It's playoff time, ladies and gents. Batten down the hatches and get ready for what we hope will be a fun and exciting two-week ride.
Team Comparisons -
Spirit .276 (3rd in league), 463 runs, 67 HR, 90 SB, 38 CS
Surf .272 (5th in league), 500 runs, 46 HR, 122 SB, 38 CS
Spirit 57-36, 3.39 ERA (1st in league), 224 BB, 568 K
Surf 51-41, 4.76 ERA (8th in league), 308 BB, 589 K
The Starting Pitchers (no particular order - that should be announced soon)
Brian Rodaway 15-3, 3.23 ERA, .244 opp avg, 45 BB, 90 K
J.C. Huguet 9-5, 4.15 ERA, .249 opp avg, 35 BB, 74 K
Monte Mansfield 6-10, 5.81, .280, 35, 88
Ben Thurmond 10-5, 5.33, .316, 34, 78
Coogie Freedman 4-4, 5.14, .300, 43, 60
Ryan Bicondoa 10-2, 2.82, .224, 27, 105
Matt Bishop 9-5, 3.42, .307, 23, 55
Gary Galvez 7-9, 3.67, .246, 42, 84
Luis Arroyo 1-0, 1.38, .255, 2, 5
Joey Siak 6-4, 5.30, .319, 16, 49
I would line them up like that, with Siak coming out of the bullpen.
Know thy enemy: Key players on the Surf
Joe Burke, 1B - .333 average, .419 OBP, .448 SLG, but only 2 HR
Anthony Granato, 3B - .329/.458/.500, 7 HR, 29 SB
Ed Montague, OF - .302/.361/.454, 6 HR
Lucas Taylor, OF - .267, 39 SB
Clyde Williams, 1B - .303/.359/.503, 14 HR
Past Meetings this season
June 1 - Spirit 14 @ Surf 8
Joey Siak pitched 6 shaky innings to get the win, Mike Torres homered, and Jerson Perez had a 5-rbi day.
June 2 - Spirit 11 @ Surf 1
Chris Farley pitched 6 shutout innings, the Spirit lit up Monte Mansfield, and Rob Fischer -- then with the Spirit, now with the Surf --- had 4 RBI.
June 19 Game 1 - Spirit 9 vs. Surf 1
A complete game victory for Chris Farley. Alex Trezza homers in the rout off of Mitsimori, who took the loss for ATC.
June 19 Game 2 - Spirit 3 vs. Surf 0
Bicondoa throws a complete game 2-hit shutout. Mike Torres picks up 3 hits off of Monte Mansfield, who fell to 0-2 against the Spirit.
June 20 - Surf 4 @ Spirit 3
Shawn McNamara gave up 4 runs to lose to Brian Rodaway, who improved to 5-1 with his 7-inning effort. Blakely homered to give the Spirit hope, but they fell short.
July 23 - Spirit 5 vs. Surf 1 - can't find info
July 24 - Surf 6 @ Spirit 4
D-Rob gave up 5 runs in a losing effort. Coogie Freedman survived 5 innings giving up 8 hits to get the win. Weed, Roche, and Perez each had 2 hits.
July 25- Spirit 3 vs. Surf 2
Ryan Bicondoa pitches another 8-inning masterpiece. Josue Lopez drives in two runs off of JC Huguet.
SEASON SERIES -
FULL HEAD TO HEAD, SPIRIT vs. SURF STATS
The Spirit handled the Surf quite well head-to-head this year and overall, I don't think they're that great. Despite their record, they scare me the least of all potential playoff opponents.
To be fair, they really went on a run after the Spirit were done playing them for the season. However, on paper, at least, the Spirit should win this series.
The key for Atlantic City is to get on base and wreak havoc [see Taylor, Lucas; Fischer, Rob; Granato, Anthony]. Their pitching is iffy at best (I think Rodaway is the only starter who would crack the Spirit's rotation), with an ERA that sat 8th in the league at 4.76. On the offensive side, they were 5th in batting and they only hit 46 home runs all season (9th, just ahead of Sussex).
The Surf have some scary hitters in Granato, Burke, Montague, and Williams, but the Spirit's pitching should be enough to handle them.
The biggest question mark for the Spirit will be in the bullpen, I think --- Derek Drage has been a heart-attack closer recently, and we'll really need him to be reliable here in the playoffs. Moving Siak to the 'pen should also help out.
I'll make no excuses for my blatant homerism here - I predict a Spirit sweep.