The Oklahoma City RedHawks have been the hottest team in the Pacific Coast League since the All-Star break. The RedHawks hope to ride that momentum to a PCL title.
Closing out the regular season with their 10th walk-off win of the season Monday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the RedHawks open a first-round, best-of-5 series by hosting Games 1 and 2 against Omaha on Wednesday night and Thursday night.
OKC trailed Albuquerque by 41/2 games at the All-Star break. Bolstered by a 21-4 home record since the break, the RedHawks clinched the division title with nearly a week left in the regular season.
“Everyone is excited,” said OKC third baseman Brandon Laird. “We've had a really good year. Everyone in the lineup has contributed, one through nine. Our pitching has been great. We just have to keep it going.”
This is the seventh time in 10 seasons as a Triple-A manager that Tony DeFrancesco has taken a team to the playoffs. Six times he won division titles with Sacramento, Oakland's Triple-A affiliate.
DeFrancesco's Sacramento teams won PCL titles in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and reached the finals in 2009.
“Playoff games are a different atmosphere,” DeFrancesco said. “Everyone knows there's a little more on the line. This is what you play for.”
Asher Wojciechowski, a 24-year-old right-hander out of the Citadel and a first-round pick in 2010, will start Game 1 for the RedHawks.
Wojciechowski, who has split time between Double-A and Triple-A, has an 11-8 record with a 3.32 ERA this season. He's 9-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts in Oklahoma City.
“It's always great experience to play in high-pressure games,” Wojciechowski said. “We're excited. For any pitcher, it comes down to mixing your pitches, have good command and hit your spots.”