Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oakland Surenos: World Series Champs

Joe Rivera and Erubiel Maduro each slammed a pair of homers, powering the Oakland Surenos to a 12-5 win in Game 6 and the Joey Belle Season 14 Championship.

Jackson started Game 2 hero Del Mendoza in hopes of tying the Series, and he kept them in it, allowing just 2 over 6. But Jumbo Vargas and Clyde Jackson were even better for Oakland, limiting the Holes to just 1 hit through 6.

Jackson rallied to tie in the 7th on a MacDonald, 2-run homer, but then the Oakland bats went to work. With 2 out, Vinny Zhang blooped a single to right, William Kwon grounded a single to right-center, and Rivera blasted a 3-run shot to center. After a Burns single, Erubiel Maduro crushed one to right-center, and the Surenos had a 5-run lead.

The 2-time defending champs countered with a Carl Serrano 3-run homer in the 8th, but that would be all the scoring for Jackson.

Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in their half of the 8th, and Zhang worked a walk to bring in one. Kwon brought in one more on a fielder's choice to short, and then Rivera dumped one into the rightfield corner that got away from Burns and went for a 3-run inside-the-park homer. Russ Guthrie set down the Holes in order in the 9th to seal the win.

Oakland returns to the Winners' Circle for the second time (also Season 4), while Jackson falls short in its 3-peat bid.

The Surenos become the 4th team in Belle to win multiple World Series titles: Cleveland (Seasons 2 and 5) and Jackson (Seasons 12 and 13) have 2 each while Memphis has won 4 (Seasons 3, 8, 10 and 11) as the Charleston Apologists.

Jackson Rallies, Oakland 1 Game Away

Jackson rallied to win 2 of 3 at home, but Oakland took Game 5 on the road to take a 3-2 Series lead. The teams return to Oakland for Game 6 in the PM2 cycle.

Game 3: Del Mendoza shut down Oakland on 2 hits over 8 innings as Jackson took a "must-win" victory in Game 3. Burns, Serrano and McDonald homered to provide all the needed offense. Barry Carew mopped up in the 9th; 5-0 Holes.

Game 4: Wes Phillips and Don Burns hit back-to-back run-scoring singles in the bottom of the 7th for the go-ahead and winning runs. The Surenos got back within one on a Rivera solo blast in the 8th, but Orlando Diaz shut them down in the 9th for the save and a 3-2 win. Series tied.

Game 5: Gary Ramsay and Kyle Bradshaw combined on a 4-hit shutout as Oakland took Game 5, 7-0. Jackson shut down the Surenos power attack, but Oakland pecked out 9 singles and a double to rack up 7 runs.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Surenos Strike First

Oakland held serve in the first two games of the WS, winning a tight pitching duel in Game 1 and blowing out Jackson in Game 2.

As expected, Game 1 stayed scoreless until late, with Cy Young winners Johnny Collier (3 times) and Gary Ramsay (this year) flinging zeroes. Oakland loaded the bases against reliever Victor Sosa in the 7th, and Matty Marrero delivered the 3-run double for the game winner. Ramsay went 5 innings (and only 70 pitches) for the Surenos, with 4 relievers finishing the shutout.

Game 2 had a different flavor, with Oakland's offense cashing in 5 in the 3rd and cruising to a 15-3 win. William Kwon knocked in 6 and Jose Rivera plated 4 in the whitewashing.

The Series resumes tomorrow morning in Jackson, with the Holes hoping to get back into it and Oakland going for the throat.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All 1's and 2's In LCS's

Oakland completed its comeback from down 2-0, knocking off Sioux Falls in Game 5, 6-1. Gary Ramsay got his second win of the series with 5 innings of 1-hit ball, and William Kwon knocked in 3 for the top-seeded Surenos.

In the other NL pairing, Syracuse easily handled Austin in 4, shutting out the Chaloupas twice behind Brian Nakajim and Norm Rose.

Jackson ended Cincinnati's season with an 8-1 win in Game 4. Barry Carew allowed just 2 hits over 7 innings for his second win in the series; Burns and Perez homered.

This will be the 5th straight Katanas vs. Holes ALCS (Cleveland advanced in Seasons 10 and 11; Jackson prevailed in Seasons 12 and 13 enroute to their back-to-back WS wins).

The Oakland-Syracuse NLCS is a repeat of last year, with Oakland making their thrid straight visit.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Presidents Threaten Round 2 Upset

Sioux Falls held the vaunted Oakland offense to 1 run in the first two games of their Division Series to push the Surenos to the brink of early elimination. Stoned Presidents starters Daryl Holtz and Matt Christiansen were outstanding, going 14 innings.

The Surenos came back behind Gary Ramsay (on 3 days' rest) to take Game 3, but face another "must win" in Game 4 later today.

The other NL matchup followed the same pattern without the upset theme. Syracuse's pitching dominated Austin in the first 2 games (3 runs), with the Chaloupas avoiding a sweep in Game 3.

In the AL, it was lucky 7's for Cleveland as the Katanas ended Boise's Cinderella run, scoring 7 runs in all the games of the sweep. Cleveland's keystone combo of Jacque Fitzgerald and Damaso Vazquez each had a pair of homers and 4 RBI in the series.

In the other AL matchup, it's been all 1-run squeakers with Jackson taking a 2-1 lead over Cincy. In a series full of drama, Jackson C Daryl MacDonald provided the biggest moment with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th in Game 2.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Division Round Previews

American League

Cleveland (115-47) vs. Boise (73-89):
The Cinderella Posse face off against the perennial AL power Katanas. We've all seen hot pitching staffs carry teams past superior opponents in the crapshoot playoffs, but I'm betting the clock strikes midnight. Katanas in 4.

Jackson (106-56) vs. Cincinnati (93-69):
The Holes' quest for the 3-peat begins against a tough Cincy squad that improved by 27 games (and claimed its first playoff berth to boot). The numbers, history, ratings...everything says Jackson. But I'm taking Cincy in 5 for my one upset special.

National League

Sioux Falls (101-61) vs. Oakland (113-49):
The Presidents have had an excellent in their history (and their first playoff appearance as well). And while nothing in the playoffs is a surprise, I think the Surenos are the team of destiny this year (and besides that they have the best pitching staff in Belle). Oakland in 4.

Syracuse (108-54) vs. Austin(102-60):
the teams look pretty well-matched on paper, with Syracuse getting the pitching edge and Austin the hitting advantage. But the Warriors won the season series convincingly (7-3) and the staff is well-rested. Syracuse moves on in 4.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shocker in D.C.

Boise completed the upset of D.C., shutting down the Revenge behind P.T. Navarro and 2 relievers in Game 4. Boise now moves on to face Cleveland.

In the NL, Sioux Falls got 7 innings of 3-hit ball from Louie Paniagua in a 4-2 Game 4 win and a 3-1 series win over Burlington. Sioux Falls moves on to face Oakland in the Division Round.

In the other NL series, Austin forced Game 5 with Vegas, holding the 69ers to a run on 6 hits with a 6-reliever pitching lineup. The Chaloupas cracked 3 homers in the 4-1 win.

Boise On Verge Of Huge Upset

The Boise Posse's late-inning heroics have brought them within one win of a huge first-round upset over the Washington D.C. Revenge.

Down a game and trailing 2-0 in Game 2, Boise got 3 in the 8th on a HBP, a single, and a pair of doubles. After Matty Ford cranked a 2-run homer in the 9th to give D.C. the lead again, Crash Wide countered with a 3-run homer to give Boise the win.

Rob Stein continued the dramatics in Game 3 with a solo shot game-winner in the top of the 9th for the Posse.

The Posse has held D.C.'s MVP candidates, Victor Morales and Eric Brantley, to a .250 average and no RBI's through 3 games.

In the other AL play-in, Cincinnati brought out the heavy lumber (and brooms), outscoring 41-19 in a 3-game smackdown.

Over in the NL, Sioux Falls and Las Vegas have taken 2-1 leads over Burlington and Austin.

Game 4's are set for this evening.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pitching Records Fall En Masse

In the first "post-steroid" era, Belle hurlers set 5 new single-season records in major stat categories:

Wins: Oakland's Gary Ramsay posted 27 wins to top the old mark by 1.
Saves: P.T. Lincoln of Syracuse saved 53, eclipsing Geoff Sosa's old record of 50 set last year.
Shutouts: Midre Jose of El Paso notched 5 shutouts; 4 had been accomplished numerous times.
Opponent's Batting Average: San Jose's Midre Estrada joined a long list of pitchers who have allowed opponents to hit only .202.
Opponent's Slugging Percentage: Fred West (Columbus and Austin) notched this mark down to .280 from .285.

Perhaps the most amazing new single-season record was set on offense, where D.C.'s Victor Morales scored 171 runs to break the old record by 1.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Application" from prospective owner

From user stiller609/tom_servo:

I was looking through the classifieds for another team to add and your league caught my eye. I'm very impressed with your retention rate. It looks like you've put a lot of work into making the league fun and your blog looks pretty awesome. I would be more than interested in joining.

I'm an extremely active guy who logs in probably close to 5-6 times a day. I have 22 seasons under my belt and at this time I am only managing two teams, one of which I've owned for 7 seasons and the other of which is in a league I built and commish. I'm generally on top of my minors and fatigue will not be an issue for the team if I'm elected to take over. I know how to build up a multi-season contender and would probably be knocking on the playoffs doorstep with this team in 2-3 seasons. I'm certainly committed to at least 3 seasons of play barring any ridiculous world drama, which I don't think will be an issue here.

I do have one request though. If you decided to allow me into the world, would it be possible to take over the squad before rollover so that I can build off of this years budgeting and take a look at my minors? I noticed that the current owner has only this team and if he's leaving, I'm assuming he's quitting WifS altogether and won't mind? This is what I'm hoping for anyways.

Also, I have credits built up on a former username of mine. If admin make a switch, tell them to replace him with user 'tom_servo.' Thanks for taking the time to read all this and let me know if all or any of this is okay. If anything is a problem for you, I would likely honor whatever you wanted, as you're the commish.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Playoffs Almost Set

There's not much suspense in the waning days of the regular season - the NL teams and seeds are set. In the AL, Nashville's recent skid has at least kept door slightly ajar for Little Rock (3 back) and Rochester (4 back).

In the first NL play-in series, #5 Sioux Falls will be heavily favored over East Champion Burlington. The Presidents are only 1 run behind Oakland for top offense in the NL...the series could hinge on which of the evenly-matched pitching staffs gets hot.

In the other play-in, South champ Austin takes on #6 Las Vegas in a tossup. The 69'ers have a slight pitching edge; the Chaloupas have been a little better at the plate and in the field. They split the season series.

In the AL, Nashville was about to lock down the last wildcard, but then lost 5 straight to Jackson and D.C. in a tough schedule stretch. That leaves Little Rock and Rochester in contention, with Pebbles visiting Nashville in a crucial 3-game series Sunday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

HBD Tip #11 - Amateur Draft

(thanks to ruffleswest for this one)

Put as much $$$ into College and High School Scouting as you can each year and then max out you Advanced Scouting budget.

I seem to end up drafting 22 - 32 spots with most of my other teams that I have had for a long can always end up getting a top 10 player (or better) that far down if you put the $$$ into it.

Of course this strategy won't work if you don't care about the amatuer draft or projected ratings and have a high Salaried team who spends all their money on overpriced F/A's.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

AL Down the Stretch

Cincinnati has staged a nice turnaround this season and will likely be the first division leader to clinch. Congrats to rugrat on Cincy's first division title and #3 seed.

D.C. put up a good fight, but it now seems the Katanas will claim their (yawn) 9th straight AL East Crown. Cleveland is heading for the #1 seed, while the Revenge have a lock on a wildcard and the #5 seed.

Jackson looks like it will win the AL South for the 7th straight year (and 9th out of 10). Nashville has hung tough all season and has a leg up on its first playoff trip since Season 3 - they're 5 up on Rochester and 6 up on both Pittsburgh and Luttle Rock for the last wild card.

Boise is now almost a lock to take the AL West for the 4th time in 6 seasons. Not an impressive record, but anything can happen in a 5-game series.

If nothing changes, here are the playoff seedings:

Cincinnati plays Nashville; winner gets Jackson

Boise plays D.C.; winner gets Cleveland

NL Down the Stretch

The Saltine Warriors have set a blistering pace all year, but still haven't totally shaken off Sioux Falls. Syracuse looks set as no worse than the second seed; the Presidents (who will set a new franchise wins record) have just about nailed down a wild card and are jockeying with Vegas for seeding.

Burlington's cruising to a third straight title and will have the 4th seed.

Austin's been building for years and it's finally paying off with a third seed this year.

Oakland is on the way to its 6th 100-win season in franchise history, and baring some kind of epic collapse, will claim the #1 seed.

If the playoffs started today, here's how the brackets would line up:

#3 Austin plays #6 Las Vegas; winner gets #2 Syracuse.

#4 Burlington plays #4 Sioux Falls; winner gets Oakland