Wooden's World of Baseball

Monday, September 03, 2007

Well, now that THAT's settled...

The past few days have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

On Thursday, the North Shore Spirit clinched the best possible overall season record in the Can-Am league, for the 2nd straight year. So I got tickets to Boston and made motel and rental car reservations.

On Friday, the clinched the 2nd half title. On Saturday, I was told that they wouldn't be hosting the deciding games, which prompted me to cancel my motel and car rental reservations. I kept the flight plans intact because there was a chance that Nashua would be in the Finals.

Yesterday, they announced over the radio that, in fact, the Spirit would host the deciding games if they make the Finals. Today, I got the verification and the explanation that the arrangements had been made in the time between I made the call and when I heard it on the broadcast.

The silver lining in all of this: I might be able to see games in both rounds of the playoffs, and if all goes well, I'll see both round's clinchers.

It's still mystifying to me that they'd prefer to go on the road in the first round, that this Friday's high school football game couldn't be moved, but I'll hope that I'm wrong that the parking problem is a cover for going for the most possible guaranteed home playoff games.

Without further ado, here's my take on the first round...

Pitching Will Be The Name of the Game

For all the talk about independent ball being a hitter's showcase, when the playoffs come, the game is the same as it is elsewhere: It's all about the pitching. Three of the top four teams in terms of ERA are in the playoffs, and the other boasts the league's first 15-game winner.

North Shore vs. Atlantic City
It's Ryan Bicondoa vs. the aforementioned 15-game winner, Brian Rodaway in Game 1, presumably Luis Arroyo in Game 2 if the Spirit win Game 1, Matt Bishop if they lose. Gary Galvez has also been listed as a possbility for Game 3. The Surf will counter with 10-game winner Ben Thurmond and then veteran JC Huguet. Bicondoa hasn't been as dominant as in 2005 or 2006, but I look for him to turn it up a notch and negate Rodaway, who's in the top 10 with a 3.23 ERA, but has obviously benefited by pitching for the #3 overall offense.
Pick: North Shore in four games

New Jersey vs. Nashua
I can't write it better than Joe Amoruso said it: If you can't get excited about having John Kelly and Joel Bennett as your top two pitchers going into the playoffs, check your pulse; you just might be dead. Nashua does counter with its two Japanese aces, but I cannot see them beating the two pitchers who'd be inducted in the first class of an independent-league Hall of Fame.
Pick: New Jersey in four games


Post a Comment

<< Home