S39 Playoff Previews

Now that the match-ups are set for the Play-In Series, it’s time for me to look into my crystal ball and see how the various pairings will play out. Historically, my predictions have been a bit of a mixed bag, but let’s see how I do this time around:

    AL Play-In Series 

6) El Paso @ 3)Anaheim

Category El Paso (85-77) Anaheim (98-64)
Runs Per Game 4.53 5.42
Earned Run Average 4.16 3.61
Fielding Percentage .986 .985
Head To Head Wins 4 6

FYC rookie hwaters397 has done a nice job at the helm in his first season, and it resulted in getting his franchise back to the post-season after a one year absence. However, I don’t see the Dobles getting past Anaheim…the last time these two franchises met in the postseason (S37) their records and seeds were nearly identical and the Stars got a clean sweep.

Prediction: Anaheim in 4

5) Scottsdale @ 4) Kansas City

Category Scottsdale (97-65) Kansas City (97-65)
Runs Per Game 5.22 4.99
Earned Run Average 4.16 3.54
Fielding Percentage .984 .984
Head To Head Wins  8 2

The Young Guns are making just the fourth playoff appearance in franchise history this season, and they have yet to win a playoff series. In fact, they are just 1-9 in the playoffs having been swept twice and losing 3-1 in S5. However, in such an even matchup this time around, I like their chances of winning at least two games and maybe even the series.

Prediction: Scottsdale in 4

NL Play-In Series

6) Santa Fe @ 3) Wichita 

Category Santa Fe (95-67)  Wichita 
Runs Per Game 6.47 4.55
Earned Run Average 4.63 3.83
Fielding Percentage .986 .987
Head To Head Series  7-3 Santa Fe

Speaking of long playoff droughts, the Wichita franchise hasn’t made the dance since S18. Their reward? A date with FYC’s best offense…I don’t see this series being totally one-sided, but I also only see one eventual outcome, which is a Santa Fe victory. The future is bright in Wichita, but what counts is the present.

Prediction: Santa Fe in 4

5) Little Rock @ 4) Salem

Category Little Rock (101-61) Salem (91-71)
Runs Per Game 5.27 4.79
Earned Run Average 3.31 4.01
Fielding Percentage .983 .986
Head To Head Series  5-5

The idea that a 91-win team could get swept is pretty ridiculous to me, but that is a definite possibility in this series. The NL South continues to produce dominant teams, and this year’s edition of the Travelers are no exception. If a sweep is going to happen, my money would be on this series or Anaheim/El Paso…but the Orangutans ARE a 91-win team, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they will avoid the brooms.

Prediction: Little Rock in 4

ALDS

5) Scottsdale @ 1) Burlington

Category Scottsdale (97-65) Burlington (106-56)
Runs Per Game 5.22 4.76
Earned Run Average 4.16 3.30
Fielding Percentage .984 .988
Head To Head Wins  5  5

The advantage is squarely in the Liger’s court here, but I also don’t see them running rampant over the Young Guns. Fresh off the franchise’s first ever playoff series victory, I anticipate Scottsdale to put up a fight, but in the end the dominant pitching and defense of the Ligers will prove to be too much.

Prediction: Burlington in 4

3) Anaheim @ 2) Toledo

Category Anaheim (98-64) Toledo (100-62)
Runs Per Game 5.42 5.08
Earned Run Average 3.61 3.88
Fielding Percentage .985 .985
Head To Head Wins  6  4

Toledo may have won more games and have the home-field advantage, but the Stars have the upper hand in both Runs Per Game and ERA so this would be an exciting series even if it weren’t between two of FYC’s longest tenured owners. I’d be highly surprised if this one didn’t go the distance, and some late game heroics are probably also in order here…I’m going to side with my division mate on this one but I can’t say I’ll be shocked if I’m wrong about this.

Prediction: Anaheim in 5

NLDS

5) Little Rock @ 1) Tampa Bay

Category Little Rock (101-61) Tampa Bay (108-54)
Runs Per Game 5.27 5.29
Earned Run Average 3.31 3.61
Fielding Percentage .983 .985
Head To Head Wins 6 4

Trying to figure out which of these teams is better on paper really comes down to splitting hairs, but based purely on stats I’d actually have to give the edge to the lower seeded Travelers. They have a team ERA that is 0.30 points better than Tampa’s while the other two categories are essentially a push…but the Bad Romance have the home field advantage so this will be highly entertaining to watch as well. However, in the season series home field wasn’t much of an advantage for Tampa as they went 1-5 in home games vs. Little Rock this year. If that trend continues they won’t be moving on.

Prediction: Little Rock in 4

3) Wichita @ 2) Scranton 

Category Wichita (92-70) Scranton (96-66)
Runs Per Game 4.55 5.41
Earned Run Average 3.83 4.23
Fielding Percentage .987 .982
Head To Head Series 7-3 Scranton

Call me crazy, but I see the Wheat Eaters coming very close to pulling off this upset. Unlike in MLB, offense wins Hardball championships, so I am going to side with the Bidens in the end on this one but the significant advantage that Wichita has on the mound and in the field will make this interesting for sure.

Prediction: Scranton in 5 

ALCS

2) Toledo @ 1) Burlington

Category Toledo (100-62) Burlington (106-56)
Runs Per Game 5.08 4.76
Earned Run Average 3.88 3.30
Fielding Percentage .985 .988
Head To Head Wins  7  3

I really wasn’t sure which way this was going to go looking at the three major statistics, as those clearly present the picture of a strong offense matched up against a strong staff and defensive unit. I was leaning Toledo’s way since offense is usually favored in these matchups, and the season series indicates that it might not take as long as I thought to get the job done.

Prediction: Toledo in 6

NLCS

5) Little Rock @ 2) Scranton

Category Little Rock (101-61) Scranton
Runs Per Game 5.27 5.21
Earned Run Average 3.31 4.23
Fielding Percentage .983 .982
Head To Head Wins 7 3

I know I just got done saying that offense wins championships, or at least implying it, but I think in this case it will indeed be the pitching that wins out. The Bidens and Travelers are more or less equal in Runs per Game and Fielding Percentage, but with an ERA that’s nearly a full run lower than Scranton’s team mark Little Rock clearly has the advantage here. I’m tempted to give Scranton more than one win, but I think I’m going to settle on one win and a couple of close losses.

Prediction: Little Rock in 5 

World Series

5) Little Rock @ 1) Burlington

Category Little Rock (101-61) Burlington (106-56)
Runs Per Game 5.27 4.76
Earned Run Average 3.31 3.30
Fielding Percentage .983 .988
Head To Head Wins 1 2

 Little Rock GM mike1184 has won at least 97 regular season games in each of his six seasons at the helm, and until this season he didn’t even have a division title to show for it. At this point, he’ll at least have an NL pennant, even if that division title has still eluded him, but it is my belief he’ll have more than just a pennant to bring home. With ERAs that are nearly identical and both teams sporting solid fielding percentages, the offenses seem to be in line to be the difference in this Fall Classic and Little Rock’s is clearly superior.

Prediction: Little Rock in 6 

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