Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald
#1 Anaheim Sharks (110-52) vs. #5 Helena Hellraisers (99-63)
Overview: Once again it these two AL West rivals meet with a chance to move on in the playoffs. Each time Anaheim has owned the Hellraisers, although there have been enough changes in Helena's lineup to make this a different matchup this time around. New addition Hades Booker brings an added dimension to the Hellraiser lineup, which has been previously shut down by the lights out Anaheim pitching staff. As for Anaheim, what can be said that hasn't already been said? Their pitching once again has Cy Young candidates, their lineup is full of MVP's, and they have more all stars than Afghanistan has problems.
Prediction: Anaheim in 5 - Helena brings more to the table this year, but the Sharks players are all still in their prime and producing like there is no tomorrow. Once again Helena is the red haired bastard stepchild of the AL West.
#2 Pawtucket G-Maniacs (101-61) vs. #6 Scranton Dragons (94-68)
Overview: The Dragons dethroned the reigning World Champions in their advancement to the next round, and now face former Dragon Dean Hernandez and the G-Maniacs. The G's have always been very good, but suprised the league with their 101 win season after the massive free agent exodus at the beginning of the year. Both teams are equal in talent in both the rotation and the lineup, so this is looking like a series that will be defined on star quality. If Dean Hernandez can do what Dean does best, which is throw 2 complete game shutouts in 3 games, then it is over for the Dragons. But if Ken Puffer "The Magic Dragon" can put a dent in Pawtuckets rotation, then it could easily go the other way.
Prediction: Pawtucket in 5 - It's a toss-up, but Lars thinks that Pawtucket is due for a world series berth, and could do it this season behind their elite rotation.
#1 Omaha Sluggers (112-50) vs. #5 St. Louis HoundDogs (98-64)
Overview: Omaha once again was the class of the National League, cruising to the #1 seed behind the talents of Kaz Ong and crew. St. Louis finished second in the NL East, the toughest division in the NL this season. St. Louis has to be classified as the underdog in this series, as Omaha's pitching is not something anyone wants to face in the playoffs. But St. Louis has some pitching of it's own that is very good, including former Slugger B.C. Steenstra, who has proven he can get it done in the playoffs. Lars still thinks that Sean Hill is overrated, but he keeps proving Lars wrong with every passing season. If there is a weak link on the Omaha team, Lars can't see it. St. Louis's only hope is that they get lucky in a game vs. Ong, and can pull out a few of the others behind their pitching with some timely hitting.
Prediction: Omaha in 4 - Ultimately Lars thinks that Omaha just brings too much to the table for St. Louis to handle. St. Louis is young and getting better every season, but Omaha is still top dog, and will keep the HoundDogs begging for scraps for at least one more year.
#2 Fargo Fug Nuts (107-55) vs. #3 Wichita Wankers (105-57)
Overview: The Fug Nuts once again owned the NL North and posted a 100+ win season, which is nothing new to the NL despite the constant personel changes in Fargo. Wichita's youth movement finally broke through in a huge way this season with the Wankers breaking the 100 win barrier and winning the NL's toughest division. Wichita took out fellow NL East member and playoff vet team Syracuse en route to a matchup with Fargo, and looks ready to continue their playoff rookie run. But Fargo has always had the players, and Corey Green still powers a titanic lineup in Fargo, and Wichita's strength is it's lineup, not it's pitching staff. The pitching for the Fug Nuts may not be as dominant as in past seasons, but if the game gets to Kirk White, it's over for Wichita. Wichita is slightly outclassed on paper, but the Fug Nuts are notorious for underachievement in the playoffs.
Prediction: Fargo in 4 - Pitching wins in the playoffs, and that is where Wichita can't compete with Fargo, who has a superior staff and the best closer in the game. It was a nice run by the young Wankers, but Lars sees the veteran Fug Nuts putting them in their place.