About the Author: Alex Filides is the guy most of the league hates for no reason, and some of the league hates for very good reasons. He’s aggressive in the game, eats, sleeps and breathes wiffleball, and left the winning run in two postseason series stranded on third base.
Breaking down the upcoming Scared Hitless vs. Barnburners series
Hitting: Advantage Barnburners – After arguably their best hitting season in the 3 years they’ve been in the league, the 2011 edition of the Blansford Barnburners have the edge here. They have power and can hit for average. Jim Shannon coming off a career year .581 14 HR’s. Colin Gannon and Jack Shannon provide decent power with Ty Fletcher being a good overall hitter as well. For Scared Hitless, they make good contact and put the ball in play adequately. Matt Dreyfus finding his old hitting stroke from 2009 and Nick DiCrosta at the top of the lineup can provide a dynamic 1-2 duo. Joey Davis, Brian Phord and Pat Browning are all good hitters, but tend to struggle against the better pitchers in the league. They will somehow need to find a way to make a contribution, Dreyfus and DiCrosta won’t be able to it themselves.
Pitching: Advantage Scared Hitless – DiCrosta(9-0 0.38) gains the edge here over Gannon (3-1 1.30). DiCrosta can change speeds and can locate his off speed pitches very effectively, however he is capable of being figured out. Gannon has a good fastball and compliments it with a dancing knuckleball. He doesn’t appear to have a third pitch that he can go to, if his other pitches aren’t working. The Barnburners do have a very reliable backup in Fletcher.
Baserunning: Advantage Scared Hitless – Scared Hitless isn’t particularly an aggressive base running team or fast for that matter, but they do know their limits on the bases and generally play station to station. The Barnburners do have some fast runners, but don’t always make the best decisions on the base paths. Although, they tend to be overly aggressive without much attention to detail or game situation, which tends to be their downfall. However, to their defense, when you have hit as many HR’s as they have this season, you can sometimes get away with base running blunders.
Fielding: Advantage Barnburners – Jack Shannon has quietly proved to be one of the more reliable fielders in the league. Dreyfus covers a lot of ground and is an experienced veteran. Although, a slight edge goes to Hitless at first base/left field, the Barnburners have the edge with Gannon on the mound, as one of the better range guys in the league and with Jim Shannon’s quick reflexes at catcher., the Barnburners have the better fielding team with a good blend of speed, range and fielding percentage.
Keys to the game: The Barnburners have all the tools and weapons, the only thing that will stop them winning is themselves. If they play their game and don’t get on each other’s cases they should be okay. Gannon will need to provide leadership here and make sure two brothers, who will go nameless, aren’t stepping on each other’s throats. For Scared Hitless they will need to look to either Browning or Davis as a second pitching option if DiCrosta gets tossed. Browning has known to be a very effective pitcher in previous seasons. Scared Hitless will need to use their high rate of contact to hit to the opposite field. The wind will most likely play a major factor in the game.
Barnburners in two games. The wind coming in from the WSW at 9mph, which is probably equivalent to 18-20mph at Gravelly. Huge advantage here for the Barnburners and is probably the potential x factor in game. The Barnburners have enormous power and with a potent 4 man lineup, it’s hard to imagine they won’t score that many runs. The wind will also help Gannon’s knuckleball and Fletcher’s 12-6 curve. Although it should be very tight and I’m picking the Barnburners in two games, with just a couple of breaks, Scared Hitless has a very good shot at coming away with their first World Series title in team history.