Sunday, May 24, 2015

LCS Previews

First - the league championship page is up.

Second, we have some wonderful matchups and arguably the four best teams in ATB facing off to represent their respective leagues in the World Series.  Starting in the American League we have a marquee matchup with the two best AL teams of ATB 17 and the two highest ranked owners of all time - Lou P and Justin P.

These are two evenly matched teams constructed in similar fashion - Good  pitching, great hitting with a nod towards on base percentage, and above average defense.  This has become the "ATB way" for a while now, and while admittedly a bit boring, it has proven to a great way to accumulate wins.

Lou P's Adventurers had a better offense during the regular season, but they are without star catcher and 2nd round draft pick Bill Dickey.  Top to bottom Justin's offense is probably a notch above, but the best hitter on the field is Ankhana's MVP front runner, Lou Gehrig.

Pitching wise, we have another matchup that is simply too close to call.  During the regular season Spanish Harlem had an advantage, but in a short series the playing field is leveled a bit.  Ankhana will toss their ace starter Addie Joss three times and will have Reliever of the Year front runner Dennis Eckersley on full rest.  Spanish Harlem counters with a more balanced rotation and a deeper bullpen.  The wild card may be 2nd starter Kevin Brown who has struggled at times this year, but throughout ATB history has been a well above average pitcher.

Overall, this series is a toss up and will be exciting to watch (and take part in).

In the National League we have a good old fashion good vs evil matchup.  Playing the role of the evil empire is Brian B and his Lakeview Zero's.  Why evil?  Remember the contentious trades during the summer where Brian was able to land stars Heavy Johnson and Greg Maddux, and add them to a team that already starred Ted Williams and King Kelly?  Not to mention Brian also added solid players as well such as Boog Powell and Kevin Millwood.

Why is Shamokin the good guys?  Work ethic.  The Miners were biggest losers in those trades and after voicing their opinion once, put their collective heads down and played hard every day.  Common opinion thought the trades would tip the balance in the AL West but day in and day out, Shamoking kept winning and in fact, by the end of the season increased their lead to 5 games.

What should we expect over the next 10 days?  Frankly, I am not sure.  I too thought Lakeview would end up the best team in the NL and they may still have the advantage in this series.  They arguably have the best middle of the order in baseball (although a relatively weak back end) and have Maddux starting 3 times to boot.  Shamokin counters with simple quality and every position.  Every batter has an ATB Value + over 100 and 3 of 4 starters have ERA's between 3.10 and 3.20.  Their defense is a notch or two better than Lakeview as well.

This series may just come down to each team's star players stepping up.   And that may be trouble for Shamokin - Oscar Charleston is the best overall player on either team, but can he hit his stride in order to keep Maddux, Williams, and Johnson from getting their way?

Tune in to find out.  Starting Monday, games will be broadcast and 9 and 9:30 PM each night, though, sometimes our real lives do get in the way.

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