Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald
The Wildcard round went out with a bang, ousting the defending world champion Fug Nuts. There were also two exciting five game series won by the Helena Hellraisers and the Sioux Falls Corn Cleats, who came back from a 2-0 deficit. Finally the Boston Heat took the kid gloves off vs. their division rivals and took out the SSP in three games. Now it is time to look the Divisional round of the playoffs, and the matchups within.
Sioux Falls Corn Cleats (#5 seed) vs. Louisville Tysons (#1 seed)
Sioux Falls has four of the best hitters in the game at the top of their order with Sierra, Harris, Booker, and Jones. After Pineda in the 5 spot there is a big production drop, but the first four can score some runs. Louisville boasts arguably the most powerful lineup in the bigs with Hall of Fame candidates Kline and Barber, all stars Lowell, Castillo, and Quinn. Solid from top to bottom, the Tysons lineup has all of the tools to score in a big way.
Rotation and Bullpen:
Sioux Fall has two former Cy Youngs in Weaver and Heathcott, and red hot closer Parrish and setup man Gao. But due to the unfortunate injury to Cy Young candidate Rodriguez, the Cleats are having to lean heavily on unproven rookie Wally Moore and an otherwise erratic bullpen. Louisville brings a former Cy Young of their own in Rosado, but he has been a disappointment this season. But his off year has been more than made up for by all stars Young and Serra and an overachieving Villafuerte. The bullpen boasts a collection of cagey vets, but hasn't proven as effective as the Corn Cleats
Sioux Falls has been able to dig themselves out of big holes in the playoffs before, as is evidenced by the wildcard round in the past two seasons. But other than that they have been complete playoff busts. But they do boast the league's best defense, and don't give up many easy runs. Louisville has always been able to advance in the playoffs, but never has been able to make the big stage. Their lineup has also been quite disappointing in the clutch in past seasons. Their fielding has also been only average, but it certainly isn't a game killer.
Advantage: Sioux Falls
Pick: Louisville in five. Ultimately the Corn Cleats lack of a third quality starter and the Tysons deeper lineup will be the deciding factors, and the Tysons should advance.