The Billings Mustangs begin their final series of the regular season tonight at home. They’ll welcome in the Missoula Osprey for a 4-game finale. This is a very big series for both teams. And for the Great Falls Voyagers, too. But more on them later.
The Mustangs are 21-13 in the second half and in first place in the Pioneer League North Division. Missoula is 19-15 and in second place. That puts the Osprey 2.0 games back with 4 games to go. The two teams would have the same record if Missoula were to win the series 3 games to 1. But with the tie-breaker rules, that would put the Osprey in the playoffs due to a better head-to-head record on the season. The two teams are 8-8 against each other to this point in the season. Obviously a clean sweep for Missoula would put them into the playoffs. The Mustangs need at least a split of the series to finish ahead of the Osprey.
But things aren’t just up in the air for the Mustangs and the Osprey. The Great Falls Voyagers are 18-15, just 2.5 games behind Billings and a half-game behind Missoula. They need to sweep their final series to have a chance. The best that they can finish is 22-15. If Great Falls wins out, they also need Missoula to go 3-1 in the series against Billings. That would put the Osprey and Mustangs both at 22-16, giving the Voyagers the division by a half-game.
The Mustangs and Osprey both hold their own fate in their hands. Win out and you are in. The Mustangs can also go 3-1 or 2-2 in the series and they are in regardless of what Great Falls does. Billings, however, has to turn things around. They’ve lost six games in a row. Missoula is 5-5 over their last 10 games. Great Falls is on a roll, having won five straight and they are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Billings is the only team in the Reds farm system still playing. They’d like to keep that going beyond the regular season finale on Saturday night. And hey, if they make it, two of the other three teams in the playoffs have the MiLBtv package, so we might even get a chance to WATCH them play some more this season.