Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Series Preview Season 2

Seattle Pilots (92-70) vs. Columbus Aeros (114-48)

Seattle Pilots - gerald007
The Pilots saw their record get worse, but still managed to win their second straight AL West title as well as their second straight AL Pennant.

Offense (.260 Avg – 12th; 704 RS – 14th)
The Pilots had 1 player hit over .300 (Ross Anderson) and didn’t have a single player knock in more than 100 runs. Offensively-challenged, they did have 4 players hit 20+ home runs and had 7 score 55+ runs during the course of the season. All-Star RF Hal Thompson did the heavy lifting for this offense as he batted .288/.363/.572 while hitting 39 home runs and knocking in 98 runs and scoring 99 times (led the team in all 3 categories).

Pitching (3.36 ERA – 2nd; 1.22 WHIP – 2nd)
Led by Cy Young candidate, Alex Vizcaino (19-10, 236.2 IP, 2.47 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), this team relied on their pitching to carry them. In a crushing blow to their chances, Vizcaino suffered a torn labrum in Game 6 of the ALCS. Nolan Gabriel (17-11, 214.1 IP, 4.03 ERA) and Troy O'Donnell (16-10, 200.0 IP, 3.74 ERA)are going to have to carry this team. Going with mostly a 4-man rotation (with a rotating 4th), they had 3 players with 38+ starts and 16+ wins, while pitching 200+ innings. Averaging just over 5 innings per start, their bullpen was led by All-Star closer Jim Phillips (3-9, 35/39, 78.0 IP, 56 G, 2.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) among others. Nap O’Connor, Rudy DeRosa, and Brandon Good all pitched 94+ innings without ever starting a game (a combined 3.38 ERA).

Defense (.987 Fldg – 3rd; 409 DP – 11th)
Their only gold glover was C Stretch Lloyd, but they still managed to be the third-best team in fielding percentage. CF Ricardo Franscisco was nothing short of sensational recording 19 great plays during the season and contributing 6 assists.

Columbus Aeros – anml34
After qualifying for the playoffs on the strength of the wildcard last season, the Aeros dominated the opposition, securing best record in the world by game 150 to win their first division title.

Offense (.273 Avg – 1st; 851 RS – 1st)
With 3 offensive All-Stars and 2 MVP candidates, is it a wonder that this team dominated the statistical standings on the offensive side of the diamond? MVP candidate #1 1B Jerry Fischer (.328/.409/.622, 48 HR, 163 RBI) was just dominant during the season, nearly cracking the 200 hit mark. MVP candidate #2 2B/3B Piper Cambridge (.316/.377/.508, 20 HR, 84 RBI, 24/36 SB) was pretty good as well. 8 players hit double digit homers, 6 scored 60 or more runs, and 6 had 22 or more doubles.

Pitching (3.34 ERA – 2nd; 1.24 WHIP – 2nd)
With 3 all-stars and 2 Cy Young candidates, this team is stacked pitching-wise as well. 6 pitchers had 12+ wins during the season. They were led by Cy Young candidates Harry Cabellero (20-6, 241.2 IP, 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Ezdra Cruz (17-5, 192.0 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.15 WHIP). Their bullpen was led by Fireman of the Year Arthur Swift (1-4, 48/51, 61.2 IP, 65 G, 2.19 ERA, 0.97 WHIP), Pasqual Romero, and Rob Barker.

Defense (.989 Fldg – 2nd; 460 DP – 1st)
3B Philip Chase was the Aeros only Gold Glove winner this season, but that didn’t stop them from putting up some solid numbers. SS Bernie Mendoza made 21 great plays while having a hand in 114 double plays. In a ridiculous manner, the team as a whole made 102 great plays against 9 poor plays. They were also #2 in the NL in throwing out would-be basestealers.

Even before the Vizcaino injury, this was going to be a tough series for Seattle. With the injury it is looking like a lost cause. In order for Seattle to make this into a series, their offense has to produce better than it has in the postseason and the pitching has to be better too. I believe, that for Columbus to win this, they only need 2 of the 3 components mentioned above to produce like they did in the regular season. Seattle's only chance is for their pitching to shut down the Columbus offense and Columbus' pitching to fail to perform.

Prediction: Columbus in 4.

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