Monday, June 15, 2009

Season 12 Playoff Preview - Wildcard Round

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

For a while there Lars thought he was going to have to predict the unpredictable, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia in the playoffs. But then karma righted itself and all was well with the world, bringing back the usual suspects for another go at Omaha and Cobb World Series title.

American League

#5 Boston Freedom (89-73) at #4Nashville Rebel Riders (84-78)
Overview: This is a matchup of a team in its prime (Boston) vs. a team on the decline (Nashville). Nashville just managed to squeak into the playoffs on the last day, crushing the hopes of several long suffering franchises in Cobb World. They got there by overcoming a miserable start of the season with the help of some call ups from the minors. Unfortunately the management forgot to add one of them to the playoff roster. Nashville needs their pitching to be much better than it was during the regular season if they have a hope of defeating Boston, a two time World Series champ which has made the playoffs in all but one season thus far in Cobb World. The Boston lineup doesn't have a lot of power, but they manufacture runs as well as anybody, and thier pitching is solid, especially ace Alfonso Vega, who had a monster year. Ultimately Lars thinks experience triumphs last day heroics.
Prediction: Boston in 4

#6 Mexico City Diablos Rojos (84-78) vs. #3 Anaheim Sharks (94-68)
Overview: This is a matchup of a team with a young pitching staff and aging lineup in Mexico City vs. a team with a young lineup and aging pitching staff in Anaheim. Anaheim was rock solid yet again in the regular season, behind the duo of Kory Arnold and Sammy Bennett in the lineup, while veteran SP J.T. Kydd posted a 19-8 record to lead the rotation. Mexico city leaned heavily on Sarma O'Connor and Hades Booker in the lineup, and a trio of young pitchers led by the mustachioed maestro Eric Collins. Lars thinks that on paper these teams are equal, but Anaheim just seems to have a knack for winning, while the Diablos Rojos inexplicably struggled this season and just barely made the playoffs.
Prediction: Anaheim in 4

National League

#5 Sioux Falls Corn Cleats (102-60) vs. #4 Richmond Cohibas (94-68)
Overview: The Cohibas proved that last seasons division title was no fluke, as they improved on their record by an astonishing 19 games and owned the NL South by all accounts. Their reward is a Sioux Falls team that posted the 3rd best record in Cobb World, and is a wildcard only because Fargo won 20 of their last 21 games to take the NL North. The Cohibas have a nasty lineup, with talented players starting and riding the pine, and have power at multiple positions. The pitching, which was traditionally a weak spot for Richmond, has improved dramatically, making them a much tougher out. Sioux Falls brings back the same formula that won their division last season, a top 5 pitching staff with one of the most loaded offenses in the league, which finished only 2nd to Fargo in home runs this season. Richmond made a run last season and upset the #1 seeded Syracuse Beagles, and look to take out another top team this year, but Lars thinks that the pitching for Sioux Falls should be enough to tame the Cohibas, and the power potential of the Corn Cleat lineup should make the difference.
Prediction: Sioux Falls in 5

#6 Wichita Wankers (92-70) vs. #3 Omaha Sluggers (99-63)
Overview: The Wankers were dead in the water at the all star break, but somehow managed to right the ship and paddle upstream to a wildcard berth, dashing the hopes of the long suffering Atlanta franchise, but elating the Wichita fans. Their reward for such an improbable comeback is the right to face the 3 time defending champion Omaha Sluggers. The Sluggers faded a little bit at the end of the season, losing out on a bye, but are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league. In a short series their pitching staff led by perennial Cy Young favorite King Kaz Ong can dismantle even the best of teams. The only pitcher who can stand toe to toe with the Omaha staff for the Wankers is Davey Silva, who produced another masterful regular season. He'll have to be on top of his game if Wichita is to stand a chance. But Lars thinks that until they actually lose a series, he'll keep picking the Sluggers.
Prediction: Omaha in 4

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