Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald
The World Series is upon once again, and for the 3rd time in 4 seasons Cobb World is looking at an Omaha Sluggers/Cleveland Steamers tilt for all the marbles. Will Omaha continue their series dominance, or is the 3rd time a charm for Cleveland? The Times-Herald will take a close look at each team and tell you why each one could win or lose a matchup that is becoming one of the biggest rivalries in the league.
The Omaha Sluggers
What can be said about this team that hasn't already been mentioned? The Sluggers are quite simply the most dominant franchise in the history of Cobb World, and this is their 6th World Series in 7 seasons, with 4 titles already to their name. When you think of baseball excellence in Cobb, you think of the Sluggers, and with their pitching and balanced lineup it is hard to pick against them.
How they got here: The Sluggers were the #2 seed behind the Syracuse Beagles, swept the Atlanta Pitbulls and took out the Columbus HoundDogs in 5 games to make the series.
Omaha Sluggers Positional Analysis
Who is Hot: Jose Barrios (who else) is once again putting up huge numbers in the playoffs, this time hitting .344 with an OPS of 1.104 to lead the lineup. On the mound virtually every Omaha pitcher is bringing his "A" game to the playoffs, with Clyde Ford having the most microscopic numbers, 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA and .91 WHIP.
Who is Not: CF Peter Mullin is having a playoffs to forget thus far, managing a paltry .145 BA with an OPS of .475. SS John Simpson must have drank the same kool-aid, as he is only managing a .161 BA with a pathetic OPS of .323. Closer Bobby Flores has been a disaster in both of his appearances, managing a 40.50 ERA thus far, which under any analysis isn't good.
Key Matchup: Ivan Canseco vs. Ewell Booker. SP's 1 & 2 Ong and Ford are evenly matched by the Steamers top two starters, Ruben Gonzalez and Bill Palmer. With the injury to Gary Ferguson however, Omaha has a distinct advantage at the #3 spot in the rotation, as Booker is a major drop in quality. Booker will only likely get one start in the series, and Canseco should own this one on paper, and it is a game that Omaha really needs to own to ensure playoff success.
Why Omaha will win: Because they have done it 4 times before, twice vs. Cleveland. Really, is there any reason to pick against them? With the way their starters have been pitching, it would be difficult for a whole team of Ted Williams to get a hit. But other than experience, history, starting pitching, having the best pitcher and hitter in the history of the league playing at their best, there is a thing called karma. Omaha seems to have it, and it is tough to stop it. Sluggers in 6.
What they are saying:
Jose Barrios, "I have a ring for every finger, I need another one in case one of them gets lost showing off my bling to the kids in Cleveland."
Kazuhiro Ong, "It's on like Donkey Ong!"
Grant Keats, "We couldn't get it done last year when I was with Wichita. Time for some sweet revenge against those steaming turds in Cleveland, and this time I have some backup."
Bench Coach Dave Maxwell, "You have to respect Cleveland, not many teams can make the World Series four seasons in a row. That is quite an accomplishment. But I'll be pulling out all my dirty tricks to ensure that they don't win back to back championships. The road to the trophy goes through Omaha, and by the end of the series they will know it."