Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Playoff preview: Spirit vs. Surf

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)

Atlantic City:

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

North Shore:

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.



The Skinny

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.


Anonymous said...

Overheard Brent talking to some Spirit Employees. Team will be disbanding after the playoffs. Will not be sold to another Owner.

wooden said...

When was the last time the team that's 3rd in attendance go dark?

Anonymous said...

Can't believe Brent would talk about such things where he could be overheard; not tthat there may not be some truth to it.
Wonder if winning the Championship would change things?.

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

No Way! Nick Lopardo wouldn't do that to us kids! We love the Spirit and wouldn't have anything to do next summer.The Spirit have to come back. PLEASE! If I had the money I'd buy them.

DaveCo said...

Joe--great playoff preview post.
those key playersa for the surf are definitly ones some of our guys should bone up on,the pitchers and trez mostly. I agree that overall this isn't a team we should worry about. I don't know about a sweep....I say Spirit in 4.

ALSO (regarding anon): Buisness is buisness....unfortunately.
I don't know the reasons why.nor do I care.....but I hope this rumor is fase. And if it is true I believe that we,as some of their best fans,deserve to know the factors behind that. I am also surprised Brent talked openly like that about THAT.

Oh,and guys in the front office......if you got a problem with me talk to me up front please. I heard soemthing about me being "a leaker"?

DaveCo said...

oh,and for humor's sake,you should put a playoff predition for nashua Vs nj up.

Joe Grav said...

No surprises here - I've figured that they would be gone after this year all year. I've expected that. I'll consider any other result a pleasant surprise.

I don't really care at this point - all I care about is these next 3-10 games.

Joe Grav said...

Jackals in 5

DaveCo said...

I'll also say I'm not that shocked at alll......BUT I' still saddened that this team will cease to be and all the faces I've come to know and love (incuding some staff) will be gone at season's end. The fact I'm filming with LynCAM & unable to be in the stands saddens me even more during these,our last possible days together. Because what Nick did wasn't just bring a team to a strugglign city & help it,but it also created (for me at elast) another family :'[

But anyway.....with nashua not winning a series in week's (SOURCE: Spike) and NJ going in ona 6-game losing streak it could be close......but I'll say Jackals in 5 as well. Sounds like a good guess.

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

Check out my blog at

I just posted this on it
I read on the internet the North Shore Spirit won't be back next year. That made me so sad that I'm crying. I love baseball and the Spirit. I went to every game this year except one. I missed that one because my Grandma was working. If the Spirit don't come back the kids in Lynn won't have anything to look forward to next summer and will have nothing fun to do. The North Shore Spirit are the best. Kids in Lynn LOVE the Spirit. I am so upset and sad I even wrote to Chip and told him we need to keep the Spirit in Lynn but don't tell my Grandma I call the mayor Chip because she said I'm supposed to call him Mayor Clancy but he's my friend even though I'm not old enough to vote for him yet. I'm so sad thinking I'll never be able to go to another Spirit Game. I love the Red Sox too but the tickets are hard to get and cost too much money so I only go to Fenway for one or two games a year. I missed birthday parties, pool parties and a trip to Water Country so I could go to Spirit games. And when I went to Camp Rotary for a week this summer I went the week there weren't any home games so I didn't have to miss a Spirit game.

Joe Grav said...

Victoria, that was really nice. We all love the Spirit, and the best thing to do is just enjoy the next few weeks and hope that the Spirit win the title.

wooden said...

Guys: The point of my rhetorical question is that teams with strong attendance do NOT fold and walk away. To wit:

Massachusetts, 1999, 8th of 8 teams -- folds, reborn in Pittsfield in 2002
Waterbury, 2000, 8th of 8 teams, folds, reborn in Lynn in 2003
Albany-Colonie, 2002, 8th of 8 teams -- folds, roster rights given to North Shore Spirit
Berkshire, 2003, 8th of 8 teams -- moves to New Haven
Allentown, 2003, 7th of 8 teams -- folds
Bangor, 2004, 5th of 7 teams -- folds
Elmira, 2005, 7th of 7 teams -- turns amateur, joins NYCBL
Nashua, 2005, 8th of 8 teams -- changes from Atlantic League to Can-Am League
Atlantic City, 2006, 7th of 7 teams -- changes from Atlantic League to Can-Am League

NOW, do you get it? Teams don't fold unless they have to. I couldn't find a single example from this decade of team with attendance that was in the top 3rd that folded. That's across the American Association, Atlantic, Frontier, Central, Golden, Northern, Northeast, Texas-Louisana and the United League. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

No way St. Nick is going to fold without selling. Not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

I heard the mayor doesn't want nick back,but nick wants to stay

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing that Mr. Mayor (Chip) ia an asshole!
I hope he reads this blog

Joe Grav said...

Guys, I think the most likely scenario is that the franchise gets sold and relocated, maybe after a one-year hiatus. It's clear that Lynn is not a great place to have a team both from a location and gov't standpoint, but based on the Spirit's pretty solid attendance, there IS a market for independent baseball around here. Hopefully a new owner can come in and build a new stadium somewhere else on the North Shore, but I'm not holding my breath.

More than likely, the "Spirit" will pop up again in two years completely rebranded and in another state, or at least a different part of MA.

But again, that is a topic for another day.

Anonymous said...

I think I know who you are SPARKY !!