Wednesday, June 18, 2008
1st round matchups
Richmond (92-70) vs Cincinnati (94-68, WC) - Richmond makes it's 4th consecutive trip to the playoffs following a division win while Cincy is playing in imaginary October for the 1st time ever. The Confederates really bang the ball, hitting 321 HR's, good for 2nd in the league. The Great Americans made a name on their pitching staff, leading the AL in ERA. They also outscored the 'Feds by 26 runs on the season due to their furious legs, stealing a league-high 309 bases.
Questions to answer: Can jack rabbits Manny Corey, Travis Mota, and crew be held in check by Fed catcher Eric Richardson who napped just over 30% of those attempting to run on him this year?
Can Great Americans starters Grover Little and Max Molina hold the down the Fed bats?
Monterrey (93-69) vs Texas (93-69, WC) - Monterrey won a tie-breaker to gain home field advantage over division rival Texas. The 'Quistas are making their 8th consecutive trip to the post season, still in search of their first world title. They bring a .302 team average and the best defense in the AL to the party. Meanwhile, the Riders are making their post season debut behind a balanced squad that finished above average in most categories.
Questions to answer: Can strong-armed Jaime Anderson slow record-setting running by 'Quista leadoff man Roberto Servet (129 SB)?
Will Monterrey Pitching Coach Rigo Valdez' unortodox e-man rotation excel or fold in the post-season?
Burlington (90-72) vs San Juan (97-65, WC) - Burlington shocked 2nd city powerhouses San Juan and Mexico City in last season's playoffs. They hold the home-field advantage, but San Juan was 7 games better and is out for blood. The Bulldogs hit just .259 as a team and finished 9th in the NL in runs scored while the Crownrificos led the league in runs scored and finished 2nd in HRs. The 'Rificos also have a big advantage in the pen where the Bulldogs converted just 49 or 74 save opportunities.
Questions to answer: Can Burlington repeat last year's exciting run by improving upon their 23-28 record in one-run games?
Is a Crownrifico team made up largely of 30+ year-olds up for a long playoff run?
Sioux Falls (103-59) vs Cheyenne (96-66, WC) - Sioux Falls is the reigning WS champ and they recently added ace pitcher Bartolo Gonzalez to one of the top rotations in the game, but a faltering bullpen caused a late-season skid. Cheyenne makes its 4th career post season trip, but they haven't been past round 1 since Season 1. They're the worst fielding team in the post season, but can score runs in bunches.
Questions to answer: Will Cheyenne be able to hit top starters Bartolo Gonzalez and Paul Rhodes, whom they might face in 4 of the 5 games?
Can a struggling Sioux Falls bullpen close out playoff games after blowing 24 save opportunities?