Sunday, November 8, 2009

1st-Round Playoff Preview

NL seeding:
1. Oakland
2. Syracuse
3. Charleston
4. Burlington
5. Mexico City (via head-to-head tiebreaker)
6. Las Vegas

AL seeding:
2. Jackson
3. Tucson
4. Augusta
5. Little Rock
6. Richmond

1st-Round Pairings:

Charleston vs. Las Vegas:
The 69'ers won the season series 6-4, but that doesn't mean much come playoff time. Both teams can bring out impressive 3-man rotations - perhaps a slight edge to Vegas' Yamamoto, Miyakazi, and Satiago over Charleston's Lim, Vaughn and Romo. Both closers (Simpson for the Apologists and Gomez for the 69'ers) are near-locks with a 1-run lead in the 9th (and both are up for FOY). Charleston's offense has been more consistent, and its defense is superior. I've been picking against Charleston all year and I've learned my lesson...Apologists in 5.

Burlington vs. Mexico City:
After enduring a 9-game losing streak near season's end, the Desperadoes recovered to finish on a 7-3 run, including 3 of 4 over the Lake Monsters. These teams were 1-2 in ERA; Mexico City outscored the Monsters by a out 50 runs...not a significant number when you're talking about a best-of-three. Both teams are very good defensively and both closers have been good, but not unhittable. The numbers say it's a tossup...I'm picking Burlington in 5.

Tucson vs. Richmond:
Among the 8 play-in teams, Tucson's the only one who got there with its bats. The Sidewinders pegged an impressive 324 HR's in route to scoring 986 runs (2nd in AL) and a huge 31-win improvement The Poor Men bring a more balanced approach - 6th in runs and 4th in ERA. Gotta love what Tucson accomplished this year, but Richmond took the season series 7-3 and win this in 4.

Augusta vs. Little Rock:
The Pebbles' pitching staff was astounding all season and finished with a 4.23 ERA (2nd by a nose to Hartford). Closer Geoff Sosa set a new single-season saves record and posted a ridiculous .430 OPS-against. Jacque Butler won 18 for the 2nd consecutive year and will see lots of action for he Polar Bears. Both teams were right at the league average offensively, but Augusta features the stingier D. I'm going out on a limb and saying the Polar Bears keep Little Rock out of save situations...with Sosa neutralized, Augusta wins in 4.

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