Madison (101-61) v. Cleveland (89-73)
Season series: 7-3 Madison
Team BA: Madison - .294 Cleveland - .265
Team ERA: Madison - 5.13 Cleveland - 4.66
The best remaining hitting club is going up against one of the worst. Madison added to their already budding lineup which includes Andre Kydd (.322avg 62HR-141RBI) with Jason Van Hatten. Cleveland can only muster Torey Castillo who has 51 HRs but is batting a mediocre .268. Cleveland has the advantage with pitching but only because Madison (6.02 ERA at home) is just that worse. Wendell DiSarcina (14-10, 3.75ERA-1.21WHIP) represents the Cuyahoga's' best chances.
Prediction: Madison in 4. The Mud Holes will outhit the Cuyahoga's to the next round. There's just too much firepower in the lineup and Cleveland doesn't have superstar responses from the rotation.
Syracuse (92-70) v. New York (93-69)
Season series: 7-3 Syracuse
Team BA: Syracuse - .269 New York - .264
Team ERA: Syracuse - 4.03 New York - 4.38
The Syracuse Athletics have a not-so-secret weapon: Omar Little (21-1, 2.90-1.12). Singlehandedly, he can change any series and especially ones that are shorter. Dummy Alexander won't let that statement refuse him credit where it's due, especially after posting season numbers of a .284 avg with 41 HR, 111 RBIs and 45 SBs. How does New York counter this dual attack? For starters, they have the best lead-off hitter, Ham Davey, who scurried around the base path all season long with 138 SBs. Couple that with balance in the rotation (3 starters with ERA under 3.8) and there is definitely hope for a New York team that won 93 games in the best division in baseball.
Prediction: Both teams are nearly identical in terms of overall numbers. The difference is Little (haha, get it?) who will win Game One, allowing the Athletics to do what they do best: win on the road. Syracuse in 4.
Little Rock (95-67) v. Austin (86-76)
Season series: 6-4 Little Rock
Team BA: Little Rock - .280 Austin - .272
Team ERA: Little Rock - 4.50 Austin - 4.59
What do you get when you have one of the best right-fielders in Marino James (.352-48-146-75) and one of the best pitchers in Corey Mantei (19-7, 2.81-1.02)? A third-place seed. Tough luck equals hunger and the city of Little Rock is more upbeat than during the 1996 Presidential Election. The reason is because the club's opponent is their division rival, Austin Powers. However, the Powers should not be underestimated. Their lineup boasts great balance with 7 players who have hit over 20 HRs. Also, they have been hot of late including a run of 14 wins in 16 games which boosted them to the final wild-card spot.
Prediction: Little Rock in 3. Austin put together a great season and GM zephyrsad should be proud. Balance over stars can work but not against the likes of James and Mantei.
St. Louis (91-71) v. Dover (94-68)
Season series: 5-5 Tie
Team BA: St. Louis - .271 Dover - .277
Team ERA: St. Louis - 4.27 Dover - 4.09
Dover is a scary team because they are consistent. They have the exact same batting average no matter where they play and the difference between home and road for the pitching staff is below .05 ERA. Add in Carl McNeil (.366-33-112) and Jeremy Newhouser (15-7, 3.66-1.20) and you have a legitimate World Series contender. Yet, the Derelicts should be careful about getting too confident. St. Louis did win their division and do have Vic Kennedy (.317-40-127) and Ronald Burnett (18-10, 2.90-1.12). They also got swept by San Francisco last season and are looking for a second-round grudge match. Don't forget Jeremy Anderson (.339-36-97) who is always ready to hit pitchers around.
Prediction: This series should be the most entertaining of them all. With stars on offense, both teams will look for the bats to carry them to the next round. However, neither team is able to take advantage of each other by splitting their games at home, forcing a deciding Game Five. This game will be surprisingly a pitching battle, forcing the determining factor to be the bullpen. Dover's Ernie Houston (42 SV-47 SVO, 2.98-1.06) will give the Derelicts the win. Dover in 5.