the Eastern League Championship Series

What has already been a very successful season for the Altoona Curve got even better on Saturday night. This is because of Saturday night the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A affiliate defeated the Bowie Baysox by a score of 6-1 to advance to the Eastern League Championship Series.

For the Curve, this is their first trip to the Eastern League Championship Series since 2010. In 2010 a Curve team led by future Pirates such as Alex Presley, Jared Hughes, Jeff Locke, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Justin Wilson, and Tony Watson were able to capture the Eastern League Championship that season.

After an incredible start in Game One of the Eastern League Western Division Series, Mitch Keller will get the ball in Game One of the Eastern League Championship Series. The Pirates’ top pitching prospect faced the minimum in his first postseason start and needed just 90 pitches to throw a complete game shut out.

This was Keller simply picking up where he left off at in the regular season. After owning a 3.14 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and averaging 2.33 BB/9 and 7.45 K/9 at High-A Keller was promoted to Double-A over the summer. With the Curve he was dynamite. He averaged 2.86 BB/9, 11.68 K/9, and he owned a 3.12 ERA and a 2.50 FIP.

One negative for the Curve is that shortstop Cole Tucker has been lost with a hand injury. In his first taste of Double-A this season the 21-year-old shortstop posted a .349 on-base percentage, .329 wOBA, and a 101 wRC+. He also stole 11 bases and played excellent defense. With the season he had, Tucker worked his way into being a top-100 prospect.

Just as they did in 2010, the Altoona Curve will do battle with the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League Championship Series. This series will begin on Tuesday night at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

Next: Bucs Lose Fourth Consecutive Game

While minor league results are far from the be all end all in predicting future Major League success, it is still great to see Pirate minor league affiliates having successful seasons. On top of the success of the Curve, Triple-A Indianapolis also made the postseason this season.

Not only do postseason runs for minor league teams give their players additional games to play in giving further opportunity to work on their development, it is also beneficial for them to play in important postseason games. Furthermore, winning in the minor leagues creates a winning culture throughout the Pirate system and this is the culture you want your franchise to have.