Friday, June 27, 2008

World Series Preview

Salem and San Juan prepare to square off in the World Series VIII. The teams present contrasting styles which could make for a fascinating Series.

San Juan Crownrificos
Strengths: The Rificos are built on pitching and they haven't disappointed with a 3.87 team ERA that was good for 3rd in the league behind Las Vegas and Sioux Falls. The staff has taken it to an even higher level in the playoffs, posting a 2.42 ERA and converting all 5 save opportunities. In the regular season, the staff led the league in K's and was near the top in fewest BB allowed. Lenny Ohman is 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA in the post-season and the bullpen has been untouchable.

Weakness: The team defense is pathetic. During the season, no team made fewer plus plays (5) and only 4 had more minus plays (54). They've picked it up in the post-season though, making just 3 errors while turning in 3 web gems. They're hitting just .245 as a team in the post-season, relying on the long-ball for scoring. Star SS Dan Garcia is hitting just .241 in the playoffs.

Intangibles: They've played 14 games in the post-season, 8 more than Salem. They've won 2 league titles, but have lost in the division series in 5 consecutive years coming into this season.

Salem Grand Salamies
Strengths: The Salamies sport a high-powered offense that displays both speed and power on a regular basis. They're hitting .305 as a team in the post-season. Their team ERA of 5.06 in the regular season isn't bad in a league full of tiny ballparks and bad defense. Can it hold up against the Crownrificos? 87-base stealer Tony Baez is 8-8 in the post-season.

Weakness: The team defense is not good and it's getting worse. They've made 6 errors in 8 post-season games. Is the staff up to the challenge?

Intangibles: They've lost just once in the post season (7-1) and bring a well rested team to the series. Juan Velasquez has been great at the top of the rotation, but #2 starter Greg Jameson has been hit hard in the post-season. Will 3 games without a DH hurt this powerful lineup?

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