S37 Playoff Previews

For once, my Playoff Previews may be somewhat on time for the Play-In Series {editor’s note: all the write-ups through Anaheim vs. Burlington were done on time, but I forgot to publish it. I also got to the World Series prediction on time.} …after a long season we are officially down to 12 teams left contending for the title, and it is time for me to see how well I can do at forecasting the future. Without further ado, here is my take on the first round:

AL Play-In Series

6)Toledo @ 3)Augusta

Category Toledo (89-73) Augusta (91-71)
Runs Per Game 4.69 (21st) 5.06 (6th)
Earned Run Average 4.05 (9th) 3.77 (4th)
Fielding Percentage .982  (25th) .984 (19th)
Head To Head Wins 5 5

These are two cities that are very familiar with having to play important baseball games against one another, as longtime commish cwaldenj’s Augusta Black Bears were division rivals with the Steel Ponies. A new chapter in this storied rivalry starts here, and it looks to me like the Admirals have the upper hand.

Prediction: Augusta in 5

5)Anaheim @ 4)Austin

Category Anaheim (94-68) Austin (86-76)
Runs Per Game 4.92 (11th) 5.09 (5th)
Earned Run Average 3.75 (3rd) 4.24 (12th)
Fielding Percentage .986 (11th) .983 (20th)
Head To Head Wins 6 4

The Auggies are a team on the rise, with a young core and bright future, but this time around I think they’ve drawn the short straw. The Stars are a Wild Card team that deserve to be a higher seed, and are a serious threat to go deep into the postseason as evidenced by their World Series appearance a season ago. Look for their defense of the AL crown to get beyond the Play-In Series.

Prediction: Anaheim in 4

NL Play-In Series

6)Little Rock @ 3)Scranton

Category Little Rock (97-65) Scranton (89-73)
Runs Per Game 5.24 (3rd) 4.85 (14th)
Earned Run Average 3.88 (6th) 4.16 (11th)
Fielding Percentage .988 (5th) .985 (15th)
Head To Head Wins 6 4

I think I need to get my eyes checked, because I thought I just read that a 97-win team was the worst seed in the NL playoffs…that can’t be right can it? The Travelers might be the worst seed, but they are far from the worst team. In fact, if they played in any other division they would be the #2 seed this year. I’m glad that my old friend Jason O’Keefe will finally get to see some playoff action, but I don’t see his team getting past this formidable foe.

Prediction: Little Rock in 5

5)Tampa Bay @ 4)Seattle

Category Tampa Bay (99-63) Seattle (88-74)
Runs Per Game 5.03 (9th) 4.79 (16th)
Earned Run Average 3.83 (5th) 4.30 (14th)
Fielding Percentage .986 (12th) .985 (14th)
Head To Head Wins 5 5

The last (and only) team to record back-to-back championships in FYC was the current Monterrey franchise in S23 & S24. The Bad Romance have a tough road ahead if they are going to add their name to that list, but they are certainly favored on paper in this matchup despite being the lower seed. The playoff experience of the Chains and their GM makes me hesitate to say this will be a complete pushover of a series however.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 4

ALDS

5) Anaheim @ 1) Burlington

Category Anaheim (94-68) Burlington (114-48)
Runs Per Game 4.92 (11th) 4.90 (13th)
Earned Run Average 3.75 (3rd) 2.91 (1st)
Fielding Percentage .986 (11th) .988 (3rd)
Head To Head Wins  3  7

The best regular season team meets last season’s AL Champs…this should be fun. Last year these two teams provided some good drama and a seven game ALCS before the Stars moved on to fall to the Bad Romance in the Fall Classic. This season, I don’t see any reason that the series won’t go the distance again but I do think that the Ligers will come out on top…it’s hard to imagine the team that just set the record for regular season WHIP lose their first playoff series.

Prediction: Burlington in 5

6)Toledo @ 2)Vancouver

Category Toledo (89-73) Vancouver (101-61)
Runs Per Game 4.69 (21st) 5.06 (7th)
Earned Run Average 4.05 (9th) 3.57 (2nd)
Fielding Percentage .982 (25th) .986 (8th)
Head To Head Wins 4 6

 

The Steel Ponies have won their first playoff series since S9, but the team from the north of the border will probably be to much for them. The Canadiens have a significant statistical advantage in every category, and when that happens it will be very difficult for Toledo to pull off three victories in five games.

Prediction: Vancouver in 4

NLDS 

4)Seattle @ 1)Santa Fe

Category Santa Fe (111-51) Seattle (88-74)
Runs Per Game 6.87 (1st) 4.79 (16th)
Earned Run Average 4.36 (19th) 4.30 (14th)
Fielding Percentage .986 (9th) .985 (14th)
Head To Head Wins 7 3

Seattle GM dillontt admitted earlier that he didn’t think his squad would be participating in the playoffs this season, but here they are in the NLDS after knocking off last season’s champions in the first round. Unfortunately for them, their prize for that upset is to meet the best offense in FYC. The Chains might steal a game, but I don’t see them stealing another series.

Prediction: Santa Fe in 4

3)Scranton @ 2)Montreal

Category Scranton (89-73) Montreal (96-66)
Runs Per Game 4.85 (14th) 4.75 (18th)
Earned Run Average 4.16 (11th) 4.01 (8th)
Fielding Percentage .985 (15th) .989 (1st)
Head To Head Wins 6 4

Man, this is a tough one to call. The Bidens surprised me in the Play-In Series against a team that had better overall numbers than Montreal, but the defense that the Beavers have put together is world class and defense wins championships in MLB and can also certainly get you a long way in HBD as well. However, historically offense has been the better predictor of HBD success so I’m going to side with the VP’s crew on this one.

Prediction: Scranton in 5

ALCS  

2)Vancouver @ 1)Burlington

Category Vancouver (101-61) Burlington (114-48)
Runs Per Game 5.06 (7th) 4.90 (13th)
Earned Run Average 3.57 (2nd) 2.91 (1st)
Fielding Percentage .986 (8th) .988 (3rd)
Head To Head Wins 5 5

This is how it should be: the league’s two best teams squaring off for the right to represent the AL in the World Series. Statistically the edge goes (not surprisingly) to the Ligers who also own the top seed. Even after I just got done saying that offense triumphs over defense in HBD, I’m going to pick chalk (and pitching) in this matchup because I think the starters for Burlington will prove to be too much for the Vancouver offense.

Prediction: Burlington in 6

NLCS

3)Scranton @ 1) Santa Fe

Category Scranton (89-73) Santa Fe (111-51)
Runs Per Game 4.85 (14th) 6.87 (1st)
Earned Run Average 4.16 (11th) 4.36 (19th)
Fielding Percentage .985 (15th) .986 (9th)
Head To Head Wins 4 6

Well, if anyone can knock off the Bombers it’s going to be Scranton, who have surprised the committee of one in back to back rounds this season. Having said that, I think the gap is just too big for the Bidens to make up. They are more or less even in ERA & FLD% but the Bombers certainly live up to their name on offense and produce just over 2 more RPG than Scranton. I’m going to give Scranton one well-earned W and congratulate them on a solid playoff run.

Prediction: Santa Fe in 5

World Series

2)Vancouver @ 1)Santa Fe

Category Vancouver (101-61) Santa Fe (111-51)
Runs Per Game 5.06 (7th) 6.87 (1st)
Earned Run Average 3.57 (2nd) 4.36 (19th)
Fielding Percentage .986 (8th) .986 (9th)
Head To Head Wins 1 2

The numbers say that an average game between these two teams would finish 5-5 if both totals of RPG & Opponent ERA were rounded to the nearest full run. However, the Bombers total is a little over five while the Canadians’ total is slightly under. That tells me that these games will be close, but that Santa Fe has the edge. Closer Tomas James’ 94.4% conversion rate (34-for-36 in save opportunities) further tells me that Santa Fe can finish what it starts, which is bad news for the canucks in this international showdown.

Prediction: Santa Fe in 6    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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