It might feel like the NBA playoffs, or just a regular Sunday this weekend as eight of the eighteen teams have advanced to the postseason. Despite the fact that a couple more than deserve to be there are, not a single new team made it postseason.
The playoffs are all best of three game series, featuring two man umpire crews, and even walk-up music. Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with.
WILDCARD SERIES #1 – #1 Blandsford Barnburners (13-1) vs. #8 Canvassers (9-5)
The Barnburners lost only one game this season, a pitcher ejection forfeit to the Moose Knuckles in which they scored more runs. 5 of the 6 batting and pitching Triple Crown categories are held by their team. They’ve dominated this season and have never played in a season they didn’t take home a World Championship. A late season loss of Ty Fletcher (broken ankle) leaves the team short handed, but barring any pitcher forfeits the two Shannon’s and an upright vacuum taking an automatic out, not to be confused with Colin Gannon, could beat most teams.
The defending World Champion Canvassers lost two players mid-season from their championship run, one of whom was absolutely critical to their success. Cy Young Winner Tony Morin moved to San Francisco, but is actually in the DC area wildcard weekend for his own wedding. Unclear what priorities will prevail. Without Morin the Canvassers have played well, but are missing the magic that gave them their 6th franchise Commissioner’s Trophy last summer.
History: The teams have met 5 times including a 9-3 Barnburner win this season. The Canvassers won one game in Spring 2010, but the Barnburners have a run differential of 13 runs in the 4-1 matchup. [ All Time Series ]
Pitching Probables: Spencer Howard (4-2, 4.00) will take the mound for the Canvassers and Jack Shannon (4-0, 0.83) is expected to pitch for the Barnburners.
Umpires: Bill Healey and Bob Angeli
WILDCARD SERIES #2 – #2 Nasty Boys (12-2) vs. #7 Suns Out Guns Out (9-5)
The Nasty Boys are coming off their best season. Adriano DeSorrento has figured out how to pitch and stop bitching about the radar (well, at least half of that). He also acquired a decent rookie in Justin Arras. The benefit of a weak division probably helped them up-seed to land at the #2 spot, but don’t over look them in third playoff appearance.
Suns Out made an off season move to add Nicholas West, which should have been the missing piece of what they needed to be a complete team. Clubhouse culture problems early in the season left the team a shambles. A late season run winning their last five to finally live up to expectations got them into the playoffs. They’re peaking at the right time, but are losing some of their players, including manager William McNally to World Cup international travel. We don’t know what that is, but it sounds bad.
History: The teams have met 2 times. Nasty Boys have won both, and have a run differential of 6. [ All Time Series ]
Pitching Probables: Michael Burns (3-1, 0.20) is likely for Suns Out Guns Out and Adriano DeSorrento (11-1, 0.51) is expected to pitch for the Nasty Boys.
Umpires: John Hofstadter and Rick Neave
WILDCARD SERIES #3 – #3 Moose Knuckles (12-2) vs. #6 Janitors (10-4)
The Moose Knuckles were ranked the #1 team in the nation during an early point this season. Their ranking came back down to earth as did the team. They didn’t fall apart completely at the end of the season like last summer, but this team tends to peak early, and struggle late. In the series of the melt down players, Matt Gagnon is the Moose Knuckles. If he can keep his composure and finish games, they’ll live up to their seed.
The Janitors took a chance on head case free agent Felix Fernandez and all star Kevin Higman returned from an injury to post their first playoff appearance in league history. Those two players are the key to this teams success, and they couldn’t be more different on or off the field. If Fernandez can avoid his meltdowns, and pitch to more than two batters, between him and Higman they might be able to score enough runs to win. Don’t count on getting more than a couple of innings from Fernandez though, and their backup pitcher is that they have no backup pitcher.
History: The teams have met 4 times. Moose Knuckles have won all four, posting a 17 run differential. [ All Time Series ]
Pitching Probables: Felix Fernandez (4-1, 0.53) is likely for Janitors and Matt Gagnon (9-1, 1.30) is expected to pitch for the Moose Knuckles
Umpires: John Hofstadter and Harold Ward
WILDCARD SERIES #4 – #4 Gumballers (11-3) vs. #5 DC Twits (10-4)
The Gumballers were the runner ups in the the last World Series, having to win a tiebreaker tournament to even make the playoffs. This season they landed the #4 seed and clinched their division. Jeffrey Nitto is both the offensive and pitching key to this team, and he’s not making it for the series. Their other players are decent, but inconsistent. Without Nitto, this could be an upset in the making.
The DC Twits are back in the playoffs after pissing away a #1 seed last season. The beneficiaries of a weak division, they picked up the #5 seed. Their strength is Stephen Crawford’s pitching and their sometimes ability to string together runs. They ended the season strong and if they can keep the momentum up they have a chance to beat an incomplete Gumballers team.
History: The teams have met 4 times. Gumballers have won 3, with a 5 run diff, including last summers Division Championship Series in two games. [ All Time Series ]
Pitching Probables: Stephen Crawford (8-2, 0.96) is likely for Twits and Don McClintock (2-2, 1.29) is expected to pitch for the Gumballers.
Umpires: Jerry Shapiro and Jim Kroll