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Inside Baseball / THE BOTTOM HALF

Off The Wall

September 09, 2007|Peter Yoon

Looking ahead

This week could go a long way toward separating playoff contenders as teams locked in races meet in almost every division. The Cubs and Cardinals will play Monday at Wrigley Field in a game rescheduled from Aug. 19 because of rain and then square off again next weekend in St. Louis for a three-game series. The Dodgers will be home against San Diego and Arizona this week. The New York Yankees play at Boston next weekend, and the New York Mets will be at home against Philadelphia.

It's a fact

The union for minor league umpires has agreed to let Major League Baseball perform background checks, a move the commissioner's office requested after the NBA's referee betting scandal. The union for major league umpires, however, has not yet agreed to wider background checks, asking that umpiring crews for postseason series be expanded from six to seven as part of any agreement.

Looking back

MLB conducted a series of 28 coin flips Friday to determine who would get home-field advantage should any one-game playoffs be needed to determine division or wild-card winners. The Arizona Diamondbacks emerged as the big winners and would be the home team for any playoff game against the Dodgers, San Diego Padres or Colorado Rockies to determine the NL West title. The Seattle Mariners are the only team that lost all of its coin flips and would be on the road for wild-card playoff games against either the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers.

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MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

DODGERS IN THE MINORS

BRIAN AKIN

Las Vegas, triple A

Akin, a 14th-round draft pick out of Davidson in 2004, spent most of this season at double-A Jacksonville, but was promoted for the last few weeks of the season. At both stops, as he has throughout his career, he showed the ability to pile up strikeouts. He struck out 110 batters in 82 1/3 innings this season. For his career, he has 320 strikeouts in 272 2/3 innings. But, as with many power pitchers, control is an issue. He walked 50 batters this season and gave up 79 hits, which translates to more than 14 baserunners allowed per nine innings. As a result, his ERA was 4.48, but he projects as an effective setup man or closer if he can harness his control.

RUSSELL MITCHELL

Inland Empire, Class A

Mitchell, 22, is headed to the Hawaiian Fall League after finishing the season at Inland Empire with 22 home runs, 82 RBIs and a .270 batting average. He ended the season on a high note, batting .500 with four home runs and 13 RBIs over his last four games. A 15th-round draft pick in 2003, he has shown power throughout his career and was named a Pioneer League postseason All-Star in 2005 after batting .289 with 13 home runs with 54 RBIs in 69 games with rookie-league Ogden. Last year, when he was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team, he hit 19 home runs with 91 RBIs over two stops, but batted only .245.

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