Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald
Lars was a miserable one for four in his first round predictions, but is hoping for the stars to align in a much more fortuitous manner this time around. There are some intriguing matchups in the divisional round this season, and Lars has worked extra hard throwing bones and reading tea leaves to determine the outcomes.
#1 Cleveland Steamers (96-66) vs. #5 Boston Freedom (89-73)
Overview: In an event that without doubt disgusted the rest of the American League, the Cleveland Steamers took the #1 overall seed in the American League by dominating the AL East, including their opponent and fellow AL East Rival the Boston Freedom. Eddie Rivers had good success against the Steamers, but as Lars knows Cleveland is a different sort of animal in the playoffs, where they have made the World Series two seasons in a row out of the wildcard spot. Now that they are the #1 seed and defending champion Omaha is no longer around in the playoffs to summarily dispatch them in the championship, Lars is wondering if the Steamers can be stopped. He thinks it's a possibility, but probably not one that any American League team will realize.
Prediction: Cleveland in 4
#2 Pawtucket G-Maniacs (95-67) vs. #6 Mexico City Diablos Rojos (84-78)
Overview: The G-Maniacs won the AL North for the umpteenth time sinc Rip Van Winkle fell asleep, but this time it was not without some drama as they were behind the Chicago Sabercats and Philadelphia Cheese Steaks for nearly 2/3 of the season, until they got hot and surpassed their normally docile division rivals. Mexico City rode some solid pitching and a dose of good luck to upset the playoff savvy Anaheim Sharks in the wildcard round, and if Eric Collins, Geoff Washington, and company can continue their solid play they match up quite well with Pawtucket. Pawtucket will be throwing Dean Hernandez as often as possible as they attempt to get every last dime from their soon to be departing stud SP. Lars likes Dean a lot, and thinks he will carry the G's to another rematch with Cleveland in the next round.
Prediction: Pawtucket in 5
#1 Syracuse Beagles (107-55) vs. #4 Richmond Cohibas (94-68)
Overview: This is a rematch of the playoff series that shocked all of Cobb World last season when the then 75 win Cohibas stunned the 100 win Beagles and nearly drove owner/GM zooeydog to drive his car off a cliff. This season the Cohibas are a much more respectable squad, and took out a very good Corn Cleats team in the opening round, but the Beagles are improved as well. On paper the lineups are about equal and Syracuse has the superior pitching staff, but in a short series anything can happen, as Syracuse can attest. Lars likes the Beagles this year though, revenge is a powerful motivator, and not even the evil SIM can keep Syracuse down forever.
Prediction: Syracuse in 5
#2 Fargo Fug Nuts (103-59) vs. #6 Wichita Wankers (92-70)
Overview: The Fug Nuts rode one of the hottest streaks of the season to just barely capture the NL North and the bye week, winning 20 of 21 games to close the season. Wichita was just as hot, overcoming an absolutely brutal spot to claim the last wildcard spot, and took out defending champion Omaha in 5 games in the opening round of the playoffs, a feat no team has been able to accomplish in over 3 seasons. The Fug Nuts have some of the best pitching in the league, with Kirt Hooper having an amazing season, but Davey Silva of Wichita is a Cy Young favorite as well, and the Wankers talented bats are very good when hot. Lars is having trouble deciding, as both teams are registering off the charts ratings in terms Scoville Units. Ultimately though Lars has a tough time picking against a team that took out the 3 time defending champs.
Prediction: Wichita in 5