Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
Even though the Sonoma Stompers took a 9-3 loss on Sunday in the season finale against the San Rafael Pacifics at Albert Park, the Stompers knew going in that the real battle between the two half-champions would take place 30 hours after first pitch. With the Pacifics wrapping up the best overall record in Saturday's come-from-behind win to clinch Albert Park as the site for the Pacific Association title game, Sunday's game amounted to not much more than a warmup game for Monday, and the Stompers were able to do a couple of things that would benefit the team for the big game.
Perhaps most important was that Sean Conroy, who was originally scheduled to start on Sunday, would be able to rest ahead of Monday's game, where he has had tremendous success against the Pacifics in 2015. That means that Monday's pitching available for the Stompers would begin with Santos Saldivar and include Conroy, lefty ace Dylan Stoops and former closer and top-flight starter Mike Jackson, Jr.
On top of saving Conroy, the Stompers also gave rests to Gered Mochizuki (back, hamstring) and Andrew Parker (hand) so that they could be prepared for Monday's game, meaning that when the first pitch is made at 7 p.m., the Stompers should be at 100 percent across the board for everyone who would be featured participants in the title game.
There is the idea looming that the Stompers have lost eight of nine against San Rafael and have lost 12 of 17 overall while the Pacifics have lost only four times in the month of August, including seven straight games to end the season and take the top spot in the overall standings from Sonoma.
However, with the title being decided in only a single game, it essentially comes down to a coin flip, which amplifies every pitch to a higher degree and makes batter/pitcher matchup paramount to anything else. With an entire season's of tendencies available for a lot of players on both sides, those will be leaned on more than ever to give each team an edge.
While the Stompers undoubtedly have the pitching edge, the Pacifics have the best hitter on either side, with corner infielder Jake Taylor hitting much like departed first baseman and probable MVP Matt Chavez. In only 35 games, Taylor has 12 home runs, and his addition to the Pacifics for the second half has been as important as Saldivar's addition for the Stompers on the pitching side.
Sonoma will most likely see Celson Polanco across from them as the San Rafael starter in Monday's game, but the official starter has yet to be announced by the Pacifics. Stompers fans are encouraged to come down and root on their team, with tickets available at the gate and also at PacificsBaseball.com. If fans can't make it out, the radio broadcast will begin around 15 minutes before first pitch, which has been initially set at 7:05 p.m. The official start time of the broadcast will be announced on Twitter @SonomaStompers shortly before the game.